|Publication number||US3861516 A|
|Publication date||Jan 21, 1975|
|Filing date||Nov 21, 1972|
|Priority date||Nov 21, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3861516 A, US 3861516A, US-A-3861516, US3861516 A, US3861516A|
|Inventors||Hirota Minoru, Inose Tadao|
|Original Assignee||Kabushikl Kaisha Iijima Seisak|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (8), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [-191 Inose et a1.
[451 Jan. 21, 1975  Inventors: Tadao Inose; Minoru Hirota, both of Ibaragi-ken, Japan  Assignee: Kabushikl Kaisha Iijima Seisakusho,
Ibaragi, Japan 22 Filed: Nov. 21,1972
21 Appl. No.: 308,410
 US. Cl. 198/35, 93/93 DP, 271/212,
. 271/245  Int. Cl. B65g 57/30, B65h 29/66  Field of Search 271/86, 46, 45, 245, 216,:
3,638,538 2/1971 Sullivan 93/93 DP 3,692,304 9/1972 DeRidder 271/86 Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Bruce H. Stoncr, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmMarshall 8L Ycasting  ABSTRACT An array of rollers are displaceably supported upon conveyor means composed of a plurality of parallel conveyor belts spaced apart from each other. Sheets successively loaded onto the conveyor means at one extremity thereof are smoothly fed toward the other extremity as long as the rollers are held against the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts. When the rollers are raised off the sheet-carrying surfaces so that the sheets start traveling at a reduced speed, movable stop means become operative to stop the successive sheets and hence to form a stack of a predetermined number of the sheets. The stack of sheets is fed into a punching machine after being automatically readjusted into proper register.
6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTED W21 l975 SHEET 1 0F 4 PATENTED I 7 SHEEI 2 BF 4 PATENIEB JANE! 1 i975 sneer u or A BACKGROUND OF THE-INVENTION This invention relates generally to feed mechanisms, and more specifically to apparatus for fullautomatically feeding sheets of paper or like material into a punching or other sheet-processing machine in successive neat stacks each composed of a predetermined number of the sheets. The sheets to be fed by the apparatus of this invention may include, typically, those of paperboard, cardboard, corrugated board, and other relatively thick paperor board.
conventionally, such sheets have been fed one by one into a punching machine for cutting, slitting, trimming, seaming, and various other operations necessary for the manufacture ofpackages and like products. Although attempts have been made to improve the resultant low productivity of the punching machine by the provision of fully automated apparatus capable of feeding the sheets thereinto in successive stacks, such attempts have been thwarted, in most cases, by the fact that each stack-of sheets must be in proper register when they are fed into the punching machine. Exact registration of each stack of sheets becomes even more necessary where, as isusually practised in the industry, printing is done previously on the surface of each sheet.
SUMMARY or THE INVENITON In view of the noted inefficiencies and difficulties of the prior art, it is an object of the present invention to provide apparatus for feeding sheets of paper or the like into a punching or other sheet-processing machine in such a manner'that the sheets'are arranged into sue register prior to entrance into the machine.
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus of the character referred to, in which any suitable number of the sheets can be arranged into a stack depending upon the thickness of rigidity of each sheet. A further-object of the invention is to provide apparatus of the character referred to, which is adaptable for use witha punching or other sheet-processing machine without any substantial modification of its construction. I j
According to the present invention, briefly summarized in broader aspects thereof, the apparatus comprises conveyor means which may be composed of a plurality of spaced-apart parallel conveyor belts. Support means above the conveyor means rotatably support a substantial array of first rollers which are normally held againt the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts to cause sheets of paper or the like loaded onto the conveyor means. at one extremity thereof to be fed toward the other extremity. First lift means is provided to turn the support means upwardly on one end thereof and hence to raise the first rollers, off the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts, whereupon a plurality of movable stop members supported below the conveyor belts project upwardly I therethrough to stop the sheets being succeessively conveyed at a reduced speed, thereby arranging a predetermined number of them into a stack. A plurality of second rollers provided next to the movable stop members are also normally held against the sheet-carrying cessive stacks and are further readjusted into proper surfaces of the conveyor belts to cause the stack of sheets to be fed further toward the other'extremity thereof. Second lift means becomes operative to raise the second rollers off the sheet-carrying surfaces when the stack of sheets reaches a position where it is readjusted into proper register prior to entrance into a sheet-processing machine.
