Apparatus and Method for Producing Printed Mailings

- Mathias Bauerle GmbH

An apparatus for producing a printed mailing has an accumulator module in which an envelope and an insert are compiled to a set. In a folding module arranged downstream of the accumulator module, the set is folded to form the printed mailing. In the accumulator module the envelope is positioned displaced relative to the insert and the set is folded at least twice in the folding module. In the method for producing a printed mailing, an envelope and an insert are complied to a set. The envelope is positioned such that a first end portion of the envelope projects past the insert transversely to a folding edge. Envelope and insert are folded jointly such that a second end portion of the envelope is positioned between two layers of the folded insert. The first end portion is then folded across a section of the envelope that encloses the insert.

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Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an apparatus for producing printed mailings. The apparatus comprises at least one accumulator module, in which an envelope associated with a printed mailing and an insert are combined to a set, and at least folding module that is arranged downstream of the accumulator module. In the folding module, the printed mailing is produced by at least one folding step.

The invention further relates to a method for producing a printed mailing, in which an envelope and an insert are combined to a set and the printed mailing is produced from the set by at least one folding step.

Such printed mailings are, for example, bank account statements that are mailed, inserted in an envelope, by a bank. The envelope is formed from a sheet onto which the bank account statements are placed in a slanted position. Subsequently, the triangular areas of the sheet that project past the bank account statements are folded across the bank account statements and connected to each other. In this way, the envelope is formed that encloses the bank account statements. Since the bank account statements are placed in slanted position onto the sheet that forms the envelope and the projecting triangular areas of the sheet each must be folded, the apparatus for producing such a printed mailing as well as the production process are accordingly complex.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to configure an apparatus of the aforementioned kind and a method of the aforementioned kind such that a printed mailing can be produced in a simple and inexpensive way.

In accordance with the present invention, this is achieved in connection with the apparatus in that, in the accumulator module, the envelope is arranged offset (displaced or staggered) relative to the insert and the entire set comprised of envelope and insert is folded at least twice by means of the folding module.

In accordance with the present invention, this is achieved in connection with the method in that the envelope is projecting transversely to the folding edge past the insert with a first end portion, in that the envelope and the insert are folded jointly such that a second end portion of the envelope that is opposite the first end portion is positioned between two layers of the folded insert, and that the projecting first end portion is folded across the section of the envelope that encloses the insert.

In the apparatus according to the invention, the envelope is positioned relative to the insert in the accumulator module in a displaced (staggered or offset) position relative to the transport direction of the envelope through the apparatus. The thus formed set comprised of envelope and insert is subsequently folded in the folding module at least twice. In this connection, the envelope and the insert are folded at the same time. For folding the insert, it is therefore not necessary to provide a separate folding module. Since the insert and the envelope are placed on top of each other with offset or displacement provided only in the transport direction, the folding process is very simple. After the folding process, the envelope encloses the insert.

In an advantageous embodiment, the insert and the envelope are produced from the same web of material by means of at least one cutting unit. In this case, it is preferred that the web of material is already printed so that after the printed mailing has been produced by folding, there is no need for a further printing operation.

Advantageously, the accumulator module has positioned upstream thereof at least one loading module. The loading module serves as a storage unit in which the inserts and the envelopes can be stored. In this way, it is advantageously ensured that, even for a changing number of insert sheets per printed mailing, a continuous supply of inserts and envelopes to the folding module is ensured.

It is advantageous to arrange upstream of the accumulator module at least one stacking module. By means of the stacking module, the inserts and envelopes are first stacked and subsequently individualized. The inserts and envelopes that belong to a set are compiled and supplied to the accumulator module in which this set is formed and then transferred to the folding module. In the step of individualizing, codes that are provided on the insert and/or the envelope and contain data for further processing within the apparatus can be read. Based on this read-out information, the apparatus according to the invention can perform automatically the required processing steps for compiling the appropriate set from the inserts and envelopes, for example, by adjusting the displacement (offset) between insert and envelope in accordance with their respective size and determining the position of the folding edges during the folding process. In this connection, the stacking module is advantageously downstream of the loading module, i.e., is located between the loading module and the accumulator module.

