Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING A DENSE SHINGLED ARRAY OF SIGNATURES
United States Patent 3842719


Abstract:
A dense shingled array of signatures is formed on a pair of spaced conveyor belts from a loose shingled stream of signatures delivered to the belts directly as they come from the printing press. Once the dense shingled array is formed, an elevator moves a tray between the belts to pick up the dense shingled array from the belts so that the dense shingled array is located on the tray. The dense shingled array is formed from the loose shingled array by causing the leading edge of the signatures as they are conveyed to the belts to engage the inclined surface of a member which is attached to the belts. This causes the leading edge of the signatures to be deflected in an upward direction with the result being that the signatures are supported on the inclined surface of the member and are formed into the dense shingled relationship. As the signatures are formed in the dense shingled array the member having the inclined surface as well as the signatures are moved in a retracting direction until the full dense shingled stack of signatures is formed.



Inventors:
Fernandez-rana, Victoriano (Easton, PA)
Simon, Paul R. (Allentown, PA)
Peserik, James E. (Lansdale, PA)
Application Number:
05/358124
Publication Date:
10/22/1974
Filing Date:
05/07/1973
Assignee:
HARRIS INTERTYPE CORP,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
198/644, 271/216, 271/279, 414/278, 414/790.4, 414/798.2
International Classes:
B65H29/18; B65H29/68; B65H31/04; B65H31/30; (IPC1-7): B31B1/96
Field of Search:
93/93R,93DP,93M 271
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3700232SHEET STACKING APPARATUSOctober 1972Wiegert et al.
3613911APPARATUS FOR AUTOMATIC DEPOSITING OF GLAZED TILES IN MAGAZINES ARRANGED FOR SUBSEQUENT FIRINGOctober 1971Walchhuter et al.
3359874Variable batching device for conveyer-borne folded paper productsDecember 1967Stegenga et al.
2853298Jogger mechanismsSeptember 1958Faeber
2392746Carton stacking mechanismJanuary 1946Labombarde
2053315Delivery apparatusSeptember 1936Barnecott



Primary Examiner:
Lake, Roy
Assistant Examiner:
Coan, James F.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray, and means for removing said tray from said dense shingling location with said shingled array of signatures thereon.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for forming the dense shingled array comprises a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 further including means for moving said guide member and said signatures in a retracting direction relative to the surface of the tray and said conveyor means as additional signatures are conveyed to said dense shingling location.

4. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray comprising a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, means for moving said guide member and said signatures in a retracting direction relative to the surface of the tray and said conveyor means as additional signatures are conveyed to said dense shingling location, said last mentioned means comprising a pair of conveyor belts to which said guide member is secured and which are located on opposite sides of the tray and which support the signatures thereon and drive means for moving said belts.

5. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray comprising a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, means for moving said guide member and said signatures in a retracting direction relative to the surface of the tray and said conveyor means as additional signatures are conveyed to said dense shingling location, said last mentioned means comprising a drive mechanism connected to said guide member and which moves said guide member when actuated and means for sensing the receipt of a signature at said dense shingled location for actuating said drive mechanism.

6. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray comprising a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, means for moving said guide member and said signatures in a retracting direction relative to the surface of the tray and said conveyor means as additional signatures are conveyed to said dense shingling location, said last mentioned means comprising a drive mechanism connected to said guide member and which moves said guide member when actuated, and means for sensing the rate of receipt of signatures at said dense shingling location for controlling the speed at which said guide member moves in said retracting direction.

7. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said means for moving said guide member comprises a drive mechanism connected to said guide member and which moves said guide member when actuated, and means for sensing the rate of receipt of signatures at said dense shingling location for controlling the speed at which said guide member moves in said retracting direction.

8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said drive mechanism comprises electrically operated elements and circuit means for controlling said electrically operated elements and said means for sensing the receipt of a signature comprises a first switch in said circuit means mounted above the tray and which is actuated by the leading edge of a signature after it has engaged either the inclined surface of the guide member or previously delivered signature.

9. Apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said means for controlling the speed at which said guide member moves comprises a second switch means in said circuit means and for sensing an excessive build-up of signatures at the dense shingling location and a third switch means in said circuit means and for sensing the absence of signatures delivered to the dense shingling location, said circuit means and drive mechanism including means responsive to said second switch means for increasing the speed of retracting movement of said guide member and means responsive to said third switch means for slowing the speed of retracting movement of said guide member.

10. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray, said means for supporting said tray comprising an elevator mechanism movable to position an empty tray at said dense shingling location and to remove a full tray therefrom.

11. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said conveyor means for delivering signatures has a retractable and extensible portion which delivers signatures to the dense shingling location and means for extending said portion toward said dense shingling location after an empty tray is positioned thereat and for retracting said portion prior to movement of a full tray therefrom by actuation of said elevator mechanism.

12. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray comprising a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, means for moving said guide member and said signatures in a retracting direction relative to the surface of the tray and said conveyor means as additional signatures are conveyed to said dense shingling location, said means for supporting said tray comprising an elevator mechanism movable to position an empty tray at said dense shingling location and to remove a full tray therefrom, said conveyor means for deliverying signatures having a retractable and extensible portion which delivers signatures to the dense shingling location and means for extending said portion toward said dense shingling location after an empty tray is positioned thereat and for retracting said portion prior to movement of a full tray therefrom by actuation of said elevator mechanism.

13. Apparatus as defined in claim 12 further including switch means actuated by said guide member reaching the end of its retracting movement and means responsive to said switch means for actuating retracting movement of said portion of said conveyor means.

14. Apparatus as defined in claim 13 further including means responsive to positioning of an empty tray at said dense shingling location by said elevator means for extending said portion of said conveyor means.

15. Apparatus as defined in claim 13 further including means responsive to the removal of a full tray from said dense shingling location for returning said guide member to its initial position.

16. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for forming the dense shingled array comprises a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, and vertical guides for engaging the leading edge of a signature advanced thereto above said support surface and for guiding the stacked array as said guide member retracts.

17. Apparatus as defined in claim 16 further including means supporting said vertical guides for vertical and lateral adjustment.

18. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for forming the dense shingled array comprises a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, and means for engaging the lower edge of a signature in the array to prevent its sliding down relative to the other signatures therein.

19. Apparatus for providing a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported, said apparatus comprising means for supporting a tray at a dense shingling location, conveyor means for delivering signatures in a loose shingled stream to said dense shingling location, means at the dense shingling location for forming the dense shingled array and for locating same on the tray, said means for forming the dense shingled array comprising a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, and means for engaging the lower edge of a signature in the array to prevent its sliding down relative to the other signatures therein comprising a pair of cam members having notches which receive the lower edge of the signature.

20. Apparatus for forming a dense shingled array of signatures from a loose shingled array of signatures comprising,

21. Apparatus for forming a dense shingled array of signatures from a loose shingled array of signatures comprising,

22. Apparatus as defined in claim 21 wherein said conveyor means comprises a pair of belts spaced laterally apart and said signatures bridge the space therebetween when in said dense shingled relationship and elevator means for moving a tray through the space to pick up the shingled array of signatures from said belt means.

23. Apparatus as defined in claim 20 wherein the lead edge of the first signature delivered to the location engages the inclined support surface, said support surface comprising a means for deflecting the lead edge of the signature upwardly to at least assist in forming the dense shingled array.

24. Apparatus as defined in claim 20 further including vertical guides for engaging the leading edge of the signature above said inclined support surface and for guiding the stacked array as said member moves.

25. Apparatus as defined in claim 24 further including means supporting said vertical guides for vertical and lateral adjustment.

26. Apparatus as defined in claim 20 wherein said means for forming the dense shingled array comprises a guide member having an inclined surface which when the guide member is in an initial position engages the leading edge of the first signature which is conveyed to the dense shingling location and guides it to a position resting thereagainst inclined to the support surface of the tray, the lead edge of further signatures conveyed to the dense shingling location engaging the previously positioned signature and being guided to an inclined position thereby with said guide member comprising at least a part of a means supporting said signatures in the inclined position, and means for engaging the lower edge of a signature in the array to prevent its sliding down relative to the other signatures therein.

27. Apparatus for forming a dense shingled array of signatures from a loose shingled array of signatures comprising,

28. The method of forming a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported comprising the steps of,

29. A method as defined in claim 28 wherein the step of forming the dense shingled array includes the steps of,

30. A method as defined in claim 29 further including the step of moving said member and signatures formed into a dense array in a retracting direction as additional signatures are advanced to the dense shingling location.

31. The method of forming a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported comprising the steps of,

32. The method of forming a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported comprising the steps of,

33. The method of forming a dense shingled array of signatures on a tray with the signatures inclined relative to the surface of the tray on which they are supported comprising the steps of,

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Presently, work is being done in the area of automating a newspaper plant. Conventionally, newspaper plants have operated so that newspaper sections (preprinted sections) are printed prior to the time that the current news sections are printed. These preprinted sections are conventionally stacked and stored in a suitable storage. They are removed from that storage for assembly with the current news sections. The assembly of the preprinted sections along with the current news sections occurs in a stuffing machine of a conventional construction. Without going into the specific details of such operation, a large amount of manual handling of the newspaper sections occurs primarily in the area of manually stacking the newspapers on pallets for storage and in manually unloading the pallets for assembly in the stuffing machine.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a system and mechanism in which the preprinted newspaper sections may be stacked automatically for storage. The system and mechanism of the present invention, as will be apparent, is applicable to the stacking of all types of signatures, not only newspaper sections or inserts.

