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Title:
EASY-FILE SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/024979
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus, for example a paper punch, has at least one punch for creating an aperture in a piece of sheet material. The apparatus includes means for facilitating the filing of a punched article (1), such as paper sheets and the like, by creating a slit which extends from the aperture in the punched sheet to the edge of the sheet. The apparatus may comprise a paper punch having a body (8), punch means (9) and slit creating means (10). Perforation holes (2) made by the paper punch are additionally provided with slits (3) starting from the holes (2) and projecting outwardly and toward the nearest extreme edge of the punched article (1). A variety of slit creating means, creating slits of various shapes and angles (with the nearest edge of the paper), may be used. The slits (3) allow for the punched article (1) to be inserted into or removed from a ring binder (6) without opening the two halves of the binder. Alternatively, complete unbroken rings can be used with the binder.

Inventors:
Ang, Teck Hua (Blk 582 53 Pasir Ris Street 53 #12-21 Singapore 2, 51058, SG)
Application Number:
PCT/SG1999/000101
Publication Date:
April 12, 2001
Filing Date:
October 05, 1999
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Temasek, Polytechnic (21 Tampines Avenue 1 Singapore 7, 52975, SG)
Ang, Teck Hua (Blk 582 53 Pasir Ris Street 53 #12-21 Singapore 2, 51058, SG)
International Classes:
B26D9/00; B26F1/04; B26F1/12; B26F1/36; B42F3/00; (IPC1-7): B26F1/12; B26D9/00; B26F1/04; B26F1/36; B42F3/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1998026941A1
Foreign References:
GB418607A
US4595309A
FR871385A
DE9304127U1
US2356046A
US2267517A
US3521515A
US3416396A
US1385832A
US2029624A
DE73807C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ELLA CHEONG & G. MIRANDAH (P.O. Box 0931 Raffles City Singapore 2, 91173, SG)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Apparatus for creating at least one aperture in sheet material, the apparatus comprising punch means movable from a first position in which a sheet of material may be inserted into and removed from the apparatus into a second position in which the punch means extends through any such material inserted into the apparatus, the apparatus further comprising a slit creating means for creating in the sheet material a slit which extends from the aperture to the region of an edge of the sheet material.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, in which the apparatus is so arranged that said slit extends from an aperture formed by the punch means to the edge of the sheet material.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, in which the slit creating means is arranged to form said slit as the punch means is moved from its first into its second position.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, in which the slit creating means is attached to the punch means.
5. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, in which the apparatus includes a body to which the punch means is attached and a forming hole and slit forming aperture into which the punch means and slit creating means respectively extends when the punch means is in its second position.
6. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, in which the punch means comprises two punches, and the slit forming means comprises two slit forming members, each cooperating with a respective punch, the arrangement being such that the apparatus is operable to create two apertures and corresponding slits in a piece of sheet material in one movement of the punch means from the first to the second position.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6, in which the slit creating means is arranged to create two slits which are non parallel and/or non linear.
8. Apparatus according to any of the preceding claims, in which the slit creating means is movable relative to the punch means to enable the apparatus to be used to create further apertures in a piece of sheet material without also forming said slits.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8, in which the slit creating means is removable.
10. Apparatus according to claim 8 or claim 9, in which the apparatus includes one or more apertures, into which the slit creating means extend when the punch means is in its second position, wherein said slit aperture is formed in a member which is interchangeable with another similar member having a differently shaped aperture.
11. A paper punch comprising apparatus according to any of the preceding claims.
12. Document storage apparatus comprising a paper punch according to claim 11, and a ring file for storing sheets of paper in which holes and slits have been formed by said punch, the ring file having rings, on which the sheets are retained.
13. Apparatus according to claim 11, in which the rings are not openable.
14. Apparatus for creating at least one aperture in sheet material, the apparatus comprising punch movable from a first position, in which a sheet of material may be inserted into and removed from the apparatus into a second position in which the punch means extends through any such sheet, the apparatus further comprising further engagement means for engaging a sheet therein so as to produce a path which extends from said aperture to the region of the edge of the sheet and which offers reduced resistance to the passage of an object therealong.
15. Apparatus according to claim 13, in which the engagement means comprises perforating means for creating a series of perforations in the sheet material said perforations defining said path.
16. A sheet of material having an aperture to enable the sheet to be received on a ring binder and a slit or low resistance path extending from the aperture to the region of the edge of the material to facilitate the removal or insertion of the sheet on a ring binder without opening the ring or rings of the latter.
Description:
EASY-FILE SYSTEM Field of the Invention This invention relates to apparatus for creating at least one aperture in a piece of sheet material, and to document storage apparatus. The invention is particularly, but not exclusively, applicable to paper punches.

