Apparatus for packaging and subsequently installing a belt onto a roller assembly

Abstract

A package for storing and shipping a closed photoconductive surfaced belt of the type used in electrostatic copying machines, includes a carrier for carrying the belt under tension while simultaneously providing a cushion for the belt during storing or shipping. The carrier is positioned within a container of the package so that the photoconductive surface of the belt does not contact the interior of the container. The carrier is designed so that when the carrier belt assembly is removed from the container, it can be supported on the end of a roller assembly of the machine, and while so supported, the tension on the belt can be released, and the supported, and released belt can then be moved onto the roller assembly, all of this being accomplished without having to touch the photoconductive surface of the belt.

Claims

1. The combination of: a. a printing machine having a roller assembly, said roller assembly having a plurality of rollers mounting for rotation about at least substantially parallel axes, said roller assembly being adapted to move an endless photoconductive belt around a closed path; b. means including a container for storing said belt until the latter is to be mounted upon said roller assembly, and means adapted to be positioned within said container for expanding and carrying said belt under tension; c. means for supporting said expanding and carrying means on one end of said roller assembly when it is desired to move said belt onto said roller assembly; and, d. wherein said means for expanding and carrying said belt under tension includes means for releasing the tension on said belt while said expanding and carrying means is supported on said roller assembly so that said belt may then be moved onto said roller assembly. 2. The combination according to claim 1, which includes means for preventing at least a portion of the outer surface of said belt from contacting any interior surface of said container when said expanding and carrying means with said belt thereon is placed within said container. 3. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said expanding and carrying means is manufactured from expanded bead polystyrene. 4. The combination according to claim 2, wherein said carrier is manufactured from expanded bead polystyrene. 5. The combination of: a. a roller assembly having a plurality of rotatably mounted rollers, said roller assembly being adapted to move an endless belt around a closed path; b. means including a container for storing said belt until the latter is to be mounted upon said roller assembly, and means adapted to be positioned within said container for expanding and carrying said belt under tension; c. means for supporting said expanding and carrying means on one end of said roller assembly when it is desired to move said belt onto said roller assembly; and, d. wherein said means for expanding and carrying said belt under tension includes means for releasing the tension on said belt while said expanding and carrying means is supported on said roller assembly so that said belt may then be moved onto said roller assembly.
United States Patent Meyer APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING AND SUBSEQUENTLY INSTALLING A BELT ONTO A ROLLER ASSEMBLY Edwin A. Meyer, Fairport, NYv Xerox Corporation, Stamford, Conn. Filed: Feb. 12, 1973 Appl. No.: 331,400 Inventor: Assignee: US. Cl 355/3 R; 206/303; 355/16 Int. Cl. 603g 15/00; 865d 71/00 Field of Search 355/3 R, I6, I33; 206/303, References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l0/l950 .lanney 206/303 1 June 10, 1975 Primary ExaminerRichard L. Moses Attorney, Agenl, 0r FirmJames .l. Ralabate; Earl T. Reichert [57] ABSTRACT A package for storing and shipping a closed photoconductive surfaced belt of the type used in electrostatic copying machines, includes a carrier for carrying the belt under tension while simultaneously providing a cushion for the belt during storing or shipping. The carrier is positioned within a container of the package so that the photoconductive surface of the belt does not contact the interior of the container. The carrier is designed so that when the carrier belt assembly is removed from the container, it can be supported on the end of a roller assembly of the machine, and while so supported, the tension on the belt can be released, and the supported, and released belt can then be moved onto the roller assembly, all of this being accomplished without having to touch the photoconductive surface of the belt. 5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING AND SUBSEQUENTLY INSTALLING A BELT ONTO A ROLLER ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a package for storing and shipping an endless (closed) photoconductive surfaced belt (web) of the type used on electrostatic copying machines (copiers) so that the belt and its photoconductive surface will not be damaged during storage or shipment; it also relates to both a means and a method for mounting the belt onto a roller assembly of the machine without damaging the belt by touching the photoconductive surface of the belt. In the practice of xerography as described in US. Pat. No. 2,297,69l to Chester F. Carlson, a xerographic surface comprising a layer of photoconductive insulating material affixed to a conductive backing is used to support electrostatic images. In the usual method of carrying out the process, the xerographic surface is electrostatically charged uniformly over its surface and then exposed to a light pattern of the image being reproduced to thereby discharge the charge in the areas where light strikes the layer. The undischarged areas of the layer thus form an electrostatic charge pattern or latent image in conformity with the configuration of the original pattern. The latent electrostatic image may then be developed by contacting it with a finely divided electrostatically attractable material, such as a resinous powder. The powder is held in the image areas by the electrostatic fields on the layer. Where the field is greatest, the greatest amount of material is deposited; and where the field is least, little or no material is deposited. Thus, a powder image is produced in conformity with the image of the copy being reproduced. The powder is subsequently transferred to a sheet of paper or other transfer member and suitably affixed thereto to thereby form a permanent print. The latest concept for copiers utilizes high speed flash