Title:
DISCHARGE OF PAPER OR OTHER LEAVES FROM A STACK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A discharge of paper or other leaves from the top (S) of a stack is by a rotating feed-roller (17;41) mounted on a carrier (7,11;35-39) that moves progressively along the stack in maintaining the roller (17;41) engaged with the top leaf. The carrier (7,11;35-39), which has a slot-mouth (8;52) through which the leaves are discharged successively by the roller (17;41), is guided in its downward movement by side-wall slots (12;40) of a casing (2;32) holding the stack, and has counter-balancing weights (23;50) attached for adjustment of the pressure of the roller (17;41) on the stack. In one form, the carrier is mounted on a plate which carries a motor for belt-drive to the roller, and which has sliding pivotal movement in the casing to enable the carrier to follow the guide-slots. Alternatively, the motor is located within the roller and ears of brackets on the carrier are located in the guide-slots to hold the carrier from tipping.



Inventors:
Mann, Paul Henry (Buckinghamshire, GB)
Application Number:
12/278193
Publication Date:
12/10/2009
Filing Date:
02/05/2007
Assignee:
Machine Shop Special Effects Limited (London, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
271/145
International Classes:
B65H3/06; B65H1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MORRISON, THOMAS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS & BUJOLD, P.L.L.C. (CONCORD, NH, US)
Claims:
1. 1-12. (canceled)

13. A method for discharge of leaves in spread distribution from a stack of leaves, the method comprising the step of progressively moving a carrier, which carries a rotating member, downwardly of the stack and maintaining the rotating member engaged with a top leaf of the stack as the leaves of the stack are discharged leaf by leaf through a mouth defined in the carrier.

14. The method according to claim 13, further comprising the step of using a rotating roller as the rotating member.

15. The method according to claim 14, further comprising the step of providing the roller with one of a rubber and grit surface for engagement with the top leaf of the stack.

16. The method according to claim 13, further comprising the step of using a slot defined in the carrier as the mouth.

17. A machine for discharge of leaves in spread distribution through a mouth of the machine from a stack of leaves, the machine comprising: means for holding the stack of leaves, a carrier which includes means for defining the mouth of the machine, means mounting the carrier for movement downwardly of the stack, a rotatable member carried by the carrier for engaging a top leaf of the stack, and means for rotating the rotatable member to discharge the leaves of the stack leaf by leaf from the top of the stack of leaves through the mouth of the machine.

18. The machine according to claim 17, wherein the rotatable member is a roller.

19. The machine according to claim 17, including guides defined in the means for holding the stack of leaves, the carrier having spaced parts for guiding the carrier in movement downwardly of the stack of leaves by engagement of said spaced parts of the carrier with the guides.

20. The machine according to claim 19, wherein the means for holding the stack is a casing of the machine, and the guides are slots in the casing.

21. The machine according to claim 19, wherein the rotatable member is mounted for rotation on a shaft that engages with the guides.

22. The machine according to claim 19, wherein the carrier is mounted on a further member, the further member is mounted for sliding pivotal movement relative to the means for holding the stack of leaves, the sliding pivotal movement enabling the carrier to follow the guides, and the means for rotating the rotatable member is carried by the further member.

23. The machine according to claim 19, wherein the means for rotating the rotatable member is carried by the carrier.

24. The machine according to claim 23, wherein the means for rotating the rotatable member comprises a motor located within the rotatable member.

Description:

This application is a national stage completion of PCT/GB2007/000384 filed Feb. 5, 2007 which claims priority from British Application Serial No. 0602207.3 filed Feb. 4, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to methods and machines for discharge of paper or other leaves from a stack.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The discharge of confetti for spread distribution is used for artistic and other effects in theatre productions and in other entertainment and festive events and for celebration purposes. The confetti is commonly in the form of circular discs of paper, but may be of rectangular-strip or other configuration, and may be leaves of metal- or plastics-foil. A method and machine for such discharge is described in GB-A-2417431, and although such methods and machines have been found especially advantageous for spread-distribution discharge of confetti or other small leaves, they have not been found entirely suitable for corresponding discharge of larger items in the form, for example, of tickets, vouchers and leaflets (having a size approaching, say, 130 mm×70 mm, and larger).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved method and machine in the latter regard.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for discharge of paper or other leaves in spread distribution from a stack, wherein a carrier which carries a rotating member is moved progressively downwardly of the stack in maintaining the rotating member engaged with the top leaf of the stack as the leaves of the stack are discharged leaf by leaf through a mouth defined in the carrier.

