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Title:
METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING GLASS RIBBON
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/123000
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A glass ribbon conveyance apparatus includes a transfer member configured to extend an intermediate portion of a transfer ribbon spanning between a winding device and a transfer ribbon device in an extension direction from a second support member toward a first support member. In further examples, methods of conveying a glass ribbon include the step of extending an intermediate portion of a transfer ribbon spanning between a winding device and a transfer ribbon device toward a first support member. The method further includes the steps of attaching a leading end portion of a glass ribbon to a first major surface of the transfer ribbon, and retracting the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon while the leading end portion of the glass ribbon travels toward a second support member.

Inventors:
BIGELOW, Donald Orrin (12 Wood Spring Hill Drive, Honeoye Falls, New York, 14472, US)
BOOTH, Robertson Dewhurst (1401 West Water Street, Elmira, New York, 14905, US)
BRACKLEY, Douglas Edward (223 Chambers Road, Horseheads, New York, 14845, US)
FICARRA, Michael Vincent (52 Little Glen Rd, Pittsford, New York, 14534, US)
KUDVA, Gautam Narendra (110 Esthers Way, Horseheads, New York, 14845, US)
MARSHALL, Dale Charles (1443 Drake Road, Brockport, New York, 14420, US)
MERZ, Gary Edward (240 Windemere Road, Rochester, New York, 14610, US)
MILLER, Eric Lee (8 James St, Corning, New York, 14830, US)
MORSE, Kathleen Elizabeth (2 Woods Path, Painted Post, New York, 14870, US)
TRACY, Ian David (968 Minnesota Ave, San Jose, California, 95125, US)
TROSA, Matthew Daniel (436 Blue Grass Dr, Horseheads, New York, 14845, US)
Application Number:
US2016/014676
Publication Date:
August 04, 2016
Filing Date:
January 25, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CORNING INCORPORATED (1 Riverfront Plaza, Corning, New York, 14831, US)
International Classes:
C03B35/20; B65H18/08; B65H20/10; B65H23/10; B65H23/24; B65H23/26; B65H43/00; C03B35/22
Domestic Patent References:
2014-04-03
2013-02-21
Foreign References:
US20140130649A12014-05-15
US20120247154A12012-10-04
US20110177290A12011-07-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHMIDT, Jeffrey A (Corning Incorporated, Intellectual Property DepartmentSP-TI-03-0, Corning New york, 14831, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A glass ribbon conveyance apparatus comprising:

a first support member configured to support a weight of a glass ribbon;

a second support member configured to support a weight of the glass ribbon at a location downstream from the first support member;

a winding device configured to wind the glass ribbon at a location downstream from the second support member;

a transfer ribbon device configured to unwind a transfer ribbon; and a transfer member configured to extend an intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon spanning between the winding device and the transfer ribbon device in an extension direction from the second support member toward the first support member.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the transfer member comprises a roller.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 or claim 2, further comprising a guide member configured to guide the transfer member to translate in the extension direction.

4. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 -3, wherein at least one of the first support member and the second support member comprises a non-contact support member.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the non-contact support member comprises an air bearing.

6. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 -5, wherein the transfer ribbon device comprises a regulator configured to limit unwinding of the transfer ribbon.

7. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 -6, further comprising a position sensor configured to measure a dimension of a free loop of glass ribbon extending between the first support member and the second support member.

8. A method of conveying glass ribbon comprising the steps of: (I) conveying a leading end portion of a glass ribbon over a

member while the first support member supports a weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon;

(II) extending an intermediate portion of a transfer ribbon spanning between a winding device and a transfer ribbon device toward the first support member;

(III) engaging the leading end portion of the glass ribbon with a first major surface of the transfer ribbon;

(IV) retracting the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon while the leading end portion of the glass ribbon travels toward a second support member; and

(V) conveying the leading end portion of the glass ribbon over the second support member while the second support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein, after step (V), further comprising the step of winding the leading end portion of the glass ribbon on a storage spool of the winding device.

10. The method of claim 8 or claim 9, wherein step (IV) forms a free loop of glass ribbon that is developed as the leading end portion of the glass ribbon is conveyed toward the second support member.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the leading end portion of the glass ribbon follows a profile of the free loop of glass ribbon as the leading end portion of the glass ribbon is conveyed toward the second support member.

12. The method of any one of claims 8-11 , further comprising the step of controlling a profile of a free loop of glass ribbon extending between the first support member and the second support member.

13. The method of any one of claims 8-12, wherein during step (I), the first support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon with a cushion of fluid.

14. The method of any one of claims 8-13, wherein during step (V),

support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon with a cushion of fluid.

15. The method of any one of claims 8-14, wherein, after step (V), further comprising the step of severing a trailing portion of the transfer ribbon.

16. The method of any one of claims 8-15, wherein step (III) includes adhering the leading end portion of the glass ribbon to the first major surface of the transfer ribbon with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

17. The method of any one of claims 8-16, wherein step (II) comprises engaging a transfer member against a second major surface of the transfer ribbon to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein step (II) comprises translating the transfer member along a predetermined path to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the transfer member of step (II) comprises a transfer roller that freely rotates while extending the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein step (II) comprises translating the transfer roller along a predetermined path to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member while the transfer roller freely rotates.

