US2753180A - Automatic collator - Google Patents

Automatic collator Download PDF

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Publication number
US2753180A
US2753180A US17820950A US2753180A US 2753180 A US2753180 A US 2753180A US 17820950 A US17820950 A US 17820950A US 2753180 A US2753180 A US 2753180A
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Prior art keywords
sheet
sheets
means
position
suction
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Thomas Wilbur Evan
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Thomas Wilbur Evan
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H39/00Associating, collating or gathering articles or webs
    • B65H39/02Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources
    • B65H39/04Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources from piles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H39/00Associating, collating or gathering articles or webs
    • B65H39/02Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources
    • B65H39/04Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources from piles
    • B65H39/055Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources from piles by collecting in juxtaposed carriers

Description

July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS AUTOMATIC COLLATOR 8 Sheets-Sheet 1*.

Filed Aug. 8. 1950 INVENTOR A ORNEY July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS AUTOMATIC COLLATOR 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 8. 1950 INVENTO R #445? fry/v [WM/5.

3 sQ m Al IORNEY S w NWN July .3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS AUTOMATIC COLLATOR 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Aug. 8, 1950 W NM R W5 m ax/WA a July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS AUTOMATIC COLLATOR 8 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Aug. 8, 1950 INVENTOR 1P 572w How/1s.

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July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS 2,753,180

AUTOMATIC COLLATOR Filed Aug. 8, 1950 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 I 1 .5- e e :1

. 9a 95 o I 72 ATTORNEY July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS 2,753,180

AUTOMATIC COLLATOR Filed Aug. 3, 1950 Fall 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 I I 1 l N V E NTO R 5 Way/P f/a/v Zia/W5.

July 3, 1956 w. E. THOMAS 2,753,186

AUTOMATIC COLLATOR Filed Aug. 8, 1950 v 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTOR. Wave in? 794 /)95.

A TTORNEY United States P n The instant invention relates .to machines or devices usually termed, collators, adapted to support a plurality of stacks of sheets and to gather the sheets from the stacks in predetermined arrangement. The invention also relates to improved sheet supplying and feeding means designed especially for incorporation in collators but also adapted for use with other types of sheet handling equip ment.

A principal object of the instant invention is the provision of an improved collating apparatus operating automatically to collate sheets from a plurality of stations. Another object of the invention is the provision ofsuch apparatus involving a plurality of stations, each supporting a stack of sheets, a continuously movingconveyor to receive a sheet from each stack and to position a previously delivered sheet to receive a sheet from another stack, and means to deliver a sheet from each stack to such conveying means.

Another object of the invention is theprovision of a device as described above, including automatic control means to prevent delivery of sheets by the sheet delivery means and to prevent movement of the previously delivered sheets by the conveying means, upon the failure of any of said sheet delivery means to pick up a sheet from its stack.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a sheet receiving means adjustable to accommodate sheets of different dimensions. i

Another object of the invention is the provision of improved means for feedingthe sheets fromthe stack of an apparatus of the type describedabove. It will be appreciated, however, asthe description proceeds that the sheet delivery means may equally well be employed with other types of sheet handling equipment.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a sheet delivery means including a holder for supporting a stack of sheets, and means for positioning the holderwith the forward sheet of the stack in a givenregistration position, irrespective of the number of sheets in the stack.

A further object of the invention isthe provision of a sheet delivery means ineluding a sheet holder and a cooperating suction pick up and delivery device,.the sheet holder being constructed and supported to position the upper portion of the forward sheet of the stack at the registration point to be picked up by suction means, irrespective of the number of sheets in the stack and the dimensions of the sheets.

A still further object of theinvention is the provision of sheet delivery means including a holder for a stack of sheets, and means to move the holder rearwardly in timed relationship to the pick up operation of the sheet pick up and delivery means. A still further object is the provision of such device which is adapted to release the sheet holder for manual, rearward movement for renewal of the supply of sheets.

A still further object of the invention is the provision of novel means for separating the forward sheet ofthe stack from the remainder and for moving the forward 2,753,180 Patented July 3, 1956 2 sheet toward the pick up and delivery means whereby double sheeting is avoided. This object is attained by a device adapted to set up currents of air moving toward and across the upper edge of a stack of sheets.

A still further object of the invention is the provision of a collating device having means to permit adjustment in its operation to conform the same to accommodate sheets of various types and grades.

