US3122363A - Collator mechanism - Google Patents

Collator mechanism Download PDF

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US3122363A
US3122363A US9733261A US3122363A US 3122363 A US3122363 A US 3122363A US 9733261 A US9733261 A US 9733261A US 3122363 A US3122363 A US 3122363A
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sheets
tray
trays
stack
sheet
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Wilbur E Thomas
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Wilbur E Thomas
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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
    • B65H39/042Associating,collating or gathering articles from several sources from piles the piles being disposed in superposed carriers

Description

Feb. 25, 1964 w. E. THOMAS COLLATOR MECHANISM 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed Sept. 17, 1958 INVENTOR.

ATTORNEY Feb. 25, 1964 w. E. THOMAS COLLA'I'OR MECHANISM Original Filed Sept. "17, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 4 3 WWW m N7 W. w. W

ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,122,363 COLLATOR MECHANISM Wilbur E. Thomas, 165 Hillcrest Drive, Pacanack Lake, N .3

Griginal application Sept. 17, 1958, Ser. No. 761,553, new Patent No. 2,993,692, dated July 25, 1961. Divided and this application Mar. 21, 1961, Ser. No. 97,332

3 Claims. (Cl. 27058) This invention relates to collators for use in oflices and the like for the production of pamphlets, memoranda or other type booklets of limited numbers of pages. The application is a division of my prior Patent No. 2,993,692, issued July 25, 1961.

A primary object of the instant invention is the provision of improved collators of the kind referred to adapted to operate with greater eficiency than those heretofore employed. Collators of the type under consideration conventionally comprise a vertical series of shelves or trays each containing a stack of paper sheets the sheets of each stack constituting one sheet of the collated material. Means are provided for simultaneously removing the uppermost sheet of a stack in each tray by sliding it forwardly, the forward edges of the several sheets as they issue from the trays tending to collect together by gravity in a position to be grasped and withdrawn as a unit or group by the operator. The group of superposed sheets thus gathered are then ordinarily jogged by the operator to bring the edges of the sheets into alignment, the sheets of the group stapled together and any other desired operation performed on it. The collating operation is then repeated this continuing until the job is completed.

As previously mentioned collators of the type here under consideration comprise stacks of sheets in each of a plurality of trays or shelves arranged in superposed relationship. The number of trays which can be employed has heretofore been necessarily limited by the requirement that the operator must be able to physically grasp in one hand the forward margins of an entire group of superposed sheets as they are ejected from the trays. That is, the sheet ejected from the bottom tray and that ejected from top tray, with the remainder interposed therebetween, must substantially meet at a given point to enable the operator to grasp the entire set. This requirement has necessarily limited the number of shelves or trays which could be employed and hence the number of sheets which could be collated at one time. Also since the forward ends of the sheets from all of the trays form a single group as the sheets are ejected from the trays there is no way of separating them into smaller groups as may be desirable at times. For instance the collator may have 8 of the superposed trays but the collated item comprise four or fewer sheets. In such case, in the known collator only a few of the trays may be used.

With the above problems in view a further object of the invention is the provision of means to separate the superposed sheets into two or more sub-groups as they are ejected from the trays, the forward margins of the sheets substantially meeting at a point individual to that subgroup. The employment of the separator permits a greater number of the superposed trays to be employed as the operator can remove, for example, the lower subgroup by grasping it between the thumb and index finger, transfer the sub-group to between the index and middle finger, and then remove a higher sub-group with the thumb and index finger. This may be repeated several times over, hence the height of the stack of trays is limited only by the reach of the operator. Furthermore the group or set separator makes it practical to collate a number of sets simultaneously where the sets have fewer pages than the number of trays, the separator permitting each set to be clearly defined.

iCC

A further object of the invention under the general object stated above is the provision of an improved tray structure for collators. More specifically an object of the invention is the provision of a tray structure including a removable paper supporting tray element whereby ease in loading the tray is promoted.

Another object of the invention is the provision of an adjustable backstop for a collator tray whereby the depth of the tray may be readily controlled to accommodate sheets of different lengths.

In collators as presently built there is a tendency as the stack of sheets in a tray nears exhaustion for the remaining sheets or at least more than one sheet of a stack to be ejected simultaneously. A still further object of the invention is the provision of means to avoid this multiple sheeting. This object is attained through the provision of a friction layer underlying the lowest sheet of the pile or stack of sheets to impede each movement of such sheet, said layer being constructed and arranged to impart a contour to the pile of sheets which additionally promotes proper delivery.