21. The method of any one of claims 8-20, wherein step (III) is performed while a velocity of the transfer ribbon is substantially equal to the velocity of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon.

Description:
METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING GLASS

RIBBON

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U. S.C. ยง 119 of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/109207 filed on January 29, 2015, the content of which is relied upon and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to methods and apparatus for conveying glass ribbon and, more particularly, to methods and apparatus for conveying a leading end portion of a glass ribbon.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Glass sheets and/or glass ribbons are commonly used in a wide range of applications. For example, glass sheets can be used to fabricate liquid crystal displays (LCDs), electrophoretic displays (EPD), organic light emitting diode displays (OLEDs), plasma display panels (PDPs), wearable displays or other display devices. In further applications, glass sheets can be used to fabricate color filters, touch sensors, photovoltaic devices, lighting devices or other devices.

[0004] Glass ribbon can be fabricated by slot draw, float bath, down-draw (e.g., fusion down-draw), up-draw, press-rolling or other glass ribbon fabrication techniques. Once produced, the glass ribbon can be separated into glass sheets that are then stored (e.g., packaged as a stack of glass sheets) and/or further processed for incorporation into the desired device. Alternately, rather than immediately separating the glass ribbon into glass sheets, the glass ribbon can be stored by threading the glass ribbon around a storage spool to store the glass ribbon as a spool of glass ribbon.

[0005] There is a growing interest in carefully threading a leading end of a relatively thin glass ribbon (less than or equal to 150 microns thick) to a storage spool while maintaining upstream stability of the glass ribbon. Upstream stability of the glass ribbon can prevent interruption of upstream processes that benefit from precise, undisturbed positioning of the glass ribbon. SUMMARY

[0006] Methods and apparatus are provided for conveying glass ribbon with various thicknesses, for example a relatively thin thickness equal to or less than 150 microns. The methods and apparatus allow conveyance of a leading end of a glass ribbon to be spooled onto a storage spool of a winding device without adversely affecting the stability of the glass ribbon at upstream portions of the glass ribbon. As stability is maintained, even during initial spooling onto the storage spool, delicate upstream processing of the glass ribbon may continue without interruption.

[0007] In a first aspect of the disclosure, a glass ribbon conveyance apparatus includes a first support member configured to support a weight of a glass ribbon and a second support member configured to support a weight of the glass ribbon at a location downstream from the first support member. The glass ribbon conveyance apparatus further includes a winding device configured to wind the glass ribbon at a location downstream from the second support member and a transfer ribbon device configured to unwind a transfer ribbon. A transfer member is configured to extend an intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon spanning between the winding device and the transfer ribbon device in an extension direction from the second support member toward the first support member.

[0008] In one example of the first aspect, the transfer member includes a roller.

[0009] In another example of the first aspect, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus further includes a guide member configured to guide the transfer member to translate in the extension direction.

[0010] In still another example of the first aspect, at least one of the first support member and the second support member includes a non-contact support member. For example, the non-contact support member can include an air bearing.

[0011] In yet another example of the first aspect, the transfer ribbon device includes a regulator configured to limit unwinding of the transfer ribbon.

[0012] In a further example of the first aspect, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus further includes a position sensor configured to measure a dimension of a free loop of glass ribbon extending between the first support member and the second support member.

[0013] The first aspect may be provided alone or in combination with any one or more of the examples of the first aspect discussed above. [0014] In a second aspect, a method of conveying glass ribbon includes

conveying a leading end portion of a glass ribbon over a first support member while the first support member supports a weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon. The method further includes the step (II) of extending an intermediate portion of a transfer ribbon spanning between a winding device and a transfer ribbon device toward the first support member; and the step (III) of attaching the leading end portion of the glass ribbon to a first major surface of the transfer ribbon. The method still further includes the step (IV) of retracting the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon while the leading end portion of the glass ribbon travels toward a second support member; and the step (V) of conveying the leading end of the glass ribbon over the second support member while the second support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon.

[0015] In one example of the second aspect, after step (V), the method further includes the step of winding the leading end portion of the glass ribbon on a storage spool of the winding device.

[0016] In another example of the second aspect, step (IV) forms a free loop of glass ribbon that is developed as the leading end portion of the glass ribbon is conveyed toward the second support member. In one example, the leading end portion of the glass ribbon follows a profile of the free loop of glass ribbon as the leading end portion of the glass ribbon is conveyed toward the second support member.

[0017] In yet another example of the second aspect, the method further includes the step of controlling a profile of a free loop of glass ribbon extending between the first support member and the second support member.

[0018] In still yet another example of the second aspect, during step (I), the first support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon with a cushion of fluid.

[0019] In still another example of the second aspect, during step (V), the second support member supports the weight of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon with a cushion of fluid.

[0020] In yet still another example of the second aspect, after step (V), the method further includes the step of severing a trailing portion of the transfer ribbon.

