Image Number 5 for United States Patent #5875949.
A processing apparatus for performing work operations on a sheet material includes a frame, and an advancing mechanism for feeding the sheet material through the apparatus. Additionally, an elongated tool head support is provided on the frame carries a tool head which moves along the support's length during a work operation. A retaining device such as, a magnetic or spring actuated clamp is also attached to the frame for retaining the sheet material as it is fed out of the processing apparatus. The use of the retaining device combined with the advancement of the sheet material causes the formation of a vertical loop in the material. The vertical loop causes the speed at which the advancing material approaches the floor or other horizontal surface to be reduced, thereby causing a concomitant reduction in the impact force of the sheet material with the floor. In addition, the vertical loop formed by the retained sheet provides a cushioning effect, further reducing the generated impact force. Accordingly, shock waves generated in the sheet material as a result of the impact with the floor are minimized.