US 3710482 A
A semi-automatic sequencing machine for facilitating the formation of a string of electrical components in a predetermined sequence with a certain spacing therebetween in which an operator removes components two at a time from bins arranged in a predetermined sequence on an index table, drops them into guides which deposit them on pitch belts with said certain spacing between successive teeth, and then actuates a control concomitantly to index the table through a distance corresponding to the space occupied by the bin or bins containing the removed components and to advance the pitch belts two components by means of transfer wheels which carry the leads of two components into the nips between pairs of pressure wheels which apply tapes to the leads to form the string which extends to a take-up reel.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Grafford  SEMI-AUTOMATIC SEQUENCING MACHINE John G. Grafford, Dorr, Mich.
 Assignee: Rowe International, Inc., Whippany,
 Filed: Aug. 17, 1971  App1.No.: 172,429
DT, 208 F [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,391,474 7/1968 Hays, Jr ..29/208 F X Primary Examiner-Thomas H. Eager Att0rneyHenry L. Shenier et al.
[ 1 Jan. 16,1973
57 ABSTRACT A semi-automatic sequencing machine for facilitating the formation of a string of electrical components in a predetermined sequence with a certain spacing therebetween in which an operator removes components two at a time from bins arranged in a predetermined sequence on an index table, drops them into guides which deposit them on pitch belts with said certain spacing between successive teeth, and then actuates a control concomitantly to index the table through a distance corresponding to the space occupied by the bin or bins containing the removed components and to advance the pitch belts two components by means of transfer wheels which carry the leads of two components into the nips between pairs of pressure wheels which apply tapes to the leads to form the string which extends to a take-up reel.
20 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJM 16 1973 3,710,482
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sum 5 OF 5 INVENTOR.
SEMI-AUTOMATIC SEQUENCING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There are known in the prior art automatic machines for inserting electrical components into printed circuit boards in accordance with a predetermined program. A
machine of this type requires as an input a string of electrical components having a predetermined sequence and being arranged with a certain spacing between adjacent components.
There are also known in the prior art automatic machines for making up strings of electrical components arranged in a predetermined sequence with a predetermined spacing therebetween. These machines are capable of taking loose components and forming such tapes after having been programmed to select the components from the supplies in a predetermined order. It will readily be apparent that such fully automatic sequence machines not only are complicated, but are very expensive. In order to warrant the purchase of such a fully automatic sequencing machine, a large volume of circuit board assembly must be involved.
In many plants, the equipment produced requires as components thereof some printed circuitry. The printed circuitry, however, constitutes only a relatively small part of the overall manufacturing operation so that the manufacture of the printed circuits is not a full time operation. It will readily be apparent that such an operation does not justify the great expense involved in the purchase of a fully automatic sequencing machine. Nevertheless, owing to labor saving, an automatic component inserting machine may be warranted so that the operation of preparing component strings for use on the component inserting machine is a difficult and time consuming operation. The automatic component inserting machine requires an attendant who, though not occupied full time with the inserting machine, has insufficient spare time to make up the required tapes. Either a full time employee is required to assemble component tapes or they must be obtained from an outside source.
l have invented a semi-automatic sequencing machine which overcomes the problems outlined above. My semi-automatic sequencing machine facilitates the operation of forming a string of electrical components in a predetermined sequence with a predetermined spacing therebetween. It is appreciably less expensive than is a fully automatic sequencing machine. It permits more efficient use of labor. It reduces the cost of assembling circuit boards. It is relatively trouble free and requires little maintenance. It is highly flexible in its application.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One object of my invention is to provide a semi-automatic sequencing machine which facilitates the operation of forming a string of electrical components in a predetermined order with a certain spacing therebetween.
Another object of my invention is to provide a semiautomatic sequencing machine which facilitates the operation of preparing strings of electrical components for use in an automatic component inserting machine.
Still another object of my invention is to provide a semi-automatic sequencing machine which permits more efficient use of labor.
Yet another object of my invention is to provide a semi-automatic sequencing machine which is appreciably less expensive than is a fully automatic sequencing machine.
A still further object of my invention is to provide a semi-automatic sequencing machine which requires little maintenance.
Yet another object of my invention is to provide a semi-automatic sequencing machine which is flexible in its application.
Other and further objects of my invention will appear from the following description.