The features which are believed to be novel and characteristic of the present invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and mode of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may be best understood from the following description of some preferred embodiments taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals denote like parts throughout the several views.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings: I
FIG. 1 is a schematic side elevational view of the apparatus constructed by way of a first preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view-explanatory of the relative locations of conveyor belts, first rollers and their support means, and second rollers in the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing in detail the constructions of first lift means, stop means, and second lift means in the apparatus of FIG. 1; v
FIG. 4 is a schematic side elevational view of another preferred embodiment of the invention; and
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1 to 3 illustrate a first preferred embodiment of this invention. With-particular reference to FIG. 1,
- a number of sheets 10 of paper or like material to be tioned, printing may have been done previously on the surface of each of these sheets 10. One or more movable suction heads are provided at 13 to successively carry the sheets 10 by suction between a pair of rollers 14 in an underlapping relationship as shown in FIG. 1,
. in a manner well known to those in the art. The movable suction heads 13 thus constitute conventionalsupply means for successively supplying the sheets in an underlapping relationship. The rollers 14 may be rotated at a constant speed by a drive mechanism linked, for example, to a motor 15 positioned adjacent the punching machine 11.
As best shown in FIG. 2, a plurality of endless conveyor belts 16 extend between an elongate drive pulley 17 positioned suitably close to theaforesaid pair of rollers l4 and an elongate idler pulley 18 positioned adjacent the punching machine 11. The conveyor belts 16 may be inclined downwardly toward the punching machine II for the best results. The drive pulley 17 is rotated in step with the rollers 14 by the same drive mechanism to move the conveyor belts 16 at a constant speed. The sheets 10, as shown in FIG. 1, are successively fed by the suction heads 13 between the rollers 14 and thereafter conveyed by the conveyor belts 16 in such a manner that the leading edge of each sheet is placed below the trailing edge of the preceding sheet in accordance with the prior art.
Above the conveyor belts 16 there is provided a rectangular frame 19 for supporting a substantial array of spaced-apart rollers 20. One end of the frame 19, on the side adjacent to the drive pulley 17, is supported by lift means 21 hereinafter described in more detail with reference to FIG. 3. The opposite end of the frame 19, on the side adjacent to the idler pulley 18, is pivotally supported by any suitable means indicated at 22 in FIGS. 1 and 2. A plurality of equidistantly spaced-apart parallel ribs 23 are secured to the frame 19 along the conveyor belts 16, the ribs 23 rotatably supporting the rollers so as to be normally in contact with the working or sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16.
As illustrated by way of example in FIG. 3, the aforesaid lift means 21 may include one or more, two in this embodiment, vertical rods 24 fixedly mounted on both ends of a horizontal rod 25 and each having a substantially V-shaped rest 26 on its upper end for supporting the said one end of the frame 19 on the side adjacent to the drive pulley 17. The horizontal rod 25 is lifted through a bell crank 27 pivoted on a stationary horizontal rod 28 by means of a cam 29 fixedly mounted on a rotatable camshaft 30. By rotating this camshaft 30 with a suitable drive mechanism, therefore, the cam 29 will impart vertical motion to the rods 24 through the bell crank 27 thereby pivoting the frame 19 on its end adjacent to the idler pulley 18.