[0021] In a further example of the second aspect, step (III) includes adhering the leading end portion of the glass ribbon to the first major surface of the transfer ribbon with a pressure sensitive adhesive. [0022] In another example of the second aspect, step (II) includes enga

member against a second major surface of the transfer ribbon to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

[0023] In yet another example of the second aspect, step (II) includes translating the transfer member along a predetermined path to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

[0024] In still yet another example of the second aspect, the transfer member of step (II) includes a transfer roller that freely rotates while extending the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member.

[0025] In still another example of the second aspect, step (II) includes translating the transfer roller along a predetermined path to extend the intermediate portion of the transfer ribbon toward the first support member while the transfer roller freely rotates.

[0026] In a further example of the second aspect, step (III) is performed while a velocity of the transfer ribbon is substantially equal to the velocity of the leading end portion of the glass ribbon.

[0027] The second aspect may be provided alone or in combination with any one or more of the examples of the second aspect discussed above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The above and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention are better understood when the following detailed description of the invention is read with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0029] FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of a glass ribbon conveyance apparatus in accordance with aspects of the disclosure;

[0030] FIG. 2 is a schematic enlarged side view of portions of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus taken at view 2 of FIG. 1, with a transfer member in a retracted position and prior to winding the glass ribbon onto the storage roll;

[0031] FIG. 3 is a schematic enlarge side view of portions of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 2, wherein the transfer member has been moved from the retracted position of FIG. 2 to an intermediate position;

[0032] FIG. 4 is a schematic enlarged side view of portions of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 3, with the transfer member has been moved from the intermediate position of FIG. 3 to an extended position;

[0033] FIG. 5 is a schematic enlarged side view of portions of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 4. wherein a leading end portion of a glass ribbon is attached to a first major surface of a transfer ribbon whi

member is in the extended position of FIG. 4;

[0034] FIG. 6 is a schematic enlarged side view of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 5, wherein the transfer member has been moved from the extended position of FIG. 5 to an intermediate position while the leading end portion of the glass ribbon remains attached to the first major surface of the transfer ribbon;

[0035] FIG. 7 is a schematic enlarged side view of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 6, wherein the transfer member has been moved from the intermediate position of FIG. 6 to the retracted position; and

[0036] FIG. 8 is a schematic enlarged side view of the glass ribbon conveying apparatus similar to FIG. 7, wherein the glass ribbon is being wound on a storage roll and the transfer ribbon has been severed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0037] The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings in which example embodiments of the claimed invention are shown. Whenever possible, the same reference numerals are used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts. However, the claimed invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. These example embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be both thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the claimed invention to those skilled in the art.

[0038] Directional terms as used herein (e.g., up, down, right left, front, back, top, bottom) are made only with reference to the figures as drawn and are not intended to imply absolute orientation.

[0039] As shown in FIG. 1, a glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 can convey glass ribbon 103 from a wide variety of sources 105. For instance, in just one example, the source 105 of glass ribbon 103 can comprise a glass manufacturing apparatus for example a slot draw apparatus, float bath apparatus, down-draw apparatus, up-draw apparatus, press-rolling apparatus or other glass ribbon manufacturing apparatus. By way of example, FIG. 1 schematically illustrates one possible source 105 of glass ribbon 103 comprising a fusion down-draw apparatus 107. The fusion down-draw apparatus 107 can include a forming wedge 109 with a root 111 positioned below a trough 113. In operation, molten glass enters the trough 113 and overflows opposite weirs 115a, 115b of the trough 113 as two separate sheets 117a, 117b of molten glass. The two separate sheets 117a, 117b co

one another along the downwardly angled sides of the forming wedge 109 and then fuse together at the root 111. The glass ribbon 103 may then be fusion down-drawn in a downward direction 121 off the root 111 of the forming wedge 109 to provide the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 with a source of the glass ribbon 103.

[0040] In another example, the source 105 of glass ribbon 103 can comprise a previously-fabricated glass ribbon 103. For example, the source of glass ribbon 103 can comprise a coiled spool 125 of glass ribbon previously produced by a glass manufacturing apparatus. The coiled spool 125 of glass ribbon may be loaded into the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 to provide the source 105 of glass ribbon 103. As shown, in operation, glass ribbon 103 may be uncoiled from the coiled spool 125 in the downward direction 121 and then conveyed by the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101.

[0041] The glass ribbon 103 may have a relatively thin thickness "Tl" of less than 200 microns, such as from about 50 microns to about 150 microns such as from about 75 microns to about 120 microns such as from about 90 microns to about 1 10 microns. Due to the relatively thin nature of the glass ribbon 103 as well as the glass properties, the glass ribbon 103 is substantially flexible and is therefore capable of flexing as the glass ribbon 103 travels along the glass conveyance path.

[0042] Optionally, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 may include a processing zone configured to process the glass ribbon. For example the processing zone may comprise a grinding zone and/or finishing zone configured to machine the edges of the glass ribbon. In further examples, the processing zone may comprise a cleaning zone configured to remove contaminants from the edges and/or major surfaces of the glass ribbon. In yet additional examples, the processing station may add one or more layers of lamination or coatings to the glass ribbon. In still further examples, the processing station may chemically treat the glass ribbon and/or add features (e.g., electronic components) to the glass ribbon.

