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Title:
WEB UNREELING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/037091
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A web unreeling apparatus has a spindle that has a wide bobbin accommodation for holding transversely wound bobbins. The apparatus unwinds tapes that themselves have a width of not more than half the bobbin accommodation width. The unwinding apparatus is relatively short as compared to the tape width, the bobbin width and the minimum bobbin diameter. The unwinding apparatus includes a twisting stage between two untwisted stages. The fleeting run extends around a roller on which the unwinding tape can wander, and ends at a nip. The nip is at a skewed angle relative to the first roller. The two stage fleeting run exceeds the radius of the flyer.

Inventors:
BLACKMORE, Andrew (336 Bennet Drive, King City, Ontario L7B 1G7, CA)
Application Number:
CA2007/001754
Publication Date:
April 03, 2008
Filing Date:
October 01, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ROTEQ MACHINERY INC. (317 Bradwick Drive, Concord, Ontario L4K 1K5, CA)
BLACKMORE, Andrew (336 Bennet Drive, King City, Ontario L7B 1G7, CA)
International Classes:
D07B7/14; B65H16/00; B65H23/06; D07B3/00
Foreign References:
US5517812A
US4909880A
US4423588A
US4463547A
US3715877A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR (40 King Street West, 40th FloorToronto, Ontario M5H 3Y2, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

We claim:

1. A taping apparatus, comprising: a workpiece feed along which to feed a flexible linear member; a spindle mounted co-axially with the workpiece feed; the spindle having a reel accommodation of a first axial length, upon which a reel of traverse wound webstock can seat; said spindle having an outside radial extremity defining a minimum reel diameter; a paying out roller over whence web feedstock unwound from said reel can be feed to the flexible linear member for mating wrapping thereabout, said paying out roller having a width less than two thirds of said first axial length of said bobbin accommodation; a flyer upon which paying off fittings are mounted, said flyer having a maximum radius; a payout path length between 10 and 16 times said length of said minimum bobbin diameter; a fleeting rise of up to one half of said first axial length; and a fleeting run exceeding said maximum radius in length.

2. An unreeling apparatus for unreeling a transversely wound reel that carries a wide tape preparatory to wrapping that tape about one of (a) cable, and (b) a cable bundle, the apparatus having a rotatable spindle upon which to mount the reel, the spindle having a face plate against which to place the reel, the faceplate having a diameter, the spindle having a length defining a maximum fleeting rise, the spindle having an internal co-axial feed of the one of (a) the cable, and (b) the cable bundle, the apparatus being sized to unreel a tape satisfying any one of three criteria: (i) a tape width exceeding 1 or 1 1 A inches, (ii) the tape width exceeding about 10 % of the spindle faceplate diameter, and (c) the tape width exceeding about 15 % of the maximum fleeting rise.

3. The unreeling apparatus of claim 2 including an off-take turning member over which tape unwound from a transversely wound reel seated on the spindle first runs, the turning member having an axis of rotation; the turning member being followed by a nip; and the nip includes rotating members having respective axes of rotation that are skewed relative to the axis of rotation of the take-off turning member.

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4. In another aspect of the invention there is a taping apparatus for unreeling a reel of web feedstock for wrapping about a flexible linear member workpiece, the taping apparatus comprising: a workpiece feed and a spindle mounted co-axially with the workpiece feed; a reel accommodation of a first axial length, upon which the reel can seat; the spindle having an outside radial extremity defining a minimum reel diameter; a paying out roller having a width less than two thirds of said first axial length of said reel accommodation; a flyer and paying off fittings mounted to said flyer, the flyer having a maximum radius; the apparatus has a fleeting run between 10/3 and 8 times the length of said minimum reel diameter, and a fleeting rise of up to one half of the first axial length; and the fleeting run exceeds the maximum radius in length.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, that apparatus being for unreeling tapes of non-trivial width from traverse wound reels in which the path length of the apparatus from the point of tangency at which the tape leaves the reel to the point of tangency of the output taping roller prior to the tape mating with the flexible linear member is less than 160 times the width of the tape.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the spindle has a reel accommodation length defining a maximum reel width, the path length is less than 20 times the maximum reel width, and the path length is less than 40 times the maximum fleeting angle rise.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the fleeting run exceeds the maximum flyer radius of the machine.

8. An apparatus for unreeling a traverse wound web feedstock and paying out that feedstock windingly about a flexible linear workpiece, said apparatus comprising: an axial workpiece feed along which to deliver the flexible linear workpiece; a co-axial flyer mounted to turn coaxially about said axial workpiece feed, said flyer being independently rotatable relative to said axial workpiece feed; a reel accommodation mounted to rotate about the same axis of rotation as said flyer, upon which accommodation a reel of the traverse wound web feedstock can seat; said reel accommodation having a length L; said reel and said flyer being rotatable about said axis at different speeds, and said apparatus including drive train members operable to rotate said reel and said

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flyer; said apparatus including a fleeting section; said fleeting section including a first portion between a payout tangent on the reel to a first turning point, and a second portion between said first turning point to a nip, said first turning point and said nip being mounted to said flyer; said apparatus including at least one further turn leading to a payout roller, said payout roller having a width of markedly smaller magnitude than said length

L; said first and second portions of said fleeting section having a combined path length, s; and a ratio of s:L is greater than 4:1

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said accommodation has a cheek plate defining a maximum reel diameter, and a spindle seat defining a minimum reel diameter, said maximum reel diameter being more than double said minimum reel diameter, and said length s exceeds said maximum reel diameter.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said accommodation length L is as great as said minimum reel diameter.

