Title:
SCANNER HAVING A SLOT ASSEMBLY FOR MULTIPLE-SIZED SHEETS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a slot assembly for a scanner for feeding multiple-sized sheets. The scanner has an input tray for holding a plurality of sheets, a feed path which receives sheets fed from the input tray, and a sheet feeder located in the teed path for feeding sheets. The slot assembly has a first slot for accepting sheets having a first size, the first slot being complementarily sized with respect to the first-sized sheets such that the first-sized sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed. The slot assembly also has a second slot for accepting sheets having a second size, the second slot being complementarily sized with respect to the second-size sheets such that the second-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed.



Inventors:
Romanoff, Harris (Narberth, PA, US)
Spero, Leslie (Merion Station, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/044332
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070182084Feed unit for feeding sheets to a packing lineAugust, 2007Marchetti et al.
20090297241STRUCTURE TO GUIDE PRINT MEDIUM AND IMAGE FORMING APPARATUS EMPLOYING THE SAMEDecember, 2009Kim et al.
20080150222Sheet Conveyor And Image Reading ApparatusJune, 2008Nakakita et al.
20100038847TRANSMISSION FOR AN AUTOMATIC DOCUMENT FEEDERFebruary, 2010Bokelman et al.
20060214358Feed cassette and image forming apparatus including the sameSeptember, 2006Joo
20050285331Sheet cartridgeDecember, 2005Wu
20090045567PRINTING MEDIUM TRANSFERRING DEVICE AND IMAGE FORMING APPARATUS HAVING THE SAMEFebruary, 2009Youn
20090189333MAILPIECE SELECTOR DEVICE HAVING TWO GUIDESJuly, 2009Coret et al.
20070063425Paper feed tray unit for a printerMarch, 2007Tsujinishi
20090189344SHEET DISCHARGING APPARATUS AND IMAGE FORMING APPARATUSJuly, 2009Suzuki
20070176349Dispensing Value Sheet StoreAugust, 2007Gerlier et al.



Primary Examiner:
GONZALEZ, LUIS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A slot assembly for a scanner for feeding multiple-sized sheets, the scanner having an input tray for a plurality of sheets, a feed path which receives sheets fed from the input tray, and a sheet feeder located in the feed path for feeding sheets, the slot assembly comprising: a first slot for accepting sheets having a first size, the first slot being complementarily sized with respect to the first-sized sheets such that the first-sized sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed; and a second slot for accepting sheets having a second size, the second slot being complementarily sized with respect to the second-size sheets such that the second-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed.

2. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein the first and second slots comprise edge guides for guiding the sheets therein.

3. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 3 wherein the first slot comprises a top wall connecting the guide edges.

4. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 4 wherein the second slot is located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray for the second slot.

5. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 1 further comprising: a third slot for accepting sheets having a third size, the third slot being complementarily sized with respect to the third-size sheets such that the third-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed.

6. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 5 wherein the first, second and third slots comprise edge guides for guiding the sheets therein.

7. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 6 wherein the first and second slots comprise a top wall connecting the guide edges.

8. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 7 wherein the second slot is located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray of the second slot and wherein the third slot is located on the top wall of the second slot, the top wall of the second slot defining an input tray for the third slot.

9. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein the first size is larger than the second size.

10. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 5 wherein the first size is larger than the second size.

11. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 10 wherein the second size is larger than the third size.

12. A scanner for feeding multiple-sized sheets comprising: an input tray for a plurality of sheets; a feed path which receives sheets fed from the input tray; a sheet feeder located in the feed path for feeding sheets; and a slot assembly comprising: a first slot for accepting sheets having a first size, the first slot being complementarily sized with respect to the first-sized sheets such that the first-sized sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed; and a second slot for accepting sheets having a second size, the second slot being complementarily sized with respect to the second-size sheets such that the second-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed.

13. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 12 wherein the first and second slots comprise edge guides for guiding the sheets therein and wherein the first slot comprises a top wall connecting the guide edges, the second slot being located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray for the second slot.

14. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 13 further comprising: a third slot for accepting sheets having a third size, the third slot being complementarily sized with respect to the third-size sheets such that the third-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed, the third slot comprising edge guides for guiding the sheets therein, the second slot comprising a top wall connecting the guide edges, the second slot being located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray of the second slot, and the third slot being located on the top wall of the second slot, the top wall of the second slot defining an input tray for the third slot.