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

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the collator constructed in accordance with my invention.

FIG. 2 is a vertical longitudinal sectional view of the collator on an enlarged scale with the ejector fingers advanced.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one of the group or set separator plates.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a backstop employed in the trays or shelves of the collator illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale, similar to FIG. 2, with the ejector fingers retracted.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a tray in loading position with parts broken away.

FIG. 7 is a partial transverse sectional view of a loaded tray.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a friction element employed in the bottom of the trays.

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 a collator in accordance with the instant invention comprises an open front housing 10 including side panels 11, a back panel 12 and a top panel 13 all suitably formed of sheet metal. Within the housing are front and back vertical frame members 14 and 15 re spectively (see FIG. 2) adjacent each of the side panels 11. The frame members 14 and 15 carry an upper cross member 16 and a lower cross member 17. The frame members may be secured together in any suitable manner as for example by bolts, rivets, or the like, and similarly the housing panels may be secured together and to the frame member by any suitable means, the particular construction of the housing and frame not being material to the instant invention.

Carried by each pair of the frame members 14 and 15 are a plurality of vertically spaced opposed channel members 18 extending at an angle to the horizontal with their upper ends adjacent the open front of the housing 10 to provide supports for a plurality of removable trays or shelves indicated generally at 19. Each of the trays (see particularly FIGS. 2, 5 and 6) include a bottom wall 20, side walls 21, and a rear end member 22, the latter serving as an abutment member to rest against a flange of member 15 or the rear panel of the housing. The tray also includes a forward lip 23 serving as a means for grasping the tray for its removal in a manner to be hereinafter more fully explained.

Both the housing 1% and the trays 19 are suitably dimensioned to receive one or more stacks of paper sheets, the depth of the trays being selected to accommodate the longest sheet normally employed. Where two stacks are provided for in each tray, as illustrated in the drawings, a double collating operation takes place upon each machine cycle. t will be understood however that this feature is not critical and the collator may be dimensioned to receive but a single pile of sheets in each tray without affecting the inventive features herein described and claimed.

Referring particularly to 1 16. 2 the bottom panel 2% of each tray is provided with a number of transverse lines of perforations 2 4 spaced from the front edge of the tray at different distances corresponding to the different lengths of standard sheets to be collated. The rows of perforations serve to position backstops 25, two of such backstops being shown in the arrangement illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4 where two laterally adjacent stacks of sheets are accommodated in each tray. The backstops which are suitably made of sheet metal each comprise a flat bottom member 26 adapted to rest on the bottom of the tray, upwardly and forwardly extending prongs 2'7 suitably integrally formed with the member 26 and a rear flange 31. Struck out from the bottom of the member 26 and suitably spaced to conform with the lateral spacing of perforations 24 are downwardly and rearwardly extending detents 2-3. As will be readily apparent the backstops may be placed in any adjusted position permitted by the spacing of the rows of perforations 24 by simply inserting the detents 23 through the perforations and forcing the backstops rearwardly into locked position. Prongs 27 suitably extend at an obtuse angle with respect to the member 26 to lie substantially vertically of the collator whereby the forward ends of the sheets supported in the trays similarly are in substantially vertical alignment.

It will be clear from the foregoing description the backstop permits the etfective length of the tray to be adjusted in a prearranged stepped series, within reasonable tolerances, in accordance with the length of the particular paper sheets to be collated. Furthermore the backstops so position the stacks of sheets in the trays that the projection of the forward ends of the sheets is sufficient to permit them to be readily grasped and withdrawn.

