US 3929327 A
A document transport and registration apparatus is provided comprising an idler roller and a frusto-conical drive roller which cooperate in pinching engagement to advance a document along a predetermined path. The drive roller is of flexible, resilient material which is deformed radially when advancing the document, whereby a misaligned document is automatically brought into alignment and registration with a guide edge.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Olson [4 1 Dec. 30, 1975  DOCUMENT TRANSPORT AND REGISTRATION APPARATUS  Inventor: Lorin P. Olson, Tustin, Calif.
 Assignee: Addressograph Multigraph Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio  Filed: Apr. 1, I974  Appl. No.: 457,072
. US. Cl. 271/250; 29/122; 226/184; 271/272; 271/DIG. 9  Int. Cl. B6SH 9/16  Field of Search 271/250, 251, 252, 248, 271/272, 273, 274, DIG. 9; 226/184, 196; 193/37; 29/122  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,084,931 4/1963 Hanson 271/250 3,671,719 6/1972 May 271/DIG. 9
3,704,360 11/1972 McFadden 271/D1G. 9
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,197,818 7/1970 United Kingdom 271/250 Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Bruce l-I. Stoner, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firml-larry M. Fleck, Jr.
9  ABSTRACT A document transport and registration apparatus is provided comprising an idler roller and a frustoconical drive roller which cooperate in pinching engagement to advance'a document along a predetermined path. The drive roller is of flexible, resilient material which is deformed radially when advancing the document, whereby a misaligned document is automatically brought into alignment and registration with a guide edge.
10 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec.30, 1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,929,327
DOCUMENT TRANSPORT AND REGISTRATION APPARATUS The present invention is generally related to business posedor manufactured which process documents to extract information therefrom by techniques, such as optical character recognition (OCR), or mark sense reading. One such apparatus is disclosed by U.S. Pat.
- No. 3,684,076 assigned to the assignee ofthe present invention. This apparatus receives a marked document through anvinput opening andflreads certain marked data by way of an appropriate read head. Preferably, the document is arranged in adjacent rows and columns defining spaces .for the .markeddata. A modified ver sion of this apparatus-.is presently available which reverses the direction of document travel after it has been read, whereby the document exits through theinput slot or opening.
, In order to assure proper reading with either of the above devices, the document must be in proper alignment prior to reaching the read head. This may be achieved manually, upon insertion of the document into the machine. However, it would be desirable to provide some means of automatic registration in order to avoid misregistration due to human error. Various conventional arrangements have been proposed and utilized in the past which effectively shift such documents into engagement with a registration edge. One common arrangement utilizes a roller mounted at an angle to the direction of document travel to effect lateral displacement of the document-until it is flush with a guide vedge; This, however, requires special mounting hardware for the drive roller. Also, such an arrangementis highly sensitive 'to the offset angle, resulting in overdriving or underdriving the document laterally with respect to the registration edge either buckling the document against the guide edge, or shift ing the document an insufficient distance to achieve registration. This approach is also inappropriate if the document travel is reversed, as the document will be shifted out of registration upon reversal and will be improperly positioned if a printing operation is to be performed. Other conventional document registration devices have proven to be equally complex in nature or unsatisfactory in operation.
Therefore, it is an object of the'present invention to provide a novel document transport and "registration apparatus which is of relatively simple construction, yet provides automatic document registration'and highly reliableoperation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a unique document transportv apparatus comprising a drive roller of generally conical. configuration which drivingly engages a documentto advance such along a path of travel and shift such laterally into engagement with a registration surface.
- It is a further object ofthe present invention to provide .a versatile document transport apparatus including a drive roller of flexible, resilient construction and normally of frusto-conical configuration which. is deformed in the areaof engagement, with a document, whereby the document is shifted laterally during transport to bring such in engagement with a registration surface.
i Still another;object of the present invention is to machines and, more particularly, to a document transprovide a document transport apparatus which bring the document into registration with an edge'during forward travel and also maintains such registration while the document is driven in the reverse direction.
' BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus of the present invention with a typical document inserted therein.
-- FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along section 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along section 3--3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3 but with the document removed.
FIG. 5 is a cross section of the drive roller associated with the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a simplified top plan view of the drive roller illustrating its distorted configuration and contact area when driving a document in the forward direction.
FIG. 7a is a diagrammatic illustration of the forces acting upon a document presented out of registration.
FIG. 7b is a diagrammatic illustration of the forces acting on the document as it is brought into partial registration. I
FIG. 70 is a diagrammatic illustration of the forces acting upon the document after it is brought into proper registration.
FIG. 8 is a simplified top plan view of the drive roller illustrating its distorted configuration and contact area when driving a document in the reverse direction.
FIGS. 9a, 9b, and 9c are diagrammatic illustrations of the document and forces acting thereon as the document is driven in the reverse direction. I
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now, more particularly, to FIGS. 1 and 2, the document transport and registration apparatus of the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral l0 and includes a rigid, elongatedmember 12 having a generally planar document support surface 14. An appropriate document, such as that indicated at 16, is received at one end of support surface 14, preferably by manual insertion, and it is grasped between a pair of rollers which drive the document in the direction of arrow l8,'as hereinafter explained.
Document support surface 14 is bounded on one side by a registration member 20 defining an edge guide for the document. Preferably, the support surface is bounded on the opposite side by an upturned edge 22, which is spaced from registration edge 20 by a distance greater than the width of the documents which the apparatus is intended to handle. This wide spacing is necessary to permit the operator of the machine to readily insert the documents without jamming, sticking or the like. Furthermore, such spacing permits the 3 The type of machine with which the apparatus of the present invention is utilized typically includes an optical read head 24 which reads information from the document as it is transported thereunder. This informashaft 32, the opposite end of which is supported by a bearing 34 held in place by appropriate means, not illustrated. Preferably, the idler roller is of relatively rigid construction and serves to maintain the document in positive engagement with drive roller 26. It will be appreciated that means other than the idler roller, such as a stationary low-friction member, or group of small rollers, maybe utilized to back up the document and maintain such in proper engagement with the drive roller.
A drive shaft 36 is rotatably supported by a bearing 38 and is driven by an electric motor 40 by way of a belt and sheave transmission 42, or other appropriate "means D'rive roller 26 is affixed to the end of shaft 36 for rotation thereby. Each document which is handled "is brought'into registration by the drive roller 26 which is flexible, resilient construction and tapered along its axial extent. Preferably, the drive roller is of generally conical, or frusto-conical configuration when undeformed.
With particular reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, it will be observed that when a document is inserted between the drive and idler rollers, the drive roller is deformed to the extent that it is somewhat flattened in the area of contact with the document. The rigid idler roller 28 which maintains the document in contact with the drive roller and substantially coplanar with support surface 14. As the drive roller is rotated, the momentarily flattened area of the roller returns to its original configuration". It is this flexing action at the interface between the document and drive roller which imparts forces to the document which ultimately effect a lateral shift of the document toward the registration edge, as hereinafter explained.
The thickness of document 16 and distortion or deformation of the drive roller 26 is exaggerated somewhat in FIG. 3. In a typical application, the documents are of paper or similar flexible material, ranging from 0.003 to 0.015 inches'in thickness. Very satisfactory registration has been achieved with such document when the drive roller is positioned to provide approximately 0.035 inches radial deflection when in engagement with the document. It will be appreciated that ,whenuutilizing these parameters the drive roller will be in positive engagement with the idler roller in the absence of the document, as illustrated in FIG. 4.
With particular reference to FIG. 5, the construction of the.drive roller may be seen in more detail. Preferably, the drive roller 26 is bonded or otherwise affixed to hollow support shaft 43 which in turn is connected to drive shaft 36 for rotation thereby. Preferably, the
drive roller is made of a urethane elastomer, such as Cyanaprene A9. Cyanaprene is a registered trademark and product of American Cyanamid. Preferably, the
larger radius end of the frusto-conical roller is of hollow configuration as indicated at 44, whereby the outer peripheral edges 45 are free to flex when driving a document in the forward or reverse direction. Very satisfactory results have been achieved when utilizing a roller of configuration illustrated in FIG. 5 made of Cyanaprene of 5 Shore A Durometer hardness, a diameter of 0.700 inches at the larger end with a rim thickness of 0.085 inches, and positioning the roller in the apparatus to provide a radial deflection of 0.035 inches when engaged by a document. Of course, it is not intended that the present invention be in any way limited to such parameters.