11. An apparatus for unreeling a traverse wound web feedstock and paying out that feedstock windingly about a flexible linear workpiece, said apparatus comprising: an axial workpiece feed along which to deliver the flexible linear workpiece; a co-axial flyer mounted to turn coaxially about said axial workpiece feed, said flyer being independently rotatable relative to said axial workpiece feed; a reel accommodation mounted to rotate about the same axis of rotation as said flyer, upon which accommodation a reel of the traverse wound web feedstock can seat; said reel accommodation having a length L; said flyer having unreeling fittings mounted thereto defining a payout path for the web feedstock, said path having a first fitting operable to receive the web feedstock within a range of fleeting angles, that path leading to a final paying off fitting whence the web feedstock is fed onto the flexible linear workpiece; and said final paying off fitting having a path width of less than 3 A L.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 1 wherein said flyer includes a head plate having a maximum reel diameter of D max ; said accommodation has a minimum reel diameter D m j n ; and

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the ratio of D min /L lies in the range of 4/5 to 5/4.

13. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein: said flyer includes a head plate having a maximum reel diameter of D max ; said accommodation has a minimum reel diameter D min ; said unreeling fittings include a first turning member mounted to receive web feedstock from the reel of traverse wound web feedstock, and about which, in use, the feedstock changes direction, said first turning member being tolerant of a range of input fleeting angles; and first nip fittings, said first nip fittings being mounted to receive web feedstock from said first turning member; a fleeting path is defined between a pay-off point of tangency of the reel and the first nip; a first portion of said fleeting path is defined between the point of tangency of the web feedstock and the first turning member, said first portion having a range of magnitudes varying as the reel of web feedstock is paid out from full to empty, said range having a minimum value Fi geometrically limited by L,

Dmax and Dmin; a second portion of the fleeting path being defined between the first turning fitting and the first nip, said second portion of the fleeting path having a length F 2 ; and a fleeting ratio is defined by (Fi + F 2 )/L; and said fleeting ratio is greater than 10/3.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein said fleeting ratio is greater than 5: 1

15. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein a ratio (F] + F 2 )/D max is greater than 8/5.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the ratio (Fi + F 2 )/D max is greater than 2.

17. The apparatus of claim 13 said flyer has a flyer diameter, Dp, and a ratio of (Fl + F2)/D F is greater than 3 A.

18. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said set of unreeling fittings includes: said first fitting, said first fitting being a first turning fitting; a second turning fitting; a third turning fitting; and said paying off fitting; a first nip being mounted between said first turning fitting and said second turning fitting; said first nip being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first turning

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fitting; said second turning fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first nip; said third turning fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the second turning fitting; and the paying off fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock after the web feedstock has passed around the third turning fitting; said payout path having a first portion defined between the reel and the first turning fitting, a second portion defined between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting; and a third portion defined between the second turning fitting and the third turning fitting; and said second portion of said payout path being longer than each of said first and third portions of said payout path.

19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein: said first turning fitting includes a roller having an axis of rotation parallel to the axis of rotation of the flyer; and the nip is defined between two parallel rollers, each of said two rollers having an axis of rotation that lies in a plane normal to the direction of feed of the web feedstock between the first and second turning fittings and that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the flyer.

20. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said set of unreeling fittings includes: said first fitting, said first fitting being a first turning fitting; a second turning fitting; a third turning fitting; and said paying off fitting; a first nip being mounted between said first turning fitting and said second turning fitting; said first nip being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first turning fitting; said second turning fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first nip; said third turning fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the second turning fitting; and the paying off fitting being mounted to receive the web feedstock after the web feedstock has passed around the third turning fitting; said payout path having a first portion defined between the reel and the first turning fitting, a second portion defined between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting; and a third portion defined between the second turning

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fitting and the third turning fitting; said first and second turning fittings have respective axes substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of said flyer, and, said unreeling fittings include a fleeting nip located between said first and second turning fittings.

21. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein said fleeting nip includes a pair of rollers having axis of rotation oriented radially relative to the axis of rotation of the flyer.

22. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said flyer includes a head plate having an outer diameter, and at least one of said first and second turning fittings extends radially beyond said outer diameter of said head plate.

23. The apparatus of claim 11, being an apparatus for wrapping a coating web about a cable bundle, wherein said apparatus has a payout path between the reel and the final payout fitting that is 10 to 25 time length L.

24. A method of using any of the apparatus of claims 1 - 23, that method including unreeling the web feedstock from the reel through the path defined by the fittings mounted to the flyer, and paying out that feedstock wrappingly about the flexible linear feedstock.

25. The use of the apparatus of any of claims 1 - 23.

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Description:

WEB UNREELING APPARATUS

Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of taping apparatus.

Background of the Invention

This invention relates to tape winding machinery, and the process by which tape may be wound about a filament. In the sense of this document, a filament may be a strand, a wire, a cable, a rope, a chain, or an assembly of several strands, wires, cables, and so on, such as might be termed a linear flexible member. Typically, these filaments are distinct from rods or bars in that a filament has substantially no ability to transmit an axial compressive stress.

The term "flexible linear member" may be used generically to encompass threads, filaments, strands, wires, cables, and multi-filament or multi-strand assemblies of wires, cables, and so on. Typically a "flexible linear member" does not have a significant transverse dimension, and may tend to be thought of in a one dimensional (i.e., linear) sense, as opposed to a web, which has a transverse direction width that, typically, is an order of magnitude or more greater than an associated web thickness. Whereas a "flexible linear member" is analogous to a line extending in a single dimension, a web is analogous to a plane that extends in two dimensions, and has a neglible through thickness in the third dimension and is thus analyzed as a membrane. Neither the "flexible linear member" nor a membrane would generally be thought of as being able to transmit a bending moment of significance. That is, while a rope or a web can transmit tension, neither tends to be much use for transmitting compression.

