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Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FORMING A CABLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/195018
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Systems and methods are provided for forming a cable. In one embodiment, a system for forming a cable comprises a non-driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a first layer of the cable. Movement of the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable. The system further comprises a driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable. The plurality of rolls of the driven roll station are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands associated with the second layer of the cable.

Inventors:
ROGOCHEVSKY, Leonid (354 Nottingham Forest Road, Bradford Ontario, L3Z 0H2, 0H2, CA)
NEWMAN, Eric, Francis (1911 Sherman Drive, Utica, NY, 13501, US)
MCINTOSH, Donald, Locke (37 Cherrywood Boulevard, Clinton, NY, 13323, US)
Application Number:
US2018/027874
Publication Date:
October 25, 2018
Filing Date:
April 17, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BARTELL MACHINERY SYSTEMS, L.L.C. (6321 Elmer Hill Road, Rome, NY, 13440, US)
International Classes:
H01B5/08; B21F7/00; D07B3/00; D07B7/02; H01B13/02; H01B13/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1987000962A11987-02-12
Foreign References:
US20160027551A12016-01-28
US20160027559A12016-01-28
JPH07249329A1995-09-26
US4009561A1977-03-01
US20050015978A12005-01-27
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OGUSS, Douglas (Brinks Gilson & Lione, P.O. Box 10087Chicago, IL, 60610, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

We claim:

1. A system for forming a cable, the system comprising:

a non-driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a first layer of the cable,

wherein movement of the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable; and

a driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable,

wherein the plurality of rolls of the driven roll station are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands associated with the second layer of the cable.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the first layer of the cable is disposed radially inward relative to the second layer.

3. The system of claim 1 , wherein the driven roll station is disposed upstream relative to the non-driven roll station.

4. The system of claim 3 , wherein the driven roll station comprises a through hole for travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable.

5. The system of claim 1 , wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer exit the non-driven roll station at a different speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station.

6. The system of claim 1 , wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer exit the non-driven roll station at a slower speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station, and

wherein the first layer of the cable is disposed radially inward relative to the second layer.

7. The system of claim 1 , further comprising a lay plate having a plurality of recesses and a plurality of roller guides, wherein each of the plurality of recesses houses a corresponding roller guide, and wherein each of the strands of the second layer of the cable are guided around a respective roller guide.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the lay plate comprises a central aperture, disposed radially inwardly relative to the plurality of roller guides, and wherein the one or more strands of the first layer are guided through the central aperture. 9. The system of claim 7, wherein the non-driven roll station comprises a housing that is coupled to the lay plate.

10. The system of claim 7, further comprising a first closing die disposed downstream of the non-driven roll station, wherein the first closing die is coupled to the lay plate using a mounting bracket, wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer are passed through the first closing die.

11. The system of claim 1 , further comprising a common closing die disposed downstream of the non-driven roll station, wherein the one or more strands associated with both the first and the second layers are passed through the common closing die.

12. The system of claim 1 , where the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station can be changed independently of the plurality of rolls of the driven roll station, such that the shapes of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable may be modified without changing the plurality of rolls of the driven roll station.

13. A system for forming a cable, the system comprising:

a non-driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a first layer of the cable; and

a driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable,

wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer exit the non-driven roll station at a different speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein movement of the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable, and wherein the plurality of rolls of the driven roll station are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands associated with the second layer of the cable.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the first layer of the cable is disposed radially inward relative to the second layer, and wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer exit the non-driven roll station at a slower speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station.

16. The system of claim 13, wherein the driven roll station is disposed upstream relative to the non-driven roll station.

17. The system of claim 13, further comprising a lay plate having a plurality of recesses and a plurality of roller guides, wherein each of the plurality of recesses houses a corresponding roller guide, wherein each of the strands of the second layer of the cable are guided around a respective roller guide.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the non-driven roll station comprises a housing that is coupled to the lay plate.

19. The system of claim 18, further comprising a common closing die disposed downstream of the non-driven roll station, wherein the one or more strands associated with both the first and the second layers are passed through the common closing die.