In order to ensure a simple configuration and a problem-free transport of inserts and envelopes through the apparatus, the modules of the apparatus are advantageously arranged sequentially in a row behind each other. In this way, the inserts and the envelopes during their transport through the apparatus must not carry out any change in their transport direction. In this way, the reliability of the apparatus for producing printed mailings is significantly increased.

Advantageously, the web of material is cut with the cutting unit transverse to its longitudinal direction so that the envelope and/or the insert are produced from the web. It is advantageous when from the web the envelope as well as the insert are cut. However, it is also possible that the web provides only the envelope or only the inserts that are to be cut from the web by the cutting unit. In this case, the inserts or the envelopes, as the case may be, are supplied separately to the accumulator module.

The method according to the invention is characterized in that the envelope projects transversely to the folding edge past the insert with a first end portion. The envelope and the insert are then folded jointly such that the other (second) end portion of the envelope is positioned between two layers of the folded insert. The projecting first end portion is subsequently folded across the section of the envelope that is enclosing the insert. In this way, the insert is completely enclosed by the envelope. With the method according to the invention, in a simple way the insert as well as the envelope are folded simultaneously. The insert is then completely enclosed by the envelope.

The envelope and the insert of the set are advantageously folded at least twice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a plan view in schematic illustration of the apparatus according to the invention for producing mailing-ready printed mailings.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of the transport path through the apparatus according to FIG. 1 of the sheets for producing the printed mailing.

FIG. 3 illustrates various folding steps for producing the mailing-ready printed mailing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The apparatus has a supply device 1 with which a paper web 2 is supplied. The paper web 2 is supplied to a cutting unit 3 that cuts the paper web 2 into individual paper sheets 4, 5. The cutting action is carried out transversely to the transport direction of the paper web 2. Advantageously, the paper sheets 4, 5 have same size, for example, DIN A4 size (DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung; translation: German Standards Institute). Advantageously, the paper web 2 has a width that is greater than the respective sheet size. It is then possible that the paper sheet 5 that is used for forming the envelope of a printed mailing to be produced is provided at both sides with edge strips or edge portions by means of which the envelope can be closed. The paper sheets 4 that form an insert can have a width that matches the width of the respective sheet size that upon further passage of the paper sheets through the apparatus is produced by means of a cutting module 6.

The sheets 4, 5 produced in the cutting unit 3 are received in a loading module 7 in an imbricated arrangement and are supplied to a downstream stacking module 8. The loading module 7 serves as a sheet storage so that, when the number of documents per printed mailing changes, a continuous supply of sheets 4, 5 for further processing is ensured.

A printed mailing is comprised of the envelope that is produced from the paper sheet 5 as well as the respective insert contained in the envelope. The number of documents or sheets of the insert can differ for each printed mailing, i.e., an insert can be comprised of one or several sheets/documents. The loading module 7 ensures that a continuous supply of individual sheets 4, 5 to the downstream modules of the apparatus is ensured.

In the stacking module 8 the sheets 4, 5 are stacked. By means of a sensor, not illustrated, the respective stack height is detected and, in this way, it is ensured that the stack within the stacking module 8 does not become too tall. In the stacking module 8, the codes that are located on the sheets are moreover read out, for example, by means of at least one camera 9. By means of the code it is determined whether the sheet in question belongs to an insert or is an envelope of the respective printed mailing. Moreover, the code indicates how many sheets/documents belong to the insert of a printed mailing and are to be positioned within an envelope. Further, for example, address data can be read out. By means of the code, further data can be provided also, for example, the required postage.

In the stacking module 8 the sheets 4, 5 are individualized and sequentially supplied to an alignment module 10. In this alignment module 10, the sheets are laterally aligned and supplied to the cutting module 6. Here, the sheets 4 that form the insert are cut to the required size along their sides. The sides of the sheets 5 that form the envelope are not cut.