In general my invention contemplates the provision of a semi-automatic sequencing machine for forming a string of electrical components arranged in a predetermined order with a certain spacing therebetween in which an operator takes components from bins arranged in sequence on an indexing table and drops them into guides which deposit the components on pitch belts and then operates a control concomitantly to index the table through a distance corresponding to the removed components and which drives transfer wheels which advance the belts and which feed the component leads with a predetermined spacing therebetween to the nips between pairs of pressure wheels which apply tapes to the leads to form the string which is fed to a take-up reel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a string of components formed by my semiautomatic sequencing machine.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of my semi-automatic sequencing machine.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the indexing table of my semi-automatic sequencing machine.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of my semi-automatic sequencing machine taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of a portion of the component advancing section of my semi-automatic sequencing machine.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view of the component advancing tape applying section of my semi-automatic sequencing machine.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view of the tape applying and take-up mechanism of my semi-automatic sequencing machine, taken along the line 7 7 of FIG.
FIG. 8 is a schematic view of one form of electrical circuit which may be used to control the operation of my semi-automatic sequencing machine.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. I of the drawings, a string indicated generally by the reference character 10 of a plurality of components 12 having respective leads 14 and 16 is held in assembled condition by respective lengths of pressure sensitive tape or the like 18 and 20 and 22 and 24. The components 12 are arranged in a predetermined order along the length of the string 10 with a certain spacing between adjacent components as required by the component inserting machine (not shown) with which the string is used. As will be more fully pointed out hereinbelow, the string 10 formed on my semi-automatic machine is such that the outer surfaces of the tapes 20 and 24 are substantially flat while the tapes 18 and 22 bulge at the locations of the leads 14 and 16 of the components 12.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 to 4, my semi-automatic sequencing machine indicated generally by the reference character 26 includes a supporting framework indicated generally by the reference character 28 made up of a plurality of legs 30 which support a central stationary table 32. The frame 28 carries a plurality of spaced bearings 34 which rotate around horizontal axes to support an annular bin receiving table 36 for movement around a vertical axis. A plurality of guide bearings 38 carried by the frame 28 and rotatable around vertical axes guide the table in its movement. A motor 40 is adapted to be energized in a manner to be described to drive a friction wheel 42 or the like in engagement with the inner periphery of table 36 to rotate the table around its axis. A plurality of locating pins 44 circumferentially spaced around the table 36 adjacent the outer periphery thereof define locations in which respective component storage bins 46 may be placed. Preferably, 1 form each of the bins 46 with two compartments 48 and 50 each of which is adapted to hold a supply of components 12. In this manner, an operator stationed at a working location can pick a component from each compartment of the bin positioned at that location for insertion into the component handling mechanism to be described hereinbelow.
I provide table 36 with a plurality of cam receiving pins 52 spaced around the table adjacent the inner periphery thereof. Each of the pins 52 is adapted to receive a lower cam 54 and an upper cam 56. Frame 28 supports a first normally closed switch 58 associated with lower cams 54. Each time a cam 54 strikes the actuating arm 60 of switch 58 the switch opens. I provide a second normally open switch 62 associated with the earns 56. Upon the arrival of a pin 52 carrying a cam 56 at the position of switch 62 the cam actuates the switch arm 64 to close the switch. I may provide the table 32 with a pointer 66 which indicates the bin 46 which is located at the operators working position.
Referring now to F I05. 2 and to 7, the component handling mechanism, indicated generally by the reference character 68 supported on a sub frame having spaced walls 70 and 72 supported on table 32. A pair of shafts 74 and 76 rotatably supported in the side walls 70 and 72 carry pairs of rollers 78 and 80 and 82 and 84. The rolls 78 and 82 support a first pitch belt 86 while the rolls 80 and 84 support a second pitch belt 88. l form each of the belts 86 and 88 with teeth 90 having an inter-tooth spacing equal to the distance between adjacent components 12 in the final assembly. A component guide is formed with a pair of downwardly tapering guide slots 96 and 98. As will be explained more fully hereinbelow, in use of the machine the operator picks a component from each compartment of the bin positioned adjacent pointer 66 and places them respectively in the pairs of chutes 96 and 98 so that the components are guided downwardly and their leads come to rest in spaces between adjacent teeth of the belts 86 and 88. Moreover, since the components in the bins are in the proper sequence, the components will be in the correct order on the belts 86 and 88.