[0043] In further examples, the processing zone, if provided can comprise a cutting zone configured to separate the glass ribbon along a longitudinal axis of the glass ribbon in a direction 126 of the glass ribbon conveyance path. For instance, as shown in FIG. 1, a cutting zone 127 may be configured to trim one or both outer edge portions 129 from a central portion 131 of the glass ribbon 103 with a cutting device 133. In just one example, the schematically-illustrated cutting device 133 can optionally comprise a laser configured to facilitate separation of t

portion 129 from the central portion 131 of the glass ribbon 103.

[0044] Optionally, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 can also include a transverse cutting apparatus 132 that may be configured to cut that glass ribbon in a transverse direction. For example, the transverse cutting apparatus 132 can be configured to cut the glass ribbon in a transverse direction comprising a perpendicular direction although other directions may be provided in further examples. As such, the glass ribbon 103 may be divided into an upstream portion extending from the source 105 of glass ribbon and a downstream portion extending downstream from the transverse cutting apparatus 132. In further examples, the cutting apparatus 132 may be used to provide a leading end portion 201 (see FIG. 2) for conveyance to a storage spool 134 as discussed more fully below. Furthermore, after severing the glass ribbon 103, the glass ribbon may optionally begin traveling over the first support member 135 in direction 147 to be discarded until a new process is to begin. Then the cutting apparatus 132 may again provide a transfer cut to present another leading end portion 201 to be threaded on a new spool.

[0045] The glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 can include a plurality of support members configured to support a weight of the glass ribbon 103. For example, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 can include a first support member 135 and a second support member 137 at a location downstream from the first support member 135. As shown in FIG. 1, the second support member 137 may be spaced apart from the first support member 135 by a predetermined distance to allow formation of a free loop 136 between the first and second support members 135, 137. Providing a free loop can help isolate upstream portions of the glass ribbon from disturbances that may occur at downstream locations of the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus. The free loop can also help change direction of conveyance of the glass ribbon in a non-contact manner. In further examples, the elevation of a second support surface 141 of the second support member 137 may optionally be configured to be higher than a first support surface 139 the first support member 135 although the second support surface 141 may be positioned at substantially the same elevation or even a lower elevation relative to the first support surface 139 in further examples.

[0046] The support members of the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101, for example the first and second support member 135, 137 may be configured to provide a non-contact support for the glass ribbon 103. Non-contact support members may be provided that prevent mechanical contact with a solid object wher

provided by a fluid cushion. As such, a non-contact support may be provided by a support member that generates a cushion of fluid (e.g., gas or liquid) that contacts the ribbon without mechanically contacting the glass ribbon with a solid object. In the illustrated example, a first major surface 103a of the glass ribbon 103 faces away from the support surfaces 139, 141 of the respective support members 135, 137. Moreover, the support members 135, 137 may support the weight of the glass ribbon 103 without the second major surface 103b of the glass ribbon 103 contacting the support surfaces 139, 141 of the respective support members 135, 137. For example, as shown, the first and second support members 135, 137 may comprise one or more fluid bearings configured to generate a cushion of fluid (e.g. gas or liquid) that prevents mechanical contact of the glass ribbon with the solid fluid bearing. In the illustrated example, air bearings are configured to provide a cushion of air to space and prevent contact between the second major surface 103b of the glass ribbon 103 and the support members 135, 137. As such, the support members 135, 137 can comprise non-contact support members in the form of an air bearing designed to support a respective weight of the glass ribbon 103 with a cushion of air maintained between the second major surface 103b and the support surfaces 139, 141 of the respective support members 135, 137. Although not shown, other non-contact members may be provided to provide support by ultrasonic energy, air chucks or other non-contact devices that prevent mechanical contact of the pristine surfaces with a solid object. Providing non-contact support can help reduce or prevent damage to the surfaces of the glass ribbon that may otherwise occur with contact support configurations that permit contact with a solid object (e.g., a support surface of a solid support member).

[0047] In still further examples, the support surfaces of the support members may be shaped to facilitate conveyance of the glass ribbon 103 along the conveyance path. For instance, in some examples, the support members may comprise substantially planar support surfaces to facilitate conveyance of the glass ribbon along a substantially straight path. As shown, the support surfaces 139, 141 of the support members 135, 137 may be curved to provide a curved conveyance path into the free loop 136 by the downwardly curved support surface 139 of the first support member 135 and out of the free loop 136 by the upwardly curves support surface 141 of the second support member 137. Providing curved support surfaces 139, 141 may be further beneficial to increase local rigidity of the flexible glass ribbon

processing zones, for example, at the cutting zone 127.

[0048] The glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 further includes a winding device 143 configured to wind the glass ribbon 103 at a location downstream from the second support member 137. As shown in FIG. 2, the winding device 143 can include a motor 203 configured to rotate the storage spool 134 about a winding axis 205 to wind the glass ribbon 103 onto the storage spool 134 as a spool 145 of glass ribbon. In some examples, the winding device 143 may include an optional controller 204 and one or any number of sensors 207a, 207b, 207c, 207d configured to control a winding characteristic, for example a rotational speed of the storage spool 134 about the winding axis 205. For instance the controller 204, if provided, may be programmed to adjust a speed of a motor 203 to rotate the storage spool 134 at a controlled variable speed help maintain a predetermined profile 501 (see FIG. 5) of the free loop 136 (see FIG. 1) when conveying the glass ribbon 103. As such, in one example, the position sensors 207a, 207b, 207c, 207d are configured to measure a dimension of the free loop 136 of the glass ribbon 103 extending between the first support member 135 and the second support member 137. The measured dimension may then be communicated to the controller 204 to help manage the profile 501 of the free loop 136 and/or manage the development of the profile 501 when threading the leading end portion 201 to the storage spool 205 as discussed more fully below.