The sheets 4, 5 reach an accumulator module 11 in which the respective printed mailing is compiled. The data that have been detected or read out, for example, by means of the camera, are evaluated during compilation of the printed mailing and, subsequently, the envelope with the associated insert (one or several sheets) are combined. The sheets 4 that form the insert are stacked. The sheet 5 that forms the envelope is arranged, in transport direction, offset or displaced relative to the sheets 4. This sheet 5 is positioned underneath the sheets 4. Depending on the configuration of the apparatus, first the sheets 4 that form the insert are compiled and, subsequently, the sheet 5 that forms the envelope is transported to a position underneath the sheets 4. However, it is also possible to first transport the sheet 5 into the accumulator module and to then stack the respective paper sheets 4 in displaced position on top of sheet 5. As soon as the sheets 4, 5 that belong to a printed mailing have been combined in the accumulator module 11 to a set, this stack or set is supplied to a downstream folding module 12. Along the transport path to the folding module 12 there is at least one glue application unit 13 with which the edge strips of the sheet 5 forming the envelope are coated or supplied with glue or an adhesive as the sheet 5 is transported to the folding module 12.

The folding module 12 is advantageously a fold plate folder in which the printed mailing, comprised of the sheet 5 forming the envelope and the at least one sheet 4 that forms the insert, is folded. The completed printed mailings 14 leave the folding module 12 for further processing. The printed mailings 14 are advantageously placed in an imbricated or overlapped arrangement on top of each other and are further transported by means of a transport unit 15, for example, transport belts.

The described apparatus is characterized in that the individual modules 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 6, 11, 12, 15 are positioned sequentially in a row behind each other. It is therefore not required to deflect (change direction) of the sheets 4, 5 during their passage through the apparatus. In this way, a simple and problem-free transport of the sheets 4, 5 through the apparatus is ensured.

Should a printed mailing 14 be faulty, it is sorted out in transverse direction immediately behind the folding module 12 and upstream of the transport unit 15.

The folding process within the folding module 12 is possible in a simple way. The entire set of sheets 4 and 5 compiled in the accumulator module 11 is supplied to the folding module 12.

With the aid of FIGS. 2 and 3 the production of the printed mailing from the sheets 4, 5 will be explained. The sheets 4, 5 are stacked in the stacking module 8. They are supplied individually and sequentially, as described above, by means of the alignment module 10 to the cutting module 6. This cutting module 6 has upper and lower cutting rollers 16, 17 with which the edge portions 18, 19 of the sheets 4 that extend in the transport direction are cut off. The edge portions 20, 21 of the sheets 5 forming the envelope of the printed mailing are not cut off laterally. In this case, the cutting rollers 16, 17 of the cutting module 6 are moved upward according to an appropriate processing cycle so that the sheets 5 can be transported farther unimpaired between the cutting rollers 16, 17.

The apparatus is designed such that first the sheets 4 that form the insert are fed to the accumulator module 11. These sheets 4 are stacked congruently on top of each other. Subsequently, the sheet 5 that forms the envelope for the insert (sheets 4) is supplied. By means of the two glue application units 13 the edge portions 20, 21 of the sheet 5 are advantageously provided with glue across their length. The glue application unit 13 can also be designed such that the glue (adhesive) is applied only partially, i.e., at certain locations, for example, in a spot pattern or dot pattern, onto the edge portions 20, 21. In contrast to the glue application across the entire surface of the edge portions 20, 21, this partial glue application has the advantage that the envelope can be opened easily later on. For example, in case of advertisement mailings this special type of glue application is advantageous. However, when the inserts (sheets 4) contain confidential data, then a full-surface application across the entire length of the edge portions 20, 21 of the sheets 5 is preferred.

In the accumulator module 11, the set of a printed mailing is stacked. The sheet 5 is partially overlapped by the sheets 4. The overlap is designed such that the sheet 5, in a direction opposite to the transport direction through the apparatus, projects past the stack that is formed by the sheets 4.

