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Title:
MEDIA STRAIGHTENER, FEEDER AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/078668
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed herein is a feeder that includes a receiver configured to receive a reel of carrier tape having media disposed thereon, a presentation location configured to present media from the reel for a subsequent picking process, a media straightener. The media straightener includes an inlet configured to receive the carrier tape and an outlet configured to expel the carrier tape to the presentation location. The media straightener includes a path located between the inlet and the outlet, the path including a first bend configured to permanently deform the media as the carrier tape moves through the first bend. Further disclosed is a media straightener and a method of straightening media.

Inventors:
PROCTOR, Scott C. (61 Capen Rd, Brockport, New York, 14420, US)
ADAMS, Sean M. (295 Browncroft Blvd, Rochester, New York, 14609, US)
BUCHANAN, Richard A, (4231 Gregory Road, Binghamton, New York, 13903, US)
Application Number:
US2015/058585
Publication Date:
May 11, 2017
Filing Date:
November 02, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
UNIVERSAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION (33 Broome Corporate Parkway, Conklin, New York, 13748, US)
International Classes:
B65H18/02
Foreign References:
US6691859B22004-02-17
US5191693A1993-03-09
US6820401B22004-11-23
US6735927B22004-05-18
US6631868B22003-10-14
US6619526B12003-09-16
US4943342A1990-07-24
US1807274A1931-05-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLSEN, Arlen L. (Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP,22 Century Hill Drive, Suite 30, Latham New York, 12110, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A feeder comprising:

a receiver configured to receive a reel of carrier tape having media disposed thereon; a presentation location configured to present media from the reel for a subsequent picking process; and

a media straightener, wherein the media straightener includes an inlet configured to receive the carrier tape and an outlet configured to expel the carrier tape to the presentation location, wherein the media straightener includes a path located between the inlet and the outlet, the path including a first bend configured to permanently deform the media as the carrier tape moves through the first bend.

2. The feeder of claim 2, wherein the receiver is configured to receive the reel of carrier tape such that the carrier tape rotates in a first circular direction when expelling the carrier tape from the receiver to the media straightener, and wherein the carrier tape is configured to curve through the first bend in a second circular direction that is opposite to the first circular direction.

3. The feeder of claim 1, wherein the media straightener includes a top guide block and a bottom guide block, and wherein the path is located between the top guide block and the bottom guide block.

4. The feeder of claim 3, wherein a width of the path is adjustable by moving the top guide block with respect to the bottom guide block.

5. The feeder of claim 1, wherein the path of the media straightener includes a second bend, wherein the carrier tape is configured to curve through the second bend in the first circular direction, and wherein the path of the media straightener includes a third bend, wherein the carrier tape is configured to curve through the third bend in the second circular direction,

6. The feeder of claim 5, wherein the first bend includes a smaller radius of curvature than the second bend.

7. The feeder of claim 3, wherein the media straightener is located proximate a tape drive system, the tape drive system configured to pull the carrier tape through the media straightener.

8. The feeder of claim 5, wherein the path of the media straightener includes a fourth bend, wherein the carrier tape is configured to curve through the fourth bend in the first circular direction, wherein the path of the media straightener includes a fifth bend, wherein the carrier tape is configured to curve through the fifth bend in the second circular direction.

9. The feeder of claim 1, wherein the media straightener includes a plurality of wheels arranged to define the path such that the carrier tape moves above a first wheel and below a second wheel, and wherein the first wheel and the second wheel have different radii.

10. A media straightener comprising:

a top guide block;

a bottom guide block disposed below the top guide block, and wherein a path is located between the top guide block and the bottom guide block;

an inlet configured to receive a carrier tape having media disposed thereon;

an outlet configured to expel the carrier tape; and

an attachment interface for attaching the media straightener to a feeder of a pick and place process; wherein the path includes a first bend configured to permanently deform the media as the carrier tape moves through the first bend.

11. A method comprising:

providing a pick and place feeder;

receiving a reel of carrier tape by the pick and place feeder, the carrier tape having media disposed thereon;

receiving the carrier tape from the reel by a media straightener;

moving the carrier tape through the media straightener;

straightening the media by the media straightener;

expelling the straightened media from the media straightener; and

presenting the straightened media for a subsequent picking process.

12. The method of claim 1 1, further comprising permanently deforming the media during the moving the carrier tape through the media straightener.