15. A slot assembly in accordance with claim 14 wherein the first size is larger than the second size and the second size is larger than the third size.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/894,023 filed on Mar. 9, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

The present invention was not developed with the use of any Federal Funds, but was developed independently by the inventors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a document input device such as a scanner, copy machine, or fax, and it also relates to the automatic document feeder mounted to a document input device to convey documents or paper into the document input device. Specifically, this invention relates to document input devices that are small enough to be used on a desktop. More specifically, the invention relates to automatic document feeders that can accommodate multiple sized sheets. In this application the term “scanner” is used to mean “document input device,” thus encompassing any device that inputs paper or paper documents.

In FIGS. 1 through 3, there is shown an existing scanner device 100. Referring now to FIG. 1, the scanner 100 comprises an input tray 101 for holding documents to be fed into the scanner for scanning and an output tray 102. The input tray 101 includes a pair of edge guides 151 and 152 located on the edges of the input tray. The guides 151 and 152 guide letter-sized documents through the scanner and prevent them from skewing when they pass from the input tray 101 through the scanner and to the output tray 102.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the scanner 100 is shown having a plurality of multiple-sized sheets 200 loaded in the input tray 101 for feeding into the scanner. For example, multiple-sized sheets 200 may include one or more letter-sized sheets 210; one or more receipt-sized sheets 211; and one or more business card-sized sheets 212.

The cut-away portion of FIG. 2 shows the internal sheet feeder 104 of the scanner 100. The sheet feeder 104 comprises a separator pad 220 for separating the sheets or documents 200 being fed in to the scanner from the input tray 101. The scanner also comprises a rotating pick roller 221 which feeds sheet seriatim through the scanner. The separator pad 220 is in contact with applies pressure to the pick roller 221. This applied pressure prevents the one or more sheets from the stack of sheets 200 in the input tray from inadvertently falling into the output tray 102 through the scanner. The pick roller 221 and separator pad 220 are configured so that only the topmost sheet (in this case sheet 212 as shown in FIG. 2) is fed through the scanner 100 from the stack of documents 200.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the scanner 100 is shown with the multiple sized sheets working their way from the input tray 101, through the paper path, and into the output tray 102. As shown in the FIG. 3, the letter-sized document 310 has been fed through the paper path and is resting in the output tray 102. The letter-sized document has fed straight and has not become skewed during feeding due to the edge guides 151 and 152 which are located and sized such that the edges of the letter-sized document 310 abut the guides 151 and 151, prevented a skewed feed.

The receipt-sized sheet 311 is also shown exiting the sheet feeder 202. Because the guides 151 and 152 are sized for the letter-sized document 310, there are no guides for the size of a receipt-sized sheet. As a result, the receipt-sized sheet 311 becomes skewed as it passes through the paper path. Similarly, the business card-sized sheet 312 also skews in the absence of suitable guides to keep it in place and fed straight through the sheet feeder 202.

The present invention overcomes these deficiencies and limitations of the prior art by providing a scanner and slot assembly which is capable of feeding a stack of multiple-sized sheets without skewing as described herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aforementioned needs are satisfied at least in part by a slot assembly for a scanner for feeding multiple-sized sheets. The scanner has an input tray for holding a plurality of sheets, a feed path which receives sheets fed from the input tray, and a sheet feeder located in the feed path for feeding sheets. The slot assembly has a first slot for accepting sheets having a first size, the first slot being complementarily sized with respect to the first-sized sheets such that the first-sized sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed. The slot assembly also has a second slot for accepting sheets having a second size, the second slot being complementarily sized with respect to the second-size sheets such that the second-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed. In one form of the invention, the first and second slots comprise edge guides for guiding the sheets therein and wherein the first slot comprises a top wall connecting the guide edges, the second slot being located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray for the second slot.

In another preferred form of the invention, the slot assembly may include a third slot for accepting sheets having a third size, the third slot being complementarily sized with respect to the third-size sheets such that the third-size sheets are fed by the sheet feeder substantially without being skewed, the third slot comprising edge guides for guiding the sheets therein, the second slot comprising a top wall connecting the guide edges, the second slot being located on the top wall of the first slot, the top wall of the first slot defining an input tray of the second slot, and the third slot being located on the top wall of the second slot, the top wall of the second slot defining an input tray for the third slot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of various embodiments of the present invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the embodiments, there are shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. As should be understood, however, the embodiments of the present invention are not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of a prior art scanner having a document feeding mechanism;

FIG. 2 shows an isometric view of the prior art scanner of FIG. 1 having documents placed in the document feeder. This figure has a cutout section to expose the paper path of the documents;

FIG. 3 shows an isometric view of the prior art scanner of FIG. 1 having a cut-out section showing documents moving through the paper path;

FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of a scanner having multiple sized slots placed in the document feeder in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 shows an isometric view of the scanner of FIG. 4 having documents placed in the document feeder. This figure has a cutout section to expose the paper path of the documents; and

FIG. 6 shows an isometric view of the scanner of FIG. 4 having a cut-out section showing documents moving through the paper path.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIGS. 4 through 6, there is shown a preferred form of the invention which in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 4 depicts a scanner device 400. The scanner 400 comprises an input tray 401 for holding a stack of documents to be fed into the scanner 400 for scanning and an output tray 402. The scanner comprises multiple-sized slot assembly 433 located in the input tray 401 of the scanner 400. The slot assembly 433 comprises a plurality of stacked slots 430, 431, and 432.