Taping typically involves winding a band of material about a flexible linear member, which, for the purposes of description may be, for example, a bundle of cables. It may be noted that the flexible linear member is not necessarily circular in cross section. It may, for example, be a bundle that is lumpy, or that has something of a six sided shape. It is, however, convenient to think of the bundle as being generally round, or roundish.

The tape is most often wound about the linear member in a generally helical manner, such that successive turns, or lays, of tape are spaced along the linear member. The lay of the tape may be expressed in terms of the mean diameter of the cable, rope, wire, etc., about which it is wound (e.g., one twist every 8 to 16 diameters may not be uncommon), or it may be expressed in terms of the width of the tape. Where the tape is not intended to form more

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than one layer, the lay may be roughly such that one turn of the tape about the cable brings the rearward edge of the next revolution closely down adjacent to the forward edge of the previous revolution, frequently with a measure of overlap.

With a broad tape, the number of turns of tape about the cable per unit of lineal advance along the cable is smaller than for a narrow tape. Since taping often involves a rapidly spinning taping head, a reduction in the number of turns means either a reduction in the rotational speed of the head, or an increase in the relative lineal feed speed of the cable, or a bit of both. Both tend to be desirable.

However the use of a broad tape may be problematic in terms of achieving accurate positioning relative to the cable. This may be of significant importance in some industries, where tight tolerances on cable qualities are highly desired. If the tape is released from a relatively long distance, it may tend to be difficult to maintain consistent quality - the tape may flex over the release distance due to either windage or simply variations in tension in the band. This can be reduced by paying out the tape from a final release head that is relatively close to the central axis of the cable or other member to be taped.

In terms of definitions, the lineal increment per turn of tape may be thought of as a period, or wavelength, λband- This band wavelengh is equal to the circumference of the cable divided by the tangent of the angle between the central axis of the cable members and the direction of feed of the winding tape. The width of coverage of one turn of the tape is similarly defined as the width of the band divided by the sine of that same angle. Setting these two values as being equal, one may solve for the angle at which one turn of the tape exactly mates with the preceding turn to achieve full, non-overlapping coverage. For greater angles, the tape will overlap, for lesser angles there will be an uncovered helical strip between turns of the tape. If the tape is wide enough, then there may be no wrapping condition for which there will not be some overlap.

At present, the manner of wrapping involves feeding the linear member through a hollow shaft, or spindle. A reel of winding tape is mounted on the spindle, and fed through a series of feed rollers. The linear member may be rotating about its own axis at a given rotational speed (which may be zero), and the reel of winding tape may be rotating about the spindle at some rotational speed. The relative rotational speeds of the linear member, i.e., the cable, and the reel will vary over time, since the diameter of the reel of tape diminishes as the tape is unwound.

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Most commonly, at present the winding tapes are provided on discs in which the tape is wound in a manner that includes no axial variation of tape position. That is, the winding reel may be similar to an old tape recording disc, in which each turn of tape lies directly above (i.e., radially outward of) the preceding turn. This is not necessarily advantageous, since production must be stopped to change the reel. More tape can be held on the reel if the reel is a transversely wound reel. That is, the band is built up on the bobbin over an axial extent that is greater than the width of a single band, typically some integer multiple of that width. This may work reasonably well where the tape width is small relative to the inner diameter of the reel (i.e., the bobbin base diameter). For example, if a bobbin has a minimum diameter of 12 inches, and the tape width is 0.125" (a ratio of 96:1) transverse winding and unwinding may not be overly difficult. However, where the tape width is significant relative to the minimum bobbin diameter, e.g., greater than 1 inch at, for example, a 10" minimum bobbin diameter (ratio of 10: 1) unwinding may be more challenging if a desired level of consistency and quality in the end product is to be maintained. The ease, or difficulty, of the task may also be a function of the number of widths of the band that are to be carried by the bobbin. For example, if the bobbin shaft has a length between the cheeks of only two or three band widths, and the band width is small relative to the minimum diameter, unwinding is likely to be less difficult than if the bobbin is to carry ten or twenty band widths for the same minimum bobbin shaft diameter. A related measure is the range of "fleeting angle" of the bobbin. The fleeting angle the maximum transverse angle of the band or tape at the take off point. Assuming the take off sheave to be located at a position that is axially halfway along the bobbin shaft, the sine of the fleeting angle is proportional to the half length of the bobbin shaft between the reel cheeks. The run of the angle is proportional to the distance between the point of tangency where the tape leaves the reel, to the point of tangency where the tape or bend first bends about the take-off head, or sheave, or puller, or roller, as may be. Dividing the one number by the other gives the tangent of the fleeting angle.

It is clear by inspection that lengthening the distance to the take off head will necessarily decrease the fleeting angle. However, given that most taping occurs under a certain amount of tension in the band, and given that the band is typically elastic to some extent, and given that the tension may have a tendency to fluctuate, increasing the unsupported band travel distance between the pay off point and the head may tend to make it more difficult to deliver the band or tape to the object to be wound at a consistent rate with consistent tension. Further, to the extent that these machines tend to spin, and sometimes at quite high speeds, it is not generally desirable to have unnecessarily large equipment spinning rapidly, and the exposure to windage may tend to make the fluctuations in tension in the band more problematic. In short, for a spinning machine it tends to be desirable to keep the pay off band relatively short, and the machine relatively compact.

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In other aspects of the invention there are the processes, methods, and uses of the apparatus of any of the aforementioned aspects of the invention.

Summary of the Invention

In one aspect of the invention there is an unreeling apparatus for unreeling transversely wound reels that carry wide tapes. A wide tape may be defined as a tape exceeding 1 or 1 1 A inches in width., or for which the tape width exceeds about 10 % of the spindle faceplate diameter or which exceeds about 15 % of the fleeting rise. In a feature of that invention, there may be an off-take reel over which tape unwound from a transversely wound reel first runs, followed by a nip. The axis of rotation of the nip is skewed relative to the axis of rotation of the first roller.

