US 3916783 A
Apparatus for printing a succession of individual inscriptions on a continuous strip of textile material by intermittently advancing the tape longitudinally through a plurality of printing stations, with a discrete portion of the inscription being printed at each station. Raised type face carried by printing units mounted side by side on a common, reciprocating carriage is pressed into contact with a printing ribbon coated with a material transferable from the ribbon to the textile material. A separate, continuous printing ribbon is provided for each printing unit, a carriage separate from but movable with the printing unit carriage being provided to establish a path for the ribbons passing between the printing units and the textile strip. A single motor drives cams which move the carriages, advance and index the strip, and advance each ribbon to present an unused portion for print transfer at each printing cycle. Resilient springs are provided on the ribbon carriage to hold the textile strip in position as the ribbon is pulled away after each contact, and a unique motion transfer mechanism is provided for automatically advancing the ribbon, allowing selective adjustment of the distance of ribbon travel for each cycle.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ 1 Nov. 4, 1975 United States Patent [191 Filsinger et al.
1 AUTOMATIC SEQUENTIAL TEXTILE scriptions on a continuous strip of textile material by MARKING MACHINE  Inventors: John F. Filsinger; Roger P. Mueller,
intermittently advancing the tape longitudinally through a plurality of printing stations, with a discrete both of Syracuse, NY portion of the inscription being printed at each station. Raised type face carried by printing units mounted side by side on a common, reciprocating carriage is pressed into contact with a printing ribbon coated with a material transferable from the ribbon to the textile material. A separate, continuous printing ribbon is provided for each printing unit, a carriage  Assignee: Texmark, Inc., Syracuse, NY.
Sept. 13, 1972  Appl. No.: 272,922
separate from but movable with the printing unit carriage being provided to establish a path for the ribbons passing between the printing units and the textile strip. A single motor-drives cams which move the carriages, advance and index the strip, and advance each ribbon to present an unused portion for print transfer at each printing cycle. Resilient springs are provided on the ribbon carriage to hold the textile strip in position as the ribbon ispulled away after each contact, and a unique motion transfer mechanism is provided for automatically advancing the ribbon, allowing selective adjustment of the distance of ribbon travel for each cycle.
WM UW nmw m 1/11 HHH H /l1.l. 89 9 ll 1 a 2/0/ f 0 lll lll m .0 ,U n m 6 n m 9 S u l 1 0 mmmmm m 3 m m m n m 5 9 5 E n m m m m H M m m: m 5 A u 6 aa 1 .IP 0 03 C t 1 S e e m m m m m a E mm m m m m mmmm m mmhw m ml mm i am a m .mS LLMHDML h e ac D m m9057823 2336677 n 9999999 HHHHHHH u m 563724 M UhF 963l85w 463 572 mum m 169M151 555 5 1. .1 3333 changing the independently Primary ExaminerClyde I. Coughenour characters of the inscription without preparing Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Charles S. McGuire separate dies or'setting new type is also disclosed.
14 Claims, 20 Drawing Figures  ABSTRACT Apparatus for printing a succession of individual in- US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet20f11 3,916,783
U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet3of11 3,916,783
u @Wim .i
US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet40f11 3,916,783
U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet50f11 3,916,783
Sheet 6 of 11 U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet7of11 3,916,783
U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet8of11 3,916,783
l I I I78 US. Patent N.ov.4, 1975 Sheet9of11 3,916,783
U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 10 0f11 3,916,783
I Ill/ll A US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheetllofll 3,916,783
AUTOMATIC SEQUENTIAL TEXTILE MARKING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to machinery for applying permanently printed indicia to textile labels,- or the like. More specifically, the invention relates to a novel machine for printing textile lables wherein separate indicia is applied at a plurality of spaced stations as a continuous strip of the label material is advanced through the machine.
US. Pat. No. 3,774,529 issued Nov. 27, 1973, and assigned to applicants assignee, discloses a machine for making direct imprints on fabric by means of a heated printing plate which presses a tape or ribbon carrying a thermoplastic printing medium into contact with the fabric. This is a common methodof producing textile labelsfor attachment to garments, and other productsL'The apparatus of the aforementioned application, and others of this type, are suited for printing textile labels in a semi-automatic manner; that is, an operator is required for positioning the textile strip to be imprinted and for actuating the apparatus to move the print face into contact with the ribbon. Furthermore, the printing plate must be removed from the apparatus and the type face changed, or a new plate inserted, whenever any of the indicia are to be changed.