13. The method of claim 1 1, wherein the media straightener includes a first element and a second element and a path located between the first element and the second element, the method further comprising moving the carrier tape through a bend in the path.

14. The method of claim 1 1, further comprising bending the media during the moving the carrier tape in an orientation that is opposite to a natural bend in the media as a result of being stored on the reel.

15. The media of claim 11, further comprising picking the straightened media by a pick and place machine.

16. The method of claim 13, further comprising adjusting the location of the first element with respect to the second element and increasing or decreasing a thickness of the path.

17. The method of claim 1 1, further comprising pulling the tape through the media straightener with a tape drive system.

18. The method of claim 1 1, wherein the media straightener includes a plurality of wheels arranged to define a path, the method further including moving the carrier tape above a first wheel and below a second wheel, and wherein the first wheel and the second wheel have different radii.

19. The method of claim 1 1, wherein the media includes a curl resulting from being stored on the reel, the method further comprising uncurling the curl by the media straightener.

20. The method of claim 1 1, further comprising removing the straightened media from the carrier tape prior to the presenting the straightened media for a subsequent picking process.

Description:
MEDIA STRAIGHTENER, FEEDER AND METHOD

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The subject matter disclosed herein relates generally to media and component feeders. More particularly, the subject matter relates to a straightener for media being presented by a feeder of a pick and place process, a feeder having a straightener component and method.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Media is often provided in wounded reels on a thin carrier material or layer. Media is unwound from these reels and presented by media feeders for picking. As a result of the wound reels, the media may become bent or curled. Even after a feeder unwinds the reel and presents the media for picking in a subsequent process, the bends or curls created in the media may remain. This curled or bent nature of the media may negatively impact or interfere with the feeding of the media and the picking of the media. This bent or curled state may be particularly apparent after the media is removed from the thin carrier material immediately prior to being picked at the subsequent process.

[0003] Thus, straightener for media being presented by a feeder in a pick and place process would be well received in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0004] According to a first embodiment, a feeder comprises: a receiver configured to receive a reel of carrier tape having media disposed thereon; a presentation location configured to present media from the reel for a subsequent picking process; and a media straightener, wherein the media straightener includes an inlet configured to receive the carrier tape and an outlet configured to expel the carrier tape to the presentation location, wherein the media straightener includes a path located between the inlet and the outlet, the path including a first bend configured to permanently deform the media as the carrier tape moves through the first bend.

[0005] According to a second embodiment, a media straightener comprises: a top guide block; a bottom guide block disposed below the top guide block, and wherein a path is located between the top guide block and the bottom guide block; an inlet configured to receive a carrier tape having media disposed thereon; an outlet configured to expel the carrier tape; and an attachment interface for attaching the media straightener to a feeder of a pick and place process; wherein the path includes a first bend configured to permanently deform the media as the carrier tape moves through the first bend.

[0006] According to a third embodiment, a method comprises: providing a pick and place feeder; receiving a reel of carrier tape by the pick and place feeder, the carrier tape having media disposed thereon; receiving the carrier tape from the reel by a media straightener; moving the carrier tape through the media straightener; straightening the media by the media straightener; expelling the straightened media from the media straightener; and presenting the straightened media for a subsequent picking process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] Some embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein like designations denote like members, wherein:

[0008] Figure 1 depicts a feeder having a media straightener in accordance with one embodiment;

[0009] Figure 2 depicts an enlarged view of the feeder of Figure 1 focusing on the media straightener, in accordance with one embodiment;

[0010] Figure 3 depicts an enlarged view of a presentation location of the feeder of Figure 1 in accordance with on embodiment; [0011] Figure 4A depicts a top guide element of the media straightener of Figures 1 - 2 in accordance with one embodiment;

[0012] Figure 4B depicts an attachment interface of the media straightener of Figures 1 - 2 in accordance with one embodiment;

[0013] Figure 4C depicts a bottom guide element of the media straightener of Figures 1 - 2 in accordance with one embodiment;

[0014] Figure 4D depicts the media straightener of Figures 1 - 2 after assembly but prior to attachment to a feeder and having the top guide element and bottom guide element in a first position in accordance with one embodiment;

[0015] Figure 5 depicts the media straightener of Figures 1 - 2 after assembly but prior to attachment to a feeder and having the top guide element and bottom guide element in a second position in accordance with one embodiment;

[0016] Figure 6 depicts another media straightener in accordance with one embodiment; and

[0017] Figure 7 depicts yet another media straightener in accordance with one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] A detailed description of the hereinafter described embodiments of the disclosed apparatus and method are presented herein by way of exemplification and not limitation with reference to the Figures.

