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Publication numberUS3664173 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 23, 1972
Filing dateFeb 9, 1970
Priority dateFeb 9, 1970
Also published asCA950648A1, DE2105333A1, DE2105333B2, DE2105333C3
Publication numberUS 3664173 A, US 3664173A, US-A-3664173, US3664173 A, US3664173A
InventorsHaucke Paul A, Mazzeo Charles F, Rosenfeld Seymour, Schwab Ronald W
Original AssigneeBuchanan Electrical Prod Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hopper feed crimping machine with combination container-hopper
US 3664173 A
Abstract
A crimping machine in which electrical contacts of any one of a variety of configurations are supplied in a reservoir of loose contacts held in a container and are serially fed from the container to be advanced, oriented and positioned in a crimping mechanism where each contact is selectively crimped to the end of an electrical wire. The container is in the form of a bowl-shaped insert and is removably coupled with an oscillating mechanism such that the oscillating mechanism oscillates the bowl-shaped insert to serially feed the contacts to a discharge opening in the insert for subsequent advancement through the machine. The insert is provided with a closed top and a removable closure for the discharge opening so that the insert serves as a storage and transportation container for the contacts as well as a hopper for the machine. A plurality of such inserts may be provided, each insert carrying contacts of another configuration, so that contacts of various configurations may be supplied to the machine by interchanging the inserts. The means for advancing, orienting, positioning and crimping the contacts include means which are selectively adjustable or readily replaceable in order to accommodate each of the various contact configurations.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[45] May 23, 1972 United States Patent Haucke et al.

[54] HOPPER FEED CRIMPING MCHmE Primary Examiner-Charles W. Lanham WITH COMBINATION CONTAINER- Assirtam Examiner-R. M. Rogers HOPPER Attomey-Samuelson & Jacob 25Claims,l7DrawingFigures PATENTEU MAY 2 3v |912 snm u1 [1F12 INVENTORS PAUL A. HAUCKE SEYMOUR ROSENFELD RONALD W. SCHWAB S Z AW M F H A mm MWL CT Y B El P'AENTf-Inwealw i A 3,664,173

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INVENTSORS PAUL A. HAUCKE SEYMOUR ROSENFELD RONALD W. SCHWAB CHARLES E MAZZEO THEIR ATTOR YS .DATENTEDMMzs |972 3,664,173

4sum os nr 12v mvENToRS PAUL A. HAUCKE SEYMOUR RoSENFx-:LD RONALD w. SCHWAB CHARLES F. MAzzl-:o

THEIR AT TORN YS r` BY PATENTE!) MM 23 |912 sum lum 12 f INVENTORS l PAUL A HAUCKE 4 SEYMOUR ROSENFELD RONALD W SCHWAB CHARLES F. MAZZEO BY THEiR ATTORNEYS snm 11 nr 12 INVENTORS SYMOUR ROSENFELD RONALD W. SCHWAB CHARLES F MAZZEO BY THEIR ATTORNEYS E K A H A. l m

SHEET 12 UF 12 mwlwmms -lwvx-:NTORS RAUL A. HAUCKE SEYMOUR ROSENFELD RONALD w. SCHWAB CHARLES F MAz-zEo xmwa-JW THl-:iR ATToR YS PATENEUMM 23 |972 HOPPER FEED CRIMPING MACHINE WITH COMBINATICN CONTAlNER-HOPPER The present invention relates generally to crimping machines and pertains, more specifically, to crimping machines in which electrical contacts are selectively advanced from a supply of such contacts and are each crimped to the end of an electrical wire.

Crimping has become an accepted and wide-spread method for attaching an electrical contact to the terminal end of an electrical wire. Large numbers of such crimped connections are currently being made for use in control and instrumentation circuitry where contacts having a wide variety of configurations are employed and where rigid specifications require relatively small, accurately dimensioned contacts of high quality materials securely attached to their respective electrical wires. Because these contacts do vary in shape and size and are usually small and therefore relatively difficult to handle, and because these contacts are relatively expensive, a need has arisen for crimping machines which will not only facilitate accurate and rapid location and crimping of such contacts upon the ends of electrical wires, but which are easily adapted or adjusted for the accommodation of any of a variety of configurations in such contacts and which facilitate the handling of such contacts during transit and storage so as to minimize contamination or other damage to, as well as loss of, the contacts.

It is therefore an important object of the invention to provide a crimping machine which will rapidly and accurately locate contacts of any one of a variety of configurations in correct position to be crimped to the ends of electrical wires and which will selectively crimp each such contact to a wire.

Another object of the invention is to provide a crimping machine as described above in which the contacts are serially fed from a receptacle containing a supply of loose contacts and are successively advanced from the receptacle, oriented, positioned and crimped in place upon a wire without manual manipulation of the contacts, each of the means for advancing, orienting, positioning and crimping the contacts including means which are selectively changeable through adjustment or replacement for accommodating a variety of contact configurations.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a crimping machine of the type described in which the supply of contacts is held within a bowl-like container which may be inserted into the receptacle to serve as a hopper for the machine, but may be removed and replaced to supply the machine with contacts of any one of the variety of contact configurations and to serve as a container for the contacts during storage and transit.

A further object of the invention is to provide a container for a crimping machine of the type described above, the container having a configuration which enables the machine to serially feed contacts from the container for advancement through the machine.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a crimping machine of the type described above which is easy to operate and which lends itself to ready change by adjustment or conversion for handling contacts of various sizes and shapes.

