Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20040035747 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/225,829
Publication dateFeb 26, 2004
Filing dateAug 21, 2002
Priority dateAug 21, 2002
Also published asUS20070151213
Publication number10225829, 225829, US 2004/0035747 A1, US 2004/035747 A1, US 20040035747 A1, US 20040035747A1, US 2004035747 A1, US 2004035747A1, US-A1-20040035747, US-A1-2004035747, US2004/0035747A1, US2004/035747A1, US20040035747 A1, US20040035747A1, US2004035747 A1, US2004035747A1
InventorsMichael Butler
Original AssigneeButler Michael S.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Temporary electronic component-carrying tape with weakened areas and related methods
US 20040035747 A1
Abstract
A flexible temporary component-carrier tape used for storing, transporting and supplying components includes apertures for receiving and temporarily storing components, as well as at least one weakened region between at least two of the apertures. Each weakened region prevents bowing or kinking of the temporary component-carrying tape at the apertures thereof. The temporary component-carrier tape comprises a device-retaining layer including a top surface, the apertures, and, optionally, a series of advancement wheel holes adjacent to an edge thereof. Components may be enclosed in the temporary component-carrier tape aperture by attaching a cover layer to a surface of the device-retaining layer and at least partially over the apertures. Methods for making and using the temporary component-carrying tape are also disclosed.
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(84)
What is claimed is:
1. A temporary component-carrier tape comprising:
a device-retaining layer;
a plurality of apertures for receiving and storing components;
a top cover layer securable to a surface of the device-retaining layer and covering at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures; and
at least one weakened region included in at least one of the device-retaining layer and the top cover layer between an adjacent pair of apertures of the plurality of apertures.
2. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the device-retaining layer has a thickness about equal to or greater than a component to be disposed within one of the plurality of apertures.
3. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises a flexible layer of paper, cardboard, or polymer.
4. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises a thermoplastic polymer foam.
5. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises an electrically conductive material.
6. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, further comprising an adhesive for securing the top cover layer to the surface of the device-retaining layer.
7. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 6, wherein the adhesive comprises a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
8. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim I, wherein the plurality of apertures extends partially through the device-retaining layer.
9. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the plurality of apertures extends completely through the device-retaining layer.
10. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 9, further comprising a bottom cover layer securable to another surface of the device-retaining layer so as to cover at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures.
11. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 10, wherein the bottom cover layer includes at least one weakened region positionable between adjacent apertures of the plurality of apertures.
12. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 10, further comprising an adhesive for securing the bottom cover layer to another surface of the device-retaining layer.
13. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 12, wherein the adhesive comprises a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
14. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein at least the device-retaining layer includes a plurality of advancement wheel holes formed therethrough and arranged in at least one row located substantially along an edge of the device-retaining layer.
15. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the at least one weakened region extends at least partially across the temporary component-carrying tape in a direction substantially perpendicular to a length thereof.
16. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a crease.
17. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises an elongated slot.
18. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a plurality of perforations through at least one of the device-retaining layer and the top cover layer.
19. The temporary component-carrier tape of claim 1, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a thinned region of at least one of the device-retaining layer and the top cover layer.
20. A method of designing a temporary component-carrying tape comprising:
configuring a device-retaining layer;
configuring a plurality of apertures for receiving and storing components;
configuring a top cover layer to be secured to a surface of the device-retaining layer and to cover at least a portion of each aperture of the plurality of apertures; and
configuring at least one weakened region in at least one of the device-retaining layer and the top cover layer to be positioned between an adjacent pair of apertures of the plurality of apertures.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the device-retaining layer comprises configuring a thickness of the device retaining layer to be equal to or greater than a thickness of a component to be stored within an aperture of the plurality of apertures.
22. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the device-retaining layer comprises configuring the device-retaining layer to be flexible.
23. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the top cover layer comprises configuring at least one surface of the top cover layer to be at least partially coated with an adhesive for adhering the top cover layer to the surface of the device-retaining layer.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein configuring the top cover layer comprises configuring the at least one surface of the top cover layer to be at least partially coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
25. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the top cover layer comprises configuring the top cover layer to include a material that, when heated to an adhering temperature, will adhere the top cover layer to a surface of the device-retaining layer.
26. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the plurality of apertures comprises configuring the plurality of apertures to extend partially through the device-retaining layer.
27. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the plurality of apertures comprises configuring the plurality of apertures to extend substantially through the device-retaining layer.
28. The method of claim 27, further comprising configuring a bottom cover layer to be secured to another surface of the device-retaining layer and to cover at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures extending through the device-retaining layer.
29. The method of claim 28, wherein configuring the bottom cover layer comprises configuring a surface of the bottom cover layer to be at least partially coated with an adhesive for adhering the bottom cover layer to the device-retaining layer.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein configuring the bottom cover layer includes configuring the surface of the bottom cover layer to be at least partially coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
31. The method of claim 28, wherein configuring the bottom cover layer comprises configuring the bottom cover layer to include a material that, when heated to an adhering temperature, will adhere the bottom cover layer to the device-retainer layer.
32. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the device-retaining layer comprises configuring at least one series of advancement wheel holes arranged adjacent to an edge of the device-retaining layer.
33. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring the at least one weakened region to extend at least partially across and substantially perpendicular to a length of the temporary component-carrier tape.
34. The method of claim 28, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring the bottom cover layer to include at least one weakened region.
35. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring a crease.
36. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring a thinned area.
37. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring an elongated slot.
38. The method of claim 20, wherein configuring the at least one weakened region comprises configuring a plurality of perforations.
39. A method for making a temporary component-carrying tape comprising:
forming a device-retaining layer;
forming a plurality of apertures in the device-retaining layer;