Extending forwardly of the front of the collator and below the forward end of the lowermost tray 19 is a shelf 29. The shelf is secured in any suitable way to the collator housing or frame. The shelf provides a platform for jogging, stapling and other handling of the collated sets of sheets and further supports a starting switch located for easy access by the operator. It also provides accommodation for a manually operated adjustment means for a timing device located beneath the shelf fully described in my aforesaid Patent No. 2,993,692.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 5 and 6 generally conventional means for ejecting individual sheets from the stacks in the trays will be described. The ejecting means comprises a finger 45, two of the fingers being provided for in each tray where the latter accommodates two laterally adjacent stacks of sheets, as illustrated. The ejector fingers, the particular construction of which is described in my prior Patent 2,844,370, issued July 22, 1958, each include a channel shaped main arm 3-6 and a forward finger portion 4-7 including a friction member 48 adapted to rest upon the uppermost sheet of a stack of sheets and move the sheet forwardly as the ejector member moves forwardly, i.e. toward the open front of the collator. The several ejecting fingers 45 are supported for forward and rearward reciprocating movement on a series of rods 4%, one of said rods overlying each tray. The fingers are also rockably mounted on the rods whereby the friction members carried by their forward portions rest on and press against the uppermost sheet of a stack irrespective of the height of the stack. The mounting for each finger includes a plate 59 made of spring steel or the like riveted or otherwise secured to the underside of the finger and extending rearwardly to form one jaw 51 of a spring clamp embracing its rod 49. The other jaw 52 of the clamp is formed by a rearward extension of material of the finger, the jaws 51 and 52 being suitably bent or shaped to releasably grip the rod 49. As will be understood this construction permits the fingers to be readily removed and replaced. The ends of rods 49 are secured in channel members 53 extending vertically ad jacent the sine panels of the housing if A second series of rods 54- also extend between channel members 53. Rods 54 are adapted to cooperate with a spring clamp 55 carried by each of the feed fingers to m intain the feed fingers in an inoperative position when the paper receiving tray is to be removed for refilling or for some other reason. As illustrated clamps 55 may comprise a flange on an end of plate 5% which projects through an opening in arm 46, and a detent struck out from the material of the arm.

Channel members 53 are rigidly secured at their lower ends to the opposite ends of a cross member 56 which includes a base '57 and a forward flange 53 extending downwardly therefrom at right angles thereto. Adjacent the free upper ends of the members 53 and opposite the uppermost channels 13 the members 53 carry rollers 59 adapted to ride on the outer faces of the channels. A perforation or opening 61 is provided in each member 53 to accommodate the roller.

Cross member 56 carries bearing members 62 adjacent its opposite ends, the bearing members being mounted for sliding engagement on a pair of rods 63 extending between the front and back of the housing in parallelism to each other and to the trays 1 Rods 63 are supported by channel members at which in turn are secured to frame members 14 and 15. As will be apparent, forward and rearward movements of the member 56 will cause similar movements of channel members 53 and hence of the rods 49 which in turn will communicate similar movements to each of the fingers 45. FIG. 5 illustrates in full lines the positions of the finger elements and their supporting means when in their rearward positions ready to start the sheet ejecting operation, and further illustrates, in dot and dash line, the forward positions of these elements with the top sheets of the stacks substantially e ected and in position to be removed as a group by the operator.

The mechanism for reciprocating the feed fingers, and associated mechanism, between forward and rearward positions forms a part of the invention in my prior Patent No. 2,993,692 reference being made to that patent for details of the mechanism. This mechanism serves to reciprocate the roller 69, accommodated in a channel or track extending horizontally beneath member 545 and defined by the forward fiange 53 and a flange 7% of an angle iron '71 secured as by welding to the underface of mem ber 56.

Suitable motor and control devices as disclosed in the aforesaid patent serve to move the several ejecting fingers 45, by means of roller d5, through a collating cycle. During this movement the feed fingers are moved forwardly to push the top sheet of each stack of sheets forwardly and out of the open front of the housing sufficiently for the free forward ends of the sheets to fall downwardly into a position to be grasped as a group or set by the operator. Continued movement of the motor mechanism serves to withdraw the actuating fingers 45 and roller as to positions shown in FIG. 5.

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 1 to 3 the construction and operation of the separator means whereby the sheets, ejected simultaneously from the several superposed shelves or trays, may be separated into two or more sub-groups will be described. The group or set separator 13% (see FIG. 3) suitably comprises a flat sheet of metal or the like to which is secured an angle member 131. Angle member 131 is located intermediate the ends of the separator to define a forwardly extending lip 15-2.

There is preferably provided a friction strip 135a, simi lar to and serving the function of the strip 135 described below. As shown the strip 135a is secured to the central portion of the separator 139, extending preferably from the inner end thereof to approximately the position of the angle member 131.

