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Publication numberUS3738078 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 12, 1973
Filing dateDec 14, 1970
Priority dateDec 14, 1970
Publication numberUS 3738078 A, US 3738078A, US-A-3738078, US3738078 A, US3738078A
InventorsSchaaf G
Original AssigneeRamsey Eng Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cutting, sorting and storing device
US 3738078 A
A device for receiving plated memory wire for use in precision applications and cutting the wire into desired length, sorting out the wire lengths that are acceptable and storing the acceptable lengths into plastic tubes where they will be free from contamination, and will not be handled by humans. The machine utilizes a bandolier of storage tubes that sequentially pass through a wire cutting station so that acceptable wires are inserted into the tubes, and the rejects are kept out of the tubes. The machine is designed for placement into a closed loop, in line plated wire system so that the wire lengths are not touched even during the storage operation.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


Gunther Schaaf, Fridely, Minn.

[73] Assignee: Ramsey Engineering Company, St.

Paul, Minn.

[22] Filed: Dec. 14, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 97,874

1 11 3,738,@7 June 12, 1973 Primary Examiner--Travis S. McGehee Attorney--Dugger, Peterson, Johnson & Westman [57] ABSTRACT A device for receiving plated memory wire for use in precision applications and cutting the wire into desired length, sorting out the wire lengths that are acceptable and storing the acceptable lengths into plastic tubes where they will be free from contamination, and will [52] [1.8. Cl. 53/54, 53/78, 53/123, not be handled by humans The machine utilizes a ham 1 I Cl 5 2 dolier of storage tubes that sequentially pass through a [5 ut. B6 b 5 0 wire cutting station so that acceptable wires are [58] Fleld of Search "f 53/54 236 serted into the tubes, and the rejects are kept out of the tubes. The machine is designed for placement into a [56] References cued closed loop, in line plated wire system so that the wire UNITED STATES PATENTS lengths are not touched even during the storage opera- 806,487 12/1905 Parker 53/236 X tion. 2,842,923 7/1958 Kjellsen 53/236 3,014,323 12/1961 Stephen 53/236 x 14 Chums, l6 Drawlng Flgures Hi l Ol 1 3;; 3/ /04 I 40 52 aw; 774 77 a4 @7 53 7 72 54 5 E 5: l

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CUTTING, SORTING AND STORING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a machine for sorting and storing items into protective receptacles.

2. Prior Art One of the problems in handling plates wire used for memory cores, in particular, is that if any type of handling is done, the wire may be contaminated and will not function properly. Corrosive materials from human hands are especially damaging, and of course, any nicks or bends in the wire affect its properties. Therefore it has been desirable to utilize storage members that will protect the individual lengths of wire to insure that they are not damaged after the lengths have been plated and cut.

Another problem involved is the cutting of the wire. If the wire is swaged out at the ends during the cut, its electrical properties are also affected adversely, and therefore the out should be square, without any swaging of the wire or deformation of the wire in any way. The present deviceis designed to minimize any deformation of the wire at the point of the cut. Further, the protection for the wires is provided by plastic tubes that encase each wire individually.

The machine solves the problem of completely isolating the individual lengths of wire from contaminating environment and at the same time keeps the speed of sorting, cutting and storing high.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a machine that provides for sorting of items, and which will store acceptable items in receptacles isolated from contamination.

The present invention also presents a storage system that can be used for storing items in an automated process by having storage tubes or receptacles arranged in a bandolier form, and wherein the bandolier will pass through a station that will position each' of the receptacles properly for accepting the devices to be stored, or will hold the receptacles out of loading position when a device is to be rejected.

The bandoliers permit a continuous supply of storage receptacles to pass through the loading station where the items are processed.

More precisely, the present machine includes a cutter for cutting lengths of plated memory wire as the wire passes through a cutting station to minimize the deformation of the wire during the cutting process, and

also has means for inserting wire into storage tubes as the wire is passing through the cutter station. The wire, which has previously been tested by'known means, is inserted into the storage tubes only when it is within acceptable limits both electrically and mechanically, and when it is to be rejected, the storage tubes are kept out of the path of the wire so that the wire will drop into a trough, and in response to a signal can either be placed into a reject drawer, or can be placed into a sample" drawer, to be checked to make sure that the I wire is properly processed.

The machine includes a traveling wire cutter that is mounted to travel along with the wire while the cut is made, to minimize any deformation of the wire. The device includes a fail safe system for advancing the bandolier storage tubes one tube at a time in response to given signals, and also means to position the tubes aligned with the wire so that the wire will be positively sent into the tube in response to a signal which indicates the wire length being passed through the system is to be accepted.