securing a top cover layer to a surface of the device-retaining layer so as to cover at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures; and
forming at least one weakened region in at least one of the device-retaining layer and the top cover layer between adjacent apertures of the plurality of apertures.
40. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the device-retaining layer comprises forming the device-retaining layer from paper, cardboard, or a thermoplastic polymer.
41. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the device-retaining layer comprises forming the device-retaining layer from a thermoplastic polymer foam.
42. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the device-retaining layer comprises extruding a polymeric material through a die.
43. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the device-retaining layer comprises forming at least one series of advancement wheel holes adjacent to an edge of the device-retaining layer.
44. The method of claim 43, wherein forming the plurality of apertures comprises punching the plurality of apertures into the device-retaining layer.
45. The method of claim 39, wherein securing the top cover layer to the surface of the device-retaining layer comprises using a pressure-sensitive adhesive therebetween.
46. The method of claim 39, wherein securing the top cover layer to the surface of the device-retaining layer further comprises applying heat to at least one of the top cover layer and the device-retaining layer.
47. The method of claim 39, further comprising securing a bottom cover layer to another surface of the device-retaining layer so as to cover at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures.
48. The method of claim 47, wherein securing the bottom cover layer to the another surface of the device-retaining layer is effected with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
49. The method of claim 47, wherein securing the bottom cover layer to the another surface of the device-retaining layer comprises applying heat to at least one of the bottom cover layer and the device-retaining layer.
50. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the at least one weakened region comprises at least one of punching, cutting, etching, and creasing.
51. The method of claim 47, further comprising forming at least one weakened region in at least the bottom cover layer.
52. The method of claim 51, wherein forming the at least one weakened region in at least the bottom cover layer comprises at least one of punching, cutting, etching, and creasing.
53. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the at least one weakened region comprises forming the at least one weakened region substantially simultaneously with forming the plurality of apertures.
54. The method of claim 51, wherein forming the at least one weakened region in the bottom cover layer is effected before securing the bottom cover layer to the another surface of the device-retaining layer.
55. The method of claim 51, wherein forming the at least one weakened region in the bottom cover layer is effected after securing the bottom cover layer to the another surface of the device-retaining layer.
56. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the at least one weakened region is effected prior to securing the top cover layer to the device-retaining layer.
57. The method of claim 39, wherein forming the at least one weakened region is effected after securing the top cover layer to the device-retaining layer.
58. A method for using a temporary component-carrying tape comprising:
subjecting the temporary component-carrying tape to a stress;
absorbing the stress at a weakened region of at least one layer of the temporary component-carrying tape to maintain a shape of an aperture of a device-retaining layer of the temporary component-carrying tape; and
removing a cover layer of the temporary component-carrying tape to provide access to at least one component temporarily stored within the aperture;
removing the at least one component from the aperture.
59. The method of claim 58, further comprising unwinding the temporary component-carrying tape from a roll.
60. The method of claim 59, wherein unwinding the temporary component-carrier tape comprises engaging advancement wheel holes of the temporary component-carrier tape with a sprocketed advancement wheel.
61. The method of claim 60, wherein engaging the advancement wheel holes comprises moving the temporary component-carrier tape toward a pick-and-place head.
62. The method of claim 58, wherein removing the cover layer is effected with a stripper assembly that peels the cover layer away from a top surface of the device-retaining layer.
63. The method of claim 58, wherein removing the at least one component from the aperture comprises applying a vacuum from a pick-and-place head.
64. An electronic device component-carrying tape, comprising:
a device-retaining layer;
a plurality of apertures or receptacles in the device-retaining layer;
at least one electronic device in each of the plurality of apertures or receptacles;
a cover layer securable to a surface of the device-retaining layer and covering at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures or receptacles; and
at least one weakened region included in at least one of the device-retaining layer and the cover layer between an adjacent pair of apertures or receptacles of the plurality of apertures or receptacles.
65. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, further comprising at least one of a hub and a reel upon which the electronic device component-carrying tape is wound.
66. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64 in a rolled configuration.
67. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the device-retaining layer has a thickness about equal to or greater than the at least one electronic device within one of the plurality of apertures or receptacles.
68. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises a flexible layer of paper, cardboard, or polymer.
69. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises a thermoplastic polymer foam.
70. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the device-retaining layer comprises an electrically conductive material.
71. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, further comprising an adhesive for securing the cover layer to the surface of the device-retaining layer.
72. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 71, wherein the adhesive comprises a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
73. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the plurality of apertures or receptacles extends partially through the device-retaining layer.
74. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the plurality of apertures or receptacles extends completely through the device-retaining layer.
75. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 74, further comprising another cover layer securable to another surface of the device-retaining layer so as to cover at least a portion of each of the plurality of apertures or receptacles.
76. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 75, wherein the another cover layer includes at least one weakened region positionable between adjacent apertures or receptacles of the plurality of apertures or receptacles.
77. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 75, further comprising an adhesive for securing the another cover layer to the another surface of the device-retaining layer.
78. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 77, wherein the adhesive comprises a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
79. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein at least the device-retaining layer includes a plurality of advancement wheel or indexing holes formed therethrough and arranged in at least one row located substantially along an edge of the device-retaining layer.
80. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the at least one weakened region extends at least partially across the electronic device component-carrying tape in a direction substantially perpendicular to a length thereof.
81. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a crease.
82. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises an elongated slot.
83. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a plurality of perforations through at least one of the device-retaining layer and the cover layer.
84. The electronic device component-carrying tape of claim 64, wherein the at least one weakened region comprises a thinned region of at least one of the device-retaining layer and the cover layer.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to tapes for temporarily carrying electronic components for storage or transportation, as well as to methods for designing, forming, and introducing electronic components into pockets and removal of electronic components from the pockets of such tapes. More specifically, the present invention relates to temporary component-carrier tapes that include weakened areas between locations for receiving electronic components and associated methods.