20. A method for forming a cable, the method comprising:

forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a first layer of the cable using a non-driven roll station having a plurality of rolls,

wherein movement of the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable; and

forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable using a driven roll station having a plurality of rolls,

wherein the plurality of rolls of the driven roll station are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable.

Description:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FORMING A CABLE PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This invention claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 62/486,753, entitled "Systems and Methods for Forming a Cable," filed April 18, 2017, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present embodiments relate generally to systems and methods for forming a cable in an improved manner.

[0003] Roll formed cables may be formed using a variety of techniques. In some exemplary methods and configurations, wires of the cable may implement a central strand surrounded by one or more helically layered strands. The cable may be made by twisting the strands of each layer about the central strand with a wire twisting machine. For example, the central strand may be surrounded by a second layer comprising four to eight helically formed strands, which in turn may be surrounded by a third layer comprising around 10 to 14 helically formed strands. The number of layers may vary, in addition to the number of strands per layer, depending on the particular application and size of the cable being manufactured.

[0004] Moreover, in various configurations, a single central strand may be omitted. In such embodiment, for example, the innermost layer may comprises two to four strands that have cross-sectional shapes that when disposed adjacent to one another will form a configuration similar to a single circular strand.

[0005] In general, when the strands of the second layer of the cable are helically wrapped around the first layer, the strands of the second layer will travel a greater distance, relative to the strands (or single strand) of the first layer, for any given longitudinal length of the cable. Forming the first and second layers on common forming rolls at the same wire travel speed may require equipment or methods that adjust travel speed to ensure the strands of the second layer can travel the greater helical distance and properly be disposed about the first layer. [0006] Further, while forming the first and second layers on common forming rolls may provide some space efficiencies, the cross-sectional shapes of one layer cannot be modified independently. In other words, if it becomes desirable to change the cross-sectional shape for strands of one of the first layer or the second layer, then an entire new set of forming rolls may be required to accommodate such change.

SUMMARY

[0007] In one embodiment, a system for forming a cable comprises a non-driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a first layer of the cable. Movement of the plurality of rolls of the non-driven roll station occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable. The system further comprises a driven roll station having a plurality of rolls for forming a shape of one or more strands associated with a second layer of the cable. The plurality of rolls of the driven roll station are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands associated with the second layer of the cable.

[0008] In one embodiment, the first layer of the cable may be disposed radially inward relative to the second layer. The driven roll station may be disposed upstream relative to the non-driven roll station. The driven roll station may comprise a through hole for travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer of the cable.

[0009] The one or more strands associated with the first layer may exit the non-driven roll station at a different speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station. In one example, the one or more strands associated with the first layer may exit the non-driven roll station at a slower speed relative to which the one or more strands associated with the second layer exit the driven roll station.

[0010] The system may further comprise a lay plate having a plurality of recesses and a plurality of roller guides, wherein each of the plurality of recesses houses a corresponding roller guide, wherein each of the strands of the second layer of the cable are guided around a respective roller guide. The lay plate may comprise a central aperture, disposed radially inwardly relative to the plurality of roller guides, wherein the one or more strands of the first layer are guided through the central aperture. The non-driven roll station may comprise a housing that is coupled to the lay plate. A first closing die may be disposed downstream of the non-driven roll station, wherein the first closing die is coupled to the lay plate using a mounting bracket, wherein the one or more strands associated with the first layer are passed through the first closing die.

[0011] A common closing die may be disposed downstream of the non-driven roll station, wherein the one or more strands associated with both the first and the second layers are passed through the common closing die.

[0012] Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be within the scope of the invention, and be encompassed by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

[0014] FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary cable, which may be manufactured using the system of the present embodiments.

[0015] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a system for forming a cable.

[0016] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a driven roll.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating one embodiment of non-driven forming rolls.

