(19)
(11)EP 3 524 553 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
14.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/33

(21)Application number: 17867044.4

(22)Date of filing:  27.10.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B65H 19/18  (2006.01)
B65H 19/10  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2017/038884
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/084079 (11.05.2018 Gazette  2018/19)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 02.11.2016 JP 2016215659

(71)Applicant: Zuiko Corporation
Settsu-Shi, Osaka 566-0045 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • SATO, Hitoshi
    Settsu-shi Osaka 566-0045 (JP)
  • NISHIMURA, Yosuke
    Settsu-shi Osaka 566-0045 (JP)

(74)Representative: Müller-Boré & Partner Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Friedenheimer Brücke 21
80639 München
80639 München (DE)

  


(54)SHEET-FEEDING SYSTEM AND SHEET-FEEDING METHOD


(57) A sheet-feeding system includes a holding part (405) which holds an end portion (13) of a sheet (12), a nozzle part (406) for discharging an adhesive agent for joining sheets (12), (12) to each other, and a nozzle moving unit (4) which supports the nozzle part (406) such that the nozzle part (406) is made movable within a region including both temporarily holding parts (304), (304), in which when a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet (12) on one original sheet roll (10) becomes equal to or below a predetermined remaining amount, an end portion (13) of the sheet (12) on the other original sheet roll (10) is conveyed to the temporarily holding part (304) by the holding part (405) and, thereafter, the nozzle part (406) is moved to the temporarily holding part (304), and the adhesive agent is discharged to the end portion (13) of the sheet (12) from the nozzle part (406).




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present invention relates to a system and a method for continuously feeding a sheet.

Background Art



[0002] Conventionally, in applying various kinds of workings to a sheet, there has been known a case where the sheet is continuously fed from a roll around which the sheet is wound, and the sheet is supplied to a working apparatus or the like. For example, a disposable diaper is formed of a plurality of sheets having different materials and widths such as a nonwoven fabric, a film and a tissue. In the manufacture of such a diaper, various kinds of sheets are continuously fed from plural kinds of rolls which are respectively formed of the various kinds of sheets, and various kinds of workings are applied to the various kinds of sheets.

[0003] With respect to such a system which continuously feeds sheets, for enhancing an operation efficiency of a sheet-feeding operation, studies have been made so as to supply the sheet to a working apparatus or the like without causing interruption of feeding of the sheet.

[0004] To the contrary, for example, patent literature 1 discloses a system which includes: a roll holding part which holds two rolls in a rotatable state; and a joining part capable of joining sheets of these two rolls to each other. In this system, when a sheet remaining amount of one roll from which a sheet is fed out of two rolls is lowered, an end portion of a sheet of an unused standby-side roll which is the other roll held by the roll holding part is taken out and is conveyed to the joining part, the end portion is joined to a middle portion of a sheet under feeding at the joining part and, thereafter, the sheet is fed from the standby-side roll.

[0005] To be more specific, in the system disclosed in patent literature 1, two temporarily holding parts which temporarily hold end portions of two original sheet rolls respectively are provided to the joining part. Further, two adhesion units for adhering an adhesive tape to the end portions of the sheets of the respective rolls are provided corresponding to these two temporarily holding parts. Further, when an end portion of the sheet of one roll is temporarily held by one temporarily holding part, one adhesion unit corresponding to the end portion of the sheet is driven, and the adhesive tape is adhered to the end portion of the temporarily held sheet and, thereafter, the end portion of the sheet is joined to the sheet of the other roll by way of the adhesive tape.

[0006] In the system disclosed in patent literature 1, an adhesion unit is provided to the respective temporarily holding parts individually. Accordingly, the device is large-sized. Further, it is necessary to perform an adhesive tape exchanging operation with respect to the respective adhesion units individually and hence, there arises a drawback that an operation efficiency is not sufficiently high.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0007] Patent Literature 1: WO 2016/002531

Summary of Invention



[0008] It is an object of the present invention to provide a sheet-feeding system and a sheet-feeding method capable of miniaturizing a device and enhancing an operation efficiency.

[0009] To achieve the above-mentioned object, the present invention provides a sheet-feeding system for continuously feeding a sheet, the sheet-feeding system including: a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets; a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds a sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll; a remaining sheet amount detection unit for detecting remaining amounts of the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll respectively; a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism capable of moving the holding part within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part; a controller for controlling the sheet conveyance unit such that when a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or less than a predetermined remaining sheet amount, an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part; a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other; a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part, wherein the controller performs a joining control for controlling the sheet conveyance unit, the discharge mechanism, and the nozzle moving unit such that the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed by the sheet conveyance unit and, thereafter, the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll and, further, the adhesive agent is discharged to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll by the nozzle part.

[0010] Further, the present invention provides a sheet-feeding method for continuously feeding a sheet using a sheet-feeding system, in which the sheet-feeding system includes: a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets; a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds the sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll; a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism for supporting the holding part such that the holding part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part; a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other; a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part, and the sheet-feeding method includes: a holding part moving step where the holding part is moved using the sheet conveyance unit such that an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part in a case where a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or below a predetermined remaining amount; and an adhesive agent discharging step where the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll using the discharge mechanism and the nozzle moving unit and the nozzle part is allowed to discharge the adhesive agent to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll after the holding part moving step.

[0011] According to the present invention, the device can be miniaturized, and an operation efficiency can be enhanced.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0012] 

FIG. 1 is a plan view schematically showing an overall configuration of a sheet-feeding system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view schematically showing the overall configuration of the sheet-feeding system.

FIG. 3 is a view showing a joining part and a periphery of the joining part shown in FIG. 2 in an enlarged manner.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line IV-IV in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line V-V in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a schematic front view of a head.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a hand as viewed from an upper side in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of the hand as viewed from a left side in FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a schematic view showing a holding pad and a suction pipe.

FIG. 10 is a plan view showing a part of the configuration in FIG. 7 in an enlarged manner.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line XI-XI in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line XII-XII in FIG. 1.

FIG. 13 is a block diagram showing inputting and outputting of a controller.

FIG. 14 is a former half of a flowchart showing joining steps.

FIG. 15 is a latter half of the flowchart showing the joining steps.

FIG. 16 is a view showing a state where the hand is arranged at a sheet end portion gripping preparation position.

FIG. 17 is a view showing a manner of operation when the holding pad sucks a joining end portion.

FIG. 18 is a view showing a manner of operation when the holding pad takes out the joining end portion.

FIG. 19 is a view showing a manner of operation when the holding pad grips the joining end portion.

FIG. 20 is a view showing a manner of operation when the joining end portion is conveyed to a joining part.

FIG. 21 is a view showing a manner of operation when the joining end portion is set at the joining part.

FIG. 22 is a view showing a manner of operation when the joining end portion is set at the joining part.

FIG. 23 is a view showing a manner of operation when an adhesive agent is applied by coating to the joining end portion.

FIG. 24 is a view showing a manner of operation when the adhesive agent is applied by coating to the joining end portion and is a view corresponding to FIG. 4.

FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional view showing a part of the configuration shown in FIG. 24 in an enlarged manner.

FIG. 26 is a view showing a state where the adhesive agent is applied by coating to the joining end portion.

FIG. 27 is a view showing a manner of operation when the joining end portion is adhered to a sheet of a feeding-side original sheet roll.

FIG. 28 is a view showing a state after the joining end portion is adhered to the sheet of the feeding-side original sheet roll.

FIG. 29 is a flowchart showing steps of an adhesive agent removing operation.

FIG. 30 is a view showing a manner of operation when an adhesive agent adhered to a nozzle is wiped off.

FIG. 31 is a view showing a posture of a hand at the time of sucking a sheet according to another example.


Description of Embodiments



[0013] Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to attached drawings. The embodiments described hereinafter are merely illustrative and are not intended to limit the technical scope of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 are a plan view and a side view schematically showing the overall configuration of a sheet-feeding system 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0015] The sheet-feeding system 1 is a system for continuously feeding a sheet 12 from an original sheet roll 10 around which the sheet 12 is wound. The sheet-feeding system 1 includes: a sheet-feeding device 2; an operation robot (an end portion holding device, a sheet conveyance unit, a nozzle moving unit) 4; a cleaning unit 6; and a controller 100 (control part, see FIG. 13). In this embodiment, the original sheet roll 10 has a circular cylindrical core member 11, and the sheet 12 which is wound around the core member 11. The sheet-feeding system 1 is used in a manufacturing system for manufacturing a disposable diaper, for example. In the manufacturing system, various kinds of workings are applied to the sheet 12 supplied from the sheet-feeding system 1 thus manufacturing a disposable diaper.

(1) Sheet-feeding device



[0016] The sheet-feeding device 2 has two support walls 2a, 2a, roll holding parts 20 each of which is supported on the support wall 2a, a guide part 24, a joining part 30, and remaining sheet amount detectors (remaining sheet amount detection units) 28.

[0017] Hereinafter, in the description of the sheet-feeding device 2 made hereinafter, unless otherwise directions are particularly specified, a direction along a pair of rails 91 on which the operation robot 4 moves, that is, a vertical direction in FIG. 1 is referred to as a longitudinal direction, and a left-and-right direction in FIG. 1 is simply referred to as a lateral direction.

[0018] The respective support walls 2a respectively extend upward from a mounting surface 90 and, at the same time, extend lateral direction, and are arranged parallel to each other along the longitudinal direction. On the front support wall 2a and the rear support wall 2a, respective parts 20, 24, 30, 28 are respectively supported. Hereinafter, as a representative, the rear support wall 2a and the respective parts 20, 24, 30, 28 supported on the rear support wall 2a are described.

(Roll holding part)



[0019] The roll holding part 20 holds a pair of original sheet rolls (a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll) 10, 10 in a rotatable state where the sheet 12 is fed from the respective original sheet rolls 10, 10.

[0020] The roll holding part 20 has a pair of roll holding shafts 21, 21, and a pair of roll holding shaft drive motors (drive parts) 22, 22 (see FIG. 13).

[0021] Each of the respective roll holding shafts 21 has an approximately circular columnar shape extending in the longitudinal direction, and is inserted into the inside of a core member 11 of the original sheet roll 10 thus supporting the original sheet roll 10. The respective roll holding shafts 21 extend rearward from the support wall 2a. These roll holding shafts 21 are arranged side by side to each other in the lateral direction at the same height. Each of the respective roll holding shafts 21 is rotatably supported on the support wall 2a about a center axis of the roll holding shaft 21.

