Image Number 2 for United States Patent #4469266.
An improved continuous web handling apparatus and method for printing, handling, collating and final processing of multiple-page printed items such as business forms or the like is provided which employs separate, shiftable, track-mounted web supports having individual, pivotal, spring-biased web keepers to facilitate accurate, continuous draping of printed webs onto the supports for subsequent handling and processing thereof. In preferred forms, the apparatus includes a web fed printing press which continuously feeds printed web to a draping station adjacent the conveyor track; the draping station includes a novel, vacuum air pickup bar intermittently rotated by a five-lobe internal geneva gear mechanism, along with actuating apparatus which pivots the respective web keepers open during initial stages of web drapage and thereafter allows the keepers to close against and hold the web in place. A plurality of webs can be draped one on top of the other on the supports and/or printed on both sides thereof and thereafter removed from the supports for additional processing at speeds economical for short run printing, without fear that the webs will become unacceptably misaligned. The air pickup bar includes an improved web-engaging resilient suction pad, and internal structure for varying the number of bar ports subjected to vacuum or pressure conditions (in order to effectively handle webs of various widths). The web supports are bidirectionally shiftable, and the keepers can be operated during travel in either direction.