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United States Patent  [ii] Patent Number: 4,630,538
Cushman  Date of Patent: Dec. 23,1986
U.S. Patent Dec. 23,1986 Sheet 1 of2 4,630,538
U.S. Patent Dec. 23,1986 Sheet 2 of 2 4,630,
 PORTABLE LABEL MAKER
 Inventor: Larry A. Cushman, 5151 Windham, Sterling Heights, Mich. 48078
 Appl. No.: 725,555
 Filed: Apr. 22, 1985
 Int. CI.4 B30B 15/30
 U.S. CI 101/45; 101/66
 Field of Search 101/66, 45; 400/613
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,512,200 6/1950 Duncan 400/613 X
2,674,894 4/1954 Adshead 101/66 X
3,931,761 1/1976 Carrus et al 101/66
4,094,244 6/1978 Edwards et al 101/66
4,501,224 2/1985 Shibayama et al 101/66 X
Assistant Examiner—John A. Weresh
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Krass & Young
A portable label maker adapted for in-field use by electricians and the like the apparatus is self contained and permits printing, in standard wire label format, of single wiring labels. The apparatus also allows the printing of multiple copies of a single label, and the printing of sequences of labels. The label to be printed or first member of a sequence, is entered through a keyboard to be displayed on a display and stored in a memory. Subsequent commands entered through the keyboard control the printing operation including the specifications of the last member of a sequence. The printer and display may be of the dot-matrix type.
Primary Examiner—Edgar S. Burr
13 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures
PORTABLE LABEL MAKER
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention generally relates to an apparatus for 5 making labels and more particularly to an apparatus for making labels intended to be wrapped around the circumference of electrical wiring.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 10
Electrical wires are often bundled in cables, either prefabricated or created at the work site. In some applications, cables are used to organize a group of wires carrying coordinated electrical signals from one point to another. In other applications, cables are created 15 primarily for the convenience of handling. When dealing with cables or bundles, it is useful to identify the signals carried by specific wires or equipment being connected by such wires.
Electrical standards, such as the National Electrical 20 Code, have long recognized color coding systems for this purpose. However, it is often expedient to label cables for their individual wires with symbology rather than relying on solely on color codes.
Such labels generally consist of a strip of tape approx- 25 imately 1.5 inches in length and 0.25 inches in width with adhesive on one side and symbologies on the other. The symbology is reproduced six times on each piece of tape, each line of symbols being parallel to the shorter dimension of the tape. In use, such labeling tape is 30 wrapped with its long dimension circumferentially around the insulation of the cable or wire being labeled. The result is a labeling of the cable or wire which may be easily read, regardless of how it is twisted.
Labeling systems are often used by electricians in the 35 field. "Brady" tape, manufactured by the W. H. Brady Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a typical example of such a labeling system. A Brady system consists of a series of more than 1,000 cards, each card carrying many copies of a given combination of numeric and 40 alphabetic codes. The cards are constructed from a sturdy plastic, approximately 2 inches by 9 inches in dimensions, may be broken away at appropriate points to allow removal of a single piece of labeling tape. For example, a complete set will contain all numerical com- 45 binations from 0 to 999 and be able to carry 25 copies of each combination.
To make such a system useful to the electrician, it is essential that a full collection of these cards be carried in the field, and that it be kept in an appropriate order, so 50 that the electrician can efficiently accomplish the wiring job. A full collection, of Brady cards is cumbersome and frequently leads to inefficiencies when cards are misfiled or the entire collection is dropped. It is also inefficient for the electrician to be carrying a full set of 55 labeling cards when at most a small fraction of the labels contained on these cards will be used in a given wiring job.
A convenient method for creating wiring labels on demand on the job site without the inefficiencies of 60 carrying a full collection of labeling cards and refiling the cards into the collection is, therefore, highly desirable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 65
This invention provides an apparatus for producing labels for electrical wiring, consisting of several repetitions of a given combination of symbologies, such as
letters and numbers. The labeling machine is compact and portable, obviating the carrying of extra, usually unused, premarked labels.
The labels are printed upon any of a variety of standard width rolled adhesive tapes. A printer mechanism, including a printer head, possibly a dot-matrix type, is microprocessor controlled, and can be controlled to create allow for a variety of type sizes, fonts, and even printed colors. The printer can be powered by rechargeable batteries, the display device consuming essentially negligible power and the printer device requiring power only during the print operation.
Even though its intended primary use is as an electrical wiring labeling device, a similar apparatus could also be useful to other field labeling applications, such as plumbing and hydraulics or other special labeling applications, such as medical, dental, and scientific labels of specimens.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is perspective drawing of a preferred embodiment of the labeling device;
FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing a cross sectional view of the tape advance and printing mechanism of the preferred embodiment; and
FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing showing the interactions required among various components of the labeling device.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, which shows a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of this invention, a better appreciation for the invention may be gained. Label printer 100 consists of a body 102 containing a portable power supply (not shown), a keyboard 104 which may be of the membrane type, a display device 106, and a dot-matrix printer mechanism and tape dispenser container within body 102 and accessed through door or doors 108. The printer mechanism and the tape holder and dispenser will be described in greater detail at later point.
Keyboard 104 is used to first to turn on the device by pressing "ON" button 100. Next keyboard 104 is used to enter proper sequences of codes, for example, "1T1", which are also displayed on display device 106. In this example, an electrical wiring convention is used: "1T1" stands for load lead Tl on motor number 1. The user can vary the symbols shown in display 106, which may be of the dot matrix type, having the same number of horizontal and vertical dots as does the printer mechanism. "CLEAR" button 112, which clears display 106, may be useful in entering the desired sequence of symbols. Upon being satisfied that the proper sequence of symbols has been organized in the display device 106, the user may press "PRINT" button 114 on keyboard 104 to print the label corresponding to the symbols displayed on device 106. Alternatively, the user may press the "QTY" key 116, followed by a string of digits and "PRINT" key 114 to make the desired number of copies of the label composed on display device 106. As a second alternative, the user may use keyboard 104 to enter the printer mechanism into a "sequence" mode which, through entry of the proper sequence of inputs to keyboard 104, allows the user to create any sequence of labels starting with a first group and ending with a final group of symbols, including the printing of any