[0022] Each roll holding shaft drive motor 22 is a motor for rotatably driving each roll holding shaft 21 about a center axis of the roll holding shaft 21. When the roll holding shaft 21 is rotatably driven by the roll holding shaft drive motor 22, along with the rotation of the roll holding shaft 21, the original sheet roll 10 is also rotated so that the sheet 12 is fed from the original sheet roll 10.

[0023] In this embodiment, the pair of original sheet rolls 10 is held by the roll holding shafts 21 respectively such that the sheets 12 are fed by the rotation of the original sheet rolls 10 in opposite directions. Specifically, the original sheet roll 10 is held on the right roll holding shaft 21 such that the sheet 12 is fed by rotating the original sheet roll 10 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed from a rear side, and the original sheet roll 10 is held on the left roll holding shaft 21 such that the sheet 12 is fed by rotating the original sheet roll 10 in a clockwise direction as viewed from a rear side.

(Guide part)



[0024] The guide part 24 is provided for guiding the sheet 12 along a preset path. The guide part 24 includes: a plurality of guide rollers 24a to 24g for supporting the sheets 12 fed from the respective original sheet rolls 10 held by the respective roll holding shafts 21 along a predetermined path; and a sheet retaining mechanism 24h which can temporarily reserve a predetermined amount of the sheet 12 fed from the original sheet roll 10.

[0025] Among the guide rollers 24a to 24g, the guide rollers 24c to 24g are used in common by the sheets 12 of both the original sheet rolls 10. On the other hand, the guide roller 24a is used for guiding the original sheet roll 10 held on the left roll holding shaft 21 to the joining part 30. On the other hand, the guide roller 24b is used for guiding the original sheet roll 10 held on the right roll holding shaft 21 to the joining part 30.

[0026] The sheet retaining mechanism 24h has: an upper roller group 24h_1 which is formed of a plurality of rollers; a lower roller group 24h_2 which is formed of a plurality of rollers; and a mechanism (not shown in the drawing) which is capable of moving the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 in a direction that the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 approach each other or in a direction that the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 are separated from each other. By extending the sheet 12 between the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 in a state where the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 are spaced apart from each other, and by making the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 approach each other from such a state, the sheet 12 can be fed toward a downstream side of the roller groups 24h_1, 24h_2 in a state where the rotation of the original sheet roll 10 is stopped.

(Remaining sheet amount detector)



[0027] The remaining sheet amount detector 28 is provided for detecting a remaining amount of the sheet 12 of the original sheet roll 10 held on the roll holding shaft 21. In this embodiment, the remaining sheet amount detector 28 is provided to each of two roll holding shafts 21 individually.

[0028] Each remaining sheet amount detector 28 is mounted on the support wall 2a at a position away from the original sheet roll 10 held on the roll holding shaft 21 corresponding to the remaining sheet amount detector 28, and detects a distance from the remaining sheet amount detector 28 to an outer peripheral surface of the original sheet roll 10. A detection result obtained by the remaining sheet amount detector 28 is transmitted to the controller 100. The controller 100 calculates a radius of the original sheet roll 10, that is, a remaining amount of the sheet 12 based on the detection result and the distance, which is preliminarily stored in the controller 100, from the remaining sheet amount detector 28 to the roll holding shaft 21.

(Joining part)



[0029] The joining part 30 is provided for performing a joining operation where, with respect to two original sheet rolls 10 respectively held on two roll holding shafts 21, an end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is not fed is joined to a middle portion of the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is fed. In FIG. 2, the sheet 12 is fed from the left original sheet roll 10, and the end portion of the sheet 12 of the right original sheet roll 10 is scheduled to be joined to the sheet 12 of the left original sheet roll 10.

[0030] FIG. 3 is a front view of the joining part 30 and a surrounding of the joining part 30 shown in FIG. 2 in an enlarged manner. FIG. 4 is a schematically cross-sectional view taken along a line IV-IV in FIG. 3. FIG. 5 is a schematically cross-sectional view taken along a line V-V in FIG. 4.

[0031] The joining part 30 has: one shaft support plate 31 which opposedly faces the support walls 2a, and a pair of left and right joining devices 32, 32 which is arranged between the support walls 2a and the shaft support plate 31 respectively. Two joining devices 32 have the configurations laterally symmetrical to each other. In the description made hereinafter, as the representative of these two joining devices 32, the joining device 32 on a right side in FIG. 3 is described.

[0032] The joining device 32 has: a shaft 33 extending in the longitudinal direction between the support wall 2a and the shaft support plate 31; a joining mechanism 300 which is mounted on the support wall 2a in a rotatable state about the shaft 33; a joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301 which rotatably drives the joining mechanism 300; and a joining mechanism rotating valve 302 which controls driving of the joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301.

[0033] The joining mechanism 300 is rotatably driven by the joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301 between a joining preparation position where the sheet 12 is guided in an approximately horizontal direction by a joining holding roller 308 described later and the guide roller 24 positioned upstream of the guide roller 24c in a conveyance direction of the sheet 12 and a feeding position where the sheet 12 is guided in the vertical direction by the joining holding roller 308 and the guide roller 24 positioned upstream of the guide roller 24c in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12.

[0034] For example, in FIG. 3, the right joining mechanism 300_a is arranged at the joining preparation position where the sheet 12 is guided in the approximately horizontal direction by the joining holding roller 308 and the guide roller 24b positioned upstream of the guide roller 24c in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12, and the left joining mechanism 300_b is arranged at the feeding position where the sheet 12 is guided in the vertical direction by the joining holding roller 308 and the guide roller 24a positioned upstream of the guide roller 24c in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12.

[0035] The joining mechanism 300 has: a pair of opposedly facing plates 303, 303 which extends in a direction away from the shafts 33 respectively and opposedly faces each other in the longitudinal direction; and the joining holding roller 308 which is supported on the opposedly facing plates 303. The joining mechanism 300 also has temporary holding parts (a first temporary holding part, a second temporary holding part) 304, a sheet end portion pressing member 305, and a cutting blade 306 which are respectively arranged between the opposedly facing plates 303, 303. The joining mechanism 300 also includes: a first joining cylinder 314 for driving the temporary holding part 304 and a first joining control valve 324 for controlling driving of the first joining cylinder 314; a second joining cylinder 315 for driving the sheet end portion pressing member 305 and a second joining control valve 325 for controlling driving of the second joining cylinder 315; and a third joining cylinder 316 for driving the cutting blade 306 and a third joining control valve 326 for controlling driving of the third joining cylinder 316. The joining mechanism 300 also has a pressing blade 307 which moves integrally with the cutting blade 306.

[0036] The joining holding roller 308 is a member for guiding the sheet 12 toward the guide roller 24c from the guide roller 24b positioned upstream of the guide roller 24c in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12. The joining holding roller 308 has an approximately circular columnar shape extending in the longitudinal direction, and is supported on an end portion of the opposedly facing plate 303 on a side opposite to the shaft 33 in the longitudinal direction of the opposedly facing plate 303. The joining holding roller 308 is supported on the respective opposedly facing plates 303 in a rotatable state about a center axis thereof.

[0037] The temporary holding part 304 has a surface (hereinafter, referred to as a joining suction surface) 304a which is capable of holding the end portion 1 3 of the sheet 12 of the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is not fed (hereinafter referred to as a joining end portion 13 when necessary). Specifically, a plurality of holes are formed in the joining suction surface 304a. Air in the holes is sucked by a joining suction device 334 (see FIG. 13) so that the sheet 12 is sucked to the joining suction surface 304a. The joining suction surface 304a is an approximately flat surface, and the joining suction surface 304a takes an approximately horizontally extending posture in a state where the joining mechanism 300 is at the joining preparation position.

[0038] The first joining cylinder 314 drives the temporary holding part 304 in an extensible and shrinkable manner in a direction orthogonal to the joining suction surface 304a.

[0039] The sheet end portion pressing member 305 has a sheet end portion pressing surface 305a for sandwiching the joining end portion 13 between the sheet end portion pressing member 305 and a surface to be pressed 304b of the temporary holding part 304. The surface to be pressed 304b of the temporary holding part 304 is one side surface of the temporary holding part 304 and is a surface which extends from an edge portion of the joining suction surface 304a in a direction opposite to a direction that the joining suction surface 304a faces and faces a sheet end portion pressing member 305 side. The sheet end portion pressing member 305 rotates in a direction that the sheet end portion pressing surface 305a approaches the surface to be pressed 304b as indicated by a solid line or in a direction that the sheet end portion pressing surface 305a is separated from the surface to be pressed 304b as indicated by a chain line in FIG. 5 in response to an extending or shrinking operation of the second joining cylinder 315. With such operations, the joining end portion 13 is sandwiched between the sheet end portion pressing surface 305a and the surface to be pressed 304b or the joining end portion 13 is released.

[0040] The cutting blade 306 and the pressing blade 307 are provided for cutting the sheet 12 arranged at the position which opposedly faces the cutting blade 306 and the pressing blade 307. These blades 306, 307 advance or retract in a direction parallel to a direction orthogonal to the joining suction surface 304a as indicated by a solid line and a chain line in FIG. 5 in response to an extending or shrinking operation of the third joining cylinder 316 thus cutting the sheet 12 due to such an advancing and retracting operation.

(2) Operation robot



[0041] As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the operation robot 4 includes: a traveling part 42 which slidably moves on the rails 91; and an arm 43 which is connected to the traveling part 42.

[0042] A traveling motor 42a (see FIG. 13) is incorporated in the traveling part 42. The traveling part 42, that is, the operation robot 4 moves on the rails 91 by being driven by the traveling motor 42a.

[0043] The arm 43 has: a proximal end portion 43a connected to the traveling part 42; and a head 43e which is displaceable relative to the proximal end portion 43a.

[0044] Specifically, as shown in FIG. 2, the proximal end portion 43a is connected to the traveling part 42 in a state where the proximal end portion 43a is turnable about a turning axis J0 extending in the vertical direction. The arm 43 includes: a first arm 43b which is swingably connected to the proximal end portion 43a about a first axis J1 extending in the horizontal direction; a second arm 43c which is swingably connected to the first arm 43b about a second axis J2 extending in the horizontal direction; and a third arm 43d which is swingably connected to the second arm 43c about a third axis J3 extending in the horizontal direction. The head 43e is turnably connected to the third arm 43d about a fourth axis J4 extending in a direction orthogonal to the third axis J3.

[0045] A hand 44 is rotatably connected to one side surface of the head 43e about a fifth axis (rotation center axis) J5 extending in a direction orthogonal to the fourth axis J4.

