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Publication numberUS3904191 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 9, 1975
Filing dateJul 23, 1973
Priority dateNov 28, 1972
Publication numberUS 3904191 A, US 3904191A, US-A-3904191, US3904191 A, US3904191A
InventorsJr Robert E Maier, Joseph P Mcginnis
Original AssigneeHarris Intertype Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hopper loading method and apparatus
US 3904191 A
Abstract
A horizontal infeed conveyer advances a series of on-edge signatures toward a hopper. An inclined conveyer sequentially removes signatures from the series of on-edge signatures and advances signatures toward the hopper in an overlapping stream. Operation of the two conveyers is regulated by a detector to maintain at least a predetermined minimum quantity of signatures in the hopper. A follower member is urged into pressure engagement with the trailing end surface of the series of on-edge signatures to hold the trailing signatures upright. When additional on-edge signatures are to be added to the series of signatures, an operator positions the additional signatures in abutting engagement with a rearward surface of the follower member. He then grasps a handle and actuates a trigger to effect operation of a piston and cylinder assembly to raise the follower member. The raised follower member is then pulled rearwardly against the influence of a biasing device. Once the follower member has been moved rearwardly of the additional signatures, the trigger is released and the piston and cylinder assembly then moves the follower member slowly downwardly. The handle is released and the biasing device is effective to press the lowered follower member against the rearward or trailing end portion of the additional signatures.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 9, 1975 United States Patent [1 1 Mater, Jr. et al.

Primary Examiner-Even C. Blunk APPARATUS Assistant ExaminerBruee H. Stoner, .lr. Inventors: Robert E. Meier, Jr., Landisville;

[ HOPPER LOADING METHOD AND [57] ABSTRACT A horizontal infeed eonveyer advances a series of on- Joseph P. McGlnnis, Raubsville. both of Pa.

edge signatures toward a hopper. An inclined eonveyer sequentially removes signatures from the series of on-edge signatures and advances signatures toward the hopper in an overlapping stream. Operation of the two eonveyers is regulated by a detector to maintain at least a predetermined minimum quantity of signa- [73] Assignee: Hlrrls-lntertype Corporation,

Cleveland. Ohio [22] Filed: July 23, 1973 [211 App]. No.: 381.881

Related [1.8. Application Data tures in the hopper. A follower member is urged into Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 3l().007. Nov. 28. Pressure engagement with the tram" 1972, abandoned.

3 end surface of the series of on-edge signatures to hold the trailing signatures upright. .When additional on-edge signatures are to be added to the series of signatures. an operator positions the additional signatures in abutting engagement with a rearward surface of the follower member.

He then grasps a handle and aetuates a trigger to effeet operation of a piston and cylinder assembly to [56] References Cited raise the follower member. The raised follower mem- UNITED STATES PATENTS bet is then pulled rearwardly against the influence of u 2 840 375 Kc" eta biasing device. Once the follower member has been 3U32'339 MiSb-m ct'alnm moved rearwardly of the addltlonal signatures. the 3 2912483 suvcrmmmwn trigger is released and the piston and cylinder assem- 3422969 n ct 3| bly then moves the follower member slowly down- 3 6l7,050 Mclntyrc wardly. The handle is released and the biasing device 3643.939 Nussbaum ct 27l/DlG. 7 is effective to press the lowered follower member FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS against the rearward or trailing end portion of the additional signatures.

754.069 8/1956 United Kingdom................ 27l/l49 16 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED 9 I975 SHLET 2 [1F 5 PATENTED SEP 9 SHEET 3 BF 5 HOPPER LOADING METHOD AND APPARATUS This application is a continuation-in-part application of application Ser. No. 3l0,t)t)7 filed Nov. 28, I972. now abandoned. and assigned to the assignee of the present application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a method and tip-- paratus for loading sheet material articles into a hopper.

