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Publication numberUS3873083 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 25, 1975
Filing dateJul 19, 1973
Priority dateJul 24, 1972
Also published asDE2337298A1, DE2337298B2
Publication numberUS 3873083 A, US 3873083A, US-A-3873083, US3873083 A, US3873083A
InventorsSakae Fujimoto
Original AssigneeRicoh Kk
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for distributing and sorting discharged sheets
US 3873083 A
Abstract
An apparatus is provided which distributes processed sheets, as discharged from a discharge port, to the lateral sides with respect to the direction of discharge, by using a distributing shaft arranged along the direction of sheet discharge in the sheet discharge path and capable of reversible rotation. The apparatus includes a quick feed member which compensates for a diversion lag of the rear portion of a diverted sheet in the diverting direction.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Fujimoto [75] Inventor: Sakae Fujimoto, Tokyo. Japan [73] Assignec: Ricoh Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan [221 Filed: July 19, 1973 [211 App]. No: 380,551

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data July 24, 1972 Japan 47-73922 [52] US. Cl. 271/64, 271/184 [51] Int. Cl B65h 29/60 [58] Field of Search 271/64, 184, 178; 174, 271/192, 51, 52, 80; 198/31 R [56} References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.282.626 10/1918 Powers 271/64 110 6 9 4b 9 ll e 1 1 J30 5e 3 r a '13 Q Q -7 l Mo w w vi L x ll 6/ /4 l j M -IA 4: zllz f 5d APPARATUS FOR DISTRIBUTING AND SORTING DISCHARGED SHEETS 2.605.910 8/1952 Kovatch 271/64 X Primary lixaminep-Evon C. Blunk Assistant lixaminerBruce H. Stoner, Jr.

Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Coopcr, Dunham, Clark, Griffi n & Moran [57] ABSTRACT 9 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures /fl P COUNTER b i l e, L @L 5 5b MOTOR DIRECTION CHANGER MDC 5f PATENTEU HAR 2 5 I975 SHEET 2 0F 2 I. APPARATUS FOR DISTRIBUTING AND SORTING DISCHARGED SHEETS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relatesto an apparatus for distributing discharged sheets, and more particularly to such apparatus which utilizes the rotation of a shaft to divert processed sheets as fed from a discharge port to lateral sides with respect to the direction of sheet discharge.

Processed sheets from a sheet handling machine are commonly discharged externally of the machine through a dischargeport to be placed successively in a stack within a sheet receptacle which is located in communication with the discharge port. Such sheets may include magnetic sheets to which a magnetic record is transferred within a magnetic record transfer apparatus, copied sheets from a copying machine, printed sheets from a printer and the like.

However, merely placing the processed sheets as discharged from a discharge port in a stack within the receptacle can not provide sorting into different stacks based on thevv difference of processing applied to the sheets, nor grouping into stacks each including a predetermined number of sheets, such as 100 sheets.

There are prior art collators which detect the processing function applied or the number of processed sheets and change the direction in which the sheets are discharged or move the sheet receptacle. Such collators are generally large in size, and require complicated detecting and sorting mechanisms, makes them expensive. In particular, wherethe receptacle is adapted to be moved, the weight of the sheets in the stack is added to the overall weight of the receptacle, so that its movement can not be accomplished with a simple mechanism, and the entire apparatus, has to be constructed as a massive unit.

On the other hand, from the standpoint of the processing machine, it is only necessary to discharge the precessed sheets externally of the machine, and it is undesirable to bear additional cost, structrual and spatail charges for further processing of the discharged sheets.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the foregoing, an object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for distributing discharged sheets, capable of sorting sheets by utilizing the direction of rotation of a rotary shaft to divert the discharged sheets to the lateral sides of the shaft.

Another objectof the invention is to provide an apparatus for distributing discharged sheets which compensates for the diversion lag of the rear portion of the sheet when it moves into contact with the shaft and is diverted thereby.