[0046] The proximal end portion 43a, the respective arms 43b, 43c, 43d, the head 43e and the hand 44 are driven by a plurality of motors mounted on the operation robot 4 respectively so that these parts are turned (rotated) or swung about the respective axes J0 to J5. Hereinafter, the motors for driving the proximal end portion 43a, the respective arms 43b, 43c, 43d, the head 43e and the hand 44 are collectively referred to as operation robot drive motors 401 (see FIG. 13).

[0047] FIG. 6 is a schematic front view of the hand 44. FIG. 7 is a schematic plan view of the hand 44 as viewed from an upper side in FIG. 6. FIG. 8 is a schematic side view of the hand 44 in a state where one upright wall 402b of a base part 402 described later is removed.

[0048] The hand 44 has the base part 402 extending from one side surface of the head 43e in a direction parallel to the fifth axis J5. The hand 44 also has: a pawl part 403; a used roll gripping part 404; a sheet end portion gripping part (holding part) 405; and a nozzle (nozzle part) 406 which are respectively connected to the base part 402.

[0049] The base part 402 includes: a plate-like base plate 402a extending in a longitudinal direction of the base part 402; and a pair of upright walls 402b, 402b which extends in a direction orthogonal to the base plate 402a from both edges of the base plate 402a in a width direction.

(Pawl part and used roll gripping parts)



[0050] The pawl part 403 and the used roll gripping part 404 are provided for removing a used roll 10 from the roll holding shaft 21 of the sheet-feeding device 2.

[0051] The pawl part 403 is a plate-like member which is mounted on a distal end of the base plate 402a (an end portion of the base plate 402a on a side opposite to the head 43e in a longitudinal direction of the base plate 402a) and extends in a direction opposite to an extending direction of the upright wall 402b. On a distal end of the pawl part 403 (an end portion of the pawl part 403 on a side opposite to the base plate 402a in an extending direction of the pawl part 403), a cutout 403a which is indented toward a base plate 402a side is formed.

[0052] The used roll gripping part 404 is mounted on a proximal end of the base plate 402a (an end portion of the base plate 402a on a head 43e side in the longitudinal direction of the base plate 402a). The used roll gripping part 404 has a pair of used roll sandwiching parts 404a which opposedly faces each other in a width direction of the base plate 402a. These used roll sandwiching parts 404a are driven in a direction that the used roll sandwiching parts 404a approach each other or in a direction that the used roll sandwiching parts 404a are separated from each other by a driving device not shown in the drawing (for example, a device which pneumatically drives the used roll sandwiching parts 404a).

[0053] The used original sheet roll 10 is removed from the roll holding shaft 21 of the sheet-feeding device 2 in accordance with the following steps.

[0054] First, a distal end portion of the pawl part 403 is inserted into a gap between the used original sheet roll 10 held on the roll holding shaft 21 and the support wall 2a, and the roll holding shaft 21 is inserted into the cutout 403a. Next, the head 43e is moved in a direction away from the support wall 2a so that the used original sheet roll 10 is pulled out in the direction away from the support wall 2a. Then, the used roll 10 is sandwiched by the used roll sandwiching parts 404a, and the head 43e is moved in the direction away from the support wall 2a in such a sandwiched state. By such an operation, the used original sheet roll 10 is removed from the roll holding shaft 21. The removed original sheet roll 10 is conveyed to a discarding place (not shown in the drawing) and is discarded.

(Sheet end portion gripping part)



[0055] The sheet end portion gripping part 405 is provided for holding and conveying the joining end portion 13.

[0056] The sheet end portion gripping part 405 includes: a pair of holding pads 410, 410; and suction pipes 420, 420 which are respectively fixed to the respective holding pads 410.

[0057] The holding pads 410, 410 are symmetrically disposed with each other with respect to a plane passing through the fourth axis J4 and the fifth axis J5, and the suction pipes 420, 420 are symmetrically disposed with each other with respect to such a plane. FIG. 9 is a schematic view of one holding pad 410 and one suction pipe 420 as viewed in an arrow IX direction in FIG. 8.

[0058] The holding pad 410 has: a body portion 411 extending in a direction parallel to the fifth axis J5; and a plurality of suction portions 412 formed on one side surface of the body portion 411 extending in a longitudinal direction of the body portion 411.

[0059] The respective suction portions 412 are formed at positions spaced apart from each other in a direction parallel to the fifth axis J5 respectively. A surface of each of the respective suction portions 412 has an approximately flat planar shape, and functions as a holding surface 412a for sucking the joining end portion 13. In the respective suction portions 412, a hole which opens at the holding surface 412a is formed respectively. On respective portions of the body portion 411 where the suction portions 412 are arranged, a suction hole 411a which communicates with the hole of the corresponding suction portion 412 is formed respectively.

[0060] The suction pipe 420 has a circular columnar shape extending parallel to the holding pad 410, and is connected to a side surface of the holding pad 410 on a side opposite to the side surface where the suction portions 412 are formed. In the suction pipe 420, an air passage 420a which extends in an axial direction of the suction pipe 420 and communicates with the respective suction holes 411a is formed. The air passage 420a is connected with a sheet end portion suction pump 432 (a suction mechanism, see FIG. 13) which is a pump for sucking air by way of an air pipe 431. Air in the air passage 420a, the suction holes 411a, and holes formed in the respective suction portions 412 is sucked by the sheet end portion suction pump 432.

[0061] The respective holding pads 410 and the suction pipes 420 respectively connected to the respective holding pads 410 are respectively rotatably connected to the base part 402 about a sixth axis J6 extending in a direction parallel to the fifth axis J5 and a seventh axis J7 extending in a direction parallel to the fifth axis J5. The respective holding pads 410 and the suction pipes 420 are rotated between a second posture A2 indicated by a solid line in FIG. 6 and a first posture A1 indicated by a chain line in FIG. 6. This structure is described specifically hereinafter. In the description made hereinafter, an up-and-down direction in FIG. 6 is simply referred to as a vertical direction, and a left-and-right direction in FIG. 6 is simply referred to as a lateral direction.

[0062] As shown in FIG. 8 and the like, extending walls 407 extending downward are fixed to a lower surface of the base plate 402a. Two extending walls 407, 407 are mounted at positions away from each other in the longitudinal direction of the base plate 402a. To both end portions of a lower end portion of each extending wall 407 in a lateral direction, connecting portions 408 extending in a vertical direction are respectively connected. Holding pads 410 are fixed to the lower end portions of these connecting portions 408. That is, one holding pad 410 is fixed to lower end portions of two connecting portions 408 respectively connected to right lower end portions of two extending walls 407, and the other holding pad 410 is fixed to lower end portions of two connecting portions 408 respectively connected to left lower end portions of two extending walls 407.

[0063] Two connecting portions 408 positioned on a right side are rotatably connected to the extending wall 407 about the sixth axis J6, and two connecting portions 408 positioned on a left side are rotatably connected to the extending wall 407 about the seventh axis J7. With such a configuration, the holding pad 410 positioned on a right side and the suction pipe 420 fixed to the right holding pad 410 rotate integrally with the right extending wall 407 about the sixth axis J6. The holding pad 410 positioned on a left side and the suction pipe 420 fixed to the left holding pad 410 rotate integrally with the left extending wall 407 about the seventh axis J7.

[0064] The respective connecting portions 408 are rotatably driven by a pad rotating mechanism 440 mounted on the base part 402 (see FIG. 13).

[0065] In this embodiment, the pad rotating mechanism 440 is configured to rotate the respective connecting portions 408 by 90 degrees. That is, the pad rotating mechanism 440 is configured to rotate the connecting portions 408 between a state where the respective connecting portions 408 extend downward from the extending wall 407 as indicated by the solid line in FIG. 6 and a state where the respective connecting portions 408 extend outward in the lateral direction respectively from the extending wall 407 (a state where the right connecting portion 408 extends rightward from the extending wall 407 and the left connecting portion 408 extends leftward from the extending wall 407) as indicated by the chain line in FIG. 6. With such a configuration, a posture of each of the respective holding pads 410 and a posture of each of the respective suction pipes 420 are changed between the first posture A1 and the second posture A2.

[0066] As shown in FIG. 6, the respective holding pads 410 are connected to the base part 402 such that, in a state where the holding pads 410 are in the second posture A2, the holding surfaces 412a of the holding pads 410 extend in the vertical direction, and the holding surfaces 412a take a posture where the holding surfaces 412a opposedly face each other at a position where the holding surfaces 412a are made close to each other. The respective suction pipes 420 are fixed to the holding pads 410 respectively such that the respective suction pipes 420 are positioned at left and right outer sides of the holding pads 410 in a state where the suction pipes 420 are in the second posture A2. Further, due to the above-mentioned configuration where the connecting portions 408 are rotatable by 90 degrees, when the holding pads 410 are in the second posture A2, the holding surfaces 412a of the respective holding pads 410 are separated from each other by 180 degrees, and are brought into a state where the holding surfaces 412a extend along the same plane.

[0067] In this manner, in this embodiment, the holding pads 410 are supported on the head 43e by way of the base part 402 and the extending walls 407, and the base part 402 and the extending walls 407 function as a support part for supporting the holding pads 410. The suction pipes 420, the sheet end portion suction pump 432 connected to the suction pipes 420 and the like function as a suction mechanism for sucking the joining end portion 13 to the holding surface 412a. The pad rotating mechanism 440 functions as a sandwiching mechanism for changing a posture of the holding pads 410 with respect to the base part 402 and the extending walls 407. A unit including the support part, the suction mechanism and the sandwiching mechanism functions as a holding part and a holding unit capable of holding the sheet 12, particularly, the joining end portion 13, that is, the end portion 13 of the sheet 12. The traveling motor 42a and the operation robot drive motor 401 function as a moving mechanism capable of moving the holding unit.

[0068] A pair of sheet end portion pressing portions 450, 450 is provided to the sheet end portion gripping part 405. These sheet end portion pressing portions 450 are provided for arranging the joining end portion 13 at a proper position in the joining parts 30. As shown in FIG. 6, these sheet end portion pressing portions 450 are plate-like members which protrude downward from the holding pads 410 and extend along the longitudinal direction of the holding pads 410 in a state where the respective holding pads 410 are in the second posture A2. The sheet end portion pressing portions 450 are respectively fixed to the holding pads 410 in an integrally movable state.

(Nozzle)



[0069] FIG. 10 is a plan view showing a part of the hand 44 in an enlarged manner. FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line XI-XI in FIG. 10. In the description of a nozzle 406 made hereinafter, the up-and-down direction in FIG. 6 is simply referred to as a vertical direction, and the left-and-right direction in FIG. 6 is simply referred to as a lateral direction.