[0018] FIGS. 5A-5B are perspective and side views, respectively, of a forming roll of FIG. 4

[0019] FIGS. 6A-6C are front perspective, front, and rear perspective views of an exemplary lay plate.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating additional equipment of the system for forming a cable. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] Referring to FIG. 1 , a cross-sectional view of an exemplary cable 10 is shown. The exemplary cable 10 may be manufactured using the system 20 described further below. In one non-limiting example, the cable 10 comprises a first layer 12, which in this embodiment is an inner layer that comprises three strands 12a- 12c. The cable 10 further comprises a second layer 14, which is generally disposed external to the first layer 12, and which in this embodiment comprises nine strands 14a-14i. The cable 10 further comprises a third layer 16, which is generally disposed external to the second layer 14 and in this example comprises twelve strands, and further comprises a fourth layer 18 that is generally disposed external to the third layer 16 and in this example comprises sixteen strands. It is noted that some strands of the second layer 14, and the strands of the third and fourth layers 16 and 18, are not individually numbered to enhance illustrative purposes.

[0022] It will be appreciated that the cable 10 having layers 12, 14, 16 and 18 is only one of many exemplary cables that may be formed using the system 20 described below. In various alternatives within the scope of the present embodiments, each individual layer 12, 14, 16 and 18 may comprises greater or fewer than the number of strands depicted in FIG. 1. Moreover, in various alternatives within the scope of the present embodiments, one or more layers 12, 14, 16 and 18 may be omitted, such as for example layer 18 and/or layer 16. Alternatively, more than four layers may be provided, where such additional layers are disposed generally external to the fourth layer 18. In short, many possible combinations of cables, with a variable number of layers and strands within each layer, may be formed using the system 20 described below.

[0023] Moreover, the cross-sectional area of each of the individual strands may be selected depending on a particular desired shape or application of the cable 10. In the example of FIG. 1 , the strands 12a- 12c of the inner layer 12 are depicted as having two generally flat inner surfaces coupled with a convexly curved exterior surface. Such exemplary shape may be beneficial so that the generally flat inner surfaces of each of the strands 12a- 12c are disposed in close proximity to one another, as shown in FIG. 1 , and so that the convexly curved exterior surfaces collectively form a generally circular shape for abutting inner surfaces of the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14. It will be appreciated that if the inner layer 12 comprises greater or fewer than three strands, then the cross-sectional shape and size of each individual strand may be different than what is depicted in FIG. 1.

[0024] As will be explained further below, the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14 are helically wrapped around the strands 12a-12c of the first layer 12. Therefore, the strands 14a-14i travel a greater distance, relative to the strands 12a- 12c, for any given longitudinal length of the cable 10. In other words, because the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14 are disposed radially outward relative to the strands 12a- 12c, the helical path spanning a wider radial distance is a longer path over the same actual longitudinal distance. Similarly, the strands of the third layer 16 are helically wrapped around the strands 14a- 14i of the second layer 14, and the strands of the third layer 16 travel a greater distance relative to the strands 14a-14i for any given longitudinal length of the cable 10. Further, the strands of the fourth layer 18 are helically wrapped around the strands of the third layer 16, and the strands of the fourth layer 18 travel a greater distance relative to the strands of the third layer 16 for any given longitudinal length of the cable 10. The system 20 provides a novel approach to ensure smooth formation of such cable under these considerations.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 2, a perspective view of a first embodiment of the system 20 for forming a cable is shown and described. The system 20 comprises a driven roll station 30, a non-driven roll station 50, a lay plate 70, an optional first closing die 80, and a common closing die 90.

[0026] For illustrative purposes, it may be noted that in FIG. 2, only one strand 12a of the first layer 12 is depicted, and only one strand 14a of the second layer 14 is depicted. In contrast, in FIG. 7 below, each of strands 12a- 12c and some of the strands 14a-14i are depicted.

[0027] In the example of FIG. 2, the driven roll station 30 is disposed upstream relative to the non-driven roll station 50 and the closing dies 80 and 90. Accordingly, strands travel from a direction that originates upstream of the driven roll station (i.e., left of station 30 in FIG. 2 and FIG. 7), then downstream towards the non-driven roll station 50 and the closing dies 80 and 90. However, as will be explained below, in alternative embodiments, the non-driven roll station 50 may be positioned upstream relative to the driven roll station 30 while still achieving the same advantages of the present embodiments.