[0003] 2. State of the Art

[0004] Virtually every type of electronic device now incorporates one or more semiconductor devices. Typically, the semiconductor devices are mounted and electrically connected to some sort of carrier substrate, such as a circuit board, to electrically connect the same to input and output devices or exterior components to be monitored and/or controlled by the semiconductor devices. In addition to the semiconductor devices, ancillary electronic components, such as resistors, resistor systems, and capacitors, are typically mounted upon and electrically connected to such carrier substrates.

[0005] Semiconductor devices and the other, ancillary electronic components that are used in electronic devices are often manufactured at different locations. Thus, it is often necessary to transport at least some of these components from one location to another for assembly. As the ancillary electronic components are typically smaller, more robust and less expensive than the semiconductor devices with which they are to be used, it is usually the ancillary electronic components that are transported to the location where the semiconductor devices are fabricated and packaged for assembly therewith in an electronic system.

[0006] Typically, such ancillary electronic components are temporarily packaged in pockets of a tape comprising a plastic-paper-plastic laminate, with the pockets being formed in the center, paper layer of the tape and the plastic layers of the tape holding the ancillary electronic components within their respective pockets. The ancillary electronic components are typically packaged within the pockets of the tape by providing a tape which includes a paper layer with a single plastic layer secured to a bottom surface thereof. Once the ancillary electronic components are introduced into the pockets, such as by pick-and-place equipment, the other, upper plastic layer is secured to the paper layer to completely encase each ancillary electronic component within its respective pocket. One or both of the plastic layers of the tape are secured to the paper layer thereof with an adhesive material that facilitates peeling of the plastic layer or layers from the paper layer and, thus, opens the pockets so that an ancillary electronic component may be removed therefrom. The component-bearing tape is typically rolled and may be stored on a reel until use of the temporarily packaged ancillary electronic components is desired.

[0007] Components may be removed from the tape by introducing the tape into appropriate equipment, which typically includes a conveyor element that is configured to engage indexing holes formed in an edge of the tape, a separation element which is positioned so as to retain the assembled relation of the upper plastic layer with the paper layer until removal of an ancillary electronic component from its corresponding pocket is desired, a first take-up reel located somewhat above or behind the separation element for receiving regions of the upper plastic layer which have been peeled away from the remainder (i.e., paper layer and lower plastic layer) of the tape, and a second take-up reel positioned in front of (i.e., upstream from) the separation element for receiving the remainder of the tape. In addition, such equipment includes a pick-and-place element that removes an ancillary electronic component from its corresponding pocket of the tape and for placing the ancillary electronic component at a desired location, such as upon a carrier substrate.

[0008] When such a component-bearing tape is handled, such as by introducing the tape into equipment for removing the ancillary electronic components therefrom and placing the same on a carrier substrate, the tape may be subjected to stresses which could cause kinking thereof. Typically, such kinking occurs at the weakest regions of the tape, typically those areas at which the pockets are located. When a component-bearing tape becomes kinked at such a location, one or both of the plastic layers at that location may be creased or bowed, which may increase the depth of at least a portion of the pocket and form a “barrel”-shaped pocket.

[0009] Once the pocket has been opened, a pick-and-place element including, for example, a vacuum quill, is used to remove the ancillary electronic component therefrom and to place the same at an appropriate location on a carrier substrate. If the height of the pocket has been increased by kinking or bowing of the tape, the ancillary electronic component may be located at a distance which precludes removal thereof from the pocket by the quill or other retrieval device, resulting in advancement of the component-bearing tape to the location of the next ancillary electronic component and, thus, waste of the ancillary electronic component that could not be picked from the tape.

[0010] Bowing or kinking of the plastic bottom of the pocket resulting in “barreling” of the pocket may also result in inversion of the ancillary electronic component, which inversion will typically not be recognized by the pick-and-place element. Although state-of-the-art pick-and-place elements may be equipped with machine vision systems that recognize shapes and dimensions, they cannot recognize right-side up or upside-down orientations or color (i.e., the color difference between the labeled top side of an ancillary electronic component and the bottom side of the electronic component). As a result of such inversion, ancillary electronic components may be secured to carrier substrates in improper orientations, which leads to failure of not only the ancillary electronic components, but also of the carrier substrate and any other components that have already been secured thereto.

[0011] The inventor is not aware of a temporary component-carrier tape that is configured to resist kinking or bowing at the component-carrying pockets thereof.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The present invention includes a temporary component-carrier tape with component-carrying locations along the length thereof and a weakened region located between each adjacent pair of component-carrying locations. In addition, methods for designing, forming, and introducing electronic components into and removing electronic components from the temporary component-carrier tape of the present invention are within the scope of the present invention.

[0013] An exemplary embodiment of a temporary component-carrier tape according to the present invention includes a bottom layer and a device-retaining layer that are secured to one another. The device-retaining layer may include a series of apertures, or “pockets,” at device-retaining areas along the length thereof. The device-retaining layer has a thickness or depth that is about equal to or greater than the electronic devices that are to be received within the apertures thereof. The bottom layer forms a bottom of each of the apertures. In addition, the temporary component-carrier tape may include an upper layer, which is securable to an opposite surface of the device-retaining layer from that to which the bottom layer is secured. At least one of the top and bottom layers of the temporary component-carrier tape is readily removable, by peeling thereof, from the device-retaining layer so as to facilitate removal of electronic components from their corresponding apertures.