In another aspect of the invention there is a taping apparatus. It has a workpiece feed and a spindle mounted co-axially with the workpiece feed. The spindle has a bobbin accommodation of a first axial length, upon which a bobbin may seat. The spindle has an outside radial extremity defining a minimum bobbin diameter. There is a paying out roller having a width less than two thirds of said first axial length of said bobbin accommodation. There is a flyer upon which paying off fittings are mounted. The flyer has a maximum radius. The apparatus has a fleeting run between 10 and 16 times the length of said minimum bobbin diameter, and a fleeting rise of up to one half of the first axial length. The fleeting run exceeds the maximum radius in length.

In another aspect of the invention there is an apparatus for unreeling tapes of non- trivial width from transversely wound reels. The path length of the apparatus from the point of tangency of the reel to the point of tangency of the output taping roller is less than 160 times the width of the tape. In another embodiment, the path length is less than 20 times the width of the bobbin accommodation, and less than 40 times the rise of the fleeting angle. In another feature, the fleeting run exceeds the maximum flyer radius of the machine.

In another aspect of the invention, there is an apparatus for unreeling a traverse wound web feedstock and paying out that feedstock windingly about a flexible linear workpiece. The apparatus has an axial workpiece feed along which to deliver the flexible linear workpiece and a co-axial flyer mounted to turn coaxially about the axial workpiece feed. The flyer is independently rotatable relative to the axial workpiece feed. There is a reel accommodation mounted to rotate about the same axis of rotation as the flyer, upon which accommodation a

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reel of the traverse wound web feedstock can seat. The reel accommodation has a length L. The reel and the flyer are rotatable about the axis at different speeds. The apparatus includes drive train members operable to rotate the reel and the flyer. The apparatus includes a fleeting section. The fleeting section includes a first portion between a payout tangent on the reel to a first turning point, and a second portion between the first turning point and a nip. The first turning point and the nip are mounted to the flyer. The apparatus includes at least one further turn leading to a payout roller. The payout roller has a width of markedly smaller magnitude than the length L.

The first and second portions of the fleeting section have a combined path length, s. The ratio of s:L is greater than 4: 1

In a feature of that aspect of the invention, the accommodation has a cheek plate defining a maximum reel diameter, and a spindle seat defining a minimum reel diameter, the maximum reel diameter is more than double the minimum reel diameter, and the length s exceeds the maximum reel diameter. In another feature, the accommodation length L is as great as the minimum reel diameter.

In another aspect of the invention there is an apparatus for unreeling a traverse wound web feedstock and paying out that feedstock windingly about a flexible linear workpiece. The apparatus has an axial workpiece feed along which to deliver the flexible linear workpiece. It also has a co-axial flyer mounted to turn coaxially about the axial workpiece feed, the flyer being independently rotatable relative to the axial workpiece feed. The apparatus has a spindle defining a reel accommodation mounted to rotate about the same axis of rotation as the flyer, upon which accommodation a reel of the traverse wound web feedstock can seat. The reel accommodation has a length L. The flyer has unreeling fittings mounted thereto that define a payout path for the web feedstock. The payout path includes a first fitting operable to receive the web feedstock within a range of fleeting angles, that path leading to a final paying off fitting whence the web feedstock is fed onto the flexible linear workpiece. The final paying off fitting having a path width of less than 3 A L.

In a feature of that aspect of the invention, the flyer includes a head plate having a maximum reel diameter of D max . The accommodation has a minimum reel diameter D min ; and the ratio of D min /L lies in the range of 4/5 to 5/4. In a further feature, the flyer includes a head plate having a maximum reel diameter of D max . The accommodation has a minimum reel diameter D min . The unreeling fittings include a first turning member mounted to receive the web feedstock from the reel of traverse wound web feedstock, and about which, in use, the feedstock changes direction. The first turning member is tolerant of a range of input fleeting angles. There are first nip fittings, the first nip fittings being mounted to receive the

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web feedstock from the first turning member. A fleeting path is defined between a pay-off point of tangency of the reel and the first nip. A first portion of the fleeting path is defined between the point of tangency of the web feedstock and the first turning member, the first portion having a range of magnitudes varying as the reel of web feedstock is paid out from full to empty, the range having a minimum value Fi geometrically limited by L, D max and D m i n - There is a second portion of the fleeting path defined between the first turning fitting and the first nip, the second portion of the fleeting path having a length F 2 . A fleeting ratio is defined by (Fi + F 2 )/L. The fleeting ratio is greater than 10/3.

In another feature, the fleeting ratio is greater than 5:1. In a further feature, there is a ratio (F] + F 2 )/D max that is greater than 8/5. In another feature, the ratio (Fi + F 2 )/D max is greater than 2. In still another feature, the flyer has a flyer diameter, Dp, and a ratio of (Fl + F2)/Dp is greater than 3 A.

In yet another feature, the set of unreeling fittings includes (a) the first fitting, the first fitting is a first turning fitting; a second turning fitting; a third turning fitting; and the paying off fitting; (b) a first nip mounted between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting, the first nip being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first turning fitting; (c) the second turning fitting, it being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first nip; (d) the third turning fitting, it being mounted to receive the web feedstock from the second turning fitting; and (e) the paying off fitting, it being mounted to receive the web feedstock after the web feedstock has passed around the third turning fitting. The payout path has a first portion defined between the reel and the first turning fitting, a second portion defined between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting; and a third portion defined between the second turning fitting and the third turning fitting. The second portion of the payout path is longer than each of the first and third portions of the payout path.

In still another feature, the first turning fitting includes a roller having an axis of rotation parallel to the axis of rotation of the flyer. The nip is defined between two parallel rollers, each of the two rollers having an axis of rotation that lies in a plane normal to the direction of feed of the web feedstock between the first and second turning fittings and that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the flyer.