Bottom feed hoppers are commonly provided with a mechanism for engaging the lowermost sheet material article in the hopper and feeding the article onto a gathercr. Since the weight of the sheet material articles in the hopper is applied against the lowermost article, the feeding of articles from the hopper tends to be effected by the manner in which articles are fed to the hopper. In order to provide controlled hopper feed, US. Pat. No. 3,690,540 to Maier et al feeds articles from a pile or stack onto an inclined conveyor.

Difficulty has been encountered in handling the piles of sheet material articles which are fed to the inclined conveyor of Maicr et al. However, U.S. Pat. No. 3.422H69 to Miller et al discloses an apparatus having a loader which is effective to deposit a series ofon-edge sheet material articles onto an infeed conveyor. An in clined conveyor engages a side surface of the leading articles in the series of sheet material articles and then feeds them to a hopper. Since the inclined convcyer and infeed conveyer ofthe Miller et al patent are operated at the same speed and independently of the quantity of sheet material articles in the hopper. difficulty may be encountered in operating this apparatus. In addition. the Miller et al apparatus leaves the trailing articlcs in the series ofoiredge sheet material articles. free to slide rearwardly. Therefore. the trailing articles may slide downwardly from the on-edgc orientation to a sloping condition with their side surfaces in engage ment with the infeed conveyer.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION The present invention provides a new and improved method and apparatus which facilitates the loading of sheet mateial articles into a hopper. The sheet material articles are deposited on an infecd conveyor in an on edge orientation. The infced conveycr advances the oncdge sheet material articles toward an inclined conveyci leading to the hopper. The inclined convcyer en gages a side surface of each of the sheet material articles in turn to sequentially feed sheet material articles from the oiredge series of sheet material articles to the hop er in a lapped stream. A detector assembly, which is effective to detect changes in the quantity of articles in the hopper controls operation of the inclined conveycr assembly to prevent the overfeeding or underfecding of sheet material articles to the hopper.

A follower member is pressed against the trailing article in the series of on-cdge sheet material articles to hold the trailing article in a generally upright orientation. When additional sheet material articles are to be included in the series of on-edge sheet material articles, the additional sheet material articles are positioned in abutting engagement with a rearward surface of the follower member. The follower member is then retracted and moved rearwardly. When retracted follower membcr has been moved rearwardly of the trailing end of the additional sheet material articles, the follower member is cxtnded to engage the trailing article of the additional sheet material articles.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved method and apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles and wherein a series of onedge sheet material articles are advanced by an infeed conveyor toward an inclined conveyer which feeds the sheet material articles to the hopper in a rapidly moving overlapping stream when the quantity of articles in the hopper is less than a pre determined amount.

Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved method and apparatus in accordance with the next preceding object and wherein a follower member is pressed against the rearward most article in the series of articles to hold the rearward most article in an on-edge orientation.

Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved method of loading additional sheet material articles into a series of on-edgc sheet material articlcs and which includes the steps of positioning the ad ditional sheet material articles in an on edge orientation and in engagement with a rearward surface of a follower so that the follower member is disposed bc tween the rearward end of the series of onedgc sheet material articles and the forward end of the additional sheet material artieles moving the follower member out from between the sheet material articles. and thereafter moving the follower member into pressure engagement with the rearward end of the additional sheet material articles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The foregoing and other objects and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon a consideration ofthe following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG 1 is a schematic illustration of a hopper loader constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view. taken generally along the line 2-2 of FIG. I, illustrating the relationship of a movable carriagc to a pair of support rails in the hopper loader:

FIG. 3 is an elevational view. taken generally along the line 3 3 of FIG. 2, illustrating the relationship between the movable carriage, support rails, and a follower member;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 4--4 of FIG 2. illustrating a handle for pulling the carriage rearwardly, a piston and cylinder assembly. and a handle mounted trigger for effecting operation of the piston and cylinder assembly to raise and lower the follower member;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view depicting the relationship between the follower member. a series of onedge articles being transported toward a hopper. and a plurality of sheet material articles which are to be added to the series of on-edge sheet material articles;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view. generally similar to FIG. 5, illustrating the follower member in a retracted position above the sheet material articles of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of a pneumatic circuit for controlling movement of the follower member between the positions shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

DESCRIPTION OF ONE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION A hopper loader mechanism constructed in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 in association with a bottom feed hopper II of the type illustrated in US. Pat. No. 3.650.525. The hopper loader mechanism 10 includes an infeed conveyer 12 having a pair of conveyor belts 13 which engage the lower edge portion of signatures I4 in a series I5 of onedge signatures. An inclined conveyer I6 feeds an overlapped stream I7 of signatures to the upper end of the hopper II. A detector switch I8 is effective to initiate operation of the inclined conveyor I6 to feed signatures I4 to the hopper II when the level of the signatures in the hopper falls below a predetermined level.