The overlap length 22 is selected such that the projecting end portion 23 of the sheet 5 ensures safe closure of the printed mailing. In the illustrated embodiment, the overlap length 22 is smaller than half the length of the sheet 5 and is, for example, approximately 15% of the length of the sheet 5. The sheets 4 project accordingly by the same length 24 past the sheet 5.

In the folding module 12, the set, comprised of the sheets 4 as insert and the sheet 5 as envelope, is first folded transversely to the longitudinal direction of the sheets about a first folding edge 25. In a second folding step, the set is folded about a second folding edge 26 that is positioned perpendicularly to the longitudinal direction of the sheets 4, 5.

The second folding edge 26 of this set is positioned such that the sheets 4 forming the insert overlap the end portion 27 of the sheet 5 that is opposite the end portion 23. In the last folding step, the projecting end portion 23 of the sheets 5 is folded such that it rests on the section of the sheet 5 that is surrounding the sheets 4. By means of the edge portions 20, 21 having glue applied thereto the sheet 5 is then closed at the edges.

The inserts 4 are folded such that there are three layers resting on each other. The end portion 27 of the sheet 5 is positioned in this connection between two layers of the folded sheets 4. The thus formed printed mailing 14 is then transported farther by means of the transport unit 15.

Since the entire set (sheets 4, 5) is folded jointly in the folding module 12 and the sheet 5 projects at the edges past the insert (sheets 4), the printed mailing 14 can be produced in a simple way within the folding module 12. No complex and complicated folding steps are required. In the illustrated embodiment, the printed mailing 14 is completed in the folding module 12 by a triple folding action of the sheets 4, 5 of the set.

Depending on the width of the paper web 2 different sizes of printed mailings 14 can be produced. When a change from one size to another is to be carried out, the cutting unit 3 as well as the cutting module 6 are dynamically adjusted accordingly so that the sheets 4, 5 are cut to the correct size and can be cut laterally.

In the preferred embodiment, the sheets 4, 5 are substantially of the same size. Only the sheet 5 that forms the envelope is somewhat wider because of its edge portions 20, 21 than the sheets 4 whose edge portions 18, 19 have been cut off in the cutting module 6.

The glue application unit 13 has advantageously arranged downstream thereof a curing unit (not illustrated) with which the applied glue or adhesive is partially cured. Since the adhesive or glue has not yet been completely cured, the sheet 5 can be adhesively connected (glued) within the folding module 12.

Even though in the preceding description and also in the following paper sheets are mentioned, the web of material 2 can also be comprised of materials other than paper, for example, the web 2 can be a plastic film, a multi-layer (composite) paper material, a composite film or the like.

Within the accumulator module 11, there is at least one stop where the sheets 4 will come to rest during stacking. The feed action of the sheet 5 forming the envelope can advantageously be realized by computerized program control. The computerized control unit of the apparatus is supplied with information in regard to the dimensions of the web 2 and the employed size of the sheets 4, 5 so that, dynamically and automatically, the projecting portion 22 of the sheet 5 in the accumulator module 11 can be adjusted.

The web 2 in the described embodiment is preferably printed so that after the cutting process the sheets 4, 5 that have been compiled to a set must only be folded after compilation. However, it is also possible, for example, to print only those areas of the web 2 from which the sheets 4 of the inserts are to be cut. The areas of the web 2 that are provided for forming the envelope 5 are not printed. Only once the printed mailing 14 has been produced, the desired printed information is printed onto the printed mailing 14 and thus onto the appropriate portion of the sheet 5.

When the part of the web 2 that forms the sheets 5 is not printed, it is also possible to apply address labels onto the printed mailing 14.

In a further embodiment, not illustrated, it is possible to print the sheets 4, 5 after they have been cut from the web 2. In this case, for example, between the cutting unit 3 and the loading module 7 a printing unit is arranged in which the individual sheets 4, 5 are printed accordingly. In this case, the printing unit has a scanner, a camera, of the like with which the codes on the sheets can be read based on these codes, the required printed information is printed at the desired location. The appropriate data are supplied to the printing unit that then carries out the appropriate printing action.