The device has high cutting accuracy and will cut with accuracy within twenty-five thousandths of an inch in length. The wire drive, which is external in the wire line, can vary wire speeds between 3 inches per minute up to inches per minute without affecting operation of the storage device, and can handle the wire lengths from 5 to 25 inches.

An object of the present invention is therefore to present automatic handling equipment for sorting and storing and to use a bandolier of storage receptacles in an automated process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the wire cutting, sorting and storing device made according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the device in FIG.

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the device in FIG.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken as on line 4-4 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken as on line 5-5 in FIG. 2;

. FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view of wire storage tubes used in combination with the device in FIG. 1;

FiG. 7 is an end elevational view of the device in FIG.

FIG. 8 is a view taken substantially on the same line as FIG. 4 with parts removed for the sake of clarity to show typical reciprocating carriage used with the device of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary side elevation view of a wire cutting assembly and indexing drive of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the device of FIG. 9 with parts broken away;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view showing the details of the cutter element used with the device of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken as on line 121 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary sectional view showing an aspirator section of the wire feed which illustrates means for moving a cut wire completely into a storage DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT First, referring to FIG. 14, which gives a general block diagram of the operation sequence, the device of the present invention is used in an in-line plating system for memory wires, which are very fine wires used in making memory planes. The wire has to be within limits as to length and electrical properties so that it has to be tested, and also it has to be stored in an isolated environment after it has been tested so that the wire length is not damaged before use.

In schematic form, a wire supply of very thin wire is part of an in-line processing system including a wire plating station 11, a wire testing station 12, a wire drive means 13, and then the wire cutting, sorting and storing unit 14, which is the subject of the present invention. The stations 10, 11, 12 and 13 are conventional units used in the manufacture and processing of memory wire. The test station in particular is utilized for supplying signals to the storing and cutting device so that the wire will be sorted, after being cut to the selected length by the device and stored in tubes. The test station can incorporate a cut wire length selector which is keyed from the wire drive and tied into the system so that each cut length of wire is tested individually The test signals for accept or reject can be keyed into the sorting mechanism by a shift register.

Now, referring back to FIG. 1, the cutting, sorting and storing device illustrated generally at 14 is set up to receive a continuous wire, which is shown at 15, from the wire drive. The device 14 includes a cutter assembly illustrated generally at 16, and a sorting and storing assembly illustrated generally at 17. The sorting assembly carries the storage members or tubes and indexes them properly for a wire length that is to be stored, and also moves the storage members out of the way of a wire length that is to be either sampled or rejected.

The storage members comprise plastic tubes that can be of any desired length, to store the length of the wire being cut, and these tubes 20 are held in spaced apart, parallel relationship with flexible band members 21 to form bandoliers. This forms a continuous web of a plurality of tubes that can be rolled up onto reels for storage. The bandoliers illustrated generally at 22 thus form a continuous supply of receptacles much like a belt of machine gun bullets except that the tubes are hollow plastic tubes in this instance. In FIGS. 6 and 7 the details of the flexible members 21 are shown. The bands are flexible strips 21A of plastic with molded rings 21B of plastic for holding the tubes 20. The band members are made in sections and are joined by having half rings 21C at the ends of the sections. The half rings 21C form two sections and are placed in alignment as shown and a tube 20 passes through both half rings 21C to complete the assembly. Thus the desired number of band sections can be placed end to end and held together to form a bandolier of the desired total length.

The bandoliers, made up of a plurality of tubesjoined together with the webs, are held up onto a supply spool 23 that has end flanges and a center shaft 24. The spool 23 is rotatably mounted in suitable frame supports 25, 25 at opposite ends of the machine 14. The frame supports are joined by a base frame 103. If desired, a brake drag assembly which forms a drag on the supply spool can be provided to prevent the supply spool from turning too freely, and over running its proper position.

The bandolier of tubes 20 is then threaded through guide members at opposite end of the machine adjacent the frames 25, 25. The guide members hold the tubes for sliding movement transverse to their longitudinal axes. The bandolier is then attached to the center shank 26 of the take-up spool that in turn is mounted to an opposite side of the frame members 25 from the supply spool. The take-up spool is drivably mounted for rotation from an electric motor 27 driving through a slip clutch 28. The electric motor 27 is controlled so that it will run whenever the bandolier is being indexed, to provide a take-up for the tubes 20 after wire lengths have been inserted in the tubes. The slip clutch is set to prevent pulling the bandolier apart if the take-up over drives.

