US 3866904 A
This invention is for a sorting and collating apparatus for sorting sheets from a reproduction machine capable of producing simplex and duplex copies. A plurality of tray members in a vertically extending array receive the sheets as the tray members move past different copy input stations. One sheet transport path transports simplex copies and turns the sheets before discharging them into the tray members. The second transport path directs duplex copies through another sheet discharge zone at the opposite end of the tray members. Cam members which drive the tray members are formed with low pitch sprial camming surfaces and also a high pitch spiral camming surface positioned adjacent to the sheet discharge zones to effect a spreading movement of the trays upon passing the sheet discharge zone.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
o Unlted States Patent [1 1] 3,866,904
Stemmle Feb. 18, 1975 MULTIPLE FEED SORTING APPARATUS Primary ExaminerRichard A. Schacher  Inventor: DenisJ. Stemmle, Williamson, N.Y. I Amsmm ExammeBrue Stoner  Assignee: Xerox Corporation, Stamford,
57 ABSTRACT [22} led: 1972 This invention is for a sortingand collating apparatus 21] App! N 319,955 for sorting sheets from a reproduction machine capable of producing simplex and duplex copies. A plurality of tray members in a vertically extending array re-  US. Cl. 271/173, 271/65 ceive the Sheets as the tray members move past diffem  It. Cl 865'] ent py input Stations. o Sheet transport p  held of Search 271/64 transports simplexcopies and turns the sheets before Til/9 270/58 discharging them into the tray members. The second transport path directs duplex copies through another  References C'ted sheet discharge zone at the opposite end of the tray UNI STATES PATENTS members. Cam members which drive the tray mem- 2,492,386 12/1949 Little 271/173 bers are formed with low pitch sprial camming sur- 2,649,302 8/1953 faces and also a high pitch spiral camming surface po- 6 12/1953 sitioned adjacent to the sheet discharge zones to effect a spreading movement of the trays upon passing the 3:721:435 3/1973 sheet discharge zone. v r
OTHER PUBLICATIONS v G. l. Simpson, Jr., Duplex Copier Incorporating Sorter-Collator", IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, Vol. 14, No.5, Oct. 1971, P. 1453.
l Claim,-5 Drawing Figures PATENTEU v 1866.904
' sum 10F 2 FIG.
PATENTEDFEBI 81915 2. 866.904
' suzer ans 2 1 MULTIPLE FEED SORTING APPARATUS This invention relates to a sorting apparatus for sorting simplex and duplex copies advanced from a high speed copier/duplicator.
In copier/duplicator systems there has been a growing concern for the distribution and handling of the copy sheets in a collated fashion. In the past, sorting systems inluded large and bulky sorting bin modular units with a multitude of trays arranged for movement relative to the sheet path for increased storage as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,356,362. Another approach for the sorter has been rotating a housing carrying bins or trays past a copy sheet path as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,951,697, 2,876,008, and 3,076,647. Still another sorter is a vertically moving distributor in the form of trays moved up and down together as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,561,754. While these types of construction are suitable for some applications, they are not entirely satisfactory for all copier/duplicators in commercial use.
The present invention is, generally speaking, a moving bin or tray sorter/collator adapted for universal usage with copier/duplicators of all types as for example, machines capable of operating in simplex and duplex modes of operation.
It is therefore a general object of this invention to improve distribution of copy sheets. I
It is another object of this invention to enable the distribution of copysheets in collated sets in both simplex and duplex modes of operation.
It is still a further object of the invention to enhance paper handling reliability during a sorting operation.
lt is still a further object of the invention to achieve sorting of copy sheets onto a moving tray configuration which is simple and compact in construction.
It is still a further object of the invention to reduce significantly the level of noise normally associated with the sorting of sheet material.
The above and added advantages of the present invention will be more apparent after reading the following detailed description which refers to accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic view illustrating the xero graphic components of a copier/duplicator system which can be used with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the copier/duplicator system including the sorter/collator apparatus;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a tray assembly of the sorter/- collator apparatus;
FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of the tray assembly and FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a portion of the cam drive member for the sorter/collator apparatus.