My invention will be more fully understood and further objectsand advantages thereof will become apparent when reference is made to the detailed description which is to follow, and to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. l is a perspective View of a collator embodying the instant invention; i

Fig. 2 is a partial perspective view illustrating the delivery end of the machine;

Fig. 3 is a partial perspective view illustrating the opposite end of the machine from Fig. 2 with. the sheet delivery means in .operation;

Fig. 4- is a top plan view of the apparatus of Fig. I;

Fig. .5 is a sectional view, taken on the line 5-5 of Fig. 4; i

Fig. 6 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale taken transversely of the machine through one of the stations on the line 6-6 of Fig. 8;

Fig. 7 is a horizontal sectional view taken through the machine on the line 7-7 of Fig. 8 and illustrating the drive and control devices;

Fig. .8 is a vertical sectional view illustrating the drive and control devices of Fig. 7, taken on the line 8-8 of Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 is a front elevational view of a sheet holder as employed at each ofthe stations of the apparatus of Fig. l;

Fig. it) is a rear elevational view of the sheet holder;

Fig. ll is a sectional view taken on the line 1111 of Fig. 10;

Fig. 12 is a sectional view of the sheet holder similar to thatof Fig. 6 but on an enlarged scale and illustrating the operation of the sheet separating or dispersal device;

Fig. 13 is a detail perspective view of the sheet separating and dispersal device shown in assembly in Figs. 6

and 12;

Fig. 14 is a detail sectional view on a further enlarged scale of a portion of the sheet separating and dispersaldevice of Fig. 13;

Fig. 15 is a sectional view similar to that of Fig. 6, but illustrating only a portion of the apparatus;

Fig. 16 is a detail view illustrating the suction control means for the sheet pick up and delivery device;

Fig. 17 is a sectional detail view on an enlarged scale illustrating the suction valve of the control means of Fig. 16; and i i Fig. 18 is a wiring diagram for the electrical system of the apparatus.

Referring now to the drawings and particularly to Figs. 1, 2 and 3, the machine embodying the instant inventionis illustrated as having a plurality of similar stations A, B, C, D, and E, each supporting a stack of sheets 10, sheet pick up and delivery means, indicated generally at 12, feed rolls 14, and a conveyor 16 adapted to receive the sheets from the feed rolls 14 in collated relationship. In the operation of the machine, as will be more fully described later, sheets are simultaneously picked up from the stacks at each of the stations in operation and carried to the feed rolls M where they are grasped and deposited on conveyor 16. The latter is driven in timed relationship to the pick up and delivery means and operates in cooperation With retractable stops, whereby at each delivery operation, the sheets are deposited on previously delivered sheets from the preceding stacks. in this way a number of sheets are gathered, the number being dependent upon the number of stations A, B, C, D, and E in operation,

3 and the gathered sheets are delivered by conveyor 16 to a receiving bin 20.

The construction and operation of the individual stations and their component parts will be first described, the common drive, the control means for the several stations, and the sheet receiving means to be discussed later. Each of the stations includes a sheet holder 22 adapted to support a stack of one of the sheets which is to make up the collated material.

The sheet holder Referring particularly to Figs. 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12, the sheet holder comprises a base plate 24 having bosses 26 (see particularly Figs. 6 and 9) mounted for sliding movement on spaced rods 28 extending upwardly at an angle to the horizontal from a rear frame member 30 to a forward frame member 32.

The paper holder 22 is normally pressed forwardly on the rods 28, that is, toward conveyor 16, by tension springs 23 fixed at one end to brackets carried by the holder and at the other end to a fixed frame element of the machine. Preferably a plurality of the springs are employed for each of the holders, as illustrated particularly in Fig. 4. Reinforcing angle members 34 extend along both ends of plate 24 and are bent upwardly into substantially right angular relation to the base plate 24 to form the vertical members 36 of a skeleton back structure. The latter also consists of cross bars 38 and 40 connecting the angle bars 36 at the top and bottom, respectively.

Seated against the skeleton back is a filler 4-2 consisting of a sheet metal plate or the like, with its lower end riveted or otherwise secured to cross bar 40, as illustrated particularly in Fig. 10, with its upper end formed as a hook 44 fitting over the upper edge of cross bar 38. Member 42 is of less width than the distance between frame members 36 to provide openings 46 at each side. The paper holder proper consists of an L-shaped member 48 having a shelf 50 and a back plate 52, the latter extending at right angles to the shelf to rest against member 42. Member 48 is adapted for vertical adjustment and to be secured in any adjusted position by means indicated generally at 54. The securing means consists of a bar 56 having inwardly curved end portions 58 adapted to press against the flanges of vertical members 36. Straps 60 are secured to the rear face of back plate 52 opposite openings 46 by rivets or the like. Straps 60 support studs 64 threaded to receive thumb nuts 66 (see particularly Fig. 11). As will be understood, member 48 may be secured at the desired elevation by screwing down thumb nuts 66 against bar 56 to bind the inwardly bowed ends of the bar against the flanges of members 36.

A retainer or registration bar 68 is mounted forwardly of the paper holder for vertical adjustment on tracks 70 carried by fixed frame members '72 (see particularly Figs. 9 and 11). The mounting of the bar 60 on tracks 70 suitably consists of U-shaped sockets '74 formed at the ends of the retainer bar, the sockets being of a width to snugly receive the tracks 70 whereby the bar will remain in any adjusted position. The retainer bar carries one or more, preferably a pair, of spring fingers 76 for a purpose later to be described.