[0014] A temporary component-carrier tape that incorporates teachings of the present invention may also include a weakened region between each pair of adjacent device-retaining areas. Each weakened region may extend at least partially across the temporary component-carrier tape in a direction substantially perpendicular to a length thereof. The weakened regions may be located in one or more of the bottom layer, device-retaining layer, and top layer of the temporary component-carrier tape. Each weakened region is configured to absorb stress (e.g., compressional stress, bending stress, torsional stress, elongation stress, etc.) exerted on the temporary component-carrier tape, at least partially removing such stress from an adjacent device-retaining area of the tape. By way of example only, each weakened region may comprise a creased area or an elongate slot or series of linearly arranged perforations formed through one or more of the layers of the temporary component-carrier tape. Alternatively, a weakened region may comprise a discontinuity in one or two, but fewer than all, of the layers of the temporary component-carrier tape.

[0015] A method for designing a temporary component-carrier tape that incorporates teachings of the present invention includes configuring a plurality of device-retaining areas along the length of an elongate element and at least one weakened region between each adjacent pair of device-retaining areas. By way of example only, the device-retaining areas may be configured by configuring a device-retaining layer to have a thickness that is substantially equal to or greater than a height of an electronic device to be carried by the temporary component-carrier tape and to include a plurality of apertures, each of which has dimensions that facilitate the positioning of an electronic component therein. In addition, top and bottom layers of the device-retaining layer may be configured in such a way as to facilitate securing of the top and bottom layers to opposite surfaces of the device-retaining layer. Each weakened region of the temporary component-carrier tape may be configured to absorb stress (e.g., compressional stress, bending stress, torsional stress, tensile stress, etc.) exerted along the tape, at least partially removing such stress from an adjacent device-retaining area of the tape. Each weakened region may be configured so as to extend at least partially across the tape, in a direction substantially perpendicular to a length thereof. By way of example only, each weakened region may be configured as one or more thinned areas of the tape or one or more apertures through the tape. Alternatively, a weakened region may be configured as a crease extending across at least a portion of the tape.

[0016] A temporary component-carrier tape incorporating teachings of the present invention may be formed by providing at least one device-retaining layer and at least one cover layer. As described, an exemplary temporary component-carrier tape of the present invention includes a device-retaining layer sandwiched between two outer, cover layers, which hold electronic components within apertures of the device-retaining layer. Prior to assembly of the layers, weakened regions may be formed in one or more of the layers, such as by cutting (e.g., die cutting, slicing with a knife or blade, etc.), etching, creasing, or the like, or, alternatively, weakened regions may be formed after the layers are assembled. Next, at least one outer layer of tape, which includes spaced-apart device-retaining areas thereon, may be provided. Apertures of a device-retaining layer of the tape may be aligned with corresponding device-retaining areas of the outer layer. The device-retaining and outer layers of the tape may then be secured to one another. Electronic components are positioned at device-retaining areas such that, when the device-retaining and outer layers of the tape are secured to one another, the apertures of the device-retaining layer and the device-retaining areas of the outer layer form receptacles, each of which is configured to substantially enclose an electronic component. The device-retaining layer of the tape may be secured to the outer layer either before or after electronic components are positioned at device-retaining areas of the outer layer. Once a receptacle has an electronic component therein, another outer layer may be secured to the opposite surface of the device-retaining layer so as to substantially enclose the electronic component within its corresponding receptacle. The layers may be secured to one another by way of an adhesive material, such as a pressure-sensitive adhesive, placed therebetween or by application of heat.

[0017] Another exemplary embodiment of the temporary component-carrier tape may comprise a device-retaining layer and an outer cover layer. Receptacles are formed in the device-retaining layer, such as by molding the device-retaining layer, at device-retaining areas thereof so as to not extend completely through the device-retaining layer, thereby obviating the need for a second outer layer. Weakened regions may be formed in either or both layers and the receptacles of the device-retaining layer may be aligned with device-retaining areas of the outer layer. Electronic components are placed in the apertures of the device-retaining layer and enclosed in a receptacle formed by securing the outer layer to the device-retaining layer. The two layers may be secured by application of a pressure-sensitive or other adhesive placed therebetween, by application of heat, or otherwise, as known in the art.

[0018] In use, the temporary component-carrier tape includes electronic components that are substantially contained within the apertures thereof and may be stored, transported, and supplied in a rolled configuration (e.g., upon a hub, reel, or the like). When removal of one or more electronic components from the temporary component-carrier tape is desired, an end of the temporary component-carrier tape may be introduced into appropriate assembly equipment, as known in the art. At least an outer layer (i.e., the top layer or bottom layer) of the temporary component-carrier tape is removed from the device-retaining layer of the tape at a particular device-retaining area of the tape to provide access to an electronic component carried at that device-retaining area. If any stress is applied along the length of or otherwise to the temporary component-carrier tape, weakened regions thereof absorb such stress, preventing kinking or bowing of any of the layers of the tape at a device-retaining area thereof.

[0019] Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art through consideration of the ensuing description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] In the drawings, which depict various aspects of exemplary embodiments of the present invention:

[0021]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a temporary component-carrier tape, which includes a device-retaining layer, a bottom cover layer, a top cover layer, and a weakened region, with an end portion of the tape separated to show details thereof.

[0022]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of a temporary component-carrier tape, which includes a device-retaining layer, a top cover layer, and a weakened region, with the layers at an end portion of the tape separated to show details thereof.

[0023]FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 1 that includes a weakened area comprising an elongated slot between two apertures.