[0049] With reference to FIG. 2, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 further includes a transfer ribbon device 209 configured to unwind a transfer ribbon 211. The transfer ribbon 211 can comprise a first major surface 212a and a second major surface 212b with a transfer ribbon thickness "T2" extending between the first and second major surfaces 212a, 212b. In some examples, the transfer ribbon thickness "T2" is less than the glass ribbon thickness "Tl". For example, the transfer ribbon thickness "T2" can be from about 10 microns to about 50 microns, such as from about 20 microns to about 40 microns, such as from about 25 microns to about 35 microns. The transfer ribbon 211 may also be formed from any of a wide variety of materials such as a glass ribbon, paper ribbon, polymer film, or other material.

[0050] In one example, the transfer ribbon device 209 can include a storage spool 213 configured to store a coiled spool 215 of transfer ribbon 211. The transfer ribbon device 209 may comprise a motor configured to rotate the storage spool 213. Alternatively, the transfer ribbon device 209 may allow a free rotation of the storage spool 213 without a dedicated driving device configured to rotate the

213

[0051] The transfer ribbon device 209 can optionally include a regulator 217 configured to limit unwinding of the transfer ribbon 211. For example, a rotational support associated with the storage spool 213 may include a braking mechanism configured to provide a torsional resistance to rotation of the storage spool 213. Alternatively, as shown, the regulator 217 can comprise a braking mechanism that is separate from the storage spool 213. The braking mechanism can be designed with a braking resistance low enough to allow unwinding of the transfer ribbon as needed but high enough to prevent an uncontrolled rotation of the storage spool 213 that may uncoil an undesired length of transfer ribbon from the storage spool. Indeed, the braking resistance can be high enough to prevent an undesired tension from an intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 from being imposed on the storage spool 213, thereby inadvertently causing an undesired rotation and consequent undesired unspooling of the transfer ribbon 211 from the storage spool 213. Indeed, in some examples, the regulator 217 can place the intermediate portion 219 in tension while isolating the corresponding tensile force from the storage spool 213.

[0052] In further examples, the transfer ribbon device 209 may include an optional trimming device 220 configured to separate the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 as discussed more fully below. The trimming device 220 can include a mechanical cutting apparatus (e.g., knife) or non-mechanical cutting apparatus (e.g., laser) configured to cut the transfer ribbon 211 in a transverse direction along the width of the transfer ribbon 211.

[0053] The glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 further includes a transfer member 221 configured to extend the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 spanning between the winding device 143 and the transfer ribbon device 209 in an extension direction 223 from the second support member 137 to the first support member 135. In one example, an outer peripheral surface 225 of the transfer member 221 is configured to engage the second major surface 212b of the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211. As shown, in some examples, the transfer member 221 can comprise a roller configured to rotate when extending the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 in the extension direction 223. In such examples, the roller may be configured to freely rotate although driven roller devices are possible in further examples. In still further examples, the transfer member may be a nonrotating transfer member or only configured for limited rot;

examples, the outer peripheral surface of the transfer member may comprise a material with a relatively low coefficient of friction to reduce friction between the second major surface 212b of the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 and the transfer member.

[0054] In a further example, the glass ribbon conveyance apparatus 101 may include a guide member configured to guide the transfer member to translate in the extension direction. In one example, the guide member can comprise a support member that may be conveyed along a desired guide path with a robot arm or other mechanism. Alternatively, as shown, the guide member can comprise a guide rail 227 structured to interact with the transfer member 221 to guide (e.g., translate) the transfer member along a predetermined guide path. The structural configuration can comprise a rib, groove, channel or other configuration. In the illustrated example, the structural configuration of the guide rail 227 comprises a guide slot 229 configured to receive an end of a rotation axle (not shown) of the transfer roller 221. Although not shown, a guide rail can be provided on each side of the transfer roller 221 such that each axial end of the rotation axle is respectively received in a corresponding one of the guide slots 229 of the guide rails 227.