In yet another further feature, the set of unreeling fittings includes (a) the first fitting, the first fitting being a first turning fitting; (b) a second turning fitting; (c) a third turning fitting; and (d) the paying off fitting. A first nip is mounted between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting. The first nip is mounted to receive the web feedstock from the

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first turning fitting. The second turning fitting is mounted to receive the web feedstock from the first nip. The third turning fitting is mounted to receive the web feedstock from the second turning fitting. The paying off fitting is mounted to receive the web feedstock after the web feedstock has passed around the third turning fitting. The payout path has a first portion defined between the reel and the first turning fitting, a second portion defined between the first turning fitting and the second turning fitting; and a third portion defined between the second turning fitting and the third turning fitting. The first and second turning fittings have respective axes substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the flyer. The unreeling fittings include a fleeting nip located between the first and second turning fittings.

In a further feature, the fleeting nip includes a pair of rollers having axis of rotation oriented radially relative to the axis of rotation of the flyer. In another further feature, the flyer includes a head plate having an outer diameter, and at least one of the first and second turning fittings extends radially beyond the outer diameter of the head plate. In still yet another further fitting the apparatus is an apparatus for wrapping a coating web about a cable bundle, the apparatus has a payout path between the reel and the final payout fitting that is 10 to 25 time length L.

Brief Description of the Drawings

These aspects and other features of the invention can be understood with the aid of the following illustrations of a number of exemplary, and non-limiting, embodiments of the principles of the invention in which:

Figure 1 shows a perspective, general arrangement photographic view of an embodiment of a taping apparatus according to an aspect of the present invention from one end, and to a first side thereof;

Figure 2 shows a perspective, photographic view of the apparatus of Figure 1 from the same end, and from another side thereof;

Figure 3 shows a side view of the apparatus of Figure 1; Figure 4a shows a front view of the apparatus of Figure 3 with doors closed; Figure 4b shows an alternate apparatus to that of Figure 4a; Figure 5 shows a top view of the apparatus of Figure 1; Figure 6 shows an irregular, non-diametral cross-sectional view through the center of the main shaft, with outfeed roller position, radial return roller, and first tangent off-feed mandrel positions shown of the apparatus of Figure 3; Figure 7 is a front view of the paying off-assemblies layout of the apparatus of Figure 3;

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Figure 8 is an enlarged detail view of the paying-off apparatus of Figure 7; Figure 9 is a further detail view of the paying-off apparatus of Figure 7; Figure 10 is a detail view o the first nip of the paying-off apparatus of Figure 7; Figure 11 is a perspective view of the housing and base of the apparatus of Figure 1; and Figure 12 is a view of the housing and base of Figure 11 from the other side.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The description that follows, and the embodiments described therein, are provided by way of illustration of an example, or examples of particular embodiments of the principles of the present invention. These examples are provided for the purposes of explanation, and not of limitation, of those principles and of the invention. In the description, like parts are marked throughout the specification and the drawings with the same respective reference numerals. The drawings are not necessarily to scale and in some instances proportions may have been exaggerated in order to more clearly depict certain features of the invention. In this application, the orthographic views are substantially to scale, and the proportions of the perspective views are as seen by a camera. Figure 4b is not entirely to scale, although the general proportions are roughly correct.

There is relative motion between various elements of the apparatus described herein. It may be helpful to identify co-ordinate systems that may aid in understanding the present invention. Where a rotating shaft or spindle or bobbin mount is concerned, the axial direction is the direction co-incident, or parallel to, the axis of rotation of the element. In some circumstances this may be referred to as the longitudinal axis, or the z-axis in a cylindrical polar co-ordinate system. Similarly, such a device will also tend to have a circumferential direction, through which angles, angular velocity, and angular accelerations, (typically θ for position or displacement, ω for angular velocity, and α for angular acceleration) may be measured, most often from an angular datum, or angular direction, as measure from a datum, in a plane perpendicular to the axial direction, and a radial direction.

By way of a general overview, a taping machine is indicated as 20. It includes a central spindle 22 which may be termed a shaft, or axle. It may be understood that a spindle has an axis of rotation, in this instance identified as the center line CL. The spindle may be hollow, and may thereby be able to admit the passage of a workpiece 24 axially therealong. Spindle 22 may include a stationary shaft 25 and a co-axial rotating shaft 29 of larger diameter, borne on bearings. Spindle 22 may include an end cap member 27 which Workpiece 24 may be the outfeed product of an immediately prior manufacturing step, or

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may be fed from a storage reel, either being symbolised by reference numeral 26. This outfeed may have motion in only a single degree of freedom (i.e., linear translation parallel to, or along, center line axis CL), or the upstream equipment may include apparatus operable to rotate the outfeed at a given rate about its central axis, such that it may have motion in a second degree of freedom, namely rotation about the central axis. In operation, workpiece 24 is advanced (i.e., pulled) through spindle 24 in the axial workpiece feed direction, identified by arrow 'A', by pulling apparatus, such as may be symbolised by a driven take-up reel 33.