The copier/duplicator system includes a high speed copier/duplicator capable of producing simplex or duplex copies at the option of a machine operator. The copier machine has a platen for receiving documents to be reproduced, and a control panel 5 which includes various control knobs, switches, and buttons for selecting various modes of operation such as simplex and duplex copies and the number of copies to be reproduced. In accordance with the invention, the copier/duplicator system includes a sorting apparatus 6 having tray assemblies 7.
As best shown in FIG. 1, the copier/duplicator system includes an automatic xerographic apparatus which includes a photosensitive plate including a photoconductive layer 10 that is placed over a conductive backing. The plate is formed in the shape of a drum 11 and the drum mounted upon a shaft 12 that is journaled for rotation in the machine frame. Basically, the xerographic drum is rotated in the direction indicated so as to pass sequentially through a series of xerographic processing stations. The photosensitive drum and the xerographic processing apparatus are driven at predetermined speeds relative to each other from a drive system (not shown) and the operations thereof coordinated in order to produce proper cooperation of the various processing mechanisms.
The original, to be reproduced, is placed upon a transparent horizontally supported platen 4 and the original scanned by means of a moving optical scanning system and to produce a flowing light image of the original. The scanning system includes an elongated horizontal extended aperture lamp l5 and a movable lens element 18.
The lamp and lens element moves in coordination across the objected supported upon the platen to focus successive incremental bans of illumination reflected from the object onto the moving drum surface at synchronous speeds therewith. The optical path is folded by means of a pair of image mirrors 19 and 20 interposed between the lens and the drum surface, the drum is first uniformly charged by means of a corona generator 13 positioned in charging station A. Under the influence of the flowing light image, the uniformly charged photoconductive surface is selectively dissipated in the non-image areas to form what is commonly known as a latent electrostatic image".
The latent electrostatic image is carried on the drum surface from the exposure station into the developing station C. The developing station primarily is comprised of a developer housing 22 adapted'to support a supply of two-component developer material 21 therein. The developer material is transported by means of a bucket system 23 from the bottom of the developer housing to an elevated position where the material is delivered into the active development zone. The developer material is caused to flow downwardly in contact with the upwardly moving drum surface under closely controlled conditions wherein charged toner particles are attracted from the developer mix into the image areas on the plate surface thus making the image visible.
The moving drum surface next transports the developed xerographic image to a transfer station D. Cut
' sheets of final support material are also moved into the transfer station, the backside of the copy sheet is sprayed with an ion discharge from a transfer corotron 25 inducing on the sheet a charge having a polarity and magnitude sufficient to attract the toner material from the drum surface to the final support material. This induced charge also electrostatically tacks the final support material to the drum surface. In order to remove the copy sheet from the drum surface, a stripper finger 28 is positioned downstream from the transfer corotron. The finger is arranged to move between the drum surface and the copy sheet and lifts the sheet from the drum surface and the copy sheet is directed along a predetermined path of travel into contact with a stationary vacuum transport 29.
Although a preponderance of the toner material is transferred from the drum surface to the copy sheet during the transfer process, invariably some residual toner remains behind on the drum surface after transfer. This residual toner is transported on the drum surface into a cleaning station E where it is brought under the influence of cleaning corotron 30 adapted to neutralize the electrostatic charge tending to hold the residual toner to the drum surface. The neutralized toner is mechanically cleaned from the drum surface by means of a brush or the like and the toner collected within a housing 31. A conveyor moving in an endless loop through tubes 32 transport the collected residual toner back to the developer housing where it is deposited within the developer mix so that it can be once again reused in the xerographic developing process.
The copy sheet, which has been removed from the drum surface after the transfer operation, is moved along stationary transport 29 into fusing station F. The fuser 33 is basically made up of an upper fuser roll 34 and a lower fuser roll 35 mounted in operative relation to each other and arranged to coact so as to support a sheet of material in pressure driving contact therebetween. The lower roll is heated. As the heated roll is rotated in the direction indicated, the heated surface of the lower roll is pressed into intimate contact with the image face of the support sheet. Mechanical and heat energy transported from the roll surface to the support sheet to permanently bond the toner particles to the support material.
Upon leaving the fuser, the fixed copy sheet is passed through a eurvalinear sheet guide system, generally referred to as 39, into cooperating advancing roll 43 and 44. At this point, depending on the mode of operation selected, the copy sheet is either forwarded directly to the sorter or into the upper supply tray 52 by means of a movable sheet guide 45 before entering the sorter.