Referring specifically now to FIGS. 4 and 5, it can been seen that the bandoliers including the tubes 20 are passes through vertically reciprocating horizontal guide members at the opposite ends of the machine. For example, a guide member 31 is at theend of the machine adjacent the cutter assembly 16, and a guide member 32 is at the opposite end of the machine. Each of the guide members is a U-shaped section having top and bottom horizontal legs which slidably receive and support the end portions of the tubes 20 of the bandolier which passes from the full reel to the take-up reel.

In each case, the guide members 31 and 32 are mounted onto vertically reciprocating frames shown generally at 33 and 34, respectively. The frames reciprocate in the same manner on both ends of the machine, and a preliminary understanding of this frame assembly can be gained by referring to FIG. 8 wherein the end assembly for the cutter end of the machine is shown as a typical showing.

The frame 33 comprises upright members 35 and 36, a lower cross member 37, and an upper cross member 38 which joins the upright members 35 and 36 to gether. Onthe cutter end of the machine the cross member 38 extends upwardly in the center portions of the frame above the guide member 31. The guide member 31 is fastened onto the cross member 38 so that it moves with the reciprocating frame. The end members 35 and 36 of the reciprocating frame 33 are slidably guided in end guides 39 and 40, respectively,'so that the frame can reciprocate in a vertical direction.

The frame 33 is positioned next to an upright support plate 43 that is part of the fixed frame member 25 at the cutter end of the machine. It should be noted that the reciprocating frame assembly 34 is constructed similar to the frame 33, except that the center top portion is not quite as high as on frame 33. However, the reciprocating frames at both ends have the upright members 35 and 36, lower cross member 37 and an upper cross member that is slightly different in each frame. I

The upper member 38 of the frame 33 includes a column 44 which slidably passes between ears 45, 45 of a guide and return bracket 46. A gear tooth indexing wheel 47 is rotatably mounted on a pin on the column 44. The indexing wheel 47 moves up and down with the vertically reciprocating carriage 33, and the receptacles between teeth of the wheel 47 individually and sequentially engage each of the tubes 20 as shown in FIG. 4 when the tubes 20 pass along the guide 31. The teeth of wheel 47 extend into an open area in the lower support of the guide 31. In addition, the indexing wheel 47, in its down position (which is shown in FIGS. 8 and 13) is made so that the receptacle between teeth on wheel 47 will engage the outer end nozzle 48 of the exhaust end of a wire exhaust guide so that the wheel 47 will hold a tube 20 and this exhaust nozzle 48 of the wire guide properly aligned.

The vertical reciprocation of the frames 33 and 34 is controlled by actuating levers that in turn are operated by simultaneously operating fluid cylinders. As shown,

the ears 45, 45 have springs 51, 51 thereunder which bear against the upper portions 38 of the frame 33.

Each of the reciprocating frames at the ends of the machine as a pair of tooth drive wheels or sprockets 52 and 53 rotatably mounted in suitable bearing housings. The sprockets are positioned so the receptacles formed between the teeth on the outside of these sprockets 52 and 53 drive on the end portions of the tubes in the bandoliers as the tubes enter the guides 31 and 32. Frame 34 also have the drive wheels 52 and 53, respectively, rotatably mounted thereon.

The drive sprockets 52 and 53 are detented positively into position to properly hold the, end portions of the tubes 20 held in the drive sprockets in a preselected position through the use of spring loaded detent balls 54 and 55, respectively, and these detent balls hold each sprocket positively positioned because the balls are firm in their holding power. The detent balls 54 and 55 are mounted in housings 54A and 55A, respectively, that are in turn attached to the cross member 37 of each of the frames. Thus, the detent housings, detent balls, and sprockets 52 and 53 move upwardly together whenever the frames 33 and 34.are moved upwardly in their respective guideways.

The vertical reciprocation of the frames or carriages 33 and 34 is used for two purposes: one is to advance the bandoliers by a ratcheting action, and the other is to move the tubes normally out of the way of wire coming through the wire nozzle 48 unless a signal has been received from the test station which indicates the wire length is to be accepted, in which instance the frames 33 and 34 are again moved to a lower position wherein the indexing wheel 47 holds one of the tubes 20, and also engages the nozzle 48 to perfectly alignthe tube and the nozzle so that the wire length will be inserted into that tube. Thus there is a two stage or position indexing of the tubes, first to advance the bandolier, next to align the tubes 20 with the nozzle 48.