Referring now, more particularly, to FIG. 6, it will be observed that when a document is driven in a forward direction as indicated by arrow 46, the drive roller is distorted somewhat due to the reaction forces exerted thereon. This distortion causes the leading and trailing edges of the roller in the top plan view to become axially displaced by an amount indicated by 11,. The actual distortion is exaggerated somewhat for the sake of clarity in the drawings. The contact area between the roller and document is indicated in dash line at 48. It will be appreciated that as the roller is rotated, the left side of the contact area remains in contact with the document for a longer period of time than the right side. This, in effect, transmits a clockwise torque to the document which is instrumental in bringing the document into proper registration. It will also be appreciated that the distortion of the roller shifts the centerline of the contact at a slight angle to the registration edge as indicated at 49. This causes some lateral shift of the document, in addition to the document rotation as hereinafter explained.
Referring now, more particularly, to FIGS. 7a-7c, the forces which act upon the document to bring such into registration may be more fully understood. As mentioned above, due to the width of the input opening and variations in document size, it is possible that a document may be inserted both at an angle to the intended path of travel and spaced from the registration edge. This condition is illustrated in FIG. 7a. As observed in FIG. 6, the contact area is distorted, such that the force imparted to the document is at a slight angle toward the registration edge. This driving force is indicated by the vector F The tapered drive roller also imparts a clockwise torque to the document, which is indicated by C,. If the document is spaced from the registration edge, as illustrated in FIG. 7a, it is free to turn in a clockwise direction as it is driven forward. This rotational movement is indicated by arrow 50.
During the initial advancement of the document, F and C, combine to both rotate and shift the document laterally toward the registration edge. Since F is at a slight angle to the registration edge, a major portion of the registration process is caused by the clockwise rotation imparted to the document by C Thus, in a typical situation the document edge comes in contact with the entrance corner of the registration member, as illustrated in FIG. 7b. When this occurs, the document is prevented from further turning in a clockwise direction and the reaction causes the document to pivot in a counterclockwise direction about the point of initial contact with the registration edge until the document is brought into complete registration as illustrated in FIG. 70. This counterclockwise reaction may be explained as a combination of forces F and r which is the frictional force between the document edge and registra- I tion forces of the registration edge against the dbcuconfiguration .of the drive roller becomes distorted in the opposite direction when driven in areverse mode to exit the document in the direction of arrow 50.,The
leading and trailingedges of the drive roller become displaced axially from each other by a dimension d, and the contact area 52 is distorted somewhat, as indicated by its centerline 53.
As mentioned above, one of the unique features of the transport apparatus of the present invention is its ability to maintain registration during movement of the document in both the forward and reverse directions.
With reference to FIGS. 9a-9c, the forces acting upon the document during exit may be more fully understood. It will be appreciated that while the general direction of driving force F, is reversed, it is at a slight angle directed toward the registration edge. This is due to the distortion of the contact area as illustrated in FIG. 8. The reversal of drive roller rotation also reverses C to a counterclockwise direction. The frictional forces between the document and registration edge are indicated by vector r which combine with F to form a couple acting in the clockwise direction. The force distribution of the document against the registration edge is substantially reversed from that illustrated in FIG. 7c, with greater forces being exerted at the leading end than at the trailing end of the document. The magnitudes of the forces acting upon the document change somewhat during exit, but their directions may remain substantially the same as indicated in FIG. 9b and 90. It is important to note that these forces are effective to maintain the document in complete registration during the entire exit operation. This is particularly important if the apparatus is provided with a printer which is intended to mark the document with an amount, or other data, in a particular space on the document.
