Belek, Ronald E. (46 Wintergreen Drive, Quaker Hill, CT, 06375, US)
|1.||A curing apparatus comprising: a housing; a reflector supported in said housing; a lamp supported adjacent said reflector, said lamp and said reflector arranged in said housing to direct radiation to a curing location within said housing; a drawer insertably mounted to said housing, said drawer including a work surface, said drawer being movable from an exterior position to an interior position within said housing placing said work station at said curing location.|
|2.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 further including a power supply for powering said lamp, said power supply being located within said housing adjacent said drawer.|
|3.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said housing includes a base movably supporting said drawer and a cover overlying said base.|
|4.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said drawer is manually operable.|
|5.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said work surface is a planar member having a planar surface positioned in facing relationship to said elliptical reflector.|
|6.||A curing apparatus of claim 5 wherein said planar surface is adapted to support a plurality of curable work pieces.|
|7.||A curing apparatus of claim 4 wherein said base and said drawer include cooperating mounting structure so as to movably mount said drawer to said base.|
|8.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said reflector is a parabolic reflector.|
|9.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said parabolic reflector defines a low profile ellipse.|
|10.||A curing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said lamp is a UVlamp.|
|11.||A method of curing a work piece comprising the steps of : providing a housing supporting a reflector having a lamp fixed thereadjacent, said housing including a drawer movably insertable into said housing; placing said work piece on a work surface of said drawer; inserting said drawer into said housing so as to place said work surface at a curing location in proximity to said reflector.|
|12.||A method of curing a work piece of claim 11 wherein said placing step includes placing a plurality of said work piece on said work surface.|
|13.||A method of curing a work piece of claim 11 wherein said inserting step includes: manually sliding said drawer into said housing.|
|14.||A method of curing a work piece of claim 11 wherein said lamp is a UVlamp.|
Brief Description Of Related Technolosv It is well known to use radiation such as supplied by ultraviolet ("UV") lamps to cure certain curable compounds such as adhesives and the like. Spot curing systems are used in various applications including curing of industrial sealants, for potting and bonding electronic components, as well as bonding various materials in the medical industry.
Commercially available spot curing lamp assemblies typically include, for example, a UV lamp and a reflector by which the reflected light from the lamp is focused on a target location adjacent the reflector. As may be appreciated, many curing systems require the use of externally supported power supplies which supply the requisite electrical power to the lamp. The curing system must also accommodate any components which are used to position the objects which are to cured. In many instances, the numerous separate parts, including the power supply, lamp, lamp reflector and work surface, are not conveniently packaged in a single unit. This prevents the system from being readily portable and increases the manufacturing cost of the system itself.
While it is apparent that various components making up the curing system could be assembled in the single housing unit, no acceptable housing unit has been developed which allows operable access to the objects which are to be placed in proximity to the lamp for curing purposes. Furthermore, many of the single housing units are unduly large and cumbersome to operate.
It is, therefore, desirable to provide a curing system where each of the components of the system, including the power supply, are housed in a single unit and which allows the components which are to be cured to be readily positioned adjacent the UV curing lamp.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a curing apparatus is provided. The curing apparatus includes a housing, which supports a reflector therewithin. A radiation lamp is supported by the reflector such that the lamp and the reflector are arranged in the housing to direct UV energy from the lamp to a curing location within the housing. A drawer supports a work surface which accommodates the objects to be cured. The drawer is movably insertable into the housing from an exterior position to interior position placing the work surface at the curing location.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the power supply which operates the curing lamp may be supported directly within the housing adjacent the drawer. The housing itself may include a base portion which movably supports the drawer and a cover overlying the base enclosing the drawer and the power supply. The reflector may be parabolic in shape which assists in projecting radiation across the work surface.
In accordance with a method aspect of the present invention, a method of curing a work piece is provided. The method includes providing a housing supporting a reflector having a lamp fixed therein. The housing includes a drawer movably inserted into'the housing. A work piece is placed on the work surface of the drawer. The drawer is then inserted into the housing so as to place the work surface and the work piece at a curing location in proximity to the reflector.