As the components are carried along by belts 86 and 88 their leads enter into respective guide slots 104 and 106 formed between a pair of guide plates 108 and 1 10 and a pair of guide plates 112 and 114 which guide plates are supported on the frame 68.
A shaft 116 rotatably supported in the guide plates 70 and 72 carries respective spaced transfer wheels 1 l8 and 120 the edge of each of which is serrated to form teeth 122. A gear motor 123 is adapted to be energized to drive shaft 116. The teeth 122 of the respective wheels 118 and 120 extend into the spaces between adjacent teeth 90 of belts 86 and 88. Owing to that fact, as
the wheels 118 and 120 are driven, the teeth advance the belts. Each of the guide slots 104 and 106 has a horizontal portion and a vertical portion connected by an arcuate portion at the periphery of the respective wheel 118 or 120 with which it is associated. Owing to this fact, as the teeth 122 leave the respective belts 86 and 88, they carry the components along the curved portions of the guide slots and upwardly into the vertical portions thereof.
The shaft 116 carries respective smooth-surfaced from pressure rolls 124 and 126 immediately outboard of the wheels 1 18 and 120. Another shaft 128 rotatably supported in the side plates and 72 supports respective rear pressure rolls 130 and 132 which cooperate with the wheels 124 and 126. I provide each of the wheels 130 and 132 with peripheral notches or recesses 134 having a circumferential spacing corresponding to the intertooth spacing between teeth of the belts 86 and 88. Respective stub shafts 136 and 138 rotatably supported in side plates 70 and 72 carry rolls of pressure sensitive tapes 24 and 20 which are trained around the undersides of the respective pressure rolls 124 and 126 and upwardly into the nips between respective pairs of rolls 124 and 130 and 126 and 132. Stub shafts 140 and 142 rotatably supported in the respective plates 70 and 72 carry rolls of pressure sensitive tapes 22 and 18 which are trained around the undersides of the respective rolls 130 and 132 and upwardly into the nips between the pairs of rolls 124 and 130 and 126 and 132. The arrangement is such that the adhesive sides of the tapes 22 and 24 and of the tapes l8 and 20 face each other.
The number and size of the teeth 122 on the wheels 118 and is such that the inter-component space of the components 12 being moved off the belts 86 and 88 is preserved. As the components are moved upwardly into the vertical guide slot portions, their leads l4 and 16 respectively enter into the nip between the tapes 22 and 24 into the nip between the tapes 18 and 20. Moreover, owing to the spacing between and the relative disposition of notches 134, the leads 14 and 16 respectively enter into notches 134 of roll and into the notches 134 of roll 132. In this manner, the string 10 of components is formed. String 10 extends upwardly to a take-up reel 144 rotatably supported on a frame extension 146 and driven by a constant torque motor 148. Preferably, I provide a roll 149 of separation paper 150 which is wound onto reel 144 together with the string of components 12.
I mount a disc 152 of opaque material on shaft 116 for rotation therewith. Disc 152 is provided with a plurality of spaced notches or openings 154 corresponding to the number of teeth 122 in the transfer wheels. A source of radiation such as an infrared diode 156 at one side of the periphery of the disc is aligned with a sensor 158 such, for example, as a heat sensitive transistor so that the transistor puts out a signal each time one of the notches or openings 154 is located in the space between the source 156 and the sensor 158. In this way, I measure the amount of rotation of the transfer wheels and thus the amount of belts 86 and 88 have advanced.
I provide my machine 26 with a foot switch 160 which is actuated by the operator each time she has placed a pair of components into the guide assembly. If desired, I may mount a lamp 162 on the frame to provide a source of illumination for the operator.
Referring now to Flg. 8, one form of electrical circuit which I may employ to control the operation of my sequencing machine includes respective conductors 164 and 166 connected to the terminals 168 and 170 of a suitable source of potential. An on/off switch 172 may be operated to connect line 164 to a conductor 174. I connect lamp 162 and the reel takeup motor 148 directly between conductor 174 and line 166. Foot switch 160 is adapted to be actuated to connect conductor 174 to the table drive motor 40 through a manually operable cutout switch 176. As soon as motor 40 is energized it moves one of the earns 54 out of engagement with arm 60 to permit switch 58 to close to hold the circuit of motor 40 after switch 160 is released. When the next cam 54 in the direction of movement of the table 36 strikes arm 60 switch 58 is opened and the circuit of motor 40 is interrupted.