The above objects, as well as still further objects and advantages, are attained by the invention which may be described briefly as a crimping machine for selectively advancing electrical contacts of any one of a variety of contact configurations from a supply of such contacts and crimping each advanced Contact at a ferrule portion thereof to the end of an electrical wire inserted into the ferrule portion, the machine comprising: a crimping station; receptacle means including selectively replaceable means for holding the supply of contacts in a reservoir of loose contacts, the receptacle means having a discharge opening; feed means for serially feeding the contacts from the reservoir to the discharge opening in the receptacle; advancing means for selectively advancing a contact from the discharge opening along a path leading to the crimping station; positioning means located along the path for receiving and locating each advanced contact at the crimping station; orienting means located along the path between the advancing means and the positioning means for orienting each advanced contact such that every contact reaches the positioning means in the same orientation and the ferrule portion is accessible for the reception of the wire when the contact is located at the crimping station; and'crmping means at the crimping station for crimping the ferrule portion of the contact upon the wire when the contact is at the crimping station and the wire is inserted within the ferrule portion; the advancing means, orienting means` positioning means and crimping means including means selectively changeable for accommodating the variety of contact configurations.

The invention will be more fully understood while still further objects and advantages thereof will become apparent in the following detailed description of an embodiment of the invention illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. l is a partially diagrammatic perspective view of a crimping machine constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a bowl-like insert for the crimping machine;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the bow-like`insert placed within the crimping machine;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevational cross-sectional view of the advancing means of the crimping machine taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 5, but with the component parts in a different operating position;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional plan view of the orienting means of the crimping machine;

FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7, but with the component parts in a different operating position;

FIG. 8A is a fragmentary view illustrating an alternate configuration in a component part of FIG. 8;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 9A is a fragmentary view illustrating an alternate configuration in a component part of FIG. 9;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 7, but with the component parts in a different operating position;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 10;

FIG. l2 is an enlarged elevational cross-sectional view of the positioning means and the crimping mechanism of the crimping machine; f

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. l2, but with the component parts in a different operating position;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a portion of FIG. l2; and

FIG. 15 is a schematic illustration of the control circuit of the crimping machine.

GENERAL ARRANGEMENT Referring now to the drawing, and especially to FIG. l thereof, a crimping machine constructed in accordance with the invention is illustrated partially diagrammatically at 10 and is seen to have a housing 12 within which is located the frame 14 of the machine. It is the function of crimping machine 10 to selectively advance electrical contacts 16 from a supply 18 of such contacts and to crimp each advanced contact to an electrical wire 20. The electrical wire 20 has a conductor 22 sheathed within a jacket 24 of insulating material. Each electrical contact 16 is provided with a ferrule 26 within which the conductor 22 of the wire 20 is to be received, and a contact portion which is usually in the form of a pin or a socket and in this instance is a pin 28.

The supply 18 of electrical contacts 16 is held within the crimping machine 10 in a reservoir of loose contacts placed within receptacle means 30 located at the top of the crimping machine.

As will be described in greater detail below, feed means 32 are provided for serially feeding the contacts 16 from the reservoir to advancing means 34 mounted upon the frame 14 of the machine and which will selectively advance a contact 16 from the receptacle means 30 through a conduit 36 which provides a segment of a path 37 leading to a crimping station 38 wherein the crimping operation will take place. The segment of the path 37 provided by the conduit 36 terminates in an orienting means 40, also mounted upon the frame 14, for receiving the advanced contact and orienting the contact such that the ferrule 26 of the contact is accessible for the reception of the conductor 22 when the contact reaches the crimping station 38.

After leaving the orienting means 40, the advanced contact will continue along path 37 to drop into a positioning means 42, also mounted upon the frame 14, for locating each advanced and oriented contact at the crimping station 38. Once the advanced and oriented contact is placed within the crimping station 38, the wire may be passed manually through an access aperture 44 in the housing 12 to insert the conductor 22 into the ferrule 26 of the contact 16. Also located at the crimping station 38 is a crimping means, shown in the form of' crimping mechanism 46, within which the ferrule 26 is located by the positioning means 42 such that upon insertion of the conductor 22 of the wire 20 within the ferrule 26 of the contact 16, an actuator means, shown in the form of a foot pedal 48, may be depressed to actuate the crimping mechanism 46 and crimp the ferrule upon the conductor. Upon completion of the crimping operation, the wire is withdrawn from the aperture 44 bringing with it the crimped contact, and the crimping machine 10 is ready for the insertion of another wire and crimping ofanother contact.