[0055] As shown, the guide slot 229 or other structural configuration can define the predetermined guide path as a substantially straight predetermined guide path configured to translate the transfer roller 221 along a substantially straight extension direction 223. Although not shown, a portion or the entire predetermined guide path may alternatively include curved, stepped or other nonlinear segments. For instance, in some examples, the guide slot may be at least partially or entirely curved to help guide the end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 along the profile 501 of the free loop 136. In still further examples, the guide slot 229 may comprise a closed loop path, for example a D-shaped path with a linear segment and an arcuate segment defining an endless path. A closed loop path may allow a first extension path that is different from a retraction path of the transfer member 221. For instance, the linear segment of the D-shaped path may provide the illustrated substantially straight extension direction 223 as the transfer member 221 is extended from the second support member 137 to the first support member 135. The arcuate segment can define an arcuate retraction path as the transfer member is retracted from first support member 135 to the second support member 135. [0056] Example methods of conveying glass ribbon will now be desc

otherwise expressly stated, it is in no way intended that any method set forth herein be construed as requiring that its steps be performed in a specific order. Accordingly, where a method claim does not actually recite an order to be followed by its steps or it is not otherwise specifically stated in the claims or descriptions that the steps are to be limited to a specific order, it is no way intended that an order be inferred, in any respect. This holds for any possible non-express basis for interpretation, including: matters of logic with respect to arrangement of steps or operational flow; plain meaning derived from grammatical organization or punctuation; the number or type of embodiments described in the specification.

[0057] Referring to FIG. 1, the method of conveying can include winding the glass ribbon 103 onto the storage spool 134 with the winding device 143 at a position downstream from the source 105 of glass ribbon 103 such that the spool 145 of glass ribbon 103 is developed, carried and stored on the storage spool 134. In one example, as shown in FIG. 8, the method can include the step of controlling the profile of the free loop 136 while winding the glass ribbon 103 onto the storage spool 134. For example, one or more position sensors 207a, 207b, 207c, 207d can sense the proximity of one or more locations of the free loop 136. Information gathered by the position sensors can then be transmitted to the controller 204. Based on the information from the one or more position sensors, the controller 204 may then adjust the rotational speed of the storage spool 134 by controlling the motor 203. Consequently, the profile of the free loop 136 can be controlled or characteristics of the profile may be maintained within a controlled range while the winding device 143 winds the glass ribbon 103 onto the storage spool 134.

[0058] Turning back to FIG. 1, the glass ribbon 103 may be optionally processed in a processing zone between the source 105 of glass ribbon 103 and the winding device 143. For example, as discussed previously, one or both outer edge portions 129 of the glass ribbon 103 may be removed such that the high quality central portion 131 may be subsequently wound onto the storage spool 134.

[0059] Once a desired quantity of glass ribbon 103 is wound on the storage spool, the storage spool may be removed and replaced with an empty storage spool. Determining when the desired quantity of glass ribbon 103 is wound on the storage spool can be determined with a wide range of techniques. For example, an operator may observe the developing spool 145 of glass ribbon 103 storage spool 134 to make a manual determination. In further examples, the determination may

For instance, a measuring device may measure a length of the glass ribbon stored on the storage spool. Once the stored length reaches a predetermined length or is within a predetermined range, the process of switching the spool can be initiated. In another example, the weight of the storage spool can be measured. Once the weight of the storage spool reaches a predetermined weight or is within a predetermined range, the process of switching the spool can be initiated. In still another example, a diameter of the wound glass ribbon can be measured. Once the diameter of the glass ribbon reaches a predetermined diameter or is within a predetermined range, the process of switching the spool can be initiated.

[0060] In one example, once it is determined that a predetermined quantity of glass ribbon 103 is wound on the storage spool 134, the transverse cutting apparatus 132 can be initiated to separate the glass ribbon across the width of the glass ribbon 103. Once complete, the source 105 of glass ribbon can be provided with a downstream end comprising the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 illustrated in FIG. 2. The separated downstream portion can be wound up on the storage spool 134 and then the storage spool with the desired quantity of glass ribbon 103 can be removed. In one example, after severing the glass ribbon with the transfer cutting apparatus 132, the leading end portion 201 may travel over the first support member 135 in direction 147 to be discarded.

[0061] As shown in FIG. 2, a new storage spool 134 may be provided and an end portion 231 of the transfer ribbon 211 may be manually or automatically attached to the outer peripheral surface of the new storage spool 134. Once attached, the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 extends over the second support member 137 and the outer peripheral surface 225 of the transfer member 221. Once the new storage spool 134 is ready to be threaded with the transfer ribbon 211, the transverse cutting apparatus 132 may then be operated again to separate the glass ribbon such that the source 105 of glass ribbon is provided with a new downstream end comprising the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 illustrated in FIG. 2. The remaining downstream detached portion of the ribbon can continue along direction 147 to be discarded.

[0062] As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the method of conveying the glass ribbon 103 further includes the step of conveying the leading end portion 201 of a glass ribbon 103 over the first support member 135 while the first support member 135 supports a weight of the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103. In on

first support member 135 supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 with a cushion 301 of fluid. Indeed, in one example, the first support member 135 can comprise a fluid bearing, for example an air bearing, wherein fluid (e.g., air) passes through fluid passages 303 to create the fluid cushion. In some examples, the fluid passages can comprise a passage through open pores in a porous material. Alternatively, as shown, the fluid passages 303 can comprise holes provided through the support member.

[0063] The fluid cushion 301 can be designed to levitate the leading end portion 201 over the support surface 139 of the first support member 135 wherein the support surface 139 supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 without actually mechanically engaging the leading end portion. Indeed, thanks to the fluid cushion 301, the second major surface 103b of the glass ribbon 103 is spaced away from the support surface 139 such that the first support member effectively supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 without mechanically engaging the leading end portion 201. Providing a non-contact support, for example an air bearing, can be beneficial to preserve the pristine surfaces of the glass ribbon while providing support as the glass ribbon is conveyed along the conveyance path.

