CARD FEED MECHANISM In the preferred embodiment, the wrap spring clutch
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION f ^ " ... ^"Yh «ne —
lution of an associated output shaft on which the rcgis
Thc present invention relates to u feed mechanism ter roll is mounted and to which the pusher blade is mefor punch cards and the like and more particularly to 5 chanically linked by means of a cam follower assembly, a feed mechanism adapted to rapidly advance a punch This results in turn in one revolution of the register roll card, or like sheet material, from a supply and very ac- and correspondingly one reciprocative cycle of the curately position each punch card with respect to a ref- pusher blade. The register roll and its cooperating erence point within an associated data processing sys- pinch roll engage the punch card and advance it to tern such that subsequent operations including the 10 within a short incremental distance of final registration punching and printing of the punch card may be per- with respect to the indexing system at the work station, formed with a high degree of accuracy, i.e., with assur- As the trailing edge of the punch card passes the center ancc that the punch card is properly positioned to re- !inc of the register roll and associated pinch roll, i.e., ccive such information. "drops-off" the rollers, the cam controlled pusher Accurate positioning of a punch card during the 15 blade picks up the trailing edge of the card and carries preparation thereof very measurably influences the rel- the card into fmal registration with the indexing means ative degree of accuracy with which the information comprising a portion of the work station, stored therem mav later be interrogated. Thus, the in- A significant feature of the register roll assembly constant invention is pertinent both with respect to the ini- cerns the provision of a substantially flat section on the rial positioning of punch cards during the preparation 20 Periphery of the register roll. At the beginning and etui thereof and also subsequent thereto when the cards are of each operative cycle of the subject advancement and being interrogated positioning mechanism the flat section of the register An equally important consideration in the design of ro11 ,s Positioned parallel to the path of travel of the a punch card positioning mechanism is the speed and „ Punch card-Thc rcsu,ti,nt scParat,on bclwcen thc rc^ flexibility with which punch cards may be transferred "5 «ster roll and thc pmch roll permits a substantial portion , . ,• , . T, . of a punch card, being advanced by independent means troni one work station to the next. I hus, whereas some' "-'
.... . . , ■ ,u trom an input hopper, to pass therethrough prior to thc
prior art devices have concentrated on improving the ....' rr ■ r » _ t
• , , - , . . ... , , initiation ot an operative evele or the register roll as
accuracy with which a card is positioned thev have - , , , b ,.
. semhly. In this manner, the path length or distance ot
done so at the expense ot speed and/or flexibility. One ,-,, .
, . , ... r. travel of a punch card trom the time it leaves the cart!
such prior art approach is that disclosed in U.S. fat. . . , , , . ., . .
'.,, , ,. , . stripping and advancement mechanism until it is rccis
No. 3,276,774 which makes use ot a shuttle arrange- , ,. , . ,"
, . , , , . , . .. r tercd at the succeeding work station, mav be substan
nient in which a punch card, after being released trom ... , . .... ... .... ". ,'
. , , , , , tially reduced, i his feature further permits a punch
an input hopper is advanced column-by-column - , . ... , ..f .'
r rt . card to be advanced therethrough without any need tor
through an associated punch station. Although the - • -. . n 'u i
e r . . - equipping the unit with potentially expensive hardware
aforementioned positioning and advancing technique is . , . . . .. .
v b ■ otherwise required to pivot the register roll or alterna
very accurate, the shuttling arrangement is relatively tivc|y its coopcrallng pmch ro„, out of the path of thc
slow and the design permits very limited control to be advancing punch card.
exercised over the punch card once it has been released Anothcr fcaturc facilitating thc uninhibited passage
irom the input hopper. 40 of a puncn cafd bcing advanced from lhe suppiy to lhe
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION work station concerns the flexure mounted nature of
the pusher blade. The pusher blade is designed to recip
The present invention overcomes the deficiencies of rocatc in the patn of lravel of the punch card; however,
the prior art in that a punch card after being delivered thc blade is equipped with ramp shaped surfaces and is
from an input hopper is advanced to a visible station 45 mountcd on a flexib|c spring steel member such that
where previously entered information may be visually thc b!adc js readi!y movcd aside by an oncoming card
observed by the operator. The punch card remains in and continucs jls reciprocatory motion on the face of
the visible station until released by thc operator at the punch card without apparent damage thereto,
which time the card is advanced to the next work sta Tne positioning mechanism of the present invention
tion. In the preferred embodiment of the present inven- 50 should not be confused with simpler prior art arrange
tion the succeeding work station comprises a punch ments which rc]y on the use of the ieading edge of a
mechanism, the punch card being advanced thereto punch card for reference purposes. Such arrangements
and accurately positioned with respect to indexing very conveniently interpose a stop in thc path of a
means comprising a part of the punch station. punch card to assure the accurate positioning thereof.
One of the particular features of interest of the pres- - An example of such a leading edge positioning device
ent invention concerns the construction details of the ;s disclosed in thc U.S. patent to Suzuki et al, Pat. No.
mechanism for rapidly advancing and accurately posi- 3,636,316. Although much more simple to implement,
tiomng the punch card with respect to the indexing sys- leading edge referencing techniques have other defi
tcm at the punch station. This mechanism hereinafter ciencies which limit their usefulness in data processing
referred to as the register roll assembly includes a regis- equipment.
ter roll and a synchronously driven pusher blade both The alternative technique, and that employed in the
being activated by a single-cycle wrap-spring clutch practice of the present invention, utilizes the trailing
The rapid advancement of the punch card is accom- edge of the punch card for reference purposes. It
plished bv the register roll and a cooperating pinch roll. should be understood that switching between leading
The pusher blade executes a reciprocative motion and trailing edge techniques within a single system is
whereby the punch card is advanced into final registra- not permitted and once a commitment is made to refer
tion at a work station. ence positions on the punch card with respect to the