A specific embodiment of the invention includes a distributing shaft disposed to extend along the discharge path of sheets discharged from machines such as copying machines or the like and means to rotate the distributing shaft either clockwise or counterclockwise. The leading edge of a sheet discharged along the discharge path comes into contact with the rotating distributing shaft first and is diverted either to the left or to the right of the shaft, depending on the direction of rotation of the shaft. Subsequently, the trailing end of the discharged sheet comes into contact with a quick feed member fixedly mounted on the distributing shaft, and the quick feed member rapidly moves the trailing end of the sheet in the same direction, such that the diverted sheet is moved away from the distributing shaft and is parallel thereto. Means are providedforreversing the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft after a predetermined number of. sheets have been discharged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus for distributing discharged sheets in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the apparatus being shown as viewed from its front side,

FIG. 2 is an elevational view, partly in section, of the prinicpal parts of the apparatus shown in FIG. I, and

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a damper.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIG. 1, a processed sheet I from a sheet handling machine not shown is being fed in the direction indicated by an arrow a tobe discharged externally of the machine through a discharge port comprising a pair of discharge rollers 2a, 2b which rotate in the directions indicated by arrows b and c. The discharged sheet 1A, shown in chain lines, displaced from the discharge port is fed in a direction toward the viewer. as viewed in FIG. 1. The path along which the sheet is fed will be referred to hereinafter as a discharge path. A distributing shaft 3 is arranged in alignment with the direction of discharge ofthe sheet 1A along the discharge path. At its opposite ends, the distributing shaft 3 is rotatably carried by hearing 4a, 4b which are mounted in the front and rear walls 50, 5b ofa receptacle 5, respectively. The front and rear walls 5a, 5b are interconnected by and firmly secured with the front and rear edges of bottom plates 50, 5d which are formed in the.

shape of a chevron. At their lower edges, the chevronshaped bottom plates 5c, 5d are bent upwardly in a direction perpendicular to the respective planes of the bottom plates 50, St] to form left-hand and right-hand side walls 5e, 5f. Thus the receptacle 5 is boxshaped with its bottom plates raised in the form of a chevron. The distributing shaft 3 is disposed above and parallel to the ridge ofthe chevron formed by the bottom plates 5c, 5d. As shown in FIG. 2, the receptacle 5 is inclined downwardly as it is further removed from the discharge port. The rear wall 5b has an. upper ledge 5g which is bent rearwardly toward the discharge port formed by the rollers 2a, 2b. At its rear extremity 5/1, the ledge 5g is bent slightly downwardly. The upper ledge 5g is provided with lateral gussets 5i, Sj which depend from the ledge in a downwardly slanting position to form tabs. The reason of bending the lateral gussets 5i, 5j and the rear extremity 511 into a slant position is to prevent the leading edge and marginal areas adjacent thereto of the sheet 1A from binding at the upper ledge 5g when the sheet discharged through the discharge port engages the latter to be guided thereby while being fed in the wall 5b to the exterior thereof; The output shaft Ma has a pulley 7 fixedly secured thereon, and a belt 8 extends around the pulleys 7 and 6. Thus, when the motor M is driven, the distributing shaft 3 is rotated through the belt 8. The motor M is reversible, and its direction of rotation can be changed by a switch, not shown.

Toward its rear portion, the distributing shaft 3 has a quick feed member 9 secured thereon which comprises a doughnut-shaped body of a material having a high coefficient of friction, for example, rubber or the like, and which is fixedly mounted on the peripheral surface of a boss 10 which is secured to the shaft 3. Thus, the quick feed member 9 obviously has a diameter which is greater than the diameter of the shaft 3. When the trailing end of the discharged sheet 1A comes into contact with the periphery of the quick feed member 9, the latter acts to rapidly move the trailing endin the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft 3, thereby correcting the discharged sheet 1A, which has become skewed with respect to the distributing shaft 3 as a result of the contact of its leading end with the shaft 3, to a position parallel to the shaft 3.