[0019] Referring first to Figure I, a feeder 10 is shown. The feeder 10 may be included in a pick and place process and may be attachable to a pick and place machine (not shown). The feeder 10 may be configured to supply or present media 26 such as electronic components or the like to a presentation location 16 whereby the media 26 may be picked up in a subsequent picking process. For example, the media 26 may be picked up by a pick and place head having a vacuum nozzle. The main body 12 may include an axial component 14 that may be configured to receive a reel 22 of a carrier tape 24 having the media 26 disposed thereon. The reel 22 may be attachable to the main body 12 in a manner such that the reel 22 is rotatable. For example, the reel 22 may be slid onto the axial component 14 and then may be secured thereto such that rotation is enabled. Rotation of the reel 22 may unwind the carrier tape 24 and expel the carrier tape 24 from the reel 22. The carrier tape 24 may be configured to move through the feeder 10 from the reel 22 to a media straightener 20. The carrier tape 24 may then move through the media straightener 20 and to the presentation location 16 where the media 26 is removed from the carrier tape 24 and a removed media 28 is presented at the presentation location 16 for a subsequent picking process.

[0020] Referring now to Figure 2, an enlarged view of the presentation location 16 is shown focusing on the media straightener 20. The media straightener includes a top element 30 and a bottom element 32. The media straightener 20 may include an inlet 34 located between the top and bottom elements 30, 32. The inlet 34 may be configured to receive the carrier tape 24. The media straightener 20 may include an outlet 36 located between the top and bottom elements 30, 32 configured to expel the carrier tape 24 to the presentation location 16. The media straightener 20 may include a path 38 located between the inlet 34 and the outlet 36 and between the top element 30 and the bottom element 32. The path 38 may be a channel, route, conduit, track, pathway or the like and may extend from the inlet 34 to the outlet 36, providing a route through which the carrier tape 24 travels.

[0021] The path 38 may include a first bend 40, a second bend 42 and a third bend 44 in the embodiment shown in Figures 1 - 5. The third bend 44 may be configured to permanently deform the media 26 as the carrier tape 24 moves through the first the third bend 44. The second bend 42 may have a greater radius of curvature than the third bend 44. In one embodiment, the radius of curvature of the second bend 42 may not result in permanent deformation, bending and/or unbending of the media 26 that is moving along the second bend 42. Contrastingly, the smaller radius of curvature of the third bend 44 may result in permanent deformation, bending and/or unbending of the media 26 that is moving along the third bend 44. Still further, the first bend 40 may also result in permanent deformation, bending and/or unbending of the media 26 that is moving along the first bend 40 in some embodiments. However, this may not be necessary in embodiments where a single bend, i.e. the third bend 44 in the embodiment shown, sufficiently straightens the media 26 to a desirable degree.

[0022] It should be understood that the numerical labels "first," "second," "third," etc. to describe the bends throughout the specification are for identification purposes only. These numerical labels found "first," "second," "third," etc. to describe the bends in the present description are not intended to correspond to any numerical labels of found in the claims.

[0023] The reel 22 may be configured to rotate in a first circular direction Dl when expelling the carrier tape 24 from the reel 22. The carrier tape 24 may be configured to curve through the first bend 40 in a second circular direction D2 that is opposite the first circular direction Dl . The carrier tape 24 may be configured to curve through the second bend 42 in the first circular direction Dl . Finally, the carrier tape 24 may be configured to curve through the third bend 44 in the second circular direction D2. In the embodiment shown, the first circular direction Dl may be counterclockwise and the second circular direction D2 may be clockwise when viewing the feeder 10 from the perspective shown in Figures 1 - 3. In other embodiments, the first circular direction may be clockwise and the second circular direction may be counterclockwise.

[0024] The media 26 may be bent, curled or the like, as a result of being stored on the reel 22. The media 26 may be curled for various other reasons as well such as being subjected to any process or deformation prior to moving through the media straightener 20. In the embodiment shown, the media 26 may naturally become bent on the reel 22 such that when the media 26 is removed from the carrier tape 24 at the presentation location 16, the media 26 may bend upward in the event that the media straightener 20 was not present in the feeder 10 (not shown). This type of bend, curl or the like may create problems in the subsequent picking process when the removed media 28 is picked from the presentation location 16 during a subsequent picking process.