After the wire has been cut to length, the cut length is blown outwardly by an aspirator action which will be explained, the reciprocating frames again are moved upwardly and at this time a ratchet action will take place to advance the sprockets 52 and 53 one tooth, thereby moving the indexing wheel 47 one tooth, and thus placing an empty tube 20 in line above the nozzle The frame 34 on the end of the machine opposite from the cutter assembly is adjacent an upright block 56 that is a part of the end frame at that end of the machine. At the top of the guide block 56 there is a retainer member 57 (see FIG. 1) that is attached to the block 56. The retainer member 57 has an overhanging lip 58 which holds springs 59 in place to bear against the upper edge of the frame 34 to urge this frame downwardly. The main parts of the frame 34 are numbered the same at both ends, as are the ball detents. There is no indexing wheel on the frame 34. The ratchet mechanisms on opposite ends of the machine are numbered identically for the sake of simplicity.

The movement of the frames 33 and 34 along the guides 39 and 40 is controlled by the springs 51, at the cutter end of the machine and the springs 59 at the opposite ends of the machine which normally move the carriages 33 and 34 downwardly. A pair of levers 62, one at each end of the machine, are pivoted as at 63 to the respective end frames 25 and are positioned to act against follower lugs 64 fixed to the cross member 37.

Pneumatic cylinders 65 are mounted at opposite ends of the machine, one aligned with each of the levers 62. These pneumatic cylinders are single acting cylinders that have rods 66 which bear against the respective outer ends of the levers 62 and when fluid under pressure is introduced into the cylinders 65, the pressure will act against internal pistons forcing the rods 66 outwardly, lifting the levers 62 simultaneously (both cylinders 65 are operated through a common solenoid valve 67 so that they are simultaneously actuated), and the frames 33 and 34 will be raised simultaneously thereby compressing the springs 51 and 59 when the cylinders 65 are energized. The fluid pressure introduced to the cylinders 65 can be controlled to control the rate of actuation of the cylinders 65 as desired.

At each end of the machine, adjacent to each of the reciprocating frames, there are ratchet dogs mounted, one of which is positioned to drive on each of the sprockets 52 and 53 whenever the frames carrying the sprockets move upwardly under the force from the respective pneumatic cylinders 65. As shown, the ratchet dogs are mounted on support members 70 that are in turn fastened to the respective end frames 25, and have upright support arms 71 spaced outwardly from the frames 25 a sufficient distance so that the levers 62 will pass between the support arms and the end frames 25 of the machine, and also so the arms will clear the vertically reciprocating frame parts. The support arms 71 are stationary, and do not reciprocate. At the upper ends of each of the arms 71, there is a separate ratchet arm 72 pivotally mounted as at 73. The ratchet arms 72 extend upwardly and each of them has a ratchet dog 74 mounted at the outer end thereof and positioned adjacent to the periphery of one of the sprockets 52 or 53, and identically positioned at opposite ends of the machine. There is a ratchet dog for each of the drive sprockets 52 and 53. A spring support 75 is pro-vided on each of the support arms 71, and a small spring 76 is used to urge each of the ratchet arms 72 toward its respective bandolier drive sprocket 52 or 53. The spring 76 keeps the dogs engaged with the sprockets, and when the frames 33 and 34 are lifted upwardly, the sprockets 52 and 53 also raise, and the dogs 74 will engage the tooth with which they are aligned, pulling the sprockets around one notch or tooth spacing against the action of the detent balls 54 and 55, until the detent balls engage the next receptacle in its sprocket.

In the downward movement of the frames 33 and 34 from their up position, it can be seen that the dogs 74 are made so they will ratchet past the teeth on the sprockets. The springs 76 yield so the ratchet arms can slip past the teeth on the down stroke of the frames. The ratchet dogs 74 are thereby reset so that in the next upward stroke the sprockets 52 and 53 will be advanced one more notch or tooth spacing, thereby advancing the tubes in the bandoliers one notch through the teeth on the drive sprockets S2 and 53.