In the use of the separator (see particularly FIG. 1) one or more of the separators, depending upon the number of sub-groups into which the whole group of ejected sheets is to be divided, are positioned in appropriate tray or trays beneath the stack of sheets therein and with the flange defined by angle member 131 resting against the forward end of the tray.

In the operation of the collator with the group or set separators in place the sheet of the stack overlying the separator as it is ejected from its stack is supported for a relatively greater distance than the remaining sheets due to the pressure of the lip 132 whereby it separates the sheets as they are ejected into distinct sets each of which may be individually grouped and removed by the operator. Thus, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the separation permits the operator to readily grasp the lower sub-group between her thumb and index finger. She can then transfer the sub-group to a position between the index and middle finger and remove the set above with the thumb and index finger, and repeat the operation if necessary. If the two or more sub-groups form one collated set she can then easily join the sub-groups into one complete set. This mode of operation is of particular importance when the number of superposed trays is such that the operator cannot readily grasp all of the ejected sheets at one time as previously explained. On the other hand when a relatively few sheets make up a full set the separators may be used to enable two or more of the sets to be collated simultaneously.

As previously mentioned a further feature of the invention resides in the provision of removable trays to make it easier to supply the trays with the stacks of sheets. The trays as previously described include a flat bottom wall 20, side flanges 21, rear members 22 and forward lip 23 and are supported in sliding engagement in chan nels 18. As will be apparent the tray may be removed simply by grasping the lip 23 and sliding the tray upwardly and forwardly out of the channel members and, after loading, replaced by the reverse operation.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 to 8 a still further feature of the invention resides in the provision of means to assure individual delivery of the last few sheets of the stack of sheets. It has been found that when the stack is near exhaustion there is a tendency for the last two to ten sheets to be ejected simultaneously due to the bottomrnost sheet sliding on the relatively smooth tray. To overcome this difiiculty a member is provided preferably comprising a strip 135 of cork or similar material having a friction surface. The strip has a width substantially less than the width of the paper in the stack and a length to extend from the front of the tray to or adjacent the backstop 25. The under surface of strip 135 is preferably provided with an adhesive layer 136 to insure that it will remain in its central position in the tray as illustrated in FIG. 6. The strip serves to provide a friction surface which resists sliding movement of the paper and further serves as a means to maintain the sheets of the stack in somewhat bowed 6 shape as illustrated in FIG. 7. As a result the sheets are properly positioned and shaped for efiicient ejection and multiple sheeting as the pile or stacks near exhaustion is substantially eliminated.

Having thus described my invention in rather full detail it will be understood that these details need not be strict- 1y adhered to and that various changes and modifications may be made all falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.

I claim:

1. in a collator comprising an open front housing, a plurality of superposed trays each formed with a bottom section to receive a stack of sheets, sheet ejecting means including an ejector element in each tray, means for moving said ejecting means through a collating cycle to cause said ejector elements to simultaneously eject a sheet from each stack through the open front of said housing, and separator means for dividing said sheets into groups as they are ejected, said separator means consisting essentially of a separator plate removably insertable in selected ones of trays intervening between the uppermost and lowermost of said superposed trays so as to occupy a predetermined fixed position in said selected tray with a portion of the plate underlying the stack of sheets in said tray during movement of the ejection means associated with said tray, said plate having a lip portion thereof projecting forwardly beyond said bottom section of the tray and through the open front of said housing.

2. A collator as recited in claim 1 and stop means ecured to said plate intermediate its ends and rearwardly of the projecting end thereof for abutting against the forward edge of the trays, said stop means defining said portion for underlying the stack of sheets and said forwardly projecting lip portion extending outwardly beyond the bottom section of said tray.

3. in a collator, a series of longitudinally extending supporting trays for supporting a series of flexible stacks of sheets, means for supporting said trays, sheet ejector means including an ejector element for each of said trays, means for simultaneously actuating said ejector elements for advancing a sheet from each tray, and means comprising a stationary lip extending forwardly beyond a. selected one of the intermediate trays and mounted adjacent the bottom of the stack of said sheets supported by said one tray and being substantially aligned with the floor thereof for supporting the forward ends of sheets ejected from selected stacks of sheets to prevent them from flexing downwardly at the positions at which sheets flex downwardly for non-selected stacks whereby the ejected sheets are divided into separate groups, and means for readily removably mounting said extending lip means in said selected tray.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNETED STATES PATENTS 615,636 Ragensteiner Dec. 6, 1898 1,964,498 Brasseur June 26, 1934 2,194,802 Low Mar. 26, 1940 2,599,829 Hernblad June 10, 1952 2,646,279 Thomas July 21, 1953 2,770,456 Magarinos et a1 Nov. 13, 1956 2,777,690 Davidson Jan. 15, 1957