[0070] The nozzle 406 is provided for applying an adhesive agent by coating to the joining end portion 13. The nozzle 406 is fixed to the base part 402 in a state where the nozzle 406 protrudes from one upright wall 402b of the base part 402 in a direction away from the base part 402. In an example shown in FIG. 6, the nozzle 406 protrudes leftward from the left upright wall 402b.

[0071] The nozzle 406 has: a planar coating surface 406a which extends substantially parallel to the upright wall 402b at a distal end portion of the nozzle 406 (an end portion on a side opposite to the upright wall 402b in a direction orthogonal to the upright wall 402b); and a plurality of nozzle holes 406b which are formed in the coating surface 406a and open at the coating surface 406a. The coating surface 406a has an approximately rectangular shape extending in the vertical direction, and the respective nozzle holes 406b are formed side by side in the vertical direction on the coating surface 406a.

[0072] In this embodiment, four nozzle holes 406b are formed in the nozzle 406, and these four nozzle holes 406b are arranged side by side in the vertical direction and open at the coating surface 406a.

[0073] In the nozzle 406, an adhesive agent supply passage 406c which communicates with the respective nozzle holes 406b is formed. In this embodiment, the adhesive agent supply passage 406c is a passage which opens at one side surface of the nozzle 406 on an upright wall 402b side, and is bifurcated into two passages in the nozzle 406, and two nozzle holes 406b communicate with each bifurcated passage.

[0074] The adhesive agent supply passage 406c communicates with an adhesive agent supply pipe 416 which is fixed to a lower surface of the base plate 402a by way of an adhesive agent discharge valve 417 and a through hole 402d formed in the upright wall 402b. The adhesive agent supply pipe 416 is connected to a pump (adhesive agent pump) 418b (see FIG. 1) for pressure-feeding an adhesive agent from a tank 418a (see FIG. 1) in which the adhesive agent is reserved. The adhesive agent is pressure-fed to the adhesive agent supply pipe 416 from the tank 418a by the adhesive agent pump 418b, and is discharged to the outside of the nozzle 406 through the adhesive agent supply passage 406c and the nozzle holes 406b. The adhesive agent discharge valve 417 is provided for opening or closing a communication portion between the adhesive agent supply passage 406c and the adhesive agent supply pipe 416. Only when the adhesive agent discharge valve 417 is opened, the adhesive agent is introduced into the adhesive agent supply passage 406c from the adhesive agent supply pipe 416, and is discharged from the nozzle 406.

[0075] In this embodiment, the adhesive agent supply pipe 416, the adhesive agent discharge valve 417 and the adhesive agent pump 418b function as a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent trough the nozzle 406.

[0076] As described later, the nozzle 406 applies the adhesive agent by coating to the joining end portion 13 in a state where the joining end portion 13 is held by the temporary holding part 304 of the joining device 32 of the joining part 30. The nozzle 406 can move to positions corresponding to the temporary holding part 304 of all joining part 30 mounted on the sheet-feeding device 2 along with the movement of the operation robot 4, the head 43e and the hand 44, and can apply the adhesive agent by coating to all the joining end portions 13 of the original sheet rolls 10 held by the sheet-feeding device 2.

(Roll conveying holding part)



[0077] In this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, a roll conveying holding part 49 is mounted on the head 43e. The roll conveying holding part 49 protrudes from the head 43e toward a side opposite to the hand 44. The roll conveying holding part 49 is provided for conveying the original sheet roll 10. That is, in this embodiment, the original sheet roll 10 is conveyed by the operation robot 4, and the original sheet roll 10 is conveyed from a storage place to the sheet-feeding device 2 in a state where the original sheet roll 10 is held by the roll conveying holding part 49.

(3) Cleaning unit



[0078] The cleaning unit 6 is provided for wiping off an adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406. FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line XII-XII in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the cleaning unit 6 wipes off the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406 using a wiping sheet 610.

[0079] As shown in FIG. 12, the cleaning unit 6 includes a casing 602 which opens upward. The cleaning unit 6 also includes a wiping sheet-feeding roller (supply part) 603, a cleaning roller 604, a wiping sheet winding roller (recovery part) 605, a rotatably driving part 606, a draw roller 607, and a plurality of wiping sheet guide portions 608 which are arranged in the casing 602 and are supported by the casing 602 respectively.

[0080] The wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 is a member for supporting the wiping sheet 610 in a feedable state. That is, the wiping sheet 610 is wound around the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 in a roll shape, and the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 supports the roll 611.

[0081] The wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 has an approximately circular columnar shape extending in a direction orthogonal to a paper surface on which FIG. 12 is drawn, and supports the roll 611 by being inserted into the center of the roll 611 of the wiping sheet 610.

[0082] The wiping sheet winding roller 605 is a member for winding the wiping sheet 610 which is fed from the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 and wipes off an adhesive agent using the cleaning roller 604 as described later. The wiping sheet winding roller 605 has an approximately circular columnar shape extending in a direction parallel to a center axis of the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603. The wiping sheet winding roller 605 recovers the wiping sheet 610 by winding the wiping sheet 610 around an outer peripheral surface thereof.

[0083] The rotatably driving part 606 rotatably drives the draw roller 607 about a center axis of the draw roller 607, and includes a motor and the like, for example. When the draw roller 607 is rotatably driven by the rotatably driving part 606, the draw roller 607 conveys the wiping sheet 610 by a predetermined length. The rotatably driving part 606 and the wiping sheet winding roller 605 are operated interlockingly. Accordingly, when the draw roller 607 conveys the wiping sheet 610, along with such conveyance, the wiping sheet winding roller 605 winds the wiping sheet 610 on an outer peripheral surface thereof.

[0084] When the draw roller 607 winds the upstream-side wiping sheet 610 and feeds the wiping sheet 610 to a downstream side, the wiping sheet 610 is newly fed from the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603. In this manner, the wiping sheet 610 is conveyed from the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 toward the wiping sheet winding roller 605 through the draw roller 607 so that the wiping sheet 610 on the cleaning roller 604 which opposedly faces the nozzle 406 is renewed.

[0085] The cleaning roller 604 is a member for bringing the wiping sheet 610 and the nozzle 406 into contact with each other. The cleaning roller 604 is disposed downstream of the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 and upstream of the wiping sheet winding roller 605 in a conveyance direction (feeding direction) of the wiping sheet 610.

[0086] The cleaning roller 604 has an approximately circular columnar shape extending in a direction parallel to a center axis of the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603. The cleaning roller 604 is supported on the casing 602 such that an upper outer peripheral surface thereof is positioned above an upper edge of the casing 602.

[0087] The wiping sheet 610 is placed on the upper outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604, and as shown in FIG. 12, the nozzle 406 is brought into pressure contact with the wiping sheet 160 placed on the upper outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 164. As described later, the nozzle 406 is driven so as to move along the wiping sheet 610 on the outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 164. By such an operation, the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406 is wiped off by the wiping sheet 160. In this manner, in this embodiment, a portion of the wiping sheet 610 which is placed on the upper outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604 functions as a wiping part for wiping off the adhesive agent adhered to the nozzle 406.

[0088] The respective wiping sheet guide portions 608 are provided for guiding the wiping sheet 610 from the wiping sheet-feeding roller 603 to the wiping sheet winding roller 605 along the upper outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604. These wiping sheet guide portions 608 respectively have an approximately circular columnar shape extending in a direction parallel to the center axis of the cleaning roller 604, and the wiping sheet 610 is guided by being extended between the wiping sheet guide portions 608.

[0089] An axis of the wiping sheet winding roller 605 is arranged at a position that is below an axis of the cleaning roller 604 and that is spaced apart from the cleaning roller 604 in a direction orthogonal to an axial direction of the cleaning roller 604. That is, when a left-and-right direction in FIG. 12 is simply referred to as a lateral direction, the wiping sheet winding roller 605 is arranged on a right oblique lower side of the cleaning roller 604, and the wiping sheet 610 is conveyed in a right oblique downward direction from the cleaning roller 604.

[0090] The casing 602 opens upward also at the portion between the cleaning roller 604 and the wiping sheet winding roller 605. The opening portion functions as a discarding part 602a where discarding by the nozzle 406 is performed. That is, although the description will be made in detail later, in this embodiment, an adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle 406 at the discarding part 602a so that the adhesive agent in the nozzle 406 is removed by making the adhesive agent fall downward.

(4) Controller



[0091] The controller 100 is provided for controlling driving of the sheet-feeding device 2, the operation robot 4 and the like based on detection results of the remaining sheet amount detector 28 and a sheet end portion detector 29 and the like. The controller 100 includes: a sheet-feeding device controller 101; and an operation robot controller 102 as functional parts.

[0092] The sheet end portion detector 29 is a device for detecting the end portion 13 on the outer peripheral surface of the sheet 12, that is, the joining end portion 13. The sheet end portion detector 29 detects the joining end portion 13 in the course of conveying the original sheet roll 10 from the storage place to the sheet-feeding device 2, for example. The sheet end portion detector 29 also identifies the position of the joining end portion 13 by detecting a shadow formed on the outer peripheral surface by irradiating the outer peripheral surface of the original sheet roll 10 with light, for example.

[0093] The sheet-feeding device controller 101 is a part for controlling respective parts of the sheet-feeding device 2. That is, the sheet-feeding device controller 101 controls: the roll holding shaft drive motors 22 (roll holding shafts 21); the joining mechanism rotating valve 302 (joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301); the first to third joining control valves 324 to 326 (first to third joining cylinders 314 to 316); and the joining suction device 334.

[0094] The operation robot controller 102 is a part for controlling the operation robot 4. That is, the operation robot controller 102 controls driving of the traveling motor 42a, the operation robot drive motor 401, the sheet end portion suction pump 432, the pad rotating mechanism 440, the adhesive agent discharge valve 417, and the adhesive agent pump 418b.

(4-1) Steps of joining operation



[0095] Steps of the sheet-feeding method for continuously feeding the sheet 12 using the sheet-feeding system 1 and steps of joining control which the controller 100 performs at the time of joining operation are described hereinafter with reference to flowcharts shown in FIG. 14 and FIG. 15, and FIG. 16 to FIG. 28. Hereinafter, the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is fed is referred to as a feeding-side original sheet roll 10, and the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is not fed is referred to as a standby-side original sheet roll 10. With respect to various kinds of devices, the devices corresponding to the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 are referred to as feeding-side devices, and the devices corresponding to the standby-side original sheet roll 10 are referred to as standby-side devices respectively. FIG. 16 shows the case where the left original sheet roll 10 is the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and the right original sheet roll 10 is the standby-side original sheet roll 10 on the rear support wall 2a. However, the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 is sequentially switched between two original sheet rolls 10.