exposure of a document, and a moving photocnductive material in the form of an endless belt which is continuously charged. Additionally, such copiers are provided with a developing system which supplies toner particles in relatively large quantities for solid area coverage, such as a magnetic brush developing apparatus. Thus, after the belt passes the magnetic brush assembly for example, a xerographic powder image is formed on the belt which corresponds to the electrostatic latent image. This powder image is then transferred to a support surface (eg. a sheet of paper) to which it is fused by a fusing assembly whereby the powder image is caused to adhere to the support surface permanently. As stated above, the latest concept for an electrostatic copier uses a belt having a photoconductive surface. In storing and shipping the belt, and in mounting the belt onto the roller assembly of the copier, it is most important to protect the belt and its photoconductive surface from damage. Consequently, what is needed is a means and method which will prevent this damage with the minimum of time and handling. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a package for safely shipping and storing an endless photoconductive surfaced belt for a copier; it is also directed to a means and method for safely mounting the belt onto the roller assembly of the copier. A package is comprised of a container, a belt carrier (carrier assembly) for carrying and cushioning the belt. the carrier being positioned within the container by a top and a bottom insert which locate the belt so that its photoconductive surface does not contact the interior of the container. The belt is expanded by the carrier so that it is under tension. The carrier has a plurality of legs for supporting the carrier-belt assembly on one end and outwardly of the roller assembly onto which the belt is to be mounted, and a wedge member for releasing (breaking) the tension on the belt while the latter is still supported on the roller assembly. Thus, a person can then move the released and still supported belt inwardly onto the roller assembly without damaging the photoconductive belt by touching the photoconductive surface, or otherwise mishandling the belt. In some instances, the edges of the belt may be quite sharp and the above described means and method for handling the belt minimizes the possibility of injury to the person so handling the belt. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of an electrostatic copier embodying the principles of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a package for storing and shipping an endless photoconductive belt, the package embodying the principles of the present inventron. FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the carrier-belt assembly and how it will be supported outwardly of and on one end of the roller assembly of the copier. FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing two members of the belt carrier removed to release the tension on the photoconductive belt, and showing the still supported, but released belt being moved inwardly onto the roller assembly. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION For a general understanding of a copying or printing machine in which the invention may be incorporated, reference is made to FIG. 1 in which the various system components for the machine are schematically illustrated. As in all electrostatic systems of the type illustrated, a light image of a document to be reproduced is projected onto the sensitized surface of a xerographic plate to form an electrostatic latent image thereon. Thereafter, the latent image is developed with an oppositely charged developing material to form a xerographic powder image, corresponding to the latent image on the plate surface. The powder image is then electrostatically transferred to a support surface to which it may be fused by a fusing device whereby the powder image is caused permanently to adhere to the support surface. In the illustrated machine, an original D to be copied is placed upon the transparent support platen P fixedly arranged in an illumination assembly generally indicated by the reference numeral 10, arranged at the left end of the machine. While upon the platen, an illumination system flashes light rays upon the original thereby producing image rays corresponding to the informational areas on the original. The image rays are projected by means of an optical system for exposing the photosensitive surface of a xerographic plate in the form of a flexible photoconductive belt 12. The surface of the belt was made photosensitive by the previous step of uniformly charging the same by means of a corona charging device 13. In order to effect image processing. the belt 12 is arranged on a roller assembly generally indicated by the reference numeral 14, the roller assembly having three rollers 16. 18, and 20. The roller assembly 14 is slidably mounted upon two support shafts. one of which is secured to the frame of the machine. and is adapted to drive the belt 12 in the direction of the arrow at a constant rate. During this movement of the belt, the reflected light image of an original on the platen is flashed upon the photosensitive surface of the belt to produce electrostatic latent images thereon at an exposure station A. As the belt surface continues its movement. the electrostatic image passes through a developing station B in which there is positioned a developer assembly generally indicated by the reference numeral 15, and which provides development of the electrostatic image by means of multiple brushes 22 as the same moves through the development zone. The development electrostatic image is transported by the belt to a transfer station C where a sheet of copy paper is moved between a transfer roller and the belt at a speed in synchronism with the moving belt in order to accomplish transfer of the developed image solely by an electrical bias on the transfer roller. There is provided at this station a sheet transport mechanism generally indicated at 17 adapted to transport sheets of paper from a paper handling mechanism generally indicated by the reference numeral 24 to the developed image on the belt at the station C. After the sheet is stripped from the belt 12, it is conveyed into a fuser assembly generally indicated by the reference numeral 26, wherein the developed and transferred powder image on the sheet material is permanently afflxed thereto. To lubricate the fuser assembly (i.e. to apply a film of lubricant