FEED MEANS AND SEPARABLE CONTAINER As best seen in FIGS. 1 through 4, the receptacle means 30 includes a container 50 having a bowl-like liner 52 which may be inserted into a well member 54 at the top of the crimping machine l0 and which holds a supply of electrical contacts 16 to provide a reservoir of loose contacts in the machine l0. The liner 52 has a bottom 56 and an upwardly extending wall 58 closed at the top thereof by a removable cover 60 affixed thereto. Adjacent the top of the wall 58 is a discharge opening 62 which is juxtaposed with the advancing means 34 when the liner is inserted into the machine 10 and is properly seated within the well member 54. In order to serially feed contacts 16 from the reservoir of loose contacts held in the liner to the discharge opening 62 and to the advancing means 34, a spiral ramp 64 extends along the wall 58 between the bottom of the bowl-shaped liner 52 and the discharge opening 62, the spiral ramp 64 following a path which increases in radius as the path progresses upwardly from the bottom 56 toward the top of the liner S2. The liner 52 itself is interengaged with the well member 54 by the engagement of selectively releasable coupling means shown in the form of ribs 66, which are integral with the liner, engaged with corresponding slots 68 in the well member and is held in place within the well member 54 by a latch 70 which is pivotally mounted upon a hinge pin 72 for movement into and out of engagement with a latch pin 74 to selectively lock the liner 52 in place within the machine l0 or release the liner 52 for removal from the well member 54 and from the machine l0. Both the hinge pin 72 and the latch pin 74 are affixed to the well member S4 and project upwardly from the upper rim thereof. The well member 54 is coupled to an oscillator mechanism 76 which oscillates the well member about a central vertical axis (as indicated by the arrow in FIGS. l, 3 and 4) thereby oscillating the liner S2 and causing the contacts 16 to travel from the reservoir upwardly along the spiral ramp 64 to the discharge opening 62.

The liner 52 is preferably molded of an inert synthetic resin material, such as polyethylene. The cover 60 is also fabricated of a molded synthetic resin material, preferably a transparent material such as methyl methacrylate, and is affixed to the liner by means of detent projections 80 which project upwardly from the periphery of the uppermost edge of the liner to enter corresponding apertures 82 in the cover 60 and removably secure the cover to the liner. A closure shown in the form of a plug 84, molded integral with the liner 52 through the use of an interconnecting retaining strap 86, is provided so that when the liner is removed from the machine 10 the discharge opening 62 may be closed by inserting the plug 84 into the discharge opening. Thus, the liner 52, cover 60 and plug 84 serve as a container for the contacts when the contacts are stored or are in transit and the liner serves as a readily replaceable hopper for feeding contacts to the machine 10 when the liner is seated within the well member 54 and the discharge opening 62 is open and juxtaposed with the advancing means 34. In this manner, electrical contacts of a wide variety of configurations maybe packaged by the manufacturer of electrical contacts with each configuration in a separate liner, the packages of electrical contacts may be shipped and stored with the contacts in the liner, and the crimping machine l0 may be provided with a supply of contacts of any desired configuration by merely placing a particular liner within the machine, all without direct handling of the contacts themselves. Thus, contacts having any one of a variety of configurations are readily supplied to the machine 10. Additionally, any damage or contamination of the contacts due to exposure or handling is minimized.

ADVANCING MEANS Turning now to FIGS. 3 through 6, when contact 16 reaches the discharge opening 62, the contact is juxtaposed with the housing ofthe advancing means 34 and is located at the entrance 92 to a passage 94 passing through the housing 90 and communicating with the conduit 36 (also see FIG. l). When it is desired to advance a contact 16 from the discharge opening 62 into the conduit 36 and on to the orienting means 40, air, under pressure, is supplied to the housing 90 by means of an air line 96 and is directed to a venturi 100 to establish a stream of air flowing in the direction of the arrows in FIGS. 5 and 6 through a throat 102 in the venturi 100 and thence through the conduit 36 which communicates with the outlet 104 of the throat. The inlet 106 of the throat communicates with the passage 94 such that the stream of air reduces the pressure at the entrance 92 of the passage 94 thereby urging the contact juxtaposed with the entrance 92 into the venturi 100. However, advancement of the contact into the passage 94 is precluded by gate means shown in the form of a lever 110 mounted in the housing 90 upon a pin 112 for pivotal movement between a first position, shown in FIG. 5, wherein an arm 114 of the lever 110 is located in the path of travel of the contact between the discharge opening 62 and the venturi 100 and a second position, as shown in FIG. 6, wherein the arm 114 is located outside of the path of travel of the contact to permit the contact to pass into the passage 94. The lever 110 is resiliently biased into its first position by means of a helical spring 116 which urges the lever to the left (clockwise), as viewed in FIG. 5.

At the same time that air is supplied to housing 90 by means of air line 96, air is supplied, under pressure, through an air line 118 to an air cylinder 120 to move a piston 122 to the right, as seen in FIG. 6, against the bias of a helical spring 124. Such movement of the piston 122 draws rod 126, which is affixed to the piston, to the right. Rod 126 is coupled to the lower end 128 of the lever 110 by means of a link 130 affixed to the lower end 128 ofthe lever 110 and carrying a collar 132 of magnetic material, such as steel, which is gripped by a magnet 134 which, in turn, is engaged by a retaining ring 136 affixed to the rod 126 such that the magnet 134, the collar 132, and the link are moved to the right with the rod 126 to pivot the lever in a counterclockwise direction until the lever abuts a stop pin 138 affixed to a forward member 140 of the housing 90, as seen in FIG. 6. At this point, the contact 16 which has been restrained by the arm 114 of the lever, is permitted to pass into the passage 94 and is accelerated by the pressure differential across the passage between the entrance 92 and the throat 102 of the venturi 100.