[0096] First, the controller 100 determines whether or not a sheet joining condition is established in step S1, that is, whether or not a remaining amount of the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 detected by the remaining sheet amount detector 28 is equal to or less than a preset reference sheet amount (a predetermined remaining amount).

[0097] Specifically, as descried above, first, the controller 100 calculates a remaining amount of the sheet 12 based on a detection result of the remaining sheet amount detector 28, and then determines whether or not the calculated remaining amount of the sheet 12 is equal to or less than the reference sheet amount.

[0098] When the determination in step S1 is NO and the remaining amount of the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 is larger than the reference sheet amount, a joining operation is not performed, and processing returns to step S1.

[0099] On the other hand, when the determination result in step S1 is YES and the remaining amount of the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 is equal to or less than the reference sheet amount, the controller 100 advances processing to step S2 so as to start a joining operation.

[0100] In step S2, the controller 100 arranges the standby-side joining mechanism (the joining mechanism corresponding to the standby-side original sheet roll 10) 300 at the joining preparation position. Specifically, as described above, the controller 100 rotates the joining mechanism 300 from the feeding position to the joining preparation position by driving the joining mechanism rotating valve 302, that is, the joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301.

[0101] Next, in step S3, the controller 100 starts suction of the joining suction surface 304a of the standby-side joining mechanism 300 by driving the joining suction device 334.

[0102] Next, in step S4, the controller 100 moves the hand 44 to the sheet end portion gripping preparation position.

[0103] Specifically, the controller 100 sets the position of the hand 44 to the position where the base part 402 extends parallel to the roll holding shafts 21 at the position between two roll holding shafts 21, and the holding pad 410 is arranged more on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 side than the base part 402 as shown in FIG. 16 by driving the traveling motor 42a and the operation robot drive motor 401.

[0104] Before processing in step S4 is performed, the hand 44 is arranged at the standby position (for example, the position indicated by a solid line in FIG. 1) away from the sheet-feeding device 2.

[0105] Next, in step S5, the controller 100 rotates the respective connecting parts 408 of the sheet end portion gripping part 405 by driving the pad rotating mechanism 440 thus bringing the sheet end portion gripping part 405 into the first posture A1. Along with such an operation, as indicated by a solid line in FIG. 17, the respective holding pads 410 of the sheet end portion gripping part 405 are brought into a posture where the holding surface 412a of each holding pad 410 faces the standby-side original sheet roll 10. Before processing in step S5 is performed, the sheet end portion gripping part 405 is in the second posture A2.

[0106] Next, in step S6, the controller 100 rotatably drives the standby-side roll holding shaft 21 by driving the roll holding shaft drive motor 22 thus arranging the joining end portion 13 to a position opposedly facing the holding surface 412a of the holding pad 410 and, then, moves the head 43e by driving an operation robot drive motor 401. Then, the holding surface 412a of one holding pad 410 is brought into close contact with the end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10, that is, the joining end portion 13 from the outside of the standby-side original sheet roll 10 in a radial direction of the standby-side original sheet roll 10.

[0107] In this stage of operation, in a state where the holding pads 410 are respectively arranged upstream and downstream in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12 with an edge (an edge on a downstream side in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12) 13a of the joining end portion 13 sandwiched therebetween, the controller 100 brings the holding surface 412a of the holding pad 410 positioned upstream in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12 into close contact with the joining end portion 13.

[0108] In this embodiment, the sheet 12 is conveyed from above to below between two roll holding shafts 21, 21, and along with such conveyance, the holding surface 412a of the upper holding pad 410 is brought into close contact with the joining end portion 13.

[0109] Here, the controller 100 stops movement of the hand 44 when the holding surface 412a is brought into contact with the joining end portion 13.

[0110] Further, in the above-mentioned description, the description is made with respect to the case where the joining end portion 13 is arranged at the position which opposedly faces the holding surface 412a of the holding pad 410 due to the rotation of the standby-side roll holding shaft 21 by driving the roll holding shaft drive motor 22. However, in place of such processing, the original sheet roll 10 may be set to the roll holding shaft 21 in advance such that the pre-detected end portion 13 of the sheet 12 is arranged at a predetermined position opposedly facing the holding surface 412a.

[0111] Next, in step S7, the controller 100 makes the holding surface 412a of the holding pad 410 suck the joining end portion 13. Specifically, the controller 100 starts suction of air in the air passage 420a by starting driving of the sheet end portion suction pump 432. By such an operation, the joining end portion 13 is sucked to the holding surface 412a. In this embodiment, with respect to two holding pads 410, the suction of air only in the air passage 420a of the holding pad 410 which is brought into close contact with the joining end portion 13 (in this embodiment, the upper holding pad 410) is started.

[0112] Next, in step S8, the controller 100 rotatably drives the standby-side roll holding shaft (the roll holding shaft which holds the standby-side original sheet roll 10) 21 in a direction that the sheet 12 is fed from the standby-side original sheet roll 10 by driving the roll holding shaft drive motor 22. At this stage of operation, the controller 100 drives the roll holding shaft drive motor 22 in a state where a feeding speed of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 is set such that a tension applied to the sheet 12 when the sheet end portion gripping part 405 which holds the joining end portion 13 in step S9 and step S11 described later moves becomes a predetermined tension or less.

[0113] Next, in step S9, as shown in FIG. 18, the controller 100 moves the sheet end portion gripping part 405 outside of the standby-side original sheet roll 10 in a radial direction of the standby-side original sheet roll 10 such that the holding surface 412a to which the joining end portion 13 is sucked is separated from the standby-side original sheet roll 10. Specifically, the controller 100 moves the head 43e outside of the standby-side original sheet roll 10 in the radial direction by driving the operation robot drive motor 401.

[0114] At this stage of operation, as described previously, in step S8, the standby-side original sheet roll 10 is rotatably driven in a direction that the sheet 12 is fed. Accordingly, due to processing in step S9, the joining end portion 13 is taken out from the standby-side original sheet roll 10 in a state where the joining end portion 13 is sucked to the holding surface 412a without being separated from the holding surface 412a.

[0115] Next, in step S10, as shown in FIG. 19, the sheet end portion gripping part 405 is brought into the second posture A2, and the joining end portion 13 is gripped by the pair of holding pads 410. Specifically, the controller 100 rotates the respective connecting parts 408 by driving the pad rotating mechanism 440, and brings the sheet end portion gripping part 405 into the second posture A2 in a state where the joining end portion 13 is sucked to the holding surface 412a of one holding pad 410.

[0116] At this stage of operation, the holding pad 410 to which the joining end portion 13 is not sucked reaches the joining end portion 13 by being rotated upward from the position below the joining end portion 13. That is, the holding pad 410 to which the joining end portion 13 is not sucked moves along a path where the holding pad 410 moves toward an upstream side from a position on a downstream side of the joining end portion 13 with respect to the conveyance direction of the sheet 12, and reaches a back surface (second surface) of the sheet 12 which is a surface on a side opposite to a surface (first surface) of the sheet 12 which is sucked by the other holding pad 410.

[0117] Due to processing in step S10, the joining end portion 13 is sandwiched between the pair of holding pads 410. Along with such an operation, the controller 100 stops sucking of the joining end portion 13 by the holding pad 410.

[0118] Next, in step S11, the controller 100 conveys the joining end portion 13 to the standby-side joining mechanism 300. Specifically, the controller 100 moves the sheet end portion gripping part 405 along a path L10 shown in FIG. 20 by driving the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like. That is, the controller 100 moves the sheet end portion gripping part 405 along the path L10 which reaches the standby-side joining mechanism 300 through upper, right and lower sides of the guide roller 24b in the lateral direction in FIG. 20. Further, the controller 100 moves the sheet end portion gripping part 405 along the joining suction surface 304a of the standby-side joining mechanism 300.

[0119] Next, in step S12, the controller 100 releases the joining end portion 13, and sets the joining end portion 13 to the standby-side joining mechanism 300.

[0120] Specifically, the controller 100 conveys the joining end portion 13 to the position beyond the temporary holding part 304. Next, the controller 100 brings the sheet end portion gripping part 405 into the first posture A1 above the joining suction surface 304a by driving the pad rotating mechanism 440. By such an operation, the sheet end portion 13 sandwiched by two holding pads 410 is released from the sheet end portion gripping part 405 and falls on the joining suction surface 304a. Then, as shown in FIG. 21, the controller 100 drives the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like so as to move the sheet end portion pressing part 450 downward toward a gap between the temporary holding part 304 and the sheet end portion pressing member 305. By such an operation, the edge portion 13a of the sheet end portion 13 is pushed between the temporary holding part 304 and the sheet end portion pressing member 305.

[0121] Next, in step S13, as shown in FIG. 22, the controller 100 fixes the joining end portion 13 to the standby-side joining mechanism 300 by making the sheet end portion pressing member 305 and the temporary holding part 304 clamp the joining end portion 13 therebetween. Specifically, the controller 100 rotates, by driving the second joining control valve 325, that is, the second joining cylinder 315, the sheet end portion pressing member 305 in a direction that the sheet end portion pressing surface 305a of the sheet end portion pressing member 305 approaches the surface to be pressed 304b whereby the joining end portion 13 is sandwiched between these surfaces 305a, 304b.

[0122] Then, to eliminate loosening of the joining end portion 13 placed on the joining suction surface 304a, the controller 100 rotates the standby-side roll holding shaft 21 in a direction that the sheet 12 is wound by suitably driving the roll holding shaft drive motor 22.

[0123] In this manner, in steps S10 to S13, a holding part moving step is performed where the sheet end portion gripping part 405 is moved such that the joining end portion 13 is conveyed to the standby-side joining mechanism 330 (to be more specific, the temporary holding part 304 of the standby-side joining mechanism 330) in a state where the joining end portion 13 is held by the sheet end portion gripping part 405.

[0124] When the joining end portion 13 is held by the standby-side joining mechanism 330 due to such steps, the controller 100 performs a step of applying an adhesive agent to the joining end portion 13 by coating.