The conveyor belts 16 and the lift means 21 being constructed substantially as hereinbefore described according to this invention, the sheets 10 are successively loaded onto the conveyor belts 16 by the suction heads 13 and therollers 14 are pressed against the sheetcarrying surfaces of the belts by the rollers 20 and are thus frictionally conveyed toward the punching machine 11 substantiallyat the same speed as the conveyor belts 16. However, as the frame 19 is pivoted upwardly by the lift means 21, the rollers 20 are raised off the sheet-carrying surfaces of the belts thereby reducing the speed of the sheets 10 being successively conveyed thereby. At this instant the successive sheets 10 are to be held at a temporary standstill on the conveyor belts 16 by stop means 31 constructed as hereinafter described.
Referring again to FIG. 3, the stop means 31 may include a plurality of, three inthis embodiment, substantially L-shaped members 32 fixed at suitable intervals on a rotatable shaft or rod 33 positioned below the conveyor belts 16 so as to be parallel to the aforesaid camshaft-30. A lever 34 is also fixedly mounted on this rotatable rod 33 at one 'end thereof, while the other end of the lever 34 is held against acam 35 on the camshaft 30 for causing the L-shaped members 32 to pivot up and down through the conveyor belts 16. A spring member is provided at 36 between one of the L-shaped members 32 and a stationary part of the apparatus in order to normally keep the L-shaped members below at least the plane of the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. The L-shaped members 32 of the top means 31 will thus be pivoted upwardly through the conveyor belts 16 by the cam 35 and the lever 34 against the compressive force of the spring member 36 as required.
When the L-shaped members 32 are pivoted upwardly through the conveyor belts 16, as discussed in the preceding paragraph. the sheets 10 which have been successively traveling thereon at a reduced speed are stopped and are further stacked as each succeeding sheet slides under the preceding sheet into contact with the L-shaped members 32. The periphery ofthe cam 35 is so contoured that when a predetermined number of the sheets 10 have been stacked on the conveyor belts 16 in this manner, the L-shaped members 32 are pivoted downwardly and thus brought below the conveyor belts 16. The periphery of the first mentioned cam 29 is also so contoured that the frame 19 is pivoted down simultaneously onto the conveyor belts 16 to start feeding the stack of sheets 10 toward the punching machine 11 by its rollers 20 at substantially the same speed as the conveyor belts 16.
For thus stacking a desired number of the sheets 10, which number may be determined in accordance with the thickness or rigidity of each sheet, the moving speed of the conveyor belts 16 may be appropriately changed by clutch means, not shown, provided in the aforementioned drive mechanism, and further the operations of the conveyor belts 16, the lift means 21 and the stop means 31 may be interrelated in a manner that will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
Following the stop means 31 there are provided according to this invention a plurality of second rollers 37 rotatably supported by resilient pins 38 or the like which may be affixed to extensions of the ribs 23 secured to the frame 19, the second rollers 37 being also normally held against the sheet-carryingsurfaces of the conveyor belts 16. Second lift means adapted for raising these second rollers off the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts includes a plurality of substantially L-shaped arms 39 each coupled at one end thereof to one of the pins 38 supporting the rollers 37 and at the other end to a rotatable shaft or rod 40 extending horizontally above the conveyor belts 16 at right angles therewith. A lever 41 extending downwardly from the rod 40 is provided with a spring member at 42 adapted for normally keeping the second rollers 37 resiliently urged against the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. This level 41 is further associated with another lever 43 fixedly mounted on a rotatable shaft or rod 44 on which is also fixedly mounted still another lever 45 having a free end held against the periphery of a cam 46 on the aforesaid camshaft 30. In this manner, as the camshaft 30 is rotated by its drive mechanism, the cam 46 will cause the arms 39 to turn counterclockwise, as seen in FIG. 3, by the action of the levers 41, 43 and 45 and the rods 40 and 44 against the compressive force of the spring member 42. The second rollers 37 are thus raised a suitable distance from the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. v
. As may now be understood, the second rollers 37 when resiliently urged against the conveyor belts 16 cause each stack of sheets 10 formed by the stop means 31 to be fed toward the punching machine 11 by the conveyor belts 16. Prior to entrance into the punching machine, however, each stack of sheets 10 must be re-' adjusted into more precise register. It is for this purpose that the second rollers 37 are pivoted upwardly out of contact with the conveyor belts 16 by the cam 46.