Continued movement of the piston 122 to the right, beyond that position shown in FIG. 6, will continue to draw the magnet 134 to the right and, since the lever 110 can no longer move in a counterclockwise direction, the magnet 134 will be separated from the collar 132 (as shown in phantom in FIG. 6) and the lever will immediately be-returned toward its first position by the bias force supplied by helical spring 116, the lever coming to rest against a further stop pin 142. Upon release of the air pressure within the cylinder 120, the piston 122 will be returned to its original position, as shown in FIG. S, by the biasing force of helical spring 124 and the magnet 134 will be returned to its original position by the helical spring 144 where the magnet can once again grip the collar 132 to reset the advancing means for another cycle of operation. Thus, the gate provided at the entrance 92 is opened only for an interval of a duration sufficient to pass only one contact into the passage 94 each time the piston 122 is actuated to move the rod 126 to the right. However, the duration may be varied in order to accommodate contacts of various lengths or weights by changing the actual distance between stop pins 138 and 142. Such a change is accomplished selectively and with ease by merely removing forward member 140, which carries stop pin 138, and replacing the forward member 140 with a like member having a stop pin in another location relative to stop pin 142. Thus, advancing means 34 is readily changed to selectively accommodate contacts having any one of a variety of configurations.

ORIENTING MEANS Because each contact 16 which is to be crimped upon the wire 20 at the crimping station 38 must be located at the crimping station with the ferrule 26 of the contact juxtaposed with the aperture 44 through which the wire is passed, and since the orientation of the contacts 16 as they reach the entrance 92 of the passage 94 is random; that is, the ferrule of each contact may be forward or rearward, the contacts are passed from the conduit 36 into the orienting means 40 where each contact is oriented to assure that every contact which proceeds along the path 37 beyond the orienting means reaches the positioning means 42 in the same orientation so that the ferrule 26 is properly located when the contact arrives at the crimping station. As best seen in FIGS. 7 through 11, as well as in FIG. 1, the orienting means 40 includes a mounting bracket 150 which is affixed to the frame 14 of the crimping machine 10 and which carries a guide block 152. A slide member 154 is mounted for sliding movement within the guide block 152 and includes a cavity 156 which, in the first position of the slide member (as illustrated in FIG. 7) is aligned with a passage 158 through which the cavity 156 communicates with the conduit 36 to receive the contact 16 advanced by the advancing means 34.

The contact is then oriented by displacing the slide member 154 to the left to a second position (as illustrated in FIG. 8) to register the cavity 156 with an aperture 160 in the lower plate 162 of the guide block and to place the contact 16 over the aperture 160 such that the contact may pass through the aperture. At this point, a blast of air is passed through a passage 163 (see FIG. 9) to drive the contact through the aperture 160.

The aperture 160 has a length corresponding to the length of the contact 16 and includes a central portion 164, having a width corresponding to the diameter of the ferrule 26, and opposite end portions 166, each corresponding to the diameter of the pin 28 of the contact. Since the ferrule 26 has a diameter greater than the pin 28, the pin must precede the ferrule as the contact passes through the aperture, as seen in FIG. 9. As the contact drops through the aperture 160 and leaves the lower plate 162 of the guide block 152, the contact falls through a discharge chute 168, carried by the lower plate 162, which includes a guide plate 170 for assuring that the contact will leave the discharge chute at the outlet 172 thereof with the pin 28 preceding the ferrule 26.

In order to enable the orienting means 40 to accommodate contacts of various lengths and configurations, the lower plate 162 may be removed and replaced with any one of a variety of lower plates having apertures of different sizes and configurations. Thus, in changing over machine 10 to crimp contacts of an alternate configuration such as, for example, contact 16A shown in FIGS. 8A and 9A, the lower plate 162 is removed and replaced with another lower plate 162A having an aperture A. Contact 16A is of the type which includes a ferrule 26A and a socket 28A and, in this instance, the socket 28A has a diameter greater than the ferrule 26A. Since it is desired that the socket precede the ferrule, aperture 160A is bridged by a central bridge 164A, leaving end openings 166A having a width corresponding to the diameter of the socket 28A. When the blast of air is passed through passage 163, the contact 16A will be pivoted about bridge 164A large end first so that the socket will precede the ferrule as the contact passes into the discharge chute 168.

In addition, the guide plate is mounted upon the discharge chute 172 for pivotal movement about a pin 176 and is held in place by a tab 178 (see FIG. 11) which is integral with the guide plate and which is engaged within one of a plurality of openings 180 in the discharge chute 168. By locating the tab 178 within any one selected opening 180, the guide plate may be positioned to accommodate contacts of various lengths. Adjustment, conversion or replacement of the guide block 152 and lower plate 162 is facilitated in that the guide block is slidably received within the bracket 150 and carries a front plate 182 which is removably affixed to the bracket by thumb screws 184. Both the front plate 182 and the thumb screws 184 are accessible readily from the front of the machine 10 so that the guide block 152 is easily removed, when desired, by merely loosening the thumb screws and sliding the guide block out ofthe bracket 150,

Should the contact be improperly dimensioned or have other flaws which would preclude passage of the contact through the aperture 160, the contact will not leave the cavity 156 and will be carried with the slide member to a third position (illustrated in FIGS. l0 and l1) where the cavity will be registered with a slot 186 in the lower plate 162. Since slot 186 is very large in comparison to the aperture 160, any such defective contact will drop from the cavity 156 and will be removed from the crimping machine 10.