[0125] First, in step S21, the controller 100 drives the operation robot drive motor 401 so as to arrange the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 above the joining end portion 13 and to make the coating surface 406a opposedly face the joining end portion 13. Specifically, as shown in FIG. 23 and FIG. 24 which is a view corresponding to FIG. 4 and showing a mode where an adhesive agent is applied by coating, the controller 100 moves the head 43e such that the nozzle 406 is arranged on one end of the joining end portion 13 in a width direction of the joining end portion 13 and in the vicinity of an end portion of the joining end portion 13 on a side opposite to the support wall 2a. At this stage of operation, the controller 100 arranges the nozzle 406 such that four nozzle holes 406b are arranged in a row in the longitudinal direction (conveyance direction) of the sheet 12. Further, the controller 100 makes a portion of the joining end portion 13 on the joining suction surface 304a and the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 opposedly face each other.

[0126] Next, in step S22, the controller 100 makes the nozzle 406 discharge an adhesive agent to the joining end portion 13. Specifically, the controller 100 drives the adhesive agent pump 418b and, at the same time, opens the adhesive agent discharge valve 417. By such an operation, the supply of an adhesive agent from the adhesive agent supply pipe 416 to the inside of the nozzle holes 406b and the discharge of the adhesive agent from the nozzle holes 406b to the joining end portion 13 are started.

[0127] Next, in step S23, in a state where the adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle 406, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 in a width direction of the joining end portion 13 from an area in the vicinity of one end of the joining end portion 13 (in the vicinity of the end portion on a side opposite to the support wall) to an area in the vicinity of the other end portion of the joining end portion 13.

[0128] Specifically, the controller 100 drives the operation robot drive motor 401 and the like so as to move, as shown in FIG. 25, the head 43e along the width direction of the joining end portion 13 in a state where a distance between the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 and the joining end portion 13 in the vertical direction is maintained at a fixed distance or in a state where the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 is brought into slight contact with the joining end portion 13. By such an operation, the adhesive agent is applied by coating to the joining end portion 13 along the width direction of the joining end portion 13.

[0129] At this stage of the operation, the controller 100 adjusts a moving speed of the nozzle 406 such that the adhesive agent discharged from the nozzle 406 is applied by coating to the joining end portion 13 at an approximately uniform thickness in the width direction and in a state where the thickness of the applied adhesive agent is suppressed to a relatively small value. Further, a discharge amount of the adhesive agent is also adjusted such that the adhesive agent is applied by coating as described above.

[0130] As shown in FIG. 25, the coating surface 406a, that is, a coating area which includes an edge of an opening of the nozzle hole 406b and by which an adhesive agent is applied by coating extends toward a rear side of the opening of the nozzle hole 406b (toward the rear side of the opening of the nozzle hole 406b in an advancing direction of the nozzle 406). Particularly, the coating surface 406a is formed into a planar shape and hence, the whole portion of the coating surface 406a on the rear side of the opening of the nozzle hole 406b forms the coating area where an adhesive agent is applied by coating. Accordingly, the adhesive agent discharged from the nozzle 406 is stretched by the coating surface 406a so that the adhesive agent is applied by coating uniformly.

[0131] Next, in step S24, in a state where the adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle 406, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 along the width direction of the joining end portion 13 from an area in the vicinity of the other end of the joining end portion 13 to one end portion of the joining end portion 13 (in the vicinity of the end portion of the joining end portion 13 on a side opposite to the support wall).

[0132] Specifically, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 (head 43e) away from the joining end portion 13 by moving the nozzle 406 (head 43e) upward when the nozzle 406 reaches the area in the vicinity of the other end of the joining end portion 13. Next, the controller 100 translates the nozzle 406 (head 43e) toward an upstream side in the conveyance direction of the sheet 12 by an amount equal to or larger than a size of the coating surface 406a in the longitudinal direction. Next, the controller 100 makes the nozzle 406 (head 43e) approach the joining end portion 13 by moving the nozzle 406 (head 43e) downward again. Then, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 from the other end to one end of the joining end portion 13.

[0133] Along with such an operation, next, an adhesive agent is sequentially applied by coating to the sheet end portion 13 from the other end toward one end of the sheet end portion 13.

[0134] At this stage of the operation, in this embodiment, as described above, four nozzle holes 406b are formed in the nozzle 406. Further, in steps S22 to S24, the nozzle 406 takes the posture where these four nozzle holes 406b are arranged side by side along the longitudinal direction of the sheet end portion 13. Accordingly, by performing processing in steps S22 to S24, as shown in FIG. 26, an adhesive agent is applied by coating to the joining end portion 13 along eight lines L.

[0135] In this manner, in steps S21 to S24, an adhesive agent discharge step is performed where the nozzle 406 is moved to the standby-side joining mechanism 330 (to be more specific, the temporary holding part 304 of the standby-side joining mechanism 330), and an adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle part 406 to the joining end portion 13.

[0136] Subsequent to step S24, in step S25, the controller 100 stops discharging of the adhesive agent from the nozzle 406 by closing the adhesive agent discharge valve 417. Further, the controller 100 stops driving of the adhesive agent pump 418b.

[0137] Next, in step S26, the controller 100 returns the head 43e to a standby position by driving the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like. Further, the controller 100 returns the sheet end portion gripping part 405 to the first posture A1 by driving the pad rotating mechanism 440.

[0138] Next, in step S27, the controller 100 rotates the standby-side joining mechanism 300 to the feeding position as shown in FIG. 27 by driving the joining mechanism rotating valve 302, that is, the joining mechanism rotating cylinder 301.

[0139] Next, in step S28, as shown in FIG. 27, the controller 100 pushes the temporary holding part 304 of the feeding-side joining mechanism 300 toward the standby-side joining mechanism 300 thus bringing the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and the joining end portion 13 into close contact with each other. Specifically, the controller 100 pushes the feeding-side temporary holding part 304 by driving the first joining control valve 324 (first joining cylinder 314). By such an operation, the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and the joining end portion 13, that is, the end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 are adhered to each other by means of an adhesive agent.

[0140] Before performing processing in step S28, the controller 100 rotates the sheet end portion pressing member 305 of the standby-side joining mechanism 300 in a direction away from the temporary holding part 304 thus releasing gripping of the joining end portion 13 by the above-mentioned members.

[0141] Further, before performing processing in step S28, the controller 100 separates the upper roller group 24h_1 and the lower roller group 24h_2 of the sheet retaining mechanism 24h from each other in advance and, then, stops the rotation of the roll holding shaft 21 which holds the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and, at the same time, makes the upper roller group 24h_1 and the lower roller group 24h_2 of the sheet retaining mechanism 24h approach each other. By such an operation, even when the rotation of the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 is stopped, feeding of the sheet 12 is continued.

[0142] Next, in step S29, the controller 100 makes the cutting blade 306 of the feeding-side joining mechanism 300 cut the sheet 12 of the feeding-side original sheet roll 10. Specifically, as indicated by a chain line in FIG. 27, the controller 100 pushes the cutting blade 306 and the pressing blade 307 of the feeding-side joining mechanism 300 toward the standby-side joining mechanism 300, and brings the cutting blade 306 into pressure contact with the sheet 12 while pressing the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 using the pressing blade 307 thus allowing the cutting blade 306 so as to cut the sheet 12.

[0143] Next, in step S30, the controller 100 returns the temporary holding part 304 of the feeding-side joining mechanism 300 to the original position as shown in FIG. 28.

[0144] Due to the above-mentioned steps, as shown in FIG. 28, the end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 is joined to the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and, at the same time, the original sheet roll 10 from which the sheet 12 is to be fed is switched.

(4-2) Adhesive agent removing operation



[0145] Steps in an adhesive agent removing operation (adhesive agent wiping operation), that is, control (wiping control) performed by the controller 100 (the sheet-feeding device controller 101 and the operation robot controller 102) in the adhesive agent removing operation is described hereinafter with reference to a flowchart shown in FIG. 29, and FIG. 30.

[0146] First, in step S31, the controller 100 determines whether or not a first cleaning condition which is one of conditions of determining whether or not the adhesive agent removing operation is to be operated is established. Specifically, the controller 100 determines that the first cleaning condition is established when a coating standby time which is a time elapsed from a point of time that processing in step S36 described later is performed so that the adhesive agent adhered to the nozzle 406 is wiped off or a time elapsed from a point of time that the adhesive agent is applied by coating last without performing processing in step S36 becomes a preset reference time or more. That is, the controller 100 measures the above-mentioned elapsed time, and determines whether or not the elapsed time is equal to or more than the reference time.

[0147] When the determination in step S31 is YES so that the coating standby time becomes equal to or more than the reference time and it is determined that the first cleaning condition is established, the controller 100 advances processing to step S32.

[0148] In step S32, the controller 100 determines whether or not a joining operation is requested. As described previously, in this embodiment, when a remaining amount of the sheet of the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 becomes equal to or less than a reference sheet amount (determination in step S1 becomes YES), the controller 100 performs the joining operation. Accordingly, in step S32, the controller 100 determines that the joining operation is requested when the remaining amount of the sheet of the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 becomes equal to or less than the reference sheet amount.

[0149] When the determination in step S32 is YES so that a joining operation is requested while the first cleaning condition is established, the controller 100 finishes processing as it is without performing an adhesive agent removing operation. In this case, since the determination in step S1 is YES, processing in the respective steps succeeding to step S2 are performed so as to start the joining operation.

[0150] On the other hand, when the determination in step S32 is NO so that there is no request for joining operation while the first cleaning condition is established, processing advances to step S33.

[0151] In step S33, the controller 100 arranges the nozzle 406 at the discarding part 602a.

[0152] Specifically, the controller 100 moves the operation robot 4 to the cleaning unit 6 as indicated by a chain line in FIG. 1 by driving the traveling motor 42a, the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like. Further, as indicated by a chain line in FIG. 12, the controller 100 moves the head 43e and the hand 44 by driving the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like such that the nozzle 406 is brought into a posture where the nozzle 406 protrudes downward from the upright wall 402b of the base part 402 at the discarding part 602a.

[0153] Next, in step S34, the controller 100 performs discarding of an adhesive agent. Specifically, the controller 100 discharges an adhesive agent downward from the nozzle 406 by driving the adhesive agent pump 418b and by opening the adhesive agent discharge valve 417. By such an operation, an adhesive agent remaining in the nozzle 406 is removed from the nozzle 406.

[0154] As described previously, the discarding part 602a is disposed on a portion positioned between the cleaning roller 604 and the wiping sheet winding roller 605 as viewed in a plan view at an opening portion formed on an upper portion of the cleaning unit 6. The wiping sheet 610 is extended between these rollers 604, 605. Accordingly, the adhesive agent which is discharged and falls from the nozzle 406 is received by the wiping sheet 610.