[0024]FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the elongated slot depicted in FIG. 3A, taken along line III-B—IIIB of FIG. 3A.

[0025]FIG. 3C is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 2 that includes a weakened area comprising an elongated slot between two receptacles.

[0026]FIG. 3D is a cross-sectional view of the elongated slot depicted in FIG. 3C, taken along line IIID—IIID of FIG. 3C.

[0027]FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 1 that includes a weakened area comprising a perforation between two apertures.

[0028]FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the perforation depicted in FIG. 4A, taken along line IVB—IVB of FIG. 4A.

[0029]FIG. 4C is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 2 that includes a weakened area comprising a perforation between two receptacles.

[0030]FIG. 4D is a cross-sectional view of the perforation depicted in FIG. 4C, taken along line IVD—IVD of FIG. 4C.

[0031]FIG. 5A is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 1 that includes a weakened area comprising a crease between two apertures.

[0032]FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the crease depicted in FIG. 5A, taken along line VB—VB of FIG. 5A.

[0033]FIG. 5C is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 2 that includes a weakened area comprising a crease between two receptacles.

[0034]FIG. 5D is a cross-sectional view of the crease depicted in FIG. 5C, taken along line VD—VD of FIG. 5C.

[0035]FIG. 6A is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 1 that includes a weakened area comprising a thinned area between two apertures.

[0036]FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of the thinned area depicted in FIG. 6A, taken along line VIB—VIB of FIG. 6A.

[0037]FIG. 6C is a perspective view of the temporary component-carrier tape in FIG. 2 that includes a weakened area comprising a thinned area between two receptacles.

[0038]FIG. 6D is a cross-sectional view of the thinned area depicted in FIG. 6C, taken along line VID—VID of FIG. 6C.

[0039]FIG. 7 is a schematic representation of an exemplary system and method for making the device-retaining layer of a temporary component-carrier tape according to the present invention.

[0040]FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of exemplary systems and methods for making temporary component-carrier tapes according to the present invention.

[0041]FIG. 9 is a schematic representation of an exemplary system and method of removing components from a temporary component-carrier tape according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0042] Turning to the drawing figures, the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 , illustrated in FIGS. I and 2, respectively, are useful for storing and transporting components (e.g., electronic components) from a component manufacturer to a different location where the components will be removed from the temporary component-carrier tape 100 or 100 and assembled with other elements (e.g., circuit boards, semiconductor devices, etc.). An exemplary tape width may be about 8 mm.

[0043] As shown in FIG. 1, the temporary component-carrier tape 100 has three layers, a device-retaining layer 102, a top cover layer 116 and a bottom cover layer 118, where the top cover layer 116 and the bottom cover layer 118 are depicted as partially removed from the device-retaining layer 102 to expose features of the device-retaining layer 102. A row of apertures 112 that may extend through the device-retaining layer 102 open to both the top surface 104 and the bottom surface 106 of the device-retaining layer 102. The thickness of the device-retaining layer 102 is substantially equal to or greater than the height of the component 114 to be laterally surrounded by the device-retaining layer 102. Also shown are sides 108 and 110 of the device-retainer layer 102 and a row of advancement wheel or indexing holes 120 spanning the thickness of at least the device-retaining layer 102 and located along at least one edge 122 of the device-retaining layer 102. The row of advancement wheel or indexing holes 120 is not limited to a single row along one edge of the device-retaining layer 102, as shown in FIG. 1. A second row of advancement wheel holes may optionally be included substantially along the edge opposite edge 122 of the device-retaining layer 102.

[0044] The temporary component-carrier tape 100 shown in FIG. 2 represents a variation of the device-retaining layer 102, which includes receptacles 112 that do not open to the bottom surface 106 of the device-retaining layer 102 . The depths of the receptacles 112 are substantially equal to or greater than the height of component 114 enclosed therein. The temporary component-carrier tape 100 differs from the temporary component-carrier tape 100 depicted in FIG. 1 by obviating the need to include a bottom cover layer 118.

[0045] The apertures 112 and receptacles 1 12 are not limited to the size or shape depicted in the figures. Although specifically illustrated, the apertures 112 and receptacles 112 may be designed to accommodate components of various sizes. Also, the apertures 112 and receptacles 112 may be circular, elliptical, triangular, pentagonal, or any of a number of other shapes. In addition, the apertures 112 and receptacles 112 may include ribs, ledges and other similar structures to better accommodate and support particular component features. In general, apertures 112 and receptacles 112 open to the top surface 104 of the device-retaining layer 102, 102 and may extend either partially or completely therethrough. For components 114 enclosed in closed apertures 112 and receptacles 112 extending completely through the device-retaining layer 102, as shown in FIG. 1, the top cover layer 116 and the bottom cover layer 118 are respectively secured to the top surface 104 and the bottom surface 106 thereof. Where the receptacles 112 do extend proximate to the bottom surface 106 , as shown in FIG. 2, components 114 are enclosed in the temporary component-carrier tape 100 when the top cover layer 116 is secured to the top surface 104 of the device-retaining layer 102 .

[0046] Since material has been removed from the device-retaining layer 102, 102 to form apertures 112 and receptacles 112, the apertures 112 and receptacles 112 are vulnerable to bowing or kinking as a result of stresses applied to the temporary component-carrier tape 100 or 100 , such as stresses caused by forces communicated to the temporary component-carrier tape 100 or 100 , such as along the length thereof or transverse to the length thereof, when the temporary component carrier-tape 100 or 100 is being fed into component removal equipment or when the components are removed from the temporary component-carrier tape 100 or 100. Stresses may likewise be applied to a temporary component-carrier tape 100 or 100 as it is wound around a hub or hub of a reel. Weakened regions 124 that are located between two adjacent apertures 112 or receptacles 112, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6, are more susceptible to deformation under stress than are apertures 112 and receptacles 112 and, thus, may more readily absorb stresses that are applied to the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 than the apertures 112 and receptacles 112 thereof. Weakened regions 124 may be formed by eliminating material from one or more of the device-retaining layer 102, apertures 112 or receptacles 112 , the top cover layer 116, and the bottom cover layer 118 or by placing a crease in one or more of these layers between adjacent apertures 112 or receptacles 112 of the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 respectively.