The speed of operation of the prior apparatus is, of course, limited by the fact that an operator must posi tion the workpiece and actuate the movable mechanism with each cycle. Replacement of printing plates and type face is also time consuming and expensive. Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a machine for printing textile labels in a fully automatic manner, and in which the various indicia which makeup the complete inscription may be changed more efficiently and economically.
Anotherobject is to provide a textile label printing machine wherein a complete label inscription is printed sequentially by separate printing units, whereby the indicia of any one unit may be separately changed.
A further object is to provide a machine of the character indicated which operates through a plurality of reciprocating drive mechanisms, all of which are powered by. a single, unidirectional motor.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Basically, the above objects are accomplished according to the invention by printing the labels in a plurality of steps as a continuous textile strip is advanced longitudinally across the several printing stations. For example, two, four, or more, printing units are provided, each carrying its own set of indicia representing a portion of the complete inscription to be transferred to the label. The printing units are mounted on a common carriage which is reciprocally movable between positions wherein the units engage the ribbon, transferring the indicia of the raised type faces to the textile label, and wherein the units are retracted out of contact with the ribbon, and thelatter is out of contact with the tape. When the printing units areretracted the textile tape is movedlongitudinally. by appropriate feed and indexing mechanismby a distanceequal to the spring between the printing units. Thus, each portion of the tape is sequentially positioned in registration with each printing'unit so that the indicia comprising the com- 2 plete inscription may be applied to the tape in separate steps.
A major advantage of applying the inscription in separate steps is the greater ease and economy of changing the inscription. In normal operation where an inscription of several lines of indicia is to be applied to the textile label tape, the indicia of certain lines will be changed before others. That is, the manufacturers name and/or trademark may comprise part of the inscription and will remain the same for all labels, while indicia indicating size of an article to which the label will beapplied is changed after a predetermined number of printings. In machines of the type employing heated printing faces to effect transfer of a thermosensitive resin from a printing ribbon to the textile, this has necessitated preparing separate printing dies for each different inscription, and changing the entire printing unit, many of the indicia of which were identical. By providing separate printing units for different portions of the inscription, only the printing dies of those units whose indicia is to be different must be changed, thus eliminating expensive duplication of portions of the in dicia which remain the same for successive printings. The provision of laterally spaced printing units also makes possible the use of circular printing dies, thus allowing the inscription to be changed merely by rotating the individual disks as necessary tobring the desired type faces into the printing position.
A single electric motor serves as the drive unit and is connected, through suitable pulleys and gears, to drive shafts which carry circular cams. One of the cams cooperates with a follower on the carriage which holds the individual printing units to reciprocally move the carriage between the contacting and retracted positions of the type faces. A second carriage holds the printing ribbons, and is movable with and in response to movement of the first, or type carriage. An additional cam, on the same shaft as the carriage drive cam, is connected through a crank and ratchet arrangement to impart intermittent rotation to a roller which moves the printing ribbon by an appropriate amount to present an unused portion for contact by the print faces for each cycle. A second drive shaft carries other cams which move various elements of the feed and index mechanism for the textile tape.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a four-station embodiment of the apparatus of the inventions; FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, plan view of a portion of the textile label tape as it is advanced through the four printing stations;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the upper portion of the apparatus; i
FIG. 4 is a plan view thereof;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, exploded, perspective view of selected elements of the apparatus;
FIGS. 6 and 7 are fragmentary, side elevational views, in section on the line 6-6 of FIG. 4, showing the printing unit carriage in the retracted and contacting positons;
FIGS. 8 and 9 are fragmentary, side elevational views, in section on the line 6-6 of FIG. 4, showing the ribbon carriage in the retracted and contacting positions;
FIGS. 10 and 11 are side elevational views of a motion transfer mechanism of the invention shown in two positions;
FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the mechanism of FIGS. and 11;
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the complete apparatus, with portions broken away;
"FIG. 14 is a plan view of portions of the drive system;
FIG. 15 is a fragmentary, plan view of the tape feed portion of the apparatus;
FIG. 16 is a front elevational view of the tape feed portion;
FIG. 17 is a side elevational view taken on the line 17-17 of FIG. 16;
FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a first form of printmg unit;
FIG. 19 is a sectional view on the line l919 of FIG. 18; and
FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of printingunit.