When the frames 33 and 34 in their raised position, which is the normal position because the solenoids controlling the pneumatic cylinders 65 normally have these cylinders under pressure, the tubes 20 are raised by the guides 31 sufficiently high so that the tube ends and the guides clear the nozzle 48 for the wire coming through the wire feed and cutter. Therefore, unless the frames 33 and 34 are lowered, the wire will merely come out below the bandolier. If no tube 20 is receiving the wire after the wire has been cut, the length protruding from nozzle 48 will merely drop down into the area between the end frames 25, 25. In order to catch these wires that are not accepted and placed into the tubes 20, a trough assembly 77 is mounted between the end frames. The trough is supported on the upright blocks 56 and 43, and is supported only at its ends adjacent to these blocks. As shown, the trough member is a split member having a first section 77A and a second section 77B. The section 77A has end support brackets 78 on opposite ends thereof, and each of the brackets is provided with a slot that is mounted over a pair of pins 79 at each end of the unit. The pins 79 pass through the slot in the bracket 78 and support the trough section 77A for limited sliding movement transverse to a vertical longitudinal plane passing through the center of the trough sections. A spring 80 acting between suitable support members urges the trough section 77A toward its center position as shown in solid lines in FIGS. 4 and 5. The pins 79 protrude from the blocks 43 and 56 as shown typically in FIG. 9.

The trough section 77B is provided with a bracket 83 that in turn is mounted on pins 84 on the blocks 43 and 56 just as the pins 79 are mounted on these blocks. The pins 84 pass through slots in the brackets 83 to support the trough section 77B for sliding movement toward and away from its center position. A spring 85 is provided between suitable brackets at each end of the trough section 77B urging trough section 7713 to its center position against trough section 77A. The trough sections 77A and 77B can be lined with a suitable low friction material such as Teflon, to make sure that wire lengths supported thereon will slide off and drop downwardly when the lengths are supposed to. The movement of the trough sections 77A and 77B is selective in response to external signals, and is accomplished through separate solenoid actuators that operate the sections 77A and 77B independently of each other.

The solenoid actuators are shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. The trough section 77A has a pair of solenoid actuators 90. The solenoid actuators 90 are mounted on suitable stands to the base of the unit, and are positioned below the bandolier where the bandolier passes over the center portions of the unit. The solenoid actuators 90 in turn actuate small levers 91, 91 which are pivotally mounted about substantially horizontal axes and extend up through openings in link members 92, 92 attached to the trough section 77A. When the solenoids 90 are actuated, the trough section levers 91 will be pushed so that the trough section 77A will move toward the side of the machine away from the sections 77B, leaving a gap between the trough sections. This movement will cause any wire length that is supported in the trough to drop down and pass into an opening 93 which is the reject opening, and the wire will drop down through this opening 93 into the reject drawer 94 which is slidably mounted on suitable supports. The solenoids 90 are operated in response to a reject signal. It is to be understood that when this reject signal is received, the bandolier tubes are not aligned with the wire nozzle 48, so the wire merely comes through the nozzle 48, and when it is cut is dropped into the trough. Then the reject signal appears after the wire has been dropped into the trough, the trough section 77A moves to the side when the solenoids 90 are energized and the wire length drops down into the reject drawer. The springs 80 will return the trough section 77A to its centered position after the solenoids are relaxed. The solenoids are actuated with a short duration pulse, and relaxed soon after energization.

The trough section 77B is controlled through solenoids 97, 97 which also are mounted onto suitable support members, and the solenoids 97 actuate levers 98 which are pivotally mounted about a transverse axis, and engage members 99 that are fastened to the trough section 77B. When the solenoids 97 are energized, they actuate the levers 98 causing them to pivot and pull the trough section 77B away from the trough section 77A. This will permit a length of wire supported in the trough section to drop downwardly into an opening 100 and then into a drawer 101 that is called sample drawer. Sample opening 100, and the movement of the trough section 77B is used to provide wire samples that can be further checked if desired for electrical continuity and manufacturing tolerances so that the quality of the out being made on the wire and the like can be checked by having a sample wire presented at a drawer when desired. The mounting of the levers 91 and 98 is identical, so only a typical view is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

The center portions of the machine, between the end frames 25, 25 are covered with a housing 102, that is fastened onto a base plate or frame 103 that forms a cross frame between the end frames 25. The housing 102 has a plurality of guide support bars 104 mounted on the top thereof and these provide supports for the bandolier tubes as the tubes 20 move laterally across the machine from the supply spool to the take-up spool. The housing 102 is broken away in FIG. 1 to show the trough. The housing and the guide bars are shown in section in FIG. 4.

Referring specifically to FIGs. 9 and 10, the mechanism used for cutting the wire lengths is shown in detail.

On the back side of the block 43, where the indexing mechanism is mounted, the cutter assembly 16 is also mounted. The wire 15 is fed through a tubular wire guide mounted onto a support 111, and then is fed through an aperture in a cutter 112. The wire 15 further is fed into a tapered wire feed funnel 113 that is mounted to the back side of the block 45. The funnel aligns with an opening in an aspirator insert in block 43. Passageways in this insert are positioned to form a venturi which tends to move the wire when the air is supplied to the venturi, as will be more fully explained later. An opening through the block 43 opens through the aspirator assembly 114, the outer end of which comprises the wire guide nozzle 48.