[0028] Referring to FIGS. 2-3, the driven roll station 30 comprises first and second rolls 32 and 38. As used herein, reference to a driven roll station refers to the station having an ability to achieve actuation or rotation of the rolls within the station itself, e.g., via a motor or other actuator disposed within the station, or coupled in close proximity (e.g., being an adjacent part), that is capable of providing sufficient force to actuate the rolls of the station. In this manner, the plurality of rolls 32 and 38 of the driven roll station 30 are actively driven to effect movement and speed of the one or more strands 14a-14i associated with the second layer 14 of the cable 10. This may be distinguished from the non-driven roll station 50 explained further below, which does not have a motor or other actuator disposed within or adjacent the station itself. Thus, in contrast to the driven roll station, movement of the plurality of rolls 52 and 58 of the non-driven roll station 50 occurs passively during travel of the one or more strands associated with the first layer 12 of the cable 10. In this manner, the driven roll station 30 and the non-driven roll station 50 may comprise different shapes and configurations, with the non-driven roll station 50 comprising a reduced profile to yield a reduced footprint and multiple other advantages explained further below.

[0029] Further details of the first roll 32 of the first forming station 30 are shown in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, the first roll 32 comprises first and second ends 32a and 32b, which are rotatable about a housing recess without the driven roll station 30. The first roll 32 further comprises a plurality of forming grooves 34, and a through channel 35. In this example, a first plurality of forming grooves 34 are disposed towards the first end 32a, a different plurality of forming grooves 34 are disposed towards the second end 32b, and the through channel 35 is disposed in a generally central location between the forming grooves 34.

[0030] In one embodiment, the second roll 38 may comprise generally symmetrical features relative to the first roll 32 (with a potential exception being different groove shapes to provide variable inner and outer cross-sections of a given strand). The second roll 38 may be disposed vertically beneath the first roll 32 within the driven roll station 30, as shown in FIG. 2. When disposed in close proximity, one of the plurality of forming grooves of the first roll 32, and an adjacent one of the plurality of forming grooves of the second roll 38, collectively are configured to form a cross-sectional shape of one of the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14 of the cable 10.

[0031] For example, a previously unformed wire strand 14a of the second layer 14 may be fed through the driven roll station 30 in the upstream to downstream direction, and as the strand 14a passes through a given forming groove 34 of the rolls 32 and 38, the cross-sectional shape of the strand 14a as shown in FIG. 1 may be achieved in accordance with the profile of the forming grooves 34. In a similar manner, the other strands 14b through 14i of the second layer 14 may be individually passed through grooves 34 of the rolls 32 and 38, such that the cross-sectional profiles of the strands 14a- 14i are formed at the same time within the driven roll station 30, using different grooves within the rolls 32 and 38. To this end, the first roll 32 may comprise at least nine grooves 34 (to accommodate each of the strands 14a-14i), and the second roll 38 may similarly comprise at least nine grooves 34 that work in conjunction with respective grooves in the first roll 32.

[0032] In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the first roll 32 comprises a generally semi-circular through channel 35. A generally symmetrical semi-circular through channel may be formed in the second roll 38. The semi-circular through channels 35 of the first and second forming rolls 32 and 38, when placed in close proximity, may collectively form a generally circular through hole.

[0033] The strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12 of the cable 10 may be passed through the through hole formed by the through channels 35 in the first and second rolls 32 and 38. In other words, cross-sectional shapes of the strands 12a- 12c are not formed as the strands pass within the through channel 35. As will be explained below, instead of being formed by the rolls 32 and 38 of the driven roll station 30, the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12 are formed at the non-driven roll station 50, thereby providing advantages for the present system.

[0034] Referring to FIGS. 4-5, further features of the non-driven roll station 50, and first and second rolls 52 and 58 of the non-driven roll station 50, are shown and described. In one embodiment, the first roll 52 comprises a central aperture 53 and a plurality of grooves 54, as best seen in FIGS. 5A-5B. In one non-limiting example, the first roll 52 may comprise three grooves 54a-54c, as shown in FIG. 5B. While three grooves are depicted the first roll 52, it will be appreciated that greater or fewer grooves may be provided.