Should more than one contact 16 inadvertently be present in cavity 156 as the slide member is moved from the first position toward the second position thereof, a pin 188, which A would ordinarily pass laterally through cavity 156 to become inserted further within transverse bore 189, will engage the second contact (shown in phantom in FIG. 7) to preclude movement of the slide member 154 to the second position thereof and all of the contacts will be dropped from cavity 156 upon the subsequent arrival of the slide member at the third position thereof.

Actuation of the slide member 154 within the slide block 152 between the above described positions thereof is accomplished by actuator means shown in FIG. 7 in the form of a main air cylinder 190 carried by the bracket 150 and an auxiliary air cylinder 192 aixed to the main air cylinder. When no air under pressure is present in either cylinder, the piston 194 of the auxiliary air cylinder 192 is urged all the way upwardly (as shown in phantom in FIG. 7) by helical spring 196 to enable the helical spring 198 within the main air cylinder 190 to move piston 200 of the main air cylinder fully to the left and thus urge push-rod 202 to move the slide member 154 into its second position (as illustrated in FIG. 8) against the biasing force of helical springs 204.

By first supplying air under pressure through air line 206 to main air cylinder 190, the piston 200 will be moved all the way to the right, drawing push-rod 202 to the right and enabling helical springs 204 to move the slide member 154 to the right until the slide member abuts a stop pin 208 and comes to rest at its third position. By then supplying air under pressure to the auxiliary air cylinder 192, through air line 210, piston 194 is moved downwardly to move a latch 214 into the path of travel of a shoulder 216 on the piston 200. Subsequent release of the air pressure in the main air cylinder 190 will then allow the helical spring 198 to move the piston 200 to the left until the shoulder 216 engages the latch 214 and the slide member is held in its first position, as seen in FIG. 7.

Movement of the slide member 154 from the first position to the second position thereof is then effected by release of the air pressure within auxiliary air cylinder 192 to allow helical spring 196 to retract latch 214 from engagement with shoulder 216.

POSITIONING MEANS Turning now to FIGS. 12, 13 and 14, as well as to FIG. 1, as the oriented contact 16 leaves the discharge chute 168 of the orienting means 40, the contact enters a funnel-like tube 218, still with the pin 28 forwardmost, which leads the Contact to the positioning means 42. The positioning means includes a housing 220 having an upward extension 222 within which the tube 218 is received and a cylindrical bore 224 which communicates with the interior of the upward extension 222 by means of a slot 226. Affixed to the rearward end 228 of the housing 220 is an air cylinder 230 within which there is a piston 232 that carries a forwardly extending ram 234. In the position shown in FIG. 12, the piston 232 and the ram 234 are in a rearward, or first position, in which position the bore 224 and the interior of the upward extension 222 of the housing 220 are in open communication and the contact 16 has dropped into the bore with the pin 28 facing rearwardly toward the ram and the ferrule 26 facing forwardly toward the crimping station 38. Upon introducing air under pressure, via air line 236, through a rear inlet 238 in the air cylinder 230 behind the piston 232, the piston 232 and the ram 234 will be moved forward such that a collet assembly 240, carried bythe forward end of the ram 234, will engage the pin 28 of the contact and move the contact forward to bring the ferrule 26 into the crimping mechanism 46 at the crimping station 38.

As the ram 234 is moved forward, the collet assembly 240 will engage the pin 28 of the contact 16, pushing the contact forward. Just before the contact reaches the crimping station 38, the ferrule 26 will engage a pair of gate members 242 which are mounted within the forward end 244 of the housing 220 for sliding movement in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the contact and are resiliently biased into the bore 224 by springs 245. The engagement of the contact with the gate members 242 will force the pin 28 of the contact into gripped engagement with a sleeve 246 in the collet assembly 240, the sleeve being constructed to a resilient material, such as a synthetic resin material, such that the pin will enter the bore 247 of the sleeve 246 to be gripped thereby, as seen in FIG. 14. Continued forward movement of the ram and the contact will displace the gate members 242 to move them apart from one another, by virtue of the engagement of the contact with the angled surfaces 248 ofthe gate members, and admit the ferrule 26 to the crimping station with the contact held in place by the collet assembly. The collet assembly 240 is threaded into place upon the forward end ofthe ram 234 at 249 so that the assembly 240 is selectively replaceable to accommodate contacts of various sizes and configurations. The wire 20 may then be passed manually through the aperture 44 to insert the conductor 22 thereof into the ferrule 26 and the crimping mechanism 46 may be actuated to crimp the ferrule onto the conductor.

CRIMPING MEANS The crimping mechanism 46 includes a crimping head 250 mounted upon the frame 14 of the crimping machine 10, the crimping head being constructed in a now well-known manner. Thus, the crimping head 250 includes a plurality of indentors 252 which are movable radially inwardly and outwardly by the rotation of a ring-like cam member 254, The cam member 254 is rotated by displacement of a lever 256 affixed to a plunger 258 which is selectively actuated by supplying air under pressure through an air line 260 to an air cylinder 262 to move the plunger from a retracted rest position to a forward crimping position. The forward travel of the plunger 258 is limited by a stop member 264 (see FIG. 1) such that the position of the stop member determines the extent of forward travel of the plunger and the concomitant radial travel of the indentors 252. The position of the stop member 264 relative to the plunger 258 may be adjusted by rotating a screw 266 so that the depth of the crimp made by the indentors may be acljusted with accuracy.

