Title:
Paper handling cassette system and cassette
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Sheet handling mechanism comprising a cassette having a top wall, bottom wall and opposed side walls. The cassette has an open front and is formed with a plurality of shelves to form bins. The bins are positioned on top of each other and are adapted to receive a set of sheets. A feeding mechanism is provided to feed sheets into the bins.



Inventors:
Gunther, William H. (Mystic, CT, US)
Hough, James (Mystic, CT, US)
Chadwick, Charles (Mystic, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/195942
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
08/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H39/10
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MCCLAIN, GERALD
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLARD & ROE, P.C. (ROSLYN, NY, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. Sheet handling mechanism comprising a cassette, said cassette having a top wall, bottom wall and opposed side walls, said cassette having an open front and a plurality of shelves to form bins, said bins being positioned on top of each other and being adapted to receive a set of sheets and means are provided for feeding sets into the said bins.

2. A mechanism as set forth in claim 1 wherein a divider is provided parallel to said side walls to form a plurality of columns with each column having a plurality of bins.

3. A mechanism as set forth in claim 2 wherein an elevator assembly are provided to receive said cassette, said elevator assembly being adapted to move said cassette vertically from a lowermost position to an uppermost position.

4. A mechanism as set forth in claim 3 wherein means are provided to place the elevator assembly at its lowermost position and wherein means are provided to raise said elevator as each bin is filled with a set.

5. A mechanism as set forth in claim 4 wherein means are provided for placing the bins in alignment with one of said columns opposite said feeding mechanism to receive sets therefrom.

6. A mechanism as set forth in claim 5 wherein means are provided to move the cassette to align another column of said cassette with the loading mechanism when the bins in the first column are filled.

7. A mechanism as set forth in claim 6 wherein said moving means are activated when the elevator reaches its uppermost position so that the said another column is placed in alignment with the loading mechanism.

8. A mechanism as set forth in claim 7 wherein means are provided for lowering the elevator one notch or step as each bin in the second column is filled.

9. A mechanism as set forth in claim 8 wherein a conveyor assembly is provided to move the cassette from one position to another.

10. A mechanism as set forth in claim 9 wherein said conveyor assembly comprises a cassette loading section to place a cassette on said elevator assembly.

11. A mechanism as set forth in claim 10 wherein a cassette removal section is provided on said conveyor assembly to remove filled cassettes from the cassette loading section.

12. A mechanism as set forth in claim 11 wherein said conveyor assembly comprises a cassette feeder section to move cassettes to the cassette loading section.

13. A mechanism as set forth in claim 12 wherein wheels are provided on said cassette to permit the cassette to be moved from one position to another.

14. A mechanism as set forth in claim 13 wherein cut sheet printing means are provided to print separate sheets and to accumulate said sheets to form sets.

15. A method for handling sheets comprising a cassette, having a top wall, bottom wall and opposed side walls and having a plurality of shelves to form said receiving bins and open front which said bins are positioned one on top of the other and having a divider parallel to said side walls to form a plurality of columns with each column having a plurality of bins, said method comprising feeding sets into the said bins.

16. A method as set forth in claim 15 wherein said cassette is moved vertically after a set is fed to a bin.

17. A mechanism as set forth in claim 16 wherein the bin is placed at its lowermost position and wherein said cassette is raised one notch or stop as each bin is filled with a set.

18. A method as set forth in claim 17 wherein the bins of one of said columns are placed opposite said feeding mechanism and wherein the cassette is moved to align another column of said cassette with the loading mechanism when the bins in one of the columns are filled.

19. A method as set forth in claim 18 wherein when the cassette reaches its uppermost position the cassette is moved so that the second column is placed in alignment with the loading mechanism.

20. A method as set forth in claim 19 wherein said cassette is lowered one notch or step as each bin in the second column is filled.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a paper handling cassette system and a cassette therefor and more particularly to a paper handling cassette system and a cassette therefor into which printed sheets may be loaded therein and unloaded therefrom.