[0047]FIGS. 3A through 3D depict a first exemplary type of weakened region of temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 according to the present invention. Illustrated in FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the weakened region 128 of temporary component-carrier tape 100. FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the weakened region 128 shown in FIG. 3A along section line IIIB-IIIB. The weakened region 128, shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, is an elongated slot 130 positioned between two closed apertures 112 and extending substantially through the top cover layer 116, the device-retaining layer 102 and the bottom cover layer 118. The two-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100 illustrated in the perspective view of FIG. 3C also includes weakened regions 128 between each adjacent pair of closed receptacles 112 . FIG. 3D is the cross-sectional view along section lines IIID-IIID shown in FIG. 3C. The weakened region 128 shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D includes an elongated slot 130 extending substantially through the top cover layer 116 and the device-retaining layer 102 . In general, the present invention is not limited to the rectangularly shaped slot illustrated. It may include nonsquare (e.g., rounded) ends or have another shape, such as elliptical, circular, square, or any shape that provides an open space between two apertures 112 or receptacles 112 . Also, an elongated slot may be much thinner than illustrated.

[0048]FIGS. 4A through 4D illustrate a second exemplary type of weakened region of temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 of the present invention. FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the weakened region 136 located between closed apertures 112 in the three-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100. FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the weakened region 136 along the section lines IVB-IVB shown in FIG. 4A. The weakened region 136 shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B includes a substantially linearly arranged series of perforation holes 138 extending substantially through the top cover layer 116, the device-retaining layer 102, and the bottom cover layer 118, where each perforation hole 138 is laterally separated from adjacent perforation holes 138 by walls 140 located therebetween. Illustrated in FIG. 4C is a perspective view of the two-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100 with the weakened region 136 located between two closed receptacles 112 . Shown in FIG. 4D is a cross-sectional view of weakened region 136 along section lines IVD-IVD depicted in FIG. 4C. Both figures illustrate the weakened region 136 as a series of substantially linear perforation holes 138 extending substantially through top cover layer 116 and device-retaining layer 102 and separated by walls 140. The perforation holes 138 are not limited to a rectangular configuration, as illustrated. The perforation holes 138 illustrated in FIGS. 4A through 4D may alternatively be elliptical, circular, triangular, square, diamond shaped or any shape that provides a hole extending through one or more of the top cover layer 116, the device-retaining layer 102, 102 and the bottom cover layer 118. In addition, the number of perforation holes 138 is not limited to the number or relative size shown in FIGS. 4A through 4D.

[0049] A third exemplary type of weakened region of temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 according to the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 5A through 5D. A perspective view of temporary component-carrier tape 100 depicts the weakened region 142, in this case a crease 144, positioned between two closed apertures 112, as shown in FIG. 5A. FIG. 5B shows a cross-sectional view of the weakened region 142 along section lines VB-VB in FIG. 5A. The crease 144 in FIGS. 5A and 5B is depicted as a concave-up impression in the top cover layer 116, the device-retaining layer 102 and the bottom cover layer 118 substantially perpendicular to the length of the temporary component-carrier tape 100. FIG. 5C is a perspective view of the weakened region 142 located between two closed receptacles 112 in the two-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100 . A cross-sectional view of the weakened region 142 along section lines VD-VD in FIG. 5C is shown in FIG. 5D. The weakened region 142 is a crease 144 illustrated as a concave-up impression substantially including the top cover layer 116 and the device-retaining layer 102 and substantially perpendicular to the length of the temporary component-carrier tape 100 . In general, the crease 144 is not restricted to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5A through 5D. The crease 144 may be concave-down and may be located in one or more of the top cover layer 1 16, the device-retaining layer 102, 102 and the bottom cover layer 118.

[0050] Shown in FIGS. 6A through 6D is a fourth exemplary type of weakened region of temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 of the present invention. FIG. 6A shows a perspective view of the weakened region 146, which comprises a thinned region 148 located in at least one layer of the three-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100. As shown in FIG. 6A, the thinned region 148 is located in the device-retaining layer 102 between two closed apertures 112 and substantially perpendicular to the length of the component-carrier tape 100. FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of the illustration in FIG. 6A along section lines VIB-VIB showing the thinned region 148 positioned in the device-retaining layer 102. A perspective of a weakened region 146 comprising a thinned region 148 in the two-layer temporary component-carrier tape 100 is provided in FIG. 6C. FIG. 6D is an illustration of the cross-section of the weakened region 146 in FIG. 6C along section lines VID-VID. The thinned region 148 is located between two closed receptacles 112 and substantially perpendicular to the length of the temporary component-carrier tape 100 as illustrated in FIG. 6C. FIG. 6D shows the thinned region 148 as a thin layer along the bottom of the device-retaining layer 102 . The thinned region 148 is not limited to the rectangular cross-section illustrated. The cross-section may alternatively be concave-up at the sides, elliptical, circular, square, triangular or any shape. The thinned region 148 may include openings or thinning in one or more of the top cover layer 116 and the bottom cover layer 118. Moreover, the thinned region 148 could be nonlinear or any other suitable configuration that is substantially perpendicular to the length of temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 110 . Also, the thinned region 148 is not limited to the location illustrated and may be placed anywhere between the top surface 104 and the bottom surface 106, 106 of the device-retaining layer 102, 102 .