The sheets 4, 5 can already be precut so that the apparatus parts (modules) 1, 3, 7, 8, 10 and 6 are not necessarily needed. For example, instead of these apparatus parts a printing device with different trays can be provided in which the sheets 4 and 5 are stored. The sheets are removed from these trays by computerized program control and then fed to the accumulator module 11. Here, as described above, the sheets 4 and 5 are compiled to a set to form a printed mailing 14 wherein the sheet 5 in the described way then overlaps the sheet or sheets 4 of the insert. The thus formed set is fed to the folding module 12 in which the folding action that has been explained in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3 is carried out.

In the described embodiments, the sheets 4, 5 are transported each in longitudinal direction of the apparatus sequentially behind each other. Of course, it is also possible to supply the sheets 4 as separate inserts in the area of the accumulator module 11. In this case, the sheets 4 are transported, for example, transversely to the transport direction of the sheets 5 or, on a second transport device, in the same direction as the sheets 5 into the accumulator module 11. Here, the set comprised of the sheets 4, 5 that form the printed mailing 14 are combined and, subsequently, the set is folded in the folding module 12 to the completed printed mailing 14.

When the sheets 4 forming the inserts are not produced from the same web 2 as the sheets 5, the sheets 4 can be comprised of a different material in comparison to the sheets 5 forming the envelope.

The sheets 4 forming the inserts must not have the same size as the sheets 5. The sheets 4 can also have a smaller length than the sheets 5. However, they must have a length sufficient for performing the described folding process. As can be seen easily in FIG. 3, the sheets 4 can indeed be shorter. In this situation, the sheets 5 during the folding process can still be wrapped about the sheets 4 such that a closed printed mailing 14 results.

The specification incorporates by reference the entire disclosure of German priority document 10 2010 050 454.8 having a filing date of Oct. 25, 2010.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the inventive principles, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.

Claims

1. An apparatus for producing a printed mailing, the apparatus comprising:

at least one accumulator module in which an envelope and an insert are compiled to a set;
at least one folding module arranged downstream of the at least one accumulator module, wherein the set compiled in the at least one accumulator module is folded to form the printed mailing;
wherein in the accumulator module the envelope is positioned displaced relative to the insert and the set is folded at least twice in the at least one folding module.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising at least one cutting unit that cuts the insert and the envelope from a same web of material.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, comprising at least one loading module arranged downstream of the at least one cutting unit, wherein the cutting unit cuts the web of material transversely to a longitudinal direction of the web of material.

4. The apparatus according to claim 1, comprising at least one stacking module arranged upstream of the at least one accumulator module.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1, comprising at least one loading module arranged upstream of the at least one accumulator module and at least one stacking module arranged upstream of the at least one accumulator module.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the at least one loading module, the at least one stacking module, the at least one accumulator module, and the at least one folding module are arranged sequentially in a row behind each other.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1, comprising at least one loading module arranged upstream of the at least one accumulator module.

8. A method for producing a printed mailing, the method comprising the steps of:

compiling an envelope and an insert to a set;
positioning the envelope such that a first end portion of the envelope projects past the insert transversely to a folding edge;
folding the envelope and the insert jointly such that a second end portion of the envelope located opposite the first end portion of the envelope is positioned between two layers of the folded insert; and
folding the first end portion across a section of the envelope that encloses the insert.

9. The method according to claim 8, wherein the envelope is wider than the insert.

10. The method according to claim 9, further comprising the step of applying an adhesive at least partially onto projecting edge portions of the envelope.

11. The method according to claim 8, wherein the envelope and the insert are jointly folded at least twice.

Patent History

Publication number: 20120096810
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 19, 2011
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2012
Applicant: Mathias Bauerle GmbH (St. Georgen)
Inventors: Gerhard Heisel (Hardt), Jürg Paul Haller (Madrid), Patric Schuldis (St. Georgen)
Application Number: 13/276,417

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Folding (53/429); Sheet Material Or Garments (53/117)
International Classification: B65B 63/04 (20060101);