[0035] The second roll 58 may comprise generally symmetrical features relative to the first roll 52 (with a potential exception being different groove shapes to provide variable inner and outer cross-sections of a given strand), and may be disposed adjacent to the first roll 52 within the non- driven roll station 50, as shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6A-6C. When disposed in close proximity, one of the plurality of forming grooves of the first roll 52, and an adjacent one of the plurality of forming grooves of the second roll 58, collectively are configured to form a cross-sectional shape of one of the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12 of the cable 10.

[0036] For example, a previously unformed wire strand 12a of the first layer 12 may be fed through the non-driven roll station 50 in the upstream to downstream direction, and as the strand 12a passes through the grooves 54a of the rolls 52 and 58, the cross-sectional shape of the strand 12a as shown in FIG. 1 may be achieved in accordance with the profile of the grooves 54a. In a similar manner, the other strands 12b and 12c of the second layer 14 may be individually passed through grooves 54b and 54c, respectively, of the rolls 52 and 58. Accordingly, the cross- sectional profiles of each of the strands 12a- 12c are formed at the same time within the non- driven roll station 50.

[0037] As noted above, the non-driven roll station 50 does not have a motor or other actuator disposed within or adjacent the station itself, which differs from driven roll station 30. Therefore, the non-driven roll station 50 may comprise a significantly reduced profile relative to the driven roll station 30. The forces required to pull the strands 12a-12c through the grooves within the rolls 52 and 58 of the non-driven roll station 50 may be provided by downstream equipment that exerts a relatively high pulling force upon the strands, taking into account friction that is expected during the forming process.

[0038] As shown in FIG. 4, the non-driven roll station 50 may comprise a housing assembly 60, which generally maintains the relative positions of the first and second rolls 52 and 58, and permits rotational movement of the rolls during formation of the cross-sectional profile of the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12. In one example, the housing assembly 60 comprises a first flanged region 61 a and a second flanged region 61b, each of which comprises one or more apertures 62 to facilitate mounting to the lay plate 70 of FIGS. 6A-6C, as explained further below. The housing assembly 60 further comprises two axes 63, around which the central apertures 53 of the forming rolls 52 and 58 are disposed for rotational movement. A shaft and bearings may be provided along the axes 63 to facilitate rotational movement of the forming rolls 52 and 58 around the axes 63.

[0039] Referring to FIGS. 6A-6C, further features of the lay plate 70 are shown and described from front perspective, front, and rear perspective views, respectively. In one embodiment, the lay plate 70 comprises a mounting segment 71 having one or more grooves 72 that are adapted to be coupled to a base assembly 89 (shown in FIG. 2) to thereby hold the lay plate 70 in a desired location with respect to the system 20. The lay plate 70 further comprises a guide segment 73, which in one embodiment may be integrally formed with the mounting segment 71 and disposed generally vertically above the mounting segment 71 , as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 6A-6C, although it is contemplated that the guide segment 73 may alternatively be disposed at the same height or vertically below the mounting segment 71.

[0040] In one example, the guide segment 73 comprises a generally circular shape having a front surface 74, a rear surface 75, and a central aperture 79. The first and second flanged regions 61 a and 61b of the housing assembly 60 of the non-driven roll station 50 may be mounted to opposing regions of the front surface 74 of the guide segment 73 of the lay plate 70, as best seen in FIGS. 6A and 6B. In one embodiment, bolts may be secured through the apertures 62 in the first and second flanged regions 61 a and 61b, and may securely engage the front surface 74 of the lay plate 70.

[0041] In this manner, the first and second rolls 52 and 58 of the non-driven roll station 50 may be positioned within the central aperture 79 of the lay plate 70. Further, an entrance location 59 disposed between the first and second rolls 52 and 58, which is adapted to received the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12, may be positioned generally at the center of the aperture 79 of the lay plate 70, as depicted in FIGS. 6A-6B.

