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Apparatus for Feeding Sheets to a Processing Machine and Method for Loading the Apparatus

Imported: 10 Mar '17 | Published: 27 Nov '08

Lutz Richter

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

An apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine, includes a stacking table with a delivery device, by way of which the sheets disposed upright on one of their edges are fed to a separating apparatus. The stacking table is divided and has a fixed part and a part mounted in such a way that it can pivot about a rotational axis. A method for feeding a stack or bundle of sheets into the apparatus is also provided.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. 119, of German Patent Application DE 10 2007 023 768.7, filed May 22, 2007; the prior application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine (which is also referred to in general as a feeder) or a separating apparatus of the processing machine. The apparatus includes a stacking table with a delivery device, by way of which the sheets disposed upright on one of their edges are fed to the separating apparatus. The stacking table is divided and has a fixed part and a part mounted in such a way that it can pivot about a rotational axis. The invention also relates to a method for feeding a stack or a bundle of sheets into an apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine.

As is described, for example, in European Patent EP 0 824 084 B1, corresponding to U.S. Pat. No. 6,070,866, a feeder has a magazine as well as a separating apparatus. The sheets, with which the processing machine is to be loaded, are provided in the magazine. Drums of the separating apparatus bring about the separation of the sheets and the individual transfer to the processing machine. If the processing machine is a gathering and stitching machine, individual folded sheets are output by a plurality of feeders to a gathering chain, in order to thus form a brochure which is to be stitched.

Different feeder types are known from the prior art for piles of individual sheets, for strapped stacks and for relatively small banded stacks, which are known as bundles or sheaves. German Published, Non-Prosecuted Patent Application DE 30 35 498 A1, corresponding to U.S. Pat. No. 4,358,100, discloses a horizontal sheet feeder having a printed sheet magazine and a separating apparatus. The printed sheets are inserted horizontally into the printed sheet magazine. The lowermost sheet is pulled off by the drum feeder for separation. It is a disadvantage of that device that the number of printed sheets which can be inserted into the printed sheet magazine is greatly limited. In the case of an excessively large number of printed sheets, the pressing force caused by gravity on the lowermost sheet is too great, with the result that the lowermost sheet can no longer be pulled off. In order for it to be possible to operate a horizontal sheet feeder of that type in a continuous mode, printed sheets have to be inserted manually into the magazine at small time intervals.

In upright sheet feeders, as is described, for example, in German Published, Prosecuted Patent Application DE-AS 1 265 705, the magazines can be loaded with a greater number of sheets. The sheets stand with their bottom edge on a standing face of the horizontal or slightly inclined magazine. The frontmost sheet is pulled off by a separating apparatus and fed to the processing machine. It is a disadvantage of that feeder variant that the magazine cannot receive any stacks or sheaves, as are formed by folders, and the magazine frequently has to be loaded with further sheets by hand. In that case, the magazine is usually located at an ergonomically unfavorable height.

In addition to the above-described horizontal sheet feeder and upright sheet feeder, two further feeder variants are used which can directly receive stacks, as are formed by folders. European Patent EP 0 844 201 B1, corresponding to U.S. Pat. No. 6,036,186, discloses a stack feeder which receives sheets as a stack on a rear delivery path, conveys them further in an overlapped manner in a loosening zone and provides them as a pile to a separating apparatus. The sheets stand perpendicularly on one of their edges in the pile. Cranes are used in order to load the stack feeder with stacks. The installation of cranes or crane tracks as well as of the stack feeder itself requires a large amount of space and results in high investment costs.

A further feeder variant is represented by the combination of horizontal sheet feeders with so-called stream feeders, as is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,218, for example. Stream feeders are loaded with stacks, in a similar manner to the stack feeders. Individual sheets are transported further through the use of transport belts as far as the horizontal sheet feeder, where a pile having a constant height is provided. Disadvantages of that variant are likewise the necessity to install crane tracks, the great space requirement which results and high investment costs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide an apparatus for feeding sheets to a processing machine and a method for feeding a stack or a bundle of sheets into the apparatus, which overcome the hereinafore-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, an apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a separating apparatus of a processing machine. The apparatus comprises a stacking table having a delivery device for feeding the sheets standing upright on one of their edges to the separating apparatus. The stacking table is divided into a fixed part and a part mounted to be pivotable about a rotational axis. The pivotable part of the stacking table is pivotable through a pivoting movement between an upper position, in which the pivotable part forms substantially one plane with the fixed part of the stacking table, and a lower position at a lower height.