A rack 78 is secured to the under side of plate 24, substantially midway of its ends, the securing means suitably consisting of pins 80 received in openings at the opposite ends of the rack. Compression springs 82 are mounted on the pins between the rack and plate 24 whereby the rack is urged outwardly against the heads of the pins 80. Rack 78 cooperates with a mutilated gear 84 mounted for rotation with a shaft 86 to which it is keyed.

At one of the stations, suitably an end station, a connecting rod 88 is mounted on an eccentric bearing or cam 90 carried by the main shaft 91 of the machine and is pivotally connected at the other end to a projection on the mutilated gear 84 at the end stations, whereby rotation of the main shaft causes the mutilated gear and the shaft to oscillate through a given path. Inasmuch as the mutilated gears at the remainder of the stations are also keyed to shaft 86, oscillation of the shaft will cause similar oscillation of each of the gears. The number of teeth on mutilated gear 84 is set relative to the stroke of oscillation that, at both ends of the stroke, the gear teeth move out of mesh with the teeth of rack 78.

Sheet pick up and delivery device The sheet pick up and delivery device which is also the same at each of the stations will now be described. This apparatus includes a suction head 92 mounted on a bracket 94 carried by a plate 96, the suction head being positioned substantially opposite a point midway of the width of the sheet holder. Suction head 92 is connected through a flexible hose 124 and a valve with a suction manifold 126 which, in turn, is connected to a suction device, as will be later more fully explained. Plate 96 is carried at its opposite ends by arms 98 pivoted at their lower ends to crank arms 100 which, in turn, are pivotally mounted on a longitudinally extending fixed shaft 102. Arms 104 are pivoted at their upper ends to arms 98 at a point substantially midway of the lengths of the latter and are fixed at their other ends to a longitudinally extending shaft 106 adapted for oscillating movement. A spring 107 connects each pair of arms 98 adjacent their pivoted ends to support the lower end of the sheets picked up by the device.

The shaft 106 is common to the several stations and a single device is employed to give it an oscillating movement. This device consists of a connecting rod 108 pivoted at its upper end to lever arm 110 loosely carried by shaft 106. The other end of the connecting rod carries a pin 112 received within a slot 114 in crank arm 116 fixed adjacent the end of the main shaft 91 of the machine for rotation therewith. Crank arm 116 is shaped as shown in Fig. 7 to avoid interference between the connecting rod and the shaft. Arm 110 loosely fits on shaft 106. An adjustment member 118 is fixed to shaft 106 and lies parallel with arm 110 for a portion of the length of the latter. The plate is provided with a slot opening 120 to receive a bolt or stud 122 securing the plate and arm together in the selected adjusted position.

Operation of sheet holder and sheet pick up and delivery apparatus In preparation for the operation of the mechanism described above, the main drive shaft is turned so that mutilated gear 84 is out of mesh with rack 78. The holder at each of the stations to be placed in operation is then manually pulled rearwardly on rods 28 against; the action of the springs 23 to space it from positioning bar 63. A stack of the sheets 10 to be collated is placed on edge in the holder 48 with their lower edges resting on shelf 50, and the holder is adjusted to place the upper margins of the sheets beneath suction head 92 when the latter is in its rearmost position. The rearward pull on the holder is then released, the latter moving forwardly under the tension of springs 33 until the forward sheet of the stack presses against positioning bar 68.

The machine is then operated and, upon each rotation of the main shaft 91, the mutilated gear oscillates through the action of eccentric 90, and rod 88 to move the teeth of the gear into mesh with the teeth of rack 78, thereby causing the rack and, hence, the paper holder, to move rearwardly. Continued rotation of the shaft moves the gear in the opposite direction, the sheet holder being carried with it, until the teeth of the mutilated gear move out of mesh with the rack teeth, the holder then being carried forwardly by the springs 33. Rotation of the main shaft also causes rotation of arm 116 with consequent swinging movement of arms 110 and 104 from the position shown in full lines in Fig. 6 to the dot and dash line positions. During this movement arms 100 also move from the full line position of Fig. 6 to the dot and dash line position. Due to the fact that arms 100 have one end in fixed position, this causes the suction head supporting frame to reverse its position from the full line position to the dot and dash line position of Fig. 6 (see also Fig. 15). Eccentric 90 and arm are relatively placed on the main shaft so that the movement of the suction head is timed with the forward and rearward movement of the paper holder against positioning bar 68 when the suction head is in its rearward position and to cause the paper holder to move to the rear substantially simultaneously with the sheet withdrawal movement of the suction head. Also, in timed relation to these operations, suction is induced in the head 92, suction being maintained until the sheet delivery means is in the position shown in the dot and dash lines of Fig. 6, at which time the suction is cut off to release the sheet to be grasped by the feed rolls 14. The control and timing means to assure the cooperative position of these several parts will be later described.