As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, means for this readjustment of the successively supplied stacks of sheets 10 includes a pair of vertically arranged rollers 47 and a side plate 48 which are adapted for readjusting the lateral edges of each stack of sheets with the aid of a side abutment, not shown, while the second rollers 37 are raised off the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. The front and back edges of the stack of sheets may be readjusted by means ofa front abutment not shown in the drawings. It may be noted, however, that all these means for the readjustment of the stack of sheets are conventional and do not constitute a part of this inventron.
Each stack of sheets thus readjusted into proper register isthen fed into the punching machine 11 by means I well known to the specialists, where the sheets are combinedly subjected to the necessary operation or operations, to improve the productivity of the punching machine.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate another preferred embodiment of the invention, in which the lift means for frame 19 rotatably supporting the rollers 20 on or above the conveyor belts 16 is formed by one or more, two in this embodiment, air cylinders 50 each having the substantially V-shaped rest 26 coupled directly to the piston slidably fitted therein. The rests 26 support the one end of the frame 19 as shown in FIG. 5 in particular. Piping 51 between these air cylinders 50 and an air compressor 52 has a solenoid valve at 53 for controlling the op- I eration of the air cylinders 50 so as to pivot the frame 19 on the means 22 for purposes set forth above in connection with the first described embodiment of the invention. I
The stop means for stacking the successive sheets by holding them at a temporary standstill on the conveyor belts 16 in this second embodiment of the invention includes an air cylinder 54 and a stop member 55 coupled directly to the piston slidably fitted in the air cylinderv 54, the stop member 55 having a forked end disposed substantially like-the L-shaped members 32 shown in FIG. 3. Piping 56 between the air cylinder 54 and the air compressor 52 is provided with a solenoid valve at 57 for controlling the operation of the air cylinder 54, in such a manner that when its piston is elevated, the forked end of the stop member 55 will more upwardly through the conveyor belts 16 to stop and further stack the sheets 10 as they are conveyed successively at a reduced speed. When the piston of the air cylinder 54 is lowered, on the other hand, the forked end of the stop member 55 will be correspondingly lowered below at least the plane of the sheet-carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. At this instant, the solenoid valve 53 is operated to lower the pistons of the air cylinders 50 and hence to urge the stack of sheets 10- against the conveyorbelts 16 by the rollers supported by the frame 19. The stack of sheets 10 is then fed toward the punching machine 11 substantially at the same speed as the conveyor belts 16 as in the first described embodiment of the invention.
The second lift means for the second rollers 37 provided next to the above described stop means includes an air cylinder 58 having a rod 59 extending upwardly from its piston to one end of the lever 41 fixedly mounted at the other end thereof on the rotatable shaft or rod 40. As best shown in FIG. 5, the substantially L- shaped arms 39 extend from the rod 40 to the resilient pins 38 or the like supporting the second rollers 37, as in the preceding embodiment of the inventions. The spring member 42 is provided between the lever 41 and carrying surfaces of the conveyor belts 16 and hence for causing each stack of sheetsl0 formed by the preceding stop means to be fed toward the punching machine 11. However, as the stack of sheets reaches a position where the sheets must be readjusted into proper register prior to entrance into the punching machine by the means explained above with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a solenoid valve 60 provided in piping 61 between the air cylinder 58 and the air compressor 52 is actuated to pivot the lever 41 upwardly against the compressive force of the spring member 42 and hence to raise the second rollers 37 a suitable distance from the surfaces of the conveyor belts 16. The stack of sheets 10 is then free to be readjusted into proper register as in the preceding embodiment of the invention.