With a slightly higher space requirement than in simple horizontal sheet feeders or upright sheet feeders, the apparatus advantageously affords an inexpensive device for ergonomic loading with small stacks, bundles or sheaves.

Therefore, the apparatus according to the invention for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine, in particular to a gathering and stitching machine, has a stacking table with a delivery device. The sheets stand on one of their edges and are fed to the processing machine through a separating apparatus. The stacking table of the apparatus is divided and has a fixed part and a part which can be pivoted about a rotational axis. In one particularly advantageous embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention, the pivotable part of the stacking table can be pivoted by a pivoting movement from an upper position into a lower position at a lower height. In its upper position, the pivotable part of the stacking table forms virtually one plane with the fixed part of the stacking table. However, small angular deviations in the range of approximately 10 can be tolerated or even desired. A small positive angular deviation contributes to it being possible for the weight of a pile or bundle which is newly introduced into the apparatus for feeding sheets to be used to combine the pile or bundle with the residual pile. The pivotable part of the stacking table can advantageously be locked in at least one upper position and at least one lower position. In the lower position, the apparatus for feeding sheets is loaded with a new pile or bundle of sheets. In the upper position, the new pile or the new bundle is combined with the residual pile. If the pivotable part of the stacking table has further locking positions between its upper position and its lower position, the pivotable part of the stacking table can be adapted to the physical size of the machine operator in an ideal and ergonomic way.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the pivotable part of the stacking table includes receptacles which can pivot about the rotational axis and a table which can be received in the former. For example, the receptacles can be formed from a U-profile and the supporting table can be pushed in. If the supporting table is not required, it can be removed simply.

In accordance with a further alternative and advantageous, relatively simple embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention for feeding sheets to a separating apparatus, a magazine extension which is not pivotable can be plugged onto the fixed stacking table. In this case, the magazine extension and the fixed part of the stacking table form one plane. Both last-mentioned embodiments make it possible to load the apparatus for feeding sheets with small piles by hand if the supporting table is removed or if the magazine extension is removed. In this case, the separating apparatus advantageously remains accessible, in order for it to be possible, for example, to perform setting work or remove faulty sheets.

In accordance with an added advantageous and preferred feature of the invention, the pivoting movement of the pivotable stacking table is assisted by at least one spring, for example a gas spring or a compression spring. This causes less physical loading for the machine operator. In addition or as an alternative to the at least one spring, actuators can also be used, such as hydraulic, pneumatic and electromechanical actuators and/or electric motors.

In accordance with an additional advantageous feature of the invention, the pivotable part of the stacking table of the apparatus for feeding sheets has a holding support for supporting a pile or bundle of sheets in the lower position of the pivotable part of the stacking table. This permits simple insertion of piles or bundles or sheaves into the apparatus.

In accordance with yet another advantageous feature of the apparatus for feeding sheets, a pile holder is attached to the fixed part of the stacking table. This prevents the upright sheets from tipping over.

In accordance with yet a further particularly preferred and advantageous embodiment of the apparatus for feeding sheets, the stacking table has at least one groove which is formed in the delivery direction. The groove serves to receive the strap or band of a pile or a bundle and to make simple removal of the strap or band possible after the strap or band has been severed.

In accordance with yet an added feature of the invention, in different alternative embodiments, the delivery device of the apparatus for feeding sheets can have a feed system with chains, toothed belts or conveyor belts. In this case, the delivery device is advantageously driven by motor and/or mechanically. In one particularly advantageous development of the invention, the feed speed of the delivery device can be controlled in a variable manner. As a result, it is possible to adapt the sheet feed to the performance of the adjoining processing machine. In a first embodiment, the delivery device has a drive. In an alternative embodiment, the delivery device has a drive for the pivotable part of the stacking table and a drive for the fixed part of the stacking table. The drive can be configured in each case as a separate electric drive, for example as a stepping motor, or as a mechanical drive, for example by a coupling to the main drive of the separating apparatus. In one particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention, the feed speed of the sheets can be controlled through a regulating circuit. At least one sensor for determining the size of the residual pile and for determining the advance of the delivery device and, furthermore, the at least one drive of the delivery device, are part of the regulating circuit. Furthermore, it is advantageous if a warning apparatus is connected to the regulating circuit. The warning apparatus indicates that a new pile or a new bundle has to be introduced into the apparatus.

In accordance with yet an additional feature of the invention, in one embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention, the feed system has a free wheel. The latter permits a bundle or a pile to be pushed freely on the stacking table.