Sheet separating device In order to insure separation of the forward sheet of the stack from the remaining sheets for pick up by the suction head 92, a sheet flufiing or separating means, indicated generally at 128, is preferably provided. This consists (see particularly Figs. 6, 12 and 13), of a fan 13 9 comprising a hub 132 supporting a plurality of flexible fabric blades 134. Although the particular manner in which the blades are assembled with the hub is not critical to the invention, the preferred arrangement is that shown in Figs. 12 and 13 where the fabric blades are formed at one end with a tubular seam 138 adapted to receive a pin 140, and hub 132 has spaced, axially directed tubular slots 142 adapted to receive the tubular seams 133. In assembling the fan member, seams 133 are slid endwise into slots 142 and pins 140 are then inserted to lock the blades in position. The fan is mounted on a shaft 136 extending longitudinally of the machine and adapted to be driven suitably from a separate variable speed motor 145. The fan'blades are enclosed by an annular shield 144 carried by a longitudinally extending frame member 146 and defining a port positioned to direct airstreams set up by the fan blades toward, and across the ends of the stack of sheets.

It has been found that a fan as described sets up an air action which fluifs out and separates the sheets at their upper ends and carries the forward sheet toward the suction head 92. Spring fingers 76, previously referred to, serve to compress the stack adjacent its lower end to facilitate the separating operation.

Sheet feed rolls and conveying mechanism As previously explained, the sheets are delivered by the sheet pick up and delivery mechanism to feed rolls 14 by which they are deposited on conveyor 16. The lower roll, consisting of a number of operatively connected sections, one for each station, is driven as by belt 150 from the machine drive and the upper roll, consisting of disconnected rolls, one for each section and having their ends mounted for vertical sliding movement in brackets 152 whereby they are rotated by the lower roll 14.

Conveyor 16 and its cooperating structure, consists of two spaced, endless belts 154 supported by rolls 156 and 153 at the opposite ends of the machine, the belts also passing around an idler roll 1611 and a driven roll 162. The latter is supported on a shaft having a bevel gear 164 in meshing engagement with a corresponding bevel gear 166 (see Fig. 8) carried by the main drive shaft. The upper reach of the conveyor belts 154 overliea bed plate 168 supported as by angle members 170 from the machine frame. A fence 172 extends longitudinally of bed plate 168.

The fence consists of a Z-shaped member having an outwardly projecting, longitudinally extending flange 17.4 at its upper edge and an inwardly extending flange 176 at its lower edge, and latter projecting under the outer belt 154. The fence is carried by brackets 178, the brackets including sliders 180 (see Figs. 3 and 4) mounted for sliding movement on bars 182 supported by frame elements adjacent the opposite ends of the machine. The sliders 180 may be secured in any adjusted position on rods 182 by means of set screws 1,84. The width of the conveyor may thus be narrowed or increased to adjust it to the width of the paper being collated. Inward movement of the fence causes similar inward movement of outer conveyor belt 154. Upon outward adjustment of the fence it is desirable that the outer conveyor belt also move outwardly. This is achieved by making the outer halves of rolls 15,6 and 151% of somewhat frusto-conical shape (not shown) with the enlarged ends toward the outside of the machine.

Flexible fingers or rods 187 are mounted for adjustment longitudinally of the machine on flange 174, the. rods extending across the conveyor at each of the stations to form slides for the side margins of the sheets delivered by the feed rolls. Retractable stops 188 are located between the conveyor belts at the forward end of each of the stations (see particularly Figs. 4, 5 and 6), the stops being carried by elongated arms 190 pivoted at their ends remote from the stop to a frame member, as indicated at 192. A short lever arm 194 is secured in fixed relationship to each arm 190, the lower end of the short lever arm being connected by a loose pin connection 196 to a longitudinally extending bar 198. A tension spring 202 is connected at one end to an end of bar 198 and at the other end to the frame of the machine to urge the bar in the forward direction. One of the arms 190, preferably the arm at the forward end of the machine, is connected by means of a link 204 to the core of pull solenoid 20.6. As will be readily understood, downward movement of the plunger of the solenoid causes downward movement of the for ward arm 1% which causes bar 198 to move rearwardly against the action of spring 202, and. simultaneously swing the remainder of the arms 190 downwardly whereby all of the stops are retracted and the sheets held thereby are released for movement by the conveyor belts. When the current to the solenoid is cut off, the spring pulls bar 198 forwardly and the stops are again elevated to sheet holding position. As will be pointed out more fully hereafter, the movements of the stops are in timed relation to the other operations of the collator.