Background to the Invention A conventional paper punch has a body and one or more punch elements the number of the elements corresponding to the number of rings or functionally similar elements in a file folder in which the punched article is to be retained. Each punch element is acted on by an upper portion of the body which is pivotally connected to a base and is upwardly biassed by suitable resilient means. When the said upper body is depressed it causes the punch element to move within the body and into the base described hereafter. Each punch element is usually a round rod and is provided with a cutting tip at its lower open end. The body is also connected to the previously mentioned base and has a hole which acts as a punch die and a guide enabling the punch element with the cutting tip to be lowered into said base. The lowering action of the cutting tip shears a diametrical perforation on any article inserted between the body and the base, the diameter of the perforation being roughly equal to the punch rod diameter.

The diameter of the hole is within known shear tolerance to enable a shear to be provided to the punched articles which are commonly laminar in form, for example sheets of paper, cards and plastic sheets (but are not limited to these). The punched article can be filed away in a neat and orderly fashion with the aid of the folder.

It is often necessary to insert newly punched articles and remove previously filed articles for review. After the review of such articles, the said articles are usually inserted back into the folder. The process of insertion and removal from known commercially available folders is cumbersome. In a known art of filing for example, ring binders are used. Rings are provided to the folder to form a binding means. Each ring is split at the top of its circumference and normally held closed by resilient means.

When insertion or removal is desired, the normally closed split rings are prized open by the application of a force in opposite directions using the left and right index fingers of the user. The force required is proportional to the resilient closing force, which is a characteristic of the construction of the binder. The disadvantage of this arrangement is that it can be difficult to apply a force which is sufficient to open the split rings.

Another disadvantage is that the opening and closing of the ring halves usually causes a snapping sound which can be distracting and irritating during a lecture or in a classroom.

Summarv of the Invention According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided apparatus for creating at least one aperture in sheet material, the apparatus comprising punch means movable from a first position in which a sheet of material may be inserted into and removed from the apparatus into a second position in which the punch means extends through any such material inserted into the apparatus, the apparatus further comprising a slit creating means for creating in the sheet material a slit which extends from the aperture to the region of an edge of the sheet material.

The aperture (s) created in an article of sheet material (for example a sheet of paper, transparencies, clear plastic refilled pockets) enable the article to be retained on, for example, a ring binder. However, since the apparatus also creates said slit (s), the article can be readily removed from the ring binder without opening the binding rings of the latter and without causing excessive damage to the article.

Preferably, the apparatus is so arranged that said slit extends from an aperture formed by the punch means to the edge of the sheet material.

As a result, an article of sheet material processed by the apparatus can be added to or removed from a closed ring binder without sustaining serious (if any) damage.

Preferably, the slit creating means is arranged to form said slit as the punch means is moved from its first into its second position.

The slit creating means may to advantage be attached to the punch means.

Preferably, the apparatus includes a body to which the punch means is attached and a forming hole and slit forming aperture into which the punch means and slit creating means respectively extend when the punch means is in its second position.

Preferably, the punch means comprises two punches, and the slit forming means comprises two slit forming members, each cooperating with a respective punch, the arrangement being such that the apparatus is operable to create two apertures and corresponding slits in a piece of sheet material in one movement of the punch means from the first to the second position.

The slit creating means may to advantage by arranged to create two slits which are non parallel, and/or non linear.