According to another aspect of the present invention a machine for discharge of paper or other leaves in spread distribution from a stack through a mouth of the machine, comprises means for holding the stack, a carrier which is mounted for movement downwardly of the stack and which includes means for defining the mouth of the machine, a rotatable member carried by the carrier for engaging the top leaf of the stack, and means for rotating the rotatable member to discharge the leaves of the stack leaf by leaf through the mouth from the top of the stack.

The rotatable member of the method and machine of the invention may have a rubber or grit surface for engagement with the top of the stack, and may be a roller, a wheel or an endless belt. Alternatively, or in addition, the surface may be grooved, or may have radially-projecting teeth, for engaging the top of the stack to effect discharge of the leaves from it.

The rate of discharge of the leaves from the stack may be regulated simply by control of the rate of rotation of the rotatable member. When the leaves are packaged together in billets or wads, the billets or wads may be placed as a stack directly under the rotatable member. Rotation of the rotatable member in this case may be effective (for example, by means of one or more blades or other projections on it) to split open the packaging and thereby release the contained leaves for discharge leaf by leaf under the action of the rotating member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Methods and machines for spread-distributed discharge of paper or other leaves from a stack, all in accordance with the present invention, will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a first example of leaf-discharge machine according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is illustrative of the leaf-discharge machine of FIG. 1 in side elevation;

FIG. 3 is illustrative of a form of feed-roller used in the leaf-discharge machine of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a front view of another example of leaf-discharge machine according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the main components of the leaf-discharge machine of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view illustrative of a feed-roller assembly of the leaf-discharge machine of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the leaf-discharge machine 1 of the first example has a rectangular casing 2 with a front-wall 3, a back-wall 4 and opposite side-walls 5 and 6. An elongate sheet-metal guard 7 having a horizontal, open-slot mouth 8 extends across the front of the casing 2 bridging a large rectangular aperture 9 in the front-wall 3. The guard 7 is in this respect carried at its two ends by two triangular carrier-brackets 10 respectively (only one shown in FIG. 1) that are mounted on opposite ends of a shaft 11 which project from within the casing 2 through guide-slots 12 in the walls 5 and 6.

The shaft 11 extends within the casing 2 between downwardly-turned brackets 13 at the front of a plate 14 that is coupled to the back-wall 4 through a sliding pivotal connection. The sliding pivotal connection is formed by a rod 15 which projects rearwardly from the plate 14 to extend through a hole 16 in the back-wall 4. Sliding adjustment of the rod 15 within the hole 16 enables pivotal movement of the plate 14 to take place while allowing vertical movement of the front of the plate 14 and the carrier-brackets 10 with attached guard 7, guided by the shaft 11 within the vertical slots 12.

A feed-roller 17, illustrated in FIG. 3, is rotatably-mounted on the shaft 11 and by virtue of the pivotal freedom of the plate 14, rests on the top of a stack of paper leaves loaded into the bottom of the casing 2; the top of the stack is represented in FIG. 2 by the chain-dotted line S. An electric motor 18 mounted on the plate 14 drives the roller 17 via a toothed belt 19 which engages the roller 17 within a central, circumferential recess 20 (FIG. 3). Rotation of the roller 17 peels off the paper from the top of the stack leaf by leaf for discharge through the mouth 8 of the guard 7 at a rate dependent on the speed of the motor 18. As leaves are peeled off, the plate 14 pivots down to maintain the roller 17 carried by the carrier brackets 10 guided by the slots 12, to move vertically down in contact with the top of the stack.