" DETAILED DESCRIPTION The embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1 includes four printing stations, as that term ,is explained more fully hereinafter. It will be readily appreciated, from an. understanding of the disclosed embodiment, that any desired number of printing stations, up to a maximum dictated by practical considerations, may be incorporated. The printing units are arranged in sideby-side relation and are generally indicated in FIG. 1 by reference numerals 10, l2, l4 and 16, detailed construction and operation thereof being disclosed in connection with other figures.
The printing units each include raised type faces with electrical means for providing heat thereto. Temperature control units 18, 20, 22 and 24 are provided for maintaining the temperature of the respective type faces at a desired level in a conventional manner. A separate strip of printing ribbon is provided for each printing unit and threaded through the apparatus to pass between the type face and the material to be printed upon. A portion of each of the strips, numbered 26, 28, 30 and 32, may be seen in FIG. 1 adjacent the respective printing units. The printing ribbons are preferably of a standard commercial variety, comprising a paper base having a heat sensitive resin coating of any desired color. As heated type face is pressed against the ribbon, with its coated face against the textile to be marked, the coating is transferred to the cloth and permanently set therein by the heat to produce indicia corresponding to the type face. The width of the ribbon is commensurate with that of the type face to be transferred.
The textile material upon which the inscription is to be printed is supplied in the form of a continuous tape 34, fed from rotatably mounted supply roll 36, through a position sensing and indexing mechanism indicated generally by reference numeral 38, under each of the four printing units and ribbons, and through feed mechanism 40. The latter grasps tape 34 and pulls it longitudinally through the apparatus in an intermittent manner, between printing cycles.
A fragment of tape 34 is shown in FIG. 2 to illustrate the sequential printing operation. The printing units and ribbons are mounted on reciprocally movable carriages and are driven back and forth between contacting and retracted positions with respect to the tape. Each time the carriages are moved downwardly, the coated face of the printing ribbon contacts the tape and the heated type faces contact the ribbon so that a print transfer takes place at each station, i.e., the position of the tape adjacent each printing unit. The stations are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 in FIG. 2 and the direction of travel of the tape indicated by an arrow. As indicated by the example in the drawing, a distinct portion of the total indicia, e.g., a separate line, is applied at each station so that a complete inscription is incorporated on the tape when it leaves station 4. In a later, separate operation the tape is cut between each inscription to form individual labels, which may be then folded as required and applied to garments or other articles.
Referring again to FIG. 1, base 42 serves to enclose and support major components of the apparatus. Side plates 44 and 46 also serve as stationary supports and mounting units. Ribbon advance mechanism 48, shown in detail later, is mounted on side plate 44 and transfers motion from a drive shaft to printing ribbon drive roll 50, rotatably supported between the two side plates. All of the tape ribbons are held in frictional engagement with ribbon drive roll 50 by respective tension rolls 52, 54, 56 and 58, mounted for free rotation on the .forked end of arms 60, 62, 64 and 66, respectively. The arms are mounted on shaft 68, extending rigidly between side plates 44 and 46, and biased by springs 70, 72, 74 and 76, respectively, toward engagement of the tension rolls with the ribbon drive roll. The springs are affixed at the ends opposite the connection with the tension arms, to cross piece 78, rigidly connected between side plates 44 and 46.
Many of the elements shown generally in FIG. 1 are also seen in the front elevation and plan views of FIGS. 3 and 4, respectively. Roll 36, from which tape 34 is fed, is mounted on support as is motor 81. The tape is fed off roll 36 by movement of motor 81, ad is threaded around a laterally extending portion of arm 82 which is connected to microswitch 84. The speed and/or shutoff control for motor 81 is connected through microswitch 84 in order to maintain proper loop length in the tape feed and to prevent damage in case of malfunction in the tape feed.