T he machine drive mechanism Referring now particularly to Figs. 6, 7 and 8, the driving and control mechanism will be described. The main drive shaft 91, previously referred to, is supported in suitable bearings 208, and is driven. at the desired speed by a change speed motor 210. The shaft carries lever arm 116, and cam or eccentric 90, to drive the pick up mechanism and the paper holder, respectively, as previously explained. A pulley 212 is keyed to the shaft, the pulley driving the lower feed roll 14 through the medium of belt 150, the latter being maintained in a taut condition by tightener 213. The main drive shaft also carries a bevel gear 214 intermeshing with bevel gear 164 to drive the conveyor belts 154. Shaft 91 also carries a series of collars 216 adapted to be fixed in adjusted position on the shaft, the collars carrying actuating lugs 217. This mechanism constitutes part of a timing apparatus also comprising a like number of microswitches 218 adapted to be actuated by lugs 217. The operation of the timing apparatus will be discussed presently.

Shaft 136 supporting fans 128 is preferably driven in dependently of the main shaft. For this purpose a variable speed motor 145 (see Figs. 4and 18) is supported by a bracket at an end of the machine and directly connected to the shaft 136. Also, a separate motor may be employedto drive the suction pump to be referred to later.

The suction system As had been explained above, the pick up of the sheets from the paper holder is effected by means of suction cups 92 connected by hoses 124 to a manifold 126 through valves 223. Referring particularly to Figs. 7, 16 and 17, manifold 126 extends longitudinally of the machine and is in communication through a vacuum dilferential control device or switch 220 and vacuum regulator 222 with a vacuum pump 224. The latter is driven by its individual motor 226 (see particularly Figs. 7 and 8). interposed between each of the hoses and the manifold is a three-way valve 228, previously referred to. Each of the valves (see particularly Figs. 16 and 1.7) consists of a cylindrical body 229 supported by a nipple 230 from the manifold. The body contains a radially extending bore 232 in communication with nipple 230, a radially extending bore 234, at preferably right angles to bore 232 and in communication with the hose 124, and a bore 236 in line with bore 232 and leading to the atmosphere. The bodies are axially drilled to receive a rotatable valve rod 238. The rod is provided with an L-shaped passage 240 opposite the bores in each of the bodies. Means are provided to rotate rod 238 between a position in which passage 240 connects bores 232 and 234 and a position in which it connects bores 234 and 236. This means (see particularly Fig. 16) comprises a wing member 242 fixed to the rod and having one arm connected to the plunger 244 of a pull solenoid 246 whereby, when the solenoid is actuated, the rod will be rotated from the position shown in Fig. 17 in which passage 240 connects bores 232 and 234 to a position in which the passage connects bores 234 and 236. Return rotation of the rod upon deactivation of the solenoid is effected by a tension spring 248 connected to the other arm of member 242 and to a fixed element of the apparatus, such as the solenoid housing.

The timing and control mechanism and electrical system Referring now particularly to Figs. 7, 8 and 18, the control and timing system involves the microswitches 218 and their associated actuating lugs 217 fixed on the main shaft 91, the microswitches controlling the operations of solenoids 286 and 246 operating the retractable stops 188 and the valves 228 of the suction system, respectively. The switches are incorporated in an electrical circuit (see Fig. 18). The circuit includes power input leads 250 adapted to be plugged into any suitable source of current. Opening and closing of the current is controlled by a main switch 252, visual indication of the closing of the circuit being given by a pilot light 254 connected across the leads 250. The power for the vacuum pump motor 226, the fan motor 145 and the main drive motor 210 is taken off the main leads 250 through switches 2%, 258, and 260, respectively. A rheostat 262 is connected in series in the line leading from switch 258 to the fan motor to permit control of the speed of rotation of the fan blades so that the velocity of the air streams set up thereby may be controlled to obtain the desired separation of the sheets. A power line is also taken oif the power leads through a switch 264 for a purpose to be presently explained. Switches 252, 256, 258, 266 and 264, pilot light 254, and rheostat 262 are mounted on a switch panel 266 at the end of the machine (see particularly Fig. 4).

The power for operation of solenoids 246 and 206 is, as was mentioned above, taken off the main power leads through switch 264. Referring now particularly to Fig. 18 where the microswitches 218 are given individual reference characters 218A-D, the control of the operation of the solenoids will be described. One of the leads from switch 264 is connected to normally open micro- 8 switch 218A. The other lead from switch 264 goes directly to the solenoid 246. The other side of switch 218A is connected to solenoid 246 through vacuum switch 220.