In accordance with the present invention, the signatures are stacked in a dense shingled relationship on a tray. A suitable mechanism is provided for moving empty trays into position for stacking and full trays out of stacking position. The mechanism is designd to operate continuously without operator intervention and is provided with suitable controls to provide a dense stack with the proper number of signatures in each stack.

Specifically, the mechanism includes a conveyor for feeding signatures in a loose shingled relationship to a dense shingling or stacking location. As the first signature reaches the stacking location, its leading edge engages an inclined surface of a member which directs the signature to an inclined position. The leading edge of subsequent signatures engage the previously delivered signature and the signatures are thereby also directed to an inclined position.

As the dense array is being formed by the continuous delivery of signatures to the stacking location, the member having the inclined surface, as well as the signatures which have been formed into a dense array, is moved in a retracting direction. This is accomplished by suitable mechanism which not only supports the signatures when in the dense array, but also supports the inclined member. In the present embodiment, this mechanism comprises a pair of conveyor belts which are spaced laterally apart. When the member having the inclined surface has been moved to its fully retracted position, a tray is moved by an elevator mechanism in the space between the conveyor belts and the tray picks up the stacked array from the conveyor belts. After this operation occurs, the conveyor belts are actuated in order to return the inclined member back to its initial position for the forming of another dense shingled array.

Suitable controls are provided to control the speed of the retracting movement of the inclined member. These controls include means which senses the absence of signatures being delivered to the stacking location to thereby either slow down or stop the retracting movement of the inclined member, as well as means for sensing the delivery of signatures to the stacking location at too great a rate causing an increase in the speed of the retracting movement of the inclined member and the signatures which have already been formed into the dense array.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Further features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention relates from the following detailed description made with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of an apparatus embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view illustrating a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a further view illustrating still another portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a somewhat schematic side view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2 looking at the apparatus as indicated by the line 4--4 thereof;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken approximately along the line 5--5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a view of another portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a view taken approximately along the line 7--7 of FIG. 6;

FIGS. 8 and 9 are schematic views illustrating a control mechanism embodied in the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a schematic circuit diagram for controlling a drive mechanism embodied in the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a schematic illustration of the conveyor mechanism for conveying signatures to the stacking mechanism of FIG. 1; and,

FIG. 12 is another schematic control diagram.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As noted hereinabove, the present invention provides for the stacking of signatures in a dense shingled relationship. The signatures may be in the form of a preprinted newspaper or magazine sections, inserts therefor, or the like. The present invention is preferably utilized in an overall system in which signatures coming directly from a printing press are stacked in the shingled relationship and these signatures are then stored. The invention may, of course, be used in any system to form signatures in a dense shingled relationship regardless of whether the signatures are delivered from a printing press, trimmer, stuffer delivery or other structure. When the signatures which have been stored are to be collated or assembled with other signatures, the preprinted signatures are removed from storage and conveyed to a suitable gathering or stuffing machine for feed into that machine where the preprinted signatures along with other signatures are finally collated to form a completed newspaper, magazine, etc. The present invention to be described hereinbelow incorporates many detailed structural features but it should be apparent from the description that the invention may be embodied in a variety of constructions and modifications can be made therein.

As representative of a preferred embodiment of the invention, the drawings illustrate a mechanism for forming a dense shingled array of signatures and which mechanism is generally designated 10. In general, the mechanism 10 includes a conveyor system 11 which feeds signatures toward a stacking or dense shingling location 12. At the location 12, there is a pair of belts 13 and 14 which are spaced laterally apart, and a tray 15 on which the signatures are stacked is located between the belts 13 and 14. The signatures as delivered from the printing press are in a rather loose overlapped shingled stream and are conveyed by the conveyor mechanism 11 toward the dense shingling location 12 while in that stream relationship. Suitable means, to be described, are located at the dense shingling location 12 to form the signatures into a dense shingled array and preferably one where the signatures are inclined at a 45° angle on the tray 15.

The tray 15 on which the dense shingled array is supported is described in copending application, Wise and Rana, filed Nov. 1, 1972, Ser. No. 302,848, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and the specific description thereof in the aforementioned application is incorporated herein by reference. In essence, a tray 15 includes a main support portion 20 and a pair of opposite end pieces 21, 22. The end pieces 21, 22 have an angled or wedge-shaped construction and have tapered or inclined surfaces 23, 24, respectively. The surface 23, of course, is at a 45° angle, since the signatures when in their final stacked relationship will engage the surface 23 and, in effect, lean thereagainst.