A feed mechanism engages a trailing or rearward most signature in the on-edge series of signatures IS to hold the trailing signature in an on-edge orientation. The feed mechanism 20 includes a carriage 21 which moves along a pair of spacedapart horizontal guide tracks 22 and 23 disposed above the series of on-edge signatures IS on front and rear sets of upstanding support posts 24. A movable follower member extends downwardly from the carriage 21 and presses against the trailing or rearward end 32 of the series l5 of onedge signatures to maintain the rearward signatures in a generally upright orientation relative to the horizontal infeed conveyer 12. The carriage 21 is urged toward the inclined conveyer I6 and hopper II with a substan tially constant biasing force by a take up reel 40.

As signatures 14 are fed to the hopper II. the carriage 2I moves toward the right (as viewed in FIG. I] and the longitudinal extent of the series 15 of signatures decreases. When additional on-edge signatures are to be added to the series I5 of signatures. an operator deposits the additional on-edge signatures 44 be hind the follower member 30 (see FIG. 5 While pressing the on-edge additional signatures against the follower member 30 with one hand. the operator utilizes his other hand to grasp a carriage handle 48 and actu ate a trigger assembly 52 (see FIGS. 2. 3. and 4). Actuation of the trigger assembly 52 activates a piston and cylinder assembly 56 (FIGS. 2 and 4) to raise the follower member 30 from an extended position (FIG. 5) between the rearward end 32 of the series 15 of onedge signatures and the forward end 60 of the additional signatures 44 to a retracted position in which the follower member 30 is disposed above the signatures FIG. 6).

Once the follower member 30 has been moved out from between the signatures. the operator pulls the handle 48 and carriage 21 rearwardly against the influence of the take-up reel 40. This rearward movement is continued until the retracted follower member 30 is adjacent to the rearward end (see FIG. I) of the addi tional signatures 44 which are being added to the series I5 of signatures. The trigger assembly 52 is then released and the piston and cylinder assembly 56 slowly lowers the follower member 30 from the retracted position of FIG. 6 to the extended position of FIGS. 3 and 5. The handle 48 is then released and the take-up reel pulls the carriage I4 forward to press the follower member 30 against the series of signatures 15 which now includes the additional signatures 44.

The distance between the parallel tracks 22 and 23 and the horizontal infeed conveyer 12 can be varied to enable the feed mechanism 20 to be utilized with signatures of different heights. Thus. the rearward ends of the support tracks 22 and 23 are connected to a bridge or cross member (FIGS. 2 and 3) having an end flange 72 which is held in secure frictional abutting engagement with a support post 24 by a nut 74 on a screw 76 extending from a knob 78. Although only the connection between the bridge member 70 and one of the support posts 24 has been shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. it should be understood that the opposite end of the bridge member 70 is connected to another support post 24 in the same manner as is illustrated in FIG. 2. By turning the knobs 78 associated with the two front support posts 24, the bridge member 70 can be raised and lowered relative to the slotted vertical support posts. Since the tracks 22 and 23 are connected with the bridge member 70 by suitable connections 80, raising and lowering the bridge member 70 relative to the support posts 24 raises and lowers the front end portions of the tracks 22 and 23. The rear end portions of the tracks 22 and 23 are connected with the rear support posts 24 in the same manner as in which the front end portions are connected with the from support posts.