The vacuum switch is of conventional type, adapted to remain closed when the vacuum in the line is above a certain specified limit, and to open when the vacuum drops below that limit. In operation, upon closing of switch 264 and closing of microswitch 218A by its operating lug on the drive shaft of the machine, current is supplied to the solenoid, providing the vacuum is of the required value, and the plunger is retracted, causing rotation of rod 238 against the action of tension spring 248 to close otf the suction line to the vacuum cups and open it to the atmosphere. Retraction of the plunger of the solenoid also causes closing of contact 270 of a microswitch 272 mounted on the casing of the solenoid. One side of microswitch 270 is connected to one side of normally closed microswitch 218B adapted to be opened when contacted by its corresponding lug on the main shaft. The other side of microswitch 218B is connected to the power line to microswitch 218A. The other side of microswitch 284i is connected to the power lead from switch 264. It follows that, upon closing of microswitch 270 by retraction of the plunger of solenoid 246, the plunger will remain retracted until the appropriate button on the main shaft opens microswitch 218B. Microswitch 280 and its cooperating microswitch 2183 thus serve as a holding means to hold the plunger retracted for the desired interval.

Operation of solenoid 246 also controls the operation of solenoid 206 for the retractable stops 188. For this purpose a power lead is taken from the power lead to the main drive motor 210, and is connected into one side of solenoid 2%. The other side of the solenoid is connected to one side of normally open microswitch 284, the latter including a contact 286 adapted to be closed by retraction of the plunger of solenoid 246. The other side of microswitch 284 is connected to one side of normally open microswitch 218C, the latter being adapted to be closed by its corresponding lug on the shaft 91. The other side of microswitch 218C is connected to the power line to motor 210. With this arrangement, retractable stops 188 are moved downwardly out of their paper holding positions only when the solenoid 246 is operated to cut ofl? the suction to the suction cups. By properly positioning the actuating lug for switch 218C, retraction of the stops is delayed until the sheets have been properly deposited on the conveyor. It will be appreciated that the actuating lugs for microswitches 2188 and 218C are relatively positioned so that switch 2188 is not opened until solenoid 206 has operated to retract the stops 138. The retractable stops are held in retracted position for the required interval by means including normally closed microswitch 218D adapted to be opened by its actuating lug on the drive shaft. One side of switch 218D is connected into the power lead to switch 218C. The other side is connected to a microswitch 283 including a contact 290 adapted to be closed upon retraction of the plunger of solenoid 206. The other side of switch 288 is connected into the lead from solenoid 206 to switch 284. When the plunger of solenoid 206 is retracted, microswitch 288 is closed to connect the solenoid to the power source through microswitch 218D whereby the plunger is held retracted until the lug on the main drive shaft opens normally closed microswitch 218D.

As will be appreciated, the arrangement of the several switches and power leads permits the cutting oif of vacuum to the vacuum cups at the appropriate time, that is,'when the sheets are adjacent the delivery rolls, and the retraction of stops 188 at the desired interval after release of the sheets to the delivery rolls, that is, when they are deposited on the conveyor. The exact timing of these operations is obtained by proper adjustment of the lugs on the drive shaft. In the event of the failure of solenoid 246 to operate, for example, when vacuum switch 220 has opened because of reduction of vacuum in the line through failure of one of the suction cups to pick up a sheet, the stops are retracted. Hence, neither the sheets picked up by the cups, nor those held by the stops will be released, and the sheet pick up device will move through its cycle until the required vacuum is restored. This takes place when the empty vacuum cuppicks up its sheet. At that time the deposit of the sheets on the conveyor and their movement thereby is restored.

General operation the collator From the above description of the several mechanisms and their operations the operation of the collator as a whole will become readily apparent. Stacks of sheets are placed in each of the holders, or in only part of them, depending upon the number of sheets to be collated. At any stations Which is not to be used the suction cup may be closed off, for example, by placing a piece of adhesive tape across the mouth of the cup.

Actual operation is begun by closing main switch 252 and starting the several motors by closing switches 256, 258 and 260. Rheostat 26?. is adjusted to rotate the fan blades at speeds which will set up air currents of sufficient strength to fluff out the forward sheets of the stacks from the remainder, it being appreciated that the strength of the air current desired will depend upon the particular weight and stiffness characteristics of the paper to be collated. Upon each rotation of the drive shaft the suction cups are simultaneously moved into positions adjacent the forward sheets of the stack and sheets are picked up. It will be noted that the suction cup does not rest against the forward sheet of the stack, the cup supporting mechanism being adjusted through the connections previously described so that at its rearward position it is adjacent to but spaced from the registration point, the forward sheet being carried to the suction cup or adjacent thereto by the air blast from the fan. In this way pick up of but a single sheet is insured and double sheeting is avoided.