[0064] As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the method of conveying the glass ribbon 103 can further include the step of extending the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 spanning between the winding device 143 and the transfer ribbon device 209 toward the first support member 135. In one example, as shown, the transfer member 221, for example the illustrated roller, can traverse along extension direction 223 from the retracted position shown in FIG. 2 to the extended position shown in FIG. 4. For instance, in one example, the method can include the step of engaging the transfer member 221 (e.g., the outer peripheral surface 225 of the transfer member 221) against the second major surface 212b of the transfer ribbon 211 to extend the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the first support member 135. For instance, in one example, the transfer member 221 may translate along the predetermined path in extension direction 223 defined, for example, by the guide slot 229 to extend the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the first support member 135.

[0065] In one example, as shown in FIG. 3, while traversing in the extension direction 223, the storage spool 134 may not rotate while the storage spool 213 of the transfer ribbon device 209 rotates to uncoil a length of the transfer ribb<

example, the regulator 217 can facilitate a predetermined tension in the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 such that the second major surface 212b of the transfer ribbon 211 is drawn against the outer peripheral surface 225 of the transfer member 221.

[0066] If the transfer member 221 comprises a roller, the roller may rotate (e.g., freely rotate) in the illustrated direction 305 while the storage spool 213 also rotates in the illustrated direction 307. As shown, the directions 305, 307 rotate in the same direction although they directions may be opposite directions depending on the set up of the storage spool 213. As such, in one example, the method of conveying the glass ribbon 103 can include the step of freely rotating the transfer roller 221 while extending the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the first support member 135. For instance, in one example, the transfer roller 221 may translate along the predetermined path in the extension direction 223 defined, for example, by the guide slot 229 to extend the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the first support member 135 while the transfer roller 221 freely rotates.

[0067] As shown in FIG. 5, after the transfer roller 221 reaches the illustrated extended position, the outermost portion of the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 can be positioned near the first support member 135. The leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 can then be conveyed over the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon may include a transfer ribbon velocity 401 that eventually match a velocity 403 of the leading end portion 201 such that once the leading end portion 201 contacts the transfer ribbon 211, little or no relative motion occurs between the transfer ribbon 211 and the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103. As such, the leading end portion of the glass ribbon may be easily attached to the transfer ribbon as discussed below.

[0068] The method of conveying the glass ribbon can then include the step of attaching the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 to the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211. In one example, the velocity 401 of the transfer ribbon 211 is substantially equal to the velocity 403 of the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 when attaching the leading end portion 201 to the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211. A wide variety of attaching configurations may be provided to attach the leading end portion 201 to the first majo

of the transfer ribbon 211. In just one example, the method can include adhering the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 to the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211 with a pressure sensitive adhesive. For instance, a tape 503 including pressure sensitive adhesive may be used to attach the first major surface 103a of the glass ribbon to the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211. In another example, a double sided adhesive tape with pressure sensitive material on one or both sides of the tape may be used to bond the second major surface 103b of the glass ribbon to the first major surface 212a of the transfer ribbon 211. In still another example, the transfer ribbon 211 may be adhered to the glass ribbon 103 by generating electrostatic charges of opposing polarity on the facing surfaces of the glass ribbon 103 and the transfer ribbon 211.

[0069] As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the method of conveying the glass ribbon 103 can further include the step of retracting the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 while the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 travels toward the second support member 137. In one example, as shown in FIG. 6, the transfer member 221, for example the illustrated roller, can traverse along a retraction direction 601. As illustrated, the retraction direction 601 may be opposite to the extension direction 223 although other directions are possible. The method can include traversing the transfer member 221 traverse along the retraction direction 601 from the extended position shown in FIG. 5 to the retracted position shown in FIG. 7.

[0070] In one example, the method can include the step of rotating the storage spool 134 with the winding device 143 to wind the transfer ribbon 211 on the storage spool 134 as the transfer member 221 traverses along the retraction direction 601. As such, tension may be maintained in the transfer ribbon 211 as the transfer member 221 retracts to the retracted position shown in FIG. 7. In one particular example, the transfer member 221 may translate along the predetermined path in the retraction direction 601 defined, for example, by the guide slot 229 to retracted the outermost portion of the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the second support member 137. FIG. 6 illustrates the same guide slot being used to retract the intermediate portion that was used to extend the intermediate portion. In further examples, different guide slots may be used, wherein the extension direction may not be exactly opposite to the retracted direction. In one example, the previously- described D-shaped slot may be provided with a linear segment and an arcuate segment. The linear segment of the slot may define a linear extensi<

provide the shortest path between the second support member 137 and the first support member 135. The arcuate segment of the D-shaped slot may provide the retraction path, wherein the retraction direction varies along the arcuate retraction path. The arcuate segment may be designed to allow the end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 to travel along a desired profile 501 of the free loop 136 of the glass ribbon 103.