Such slits enable the article in which they are formed to be relatively securely held on a ring binder since they will tend to resist the removal of the article in a direction perpendicular to the binder's spine. However, the sheet can still be released (without opening the rings) by lifting a flap bounded by the slits and a line between the apertures.

Preferably, apparatus in which the slit creating means is movable relative to the punch means to enable the apparatus to be used to create further apertures in a piece of sheet material without also forming said slits.

Advantageously, the slit creating means is removable.

This enables the slit creating means to be replaced if, for example, it has become blunt through use. Alternatively, it may be interchanged with other slit creating means thereby resulting in differently shaped or positioned slit apertures.

The invention also provides a paper punch comprising apparatus as aforesaid.

Since the invention enables pieces of paper to be easily added to or removed from a closed ring binder, it also avoids the need for the binder to be openable. Thus, the invention also lies in document storage apparatus comprising document storage apparatus comprising such a paper punch, and a ring file for storing sheets of paper in which holes and slits have been formed by said punch, wherein the ring file has rings, on which the sheets are retained, which are not openable.

A paper punch in accordance with the invention provides an improvement over a conventional paper punch characterised in that a slitting means is provided in addition to the punch means. The slitting means may comprise a slitting blade and a housing to contain said blade, the said blade being held to the said housing.. The slitting means may be inserted into a housing receptacle slot in the punch means and further attached securely to the punch means by a lockable screw. The invention can also result in a method of filing the said punched article by lifting the flap enclosed by the area between the slits and imaginary line bound between the adjacent perforations and inserting the punched article into the ring binder without the need to open the rings in the binder as is the case for conventional filing.

The invention also lies in a punched article with at least a punched hole augmented by a slit projected outwardly towards the nearest edge of the article so as to enable easy filing of the said punched article.

Brief Description of the Drawinqs The present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein: Figure 1 is a plan view of a laminar sheet (1) having a pair of punched holes (2) and a pair of slits (3) made by a paper punch according to the present invention, the slit extending radially outwards from the punched hole towards the near edge of the laminar (4). Line (5) is an imaginary line such that the area enclosed between the slits and the line can be flapped.

Figure 2 is a folder system (6) illustrating the laminar punched article (1) and a ring binder (7) incorporated into the folder after its insertion into the rings.

Figure 3 is a perspective view of the paper punch having a body (8) consisting of an upper body (8A) and a base (8B).

Figure 4 is a plan view of base (8B) with forming hole (9A) and extending radially outward from the said hole is the forming aperture for the slit (10A).

Figure 5 is a side view of the paper punch.

Figure 6 is an exploded view of the punch apparatus.

Figure 7 is an end view of the paper punch, showing a punch (9) pivoted to body (8) and slitting blade (10) attached to punch in its first position.

Figure 8 is an end view of the punch in its second position.

Figure 9 is an end view of the slitting blade (10).

Figure 10 is another elevation view of blade (10).

Figure 11 is a perspective view of blade (10).

Figure 12 is a perspective view of punch rod (9).

Figure 13 is a perspective view of the punch (9), also showing the components attaching the slitting blade to the punch.

Figure 14 and 15 are various possibilities of slit profiles.

Figure 16 is an example of a non-openable ring binder, wherein the ring diameter of the upper portion is thinner than the base portion.

Figure 17 is an end elevation of Figure 16.

Figure 18 is another example of a non-openable ring binder.

Detailed Description of the Invention With reference to the drawings, a paper punch comprises two punches (9) as shown in Figure 5, each connected to a body (8) by means of a respective pivot pin (15) and having an upper body portion (8A) which acts as a handle, and base (8B).

The handle/upper body is connected to the base (8B) via two identical mounting brackets (20 and 22) which are fixed to the base (8B) by suitable means (for example screws) and include slots (not shown) through which the pins (15) extend. As can be seen from Figure 5, the handle/portion (8A) is attached to the bracket (20) at pivot (21). The handle (8A) is pivotally attached to the bracket (22) in a similar fashion.

Each pivot pin (15) also extends through an aperture in its respective punch (9) and a further aperture in the handle (8A).