The sheet pick up devices simultaneously move from the full line position of Fig. 6 to the dotted line position, to each place an edge of the sheet carried by it in contact with the lower of rolls 14. At this point the timing device causes the suction to be cut off, with the result that the sheets slide forwardly to be gripped between the rolls 14 and delivered thereby to the conveyor, one side margin of each sheet sliding along rod 187 and the other falling onto the conveyor or onto previously deposited sheets. The sheets slide forwardly in the direction of movement of the conveyor off the rods and drop gently into collected position. The sheets already on the conveyor are held stationary during the deposit of the superposed sheets by the stops 188. As soon as deposit of the sheets is completed, the timing device causes operation of the stop withdrawal solenoid 206 and the stops are retracted to permit the piles of sheets to move forwardly to the next successive station where the sheets are again halted by the stops which have once again advanced into sheet holding position. In the meantime the sheet pick up devices have returned to pick up additional sheets. The collated sheets are finally deposited into hopper 20 as they move off the end of the conveyor.

The collator described above can be operated at high speeds and is entirely automatic. It may be adjusted as has been noted, to accommodate sheets of ditferent dimensions and papers of different weights. It will accumulate both single and folded sheets. All necessary parts of the apparatus are subject to easy adjustment to insure proper timing of the operations. Failure of a station to pick up a sheet stops the sheet delivery operation and retains the previously delivered sheets against movement until the failure is remedied, the machine then automatically resuming operation.

Having thus described my invention in rather full detail, it will be understood that these details need not be strictly adhered to but that variouschanges and modifications may suggest themselves to one skilled in the art, all talk ing Within the scope of the invention as defined by the subjoined claims.

What I claim is:

1. In a sheet gathering device, a plurality of stations, each of said stations supporting a stack of sheets, conveying means to receive the sheets, means at each of the stations for removing a sheet from the stack and delivering it to the conveying means comprising a suction head and means for moving the suction head. through a continuous cycle from a sheet pick up position to a sheet delivery position and back to the sheet pick up position, means to create a suction force in said suction head while the suction head is in the sheet pick up position and to relieve the suction when in the sheet delivery position, and means controlling said last-named means to prevent relief of the suction at the sheet delivering position in the event a suction head fails to pick up a sheet to cause sheets carried by other of said suction heads to be retained thereby and to move through said cycle therewith.

2. In a sheet gathering device, a plurality of stations, each supporting a stack of sheets, conveying means to receive the sheets, means at each of said stations for removing a sheet from a stack and delivering it to the conveying means, said sheet removal and delivery means comprising a suction head, means for moving the suction head from sheet pick up position to sheet delivery position, means to create a suction force in the suction head while in sheet pick up position and to relieve the suction when in sheet delivery position, and means cooperating with said conveying means to position previously delivered sheets to receive sheets of other stacks in superposed relationship and to release the sheets for movement by the conveying means after the sheet delivery operation, and means controlling the suction relief and the sheet positioning means to prevent relief of the suction at the sheet delivery position and to prevent release of the previously delivered sheets by the sheet positioning means in the event a head fails to pick up a sheet.

3. In a sheet gathering device, a plurality of stations, each of said stations supporting a stack of sheets, conveying means to receive the sheets, means at each of the stations for picking up a sheet from the stack and moving it to a sheet delivery position adjacent: the conveying means, means for releasing the sheet from said pick-up means when said pick-up means is in said delivery position, means cooperating with said conveying means to position previously delivered sheets to receive sheets of other stacks in superposed relationship and to release the sheets for movement by the conveying means after the sheet delivery operation, and means controlling the operation of the means for releasing the sheet from the pick-up means and of the sheet positioning means to prevent release of the sheet from the pick-up means at said delivery position and to prevent release of the previously delivered sheets by the sheet positioning means in the event a pickup means fails to pick up a sheet.

4. In a sheet gathering device, a plurality of stations each of said stations supporting a stack of sheets, feed rolls adjacent each of said stations, means at each of said stations for removing a sheet from a stack and delivering it to said feed rolls, a conveyor extending laterally of the feed direction of said feed rolls, means for continuously driving said conveyor, adjustable slides extending transversely of said conveyor in positions to receive one of the side margins of the sheets fed by the feed rolls, retractable stop means cooperating with said conveyor opposite each of said stations to hold sheets on the conveyor momentarily stationary, and means for retracting said stop means in timed relationship to the operation of said sheet delivery means.

5. In a sheet gathering device as defined by claim 4 in which said conveyor comprises spaced inner and outer endless belts, an adjustable wall adjacent the outer of said sheets.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Gauchot Jan. 28, 1890 Zeh Sept. 13, 1904 10 Reifsnyder Aug. 31, 1915 Harrold Aug. 13, 1918 12 Currie Apr. 5, 1921 Van Heek Sept. 14, 1926 Jones Aug. 11, 1931 Klemm Jan. 10, 1933 West July 25, 1939 Gibson Oct. 29, 1940 Morrison Mar. 31, 1942 Blythe Sept. 8, 1942 Liefer Nov. 13, 1945 Davidson Sept. 23, 1947 Davidson Aug. 16, 1949