Upon completion of the crimping operation, air under pressure is introduced into the positioning means air cylinder 230, through air line 270 and a front inlet 272, ahead of the piston 232 in order to return the piston and the ram 234 from the second position, shown in FIG. 13, to the first position. shown in FIG. l2, so that the next Contact 16N (shown in FIG. 13) may drop into the bore 224. Subsequently, the piston 232 and the ram 234 are again advanced to position the next contact at the crimping station 38.

CONTROL MEANS AND OPERATION During the operation of the crimping machine 10, the oscillator mechanism 76 is operated to assure that a contact is always available at the entrance 92 of the passage 94 of the advancing means 34. The sequence of operation of the advancing means 34, the orienting means 40, the positioning means 42 and the crimping mechanism 46 is controlled by control means illustrated schematically in FIG. 15. In the following description of the sequence of operation of these various means, it will be assumed that the positioning means is already at its second position locating a first contact in place for crimping at the crimping station, that a second contact is located within the slot 226 of the positioning means and is at rest upon the ram 234, as seen at 16N in FIG. 13, and that a third contact is available at the entrance 92 to the advancing means.

Air under pressure is supplied to machine 10 from an external source 280 and is directed to first and second air valves 282 and 284, respectively, within the crimping machine 10. The first air valve 282 supplies air through air line 236 to the rear inlet 238 in the air cylinder 230 of the positioning means 42 such that the ram 234 ofthe positioning means is held in its forwardmost or second position and the first contact is at the crimping station 38. The operator of machine 10 will then pass the wire 20 through the aperture 44 to insert the conductor 22 of the wire into the ferrule 26 of the first Contact. The foot pedal 48 is then depressed to operate the second air valve 284 which then supplies air simultaneously to the crimping mechanism air cylinder 262 and to the orienter main air cylinder 190 through air lines 260 and 206, respectively. Thus, the plunger 258 is advanced to actuate the crimping heat 250 and crimp the first contact onto the wire. At the same time, the slide member 154 ofthe orienting means 40 is moved to its third position.

When the plunger 258 reaches the stop member 264, a forward poppet valve 286 will be actuated and the poppet valve 286 will, in turn, operate the first air valve 282. Such operation of the first air valve 282 will shift the supply of air from air line 236 and the rear inlet 238 of the positioner air cylinder 230 to air line 270 and the front inlet 272 to retract the ram 234 to its rearwardmost or first position, thereby allowing the second contact 16N to drop into the bore 224 of the housing 220. At the same time, air is supplied via air line 210 to the auxiliary cylinder 192 of the orienting means 40 to advance the latch 214 into the path of the shoulder 216 of the main air cylinder 190. Also, air is supplied through air line 118 to the air cylinder 120 of the advancing means 34 to momentarily open the gate thereof and admit the third contact into the passage 94. Since air is also supplied to the venturi of the advancing means 34 through air line 96, the third contact is accelerated through the passage 94 and passes through the conduit 36 toward the orienting means 40.

Actuation of the forward poppet valve 286 also enables that poppet valve to operate the second air valve 284 to discontinue the supply of air through air line 206, thereby allowing the push-rod 202 of the orienting means 40 to move to the left, thus bringing the slide member 154 to its first position where the slide member is halted, by contact of the shoulder 216 with the latch 214, in order to receive the advanced third contact within the cavity 156 of the slide member.

At the same time, the supply of air through air line 260 is discontinued to enable the plunger 258 to retract to its rest position. Such retraction will actuate a rear poppet valve 288 which, in turn, operates the first air valve 282 to shift the supply of air from air line 270 and the front inlet 272 of the positioner air cylinder 230 to air line 236 and the rear inlet 238 of the positioner air cylinder to advance the ram 234 to its forwardmost or second position and thereby position the second contact 16N at the crimping station 38.

Such operation of the first air valve 282 also discontinues the supply of air through air line 118 to reset the advancing means 34 and diseontinues the supply of air through air line 210 to the auxiliary air cylinder 192 of the orienting means 40 to draw the latch 214 out of' engagement with the shoulder 216, thereby allowing the push-rod 202 to move to the left and displace the slide member 154 from its first to its second position. The third contact will then be oriented and passed on to the positioning means 42 where the third contact will come to rest upon the ram 234 and within slot 226. The machine is then ready to repeat the above cycle by again inserting a wire through access aperture 44 and depressing the foot pedal 48.

Because the liner 52 is easily removed from the well member 54 and is readily replaced by another such liner, electrical contacts of any one of a variety of contact configurations are easily and quickly supplied to the machine. Additionally, the contacts themselves are easily handled since only those contacts which are advanced through the machine are removed from the container 50 and any contacts remaining in the container after completion of crimping operations may easily be removed from the machine and stored by merely removing and storing the container 50.