The stacked slots comprise a slot 430 sized to accommodate a letter-sized sheet, a slot 431 sized to accommodate a receipt-sized sheet, and a slot 432 to accommodate a business-card sized sheet. It should be understood that the slot assembly 433 may include fewer or more slots and may include different sized slots for holding differently sized sheets or documents.

Slot 430 comprises a pair of opposed edge guides or walls 441 and 442. The side guide walls 441 and 442 are sized to be to accept and align a letter-sized sheet or document so that it is guided through the scanner and does not become skewed. Slot 430 also comprises a top wall 451 connecting the side walls 441 and 442. The top wall 451 of defines an input tray area 461 for holding sheets in slot 431.

Slot 431 comprises a pair of opposed edge guides or walls 443 and 444. The side guide walls 443 and 444 are sized to accept and align a receipt-sized sheet or document so that it is guided through the scanner and does not become skewed. Slot 431 also comprises a top wall 452 connecting the side walls 443 and 444. The top wall 452 defines an input tray area 466 for holding sheets in slot 432.

Slot 432 comprises a pair of opposed edge guides or walls 445 and 446. The side guide walls 445 and 446 are sized to accept and align a receipt-sized sheet or document so that it is guided through the scanner and does not become skewed. Slot 432 may also comprise a top wall 453 connecting the side walls 443 and 444.

Thus, each slot 431, 431, and 432 defines an input tray for a suitably sized stack of documents or sheets.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the scanner 400 is shown having a plurality of multiple-sized sheets 500 located in the appropriate slot of the slot assembly 433 for feeding into the scanner. For example, multiple-sized sheets 500 may include one or more letter-sized sheets 510; one or more receipt-sized sheets 511; and one or more business card-sized sheets 512. Letter-sized sheets 510 are placed in the letter-sized slot 430. Receipt-sized sheets 511 are placed in the receipt-sized slot 431. Similarly, card-sized sheets 512 are placed in the card-sized slot 432.

The cut-away portion of FIG. 5 shows the internal sheet feeder 502 of the scanner 500. The sheet feeder 502 comprises a separator pad 520 for separating the sheets or documents 500 being fed in to the scanner from each of the slots 430, 431, and 432 located in the input tray 401. The scanner also comprises a rotating pick roller 521 which feeds sheet seriatim through the scanner. The separator pad 520 is in contact with applies pressure to the pick roller 521. This applied pressure prevents one or more sheets from the stack of sheets 500 in the input tray 401 from inadvertently falling into the output tray 402 through the scanner. The pick roller 521 and separator pad 520 are configured so that only the topmost sheet (sheet 512 as shown in FIG. 5) is fed through the scanner from the stack of documents 500.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 6, the scanner 400 is shown with the multiple sized sheets working their way from the slots 431, 432, and 433 located in the input tray 401, through the paper path, and into the output tray 402. As shown in the FIG. 4, the letter-sized document 510 has been fed through the paper path and is resting in the output tray 402. The letter-sized document 510 has fed straight and has not become skewed during feeding due to the guide walls 441 and 442 of slot 430 which are located and sized such that the edges of the letter-sized document 510 abut the guide walls 441 and 442, preventing a skewed feed.

The receipt-sized sheet 511 is also shown exiting the sheet feeder 502. The receipt-sized sheet, 511, has just cleared the pick roller. This sheet is not skewed because the guide walls 443 and 444 of the receipt-sized slot 431 in the slot assembly 433 has prevented it from skewing. The receipt-sized document 511 was guided by the guide walls 443 and 444 of the receipt-sized slot 432 until the point when it clears the pick roller.

Similarly, the business card-sized sheet 512 is held in place by the guide walls 445 and 446 of the business card-sized slot 432. So, it is not skewed while it is waiting to be picked into the paper path of the scanner.

In this way, the slot assembly 433 present invention and the scanner incorporating same make it possible for a user to feed stacks of sheets of multiple-sizes thus overcoming the limitations and deficiencies of the prior art.

The embodiments described herein are provided by way of example and are not meant in any way to limit the scope of the claimed invention. It is understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Without further elaboration, the foregoing will so fully illustrate the invention, that others may by current or future knowledge, readily adapt the same for use under the various conditions of service.