Spindle 22 may provide an accommodation for and carry a bobbin, or reel 30. Reel

30 may have a hub or a bobbin shaft 32 that extends in the axial direction. The bobbin may have a cheek plate or plates 35. While bobbin shaft 32 may not necessarily be circular is section, and may not necessarily be a shaft, as such (it could, for example, include an array of axially extending posts, or pickets, about which a band may be wound), it is convenient to think of it as being a hollow cylindrical shaft having a size suitable for mounting on spindle 22, and a minimum diameter D M i n , about which tape may be reeled, ready for unwinding. For the purposes of this discussion, D M i n may be taken as being the same as the outside diameter of the face plate 28 of spindle 22, over which reel 30 must slide axially on installation. When installed, reel 30 may seat on a reel carrier 34, which may be a co-axial hollow shaft on bearings. This permits face plate 28 to spin independently of reel 30. Rather face plate 28 is rigidly mounted to a common driven shaft, namely rotating shaft 29 that turns with head assembly 40. Shaft 29 is co-axial with the stationary internal hollow shaft 25 through which the workpiece to be taped is drawn. It may also be taken that reel 30 has a maximum reel diameter, which may be typically less than or equal to the diameter Dj Max - Cheek plates 35 (if used) need not be circular, and need not actually be plates as such, but could be an array of radial arms having stiffness against axial deflection, and being spaced to contain reeled tape axially therebetween. However, for the purposes of this description, the term "cheek plate" will be used generically to cover a full range of reel retaining radially extending axially spaced apart members. In this instance, it may be understood that reel 30 is a transversely wound reel in which the axial extent of bobbin shaft 32 is between two and 20 times the width of the band, W B , reeled thereon. W B is less than one half of the axial length L of the bobbin accommodate of spindle 22. In one embodiment L may be about 12" In one example it may be about five band widths. It may be expected that such a bobbin may then be wound with, roughly, five times the length of band as a single-stack pad or reel, and so therefore permit uninterrupted continuous production for a correspondingly lengthier time. In this instance, D MHI may be relatively small, the ratio D M U^W B being perhaps as little as 3: 1 or 4: 1. By contrast, the ratio of W B to the outside diameter D M8X may be of the order of 8: 1 to 20: 1, or more narrowly, 10: 1 to 15: 1. It may be that W B is substantially greater than 1

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inch. For example W B may be greater than 1.5 inches, may be greater than 2 inches, and may be as much as 3 1 A to 4 inches, or perhaps somewhat larger.

Reel 30 is mounted for rotation on spindle 22. Spindle 22 may be a free-wheeling spindle, or it may be a driven spindle. It is carried adjacent to an unreeling, or paying-off head assembly, indicated generally as 40, that is mounted for co-axial rotation about the centerline axis CL of spindle 22. Head assembly 40 may be driven by a drive motor 36 and transmission 38. The rotational speed of head assembly 40 may be controlled by a control system 42 that may be a digital control system. The rate of rotation of head assembly 40 may be co-ordinated, by the control system or otherwise, with the linear feed of the workpiece.

Apparatus 20 may include a governor 44 operable to control the rotation, or speed of rotation of spindle 22 (and, hence reel 30) relative to either or both of the workpiece, 24, and head assembly 40. This governor 44 may include a separate drive motor, and a digital speed control that may be co-ordinated with the speed control of head assembly 40 (as by a common signal processor). Alternatively, governor 44 may have the form of a brake, or friction fitting, or torque transmitting device such as a clutch 46. Engagement of clutch 46 may tend to transmit torque between head assembly 40 and spindle 22, and may therefore tend to drag spindle 22 at some speed less than or equal to the speed of head assembly 40. For consistent even winding, the rotational speed of head assembly 40 may be constant relative to the rotational speed and linear feed speed of workpiece 24. More precisely, perhaps, the speeds may be proportional such that winding occurs at an even pitch along the work piece. It may be expected that the lineal feed rate is also substantially constant in most instances of steady cable production, but, formally, this need not necessarily be so. Governor 44 may be employed to impart a torque to spindle 22 such as to maintain a desired level of tension in the paying off band. The tension in the band may tend to exert a torque on reel 30 tending in one direction (e.g., clockwise) while the torque transmitted by the clutch may tend to urge spindle 22 in the opposite (e.g., counter-clockwise) direction. In one embodiment, as reel 30 empties, the speed of spindle 22 may tend to rise and approach that of reel 30. Reel 30, spindle 22, and head assembly 44 may all be contained within a housing 48, which may be stationary. The housing may include access doors such as may permit reel changes to occur (i.e., removal of empty reels and installation of full reels), the doors having an opening or accommodation to permit the taped workpiece to leave the machine and be carried either to the output storage reel or to some other, subsequent, production stage.

As the web band 50 is unwound from reel 30 by head assembly 40, it passes through a first, or off-take, head or fitting 52, which may be in the form of a substantially round cylindrical mandrel 54 of a length approximating that of spindle 22 (and, therefore also or the

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axial length of reel 30). Mandrel 54 may include a roller that revolves about an axis of rotation parallel to that of spindle 22. Mandrel 54 may be located at or quite near the most radially distant portion of head plate 56 of head assembly 40 from reel 30, as this may tend to reduce the effective fleeting angle of the pay-off. Head plate 56 may also be termed a "flyer", and need not actually be a plate, but rather an armature, or base, to which the various web feed an web manipulation fittings may be mounted and carried in the desired geometric relationships described, while rotating about the centerline axis CL. The centerline of mandrel 54 may be located at a radius R that lies 2 to 4 times D M i n away from the centerline CL. Mandrel 54 may have a diameter comparable to the width of the tape it is to turn, and may be somewhat larger than that width.