[0051] The device-retaining layers 102, 102 of the present invention may comprise a layer of paper, cardboard, polymer (e.g., thermoplastic polymeric foam) or the like that is sufficiently flexible to allow the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 to be wound around a hub or the hub of a reel and flexible enough to deform in the weakened regions. It may also be sufficiently strong enough to carry and provide, along the top and bottom cover layers 116 and 118, some structural support for components 114 that are temporarily carried by temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 . Thermoplastic polymeric foams, which may be used as device-retaining layer 102, 102 do not create dust particles or loose fibers during the slitting and punching process, may be used as device-retaining layer 102, 102 . If the device-retaining layer 102, 102 is formed from a thermoplastic polymer foam, the thermoplastic polymer foam material should not tear during punching and should have a low elongation to minimize stretching. The polymeric materials that may be used to produce thermoplastic polymeric foam includes, without limitation, polyethelene terephthalate and ethylene glycol-modified polyethelene terephthalate, polyolefins, polystyrene, polycarbonate, nylon, acrylics, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, and copolymers. In addition to its physical properties, it is also desirable that the thermoplastic polymer foam material be electrically dissipative. This may be accomplished by including an electrically conductive material, such as carbon black, which is coated on the surface or interspersed within the material during manufacturing. The electrically conductive material allows an electric charge to be dissipated throughout the material, thereby preventing damage to the components. The thermoplastic polymeric foam may also include other materials to vary the properties of the foamed sheet.

[0052] The device-retaining layer may be formed by known processes, such as those that are used to form paper and wax- or plastic-coated paper tapes.

[0053] Another exemplary method for making the device-retaining layer 102 according to the present invention is depicted in FIG. 7. In general, the process of foaming polymeric materials is familiar to those of ordinary skill in the art and is described in various references such as Handbook of Polymeric Foams and Foam Technology (Daniel Klemper and Kurt C. Frisch eds., Hanser Publishers 1991). Many of the methods described in this reference may be used to manufacture polymeric materials. The device-retaining layer 102 may be manufactured using a known extrusion process. Basically, the polymeric materials are placed in an extruder 150 where they are melted, mixed, and forced through a die 152 under pressure to form film product. FIG. 7 shows a film 154 formed by extruding the polymeric materials through a die 152. The film 154 then passes over a cooling cylinder 156 and is reheated as it passes between a pair of temperature-controlled cylindrical rollers 158 to form and further shape the film 154. A cutter 160 is employed to cut the width of the film 154 before it is wound around a hub 162 or hub 162 of a reel to produce a supply roll 164. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the apertures 112 and the advancement wheel holes 120 may be punched into film 154 by a punch press 166 to form device-retaining layer 102 prior to winding the film 154 into supply roll 164.

[0054] A method of making the temporary component-carrier tape 100, 100 according to the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 1 and 8. The film 154 is unwound from the supply roll 164 and fed through a punch press 166. The punch press 166 may be employed at this point if the apertures 112 and the advancement wheel holes 120 have not already been punched into the film 154 prior to rolling the film 154 onto the supply roll 164 as illustrated in FIG. 7. As the film 154 passes through the punch press 166, the device-retaining layer 102 emerges having apertures 112 and the advancement wheel holes 120 therein. The device-retaining layer 102 then passes between platens 168, where the bottom cover layer 118, supplied by the supply roll 170, is connected to the bottom surface 106 of device-retaining layer 102. The platens 168 may be heated to cause the bottom cover layer 118 and the bottom surface 106 to adhere to one another. Alternatively, a pressure-sensitive adhesive may be applied to either the bottom cover layer 118 or the bottom surface 106 of the device-retaining layer 102 and the platens 168 may be replaced by laminator rollers (not shown) to apply sufficient pressure to secure the bottom cover layer 118 to the bottom surface 106. One end of each of the apertures 112 is closed as the bottom cover layer 118 is connected to the bottom surface 106 of the device-retaining layer 102. Components 114 may be placed in the open apertures 112 as they pass under the component loader 174. Next, the device-retaining layer 102, with the attached bottom cover layer 118, passes through a second set of platens 176 where the top cover layer 116, supplied by supply roll 178, is connected to the top surface 104. Like the platens 168 used to connect the bottom cover layer 118 to the bottom surface 106, platens 176 may be heated to allow the top cover layer 116 to adhere to the top surface 104. Alternatively, laminated rollers may be used to apply pressure where a pressure-sensitive adhesive is applied between the top cover layer 116 and the top surface 104. Emerging from the platens 176 is the temporary component-carrier tape 100, with the apertures 1 12 being closed by the top cover layer 116, thereby providing an enclosure for components 114. Advancement of the temporary component-carrier tape 100 may be controlled by a sprocketed advancement wheel 180 which engages the advancement wheel or indexing holes 120 in the device-retaining layer 102. The temporary component-carrier tape 100 is ready to be stored and transported after it is wound around a hub 182 or hub 182 of a reel 183 to produce the loaded roll 184.