[0155] Next, in step S35, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 on the outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604. Specifically, the controller 100 moves the head 43e by driving the operation robot drive motor 401 or the like such that the nozzle 406 is arranged at the position where the nozzle 406 is brought into contact with the wiping sheet 610 placed on the outer peripheral surface of the upper portion of the cleaning roller 604.

[0156] Next, in step S36, the controller 100 performs wiping of the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406. Specifically, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 while bringing the nozzle 406 into contact with the wiping sheet 610 placed on the outer peripheral surface of the upper portion of the cleaning roller 604.

[0157] In this embodiment, the controller 100 reciprocates the nozzle 406 in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610 while bringing the nozzle 406 into contact with the wiping sheet 610. Specifically, first, as indicated by a solid line in FIG. 30, the controller 100 arranges the nozzle 406 in the vicinity of an upstream-side end portion of the upper portion of the cleaning roller 604 in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610. Then, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 to a downstream side in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610 along the outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604 as indicated by an arrow in FIG. 30 drawn by a solid line. When the nozzle 406 reaches an area in the vicinity of the downstream-side end portion of the upper portion of the cleaning roller 604 in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 toward an upstream side in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610. During such reciprocation of the nozzle 406, the controller 100 moves the nozzle 406 such that the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 is constantly brought into contact with the wiping sheet 610.

[0158] In this manner, by moving the nozzle 406 in a state where the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 is brought into contact with the wiping sheet 610, the adhesive agent adhering to the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 is wiped off by the wiping sheet 610.

[0159] Next, in step S37, the controller 100 resets the number of times of coating and the coating standby time described later, and finishes the processing. In this embodiment, at this stage of operation, the controller 100 returns the head 43e to the standby position. Further, the controller 100 feeds the wiping sheet 610 by rotating the draw roller 607 with driving of the rotatably driving part 606. At the same time, the controller 100 makes the wiping sheet winding roller 605 wind the wiping sheet 610 by rotating the wiping sheet winding roller 605. By such an operation, the wiping sheet 610 used in wiping off the adhesive agent is wound by the wiping sheet winding roller 605, and a new wiping sheet 610 to which an adhesive agent is not adhered is arranged on the outer peripheral surface of the cleaning roller 604.

[0160] On the other hand, when the controller 100 determines that the determination in step S31 is NO and the first cleaning condition is not established, processing advances to step S38.

[0161] In step S38, the controller 100 determines whether or not a second cleaning condition which is one of determination conditions for determining whether or not the adhesive agent removing operation is to be performed is established. Specifically, when the number of times of coating which is the number of times that a coating operation of an adhesive agent is performed becomes equal to or more than the preset reference number of times, it is determined that the second cleaning condition is established. That is, the controller 100 counts up the number of times that a coating operation of an adhesive agent is performed, for example, the number of times that processing in step S22 is performed or the number of times that processing in step S25 is performed, and determines whether or not such number of times is equal to or more than the reference number of times.

[0162] As described previously, the number of times of coating is reset in step S37 when processing in step S36 is performed (the number of times of coating being returned to 0).

[0163] When the determination in step S38 is YES, processing advances to step S39. In step S39, in the same manner as in step S32, the controller 100 determines whether or not a joining operation is requested. When the determination in step S38 is YES and the determination in step S39 is YES, that is, when the second cleaning condition is established and a joining operation is requested, the controller 100 finishes processing as it is without performing the adhesive agent removing operation (processing succeeding to step S2 being performed). Also, when the determination in step S38 is NO, processing is finished as it is.

[0164] On the other hand, when the determination in step S38 is YES so that the second cleaning condition is established, and the determination in step S39 is NO so that there is no request of a joining operation, processing advances to step S35. Then, processing in steps S35 to S37 are performed and are finished.

[0165] In this manner, in this embodiment, in the case where a joining operation is requested, even when the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, the joining operation is performed prior to the cleaning operation. On the other hand, in the case where a joining operation is not requested, when the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, wiping off of the nozzle 406 is performed. With such a cleaning operation, the adhesive agent remaining on the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 is removed so that the coating surface 406a is maintained cleanly and hence, in a joining operation, an adhesive agent is favorably applied by coating to the joining end portion 13. Particularly, when the first cleaning condition is established, discarding of an adhesive agent is performed. By such an operation, an adhesive agent which remains in the nozzle holes 406b formed in the nozzle 406 and the adhesive agent supply passage 406c for a reference time and may be degraded is removed. Accordingly, in a joining operation, the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 and the end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 are favorably adhered to each other.

(5) Manner of operation and the like



[0166] As has been described above, in the sheet-feeding system 1 and the sheet-feeding method according to this embodiment, the joining part 30 for joining the joining end portion 13 which forms the end portion 13 of the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 to a middle portion of the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 is provided and, at the same time, when a remaining amount of the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10 becomes equal to or below the reference sheet amount, the joining end portion 13 of the standby-side original sheet roll 10 is conveyed to the joining part 30 by the operation robot 4, and is joined to the sheet 12 on the feeding-side original sheet roll 10. Accordingly, it is possible to feed the sheets 12 on at least two original sheet rolls 10 automatically and continuously thus enhancing operation efficiency.

[0167] Further, due to the movement of the operation robot 4, the hand 44 and the head 43e, the sheet end portions 13 of all original sheet rolls 10 supported on the sheet feeding device 2 can be taken out and conveyed by the common sheet end portion gripping part 405. Accordingly, it is unnecessary to provide a device for taking out and conveying the sheet end portion 13 for each original sheet roll 10 thus realizing miniaturization of the device. In the same manner, the nozzle 406 is provided to the head 43e, and an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to the joining end portions 13 of all original sheet rolls 10 by the nozzle part 406 and hence, it is unnecessary to provide a device for supplying an adhering member to the sheet end portion 13 for each original sheet roll 10, and it is unnecessary to perform an operation of exchanging or adding an adhering member or the like with respect to plural devices and hence, the device can be further miniaturized and, at the same time, it is sufficient for one nozzle 406 to be controlled and hence, it is possible to easily control the sheet-feeding system 1 thus enhancing operation efficiency.

[0168] In this embodiment, after the sheet end portion 13 is released from the sheet end portion gripping part 405 and is made to fall on the joining suction surface 304a, that is, after the joining end portion 13 is conveyed to the temporarily holding part 304 in a state where the joining end portion 13 is held by the sheet end portion gripping part 405 and, further, holding of the joining end portion 13 by the sheet end portion gripping part 405 is released, the nozzle 406 is moved by controlling the hand 44, and an adhesive agent is discharged to the joining end portion 13 from the nozzle 406. Accordingly, in a joining operation, it is sufficient for the hand 44 including the sheet end portion gripping part 405 and the nozzle 406 to be controlled, the sheet-feeding system 1 can be simply configured and, further, the conveyance of the joining end portion 13 and the coating of an adhesive agent can be performed through a series of operations thus easily controlling the conveyance of the joining end portion 13 and the coating of the adhesive agent.

[0169] In this embodiment, an adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle 406 while moving the opening of the nozzle hole 406b formed in the coating surface 406a of the nozzle 406 and the coating surface 406a which are arranged in this order from a front side in the advancing direction of the nozzle part 406 and hence, an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to the joining end portion 13 more uniformly thus joining the sheets 12 to each other more properly.

[0170] In this embodiment, the cleaning unit 6 having the wiping part (a portion of the wiping sheet 610 placed on the outer peripheral surface of the upper portion of the cleaning roller 604) provided within the movable range of the nozzle 406 is provided, when the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, an adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406 is wiped by the wiping part.

[0171] Accordingly, an adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle 406 can be removed from the nozzle 406, and an adhesive agent can be applied by coating more properly to the joining end portion 13 by the cleaned nozzle 406.

[0172] On the other hand, even in a case where the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, when a sheet joining condition is established, a wiping control is not performed and a joining operation (joining control) is performed. Accordingly, the joining operation can be immediately performed when necessary, and it is possible to suppress the delaying of the joining operation of the sheet 12 and the conveyance of the sheet 12 thus enhancing operation efficiency.

[0173] Further, when the first cleaning condition is established, an adhesive agent is discharged from the nozzle 406 at the discarding part 602a positioned downstream of the cleaning roller 604 in the conveyance direction of the wiping sheet 610 between the wiping sheet feeding roller 603 and the wiping sheet winding roller 605.

[0174] Accordingly, an adhesive agent which remains in the nozzle 406 for a predetermined time and may be degraded can be removed from the nozzle 406 at the discarding part 602a and hence, in a succeeding joining operation, an adhesive agent can be further properly applied by coating to the joining end portion 13.

[0175] In the above-mentioned embodiment, the holding surfaces 412a of both holding pads 410 can suck the sheet end portion 13 respectively and hence, even when the feeding directions of the sheets 12 differ from each other as indicated by a chain line and a solid line in FIG. 3 1, by allowing the holding surface 412a of either one of the holding pads 410 to correspond to the position of the joining end portion 13, the joining end portion 13 can be properly sucked to the holding pad 410.

(6) Modification



[0176] In the above-mentioned embodiment, the description has been made with respect to the case where, before processing in step S9 (the step of separating the holding surface 412a which sucks the joining end portion 13 and the joining end portion 1 3 from the standby-side original sheet roll 10) is performed, processing in step S8 (the step of rotatably driving the standby-side original sheet roll 10 in the feeding direction of the sheet 12) is performed. However, the processing in steps S8, S9 may be performed simultaneously. Also in this case, a tension applied to the sheet 12 on the standby-side original sheet roll 10 can be suppressed at a low level and hence, it is possible to suppress the occurrence of a breakage of the sheet 12 and a phenomenon that the joining end portion 13 is separated from the holding surface 412a.

[0177] The specific embodiments described above mainly include the inventions having the following configurations.

[0178] The present invention is directed to a sheet-feeding system for continuously feeding a sheet, in which the sheet-feeding system includes: a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets; a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds a sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll; a remaining sheet amount detection unit for detecting remaining amounts of the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll respectively; a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism capable of moving the holding part within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part; a controller for controlling the sheet conveyance unit such that when a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining sheet amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or less than a predetermined remaining sheet amount which is set in advance, an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part; a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other; a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part, and the controller performs a joining control for controlling the sheet conveyance unit, the discharge mechanism, and the nozzle moving unit such that an end portion of a sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed by the sheet conveyance unit and, thereafter, the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll and, further, the adhesive agent is discharged to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll by the nozzle part.