The tracks 22 and 23 guide movement of the carriage 20 along a horizontal path which extends over the infecd conveyer 12 at a height which is slightly greater than the height of the on-edgc signatures. The carriage 2I is connected with the horizontal tracks 22 and 23 by a pair of ball bearing type roller assemblies 82 and 84 (see FIG. 3]. The roller assemblies 82 and 84 are dis posed between flanges 88 on the tracks 22 and 23 and flanges 90 on a pair of track members 92 and 94 which are fixedly connected to opposite sides of the carriage 21 and are telescopically received within the tracks 22 and 23. The roller assemblies 82 and 84 cooperate with the tracks 22., 23 92 and 94 to support the carriage 2I for movement under the influence of the take-up reel 40 and any force that is applied to the handle 48.

The operating stroke through which the carriage 2I is movable relative to the tracks 22 and 23 is deter mined by the distance through which the carriage tracks 92 and 94 enable the carriage 21 to be moved rearwardly (that is toward the left as viewed in FIG. relative to the tracks 22 and 23. In one specific embodiment of the invention. the tracks 22. 23, 92 and 94 and the rollers 82 and 84 cooperated to enable the carriage 21 to be moved through a distance of approximately 28 inchesv However, it should be understood that the distance or operating stroke through which the carriage 21 is moved could be varied and is merely set forth herein for purposes of illustration.

The carriage 21 supports supports the piston and cylinder assembly 56 and follower member 30 for movement along a horizontal path disposed above the series I5 of on-cdge signatures. The carriage 21 has a generally box-shape construction and includes a pair of vcrti cal end walls I00 and 102 (FIG. 4) which are interconnectcd by a pair of side walls I06 and 108 (FIG. 3) and a bottom wall I10 (FIG. 4). The carriage tracks 92 and 94 are connected to the side walls I06 and I08. The handle assembly 48 is connected to the rearward end wall 102. A flexible cable 110 (FIG. I) connects the carriage 21 with the take-up reel 40. i

The handle assembly 48 includes a gripper member II4 which has a Ushaped cross sectional configurattion (FIG. 2) and extends between top and bottom end sections I16 and 118 (FIG. 4) of the carriage 14. The

piston and cylinder assembly 56 is disposed within the hollow gripper member I14 and is connected with the follower member 30. When the piston and cylinder assembly 56 is extended from its unactuated position (FIGS. 4 and S) to its actuated position (FIG. 6) the follower member is raised upwardly into the handle assembly 48. A suitable cover or casing 122 is provided on the upper end of the handle assembly 48 to enclose the rod end of the extended piston and cylinder assembly 56. The piston rod 126 of the piston and cylinder assembly 56 is connected with the follower member 30 by a connector bracket 128. To facilitate movement of the follower member 30 between the raised and lowered positions. the follower member has a slight taper so that as soon as it begins to move relative to the onedge signatures, the pressure between the signatures and the pusher member tends to decrease.

In accordance with one feature of the present invention, the trigger assembly 52 is mounted on the handle 48 so that it can be actuated with the same hand that grasps the handle to pull the carriage rearwardly. The trigger assembly 52 includes a main or body section 134 which is pivotally mounted on the handle assembly 48 at a connection 136. When an operator grasps the gripper member 114 of the handle assembly 48, he palm of his hand will press an actuator section 140 of the trigger assembly 52 inwardly from the unactuated position of FIG. 5 to the actuated position of FIG. 6. This causes the trigger body I34 to rotate in a clockwise direction about the connection 136. As the body 134 rotates about the connection 136, an actuator bar 144 presses a valve plunger I46 forwardly from the position shown in FIG. 4 to the actuated position of FIG. 6 to actuate a valve 148.

Actuation of the valve 148 ports air under pressure through a conduit 152 to the head end of the piston and cylinder assembly 56. This air pressure causes the piston and cylinder assembly to operate from the retracted condition of FIGS. 4 and 5 to the extended condition of FIG. 6 to raise the follower member 30. Of course. once the follower member 30 has been raised. the operator can pull the carriage rearwardly until the follower member is immediately behind and above the additional signatures 44. During this rearward movement of the carriage 2|, the operator maintains the trigger assembly 52 in the actuated condition of FIG. 6 so that the follower member 30 remains in the raised position above the signatures.