A pair of guide members ll, 12 are secured at their base to the top of the front wall 5a of the receptacle 5. Both of the guide members ll, 12 are positioned above the distributing shaft 3, and have their free ends extending toward the discharge port, with their extremi ties 11a, 124 being bent upwardly.

A damper 13 is secured to the top of the front wall 5a, at a position opposite to the rear wall 5b. As shown in FIG. 3, the damper 13 comprises an abutment plate 14 which is secured to the front wall 5a through a body output shaft Ma to rotate clockwise, as viewed in FIG.

1, the distributing shaft'3 is also driven through the belt 8 for a clockwise rotation, that is, rotation in the direction indicated by an arrow d. When a discharged sheet 1A is displaced from the discharge port toward the discharge path under this condition, the sheet 1A is guided by the guidemembers ll, 12 to enter the receptacle 5. As it reaches'toward the middle of the receptacle, gravity causes its leading end to start drooping, as shown in FIG. 2, and to thereby come into contact with the distributing shaft 3. Upon such contact, the leading end of the sheet 1A is diverted to the right, as viewed in FIG. 1, by the peripheral surface of the clockwise rotating shaft 3. Such diversion takes place while the sheet is being fed in the direction of discharge. As the leading end is diverted to the right, the discharge sheet 1A assumes a skewed position with respect to the distributing shaft 3, as shown in FIG. 1. Subsequently, when the discharged sheet 1A is completely displaced out of the discharge port, its trailing end passes over the upper ledge 5g and falls by gravity into contact with the quick feed member 9. Upon occurrence of such contact, the'sheet assumes the position 1B shown in FIG. 2, and the trailing end is rapidly flipped to be thereby diverted to the right by the quick feed member 9 which rotates clockwise together with the distributing shaft 3. As a result of such diversion, the lag of the trailing end in the direction of diversion with respect to the leading edge is immediately removed, whereby thedischarged sheet 1A, which previously had been skewed with respect to the distributing shaft 3, is corrected to a position in which it is parallel to the distributing shaft 3. The discharged sheet 1A moves away from the distribuing shaft 3 and quick feed member 9 while maintaining such position to drop onto thebottom plate 50 to be stacked thereon. The above process repeats with each new discharged sheet to form a stack of sheets on the bottom plate 5c. When the motor M is switched to a counter-clockwise rotation, the distributing shaft 3 and quick feed member 9 rotate counterclockwise, in the direction indicated by an arrow e. As a result of such counterclockwise rotation, the discharged sheets 1A are diverted to the left, as viewed in FIG. 1, in a process similar to that mentioned above except that the direction of diversion is opposite. The sheets diverted are stacked successively on the bottom plate 5d.

In this manner, sorting of the discharged sheets IA can be achieved by merely switching the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft 3 in accordance with the invention.

The direction of rotation of the motor M may be switched manually, by a suitable switch (not shown). Alternatively, automatic switching can be effected by counting the number of sheets 1 displaced through the discharge port with a suitable means, and producing a switching signal when a definite count has been reached. Such an example will be described with reference to FIG. 1. A lamp L is positioned adjacent the feed path of the sheets 1 to direct its light through the sheet path, and a light receiving element P is located on the opposite side of the feed path at a position directly opposite to the lamp L. The output ofthe light receiving element P is connected with a counter K for counting the changes in the output of the element P which are produced when the light from the lamp is interrupted by the sheet fed sheets which are fed between the lamp L and the element P. The counter K is adapted to produce a switching signal when a selected number of sheets fed have been counted by the counter K, the switching signal being used by a suitable motor direction changer MDC for changing the direction of rotation of the motor M. In this manner, automatic sorting of a given number of sheets can be accomplished.