[0042] A plurality of recesses 76 may be formed in the guide segment 73 between the front and rear surfaces 74 and 75, as best seen in FIGS. 6B-6C. The plurality of recesses 76 each may be sized to accommodate a respective roller guide 77. The roller guides 77 may be mounted on individual shafts 78, such that each roller guide 77 is capable of circumferential movement around its respective shaft 78. In this manner, each of the roller guides 77 may rotationally move within its respective recess 76.

[0043] The roller guides 77 may comprise a concave outer surface that accommodates a portion of the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14. As seen in FIG. 2, the strand 14a of the second layer 14 extends around the outer surface of its respective roller guide 77, at a location within the recess 76.

[0044] In the example of FIGS. 6A-6C, eight recesses 76 and eight corresponding roller guides 77 are depicted, although it may be noted that one additional recess and roller guide may be provided for a direct one-to-one correspondence with the nine strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14. In use, each roller guide 77 may orient a corresponding strand 14a- 14i of the second layer 14, providing circumferential spacing in a radially outward manner relative to the central aperture 79. Such circumferential and radial spacing of the strands 14a- 14i helps position the strands for downstream helical placement about the first layer 12.

[0045] It is noted that the recesses 76 and roller guides 77 are not disposed evenly around the circumference of the lay plate 70 in FIGS. 6A-6C due to the intervening placement of the first and second flanged regions 61a and 61b of the housing 60 of the non-driven roll station 50. In particular, four recesses 76 and roller guides 77 are disposed in relatively close proximity above the housing 60, while another four recesses 76 and roller guides 77 are disposed in relatively close proximity below the housing 60, such that the upper and lower recesses and roller guides are not directly adjacent. However, in alternative embodiments, the non-driven roll station 50 may be disposed at a location separate from the lay plate 70, in which case all of the recesses 76 and roller guides 77 may be evenly spaced about the perimeter of the guide segment 73 of the lay plate 70.

[0046] Referring still to FIGS. 6A-6C, the first closing die 80 may be coupled to the rear surface 75 of the lay plate 70 using a mounting bracket 81. In one example, the mounting bracket 81 comprises first and second arms 82 and 83, each having an upstream end coupled to the rear surface 75 by securing means 84, and further each having a downstream end coupled to the first closing die 80, as depicted in FIG. 6C. The first and second arms 82 and 83 are configured to extend a sufficient longitudinal distance so that the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12, which may be formed in grooves 54a-54c a distance apart within the rolls 52 and 58, may meet up at the first closing die 80. The first closing die 80 then orients the strands 12a-12c closely together and passes the collectively formed first layer 12 further downstream. The first closing die 80 may comprise an interior surface that is slightly larger than an outer surface of the first layer 12, and may provide a desirable orientation while reducing unwanted twisting of the strands 12a- 12c.

[0047] The strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14, which pass around the guide rollers 77 of the lay plate 70, travel around the exterior surface of the first closing die 80, and meet up with the strands 12a-12c of the first layer 12 at the common closing die 90, as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 7. The common closing die 90 then orients the strands 14a- 14i of the second layer 14 closely together around the exterior surface of the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12, and passes the collective bundle 15 comprising the first and second layers 12 and 14 further downstream. It may be noted that, in some embodiments, the first closing die 80 may be omitted, and the common closing die 90 may simultaneously orient strands of both the first and second layers 12 and 14.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 7, the collective bundle 15 comprising the first and second layers 12 and 14 is depicted at a location downstream of the common closing die 90. An additional roll station 130 may be disposed downstream of the driven roll station 30, the non-driven roll station 50, the lay plate 70, and the closing dies 80 and 90. Strands of the third layer 16 (one of which is labeled 16a in FIG. 7 for illustrative purposes) may be guided around these components, and directed to the additional roll station 130, which may comprise rollers that form the cross- sections shapes of the strands of the third layer 16. The collective bundle 15 comprising the first and second layers 12 and 14 may pass within a through hole in the additional roll station 130. Subsequently, the collective bundle 15 may pass through a central region of an additional lay plate 97, while the strands of the third layer 16 pass around guide rollers of the lay plate 97. The lay plate 97 may be similar to the lay plate 70 described above, with a main exception that the non-driven roll station 50 is omitted from the central region of the lay plate 97. The lay plate 97 guides the strands 16 in the proper orientation towards a third closing die 98, which then orients the strands of the third layer 16 closely together around the exterior surface of the strands 14a- 14i of the second layer 14, and passes the collective bundle 17 comprising the first, second and third layers 12, 14 and 16 further downstream. It will be appreciated that the fourth layer 18 of the cable 10 may be formed, and secured around the perimeter of the third layer 16, in a manner similar as described above. It is noted that the depiction of roller guides 77 associated with the lay plate 70 and the lay plate 97 have been omitted for illustrative purposes only in FIG. 7 (to better depict the large number of strands and other components), but would be present in the manner depicted in FIGS. 2 and 6A-6C.