Each time another of the variety of contact configurations is inserted into the machine, it becomes a relatively simple matter to change over the advancing means, the orienting means and the positioning means to accommodate contacts of different sizes and shapes.

lt is to be understood that the above detailed description of an embodiment of the invention is provided by way of example only. Various details of design and construction may be modified without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A crimping machine for selectively advancing electrical contacts of any one of a variety of contact configurations from a supply of such contacts and crimping each advanced contact at a ferrule portion thereof to the end of an electrical wire inserted into said ferrule portion, said machine comprising:

a crimping station;

a receptacle means including means selectively replaceable for holding said supply of contacts of selected configuration in a reservoir of loose contacts, said receptacle means having a discharge opening:

feed means for serially feeding said contacts in random orientation from the reservoir to the discharge opening in said receptacle means;

advancing means for selectively advancing a random oriented contact from said discharge opening along a path leading to the crimping station;

positioning means located along said path for receiving and locating each advanced contact at the crimping station;

orienting means located along said path between the advancing means and the positioning means for receiving the advanced random oriented contact and orienting said advanced contact such that every contact reaches the positioning means in the same orientation and the ferrule portion is accessible for the reception of the wire when the contact is located at the crimping station; and

crimping means for crimping the ferrule portion of the contact upon the wire when the contact is at the crimping station and the wire is inserted within the ferrule;

said advancing means, positioning means, orienting means and crimping means including means selectively changeable for accommodating the variety of contact configurations.

2. The crimping machine of claim 1 wherein:

the machine includes a frame;

the crimping station is located on said frame;

the orienting means is mounted upon said frame for actuation between a first position wherein the advanced contact is received therein and a second position wherein said advanced contact is oriented and passed on to the positioning means;

the positioning means is mounted upon said frame for actuation between a first position wherein the oriented contact is received in the positioning means and a second position wherein said contact is moved into said crimping station;

the crimping means is mounted upon the frame at the crimping station for selective actuation between a rest position and a crimping position;

the machine includes actuator means; and

the machine includes control means having: means responsive to said actuator means for actuating said crimping means to said crimping position; means responsive to actuation ofthe crimping means to the crimping position for simultaneously actuating said positioning means to the first position thereof, said advancing means to advance a further contact to the orienting means, said orienting means to the first position thereof to receive said further contact and said crimping means to return to said rest position thereof; and means responsive to return of said crimping means to the rest position for actuating the positioning means to the second position thereof and the orienting means to the second position thereof to orient and pass said further contact to the positioning means. 3. The crimping machine of claim 2 wherein said advancing means, orienting means, positioning means and crimping means are each provided with pneumatic actuators and said control means includes pneumatic valves.

4. The crimping machine of claim 1 wherein:

the receptacle means includes a bowl-shaped container affixed to the frame and having a bottom and an upwardly extending wall, said discharge opening being located in said wall above said bottom, and said loose contacts being contained within said container; and

the feed means includes a spiral ramp extending along the wall between the bottom of the bowl-shaped container and the discharge opening and oscillator means for oscillating said bowl-shaped container to move contacts from said reservoir of loose contacts within said container along said ramp to the discharge opening.

5. The crimping machine of claim 4 wherein the spiral ramp follows a path of increasing radius as the path progresses upwardly.

6. The crimping machine of claim 4 wherein the bowlshaped container comprises a separable liner and said machine includes means removably coupling said liner with said oscillator means such that the liner may be selectively removed from the machine.

7. The crimping machine of claim 6 wherein the liner is fabricated of an inert synthetic resin material.

8. The crimping machine of claim l wherein said advancing means comprises:

a venturi including a throat having an inlet communicating with the discharge opening of said receptacle means, and an outlet;

means for supplying a stream of air to the throat of said venturi for reducing the air pressure at the inlet and urging a contact from the discharge opening into the venturi;

gate means between the discharge opening and the venturi for blocking the entry of a contact from the discharge opening toward the venturi;

means for selectively opening said gate means to permit the passage of a contact from the discharge opening into the venturi such that the difference in pressure between said inlet and the throat of said venturi will accelerate the contact to advance the contact through the venturi; and

a conduit interconnecting the outlet of said throat with the orienting means such that the advanced contact is directed from the venturi throat to the orienting means.

9. The crimping machine of claim 8 wherein said means for selectively opening the gate means includes means for assuring that the gate means remains open only for that interval of time required to admit only one contact into the venturi during each actuation of the gate opening means.

l0. The crimping machine of claim 9 wherein:

the gate means includes a lever mounted for pivotal movement between a first position and a second position, said lever having an arm located in the path of travel of said contacts between the discharge opening and the venturi such that movement of said contacts from the discharge opening to the venturi is precluded when the lever is in said first position, said arm being located outside of said path of travel when the lever is in the second position, and means resiliently biasing said lever into said first position;

the means for selectively opening said gate means includes actuator means and coupling means releasably engaging said actuator means with said lever for selectively pivoting the lever from said first position to said second position against said biasing means upon actuation of said actuator means, said coupling means releasing the engagement between the actuator means and the lever in response to the arrival of the lever at the second position such that said biasing means will immediately return the lever to said first position.

1l. The crimping machine of claim 10 including means for selectively changing said second position relative to said first position for changing the duration of said interval to thereby accommodate said variety of contact configurations.

12. .The crimping machine of claim 11 wherein said coupling means includes a magnetic member and a magnet member, one of said members being carried by the lever for movement between first and second locations corresponding to said first and second positions of the lever and the other of said members being carried by said actuator means for movement from said first location to a location beyond said second location during actuation of said actuator means such that said members will engage and magnetically grip one another at the first location and, upon actuation of the actuator means, said members will move to the second location, and the lever will be moved to said second position, whereupon continued movement of said actuator means will draw said other of the members out of` engagement with said one of the members thereby breaking the magnetic grip between the members and permitting said biasing means to return the lever immediately to said first position.