The tape position sensing and index mechanism 38 is also shown in somewhat more detail in FIG. 3. Feed mechanism 40, as described in detail later, includes rollers between which tape 34 passes and which alternately engage and release the tape. When the tape is engaged between the feed rolls it is advanced through the apparatus by a distance equal to or slightly longer than the distance between printing stations, i.e., the tape is moved beyond the desired point since the amount of movement imparted by the feed rolls is not precisely controlled. When the feed rolls release the tape, gripper 86 is lowered to engage the tape between the edge of the gripper and the underlying support.
Gripper 86 is biased toward engagement with the tape and is movable out of engagement therewith by actuation of solenoid 88. The gn'pper and solenoid are mounted on linearly reciprocating carriage 90. Rod 92 connects carriage with one end of crank arm 94.
The other end of thecrank arm carries follower 96-and' is spring biased to maintain the follower in contact with cam 98.
Rotation of cam 98, by drive means disclosed later, effects reciprocal rotation of crank 94, and thus reciprocal linear movement of carriage 90. Tape 34 is precisely indexed by providing markings thereon at intervals equal to the desired distance of movement at each cycle, sensing the position of such markings by a lightphotocell arrangement, a portion of which is indicated by reference numeral 100, and actuating solenoid 88 in response to sensing of the presence of a mark. That is, after tape 34 has been fed forwardly and released by the feed rolls, solenoid 88 is deactuated to allow the tape to be engaged by gripper 86. At this time, movement of rod 92 and carriage 90 will be toward the left as seen in FIG. 3. Thus, the tape will be drawn toward the left until one of the markings on the tape is sensed by light-photocell arrangement 100 which, through control box 102, actuates solenoid 88, thereby lifting gripper 86 out of contact with the tape and leaving the latter properly indexed for the next printing cycle. Of course, the amount of overtravel imparted to tape 34 by feed mechanism 40 must be less than the stroke of rod 92; otherwise, the amount of overtravel is not important since the gripper may release the tape at any point in its return (leftward) travel.
In FIG. 4 the individual supply rolls 104, 106, 108 and 1 of printing ribbon are shown. Tension arms 60, 62, 64 and 66 are also shown more clearly, pivoted on rod 68, and cooperating with ribbon drive roll 54. Drive shaft 112 is journaled at each end in side plates 44 and 46, and carries cams 114 and 116. Rod 118 extends rigidly between side plates 44 and 46 only for lateral stability.
Turning now to FIG. 5, two of the major sub-assemblies of the apparatus are shown in exploded perspective. The upper unit is designated generally by reference numeral 120 and termed the ribbon carriage, while lower unit 122 is termed the type carriage. The two carriages are mounted between side plates 44 and 46 for rotation about a common axis defined by rod 124. Ribbon carriage 120 includes a pair of side members 126 and 128 joined by a plurality of ribbon guide rods 130, 132, 134 and 136. Springs 138, the function of which will be explained later, are supported adjacent members 126 and 128, respectively, by guide rods 132 and 134. Positioning blocks 140 and 142 are fixedly attached to the inner sides of the respective side members.
Printing unit carriage 122 likewise includes a pair of side members 144 and 146, through which rod 124 extends and which fit between the side members of ribbon carriage 120. Front cross piece 148 serves as a rigid support for type plate carriers 150. To rear cross piece 152 is affixed arm 154 which supports cam follower 156. Spring 158 is tensioned between arm 154 and cross piece 78 (FIGS. 1 and 4) to exert a biasing force on type carriage 122 tending to move arm 154 in an upward direction.
As seen in FIGS. 6 and 7, the biasing force of spring 158 urges follower 156 toward contact with cam 114. As drive shaft 112 rotates, the high part of cam 114 maintains type carriage 122 in the position of FIG. 6, termed the retracted position. Printing unit 16 is shown affixed to carrier 150, the latter secured to cross piece 148 of the carriage. Raised type face 160 is re movably positioned on the printing unit by means described later, and is heated by conventional electrical means. Block 162 is supported by stiff springs 164, and carries one or more tape backers 166 in registration with type face 160. Backers 166 are made of neoprene, or other suitable material, not rigid but of limited resiliency and capable of withstanding the heat applied by the type face (e.g. 450F).