The cutter 112 includes a cutter head member 115 which is slidably mounted onto a pair of parallel guide rods 116, 116 which extend between the support member 111 and the block 43. The guide rods 116 are positioned to provide a track on which the head 115 can move. The head 115 includes a stationary cutter blade section 117, and a movable cutter blade section 118. The two cutter blade sections are pivotally mounted together, and the movable cutter section 118 is movable from a position wherein it will not cut the wire to a position wherein it will cut the wire.

A pair of oppositely acting solenoids are used to actuate the cutter. A first solenoid 120 is mounted to the cutter head 115 and is offset from the path of travel of the wire and is normally energized when the machine is operating to hold the cutter blade in position wherein small openings in the stationary and movable cutter blade align so that the wire 15 can pass through the cut- 123 that is pivotally mounted to an arm 124 for the movable cutter blade, and when solenoid 120 is relaxed, solenoid 122 is energized at the same time so that the solenoid 122 will pull the cutter blade arm 124 upwardly as shown in FIG. 11 causing the movable cutter blade 118 to pivot above its pin 125, moving the cutter blades relative to each other along the mating edges of the blade and cutting the wire at that point.

It should also be noted that the movable cutter blade 118 is held against the stationary cutter blade 117 with a spring 126 that attaches to suitable pins to hold the two blades together under a spring tension.

One of the features of the invention is that the cutter head 115 for the wire will travel along with the wire 15 at the same speed as the wire while making the cut. This prevents swaging of the ends of the wire during the cutting operation, and assures accurate, clean cuts. In order to drive the head 115 it is necessary to move it along the guide bars 116. A cable is used for moving the cutter head along the guide bars, and it is spring returned to its rearward position near the member 111.

The cable length 127 is attached as at 128 to the front part of the cutter head 115 and passes over a pulley 129 rotatably mounted on the block 43. The cable length 127 then passes down over to a drum 130 that is drivably mounted onto a shaft, and in turn is driven through an electric clutch 131 from a gear reduction assembly 132 driven by a stepper motor 133. The stepper motor is driven at a preselected rate of speed in response to the number of electrical pulses received by the motor for driving it, so it drives only at a preselected rate, and for a selected length of time. Whenever the clutch 131 is energized, and the stepper motor is driven, the drum 130 is turned to wind up the cable length 127, pulling the head 115 in direction as indicated in the arrow 134 (FIG. 9). When the head moves in this direction, it pulls on a second cable length 140 that is fastened to the rear of the sliding head 1115. Cable length 140 passes over a pulley 141 and the cable length is dead ended along the member 1 11. The pulley 141, as shown, is mounted onto an arm 142 that is pivotally mounted as at 143 to a support 144 that also is mounted onto the member 111. The lower end of the arm 142 extends down below the support 144 and a spring 145 is hooked into the arm and also is supported at its opposite end on the support member 111. The spring 145 is tensioned whenever the pulley 141 is moved toward the member 111 as the head 115 is pulled by the take-up drum. After the head has been driven, whenever the clutch 131 releases the spring 145 will pull the head 115 rearwardly along the guide rods 116 to return the cutter head 115 to its home position.

It should be noted that the wire will pass through the opening 121 where the cut is being made except when the cutter blades are actuated. Movement of the head 115 in rearward direction is possible without engaging the wireor damaging it in any manner. Thus the cutter is a flyback head that returns to its home position under spring pressure whenever there is no drive from the motor 133 or when clutch 131 is released.

Now, referring specifically to FIG. 13, the aspirator for moving the cut lengths of wire after the wire is severed is shown. The block 43, as shown, has a passageway 148 defined therein that aligns with the opening in the wire funnel 113. The passageway 148, as shown, is defined in an insert 150 that fits into an opening through the block 43. In addition, a passageway 151 is defined in block 43 and opens to an annular passageway 149 which is forrned around the end of the insert 150. An air pressure line 152 is threaded into the passageway 151 through a suitable coupling, and air under pressure can be introduced into this passageway 151 through a solenoid actuated valve 153. The insert 150 has passageways 154 defined therein which open to the passage through 148 near its outer end, and extend toward passageway from the annular passageway 149. The passageways 154 incline at an angle toward passageway 148. The insert mates with the exhaust aspirator assembly 114, and as shown, the exhaust aspirator has a chamber aligned with passageway 148 and angled exhaust passageways 155 lead from the cham ber and from passageway 148. These passageways 155 provide a discharge outlet for aspirator air. The exhaust aspirator also has a central passageway 156 that aligns with the passageway 148, and through which the wire 15 can pass as it is moved through the assembly. Passageway 156 extends through the wire feed nozzle 48 which is a small turned down end portion of the exhaust aspirator. Nozzle 48 is the nozzle that the indexing wheel 47 engages when it aligns a tube 20 with the wire passageway 156.