The control circuit shown in FIG. 8 includes a counter 178 adapted to receive signals at respective terminals 180, 182 and 184 to set the counter respectively at counts of 1, 2 or 3. In response to the presence of signals at those input terminals the counter produces outputs at binary output terminals 186 and 188 the signals of which are coupled to a two-input OR circuit which energizes a relay winding 194 to close a normally open switch 196 connected in series with gear motor 124 between conductor 174 and line 166. The pulses produced by the heat sensitive switching device 158 are applied to a count down terminal 190 of counter 178 to cause it to step downwardly from the count to which it has been set to zero.
Foot switch 160 in addition to energizing the table motor 40 applies a signal to the two count input terminal 182 to set the counter 178 to a count of two. A push button switch 198 may be actuated to apply a signal to terminal 180 to set the counter for a count of one to jog the belt as desired. The end of cycle switch 62 is adapted to apply the signal from switch 160 to terminal 184 to set the counter 178 to a count of three.
In a machine which actually has been constructed there are provided 42 spaces for bins 46 so that a sequence of up to 84 components can be formed into a string. In the illustration in the drawings I have shown only 40 such spaces so that the theoretical capacity of the machine illustrated in the drawings is a string of only components. In actual practice the number of components which must be assembled in a sequence is much less than that number.
In a particular example I assume that the sequence includes 24 various components. In setting up my machine to form a string containing a number of such sequences of components, I first place components in the proper sequence in the compartments 48 and 5,0 of a number of bins. I then arrange the bins on the table 36 in the proper sequence. In the particular embodiment which I have illustrated, I am able to arrange three full sequences on the table 3 6. As I set the bins on the table I apply cams 54 and 56 to the pins 52 as required. That is, I place a cam 54 on each pin 52 adjacent to which I have positioned a bin 46. I also apply a cam 56 to the pin 52 associated with the last bin of each sequence. The machine is now ready for operation.
In operation, the operator first picks two components out of the first bin of a sequence and drops them into the guides 96 and 98. These two components are positioned on the belts 86 and 88 by the guides 92 and 94. Next, the operator presses foot switch to energize table motor 40 which permits switch 58 to close so that the table will be driven through a distance corresponding to the distance between successive bins. At the same time, an input is applied to terminal 182 of counter 178 so that the counter puts out a signal to energize winding 194 to close switch 196 to energize drive motor 123 to drive wheels ll 18 and 120. At the same time, wheel 152 is driven and sensor 158 puts out a pulse each time the wheel 152 goes through one step. At the second pulse counter 178 has been stepped down to zero and relay 194 is deenergized so that motor 123 stops after an advance corresponding to two components. The operator again pushes switch 160 and as operations proceed ultimately the components 12 are advanced along the guide slots 104 and 106 until the leads come between the two pairs of pressure wheels which apply the tapes to the component leads to form the string 10 with the components having a predetermined spacing. As the last bin of a sequence moves into the operating position switch 62 is closed so that upon the next actuation of switch 160 the counter 178 is set to a count of three and the drive motor 123 remains energized to move the belts through a distance corresponding to three components. Since only two components have been fed by the operator a space exists in the string indicating that the end of a sequence has been reached.
If desired, switch 198 can be employed to index the belt through one step at a time so as to correlate belt movement with table movement or for any other reason. In addition, where a large number of the same components are to be applied to a string in succession, switch 176 can be opened to cut out the table so that the operator can take a number of components from the same bin.
It will be seen that l have accomplished the objects of my invention. l have provided a semi-automatic sequencing machine which facilitates the operation of preparing a string of components in a predetermined sequence with a certain spacing therebetween. My machine facilitates preparation of such a string for use on an automatic component inserting machine. It permits the most efficient use of available labor. It is considerably less expensive than a fully automatic sequencing machine. It requires very little maintenance.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of my claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made in details within the scope of my claims without departing from the spirit of my invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that my invention is not to be limited to the specific details shown and described.
Having thus described my invention, what I claim is:
1. Apparatus for forming a string of components in a predetermined sequence and with a certain spacing therebetween including in combination, means for supporting component supplies in said sequence, means for driving said supporting means successively to move said supplies past a working station, means for receiving components removed from said supplies and for positioning said components with said spacing therebetween, means for interconnecting components fed thereto to form a string thereof, means for advancing said positioning means toward said interconnecting means and means for transferring components from said positioning means to said interconnecting means while maintaining said spacing.