[0055] Referring again to FIGS. 2 and 7, a method for fabricating temporary component-carrier tape 100 may include the film 154 passing between the temperature-controlled cylinder rollers 158, where the top roller may include at least one protrusion that presses receptacles 112 not completely through the softened film 154. Next, if the film 154 is not extruded to the desired width, the film 154 may proceed to the cutter 160, where the film 154 is cut to a predetermined width. The advancement wheel holes 120 may be punched into the film 154 by punch press 166, producing the device-retaining layer 102 which may then be rolled onto supply roll 164. Alternatively, the advancement wheel holes 120 may not be punched prior to winding onto the supply roll 164 as shown in FIG. 8. Instead, the advancement wheel holes 120 may be punched as the film 154 is unwound from supply roll 164, as illustrated in FIG. 7. Since the receptacles 112 do not penetrate far enough into the device-retaining layer 102 to include openings in the bottom surface 106 , the device-retaining layer 102 may proceed to the component loader 174 where components 114 are placed in the receptacles 1 12 , thereby omitting the first set of platens 168, the bottom cover layer 118 and supply roll 170. After the components 114 have been loaded, the device-retaining layer 102 passes between platens 176 where the top cover layer 116, supplied by supply roll 178, is secured to the top surface 104 of the device-retaining layer 102 , thereby encasing components 114 within receptacles 112 . The platens 176 may be heated to allow the top cover layer 116 to adhere to the top surface 104, or, alternatively, the platens may be replaced with laminated rollers which may be used to apply pressure to adhere the top cover layer 116 to the top surface 104 where pressure-sensitive adhesive has been applied therebetween. Advancement of the temporary component-carrier tape 100 may be controlled by a sprocketed advancement wheel 180 which engages the advancement wheel holes 120 in the device-retaining layer 102. The temporary component-carrier tape 100 may then be wound around a hub 182 or hub 182 of a reel 183 to produce loaded roll 184.

[0056] The weakened regions 124, 128, 136, 142, 146 (FIGS. 1-6), located between adjacent pairs of apertures 112 and receptacles 112, may be formed at a number of places in the process of making temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 . The weakened regions 124, 128, 136, 142, 146 may be formed by cutting (e.g., with a saw or blade), etching, punching, or creasing one or more of the top cover layer 116, the device-retaining layer 102, 102 and the bottom cover layer 118. Location A in FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrates that a weakened region 124 may be punched in the device-retaining layer 102, 102 at the point where the punch press 166 punches apertures 112 and the advancement wheel holes 120. Other ways to form the weakened region 124 at location A include cutting or creasing. Location B in FIG. 8 illustrates that the weakened regions 124 may be formed in the device-retaining layer 102, 102 just after the device-retaining layer 102, 102 emerges from the punch press 166. A variety of techniques may be used to form the weakened region 124 at location B, including punching, cutting, creasing and other suitable techniques. Since the weakened region 124 may also be formed in the bottom cover layer 118, location C indicates a point where a weakened region 124 may be generated in the bottom cover layer 118 before it is connected to the bottom surface 106 and may be aligned with the weakened region in the device-retaining layer 102, 102 . A weakened region 124 that includes both the device-retaining layer 102, 102 and the bottom cover layer 118 may also be generated just after the bottom cover layer 118 has been attached to the bottom surface 106 at location D. Location E, like location C for the bottom cover layer 118, illustrates that the weakened region 124 may be formed in the top cover layer 116 prior to attaching this layer to the top surface 104 of the device-retaining layer 102, 102 . Again, any suitable process may be used at locations C, D, and E to form weakened region 124. Weakened regions 124 may be formed in either the top cover layer 116 or the bottom cover layer 118 at the time of assembly or subsequent thereto, prior to winding of the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 onto the hub 182 or reel 183. For both the top cover layer 116 and the bottom cover layer 118, weakened regions in both of these layers may be formed at the time of manufacturing or elsewhere prior to being wound around the supply rolls 178 and 170, respectively. They may then be included in the process depicted in FIG. 8 by aligning the weakened regions in the layers so that they overlap when the surfaces are connected. Location F shows that the weakened region 124 may be formed in completed temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 prior to winding them onto loaded roll 184.

[0057] Extracting components from the temporary component-carrier tapes 100 and 100 may include transporting the loaded roll 184 to a location where the components 114 may be removed by automated assembly equipment having a sprocketed advancement mechanism that engages the advancement wheel or indexing holes 120 of a temporary component-carrier tape 100, 100 and advances it for manual removal or automated removal, such as by pick-and-place robotic equipment, of the components. FIG. 9 illustrates that loaded roll 184 may be placed in position I or II to remove either the top cover layer 116 or the bottom cover layer 118 of the temporary component-carrier tapes 100. The temporary component-carrier tape 100, 100 is unwound from the loaded roll 184 by engaging the advancement wheel holes 120 of the device-retainer tape 102, 102 with a sprocketed advancement wheel 188 of an advancement mechanism. The temporary component-carrier tape 100, 100 may then be advanced to the stripper assembly 190 where the cover layer 116 or 118 is removed from the device-retaining layer 102, opening the closed apertures 112 or receptacles 112 , and the cover layer 116 or 118 is wound around the hub of a take-up reel 192. The open apertures 112 or receptacles 112 approach the pick-and-place robotic equipment where a vacuum pick-up quill 194 removes the components from the open apertures 112 or receptacles 112 and places them at a particular place on a carrier substrate or other electronic device component.

[0058] It will be evident to those in the art that various changes and modifications may be made in the apparatus, methods, design and use as disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7204068 *Apr 16, 2003Apr 17, 2007Infineon Technologies AgPackaging system with a tool for enclosing electronic components and method of populating a carrier tape
US8104608 *Oct 13, 2010Jan 31, 2012Menicon Singapore Pte Ltd.Duo packaging for disposable soft contact lenses using a substrate
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/714
International ClassificationH05K13/00
Cooperative ClassificationH05K13/0084
European ClassificationH05K13/00P
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 21, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: MICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC., IDAHO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BUTLER, MICHAEL S.;REEL/FRAME:013228/0918
Effective date: 20020821