When fluid under pressure is introduced into the line 152 through the solenoid valve 153, air will blow through the passageways 154 at an angle at the end portion of the passageway 148, and then the air is exhausted out through the aspirator section passageways 155. This will provide a blowing-drawing action for the wire 15, and ifa length of wire 15 is severed by the cutter so it is free to move, the aspirating action will move the cut wire length along and finish moving the length of wire into the tube 20 that is aligned with nozzle end 48. The indexing wheel 47 will insure that the nozzle end 48 and the tube 20 are aligned so that the cut wire length can be shot into the interior of the tube under the aspirating air pressure. Note that the ends of tube 20 are internally chambered to guide new wire ends into the tubes.

Referring now specifically to FIGS. 15 and 16 for explanation of the sequence of operation of the invention, a schematic block diagram is used for explanatory purposes. Wire drive 13 is a standard unit which puts out electrical pulses which are keyed to the length of wire passing through the wire drive. For example, 333.3 pulses per inch of wire can be put out by this drive in a pulse train which goes into a logic circuitry illustrated in 160 which in turn also is used for controlling many of the functions of the unit. A cut length selector circuitry illustrated at 161 is used for sending an output signal along line 162 when the proper length has been passed through the wire drive and cutter. The wire coming through the drive passes through test station 12 which will also have a signal output on a line 163 to the logic. The logic circuitry 160 is actually part of the wire cutting, sorting and storing unit. The logic in turn will control the rest of the functions of the machine. Assuming that the wire 15 about to be fed into the sorting machine is acceptable, the test signal is put into the logic and there will be a lack of signal from the logic on line 164 as shown at 164A in FIG. 16, so that the solenoid valves 67 for the cylinders 65 is relaxed. This will permit the spring return springs 59 and 51 to move the movable carriages 33 and 34 at opposite ends of the machine downwardly against a downward stop so that the indexing wheel 47 will engage the end nozzle 48 and also a portion of one tube to keep the tube in alignment with the opening through the aspirator nozzle. This movement occurs after a previous cut length of wire has cleared the aspirator and before a new wire has been fed through the nozzle. Then as the new length of wire is fed through the nozzle, the wire will enter the tube 20 that is aligned therewith. In the timing diagram the lines shown in FIG. 16 are numbered in accordance with FIG. 15, and the position on the timing diagram indicates the relationship of signals on the lines.

The wire will be fed in and the pulses from the wire drive,which are indicated on the pulse train line 165 in the timing diagram, will continue to run into the logic. At this time, represented by line 159 in FIG. 16, a command from the cut length selector 161 will appear on line 162 as a cut command. This is merely a momentary pulse which triggers a gate in the logic represented on line 166. The gate permits the pulses from line 165 to energize the cutter head transport motor 133 along a line 167. These pulses will drive the stepper motor 133 for the cutter head for a preselected length of time at a preselected speed in accordance with the frequency of the pulses selected so that the cutter head travels at the same speed as the wire. At any time that the cutter head is moving along its guide rod driven by the stepper motor, (for approximately 500 milliseconds) the cutter on solenoid 122 is energized from the logic along a line 170. At exactly the same time as the signal goes along line 170, a signal is sent along line 171 which deenergizes the cutter withdraw solenoid, which is normally energized when the machine is powered. Thus the cutter is operated through a simultaneous closing off of solenoid 120 and an energization of solenoid 122 during the time that the head is being moved along by the stepper motor. The cutter solenoid is energized only for a short length of time, as shown, approximately 60 milliseconds, and the withdrawal solenoid for the cutter is deenergized for the same length of time.

Simultaneously with the cut command along the line 162, the logic gives out a signal along a line 172 to the aspirate air solenoid valve. This signal, which is also shown on the timing diagram, energizes the aspirate air solenoid valve for a short length of time immediately after the cut command.