[0025] The first bend 40 and the third bend 44 may be configured to straighten the previously bent carrier tape 24 and/or the media 26 located thereon so that when the media 26 is removed from the carrier tape 24 at the presentation location 16, the removed media 28 is straightened and does not raise from a platform 46 or plane of the presentation location 16. The first bend 40 and/or the third bend 44 in the media straightener 20 may be configured to uncurl or unbend the curl or bend in the media 26 created as a result of the media 26 being stored on the reel 22 or created as a result of any other reason.

[0026] Referring to Figures 4A - 5, the media straightener 20 is shown as separate components (Figures 4A - 4C) and then in a constructed state (Figures 4D and 5). The top element 30, shown in Figure 4A, may be a guide block having a curved bottom face 31 defining an upper boundary of the path 38. The bottom element 32, shown in Figure 4C, may be another guide block having a curved upper face 33 defining a bottom boundary of the path 38. The curved upper face 33 and the curved bottom face 31 may correspond dimensionally and/or may be keyed so that the curves align to define the path 38. In the embodiment shown, the inlet 34 of the path 38 may be wider than the rest of the path 38. The increased inlet width may result from the third bend 40 being located in the bottom element 32 while the top element 30 straightens and does not have a corresponding bend. The increased width inlet may help the media straightener 20 be smoothly fed into the path 38.

[0027] The media straightener 20 may further include an attachment interface 48 configured to attach the media straightener 20 to the feeder 10. The attachment interface 48 may further be configured to attach the top element 30 with the bottom element 32. The attachment interface 48 may include a first channel 52 and a second channel 54 within which a plurality of screws 50 may attach the top element 30 and the bottom element 32. The channels 52, 54 may provide for adjustability of the top element 30 with respect to the bottom element 32. This is shown by the path 38 being wider in Figure 4D than in Figure 5. For example, the bottom element 32 may be attached to the attachment interface 48 by the insertion of a screw 50 through each of the first channel 52 and second channel 54 and into respective receiving threaded openings found in the bottom element 32. Tightening of these two screws 50 may retain the bottom element 32 in a fixed position relative to the attachment interface 48. Similarly, the top element 30 may be attached to the attachment interface 48 by the insertion of a screw 50 through each of the first channel 52 and second channel 54 and into respective receiving threaded openings (not shown) found in the top element 30. Tightening of these two screws 50 may retain the top element 30 in a fixed position relative to the attachment interface 48. Thus, the screws 50 holding the top and bottom elements 30, 32 to the attachment interface 48 may be loosened to allow for adjustment of the width of the path 38.

[0028] The media straightener 20 may be located proximate the presentation location 16 and a tape drive system 18 within the feeder 10. The tape drive system 18 may be configured to pull the carrier tape 24 through the media straightener 20. A storage reel 19 may also be configured to store the used carrier tape 24 after the media 26 has been removed therefrom. Thus, the tape drive system 18 may be configured to exact rotation of the reels 22, 19 when feeder 10 is in operation. The media straightener 20 may be located proximate the presentation location 16 to help ensure that any unbending and straightening caused by the media straightener 20 on the carrier tape 24 and media 26 may remain imparted on the media at the time of presentation. However, in other embodiments, the media straightener 20 may be located proximate the reel 22 or at any other location within the feeder 10 located between the reel 22 and the presentation location 16.

[0029] Referring now to Figure 6, another embodiment of a media straightener 100 is shown. The media straightener 100 may be applied at any location in the feeder 10 between the reel 22 and the presentation location 16. In one embodiment, the media straightener 100 may be attached at the same or similar location as the media straightener 20 and may replace the media straightener 20. In this embodiment, a first wheel 110, a second wheel 120, a third wheel 130, and a fourth wheel 140 are positioned to create a path 155. The wheels 110, 120 define an inlet 180 through which the carrier tape 24 is configured to enter. The wheels 130, 140 further define an outlet 190 through which the carrier tape 24 is configured to be expelled. Similar to the media straightener 100, the wheels 110, 120, 130, 140 define a first bend 150, a second bend 160, and a third bend 170. The carrier tape may move below the first wheel 1 10, above the second wheel 120, below the third wheel 130 and above the fourth wheel 140. The wheels 1 10, 120, 130, 140 may have different radii in order to permanently deform, straighten, unbend and/or uncurl the media 26. It should be understood that the wheels 110, 120, 130, 140 may or may not be configured to rotate with the movement of the carrier tape 24 there through. Further, the wheels 1 10, 120, 130, 140 may have a thickness (into or out of the page) similar in dimension to the thickness of the carrier tape 24 and similar in thickness to the dimensions of the media straightener 20.