The speed with which the motor 18 drives the roller 17 is regulated from a DMX (digital multiplex) lighting-control system (not shown) as used in a theatre. This can be very precisely controlled as required, between the extremes of very slow, to give a gentle discharge, and very high, to give a furious discharge of the leaves.

The machine of the present example includes a counter-balance system so that the pressure of the roller 17 on the top of the stack can be adjusted. In this regard, the externally-projecting ends of the shaft 11 are each connected by wire 21 via respective pulleys 22 to lead weights 23 housed within vertical tubes 24 mounted on the side-walls 5 and 6 of the case. By suitable choice of the weights 23, the pressure exerted by the roller 17 can be selected to be very light, as required for example where sheets of tissue are to be distributed, or heavier as appropriate for example where distribution of leaflets is required. The paper or other leaves distributed by the machine may be, for example, of A4 or A5 size, and where leaves smaller than this are involved, packing pieces are desirably utilised to keep the leaves straight-on to the roller 17 and discharge mouth 8. The surface of the roller 17 used is appropriate to the leaves to be distributed, and may be rubber or grit; it may possibly where appropriate, be grooved affording projecting ridges or lands to peel off the leaves more effectively from the top of the stack, and may have projecting teeth.

A rotating wheel or endless belt may be used in place of the rotating roller 17. Furthermore, rather than using the pivoted plate 14 to carry the motor 18, it may be carried at the front of the case 2 with, and directly geared to, the roller 17. More particularly, the motor 18 may be mounted above the roller 17 on carrier brackets guided by the shaft 11, and in these circumstances a second horizontal shaft with its two ends projecting through the guide-slots 12 may be provided above the shaft 11 to maintain vertical movement of the roller 17 onto the top of the stack.

Another example of leaf-discharge machine will now be described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 6.

Referring initially to FIGS. 4 and 5, the machine 31 in this construction has a rectangular casing 32 with a front aperture 33 that is bridged by a fixed plate 34 at the top and by a guard-plate 35 that is movable laterally up and down the front of the casing 32. In this regard, the guard-plate 35 is bolted to a carrier-plate 36 that is mounted at its two ends within the aperture 33 on carrier-brackets 37 and 38. The carrier-brackets 37 and 38 have ears 39 which project from within the casing 32 through vertical guide-slots 40 of the casing 32. The ears 39 extend sufficiently lengthwise of the slots 40 to constrain the brackets 37 and 38, and thereby the plates 35 and 36, to vertical movement without tipping.

A roller 41 is mounted between the brackets 37 and 38 below the plate 36. As shown in FIG. 6 (from which the plate 36 is omitted), the roller 41 is of a hollow tubular construction with a closed end 42 that is rotatably mounted on a stub-shaft 43 that projects from the bracket 37. An electric motor 44 and gearbox 45 which are mounted on the bracket 38 project into the other, open end of the roller 41, and the output shaft 46 of the gearbox 45 is secured to a plug 47 inside the roller 41. The plug 47 is secured to the inside of the roller 41 by a grub-screw 47 so that the roller 41 rotates under drive from the motor 44. As with the roller 17 of the first example of machine, the speed of the roller 41 may be regulated from a DMX system.

The roller 41 rests on top of a stack (not shown) of paper or other leaves loaded into the casing 32, and as guided by the ears 39 of the carrier brackets 37 and 38 in the slots 40, remains in contact with the top leaf as the leaves are peeled off one by one from the top by the rotating roller 41. A counter-balance system for controlling the pressure of the roller 41 on the stack, and corresponding to the counter-balance system of the machine of the first example described above, is operative via wires 48 that are attached to the carrier-brackets 37 and 38 and extend over respective pulleys 49 to lead weights 50 located within vertical tubes 51.

The leaves peeled off one by one from the top of the stack by the rotating roller 41 are discharged through an open-slot mouth 52 of the guard-plate 35. Depending on the weight of leaf to be distributed, it may be necessary or desirable for enhancing its discharge to adjust slightly the lateral position of the mouth 52 relative to the rotational axis of the roller 41. This can be done by adjustment of the registration of the guard-plate 35 with the carrier-plate 36 in bolting the two together.