As drive shaft 1 12 continues to rotate, the low part of cam 114 comes into registration with follower 156, as shown in FIG. 7. As spring 158 urges printing unit carriage 122 toward counterclockwise rotation about rod 124 (as seen in FIGS. 6 and 7) type face 160 presses the ribbon and tape into contact against backers 166. It is preferred that cam 114 leave follower 156, as shown, when type face 160 is in the contacting position to insure a uniform and repeatable pressure. If desired. tension on spring 158, and thus pressure of type face 160, may be altered by adjusting the position of units 168 on threaded hook 170 which supports the spring. Support of block. 162 on stiff springs 164 (four springs would normally be provided for each block) provides a selfleveling action, thereby assuring uniform pressure despite irregularities in alignment.
FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate the retracted and contacting positions of ribbon carriage 120, which is biased by its own weight and by light spring 172 toward rotation in a counterclockwise direction about rod 124. Movement is limited in this direction by contact of positioning block 140 'with the upper edge of side member 144 of type carriage 122, and of block 142 with side member 146 on the opposite side, when held in the retracted position by cam 114. Printing unit 16 is shown in dotted lines to illustrate that type face 160 is spaced from ribbon 32 in the retracted position of the carriages, just as the ribbon is spaced from tape 34. As carriage 122 ro tates under the biasing force of spring 158, as previously described, ribbon carriage will also rotate with blocks and 142 remaining in contact with side members 144 and 146 until the ribbons contact tape 34. Type carriage 122 continues to rotate the remaining distance until type faces contact the ribbon, thus transferring the printing medium to the fabric of tape 34 as previously described. Continued rotation of drive shaft 112 and cam 114 moves both carriages back to the retracted position, and the cycle is repeated.
It will be noted in FIG. 9 that spring 138 is resiliently compressed against tape 34. Springs 138 are provided in the manner indicated on carriage 120 on each side of all four ribbons (altotal of eight springs 138). As the carriages move upwardly after the printing operation, the type faces will first move out of contact with the ribbons, until side members 144 and 146 contact blocks 140 and 142 The ribbons will then move out of contact withthe tape. However, springs 138 will still contact tape 34 as they move back to their unflexed configuration. This provides the useful function of holding tape 34 against the underlying support as the ribbons are removed, thus insuring that the tape does not wrinkle or otherwise move in spite of any tendency of the ribbon to stick to the tape after the printing operation.
Also seen in FIGS. 8 and 9 is the complete path of the ribbon as it is fed from the supply roll, around guide 174, the four guides on the ribbon carriage, and between rolls 54 and 58. After passing between the latter, the used ribbon is allowed to slide down trays 176 to a waste collection receptacle, or the like. The trays may be supported in any convenient manner on the side plates, tension arms, etc.
After each printing operation a fresh portion of ribbon must be positioned between the type faces and the tape. When the carriages are in the retracted position, ribbon drive roll 54 is rotated by an appropriate increment to effect such positioning. The outer surface of roll 54 preferably has a high coefficient of friction to assure that the ribbon will not slip when the drive roll is rotated.
The mechanism for imparting the desired amount of rotation is shown in FIGS. 10-12. Drive shaft 112 and cam 116 rotate continuously in the direction indicated. Follower 178 is mounted on crank 180 which rotates about fixed pivot 182 and is connected to arm 184 at movable pivot 186 and pivot 188 on rotatable element 190, mounted on the same shaft that carries drive roll 54, and biased" toward leftward movement as seen in FIGS. 10 and 11 by-spring 192. The spring is tensioned between arm 184' and extension 194 affixed to side plate 44. Element 190 carries pawl 196 for engagement with ratchet wheel 198, affixed to the shaft of drive roll 54.
As cam 116 rotates with .zthe high'part thereof in contact with follower178, arm l86 is moved toward the right and element 190 rotates clockwise, as indicated, with pawl 196 riding over the teeth of the ratchet wheel 198. When the low part of cam I16 moves into registration with follower 178 (FIG. 11) spring 192 pulls arm 184 to the left until block 200, affixed to the arm, contacts the end of elongated screw 202, threaded through block 204 on side plate 44. As arm 184 moves to the left, element l90'is rotated counterclockwise and pawl 196 engages and rotates ratchet wheel 198. Since the latter is affixed to the shaft on which drive roll 54 is mounted, the drive roll is likewise rotated to move the printing ribbons. The increment of movement of the ribbons may be conveniently adjusted by turning screw 202 to position the end thereof for contact by block 200 at the desired point.