[0071] In one example, as shown in FIG. 6, while traversing in the retraction direction 601, the storage spool 213 of the transfer ribbon device 209 may not rotate while the storage spool 134 of the winding device 143 rotates to coil a length of the transfer ribbon 211. In one example, the retraction rate of the transfer member 221 and the rotation rate of the storage spool 134 may be coordinated, for example, with the controller 204, to facilitate a predetermined tension in the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 such that the second major surface 212b of the transfer ribbon 211 is drawn against the outer peripheral surface 225 of the transfer member 221 when retracting the transfer member 221 from the extended position to the retracted position.

[0072] As shown in FIG. 6, if the transfer member 221 comprises a roller, the roller may rotate (e.g., freely rotate) in the illustrated direction 305 while the storage spool 134 also rotates in the illustrated direction 603. As shown, the directions 305, 307 rotate in opposite directions although the directions may be the same direction depending on the winding direction onto the storage spool 134. As such, in one example, the method of conveying the glass ribbon 103 can include the step of freely rotating the transfer roller 221 while retracting the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the second support member 137. For instance, in one example, the transfer roller 221 may translate along the predetermined path in the retraction direction 601 defined, for example, by the guide slot 229 to retract the intermediate portion 219 of the transfer ribbon 211 toward the second support member 137 while the transfer roller 221 freely rotates.

[0073] As the transfer ribbon retracts from the extended position of FIG. 5 to the retracted position of FIG. 7, the transfer ribbon 211 effectively threads the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon between the first support member 135 and the second support member 137. Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 8, the transfer ribbon 211 further threads the glass ribbon 103 onto the storage spool 134 <

device 143.

[0074] In some examples, the controller 204 can be configured (e.g., programmed) to maintain or even develop the free loop 136. For instance, as shown in FIGS. 5-7, the position sensors 207a, 207b, 207c, 207d may send information to the controller 204 to allow the controller to retract the transfer member 221 at a rate that causes the end portion 201 of the glass ribbon to follow the profile 501 of the free loop 136. As such, example methods conveying the glass ribbon can include the optional step of forming the free loop 136 of glass ribbon 103, wherein the free loop 136 is developed as the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 is conveyed toward the second support member 137.

[0075] As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon follows the profile 501 of the free loop 136 of glass ribbon 103 as the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 is conveyed toward the second support member 137. The actual outer edge of the leading end portion 201 may not follow the exact profile 501, however trailing portions 605 of the leading end portion 201 follow through the profile 501 of the free loop 136. Allowing the leading end portion 201 be retracted to follow the profile 501 can reduce disturbances that may otherwise propagate backward through the glass ribbon and disturb upstream processes when attempting to form the free loop 136 after the glass ribbon is wound on the new storage roll.

[0076] As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the method of conveying glass ribbon can further include the step of conveying the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 over the second support member 137 while the second support member 137 supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103. In one example, the second support member 137 supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 with a cushion 701 of fluid. In one example, the second support member 137 can comprise a fluid bearing, for example an air bearing, wherein fluid (e.g., air) passes through fluid passages 703 to create the fluid cushion. In some examples, the fluid passages can comprise a passage through open pores in a porous material. Alternatively, as shown, the fluid passages 703 can comprise holes provided through the support member.

[0077] The fluid cushion 701 can be designed to levitate the leading end portion 201 over the support surface 141 of the second support member 137 wherein the support surface 141 supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 w

mechanically engaging the leading end portion. Indeed, thanks to the fluid cushion 701, the second major surface 103b of the glass ribbon 103 is spaced away from the support surface 141 such that the second support member effectively supports the weight of the leading end portion 201 without mechanically engaging the leading end portion 201. Providing a non-contact support, for example an air bearing, can be beneficial to preserve the pristine surfaces of the glass ribbon while providing support as the glass ribbon is conveyed along the conveyance path.

[0078] As shown in FIG. 7, after the step of conveying the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon 103 over the second support member 137, the method can further include the step of winding the leading end portion 201 of the glass ribbon on the storage spool 134 of the winding device 143.

[0079] As shown in FIG. 8, the trimming device 220 may be configured to sever the transfer ribbon 211 once a sufficient portion of the glass ribbon 103 is wound onto the storage spool 134. Thereafter, the winding device can again continue to wind the glass ribbon onto the storage spool 134 as shown in FIG. 1. In this event, the transfer ribbon 211 may act as a trailer on the glass ribbon 103 on the storage spool 134. In this case, the transfer ribbon 211 is made of a material suitable to function as a trailer. In some instances, it will be beneficial to continue winding the transfer ribbon 211 together with the glass ribbon 103, so that the transfer ribbon 211 acts as an interleaf between layers of glass on the storage spool 134. In this case, the transfer ribbon 211 is made of a material suitable to act as an interleaf.

[0080] As the winding device 143 continues to wind the glass ribbon onto the storage spool 134, the method can further include the optional step of controlling the profile of the free loop 136 of glass ribbon 103 extending between the first support member 135 member and the second support member 137. For instance, as shown in FIG. 8, the position sensors 207a, 207b, 207c, 207d may send information to the controller 204 to allow the controller to operate the motor 203 to adjust the rotation rate of the storage spool 134 to promote a predetermined maintenance of the profile of the free loop 136.

[0081] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come with the appended claims and their equivalents.