APPARATUS FOR STORING PHOTOGRAPHIC
FILMS AND PRINTS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to apparatus for pack- 5 ing or storing photographic films and prints which are obtained from such films. More particularly, the invention relates to apparatus for simultaneous storage of exposed and developed photographic customer films which are processed in the form of a continuous web 10 wherein successive films are spliced to each other endto-end, and photographic prints which are made from the films and also form a continuous web or strip.
At the present time, exposed photographic films are subdivided into sections of desired length and are in- 15 serted into customer envelopes together with the corresponding prints. Such insertion of films and corresponding prints into envelopes is carried out exclusively by hand which contributes significantly to the cost of the packing or storing operation. Moreover, the 20 information pertaining to customers must be stored and processed independently of the films and prints in order to insure that each customer is billed for the development, printing and mailing.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An object of the invention is to provide an automatic apparatus for introduction of prints and corresponding exposed and developed photographic films into containers which are ready for shipment to customers.
Another object of the invention is to provide a film and print storing or packing apparatus which can be directly coupled with an automatic printing or copying machine serving to make prnts from exposed and developed photographic customer films.
A further object of the invention is to provide a packing or storing apparatus wherein the containers for films and corresponding prints can be produced at the same rate at which the apparatus processes the films and corresponding prints.
An object ojct of the invention is to provide a novel method of storing films and corresponding prints in containers in such a way that the information which is stored on films can be read or decoded subsequent to introduction of films into containers.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a storing or packing apparatus wherein the films can be stored with or without subdivision, in flat or convoluted condition, and with minimal space requirements.
A further object of the invention is to provide the apparatus with novel means for automatically computing the information pertaining to customer films and prints and for automatically labelling the containers and printing invoices for the customers.
The apparatus of the present invention is used for storage or packing (in first and second compartments of containers) exposed and developed photographic films which form a web of interconnected films and prints which are reproduced from such films and form a continuous strip of interconnected prints. The apparatus comprises first and second advancing means for respectively transporting a web of interconnected films and a strip of interconnected prints along first and second predetermined paths, first severing means adjacent to the first path for subdividing the web of interconnected films into discrete films (whereby the discrete films may but need not be subdivided into sections of
desired length), inserting means for introducing successively severed films into the first compartments of successive containers, second severing means adjacent to the second path and arranged to subdivide the strip into shorter sections each of which preferably constitutes a discrete print, and second inserting means for introducing the thus obtained shorter sections of the strip into the second compartments of containers for the respective films.
In accordance with a more specific feature of the invention, the first inserting means may comprise winding means which convolutes successive films of the web into rolls which are thereupon introduced into the first compartments of successive containers. The insertion of films into the first compartments may but need not precede the introduction of corresponding prints into the second compartments of the respective containers.
The apparatus preferably further comprises a source of sheet-like synthetic plastic material and a deepdrawing device or other suitable molding means for converting successive lengths of such plastic material into empty containers each of which has a first compartment for a film and a second compartment for the corresponding prints.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved apparatus itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic side elevational view of a packing or storing apparatus which embodies the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse vertical sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line II—II of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line III—HI of FIG. 2, further showing an empty tube which is ready to receive a roll of exposed and developed customer film.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown an apparatus which is utilized for introduction of exposed and developed photographic films F into first pockets or compartments 23a and for introduction of corresponding prints P into second compartments or pockets 23b of synthetic plastic customer containers 23. The apparatus comprises a housing or frame 1 which supports two horizontal shafts 2a, 3a which may but need not be driven by suitable drive means, not shown. The shaft 2a supports a roll 2 of convoluted strip S which consists of a row of prints of images on the frames of associated photographic films F. A continuous web W of such films forms a roll 3 which is stored on the shaft 3a. The web W is formed by splicing the films F end-to-end prior to introduction into a developing machine (not shown) and thereupon into a printing or copying machine (not shown) wherein the images of film frames are reproduced on the strip S. If desired, the shafts 2a, 3a can be omitted and the web W as well as the strip S can be fed into the packing or storing apparatus di