With the objects of the invention in view, there is concomitantly provided a method for feeding a stack or bundle of sheets into an apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine. The method comprises:

    • a) moving a pivotable part of a stacking table into a lower position;
    • b) placing a stack or bundle of sheets onto the pivotable part of the stacking table and supporting the stack or bundle on a holding support;
    • c) moving the pivotable part of the stacking table into an upper position;
    • d) displacing the stack or bundle in a delivery direction until a residual pile and the sheets of the stack or bundle form one new pile;
    • e) pivoting a pile holder outward, displacing the pile holder to an end of the new pile, and pivoting the pile holder inward; and
    • f) removing a band from the stack or bundle.

Therefore, a method for feeding a stack or a bundle of sheets into an apparatus for feeding sheets to a processing machine which has a divided stacking table is also part of the invention. In a first step, the pivotable part of the stacking table is pivoted into a lower position. In a second step, a stack or a bundle of sheets is placed onto the pivotable part of the stacking table, with the result that the stack or the bundle is supported on a holding support. In a next step, the pivotable part of the stacking table is moved into its upper position, optionally assisted by springs and/or actuators. In a next step, the stack or the bundle is displaced in the delivery direction until the residual pile and the sheets of the stack or the bundle form a common pile. In a next step, the pile holder of the fixed part of the stacking table is pivoted outward, is displaced as far as the end of the new pile and is pivoted inward again there. In a last step, the band or strap of the stack or the bundle is removed.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in an apparatus for feeding sheets to a processing machine and a method for loading the apparatus, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the figures of the drawings in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is seen an apparatus 1 for feeding sheets 4 made from paper, paperboard and the like to a folded sheet feeder 2. In the folded sheet feeder 2, sheets 4 are separated from a pile which is situated on a part 10 of a stacking table with the aid of tilting suckers 21, gripped by way of grippers 22 and transported along a guide element 25 and by guide rods 24 on a circular path as far as a register stop 23. The sheet 4 is then gripped at its rear edge by suckers 26 and 28 and/or by grippers 27 and 29 of a rear and front opener shaft, is opened and is transferred to a gathering chain 3 of a gathering and stitching machine. Folded sheets 4 are fed to this separating apparatus 2 through the use of the apparatus 1 for feeding folded sheets.

The apparatus 1 has a divided stacking table 10, 11 which includes a fixed part 10 and a pivotable part 11. In this case, the pivotable part 11 of the stacking table can be pivoted about a pivot point or axis S along a pivoting movement a and has receptacles 30 and a table 31. A delivery device 16, for example having transport chains, toothed belts or transport belts as shown, is integrated into both parts 10 and 11 of the stacking table. The delivery device 16 is driven by a first drive motor 17, optionally with a variably controllable feed speed, and has a free wheel integrated into a second drive motor 32.

A holding support 12 for receiving a stack or a bundle, sheaf or batch of folded sheets 5 is attached to the lower part 11 of the stacking table. A sprung pile holder 14, which can pivot in a pivoting direction c and prevents the sheets 4 from tipping over, is attached to the fixed part 10 of the stacking table. A lateral guide 15 is attached to the stacking table in order to guide the sheets 4 laterally on the fixed part 10 of the stacking table. The height of the lateral guide 15 can be adjusted in a direction b. Adaptation to the sheet format is possible as a result.

FIG. 2 shows the same apparatus 1 for feeding folded sheets 4 to the separating apparatus 2. The pivotable part 11 of the stacking table has been pivoted into its upper position along the pivoting movement a, with the result that the fixed part 10 and the pivotable part 11 of the stacking table form one plane. In this case, the pivoting movement a is assisted by a gas spring, motor or actuator 13 which can lock the pivotable part 11 in at least one upper position and at least one lower position. Starting from its position which is shown in FIG. 2, the stack or the bundle of folded sheets 5 is transported through the delivery device 16 in a delivery direction F (see FIGS. 3 and 4) until the stack or the bundle 5 is combined with a residual pile 6 which is formed of the sheets 4. A sensor 33 determines a size of the residual pile 6, and a regulating circuit of a control 34, including the sensor 33 and the drive 17 of the delivery device 16, controls the feed speed.

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the stacking table 10, 11. In this case, the delivery device or feed system 16 can be seen. The pivotable part 11 of the stacking table has two conveyor belts 16b and the fixed part 10 of the stacking table has three conveyor belts 16a. This permits seamless transport of a pile 5 in the delivery direction F from the pivotable part 11 through the fixed part 10 of the stacking table to the folded sheet feeder or sheet separating apparatus 2. The delivery device or feed system 16 of the pivotable part 11 of the stacking table has a groove 16c which makes it possible to remove a strap of a stack or a band of a bundle without problems.