[0049] Advantageously, the present embodiments are capable of forming a cable 10 without requiring a driven roll station 30 corresponding to each layer of the cable 10. While the strands of the second layer 14 are formed using the driven roll station 30, the strands of the first layer 12 are formed using the non-driven roll station 50. This has the advantage of reducing the overall footprint of the system 20 by providing fewer large driven roll stations 30.

[0050] Moreover, when the non-driven roll station 50 forming the first layer 12 is secured within the lay plate 70, which also serves to guide and orient the second layer 14, the overall footprint of the system 20 may be consolidated further by grouping components at the same location. While in this example the non-driven roll station 50 is shown secured to the lay plate 70, it will be appreciated that non-driven roll station 50 may be disposed at a stand-alone location relative to the lay plate 70, may be disposed within a dedicated passage formed in the driven roll station 30, or may be disposed upstream relative to the driven roll station 30, while achieving the same significant advantages.

[0051] As a further advantage, the present embodiments allow for individual control of speed of the layers 12 and 14 of the cable 10. As noted above, the strands 14a- 14i of the second layer travel a greater distance, relative to the strands 12a- 12c, for any given longitudinal length of the cable 10. Since the driven roll station 30 and the non-driven roll station 50 are separate and distinct, the strands 12a- 12c of the first layer 12 may be passed through the non-driven roll station at a first speed that is less than a second speed at which the strands 14a-14i of the second layer 14 are passed through the driven roll station 30. Such different forming speeds would not be possible if both the first and second layers 12 and 14 were formed on common rolls. This achieves a significant advantage in that the strands of the second layer 14 may travel the greater distance helically at the greater speed, relative to the strands of the first layer 12.

[0052] As a further advantage, the present embodiments allow for individual control of gaps at the different roll stations 30 and 50, to accommodate an array of cross-sectional shapes of the layers 12 and 14 of the cable 10. When two layers of a cable are formed simultaneously using the same forming rolls, the cross-sectional shapes of one layer cannot be modified independently, i.e., an entire new set of forming rolls is required. With the present embodiments, independent control of roll gap is available to modify shapes for the first and second layers 12 and 14 separate of one another, simply by changing the roll gaps at the station 50 or the station 30, respectively.

[0053] As noted above, in alternative embodiments, the cable 10 may comprise any number of layers, and each layer may comprise any number of strands, without departing from the principles of the present embodiments. Moreover, while it has generally been described that the strands 12a-12c of the first layer 12 have been formed by the non-driven roll station 50, and the strands 14a- 14i of the second layer 14 have been formed by the driven roll station 30, in alternative embodiment the strands of the first layer 12 may be formed by a driven roll station while the strands of the second layer 14 may be formed by a non-driven roll station.

[0054] Finally, an optional wire break detector 99, shown in FIG. 2, may be disposed at any location along the system 20 with one or more sensors to detect strand breakages. If such breakage is detected, a machine shutdown may occur to avoid further issues. It will be appreciated that other sensors may be provided at desired intervals along the system 20.

[0055] While various embodiments of the invention have been described, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents. Moreover, the advantages described herein are not necessarily the only advantages of the invention and it is not necessarily expected that every embodiment of the invention will achieve all of the advantages described.