The present invention is an improvement of applicant's U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,192,295 and 6,324,442, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

As set forth in said earlier patents, printed sheets which are printed by a printer are accumulated together to form a group of sheets (hereinafter referred to as a set). These sets are loaded one-by-one into a cassette and are stacked one on top of each other in offset relationship within the cassette. The cassette is then moved to an unloading machine which removes the offset sets and places them in a finishing machine which will perform further operations on the sets such as stapling, binding, etc.

It has been found that if the sets are extremely large, for example over 70 sheets, it may be more economical to use a different type of mechanism and method for handling these larger sets.

OBJECTS

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved cassette system and cassette which will handle a plurality of sets.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved cassette system and cassette which will handle a plurality of large sets.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of an improved cassette system and cassette which will permit sets to be quickly and easily loaded into a cassette.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of an improved cassette system and cassette from which sets can be quickly unloaded.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of an improved cassette system and cassette which will permit sets to be continuously loaded into and unloaded from a cassette without interruption or delay.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of an improved cassette system and cassette which is economical and simple to maintain and operate.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of an improved cassette system and cassette which is inexpensive and simple to manufacture.

Other and further objects of the invention will be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to described, or will be indicated in the appended claims and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art upon employment of the invention in practice.

DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description and is shown in the accompanying drawings forming a part of the specification, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a simplified schematic front view of a cassette made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a simplified schematic side view showing the mechanism for inserting sets from a printer into a cassette.

FIG. 3 is a simplified schematic side view showing the manner of loading sets into a cassette.

FIG. 4 is a simplified schematic plan view showing one manner of forming sets and placing them in a cassette.

FIG. 5 is a simplified schematic plan view showing another manner of forming sets and placing them into a cassette.

FIG. 6 is a simplified schematic plan view showing still another manner of forming sets and placing them in a cassette.

DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings, the present invention comprises a multi-bin cassette 1 having a pair of spaced side vertical walls 2, a horizontal top wall 3, a horizontal bottom wall 4 and an open front 6. Preferably the back 5 is also open. A vertical divider wall 7 is provided between the side walls 2 which is perpendicular to the top and bottom walls 3 and 4 and which bisects the cassette 1 into two vertical columns A and B. Each column A and B has a plurality of horizontal shelves 8 perpendicular to the side walls 2, the divider wall 7 to form a plurality of bins 9. The cassette 1 is preferably mounted on wheels 10 to permit the cassette 1 to be moved around from one location to another. Each bin 9 in the cassette 1 is adapted to receive a set of accumulated sheets S which may be an entire book or a subsection of a book. If, for example, there are too many sheets in a set S to fit into one bin 9 and/or if the book has both black/white sheets and color sheets (such as a cover) which are to be merged together to form a book, the separate sets S that will form the entire book will be placed in separate bins.

In the drawings, the cassette 1 is shown as having 50 bins with 25 bins on each column A and B. It will be understood that it is within the purview of the present invention for the cassette 1 to have more or less than the 50 bins shown in the drawing.

It is also within the purview of the present invention to have more than a single divider wall 7 so that cassette 1 will have more than two columns of bin 9.

Referring to FIG. 2, each of the bins 9 is adapted to receive a set S (which may be an entire book or subsection of a book) which are printed by a printer 15. The printer 15 prints the individual sheets P and moves the sheets P to a sheet accumulator 16 which accumulates the sheets P one on top of the other to form a set S. Each set S is then loaded into the cassette 1 by a loading mechanism 17 on the sheet accumulator 16.

A conveyor assembly 20 (FIG. 3) is provided which is adapted to move a plurality of cassettes 1 (which in the embodiment shown in the drawings are three cassettes) from one position to another. The conveyor assembly 20 shown in the drawings may be of any well known design and comprises a cassette feeder section 21, a central cassette loading section 22 and a cassette removal section 23. The cassette feeder section 21 moves an empty cassette 1 to the central cassette loading section 22 and the cassette removal section 23 removes a filled cassette 1 from the central cassette loading section 22. The bins 9 in the cassette 1 are loaded with sets S at the central cassette loading section 22. The cassette feeder section 21 and the cassette removal section 23 are adapted to move horizontally toward and away from the central cassette loading section 22, respectively, to feed empty cassettes 1 to the central cassette loading section 22 and remove filled cassettes 1 from the central cassette loading section 22. As an empty cassette 1 is moved to the central cassette loading section 22 by the cassette feeder section 21, a full cassette 1 is moved away from the central cassette loading section 22 by the cassette removal section 23. Hence, cassettes 1 are filled one after the other without any delay or interruption.