In a preferred embodiment, the work surface would support a plurality of work pieces and the drawer is designed to be manually slidably inserted into the housing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Figure 1 is a top perspective view of the curing housing of the present invention.
Figure 2 is a top perspective view of the curing housing of the present invention with the housing cover removed to show the components held therein and the work piece drawer positioned in an open position.
Figure 3 is a side plan view of the curing housing of Figure 1 with the internal components shown in phantom.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a system for curing work pieces where a housing accommodates components required to cure a work piece in a convenient portable assembly.
The housing of the present invention provides for the insertable accommodation of work pieces to be cured therein. The present invention will be described with respect to a preferred embodiment of a UV-curing system. It, however, may be appreciated that other curing systems may also be employed.
Referring to the drawings of the present invention, the UV curing system 10 of the present invention includes a housing 12 which is generally rectangular in shape including a base 14 and a removable cover 16. The cover 16 of housing 12 is shown removed in Figure 2 to expose the interior 18 thereof. The cover may include a handle 20 on the upper surface 16a thereof to permit ease of removal of the cover and also when the cover the is attached to the base to permit manual portability of the housing. When in use, the cover 16 is securely attached to the base 14 by screws or other fastening hardware (not shown) preventing access to the interior 18 of housing 12.
With specific reference to Figures 2 and 3, the interior 18 of housing 12 supports various components forming the UV curing system. The interior 18 is divided into two compartments, a forward compartment 18a and a rearward compartment 18b. In forward compartment 18a of housing 12, a reflector 22 is suspended therein. The reflector 22 may be of conventional construction and includes a generally parabolically-shaped reflective surface 24. The reflector 22 defines a low profile ellipse so as to minimize the height of the reflector. As is well known, a UV lamp 26 may be supported adjacent the focal point of the reflector 22 so as to optimize the light reflected from the UV lamp by the reflector. As is well known and as shown in Figure 3, the lamp 26 and reflector 24 serve to reflect UV energy emitted by the lamp in a direction generally shown by arrows A. While the reflector may be of any desirable shape, it has been found that a parabolically-shaped reflector more efficiently direct UV radiation emitted by lamp 26 onto the work surface.
The rearward compartment 18b of housing 12 supports a plurality of electronic components generally denoted as 30. These components may include the electronic power supply which supplies power to the UV curing lamp as well as devices such as timers, switches and the like, all which allow for the efficient curing operation of the UV lamp. Each of the electronic components may be securely mounted to the base 14. Electrical power may be supplied through a rear wall 15 of base 14 at which point user operatable functions such as power switches, timers and AC power ports may be provided. These are of conventional construction and are not shown in the figures.
The forward end 14a of base 14 supports a slidable drawer 40. Drawer 40 is generally of rectangular shape having a bottom wall 42, a pair of spaced apart upstanding side walls 44 and a front wall 46 having a manually operated handle 48 attached thereto. Drawer 40 is slidably accommodated within the base 14 of housing 12 by runners or draw slides 50 attached to each of the side walls. Cooperative drawer slides 52 (Figure 3) are provided on the opposed side wall of the base 14 so as to accommodate drawer 40 in insertably slidable fashion. The base 42 of drawer 40 defines a work surface which accommodates one or more objects 51 which are to be cured in the UV curing system of the present invention.
The reflector 22 and lamp 26 define a location therebeneath at which the UV energy of lamp 26 is focused. As shown in Figure 3, this location is beneath the arrows A. Drawer 40 may be slidably opened to an exterior location with respect to housing 12 (Figure 2) so that the work pieces 51 may be inserted thereinto. The work pieces 51 may be, for example, electronic components which are supported on a board to which the components are to be adhesively secured. Once positioned within the drawer 40, the drawer 40 is manually closed, bringing the work surface to an interior location beneath the reflector 22 (Figure 3). The orientation of the drawer 40 with respect to the base 14 assures that the work surface is properly positioned at a location beneath the reflector so as to maximize the reflected UV radiation onto the work surface.
Thus, the present invention provides in a single transportable unit, a UV curing system where work pieces can be placed repeatedly and accurately beneath a reflector so that UV energy provided by a UV lamp is appropriately reflected onto the work surface to effect curing.
The full scope of the invention is set forth in the claims.
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