In FIGS. 13 and 14 are shown the primary drive system, comprising electric motor 206 and gear boxes 208 and 210. Motor, 206 is mounted and movable upon laterally extending lead screws 212 to allow adjustment of the tension on belt 214 which transmits rotation from motor pulley 216 to gear box pulley 218. The output shaft of gear box 208 drives sprocket 220. Chain 222 is trained around drive sprocket 220, tension sprocket 224, sprocket 226 on the end of drive shaft 112, sprocket 228 on the input shaft of gear box 210, and guide sprocket 230. Cable 232 extends between arm 154 and lever 234, pivotally connected to base 42 at 234. End portion 238 of lever 236 extends through a slot in base 42 and lever 234 may be depressed conveniently as a foot pedal to rotate carriages 120 and 122 to an inoperative position, with the forward ends thereof raised beyond the retracted position. Sufficient slack in cable 232 permits movement of the carriages between the retracted and contacting positions during normal operation without movement of lever 234. Easier access to portions of the printing units and other elements mounted on the carriages may be had in the inoperative position. A side portion 240 (FIG. 1) of the slot through which end portion 238 extends is provided for releasably retaining the lever with the carriages in the inoperative position. Also shown in FIG. 13 is electrical cord 242 which connects the printing units to the voltage source through temperature control units 18, 20, 22 and 24. Block 244 in FIG. 14 indicates the housing for electrical power supply and control components. I I
Tape 34 is guided laterally at each end of the apparatus by grooves through which the edges of the tape travel. The grooves are defined by the underlying support and a pair of plates aflixed in spaced relation, the plates adjacent the tape feed mechanism end of the apparatus being shown in FIG. and designated by reference numerals 246 and 248. Plates 246 and 248 are adjustably secured to laterally extending adjustment plate 250 by screws extending through-elongated slots in the plates. Plate 250 is similarly secured to the un derlying support, thus allowing adjustment of the spacing between the grooves, if a different width of tape is to be used, or of the lateral position of the grooves while maintaining the same spacing.
A pair of gripper rolls 252 are affixed-to shaft 254 which is joumaled in supports 256. Tape 34 passes between gripper rolls 252 and friction roll 258, as seen in FIG. 16, the latter being mounted on a shaft resting in grooves in spaced arms .260 and 262 (FIG. 17). Shaft 264 serves as a pivotalmounting for arms 260 and 262 which are biased by spring 266 toward movement in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 16. That is, the spring is compressed and urges the ends of the arms carrying the friction roll in an upward direction, toward engagement thereof with tape 34.
Arm 260 is connected by linkage 268 to one end of arm 270, mounted at the other end for pivotal movement about stub shaft 272 and carrying follower 274 at a central location. Cam 276 is carried on output shaft 278 of gear box 210, as is cam 98 previously described in connection with FIG. 3. Cam 276 cooperates with follower 274 to effect reciprocal rotation of arm 2'70,
and thus of arms 260 and 262 about their respective pivotal mountings. When the high part of cam 276 engages follower 274, arms 260 and 262 are rotated against the force of spring 266 to move friction roller 258 out of engagement'with tape 34.