Claims (1)

1. IN A COLLATOR COMPRISING AN OPEN FRONT HOUSING, A PLURALITY OF SUPERPOSED TRAYS EACH FORMED WITH A BOTTOM SECTION TO RECEIVE A STACK OF SHEETS, SHEET EJECTING MEANS INCLUDING AN EJECTOR ELEMENT IN EACH TRAY, MEANS FOR MOVING SAID EJECTING MEANS THROUGH A COLLATING CYCLE TO CAUSE SAID EJECTOR ELEMENTS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY EJECT A SHEET FROM EACH STACK THROUGH THE OPEN FRONT OF SAID HOUSING, AND SEPARATOR MEANS FOR DIVIDING SAID SHEETS INTO GROUPS AS THEY ARE EJECTED, SAID SEPARATOR MEANS CONSISTING ESSENTIALLY OF A SEPARATOR PLATE REMOVABLY INSERTABLE IN SELECTED ONES OF TRAYS INTERVENING BETWEEN THE UPPERMOST AND LOWERMOST OF SAID SUPERPOSED TRAYS SO AS TO OCCUPY A PREDETERMINED FIXED POSITION IN SAID SELECTED TRAY WITH A PORTION OF THE PLATE UNDERLYING THE STACK OF SHEETS IN SAID TRAY DURING MOVEMENT OF THE EJECTION MEANS ASSOCIATED WITH SAID TRAY, SAID PLATE HAVING A LIP PORTION THEREOF PROJECTING FORWARDLY BEYOND SAID BOTTOM SECTION OF THE TRAY AND THROUGH THE OPEN FRONT OF SAID HOUSING.
US9733261 1958-09-17 1961-03-21 Collator mechanism Expired - Lifetime US3122363A (en)

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US9733261 US3122363A (en) 1958-09-17 1961-03-21 Collator mechanism

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3208745A (en) * 1963-10-17 1965-09-28 Earl T March Collator accommodating different paper sizes
US3425682A (en) * 1966-05-16 1969-02-04 Herman Morris Pekovsky Collating machine
US5797830A (en) * 1996-03-12 1998-08-25 Albert Flores Multi use paper and card stock cutter

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US615636A (en) * 1898-12-06 Anti-offsetting apparatus for printing-presses
US1964498A (en) * 1931-10-30 1934-06-26 Dick Co Ab Sheet feeding device
US2194802A (en) * 1938-09-06 1940-03-26 John M Low Gathering table
US2599829A (en) * 1947-04-18 1952-06-10 American Type Founders Inc Collator
US2646279A (en) * 1947-09-17 1953-07-21 Wilbur E Thomas Mechanical collator
US2770456A (en) * 1952-02-14 1956-11-13 Courier Citizen Company Collator
US2777690A (en) * 1950-11-10 1957-01-15 Standard Register Co Adjustable pack holder

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US615636A (en) * 1898-12-06 Anti-offsetting apparatus for printing-presses
US1964498A (en) * 1931-10-30 1934-06-26 Dick Co Ab Sheet feeding device
US2194802A (en) * 1938-09-06 1940-03-26 John M Low Gathering table
US2599829A (en) * 1947-04-18 1952-06-10 American Type Founders Inc Collator
US2646279A (en) * 1947-09-17 1953-07-21 Wilbur E Thomas Mechanical collator
US2777690A (en) * 1950-11-10 1957-01-15 Standard Register Co Adjustable pack holder
US2770456A (en) * 1952-02-14 1956-11-13 Courier Citizen Company Collator

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3208745A (en) * 1963-10-17 1965-09-28 Earl T March Collator accommodating different paper sizes
US3425682A (en) * 1966-05-16 1969-02-04 Herman Morris Pekovsky Collating machine
US5797830A (en) * 1996-03-12 1998-08-25 Albert Flores Multi use paper and card stock cutter

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