A suitable mechanism in the form of an elevator mechanism is provided for conveying empty trays 15 into position for receiving signatures at the dense shingling location 12 and for conveying full trays from the dense shingling location 12 for removal from the apparatus 10. The elevator mechanism includes a pair of chains 30, 31 at one end of the belts 13, 14 and a second pair of chains 32, 33 at the other end of the belts 13, 14. The chains 30-33 have suitable means thereon which cooperate with a part 35 on the trays 15 to thereby support the trays 15 on the elevator mechanism. Of course, any suitable structural arrangement may be utilized for supporting the trays on chains 30-33. On indexing movement of the chains 30-33, of course, the trays 15 are moved in an upward direction as viewed in FIG. 1. The elevators are actuated by a suitable drive mechanism in an indexing manner, as will be described in detail hereinbelow. In essence, when a full array of signatures is formed on the belts 13, 14 at location 12, the elevator mechanism is indexed upwardly to cause a tray located immediately adjacent the belts 13, 14 to pick up the signatures from the belts 13, 14 and to move the full tray to a position for removal from the elevator mechanism. In addition, the elevator mechanism positions an empty tray adjacent the belts 13, 14 so as to receive the next full array of signatures. For purposes of the present invention, any suitable mechanism may be used for placing the empty trays on the elevator and for removing the full trays from the elevator mechanism, and for purposes of the present invention, those operations could be performed manually.

As noted above, the signatures as they are delivered by the conveyor mechanism 11 to the conveyors 13 and 14 are in a very loose shingled relationship with the folded edge leading just as they come off the printing press. Alternatively, the folded edge could be the trailing edge. The signatures, as noted above, are formed in a dense shingled relationship on the belts 13, 14. This, in the present embodiment, is accomplished through the use of suitable guide fingers 40, 41 and a guide and support mechanism 42 which also guides and supports signatures. The guide fingers 40, 41 are interposed between the output end of the conveyor mechanism 11 and the input or signature receiving end of the conveyors 13, 14. The guides 40, 41 tend to direct the leading edge of the signature upwardly. The leading edge of the first signature delivered to the dense shingling location engages the mechanism 42 which is carried on the belts 13, 14 and movable therewith. The guide and support mechanism 42 comprises a pair of wedge-shaped members, each of which is secured to a respective belt 13, 14. The guide and support mechanism 42 has a surface 43 (see FIG. 4) which engages the lead edge of the signature and deflects in upwardly. The signature then comes to rest lying on the surface 43 and being inclined to the belts 13, 14 and the support portion 20 of the tray 15, although the support portion 20 of the tray 15 is spaced below the belts 13, 14 on which the signature rests. The lead edge of further signatures delivered engage the previously delivered signature which acts just like the wedge mechanism 42. As a result, each signature in turn is moved to an inclined position and the signatures rest on each other. The angle of the surface 43 relative to the horizontal or relative to the support portion 20 of the tray or belts 13, 14 may vary but a 45° angle has been found to provide satisfactory results.

From the above, it should be apparent that a continuous build-up of a dense shingled array of signatures is provided. In order to enable this build-up to continue, the guide and support mechanism 42 is moved rearwardly in the direction of the arrow 45, in FIGS. 1 and 4, as the signatures are delivered on the conveyors 13, 14. A suitable driving mechanism is provided, as will be described in detail hereinbelow, to provide for the retracting movement of guide and support mechanism 42. A suitable electrical control for that drive mechanism is provided to control the retracting movement of the guide and support mechanism 42 so that in the event that there is an excessive build-up of signatures, the retracting movement of the guide and support 42 would increase in speed.

The retracting movement of the guide and support 42 continues as signatures are delivered onto the conveyors 13 and 14 until the guide and support mechanism 42 has been withdrawn rearwardly to a position where a switch 50 is tripped (shown schematically in FIG. 1). When the switch 50 is tripped and an electric eye 140 (FIGS. 1 and 11) located in advance of the belts 13, 14 senses a gap in the stream of signatures, the elevator mechanism 30-33 is indexed in order to take the full tray out of position and bring a new tray 15 into position for receiving signatures. Details of this operation will be described hereinbelow in connection with the description of the overall operation of the mechanism.