Arm 280 is also carried on the end of shaft 278 for rotation therewith. Element 282 is positionable a variable distance from the center of rotation of arm 280 by means of the setting of screw 284. Chain 286 is secured at one end to element 282, passes over sprocket 288, and is connected to spring 290 at the other end. The spring is anchored at 292, whereby rotation of arm 280 and the bias of spring 290 produce reciprocal movement of chain 286 and reciprocal rotation of sprocket 288 and gripper rolls 252. When the low part of cam 276 is in registration with follower 274, tape 34 is frictionally engaged between roll 258 on the lower side and rolls 252 on the upper side; the direction of rotation of rolls 252 at this time is such that tape 34 is longitudinally advanced through the apparatus. When the high part of cam 276 engages follower 274, roll 258 is moved out of engagement with tape 34, which remains stationary as the direction of rotation of rolls 252 is reversed. V
In FIGS. 18-20 are shown two embodiments of type units to be mounted on type carriage 122. The embodiment of FIGS. 18 and 19 incorporates a Hate plate carrying the individual dies or lines of type face. Upper plate 294 is appropriately secured to side plates 296, each having inwardly directed flanges 298 to define grooves along the sides of the printing unit, into which may be inserted lateral edges 304 of plate 306 having one or more appropriately shaped openings 308 for accepting printing dies carrying raised type face 310. Pin
302 includes manually engageable tab 312, extending over block 300 to facilitate lifting the pin to permit sliding withdrawal and insertion of plates such as 306. When in operating position the plates are retained between pin 302 and rear portion 314 of block 300.
The printing units are supported upon rod 316 which extends through openings in the side plates. Rod 316 is also shown in FIG. 3, extending laterally across the apparatus, and in section in FIGS. 6 and 7 wherein details of mounting of the type units comprising the type face and supporting structure, is shown in detail. Each type.
. 9 unit is slidable laterally on ,rod 316- and is retained against pivotal movement about the shaft by engagement of lip 318 ina groove defined lay-holder 150 and plate 320, secured thereto in spacedrelation. Rod 316 may be supported with respect to printing unitjcarriage 122 by supports at the center, and end supports which are removable to permit the individual type units to be removed when necessary. A
The type unit embodiment of FIG. .20 comprises a plurality of separate disks, indicated collectively by reference numeral 322, each carrying a plurality of circumferentially spaced raised characters and rotatably mounted on spindle 324. A fragment of rod 316 is also shown in lflG. 20, to indicate that the type units are mounted on the carriage in essentially the same manner as thatpreviously described. Locking spindle 326 is removably secured to one v or both end plates of the type unitand mayjbe removed to allow rotation of the individual disks tidpl'ace 'the desired type face in the lowermost, or p rin'tin'g position. lndicia are also preferably provided in the grooves between theraised type so that the characters in the groove immediatelyabove locking spindle correspond to those of the type face in printing poslition, as indicated by the dotted line. Thus, the individual characters of the type face in printing position may be conveniently observed from above.
A type unit ofthe rotatable disk type, while more expensive than a flat plate or die, in susceptible of a wide variation of printed indiciar'nerely by repositioning the disks. On the other hand, a new plate, or new type characters must be provided each time the inscription is to be changed when using flat dies or plates. The use of rotatable disk type units would not be possible in a single station marking machine wherein two or more closely spaced lines are to be printed. Thus, the multistation machine of the present invention makes possible the use of more versatile and ultimately more economical type units than prior art machines of this type.
An additional feature of the machine is counter 328, seenin FIGS. 1 and 3. The counter is incremented each cycle to indicate the number of complete labels printed, beginning with the fourth cycle after start-up, when the first label is completed in the four-station machine disclosed. An automatic shut-off may also be incorporated with the counter to stop the machine after a desired number of labels have been printed so that the indicia at one or more printing stations can be changed for the next group of labels.
Still another feature, shown in FIG. 16, is a convenient means for marking portions of tape 34 which are to be scrapped. Marking pen 336 extends loosely into an opening in block 332 and is supported by spring 334. An inspector may, upon observing defective lables entering the feed mechanism, press down on pen 336 to compressing spring 334 and bring the point of the pen into contact with the textile tape, marking it as scrap. As soon as pen 330 is released it will be moved by spring 334 out of contact with the tape.
From the foregoing disclosure it may be seen that the invention provides means for printing textile labels in a fully automatic manner which is reliable and efficient, as well as economical. By printing the complete inscription in discrete portions at a plurality of laterally spaced stations, changing the type or ribbon (e.g., for printing in difierent colors) is made easier and more economical since only the portion affected need be changed. Automatic operation also enhances printing speed, providing finished labels at a rate of 180 per minute, or more. Other features, such as the automatic advancementof the printing ribbon by the main drive mechanism, and the provision of resilient means to hold the tape'in position as the printing ribbon is pulled away, contributeto reliability and efficiency of operation.