The central cassette loading section 22 is provided with an elevator assembly 24 which moves up and down. This elevator assembly 24 may be any well known elevator assembly. At the central cassette loading section 22, a cassette 1 is positioned over the elevator assembly 24 so that the bins 9 in the first column A are in alignment with the loading mechanism 17. The empty cassette 1 on the central loading section 22 is on the elevator assembly 24 with the elevator assembly 24 at its lowest level so that the top bin 9 is opposite and at the same level as the loading mechanism 17. In this position, a set S is loaded by the loading mechanism into the top bin 9 of the cassette 1. When the top bin 9 is loaded with a set S, the elevator assembly 24 moves up one step or notch equal to the height of a bin 9 so that the next lower bin 9 is now at the same level as the loading mechanism 17 of the sheet accumulator 16. When that next lower bin 9 is loaded with a set S, the cassette 1 is moved up by the elevator assembly 24 another step or notch so that the next bin 9 will be aligned with the loading mechanism 17 of the accumulator 16. This step-by-step upward movement will continue until the cassette 1 reaches its topmost position and all the bins 9 in column A of the cassette 1 have been loaded with sets S. The central cassette loading section 22 of the conveyor assembly 20 now moves the cassette 1 horizontally over so that column B of bins 9 of the cassette 1 is now in alignment with the loading mechanism 17 of the sheet accumulator 16 with the bottom bin 9 of column B of the cassette 1 at the same level as the loading mechanism 17 of the sheet accumulator 16. The sets S are then loaded into each bin 9 starting with the lowermost bin 9 (which is now in an elevated position). As each bin 9 is filled, the cassette 1 is lowered by the elevator assembly 24 one step or notch so that the next lowest bin 9 is now aligned with the loading mechanism 17. As each bin 19 is filled, the cassette 1 is lowered one step or notch until its lower-most position is reached and the top bin 9 in column B is loaded and all the bins in column B are filled. When this occurs, the cassette removal section 23 of the conveyor assembly 20 moves the filled cassette 1 horizontally over to a position where it can be wheeled away and the cassette feeder section 21 moves an empty cassette in place in the central cassette loading section 22 to receive the next group of sets S.

It will be understood that if the cassette 1 has more than two columns of bins 9 the cassette 1 is moved horizontally over so that the next empty column of bins 9 is in a position to be filed with sets S.

FIG. 4 shows one manner of printing books in which the printer prints three books at a a time across a web. The books are printed in their entirety, from page 1 to page X, each page sitting on top of the next page. When they go through the slitter/cutter they are slit into three individual webs and then cut into three individual sheets to be accumulated one of top of the other. Since the books are now complete it is necessary to have the cassette at a right angle to the conveyor (instead of directly in front of it) and the books are then moved at a right angle into the multi-bin cassette slots for each book, in at manner well known in the art.

FIG. 5 shows another manner of printing a book. This involves printing one book at a time. This requires printing the book multiple (2 or 3) pages across a web. The web is then slit and cut and the sheets are merged and each set of three are placed on top of the previous set until the book is completed. At that point the book is moved forward into the multi-bin cassette.

FIG. 6 shows still another manner of printing a book. Three books are printed across a web but are not slit into separate books. When the books are finished they are printed and moved into the multi bin cassette as one group. The books would then be fed from the multi bin cassette and moved to a system (not shown) where the books would be cut one from each other by a guillotine cutter of any well known design.

It will thus be seen that the present invention provides an improved cassette system and cassette which will handle a plurality of sets, including large sets, which will permit sets to be quickly and easily loaded into a cassette which permits sets to be quickly unloaded which will permit sets to be continuously loaded into and unloaded from a cassette without interruption or delay which is economical and simple to maintain and operate and which is inexpensive and simple to manufacture.

As many and varied modifications of the subject matter of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the detailed description given hereinabove, it will be understood that the present invention is limited only as provided in the claims appended hereto.