Once the operator has pulled the carriage 2] and handle assembly 48 rearwardly through a sufficient distance to position the stop member 30 slightly rearward of the additional signatures 44, the follower member 30 is lowered so that it will engage the rearward end of the additional signatures 44. To lower the follower member 30. it is merely necessary for the operator to release the trigger assembly 52. Releasing the trigger assembly 52 causes the spring biased plunger 146 to move toward the right (as viewed in FIG. 6) to actuate the valve 148 to port air under pressure through a conduit I56 leading to the rod end of the piston and cylinder assembly 56. This causes the piston and cylinder assembly 56 to move the follower member 30 downwardly from the retracted position of FIG. 6 to the extended position of FIGS. 4 and 5. Once the follower member 30 has been extended. the operator can release the handle assembly 48 so that the pusher member is moved into pressure engagement with the on-cdge signatures under the influence of the take-up reel 40.

When the follower member 30 and carriage 21 are pulled rearwardly. only one of operators hands is used to grip the handle 48 and actuate the trigger assembly 52. The other hand is used to press the additional signatures 44 toward the receiving station 36. Due to the proximity to the moving follower member 30 of the hand which presses against the additional signatures 44, the follower member is moved slowly from the retracted position of FIG. 6 to the extended position of FIG. 4 under the influence of a restricted flow of low pressure air. This restricted flow of low pressure air is inadequate to move the follower member 30 downwardly with sufficient force to injure the hand of an operator. To provide for this relative low rate of flow of low pressure air, the valve 148 is connected with a low pressure source (FIG. 7).

When the trigger assembly 52 is actuated to raise the follower member 30 as an operator grasps the handle 48, the plunger I46 and valve spool I64 are pressed toward the left (as viewed in FIG. 7) against the influence of a biasing spring I66. This ports fluid from the source I60 through an internal passage 168 in a valve spool 164 and to the conduit 152 leading to the head end of the piston and cylinder assembly. In addition. the rod end of the piston and cylinder assembly 56 is connected with atmosphere through a second internal passage 170. A piston 172 in the piston and cylinder assembly 156 is moved upwardly to move the follower member 30 from the extended position of FIG. 5 to the retracted position of FIG. 6.

After the carriage 2] has been pulled rearwardly and the trigger assembly 52 is released, the biasing spring 166 moves the valve spool 164 to the position shown in FIG. 7. This connects the head end of the piston and cylinder assembly with atmosphere through a restricted or throttling passage 174. The low pressure source I60 is connected with the rod end of the piston and cylinder assembly 56 through a second passage 176. Since the passage 174 throttles the flow of air from the head end of the piston and cylinder assembly I56, a dash pot effect is provided so that the follower member 30 moves slowly downwardly from the raised position of FIG. 6 to the lowered position of FIG. 4. Since relatively low pressure air is provided by the source 160, if an operators hand is in the way of the slowly descending follower mcmber 30. the relatively low pressure air will enable the piston and cylinder assembly to be stalled without injury to the operator.

When the level of the signatures in the hopper II has been reduced below a predetermined level. the detector switch 18 is actuated to effect energization of a main drive motor which is drivingly connected with the infccd conveycr I2 and inclined conveycr 16 by a drive train I91 which includes clutch assemblies 192 and I94. The drive train 191 is of a known chain type construction and is effective to drive the infeed conveycr 12 at a slower speed than the inclined conveycr 16. Therefore. the stream of overlapped signatures I7 is moved at a relatively high speed away from the series 15 of on-edge signatures. It should be noted that the inclined conveycr I6 sequentially engages a side or major surface of each of the signatures I4 in the series 15 of signatures so that they are transported in the overlapped stream 17 to the hopper II.

As the signatures l4 are removed from the series 15 of on-edge signatues, the infeed convcyer 12 moves the series of on-cdge signatures toward the inclined con veyer to enable the on-cdge signatures to be sequentially engaged by the inclined conveyor 16. As the series 15 of on-cdgc signatures is moved forwardly. the follower member 30 is pressed against the trailing signature in the series of signatures to hold the trailing signature in an on-cdge orientation.