The'use of circular printing units, either exclusively or in combination with flat plates ordies, further 1moperat ion of this type.
. What is claimed is: a
prove efficiency and economy in an automatic printing 1. Apparatus for automatically imprinting an inscription upon a strip of textile material comprising:
a. a first printing unit having raised type face corresponding toafirst portion of the inscription; b. a second printing unit having raised type face cor responding to a second poitionof said inscription; c.' each of said first and second printing units includ; ing a type carriage and a ribbon carriage, said type face being mounted on said type carriage and aprinting ribbon carrying a transfeirableprinting.
mediumbeing mounted on saidribbon carriage between said typ'e face and the textile material, a
. unitary means for supporting and moving said and second printing units in unison betweencontacting positions, wherein said first and second por tions of said inscriptions are simultaneously printed on said first and second longitudinal increments,
respectively, of said strip by contact of saidribbon with said strip and of said type face with said ribbon, and retracted positions wherein said ribbon is spaced from said strip and said type face is spaced from said ribbon;
e. each type carriage and ribbon carriage of each of said printing units each being mounted for independent movement between said contacting and retracted positions;
f. means supporting the textile material with a first longitudinal increment thereof in registration with said first printing unit and a second longitudinal increment thereof in registration with said second printing unit; and
e. drive means for sequentially moving said printing units between said contacting and said retracted position, and for sequentially advancing said strip longitudinally by a distance equal to the spacing between said increments when said printing units are moved to said retracted position.
2. The invention according to claim 1 wherein said drive means comprises a motor connected to a first cam for moving said unitary means, and a second cam for advancing said strip.
3. The invention according to claim 2 wherein said second cam moves at least one drive roll alternately into frictional engagement with said strip, to effect longitudinal advancement thereof, and out of said frictional engagement.
4. The invention according to claim 1 wherein each of said printing units comprises a plurality of independently rotatable circular disks mounted side by side on a common axis and each carrying raised type face on the periphery thereof, whereby said disks may be selectively positioned to detennine the characters in a portion of said inscription printed by said one printing unit.
5. The invention according to claim 4 and further including indicia on the periphery of said disks between said raised type face and positionally related thereto in such a way that the indicia visible on an upper, visually 1 l accessible location on the disks corresponds to the type face positioned for printing said inscription.
6. The invention according to claim 4 and further including means for heating said type face.
7. The invention according to claim 1 wherein said type and ribbon carriages are biased toward rotation about said axis in the direction of said contacting position and are intermittently moved against the biasing force to said retracted position.
8. The invention according to claim 7 wherein said type and ribbon carriages of each of said printing units are moved in unison by a single cam and follower arrangement.
9. The invention according to claim 7 wherein said type carriages of said printing units are rigidly joined together for common rotation and said ribbon carriages are independently rotated from said contacting to said retracted position by like rotation of said type carriages through contact of cooperable stop means on associated type and ribbon carriages.
10. The invention according to claim 1 wherein each of said type and ribbon carriages are mounted for rotation about a common axis between said contacting and retracted positions, and further including means biasmg each of said type and ribbon carriages toward movement in a first direction to said contacting position, means retaining each of said type and ribbon carriages in said retracted position, against the force of said biasing means, means for releasing said retaining means to allow movement of each of said type and ribbon carriages from the retracted to the contacting position, and means for moving each of said type and ribbon carriages from said contacting back to said ret'racted position.
1 l. The invention according to claim 10 wherein said biasing means comprises at least one spring urging said type carriage toward rotation in said first direction.
12. The invention according to claim 1 1 wherein said retaining means comprises a portion of a cam blocking movement of said type carriage away from the retracted position thereof, and cooperable stop means on said type and ribbon carriages blocking movement of said ribbon carriage away from the retracted position thereof.
13. The invention according to claim 12 wherein said releasing means comprises motive means for moving said cam to remove said portion thereof from its blocking position with respect to said type carriage to allow movement of the latter away from its retracted position, thereby moving said stop means to allow movement of said ribbon carriage away from its retracted position. i
14. The invention according to claim 13 wherein said type carriage included a portion extending on the opposite side of said axis from said type face and canying a cam follower for contact with said cam, the latter being rotatable by said motive means.