[0030] Referring now to Figure 7, another media straightener 200 is shown. The media straightener 200 may include a top element 210 and a bottom element 220 having a path 230 defined between an inlet 290 and an outlet 292 similar to the media straightener 20. In contrast to the media straightener 20, the path 230 of the media straightener 200 may include additional bends. In particular, the media straightener 200 may include a first bend 240, a second bend 250, a third bend 260, a fourth bend 270, and a fifth bend 280. These bends may have different radii of curvature at their apexes. It should be understood that any number of bends are contemplated. For example, it may be determined that moving the carrier tape 24 and media 26 through a single bend may sufficient to unbend any natural unwanted bends or curls in the media 26. In other embodiments, five or more bends may be desirable.

[0031 ] It should further be understood that other embodiments are contemplated for putting carrier tape through predetermined bends in order to unbend, uncurl, and/or straighten the media located on the carrier tape. For example, moving the carrier tape 24 through a series of elongated pins (not shown) extending from the main body 12 that may act to unbend or straighten media. Any deliberate bending of the carrier tape 24 and/or media 26 within a feeder 10 particularly configured to permanently deform bent media into a straightened state for presentation of the media 26 for a picking process is contemplated.

[0032] Further contemplated herein is a method of straightening media, such as the media 26. The method may include providing a pick and place feeder, such as the feeder 10. The method may include receiving a reel, such as the reel 22, of carrier tape, such as the carrier tape 24, the carrier tape having the media disposed thereon. The method may include receiving the carrier tape from the reel by a media straightener, such as one of the media straighteners 20, 100, 200 disclosed herein. The method may include moving the carrier tape through the media straightener, straightening the media by the media straightener, and expelling the straightened media by the media straightener. The method may then include presenting the straightened media for a subsequent picking process.

[0033] Still further, the method may include permanently deforming the media during the moving the carrier tape through the media straightener. The media straightener may include a first element, such as one of the top element 30, 210, and a second element, such as the bottom element 32, 220, and a path located between the first element and the second element, such as the path 38, 230. The method may further include moving the carrier tape through a bend in the path, such as one of the bends 40, 42, 44, 150, 160, 170, 240, 250, 260, 270, 280.

[0034] The method may include bending the media during the moving the carrier tape in an orientation that is opposite to a natural bend in the media as a result of being stored on the reel. The method may include picking the straightened media, such as the media 28, by a pick and place machine. The method may further include adjusting the location of the first element with respect to the second element and increasing or decreasing a thickness of the path. The method may further include pulling the tape through the media straightener with a tape drive system, such as the tape drive system 18.

[0035] The method may further include moving the carrier tape above a first wheel, such as the wheel 120, 140 and below a second wheel such as the wheel 110, 130, where the first wheel and the second wheel have different radii.

[0036] The method may still further include uncurling a curl by the media straightener that resulted from the media being stored on the reel. The method still further includes removing the straightened media from the carrier tape prior to the presenting the straightened media for a subsequent picking process.

[0037] The method(s) device(s) and feeder(s) found in the present disclosure may be utilized on media 26 such as a label or adhesive backed media, a gasket, a shield or the like. The media 26 may have an adhesive on one or more surfaces for applying the media, as a label, on a component, board, or any finished product. In other embodiments, the media 26 may be electronic components that may be place-able on a circuit board or a printed circuit board (PCB). However, it should be understood that any type of component or media where it is desirable to straighten a bend or curl in the media or component may be straightened by the media straightener 20, 100, 200 contemplated herein.

[0038] Elements of the embodiments have been introduced with either the articles "a" or "an." The articles are intended to mean that there are one or more of the elements. The terms "including" and "having" and their derivatives are intended to be inclusive such that there may be additional elements other than the elements listed. The conjunction "or" when used with a list of at least two terms is intended to mean any term or combination of terms. The terms "first" and "second" are used to distinguish elements and are not used to denote a particular order.

[0039] While the invention has been described in detail in connection with only a limited number of embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, while various embodiments of the invention have been described, it is to be understood that aspects of the invention may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.