to one of the fuser rollers), a lubricator 28 is provided. After fusing, the finished copy is discharged from the apparatus at a suit able point for collection externally of the apparatus. Referring to FIG. 2, the package 30 for storing and shipping the belt 12 is illustrated. The package preferably comprises a corrugated container 32, an expanded bead polystyrene carrier 34 for expanding and carrying the belt 12 under tension while simultaneously providing a cushion therefor, a corrugated top insert 36 and a corrugated bottom insert 38 for positioning the carrier, and consequently, the belt, within the container. The inserts each have openings 40 located therein which mate with legs 42 on each end of the carrier (see FIG. 3 also), these inserts being dimensioned to pre vent any substantial movement of the carrier-belt assembly 43 within the container, and to prevent the photoconductive surface 44 on the belt from contacting the interior surfaces of container 34. Expanded bead polystyrene is used for the carrier because this material does not adversely affect the photoconductive surface 44 of the belt; other suitable materials might also be used. The photoconductive surface 44 of the belt is subject to damage by touching the same during han dling there being only a slight border 46 around each end of the belt which is not photoconductive. Thus, the package 30 is designed as a "total system for permitting the storing and shipping of the belt 12, and for easily mounting the belt onto the roller assembly 14, while simultaneously minimizing unnecessary handling of the belt and the possibility of damage thereto. Also, in addition to the photoconductive surface 44, the flexible belt itself is rather delicate. and the possibility of otherwise damaging the belt is also minimized. In some instances. the edges 48 of the belt are very sharp. and the present invention minimizes the possibility of injury to one who is handling the belt. To illustrate how the belt 12 is mounted on the roller assembly 14, reference is had to FIGS. 3 and 4 in particular. After the carrier-belt assembly 43 is removed from the container 32, it is supported on the latter by inserting the two upper legs 42 (as viewed in FIG. 3 into the openings 50 of the roller assembly 14. As viewed in FIGS. 3 and 4, the roller assembly has been slidably moved out of the machine in order to mount the belt 12 thereon. For additional details of the roller assembly itself, reference may be had to US. Pat. No. 3,698,540. It is sufficient at this point to indicate that roller 16 is mounted so that it can be retracted when moving the belt onto the roller assembly. Because of various interferences on the face 52 of the roller assembly, the legs 42 are dimensioned both with respect to their lengths and diameters so that the carrier-belt assembly 43 is supported on the roller assembly so that the belt 12 can be moved onto the roller assembly with relative ease, and with the minimum of handling. After the belt 12 is supported outwardly of the end of the roller assembly 14, the tension on the belt is released by removing wedge member 54 and lower body member 56 (as viewed in FIGS. 3 and 4) of the carrier while upper body member 56 remains supported on the roller assembly. Thus, the released belt is now supported on the end of the roller assembly. The supported belt is then safely and easily moved inwardly as shown onto the roller assembly without having to touch the photoconductive surface 44 or edges 48 of the belt, after which the roller 16 is moved from its retracted position to place the belt 12 under tension. It is noted that the ribs 55 of the wedge member are designed so as to prevent lateral movement of the wedge when the carrier is assembled. Thus, it can be seen that the present invention allows a flexible belt to be handled (with respect to packaging, unpackaging, and mounting the belt onto a roller assembly), shipped and stored safely and easily while also minimizing the possibility of damage to the belt; it also requires a minimum of parts, and no special tools for mounting the belt onto a roller assembly. What is claimed is: 1. The combination of: a. a printing machine having a roller assembly, said roller assembly having a plurality of rollers mounting for rotation about at least substantially parallel axes, said roller assembly being adapted to move an endless photoconductive belt around a closed path; b. means including a container for storing said belt until the latter is to be mounted upon said roller assembly, and means adapted to be positioned within said container for expanding and carrying said belt under tension; . means for supporting said expanding and carrying means on one end of said roller assembly when it is desired to move said belt onto said roller assembly; and, d. wherein said means for expanding and carrying said belt under tension includes means for releasing the tension on said belt while said expanding and carrying means is supported on said roller assembly so that said belt may then be moved onto said roller assembly. 2. The combination according to claim I, which includes means for preventing at least a portion of the outer surface of said belt from contacting any interior surface of said container when said expanding and carrying means with said belt thereon is placed within said container. 3. The combination according to claim 1., wherein said expanding and carrying means is manufactured from expanded bead polystyrene. 4. The combination according to claim 2, wherein said carrier is manufactured from expanded bead polystyrene. 5. The combination of: a. a roller assembly having a plurality of rotatably mounted rollers, said roller assembly being adapted to move an endless belt around a closed path; b. means including a container for storing said belt until the latter is to be mounted upon said roller assembly. and means adapted to be positioned within said container for expanding and carrying said belt under tension; c. means for supporting said expanding and carrying means on one end of said roller assembly when it is desired to move said belt onto said roller assembly; and, (1. wherein said means for expanding and carrying said belt under tension includes means for releasing the tension on said belt while said expanding and carrying means is supported on said roller assembly so that said belt may then be moved onto said roller assembly.

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Patent Citations (1)

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