It is believed that the foregoing description is sufficient for purposes of the present application to show the general operation ofa xerographic reproducing machine. For a more detailed explanation of the copier/- duplicator xerographic components reference is made to US. Pat. No. 3,645,615 entitled Copying Apparatus.
SORTING APPARATUS Sorting apparatus 6 comprises a horizontal vacuum transport assembly 103 which receives copy sheets from the copier/duplicator and advances them to different sides of a plurality of tray assemblies 7 depending on whether simplex or duplex mode of operation is used. A drive apparatus moves the tray assemblies vertically for receiving copy sheets advanced along the different transport paths as will be explained hereinafter.
Transport assembly 103 has a deflector gate 110 which serves to direct copies towards a vertical vacuum transport assembly ll2 for duplex copies or towards another vertical vacuum transport assembly 120 for simplex copies. The position of the gate 110 is determined by selection of the mode of operation on the control panel 5. Transport assembly 112 guides the copies into contact with pinch rolls 116 and 117 which pitch the copies into the moving tray assemblies 7 at the sheet discharge zone where the tray assemblies open or separate as will become more apparent hereinafter. It will be appreciated that the duplex copies are turned about 110 before entering the tray assemblies. For simplex mode of operation the copies are directed by transport 120 to pinch rolls 124 and 126 which pitch the copies down into the moving tray assemblies as they pass the sheet discharge zone.
The tray assemblies 7 are arranged in a vertical array. Each of the tray assemblies has a tray portion 205 which is inclined at an angle of approximately 20 to the horizontal and an end portion 207 which is perpendicular to the tray portion 205. Tray assemblies 7 are mounted on cam followers 228 which engage a spiral slot formed in the cylindrical surface of cam members 230 as described more fully in copending application Ser. No. 319,957, now US. Pat. No. 3,788,640, filed Dec. 29, 1972 and commonly assigned herewith.
Cam members 230 are made out of any suitable material such as Delrin" a trademark of DuPont Corporation, Wilmington, Delaware. The spiral slot has a series of fine closely spaced or low pitch surfaces 231 separated by a high pitch surface 233 at the vicinity of sheets entering the sheet discharge zone. The construction of the cam member 230 with pitch portion 233 renders a tray or bin opening tray or bin features as each of the tray assemblies passes the transport which moves the copy sheets into each of the tray assemblies. By this structure, as the tray assemblies pass the transports 112 and 120, there is an opening movement between the tray assemblies greatly facilitating receipt of copy sheets into them. The tray assemblies then close to the normal gap from the previous tray assembly. 1t
7 has been found that this opening bin feature. makes less difficult the movement of the copy sheets into the moving tray assemblies, even where large stacks of paper are received in the tray assemblies to enable a reliable trouble free operation. At the same time, by virtue of the sorter construction, a great number of tray assemblies can be used in a relatively small area. Moreover, the construction of the cam member enables receiving of high volume of sheets in a tray assembly.
The drive mechanism for moving the tray assemblies vertically includes a main drive motor which drives timing belts (not shown). The drive motor is reversible so that the tray assemblies move down for the first sheet, up for the second sheet, then down for the third sheet, etc. The control of the drive motor can be accomplished in any suitable manner such as machine logic which counts the sheets.
By the above described invention sorting of copy sheets produced in both simplex and duplex modes of operation is accomplished in a simple and reliable manner. Two sheet paths are used to effect entry into both ends of tray assemblies moveable relative to the sheet paths. Duplex copies are turned and pitched up into the tray assemblies and simplex copies are dropped down into the tray assemblies. It will be appreciated that the above invention is advantageous and beneficial for use in present sophisticated reproduction systems.
While there have been described and shown and pointed out the fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the devices illustrated and in its operation may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. Sorting apparatus for receiving sheets from a reproducing machine distributing in both simplex and duplex sorting modes of operation comprising:
6 required, wherein said tray members are supported on at least one vertically'extending cam member having a spiral shape, said cam member being driven by a re versible drive to move the tray members up and down past the sheet discharge zone to receive the copy sheets, wherein said cam member is formed with a higher pitch camming surface at the sheet discharge zones to effect a spreading movement between tray members upon passing said sheet discharge zones.
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