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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2940750A (en) * 1957-11-26 1960-06-14 Mestre Luis Collating machine
US2982542A (en) * 1956-11-06 1961-05-02 Farrington Business Mach Collator
US3002746A (en) * 1959-05-08 1961-10-03 Hallmark Cards Collator
US3019012A (en) * 1960-03-25 1962-01-30 American Paper Prod Collator
US3019013A (en) * 1955-01-24 1962-01-30 Carl W Didde Paper gathering and treating apparatus
US3054612A (en) * 1960-01-18 1962-09-18 Edward S Godlewski Collating device
US3269721A (en) * 1963-11-26 1966-08-30 Robert B Taylor Collator
US3391924A (en) * 1966-07-29 1968-07-09 Addressograph Multigraph Sheet feeding mechanism
US4003565A (en) * 1975-10-20 1977-01-18 Pitney-Bowes, Inc. Disengaging apparatus for a collator

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US420194A (en) * 1890-01-28 Peters
US769927A (en) * 1903-12-14 1904-09-13 Niagara Machine & Tool Works Feed mechanism for can-body machines.
US1152358A (en) * 1915-05-06 1915-08-31 Stokes & Smith Co Single-sheet separating and feeding mechanism.
US1275679A (en) * 1916-02-28 1918-08-13 Harris Automatic Press Co Sheet-feeder.
US1373869A (en) * 1917-04-04 1921-04-05 William O Albig Feeding device for sheets, envelops, and the like
US1600022A (en) * 1924-07-28 1926-09-14 William Van Heek Collating machine
US1818065A (en) * 1929-06-26 1931-08-11 R A Jones & Company Inc Package assembling machine
US1893778A (en) * 1930-05-03 1933-01-10 Brehmer Geb Paper feeding
US2167470A (en) * 1937-12-04 1939-07-25 John B Mckay Automatic collator
US2219892A (en) * 1939-09-09 1940-10-29 Jr George A Gibson Sheet feeding mechanism
US2277924A (en) * 1940-01-15 1942-03-31 Ditto Inc Sheet assembling apparatus
US2295073A (en) * 1940-03-30 1942-09-08 Colators Inc Collating machine
US2389066A (en) * 1944-05-08 1945-11-13 Charles L Leifer Paper collating machine
US2427839A (en) * 1944-02-05 1947-09-23 Davidson Mfg Corp Collator
US2479060A (en) * 1944-07-01 1949-08-16 Davidson Mfg Corp Collator

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US420194A (en) * 1890-01-28 Peters
US769927A (en) * 1903-12-14 1904-09-13 Niagara Machine & Tool Works Feed mechanism for can-body machines.
US1152358A (en) * 1915-05-06 1915-08-31 Stokes & Smith Co Single-sheet separating and feeding mechanism.
US1275679A (en) * 1916-02-28 1918-08-13 Harris Automatic Press Co Sheet-feeder.
US1373869A (en) * 1917-04-04 1921-04-05 William O Albig Feeding device for sheets, envelops, and the like
US1600022A (en) * 1924-07-28 1926-09-14 William Van Heek Collating machine
US1818065A (en) * 1929-06-26 1931-08-11 R A Jones & Company Inc Package assembling machine
US1893778A (en) * 1930-05-03 1933-01-10 Brehmer Geb Paper feeding
US2167470A (en) * 1937-12-04 1939-07-25 John B Mckay Automatic collator
US2219892A (en) * 1939-09-09 1940-10-29 Jr George A Gibson Sheet feeding mechanism
US2277924A (en) * 1940-01-15 1942-03-31 Ditto Inc Sheet assembling apparatus
US2295073A (en) * 1940-03-30 1942-09-08 Colators Inc Collating machine
US2427839A (en) * 1944-02-05 1947-09-23 Davidson Mfg Corp Collator
US2389066A (en) * 1944-05-08 1945-11-13 Charles L Leifer Paper collating machine
US2479060A (en) * 1944-07-01 1949-08-16 Davidson Mfg Corp Collator

Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3019013A (en) * 1955-01-24 1962-01-30 Carl W Didde Paper gathering and treating apparatus
US2982542A (en) * 1956-11-06 1961-05-02 Farrington Business Mach Collator
US2940750A (en) * 1957-11-26 1960-06-14 Mestre Luis Collating machine
US3002746A (en) * 1959-05-08 1961-10-03 Hallmark Cards Collator
US3054612A (en) * 1960-01-18 1962-09-18 Edward S Godlewski Collating device
US3019012A (en) * 1960-03-25 1962-01-30 American Paper Prod Collator
US3269721A (en) * 1963-11-26 1966-08-30 Robert B Taylor Collator
US3391924A (en) * 1966-07-29 1968-07-09 Addressograph Multigraph Sheet feeding mechanism
US4003565A (en) * 1975-10-20 1977-01-18 Pitney-Bowes, Inc. Disengaging apparatus for a collator

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