FIG. 4 shows a plan view of an alternative embodiment of an apparatus 1 for feeding folded sheets to a folded sheet feeder or separating apparatus 2. In this case, a magazine extension 18 having two guide rails and having a holding support 12 is plugged onto a fixed part 10 of a stacking table having a delivery device or system 16. A frame of the fixed stacking table 10 has non-illustrated holding rails for receiving the magazine extension 18.

Claims

1. An apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a separating apparatus of a processing machine, the apparatus comprising:
a stacking table having a delivery device for feeding the sheets standing upright on one of their edges to the separating apparatus;
said stacking table being divided into a fixed part and a part mounted to be pivotable about a rotational axis; and
said pivotable part of said stacking table being pivotable through a pivoting movement between an upper position, in which said pivotable part forms substantially one plane with said fixed part of said stacking table, and a lower position at a lower height.
a stacking table having a delivery device for feeding the sheets standing upright on one of their edges to the separating apparatus;
said stacking table being divided into a fixed part and a part mounted to be pivotable about a rotational axis; and
said pivotable part of said stacking table being pivotable through a pivoting movement between an upper position, in which said pivotable part forms substantially one plane with said fixed part of said stacking table, and a lower position at a lower height.
2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pivotable part of said stacking table includes receptacles being pivotable about said rotational axis and a table to be received in said receptacles.
3. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said fixed part of said stacking table adjoins the separating apparatus of the processing machine.
4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said pivotable part of said stacking table is lockable in at least one upper position and at least one lower position.
5. The apparatus according to claim 1, which further comprises at least one of a spring, an actuator or a motor for assisting pivoting movement of said pivotable part of said stacking table.
6. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said pivotable part of said stacking table has a holding support for supporting a stack or bundle of sheets in said lower position of said pivotable part of said stacking table.
7. The apparatus according to claim 1, which further comprises a pile holder attached to said fixed part of said stacking table.
8. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said stacking table has at least one groove formed therein in a delivery direction.
9. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said delivery device has a feed system with chains, toothed belts or conveyor belts.
10. The apparatus according to claim 9, wherein said feed system of said delivery device has a free wheel.
11. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said delivery device is driven by at least one of a motor or mechanically.
12. The apparatus according to claim 11, wherein said delivery device has a variably controllable feed speed.
13. The apparatus according to claim 11, which further comprises a drive for said delivery device.
14. The apparatus according to claim 11, wherein said delivery device has a drive for said pivotable part of said stacking table and a drive for said fixed part of said stacking table.
15. The apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said delivery device has a variably controllable feed speed, a sensor determines a size of a residual pile, and a regulating circuit including said sensor and said drive of said delivery device controls the feed speed.
16. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein said delivery device has a variably controllable feed speed, a sensor determines a size of a residual pile, and a regulating circuit including said sensor and at least one of said drives controls the feed speed.
17. An apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a separating apparatus of a processing machine, the apparatus comprising:
a stacking table having a delivery device for feeding the sheets standing upright on one of their edges to the separating apparatus; and
a magazine extension to be plugged onto said stacking table with said magazine extension and said stacking table forming one plane.
a stacking table having a delivery device for feeding the sheets standing upright on one of their edges to the separating apparatus; and
a magazine extension to be plugged onto said stacking table with said magazine extension and said stacking table forming one plane.
18. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the processing machine is a gathering and stitching machine.
19. The apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the processing machine is a gathering and stitching machine.
20. A method for feeding a stack or bundle of sheets into an apparatus for feeding sheets made from paper, paperboard and the like to a processing machine, the method comprising the following steps:
a) moving a pivotable part of a stacking table into a lower position;
b) placing a stack or bundle of sheets onto the pivotable part of the stacking table and supporting the stack or bundle on a holding support;
c) moving the pivotable part of the stacking table into an upper position;
d) displacing the stack or bundle in a delivery direction until a residual pile and the sheets of the stack or bundle form one new pile;
e) pivoting a pile holder outward, displacing the pile holder to an end of the new pile, and pivoting the pile holder inward; and
f) removing a band from the stack or bundle.
a) moving a pivotable part of a stacking table into a lower position;
b) placing a stack or bundle of sheets onto the pivotable part of the stacking table and supporting the stack or bundle on a holding support;
c) moving the pivotable part of the stacking table into an upper position;
d) displacing the stack or bundle in a delivery direction until a residual pile and the sheets of the stack or bundle form one new pile;
e) pivoting a pile holder outward, displacing the pile holder to an end of the new pile, and pivoting the pile holder inward; and
f) removing a band from the stack or bundle.