From the foregoing description, it will be appreciated that the document transport and registration apparatus of the present invention is of relatively simple construction requiring a minimum number of moving parts, yet is effective in bringing and maintaining documents in registration while transporting such in both forward and reverse directions. It is not intended that the present invention be limited to the particular structure illustrated in the drawings. It is possible that the configuration of the drive wheel be modified somewhat and still achieve the lateral and rotational movement of the document to effect registration. It should also be noted that means other than an idler roller may be provided to backup the document and maintain such in positive engagement with the drive roller. Such means could be comprised of a plurality of small rollers or a stationary member made of low friction material, such as Teflon. It is also emphasized that the apparatus of the present invention is capable of handling a wide variety of documents covering a range of thicknesses. In typical applications, the apparatus handles relatively thin flexible paper'documents. However, the apparatus is readily capable of transporting and registering documents, or
other planar members, of thicker and more rigid characteristics, such as credit cards. This may require a minor adjustment of the spacing between the drive and idler rollers to compensate for the additional thickness. When handling very thin flexible documents it may be desirable to provide the apparatus with planar member -'-'spaced slightly from and overlying the support surface 'to prevent buckling of the documents.
a support member defining a generally planar document support surface extending in the direction of document travel, said supportmember having an aperture therein,
an edge member mounted to one side of said support surface and defining a document registration edge generally parallel to the direction of travel,
a pair of rollers mounted adjacent said surface on opposite sides of said aperture, and
means for rotatably driving at least one of said rollers to effect movement of a document disposed between and drivingly engaged by said rollers,
one of said pair of rollers being yieldable, flexible,
resilient, hollow construction with an outer configuration of decreasing radius along at least a portion of said axis of rotation when undeformed and open to the hollow at the larger radius end and having a continuous surface peripheral portion being flattened in the area engaging the document and subsequently flexing radially outward upon disengagement from the document, said area engaging the document being asymmetric with respect to said direction of travel whereby said one roller creates a couple influencing the trailing edge of the document toward said registration edge, said larger radius open end generally facing toward said registration edge.
2. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said one roller is located on the side of said support member opposite said support surface.
3. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said one roller is drivingly connected to said driving means.
4. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said hollow is of decreasing radius configuration generally concentric with the outer configuration of said one roller.
5. An apparatus for transporting documents in a predetermined direction of travel, said apparatus comprising:
a document support surface extending in the direction of travel,
an edge member mounted on one side of said support surface and defining a document registration edge generally parallel to the direction of travel,
a drive shaft mounted generally parallel to said support surface,
a single drive roller mounted to said drive shaft adjacent said support surface and being of generally hollow, tapered decreasing radius configuration open at the larger radius end,
drive means for rotating said shaft about the axis of said roller,
said drive roller being of flexible, resilient construction having a continuous peripheral drive surface adjacent said open end, a portion of said peripheral drive surface engaging a presented document in an area, said portion being deformed radially inward while in engagement with said document, said area being asymmetric with respect to said direction of travel whereby said roller creates a couple influencing thetrailing end of the document toward said registration edge during transport, said drive roller being of generally frusto-conical configuration with said open end facing toward said registration edge. 6. The apparatus set forth in claim wherein said drive means alternately rotates said drive roller in forward and reverse directions to transport the document in forward and reverse directions respectively while maintaining such in registration with said edge mem her.
7. The apparatus set forth in claim 5 further including means mounted adjacent said support surface and opposite said drive roller for engaging the document on a side opposite said one side and holding the document against said drive roller.
8. The apparatus set forth in claim 7 wherein said means for maintaining the document in engagement with the drive roller comprises a freely rotatable idler roller.
9. The apparatus set forth in claim 8 wherein said idler roller is of relatively rigid construction compared to said drive roller.
10. The apparatus set forth in claim 5 wherein said drive roller is distorted during document transport with said portion being asymmetric with respect to said axis whereby said roller creates a linear force component influencing said document toward said registration edge during transport in both forward and reverse directions.