The conveyor mechanism 11 which delivers the signatures to the stacking location 12 may take a variety of different forms. The printed signatures are delivered by any suitable conveyor mechanism to a conveyor section 51 (see FIG. 2). The conveyor section 51 includes a pair of conveyor belts 52, 53 which are spaced laterally. Interposed between the conveyor belts 52, 53 is a third conveyor belt 54. The conveyor belts 52, 53, and 54 are trained around suitable drive sprockets so as to effect a drive of the belts upon rotation thereof. The conveyor belt 54 which is interposed between the belts 52 and 53 has a portion which is extensible toward and away from the stacking location 12 and specifically toward and away from the belts 13 and 14.

The belt 54 is trained around a movable roll 55. The roll 55 is supported on a pair of support plates 56 and 57, (see FIGS. 2 and 4). The support plates 56 and 57 have slide blocks 58 and 59, respectively, supported on the interior ends thereof. The slide blocks 58, 59 slide along interior support and guide portions of the conveyor section 51. The slide blocks 58 and 59 are connected by a suitable mechanism to a pneumatic motor 60. Upon energization of the motor 60, it should be apparent that the slide blocks 58, 59 as well as the support plates 56, 57 and the roll 55 move horizontally toward the conveyor belts 13 and 14 or away from the belts 13, 14, depending upon the direction of energization of motor 60. This movement is enabled due to the fact that the belt 54 is trained around rolls 61 and 62 (see FIG. 4) which move in order to maintain the length of the path of the belt constant, even though the roll 55 is moved or extended outwardly toward the conveyor belts 13 and 14. Moreover, the support plates 56, 57 are provided with an opening 63 through which a drive or support shaft 63a for the rolls around which the belts 52 and 53 are trained extends. This slot 63 in the support plates 56 and 57 permits movement of the support plates 56, 57 upon actuation of the air motor 60 without interference with the shaft 63a. While belts 52, 53 are not extensible as is the belt 54, they could be so constructed and guide fingers 40, 41 likewise could be movable toward and away from the belts 13, 14.

As best shown in FIG. 4, associated with the belt 54 is an upper guide roll mechanism which includes a forward or front roller 65 which engages the upper surface of the signatures as they move along the belt 54 and applies a downward force thereon. The roller 65 maintains the signatures on the conveyor belt 54 and assists in guiding the signatures to the belts 13, 14. Any suitable mechanism or roller construction may be utilized. In the present embodiment, the roller 65 preferably is mounted for extensible movement with the belt 54. To this end, the roller 65 is supported on suitable supports 66, 67 (see FIG. 3). The supports 66, 67 are telescopically received in fixed supports 68, 69. A suitable air motor 70 is provided and which is connected to the supports 66, 67. Upon energization of the air motor 70 and depending upon the direction of actuation thereof, the supports 66, 67 telescope inwardly or outwardly to effect a movement of the roller 65 inwardly or outwardly in an extensible manner along with the conveyor belt 54. As best shown in FIG. 4, the two positions of the roll 65 and roll 55 are illustrated. The extensible position of the roll 65 is designated 65a, while the retracted position of the roll 55 is designated 55a.

The roller 65 provides a positive control over the signature and pressures the signatures into position. The roller 65 urges the signatures into the inclined position. As an alternative to the roller 65, driven tapes may be used or a combination of tapes and a roller such as 65.

The retracting and extensible action of the roll 55 and the conveyor belt 54 are desired in order to maintain a control of the signatures as they traverse the distance between the conveyor belts 52, 53 and the belts 13 and 14. As noted hereinabove, the trays 15 are indexed in a vertical manner and in order to provide for space for the trays to clear the conveyor belt section 51, it is necessary to retract or provide a retracted position of the conveyor 54. However, in order to maintain the proper control of the signatures as they are delivered onto the belts, it is necessary to extend the conveyor 54 so that the signatures are directed in a proper manner onto the belts 13, 14 and onto the tray 15. In fact, the roll 55 when in its extended position is coextensive with the support rolls which support belts 13, 14, as shown in FIG. 2. Also, as shown schematically in FIG. 2, the tray 15 extends beneath the roll 55.

As noted hereinabove, as the signatures leave the conveyor section 51, the lead edge thereof engages with guides 40, 41 which tend to deflect the lead edge of the signature upwardly. As a result, the lead edge of the signature engages either the surface 43 of the wedge 42 or other signatures which have already been delivered to the belts 13, 14. This action further tends to deflect upwardly the lead edge of the signatures which are moving at a high rate of speed. As a result, the signatures take the position inclined at preferably 45 degrees, as illustrated in FIG. 4. To maintain the signatures in the inclined position and prevent any possibility of their sliding down relative to the other signatures, cams 49 are provided. There are two cams 49 located on the supports 56, 57 and move therewith. When the cams 49 are extended, as shown in FIG. 4, small notches 49a on the upper surface thereof are located to receive the lower edge of the last signature delivered and prevent its sliding down relative to the other signatures.