Head assembly 40 may include a first intermediate nip, or pair of rollers 58. Rollers 58 may have parallel axes of rotation, those axes being skewed (i.e., not parallel to) the axis of rotation of the roller of mandrel 54, such that the web passing about mandrel 54 is twisted out of the plane of tangency of the outfeed of mandrel 54, to a different plane, that of the nip. The axes of the nip rollers 58 may be perpendicular to the axis of rotation of mandrel 54. Rollers 58 may be mounted on a common header 60 that is, in turn, mounted on a standoff post or pedestal rooted to head plate 56. Header 60 may be rotated about an axis mutually perpendicular to the direction of travel of web band 50 and centerline axis CL to adjust tension in the tape path, as may be desired. In general, it is thought that maintaining a relatively low tension may tend to reduce variation in elastic stretching in tape band 50. While tape band 50 may wander in the axial direction along mandrel 54 to some extent to find the minimum energy fleeting angle during paying off, the axial outfeed position of rollers 58 is fixed. Thus, to the extent that the half width of reel 30 defines the rise of the fleeting angle (or, more precisely, for a given geometry, the maximum rise of the fleeting angle is 1 A(L - W b )), the run of the fleeting angle may be thought of as being the distance from the outfeed point of tangency as band 50 leaves reel 30 to mandrel 54, around mandrel 54 and back to the rollers 58. This distance may tend to be greater than the outermost radius of head plate 56, or, if none should be used, then greater than the radial offset R of the centerline of mandrel 54 from the center line of spindle 22. In some embodiments, this distance may be at least 3/2 times offset distance R or more than 3/2 times the maximum radius of head plate 56. Expressed differently, the fleeting run may be more than 5 times Divii m and may be in the range of 4 - 8 times D M in- This may also be expressed in terms of the fleeting rise, where the length of spindle 22 may be in the range of 1 to 3 times D M i n -such that the fleeting rise may be in the range of Vt to 3/2 D M i n - The fleeting angle is then the inverse tangent of the fleeting rise divided by the fleeting run.

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After passing through the first nip, at rollers 58, tape band 50 is twisted back to the tangent orientation it had leaving mandrel 54 to pass about a first idler roller 62, again mounted near the outer edge of head plate 56. Roller 62 may have an axis of rotation parallel to that of mandrel 54, or that of spindle 22 (or both, as may be). In one embodiment idler roller 62 may be substantially cylindrical, in another embodiment, idler roller 62 may be gently barrel shaped (i.e., have a slight crown), such as may encourage tape 50 to find a central position.

Leaving idler roller 62, tape band 50 may pass through a further pair of guides, or guide rollers 64, 66 that may again twist band 50 out of the plane in which it departed the outfeed point of tangency with roller 62. Rollers 62 may have axes of rotation that are predominantly radial relative to spindle 22, and substantially parallel to head plate 56. The band may now be oriented to travel in a plane that is more or less parallel to the face of head plate 56.

Web band 50 may then be fed over a further roller 68 that converts the direction of motion from a direction to which axis CL is substantially normal, to a direction substantially parallel to axis CL. The band, however, is travelling axially in a plane that is predominantly radial, whereas it is desirable to feed band 50 predominantly radially inwardly, as it will be when leaving the last flyer mounted roller 70, whose axis lies in a plane to which CL is normal, and whose outfeed tangent is directed toward the final paying off placement roller 72 mounted to face plate 28 of spindle 22.

The transition from the outfeed tangent of roller 68 to the infeed of roller 70 is assisted by return roller 74 which is mounted at a skew angle intermediate the angles of rollers 68 and 70. That is, part of the angular twist required between rollers 68 and 70 occurs on one side of roller 74, and the remainder occurs on the other side, those portions being roughly proportional to the running tangent lengths between the pairs of rollers 68 and 74 and

74 and 70, respectively. The outfeed tangent of roller 70 is more axially distant from face plate 56 than the distal end of spindle 22, and may be positioned such that the travel of the band, to the point or wrapping application on the workpiece is a relatively short distance.

Roller 72 is mounted on an adjustable bracket 76. Bracket 76 is repositionable to adjust the angle of inclination of roller 72 with respect to the centerline axis CL, to permit adjustment of the lay of band 50. In use, however, bracket 76 turns with the head to wrap the workpiece as it turns. Bracket 76 is isolated from the stationary shaft by bearings, the In each case, the rollers are of a size to accommodate bands in excess of 1 inch, and up to 4 inches in width, with the operational range being of the order of 1 1 A to about 4 inches. In this

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embodiment, roller 72 is mounted such that the outer edge of the pay off lies at a smaller radius than the outer diametral edge of face plate 28 of spindle 22. Some or all of these rollers may have tape centering crowns. These crowns may be very gentle.

In one particular example, the spindle length, and hence the reel width capacity, is about 12 inches. The reel carries tape between 2 1 A and 3 1 A inches wide, the tape being transversely wound on the reel bobbin an integer number of widths that is in the range of 3 to 5 times the individual band width. The face plate diameter of the spindle assembly is between 8 and 12 inches, and may be about 10". The cheek plate diameter may be in the range of 20 to 30 inches, and may be about 25", such that the ratio of D M aχ:D M i n may be in the range of 2: 1 to 3 : 1 , and may be about 2 1/2 :1. The overall fleeting run from the point of tangency on the reel at D MIπ to the first nip may be in the range of 40 to 60", and may be about 50 inches. Expressed differently, the fleeting run may be in the range of about 7 1 A to 10 times the fleeting rise, yielding a fleeting angle in the range of about 5 to 8 degrees overall. Expressed still differently, the fleeting run may be in the range of 4 to 6 times D M i n ,

The total path length run from the output tangent from reel to the last output lay roller 72 may be of the order of 125 to 160 inches, or, more narrowly, 135 to 145 inches. This may be expressed differently, as being 12 to 16 times D M i n , or 5 to 6 times D Ma χ- This may be a relatively short distance.