The brackets (20,22) also include apertures through which the punches (9) extend and springs (not shown) act between the punches and the brackets to urge the punches up against the underside of the handle/upper body portion (8B).

There is sufficient clearance between the slots in the brackets and the pins (15) passing through them to enable the punches (9) to travel linearly (vertically) from a first position, shown in Figures 7 and 8 into a second position, in which the punches (9) extends into corresponding holes (e. g. (9A) in Figure 4) in the base (8B).

This movement of the punches is achieved by the user pressing the handie/upper body position (8A) and thus pivoting the latter in a downwards direction. As this happens, the underside of the handle/upper body portion (8A) bears against the tops of the punches (9) and thereby lowers the punches against the action of the springs also causing the pins (15) to slide along the slots in the brackets (20,22).

The ends of the pins are terminated heads which prevent the pins from being withdrawn through the punches and the slots in the brackets. Alternatively, pins 15 may be a bolt and nut mechanism Extending from punches (9) and attached thereto by means of locking screw (11) and insertion slot (13) is a slit creating means in the form of a pair of slit blade assembly (10) as shown in Figures 6,7,8, each assembly being attached to a respective punch.

The said slit blade assembly further comprises a cutting blade (10B) slotted into an extended blade holder (10A) and a friction pocket (14) into which a locking screw (11) will engage through a threaded bore (12) as shown in Figure 13 from the top end of the punch element (9). This will secure the slit blade assembly (10) tightly to the punch element (9) as shown in the exploded view of Figure 6. The locking screw (11) should be of sufficient length to reach friction pocket (14). As shown in Figure 12 the position of the receptacle slot (13) to receive the blade assembly (10) relative to the punch element (9) determines the angle of the slit (3). The angle of the slit can thus be varied but matches corresponding slit aperture (10A) located at base (8B) as shown in Figure 4. Therefore, the slit blade assembly (10) is removable and replaceable when necessary.

in a modified embodiment, each hole (9A) and aperture (10A) is formed in a plate which may be interchanged with other similar plates having differently shaped or positioned slit apertures. This enables a single punch to be used with a number of slit blade assemblies having differing profiles, or projecting from the punches at differing angles.

Figures 14 and 15 configure the slitting means with alternative profiles e. g. zigzag profile as opposed to the embodied straight slit profile and may be advantageous in certain applications.

The operation of the punch will now be described. Initially, an article is inserted into the gap between the underside of the punches (9) and base (8B) and at a central position of the said article, the upper body portion (8A) is then depressed to its end to perforate a pair of holes (2) and simultaneously create a pair of slits (3) which are cut to the punched article (1) as shown in Figure 1. Each slit (3) has a preferred start point from the said punched hole (2) and projects outwardly and toward the nearest extreme edge of the punched article (1) as shown in Figure 1. The slit (3) can be orientated to any angle depending on the position of the slit blade assembly (10) relative to the punches (9) and its corresponding alignment to the base aperture (10A).

The said punched article (1) is then capable of being inserted into a folder (6) having a splitless ring binder (7) comprising of two unbroken rings (9) as shown in Figure 2. It is also capable of being inserted into a split ring binder (7) without having to open the rings apart (7A, 7B). This method of filing is another aspect of the invention. It is achieved by lifting the flap enclosed by the area between the slits (3) and an imaginary line (5). Optionally, a retaining flap and bar (not shown but commonly provided for in folders) could be engaged for additional rigidity of the punched article (1). The reverse to the steps above are performed in the removal of the punched article (1).

It is also possible to incorporate three or more punches (9) together with corresponding number of slit blade assemblies (10). The present invention may be used with other variations of paper punches e. g. motorised paper punches, automatically or hydraulically operated punches used in the commercial production of writing pads for students and the like incorporating the combination paper punch apparatus and method described above.

Another embodiment of punch, also in accordance with the invention, is arranged to create a line of perforations, instead of a slit, in a piece of paper. That embodiment of punch differs from the embodiment illustrated in Figures 3-13 only in that the punches (9) carry stamps (instead of slitting blades) for creating said perforations, which define the path from the holes created by the punches (9) to the edge of the paper.