As the signatures, as noted above, are delivered onto the belts 13, 14 the guide and support 42 moves in a retracting direction in the direction of the arrow 45. In order to effect this retracting movement, the conveyor belts 13, 14 are provided with a suitable drive mechanism. Referring to FIG. 6, only one conveyor belt is illustrated, namely, conveyor belt 13. Conveyor belt 13 is trained around a plurality of rolls 70, 71, 72, 73 and 74. Roll 74 provides the drive into the conveyor belt 13. Roll 74 is mounted on a drive shaft 75. Associated with the rolls 72, 73 is a suitable mechanism 76 which is adjustable to control the tension in the belt 13. As best shown and schematically illustrated in FIG. 10, the drive shaft 75 is driven by a chain 76, whereas the corresponding drive shaft 75a for the belt 14 is driven by a chain 77. The chains 76, 77 are trained around sprockets 78, 79, respectively, on a drive shaft 80. Upon rotation of the drive shaft 80, it should be obvious that the belts 13, 14 are driven through the chains 76, 77.

The drive shaft 80, as shown schematically in FIG. 10, is driven from a reversible motor 81 through a clutch and brake mechanism 82. The motor 81 is reversible so as to reverse the direction of rotation of the conveyor belts 13 and 14, and the clutch and brake mechanism 82 is energizable in order to control rotation of the shaft 80 and thereby the drive to belts 13 and 14. A description of the circuitry for controlling energization of the motor 81 and the clutch and brake mechanism 82 will follow hereinbelow For the moment, it should be understood that as the signatures are delivered onto the belts 13, 14, the belts are driven by actuation of the clutch and brake 82 and through the various drive mechanisms hereinabove described to effect the proper retracting action of the guide and support mechanism 42.

As the signatures are directed onto the belts 13, 14, the lead edge of the signatures may engage upper guides 90 and 91 (see FIG. 5). The guides 90, 91 are retractable laterally of the machine by suitable retracting mechanism and only the retracting mechanism for the guide 91 will be described in detail. The guide 91 is carried on a vertically extending support 92, which support 92 is carried on a horizontally retractable support bar 93. The support bar 92 is suitably connected with a motor 94 which upon energization will effect movement of the bar 93 and a lateral retracting movement of the guide 91. The guides 90, 91 provide a guiding action on the upper edge of the signatures as they are received on the belts 13, 14 and assist in providing that the upper edges of all the signatures lie in a common plane. THe guides 90, 91 are suitably supported for vertical adjustment for bundling different length signatures, lateral adjustment for proper width, and front to back for properly receiving the signatures and to position switch mechanism 111 (to be described in detail hereinbelow) if the switch mechanism 111 is supported thereon.

As noted hereinabove, when the guide and support mechanism 42 is retracted to its full extent and the belts 13, 14 have received a full array of signatures, the switch 50 is tripped. When the switch 50 is tripped and only after electric eye 140 indicates a gap in the paper stream, the top guides 90, 91 and switch assembly 111 are retracted due to energization of the motor 94 with which they are associated. Simultaneously, the roll 55 of the conveyor section 51 is retracted along with the guide roll 65. Retraction of the guides 90, 91 results in the tripping of a switch 100, best shown in FIG. 5. The tripping of the switch 100 energizes the motor (not shown) for indexing the elevator mechanism, namely chains 30-33, in an upward direction. As the elevator rises, the full array of dense shingled signatures are picked up from the belts 13, 14 by the tray on the elevator. The upward movement of the elevator chains 30-33 continues until the elevator trips the switch 101. When the switch 101 is tripped, the guide and support mechanism 42 is returned to its original or initial position by actuation of the belts 13, 14 in a reverse direction, that is, reverse from the direction that the belts were driven during formation of the shingled array. Also actuation of switch 101 returns top guides 90, 91 and switch assembly 111 into operative position.

On further raising movement of the elevator mechanism, a further switch 102 is energized which stops the raising movement of the elevator and triggers the extension of the belt 54 and guide roll 65 for further delivery of signatures to the stacking location 12. Of course, the amount of the movements and the location of the switches are controlled so that the new tray or empty tray is received in the stacking position at this point and the full tray has been raised out of the stacking position for easy removal from the machine and is in a position where it will not interfere with operation of the mechanism in the machine. Since the various switches described hereinabove comprise limit switches which are of known construction, they will not be described. Moreover, the specific circuitry incorporating the switches is within the domain of one skilled in the art and, likewise, will not be described herein in detail or illustrated.