The geometry of the alternate embodiment of Figure 4b is somewhat different from that of the geometry of the embodiment of Figure 4a. In this instance the apparatus 120 , which is otherwise substantially similar to apparatus 20, may have a larger housing 148, or a housing that is proportionately larger in terms of diameter than head plate 156 than is housing 48 as compared to head plate 56. In this case, while the tape may still pass through three legs, or stages between its departure from the reel 30 to arrival at roller 168, those three stages being from the tangent of reel 30 to mandrel 154; from mandrel 154 to roller 162; and from roller 162 to roller 168. The analogous fleeting length is includes the first stage distance, and the distance from mandrel 154 to the nip of rollers 158. Mandrel 154 may include, a roller such as roller 162. In this instance mandrel 154 has a base plate, or footing 155 that has a radially proximal mounting end by which it is bolted to head plate 156, and a radially distal end 157 whence the mandrel shaft 159 extends parallel to the centerline of the unit, shaft 159 being carried at a radius Ri 56 that lies outside the outer radial periphery of head plate 156. The same radially extended condition is seen in the mounting of roller 162. As may be noted, the angular spacing θi, θ 2 of mandrel 154, roller 162 and roller 168 is greater than between mandrel 54, roller 62 and roller 68 respectively, θi is larger that θ 2 . For

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example, in one embodiment the angular distance between mandrel 154 and roller 162 may be about 110 - 115 degrees of arc, and between roller 162 and roller 168 it may be about 105 - 110 degrees. The relative increase in radius and increase in angular spacing may yield a proportionately larger fleeting run, and may facilitate operation with wider tapes, such as those on the order of 4 inches in width. The second, or middle leg, is the longest leg. In one embodiment the reel has an overall outside diameter when full of 24 inches, the head plate 156 has a diameter of about 48 inches; the first leg has a travel length of about 37 inches; the second leg has a travel length of 60 inches, and the third leg has a travel length of about 30 inches. Inasmuch as the nip of rollers 158 is mid-way between mandrel 154 and roller 162, the minimum fleeting length is then about 61 inches, giving an aspect ratio relative to tape width at 4" width of slightly better than 15:1, giving a fleeting rise of 1 tape width per 15 tape widths of travel length. This also amounts to a fleeting rise for a 12 inch long bobbin of 4 inches (being one half of 12 - 4), and, again, and aspect ratio of 15:1, yielding a rise per unit run per unit of tape width of 3.81 , or somewhat better than 3 - 3 A. For a 3 inch wide tape unreeled on this apparatus, the aspect ratio would be 1 :20 in the first instance and 13: 1 in the second, and a fleeting run per unit rise per unit of tape width of roughly 4.51, or 4 - V 2 . The comparable values for the apparatus of Figure 4a may be angular distances of 105 and 85 - 90 degrees, a first leg distance of about 16", 32", 20"; fleeting distance of 16" + 20" = 34 inches, and a run per unit rise per unit of tape width for a 3 inch wide tape of about 2 - V 2 , and a run per unit rise per unit of tape width for a 2 inch tape of about 3.4

The overall fleeting run from the point of tangency on the reel at D M i n to the first nip may be in the range of 50 to 75", and may be about 60 inches. Expressed differently, the fleeting run may be in the range of about 10 to 20 times the fleeting rise, yielding a fleeting angle in the range of about 3 to 6 degrees overall. Expressed still differently, the fleeting run may be in the range of 5 to 7 times D M i n , or 2.0 to 3.0 D M8X

The total path length run from the output tangent from reel to the last output lay roller 72 may be of the order of 190 to 225 inches, or, more narrowly, 200 to 210 inches. This may be expressed differently, as being 19 to 23 times D MIπ , or 8 to 10 times Djvia x -

In operation, the web feedstock is unwound from the reel at a point of tangency, by definition. This point of tangency is relatively close in a radial sense to the axis of rotation of the flyer (and of the reel, and, typically, to the centerline of the linear flexible member, be it a single cable or a bundle of cables). The feedstock runs to a first turning point, or turning fitting, such as a mandrel or roller (item 54 or 154), that is located more radially distant from the axis of rotation, and, for the purposes of the apparatus disclosed herein may lie relatively close to the maximum radius that is contained within the overall housing or operating

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envelope, as may be (effectively, the housing defines the maximum operating envelope). This first leg of travel along the pay out path to the final output or final pay off roller, has a path direction that is predominantly radial, as opposed to axial or circumferential (i.e., dr/rdθ) is greater than 1, and, typically dr/dz is much greater than one given a maximum fleeting angle of typically well less than 15 degrees). The second, longest, leg of the path is between the first and second turning fittings, which are typically rollers having their axes of rotation substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the flyer. The second turning fitting (roller 62 or 162) will also tend to be at roughly the maximum practicable radius from the axis of rotation such that, in the second leg of the payout path, dr/rdθ is small (i.e., less than 0.2) if not zero, the point being that the second leg of the path is a chord between end points that lie radially distant from the center of rotation with the shortest radius from the axis of rotation to the chord being greater than the maximum reel diameter. Along this leg, dz is either zero or approximately zero. Also along this leg, at a position intermediate the first and second turning points, and possibly at the mid-way point, there is a nip defined by two rollers. The nip is oriented cross-wise to the axes of both the first and second turning fittings. In the embodiment illustrated it is perpendicular to both the direction of travel of the web feedstock between the first and second fittings and to the axis of rotation of the flyer and reel generally. When the nip is at the mid-way point, the axes of rotation of the rollers are more or less aligned with radii emanating from the axis of rotation. The web feedstock is converted from travelling in a plane that is parallel to the axis of rotation (as it leaves the tangent from the first turning fitting) to a plane to which the axis of rotation is normal, or substantially normal (at the nip) and back to a plane to which it is parallel, then around the corner of the second fitting. The third leg is, in effect, a return leg to a feed position closer to the center of the device. In the third leg the plane of the web feedstock is converted from a plane to which the axis of rotation is parallel to another plane to which the axis of rotation is normal. It is then passed through a pair of take ups (68, 70 or 168, 170) and passed predominantly radially inward toward the final paying off roller (72 or 172), the plane of travel once again being one to which the axis of rotation is substantially normal.

Various embodiments of the invention have been described in detail. Since changes in and or additions to the above-described best mode may be made without departing from the nature, spirit or scope of the invention, the invention is not to be limited to those details but only by the appended claims.

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