13. The crimping machine of claim 1 wherein the ferrule portion of the contact has a diameter different from the diameter of a further portion of the contact and said orienting means comprises:

a guide block;

a slide member movable within said guide block between a first position and a second position;

a cavity in said slide member in open communication with said path when the slide member is in the first position thereof such that the contact advanced by said advancing means will pass into said cavity;

an aperture in said guide block in registration with said cavity when the slide member is in said second position, said aperture having a configuration including a portion having a width corresponding to the greatest ofthe diameters of said portions of the contact and a length less than the length of the entire contact for enabling the contact to pass from the cavity through the aperture and continue along a path of travel to said advancing means in only one orientation of the ferrule portion relative to the direction of travel of the contact; and

means for moving said slide member between said first and second positions.

14. The crimping machine of claim 13 wherein the ferrule portion of the contact has a diameter larger than the diameter of the remainder of the contact and said aperture has a configuration including a length corresponding to the length of the contact, a central portion having a width corresponding to the diameter of the ferrule portion of the contact and opposite end portions each corresponding to the diameter of the remainder of the contact such that the remainder of the contact must precede the ferrule portion as the contact passes through the aperture.

15. The crimping machine of claim 13 including means for selectively changing said aperture in said guide block to thereby accommodate said variety of contact configurations.

16. The crimping machine of claim 13 wherein the slide member is movable to a third position, said guide block includes a slot in registration with the cavity when the slide member is in said third position, and the orienting means includes means for moving the slide member to said third position subsequent to being located at said first position for permitting removal of any contact which does not pass through said aperture.

17. The crimping machine of claim 1 wherein said positioning means comprises:

a housing including a bore for receiving the oriented contact;

a ram movable within said housing between a first position wherein said contact may be admitted into said bore and a second position wherein said contact is engaged by the ram and located within said crimping station;

gripping means carried by said ram for engaging said contact and holding said contact in place within said crimping station; and

gate means intercepting the path of travel of said contact for urging the contact into engagement with said gripping means as said contact is moved by movement of said ram from said first position to said second position; and means for moving the ram between said first position and said second position. y

18. The crimping machine of claim 17 wherein:

said gripping means includes a collet assembly having a sleeve of resilient material for receiving and gripping a corresponding portion ofthe contact therein; and

said gate means includes at least one member resiliently biased into said path of travel and displaceable laterally of said path against said resilient bias in response to engagement with said Contact.

19. The crimping mechanism of claim 18 including means for selectively changing said collet assembly to thereby accommodate said variety of contact configurations.

20. A container having a bowl-shaped configuration for holding a supply of electrical contacts to be advanced from a reservoir of loose contacts through a machine for crimping each advanced contact to an electrical wire, the machine including oscillator means for oscillating the container, said container comprising:

a bottom;

a wall extending upwardly from said bottom;

a discharge opening in said wall above said bottom;

a spiral ramp extending along the wall between the bottom and the discharge opening; and

means integral with said container for selectively removably coupling said container with said oscillator means.

2l. The container of claim 20 wherein the spiral ramp follows a path of increasing radius as the path progresses upwardly.

22. The container of claim wherein the bottom and the wall comprise a unitary structure of inert synthetic resin material.

23. The container of claim 22 wherein said unitary structure includes the spiral ramp.

24. The container of claim 20 including:

a cover secured to the wall for closing the bowl-shaped con-

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4178679 *Mar 13, 1978Dec 18, 1979Bernard LichtensteinContact crimping machine
US4348806 *Mar 17, 1980Sep 14, 1982The Boeing CompanySelective contact crimper
US4443936 *Sep 30, 1981Apr 24, 1984The Boeing CompanyContact crimper and method of using
US4835855 *Jun 29, 1987Jun 6, 1989Mts Systems CorporationMethod and apparatus for crimping
US5210935 *Dec 20, 1991May 18, 1993The Boeing CompanyCurved rivet feed chute
US5392509 *Jul 29, 1993Feb 28, 1995Krell Technologies, Inc.Apparatus for capping used or unsanitary needles
US5577315 *Jun 6, 1995Nov 26, 1996The Boeing CompanyMethod of upsetting rivets
US5621963 *Jun 6, 1995Apr 22, 1997The Boeing CompanyMethod of upsetting a rivet
US5685058 *Jun 6, 1995Nov 11, 1997The Boeing CompanyMethod for direct insertion of a headed rivet into a countersunk hole
US5752306 *Jun 6, 1995May 19, 1998The Boeing CompanyMethod for upsetting a headed rivet by differential initiation of opposed electromagnetic rivet drivers
US5930891 *Apr 30, 1997Aug 3, 1999The Boeing CompanyAutomated method and apparatus for crimping a contact
US6230395 *Oct 18, 1999May 15, 2001Abraham BejeranoComponent feeder device for use with a crimping machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification72/424, 29/753, 29/818
International ClassificationH01R43/04, H01R43/055
Cooperative ClassificationH01R43/055
European ClassificationH01R43/055
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 22, 1984AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: AMERACE CORPORATION
Owner name: ASTRO TOOL COMPANY, INC., 216155 S.W. TAULATIN VAL
Effective date: 19840131
Feb 22, 1984ASAssignment
Owner name: ASTRO TOOL COMPANY, INC., 216155 S.W. TAULATIN VAL
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:AMERACE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004225/0847
Effective date: 19840131