[0179] With such a configuration, the holding part is moveable within a region including two temporarily holding parts and hence, by moving the holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet is held by the holding part, the end portion of the sheet can be conveyed to any one of the temporarily holding parts by one holding part. Further, the nozzle part is movable within a region including two temporarily holding parts and hence, when the end portion of the sheet is held by either one of the temporarily holding parts, an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to the end portion of the sheet using one nozzle part. Accordingly, different from a case where a device for holding an end portion of a sheet and a device for supplying an adhesive member to an end portion of a sheet are provided to two original sheet rolls individually, the whole system can be simplified and miniaturized and, at the same time, it is sufficient to perform an operation of exchanging or adding an adhesive agent with respect to one device and hence, an operation efficiency can be enhanced.

[0180] In the above-mentioned configuration, it is preferable that the nozzle part be provided to the sheet conveyance unit, the sheet conveyance unit function also as the nozzle moving unit, and the controller control the sheet conveyance unit such that the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed by the sheet conveyance unit and, thereafter, holding of the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll by the holding part is released, and the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part so as to join the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to the middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll.

[0181] With such a configuration, the nozzle part is provided to the sheet conveyance unit and, at the same time, the sheet conveyance unit functions also as the nozzle moving unit and hence, the sheet-feeding system can be simplified as a whole.

[0182] In the above-mentioned configuration, it is preferable that the nozzle part have a coating surface, and a nozzle hole which opens at the coating surface and allows the adhesive agent to pass therethrough, the coating surface include a coating region which forms an edge of the opening, and the controller control the sheet conveyance unit, the discharge mechanism, and the nozzle moving unit such that, in performing the joining control, the adhesive agent is stretched on the sheet of the original sheet roll by discharging the adhesive agent from the nozzle part while moving the nozzle part in a state where the opening and the coating region are arranged in parallel in this order from a front side in an advancing direction of the nozzle part.

[0183] With such a configuration, an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to the end portion of the sheet more uniformly thus joining the sheets more properly.

[0184] In the above-mentioned configuration, it is preferable that the sheet-feeding system further include a cleaning unit having a wiping part disposed within the movable range of the nozzle part for wiping the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part, and the controller perform a wiping control for controlling the sheet conveyance unit and the nozzle moving unit such that the nozzle part is moved to a position where the nozzle part is brought into contact with the wiping part so that the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part is wiped at the wiping part when a first cleaning condition is established where a predetermined time elapses during a period from a point of time that the adhesive agent is discharged to the nozzle part due to an establishment of the sheet joining condition to a point of time that the sheet joining condition is established again, or a second cleaning condition is established where the number of times that the nozzle part is allowed to discharge the adhesive agent to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll due to establishment of the sheet joining condition after an adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part is wiped at the wiping part reaches a predetermined number of times.

[0185] With such a configuration, by removing an adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part, an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to an end portion of a sheet by the cleaned nozzle part more properly.

[0186] In the above-mentioned configuration, it is preferable that the controller determine whether or not the sheet joining condition is established after the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, and perform the joining control without performing the wiping control when the sheet joining condition is established.

[0187] With such a configuration, even in a case where either one of both cleaning conditions is established, when the joining condition is established, the joining control can be performed prior to the wiping control so that it is possible to suppress delaying of the joining operation of the sheet and the conveyance of the sheet thus enhancing operation efficiency.

[0188] It is preferable that the cleaning unit have a supply part for feeding a wiping sheet, and a recovery part for recovering the wiping sheet fed from the supply part, the wiping sheet include a wiping part positioned between the supply part and the recovery part, and a discarding part positioned downstream of the wiping part in a feeding direction of the wiping sheet between the supply part and the recovery part, and the controller control the discharge mechanism and the nozzle moving unit such that, when the first cleaning condition is established, the nozzle part is moved until the nozzle part is positioned above the discarding part and, thereafter, the adhesive agent in an inside of the nozzle part is discharged to the discarding part by discharging the adhesive agent from the nozzle part.

[0189] With such a configuration, an adhesive agent which remains in the nozzle part at the discarding part for a predetermined time and may be degraded can be removed from the inside of the nozzle part, and an adhesive agent can be further properly applied by coating to an end portion of a sheet at the time of performing a succeeding joining control.

[0190] The present invention is directed to a sheet-feeding method for continuously feeding a sheet using a sheet-feeding system, in which the sheet-feeding system includes: a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets; a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds the sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll; a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism for supporting the holding part such that the holding part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part; a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other; a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part, and the sheet-feeding method including: a holding part moving step where the holding part is moved using the sheet conveyance unit such that an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part in a case where a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or below a predetermined remaining amount; and an adhesive agent discharging step where the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll using the discharge mechanism and the nozzle moving unit and the nozzle part is allowed to discharge the adhesive agent to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll after the holding part moving step.

[0191] According to the above-mentioned method, the holding part is movable within a region including two temporarily holding parts and hence, by moving the holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet is held by the holding part, the end portion of the sheet can be conveyed to either one of the temporarily holding parts using one holding part. Further, the nozzle part is movable within the region including two temporarily holding parts and hence, even when the end portion of the sheet is held by either one of the temporarily holding parts, an adhesive agent can be applied by coating to the end portion of the sheet using one nozzle part. Accordingly, different from a case where a device for holding an end portion of a sheet and a device for supplying an adhesive member to an end portion of a sheet are respectively provided to two original sheet rolls individually, it is sufficient to control one nozzle part and hence, the operator can easily control the sheet-feeding system, and the device can be simplified and miniaturized and, at the same time, it is sufficient to merely perform an operation of exchanging or adding an adhesive agent with respect to one device and hence, an operation efficiency can be enhanced.


Claims

1. A sheet-feeding system for continuously feeding a sheet, the sheet-feeding system comprising:

a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets;

a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds a sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll;

a remaining sheet amount detection unit for detecting remaining amounts of the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll respectively,

a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism capable of moving the holding part within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part;

a controller for controlling the sheet conveyance unit such that when a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or less than a predetermined remaining sheet amount, an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part;

a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other;

a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and

a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part, wherein

the controller is configured to perform a joining control for controlling the sheet conveyance unit, the discharge mechanism, and the nozzle moving unit such that an end portion of a sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed by the sheet conveyance unit and, thereafter, the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll and, further, the adhesive agent is discharged to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll by the nozzle part.


 
2. The sheet-feeding system according to claim 1, wherein
the nozzle part is provided to the sheet conveyance unit,
the sheet conveyance unit is configured to function also as the nozzle moving unit, and
the controller is configured to control the sheet conveyance unit such that the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed by the sheet conveyance unit and, thereafter, holding of the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll by the holding part is released, and the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part so as to join the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to the middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll.
 
3. The sheet-feeding system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein
the nozzle part has a coating surface, and a nozzle hole which opens at the coating surface and allows the adhesive agent to pass therethrough,
the coating surface includes a coating region which forms an edge of the opening, and
the controller is configured to, in performing the joining control, control the sheet conveyance unit, the discharge mechanism, and the nozzle moving unit such that the adhesive agent is stretched on the sheet of the original sheet roll by discharging the adhesive agent from the nozzle part while moving the nozzle part in a state where the opening and the coating region are arranged in parallel in this order from a front side in an advancing direction of the nozzle part.
 
4. The sheet-feeding system according to any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising a cleaning unit having a wiping part disposed within a movable range of the nozzle part for wiping the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part, and
the controller is configured to perform a wiping control for controlling the sheet conveyance unit and the nozzle moving unit such that the nozzle part is moved to a position where the nozzle part is brought into contact with the wiping part so that the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part is wiped at the wiping part when a first cleaning condition is established where a predetermined time elapses during a period from a point of time that the adhesive agent is discharged to the nozzle part due to an establishment of the sheet joining condition to a point of time that the sheet joining condition is established again, or when a second cleaning condition is established where the number of times that the nozzle part is allowed to discharge the adhesive agent to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll due to establishment of the sheet joining condition after the adhesive agent adhering to the nozzle part is wiped at the wiping part reaches a predetermined number of times.
 
5. The sheet-feeding system according to claim 4, wherein the controller is configured to determine whether or not the sheet joining condition is established after the first cleaning condition or the second cleaning condition is established, and is configured to perform the joining control without performing the wiping control when the sheet joining condition is established.
 
6. The sheet-feeding system according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the cleaning unit has a supply part for feeding a wiping sheet, and a recovery part for recovering the wiping sheet fed from the supply part,
the wiping sheet includes a wiping part positioned between the supply part and the recovery part, and a discarding part positioned downstream of the wiping part in a feeding direction of the wiping sheet between the supply part and the recovery part, and
the controller is configured to control the discharge mechanism and the nozzle moving unit such that when the first cleaning condition is established, the nozzle part is moved until the nozzle part is positioned above the discarding part and, thereafter, the adhesive agent in an inside of the nozzle part is discharged to the discarding part by discharging the adhesive agent from the nozzle part.
 
7. A sheet-feeding method for continuously feeding a sheet using a sheet-feeding system, wherein the sheet-feeding system includes:

a roll holding part configured such that a first original sheet roll and a second original sheet roll around which sheets are respectively wound are held in a rotatable state thus enabling feeding of the sheets;

a joining part having a first temporarily holding part which temporarily holds an end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll for joining the end portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll, and a second temporarily holding part which is separated from the first temporarily holding part and temporarily holds the sheet of the first original sheet roll for joining an end portion of the sheet of the first original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the second original sheet roll;

a sheet conveyance unit having a holding part capable of holding the sheets on the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll, and a moving mechanism for supporting the holding part such that the holding part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part;

a nozzle part for discharging an adhesive agent for joining the sheet of the first original sheet roll and the sheet of the second original sheet roll to each other;

a discharge mechanism capable of discharging the adhesive agent through the nozzle part; and

a nozzle moving unit for supporting the nozzle part such that the nozzle part is made movable within a region including the first temporarily holding part and the second temporarily holding part,

the sheet-feeding method comprising:

a holding part moving step where the holding part is moved using the sheet conveyance unit such that an end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is conveyed to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part in a state where the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll is held by the holding part in a case where a sheet joining condition is established where a remaining amount of the sheet of one original sheet roll out of the first original sheet roll and the second original sheet roll becomes equal to or below a predetermined remaining amount; and

an adhesive agent discharging step where the nozzle part is moved to the first temporarily holding part or the second temporarily holding part for joining the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll to a middle portion of the sheet of the one original sheet roll using the discharge mechanism and the nozzle moving unit and the nozzle part is allowed to discharge the adhesive agent to the end portion of the sheet of the other original sheet roll after the holding part moving step.


 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description