2. Apparatus as in claim 1 including bins for holding said supplies, and in which said supporting means carries a plurality of said bins and in which said driving means comprises means for stepping said supporting means through a distance of one bin on each operation of said apparatus.
3. Apparatus as in claim 1 including means responsive to said driving means for actuating said advancing means.
4. Apparatus as in claim 3 including bins for holding said supplies, each of said bins having n compartments for holding n supplies and in which said supporting means carries a plurality of bins and in which said driving means comprises means for stepping said supporting means through a distance corresponding to one bin on each operation of said apparatus and in which said advancing means steps said positioning means through a distance equal to n times said spacing on each operation of said apparatus, in which n is at least 2.
5. Apparatus as in claim 1 in which said components have leads and in which said interconnecting means comprises means for applying a length of tape to the leads of successive components.
6. Apparatus as in claim 1 including a take-up reel for receiving said string from said interconnecting means.
7. Apparatus for forming a string of components having leads in a predetermined sequence and with a certain spacing therebetween including in combination, means including a pitch belt for positioning components fed thereto with said spacing therebetween, means for applying a length of tape to the leads of components fed thereto from a string of components, said pitch belt adapted to advance components thereon toward said tape applying means, and means for transferring components from said belt to said applying means while maintaining said spacing therebetween.
8. Apparatus as in claim 7 in which said transferring means comprises a toothed wheel having an intertooth spacing corresponding to the space between said belt teeth, means mounting said wheel for rotary movement with adjacent teeth thereof adapted to receive therebetween the lead of a component from said belt and a stationary guide leading from said belt to said tape applying means, said wheel adapted to advance said leads along said guide from said belt to said applying means.
9. Apparatus as in claim 8 in which said wheel teeth are adapted to engage said belt teeth and means for driving said wheel to advance said belt.
10. Apparatus as in claim 7 in which said tape applying means comprises respective pressure rolls forming a nip therebetween, said transferring means adapted to feed component leads into said nip.
11. Apparatus as in claim.7 including guide means for directing components fed thereto onto said belt.
12. Apparatus for forming a string of components having generally oppositely extending leads in a predetermined sequence and with a certain intercomponent spacing including in combination, respective laterally spaced pairs of pressure wheels forming nips adapted to receive component leads, means for supplying tape to sa'id nips, a shaft supporting one pressure wheel of each pair for movement therewith, respective toothed wheels carried by said shaft for movement therewith, a pair of spaced pitch belts extending from a work location to second location adjacent to the peripheries of said wheels, said belts adapted to receive lead of components fed to said belts at said work location to support said components in spaced relationship, said wheels having an intertooth spacing substantially equal to the pitch of said belts, said wheels being positioned on said shaft with the wheel teeth adapted to engage said belts, respective stationary guides extending from said second locations to said nips, adjacent teeth of said wheels adapted to receive therebetween component leads to carry said leads off said belts and along said guides into said nips, and means for driving said shaft to advance said belts and to carry components into said nips.
13. Apparatus as in claim 12 in which one pressure roller of each pair has axial slots around its periphery with an interslot spacing substantially equal to said belt pitch.
14. Apparatus as in claim 12 including a funnel-like guide at said work location for directing components fed thereto to said belts.
15. Apparatus as in claim 12 including a take up reel for receiving a string of connected components from said tape applying means. i
16. Apparatus as in claim 12 including a support for holding a plurality of component supplies arranged in said sequence and means for driving said support successively to move said supplies past said work station.
17. Apparatus as in claim 16 including means for concomitantly energizing said shaft drive means and said support drive means.
18. Apparatus as in claim 12 including a plurality of bins, each of said bins having two compartments for holding supplies of components, a table for receiving said bins in a sequence determined by said component sequence, means mounting said table for successive movement of said bins to said work location, means for driving said table, actuatable means for concomitantly greater than twice said spacing in response to said actuatable means.
20. Apparatus as in claim 12 in which said shaft driving means comprises a motor, a counter adapted to be set to a predetermined count, actuatablc means for setting said counter and means responsive to rotation of said shaft for reducing the count of said counter.