While in the above described embodiment, the apparatus functions to sort the discharged sheets 1A to either right or left diversion paths, a plurality of such ap' parata may be movably mounted on a transversely extending rail not shown so that upon termination of a sorting operation by one such apparatus, an adjacent apparatus may be moved into alignment with the discharge port to effect a different sorting operation, thereby increasing the number of possible sorting operations.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for distributing sheets discharged from a feed path along a discharge path, comprising a distributing shaft disposed to extend along the direction of sheet discharge within the discharge path for the sheets and capable of reversible rotation for diverting discharged sheets which come into contact therewith to lateral sides with respect to the direction of discharge, and means for controlling the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft, said controlling means responsive to the discharge of a'selected number of sheets discharged along said path to change the direction of rotation of said distributing shaft.

2. An apparatus for distributing discharged sheets as in claim 1 including a quick feed member fixedly mounted on the distributing shaft to rotate therewith, said quick feed member having a diameter greater than that of the distributing shaft and disposed to contact the trailing end of a sheet discharged along the discharge path and to quickly move said trailing edge in the direction of diversion.

3. An apparatus as in claim 1 wherein the controlling means includes means for counting sheets discharged along said discharge path and means or changing the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft after a selected number of sheets have been counted by the counting means.

4. An apparatus for distributing sheets discharged from a feed path along a discharge path, comprising a distributing shaft disposed to extend along the direction of sheet discharge within the discharge path for the sheets and capable of reversible rotation to divert discharged sheets which come into contact therewith to lateral sides with respect to the direction of discharge, means for controlling the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft, and a quick feed member fixedly mounted on the distributing shaft to rotate therewith and adapted to contact the trailing end of a discharged sheet after the sheet moves into contact with the distributing shaft and is diverted thereby to rapidly move the trailing end in the direction of diversion.

5. An apparatus for distributing discharged sheets according to claim 4 including a reversible motor for driving the distributing shaft.

6. An appatatus for distributing discharged sheets according to claim 3 in which the quick feed member comprises a doughnut-shaped body of a material having a high coeffecient of friction and having a diameter greater than the diameter of the distributing shaft.

7. An apparatus for distributing discharged sheets according to claim 5 including means for counting the number of sheets discharged along said discharge path and for providing a switching signal upon a selected count of discharged sheets, and means for changing the direction of rotation of the motor in response to said switching signal.

8. An apparatus for distributing sheets discharged from a discharge port along a discharged path, comprising a distributing shaft disposed to extend along the direction of sheet discharge along said discharge path, means for rotating the shaft along a selected direction to divert discharged sheets which come into contact therewith to lateral sides with respect to the discharge direction depending on the direction of rotation of the shaft, said distributing shaft disposed in a position to be contacted first by the leading edge of the sheet discharged along the discharge path, and a quick feed member fixedly mounted on the portion of the distributing shaft which is closer to the discharge port to rotate with the shaft and to contact the trailing end of a sheet discharged from the port, said feed member having a diameter greater than that of the distributing shaft.

9. An apparatus as in claim 8 including means for counting sheets discharged from the port and means for changing the direction of rotation of the distributing shaft after a selected number of sheets have been counted by the means for counting.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1282626 *Jun 14, 1915Oct 22, 1918Powers Accounting Machine CompanyAuxiliary card-feed.
US2605910 *Oct 24, 1950Aug 5, 1952Bethlehem Steel CorpSheet piling apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4191369 *May 26, 1978Mar 4, 1980Oriental Photo Industrial Co., Ltd.Means for guiding sheet-like printing paper
US4480825 *Feb 11, 1980Nov 6, 1984Savin CorporationSheet set separator for electrophotographic copier
US6227531May 25, 1999May 8, 2001Hewlett-Packard CompanyJob separation process, system and method for distributing print jobs
Classifications
U.S. Classification271/304, 271/184
International ClassificationB07C1/00, B65H31/24, B65H33/00, B65H29/60, B07C1/04, B65H33/14, B65H31/02
Cooperative ClassificationB07C1/04, B65H31/24, B65H29/60
European ClassificationB65H29/60, B65H31/24, B07C1/04