In order to control the operations of the solenoid valves 53, 57 and 60v and hence of the air cylinders 50, 54 and 58 so as to cause the sheets 10 to be fed into the punching machine 11 through the procedure discussed in the foregoing, cams 62, 63 and 64 are fixedly mounted on a camshaft 65 which usually is provided in the punching machine 11. Electrical switches 66, 67 and 68 of well know construction, which are associated with the respective solenoid valves 53,57 and 60, are positioned against thecams 62, 63 and 64, respectively, soas to be operated thereby. Thus, as the camshaft 65 is rotated by a suitable drive mechanism, the switches 66, 67 and 68 will be closed selectively and in a welltimed manner to supply an electric current from an appropriate power supply, not shown, to the corresponding solenoid valves 53, 57 and 60 through a relay also not shown in the drawings. The pistons within the air cylinders 50, 54 and 58 are thus actuated to cause the sheets 10 to be fed into the punching machine 11 in successive neat stacks. I
While the principles of the invention have beendescribed in connection with some preferred embodiments thereof, it is to be clearly understood that the foregoing description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of the invention as set forth in the above stated objects and in the accompanying claims.
1. Apparatus for feeding sheets of paper or the like into a sheet-processing machine in successive neat stacks, said apparatus being provided with supply' means for successively supplying the sheets in an underlapping relationship, said apparatus comprising in combination:
conveyor means onto which the sheets are successively loaded at one extremity thereof in and underlapping relationship from said supply means,
said conveyor means including a plurality of sideby-side parallel spaced endless belts which are moving continuously;
a substantial array of first rollers rotatably supported by frame means above said conveyor means, said frame means being pivotably supported only at one end'thereof, the remainder of said frame means same speed as said endless belts of said conveyor means;
first lift means for pivoting said frame means upwardly about said one end thereof to raise said first rollers out of contact with the sheets on said conveyor means and hence to cause the sheets to be fed at reduced speed in substantial sliding contact with said endless belts of said conveyor means;
stop means positioned intermediate between the extremities of said conveyor means, said stop means including a stop member disposed below the plane of the sheet-carrying surfaces of said endless belts of said conveyor means so as to 'be capable of moving upwardly through the spacings of said endless belts for temporarily arresting the motion of the sheets being successively conveyed thereby at reduced speed and hence for forming a stack of a predetermined number of the sheets;
means for moving said stop member up and down through the spacings of said endless belts of said conveyor means;
resilient means rotatably supporting a plurality of second rollers above said conveyor means adjacent said other extremity thereof, said resilient means.
being adapted to urge said second rollers toward the sheet-carrying surfaces of said endless belts of said conveyor means to cause each stack of sheets formed by said stop means to be fed by friction toward said other extremity of said conveyor means;
second lift means for raising said second rollers off the stack of sheets on said conveyor means against the force of said resilient means to permit the stack of sheets to be readjusted into proper register with for pivoting said frame means upwardly about said one end thereof, a source of compressed fluid associated with said first power cylinder, and first valve means between said first power cylinder and said source of compressed fluid adapted for controlling the operations of said first power cylinder.
3. The apparatus according to claim 2, in which said means for moving said stop member comprises a second fluid-operated power cylinder communicating with said source of compressed fluid, said second power cylinder having a piston coupled to said stop member, and second valve means between said second power cylinder and said source of compressed fluid adapted for controlling the operation of said second power cylinder.
4. The apparatus according to claim 3, in which said second lift means includes a plurality of arms each-having one end thereof affixed to a rotatable shaft and the other end thereof coupled to a resilient member rotatably supporting each of said second rollers, a turnable lever extending from said shaft, a third fluid-operated power cylinder having a piston slidably fitted therein for turning said lever whereby said second rollers can be raised off the sheet-carrying surfaceof said conveyor means, said third power cylinder being associated with said source of compressed fluid, and third valve means between said third power cylinder and said source of compressed fluid adapted for controlling the operation of said third power cylinder.
5. The apparatus according to claim 4, in which each of said first and said second and said third valve means is a solenoid valve.
6. The apparatus according to claim 5, in which the operations of said solenoid valves are controlled by respective electrical switch means which are operated by cam means.
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|U.S. Classification||271/213, 271/245, 414/794.9, 271/212, 198/836.2, 198/633, 198/688.1|