The apparatus 10 is further provided with a control circuitry, generally designated 110 in FIG. 10, for controlling the retracting movement of the belts 13, 14, so as to control the speed of retracting movement in the event of an excessive build-up of signatures delivered to belts 13, 14, or a slowdown in the delivery of signatures to the belts 13, 14. Of course, in the event of an excessive build-up of the signatures on the belts 13, 14, it is desirable to speed up the retracting movement of the guide and support mechanism 42 and of the belts 13 and 14 in order to compensate for the excessive build-up. Also, it should be obvious that in the event of a slowdown in delivery of signatures to the conveyor belts 13, 14, it is desirable to slow down the retracting movement of the guide and support mechanism 42 so that the shingled array if provided with a uniform array of signatures.

In order to accomplish the proper control of the retracting movement of the belts 13, 14, the switch assembly 111 as noted above is supported on guide 91. The switch assembly 111 includes three switches, see FIGS. 8, 9, and 10. One of the switches 112 is a start switch for starting the retracting movement of the belts 13, 14, and is also a switch which, when triggered, maintains the clutch and brake mechanism 82 operative to transmit drive from the motor 81 to the belts 13, 14 so that when the switch 112 is energized, the cutch and brake mechanism 82 is energized in order to cause the belts 13, 14 to move in a retracting direction.

The switch 114 is a slowdown switch which, when triggered, effects a slowing of the motor 81. This, of course, is triggered when the feed of signatures onto the belts 13, 14 is reduced. The switch 115 is a speed-up switch which is triggered or tripped when there is an excessive build-up of signatures on the belts 13 and 14, and triggers an increase in speed of the motor 81 to increase the speed of movement of the belts 13, 14.

The operation of the switches 112, 114 and 115 should be apparent to those skilled in the art from the circuit of FIG. 10. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the motor 81 is energized through a circuit which includes a variable resistor 120. The amount of resistance in the circuit for energizing the motor 81 is controlled by the position of a resistance element 122 which places into the circuit for the motor 81 a variable amount of resistance depending upon its position. A suitable motor 123 is connected with the resistance element 122 and, when energized, the motor 123 will move the resistance element 122 in one direction or another in order to place into the circuit for the motor 81 a different amount of resistance and thereby change the output speed thereof. Accordingly, it whould be apparent that upon energization of the motor 123 in one direction the motor 81 will be slowed, while upon energization of motor 123 in the opposite direction, the motor 81 will be increased in speed.

The switches 114 and 115 are in the circuit for controlling eneergization of the motor 123. When the switch 115 is closed, the motor 123 is energized in a direction to effect movement of the resistance element 122 in a direction to increase the speed of the motor 81. Closing the switch 114 causes the motor 123 to move in the opposite direction, namely, one where the resistance element 122 is moved in a direction in order to slow down the output speed of the motor 81. The switch 112 when energized controls the clutch and brake mechanism 82 and when closed energizes the clutch mechanism in order to effect the transmission of drive from the motor 81 to the conveyors 13, 14. If the switch 112 is open, then the brake mechanism of the clutch and brake mechanism 82 is energized so that, even though the motor 81 is driving or being driven, the brake mechanism does not transmit any such movement or drive to the belts 13 and 14.

The switches 112, 114, 115 have actuator arms 112a, 114a, 115a spaced laterally from each other, as shown in FIG. 9. When the actuator arm 112a is in its full line position in FIG. 9, the switch 112 is open. The switch is closed by upward movement of the actuator arm 112a to the dotted position thereof in FIG. 9. This movement results due to the leading edge of a signature striking the actuator arm 112a. The arm 112a is located so that each signature in turn will engage the arm 112a so that the clutch and brake mechanism 82 is maintained energized. The switch arm 114a, when in its full line position shown in FIG. 9, maintains the switch 114 open. The switch arm 114a rides on the signatures in the array and the switch is maintained open thereby. In the event the arm 114a rides off the signatures, the arm drops to the dotted position shown in FIG. 9, at which position switch 114 is closed. The switch arm 115a is normally in the full line position shown in FIG. 9 out of engagement with the signatures. In this position the switch 115 is open. The arm 115a is moved upwardly to close switch 115 in the event of an excessive build-up of signatures delivered to the belts 13, 14 which results in the signatures moving arm 115a upwardly.

From the above, it should be apparent that as signatures move onto the belts 13, 14, the leading edges thereof trip the actuator member for the switch 112. This effects closing of the switch 112 and energization of the clutch and brake mechanism 82 in order to transmit the drive from the motor 81 to the belts 13, 14 to effect the retracting movement of the belts 13, 14. In the event that an excessive build-up occurs where too many signatures are being delivered to the belts 13, 14, the switch 115 senses the excessive build-up by its feeler finger 115a which causes closing of the switch 115. This results in a speed-up of the motor 81, as described above. In the event that there is a slowdown in the number of signatures delivered to the belt, the switch feeler 114a closes the switch 114. This, of course, causes a slowdown in the retracting of the belts 13, 14. Accordingly, it should be clear that as signatures are being delivered to the belts 13, 14 the speed of retracting movement of the belts 13, 14 may vary depending upon the flow of signatures onto the belts 13, 14.

