Ricoh. has filed a patent for a sheet feeder that includes a sheet loading tray, air blower, side air blower, and processing circuitry. The system uses air to float and separate sheets, with the tray elevator moving sheets to different positions for efficient processing. GlobalData’s report on Ricoh gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Ricoh, E-transaction user interfaces was a key innovation area identified from patents. Ricoh's grant share as of January 2024 was 26%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Sheet feeder with air blowers for sheet separation

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Ricoh Co Ltd

The patent application (Publication Number: US20240034578A1) describes a sheet feeder system that includes a sheet loading tray, an air blower, a side air blower, and processing circuitry. The air blower and side air blower are strategically positioned to blow air onto the sheets loaded on the tray to facilitate separation. The processing circuitry controls the tray elevator to move the sheets to an upper limit position, initiate air blowing for sheet separation, and lower the tray to a position with a remaining-sheet sensor after separation.

Furthermore, the system includes features such as multiple nozzles on the air blower and side air blower to adjust the amount of air blown based on sheet size or thickness. The processing circuitry also enables the adjustment of the tray's lowered position based on the remaining sheets after separation. Additionally, the patent application extends to an image forming apparatus incorporating the sheet feeder and a method for sheet feeding executed by the system. The method involves lifting the sheet loading tray, blowing air for sheet separation, and lowering the tray to a position with a remaining-sheet sensor. The patent also covers a computer-readable storage medium storing program code for controlling the sheet feeder system's operations.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.