When the hopper ll has been filled, the motor I90 is decnergized to stop operation of the inclined convcyer l6 and infeed convcyer 12. Although it is contemplated that many different types of switching arrangements could be utilized to detect when the hopper ll has been filled, a timer 198 is effective to decnergize the motor 190 a predetermined time period after the detector switch 18 detects that there is less than a predetermined quantity of signatures in the hopper ll. Although a single switch 18 and timer 198 have been utilized in the illustrated embodiment of the invention, it is contemplated that a pair of vertically spaced-apart switches could be utilized in association with the hopper l l, the lower of the two switches being utilized to initiate a feeding operation and the higher of the two switches being utilized to terminate the feeding operation to thereby prevent either under or over feeding of signatures to the hopper ll.

When additional signatures or sheet material articles 44 are to be included in the series 15 of on-edgc signatures. the additional signatures are positioned in butting engagement with rearward surface 186 of the follower member 30. While holding the additional signatures I44 against the follower member 30 with one hand. the operator uses the other hand to grip the handle assembly 48 and actuate the trigger 52 to move the follower member from the extended position of FIG. 5 to the retracted position in FIG. 6. The carriage 21 and retracted follower member 30 are then moved rearwardly against the influence of the take-up reel 40 by pulling on the handle assembly 48. When the carriage 21 has been moved rearwardly for a sufficient distance to locate the follower member 30 adjacent to the trailing or rearward end of the additional signatures 44. the trigger assembly 52 is released and the piston cylinder assembly 56 is operated to slowly lower the follower member. The follower member is then pressed against the series of on-edge signatues which now includes the additional signatures 44 to urge them toward the inclined conveyer assembly.

Having described a specific preferred embodiment of the invention, the following is claimed:

1. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles. said apparatus comprising conveyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper. a movable carriage disposed above said eonveyer means. a follower member connected with said carriage. said follower member being movable relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of onedge sheet material articles on said convcyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material articles, biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edge orientation. operator means for moving said follower member from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said follower member from the series of on-edge sheet material articles. manually engageable handle means for effecting movement of said carriage away from the hopper against the influence of said biasing means to move said follower member rela tive to the series of on-edge sheet material articles, and manually operable actuator means for effecting operating of said operator means to move said follower member to the retracted position to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on-edge sheet material articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles. said manually operable actuator means including trigger means mouontcd on said handle means to enable an operator to grip said handle means and actuate said trigger means with one hand.

2. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said biasing means is effective to move said carriage and follower member toward the hopper along a path extending over said eonveyer means, said operator means being operable to move said follower member away from the path to move said follower member from the extended position to the retracted position.

3. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles, said apparatus comprising conveyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper. a movable carriage disposed above said convcyer means. a follower member connected with said carriage. said follower member being movable relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of onedge sheet material articles on said conveyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material articles, biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edge orientation. operator means for moving said follower member from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said follower member from the series of on-edge sheet material articles, said operator means including a piston and cylinder assembly which is connectcd with said follower member and valve means for effecting operation of said piston and cylinder assembly to move said follower member between the extended and retracted positions. and manually operable actuator means for efi'ccting operation of said operator means to move said follower member to the retracted position to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on-edge sheet material articles in the series of on-cdge sheet material articles.

4. An apparatus as set forth in claim 3 further including manually engageablc handle means for effecting movement of said carriage away from the hopper against the influence of said biasing means to move said follower member relative to the series of on-edge sheet material articles.

5. An apparatus as set forth in claim 3 further including track means for guiding movement of said carriage along a path disposed above said conveyer means and the series of on-edge sheet material articles, said follower member having a lower end portion which is disposed adjacent to said conveyer means and a lower edge portion of the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position, said lower end portion of said follower member being disposed above an upper edge portion of the serics of on-edge sheet material articles when said fol lower member is in the retracted position 6. An apparatus as set forth in claim 5 further includ ing adjustable support means for supporting said track means at any one of a plurality of positions above said convcyer means to enable said apparatus to be utilized with a series of on-edge sheet material articles having any one of a plurality of sizes.

7. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet matcrial articles, said apparatus comprising conveyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper, a movable carriage disposed above said conveycr means, a follower member connected with said carriage, said follower member being movable relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of onedge sheet material articles on said conveyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-cdge sheet material articles, biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edgc orientation, operator means for moving said follower memher from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said follower member from the series of on-edge sheet material articles, handle means for effecting movement of said carriage and follower member away from the hopper against the influence of said biasing means, and manually operable actuator means for effecting operation of said operator means to move said follower member to the retracted position to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on-edgc sheet material articles in the series of on-cdge sheet material articles, said manually operable actuator means being disposed adjacent to said handle means to enable said handle means to be grasped and said manually operable actuator means actuated with one hand.

8. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles, said apparatus comprising convcyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper, a movable carriage disposed above said conveyer means, a follower member Connected with said carriage, said follower member being movable relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of onedge sheet material articles on said conveyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material articles, biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-cdgc sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edge orien tation, handle means for effecting movement of said carriage and follower member away from the hopper, operator means for moving said follower member from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said follower member from the series of on-edge sheet material articles, said operator means including a piston and cylinder assembly disposed within said handle means and connected with said follower member, and manually operable actuator means for effecting operation of said operator means to move said follower membcr to the retracted position to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on-edge sheet ma' terial articles in the series of on-cdge sheet material articles.

9. An apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said handle means includes chamber means for receiving a major portion of said follower member when said follower member is in the retracted position.

10. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles, said apparatus comprising conveyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper, a movable carriage disposed above said conveyer means, a follower member connected with said carriage, said follower member being movable relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of onedge sheet material articles on said convcyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material arti cles, biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edgc orientation, operator means for moving said follower member from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said followerr member from the series of on-edge sheet material arricles, said operator means being operable to move said follower member from the retracted position to the extended position, means for limiting the speed of movement of said follower member from the retracted position to the extended position to a speed which is less than a predetermined maximum speed, and manually operable actuator means for ef fecting operation of said operator means to move said follower member to the retracted position to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on edge sheet material articles in the series of on-cdgc sheet material articles,

11. A method of loading additional on-edge sheet material articles into a series of on-edge sheet material articles which are being transported toward a hopper and are being engaged by a follower memberhaving a forward surface which is disposed in pressure engagement with a rearward end of the series of on-edgc sheet material articles. said method comprising the steps of positioning the additional on-edge sheet material articles in engagement with a rearward surface of the follower member so that the follower member is disposed between the rearward end of the series of on-edge sheet material articles and a forward end of the additional oncdge sheet material articles, moving the follower member out from between the series of on-cdge sheet material articles and the additional on-edge sheet material articles, and thereafter moving the follower member into pressure engagement with the rearward end of the additional on-edge sheet material articles, said step of moving the follower member out from between the series of on-edge sheet material articles and the additional on-edge sheet material articles includes the step of moving the follower member from an extended position to a retracted position at a first speed and said step of moving the follower member into pressure engagement with the rearward end of the additional on-edge sheet material articles includes the step of moving the follower member from the retracted position to the extended position at a second speed which is substantially slower than said first speed.

12. A method as set forth in claim ll wherein said step of moving the follower member into pressure engagement with the rearward end of the additional onedge sheet material articles includes the steps of grasping a handle connected with the follower member. moving the handle and retracted follower member rearwardly against the influence of a biasing force. moving the follower member from the retracted position to the extended position. and releasing the handle to enable the biasing force to press the follower member against the rearward end of the additional on-edge sheet material articles.

13. A method as set forth in claim ll wherein said step of moving the follower member out from between the series of on-edge sheet material articles and the additional on-edgc sheet material articles includes the step of raising the follower member to the rctractcd position in which the follower member is disposed above the series of on-edge sheet material articles.

14. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles. said apparatus comprising conveyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper. a movable carriage disposed above said conveyer means. a follower member mounted on said carriage. said follower member being movable relative to said carrige between a retracted position in which said follower member is spaced from a series of on-edge sheet material articles on said conveyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-cdge sheet material articles. motor means mounted on said carriage for moving said follower member between the retracted and extended positions, manually actuatable control means mounted on the carriage for effecting operation of said motor means to move said follower member between the extended and retracted positions. biasing means for urging said carriage toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edge orientation. and handle means mounted on said carriage for effecting movement of said carriage and follower member away from the hopper against the influence of said biasing means when said follower member is in the retracted position.

15. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles. said apparatus comprising convcyer means for transporting the sheet material articles to the hopper. a movable carriage disposed above said conveyer means and movable relative to said convcyer means along a horizontal path disposed above a series of on-edge sheet material articles disposed on said conveyer means. a follower member connected with said carriage. said follower member being movable vertically relative to said carriage between a retracted position in which said follower member is disposed above the series of on-edge sheet material articles on said conveyer means and an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material articles. motor means mounted on said carriage for moving said follower member vertically between the retracted and extended positions. motor control means for effecting operation of said motor means to move said follower member between the extended and retracted positions. biasing means for urging said carriage along the horizontal path toward the hopper to press said follower member against trailing articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position to thereby hold the trailing article in an on-edge orientation. and handle means connected with said carriage for effecting movement of said carriage and follower member along the horizontal path in a direction away from the hopper against the influence of said biasing means when said follower member is in the retracted position.

16. An apparatus for loading a hopper with sheet material articles. said apparatus comprising a first longitudinally extending conveyer means for engaging the lowermost edge portion of a series of on-edge sheet material articles and for conveying the series of on-edge sheet material articles along a horizontal path with major side surfaces of the sheet material articles in an upright orientation. second conveyor means for sequentially engaging a major side of each sheet material article in the series of on-cdge sheet material articles in turn while the engaged article is disposed in an upright on-edge orientation on said first conveyer means and transporting the engaged sheet material articles forwardly and upwardly away from said first conveyer means toward the hopper in a lapped stream. drive means for effecting operation of said first conveyer means to advance the series of onedge sheet material articles toward said second conveyer means at a first speed and for effecting operation of said second conveyer means to move the lapped stream of sheet material articles toward the hopper at a second speed which is greater than the said first speed. track means disposed above said first conveyor means and having a longitudinal axis extending parallel to the longitudinal axis of said first conveyer means. and follower means movable along said track means for holding a trailing sheet material article in the series of sheet material articles in an on-edge orientation as the series of sheet material articles is advanced by said first conveyer means. said follower means including a movable carriage connected with said track means. a follower member connected with said carriage, said follower member being movable vertically downwardly relative to said carriage from a retracted position in which said follower member is disposed above the series of on-edge sheet material articles to an extended position in which said follower member engages the series of on-edge sheet material articles. biasing means for urging said carriage to move along said track means toward the second con veyer means to press said follower member against the series of on-cdgc sheet material articles when said follower member is in the extended position, and operator means disposed on said carriage for moving said follower member upwardly from the extended position to the retracted position to disengage said follower member from the series of on-edge sheet material articles to thereby facilitate the positioning of additional on-edge sheet material articles in the series of on-edge sheet material articles.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification271/150, 271/3.1, 271/3.13
International ClassificationB65H1/22, B65H43/06, B65H1/30, B65H43/00, B65H29/66
Cooperative ClassificationB65H1/30, B65H2301/42134, B65H29/66, B65H43/00, B65H5/24, B65H43/06, B65H1/22
European ClassificationB65H5/24, B65H1/22, B65H43/00, B65H1/30, B65H43/06, B65H29/66
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 27, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: AM INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED, A DE. CORP., ILLINO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:HARRIS GRAPHICS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:005018/0144
Effective date: 19881006
Oct 17, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: HARRIS GRAPHICS CORPORATION MELBOURNE, FL A DE CO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:HARRIS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004227/0467
Effective date: 19830429