The circuit of FIG. 10 obviously is not a complete circuit for the entire machine and does not, for purposes of simplicity, illustrate the reversible nature of reversible switch on the motor 81 for returning the guide and support mechanism 42 to its initial position. It should be obvious that the circuit would be to effect reversing of the motor 81, at which time, of course, the switches 114 115 are inoperative. Also, the switch 112 is bypassed in order to effect energization of the clutch mechanism 82 to transmit the drive from the motor 81 to the conveyor belts 13, 14.

In accordance with the present invention, it should be apparent that the signatures are being delivered from the output of the press in an overlapped continuous stream. As a result, it is necessary to make provision for the signatures which are continuing to move toward the station 12 from the printing press during the indexing movement of the elevator when a new tray 15 is being moved into position for receiving signatures thereon. Of course, such provision may take a variety of different forms.

In one form, a clamp or suitable diverter mechanism may be utilized for engaging and clamping the signatures prior to the station 12 and for an instant of time for allowing the operations at the stacking station 12 to occur, which operations include removal of a full tray and readying for the formation of a new dense shingled array. Of course, once these occur, the clamping mechanism would allow the stream of signatures to again be fed and directed to the station 12 for formation into the desired shingled array.

In addition, however, and preferably, a stream switch 125 may be utilized for directing the signatures to another location where operations occur in precisely the same manner as they occur at station 12. The stream switch may be of any conventional construction and as illustrated in FIG. 11 may take the form of a switch 125 which has a suitable type of gap-maker mechanism 130 and diverter 132 which operates when the gap is formed to divert the signatures between output paths 133, 134. As viewed in FIG. 11, the gap-maker 130 operates to form a sufficient gap in the signatures being delivered to allow the gate 132 to be moved between its two positions. In the embodiment illustrated, the path 133 is directed to the stacking mechanism 12 described and disclosed in FIG. 1, and the stream or path 134 may be directed to a second mechanism similar to that shown in FIG. 1. Of course, the gap-maker and stream switch may take a variety of different constructions and such are known in the art.

In the schematic embodiment illustrated in FIG. 11, assume that N number of signatures are desired in the completed dense shingled array on the tray 15. This, of course, means that N number of newspapers must pass the stream switch 125 before the stream switch operates. Accordingly, a suitable counter 135 may be utilized which counts the signatures which are delivered to the stream switch, and along with a suitable delay mechanism, not shown, would actuate the gap-maker 130 and gate mechanism 132 when the proper count has passed the stream switch. Also, a suitable counter 136 may be utilized adjacent location 12 in order to determine that the precise number of signatures has been delivered to the tray 15. These counters can be utilized to also control raising movement of the elevator mechanism so that not only is it necessary for the guide and support mechanism 42 to be fully retracted, but it is also necessary for the proper count of signatures to have been fed to the belts 13, 14 before the elevator mechanism can raise.

In addition to the above, the electric eye 140 located adjacent the entry end of the belts 13, 14, is utilized for purposes of sensing a gap in the signatures as they are delivered onto the belts 13, 14. The electric eye is primarily for the purpose of sensing the gap and providing a signal for controlling the belts 13, 14 and for raising the elevator (as described). In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 10, the electric eye controls contacts 141, 142 in the circuits connecting the switches 114, 115 to the motor 123. These contacts 141, 142 open when the electric eye senses a gap. As a result, the belts cease being operated under the control of the switches 114, 115 and speed compensation of the motor 81 ceases. Also, since no signatures are delivered onto the belts, the switch 112 opens and the clutch and brake mechanism 82 is actuated so as to prevent the transmission of torque from the motor 81 to the belts 13, 14. Accordingly, when a gap is sensed in the stream of signatures, the speed compensation on the belts 13, 14 ceases and the belts likewise cease to move.

FIG. 12 illustrates the controls and shows that speed control circuit receives signals from a tachometer generator driven by the press and also from operator controls set in accordance with paper thickness and signature feed lap. These signals along with switches 112, 114, and 115 provide for the proper operation of the mechanism and at the appropriate speed.

In view of the above, it whould be apparent that applicant has provided a substantially improved, novel and unique structure for forming signatures in a dense shingled array on a tray directly as the signatures are delivered from the printing press.