The aspirate air is on during the time that the cutter motor is driving, and for a short while thereafter. For example, if the motor for driving the cutter head is on for 500 milliseconds, the aspirator will be on for approximately 800 milliseconds so that the air will be blowing through the aspirator tending to drive the wire into the tube 20 while the head is moving, and then as soon as the cutter operates the air will be acting on the wire length that is in the aspirator (which is now a cut length, partially in the aligned tube 20) and this air through the aspirator will stay on for a length of time sufficient to drive the wire into the tube 20 so that the wire is completely within the tube (the wire lengths travel all the way to the far ends of the tubes). This driving of the wire is faster than the wire feed so that the cut length moves into the tube, and there will be a space between the trailing end of the cut length, and the leading end of the supply wire from which the cut length has been severed. This space permits indexing of the bandoliers without having wire in nozzle 48.

Then, circuitry which is shown at 173 in a block, and may actually be part of the logic, will feed back an aspirate complete signal along the line 174 which is keyed back to the wire tester in test station 12. The test circuitry then raises the signal through line 163 into the logic and through line 164 to the valve for the cylinders 65 to energize the solenoid valve 67 for the cylinders 65. The cylinders 65 then will raise the movable carriages upwardly through levers 62 and the movable carriages. The ratchet teeth 74 which are engaging the sprockets 52 and 53 will pull on the edges of the wheel as the cylinders force the carriages upwardly, advancing the bandolier mechanism so that the bandolier will advance a length equal to the spacin between the tubes 20 so that a new empty tube 20 s placed vertically above the aspirator nozzle and the empty tube is held by the index wheel 47 in proper position. The detent balls 54 and 55 insure that the sprockets 52 and 53 advance only one tooth when the carriages are moved upwardly.

At the end of the aspirator complete signal, which goes for about 800 milliseconds, the tester then must indicate that the next length of wire coming through is either acceptable or to be rejected. If it is to be accepted, the signal goes back to zero on the line 163 again letting the springs 51 and 59 return the movable carriages downwardly so that a new tube 20 is held by wheel 47 is in line with the aspirator opening so the new length of wire moves into the tube 20 aligned with the opening 156. The wire is being driven by the wire drive.

If the next length of wire for some reason is not to be accepted, either because it did not test out as being acceptable, or if it is to be sampled, the test station will continue to keep a signal on the line 164 through the logic circuitry, as shown at 1648, so that the solenoid valve 67 will be energized all during the time that the next wire length is being fed, and the tube 20 held by the indexing wheel 47 will not be moved down into alignment with the aspirator opening. The tube 20 and carriages remain in their up positions. Then the wire length that is being fed out will be fed without being encased in a tube, and when the length is cut, the cut length will drop down onto the trough. When the next cut command signal comes in sequence along line 162 and the length of wire that is not in a tube is cut, it will drop into trough 77 and may be sorted into the reject drawer by sending a signal from the logic along line 176 to energize solenoid and move trough section 77A away from the other trough section so the wire will drop into the reject drawer. Such a pulse is shown at 176A in FIG. 16.

If the piece is not to be accepted but is to be sampled, as for-example piece number 4 in FIG. 16, after the wire piece has been severed a pulse is sent out from the logic on line 177 to energize solenoids 97 to move trough section 778 to open position so the wire length drops into the sample drawer.

The signal on line 164 to actuate the solenoids for cylinders 65 is only momentary if the wire lengths are to be accepted sequentially. The actuation would be only long enough to permit the carriages to be cycled up to move the bandoliers one space and then the cylinders 65 would be relaxed to permit the springs 51 and 59 to move the carriages down so the index wheel 47 would engage nozzle 48 before the leading end of the new wire length protrudes from the nozzle 48. Such a pulse is shown by dotted lines at 164C in FIG. 16.

The take-up motor 27 for the tape-up reel of the bandolier is energized during the aspirate complete signal only by the logic as indicated just above line 164 in FIG. 16. This means that the motor for the take-up reel will start driving at about the same time as the cylinders 65 are energized after an accept cycle (see pulse 164C at vertical lines 178). If the cylinders are energized all during the wire feed cycle, as for a reject or sample wire, the tube does not make the second step in the indexing, namely it does not drop down. Therefore, when the take-up motor is energized, as shown for example adjacent vertical line 159 in FIG. 16, and the cylinders 65 do not cycle up (they have remained up), the tube 20 held by index wheel 47 will remain in position. The detent balls 54 on each of the sprockets 52 will resist the driving force of motor 27, and clutch 28 will slip to permit the bandoliers to remain stationary.

The indexing is two stage, the horizontal movement from the ratchet drive and the vertical movement for the accept or reject position.

The unit of course may be adapted to sorting and loading other items into receptacles using the principle of sequential indexing of receptacles formed into bandoliers to a loading station.

The synchronization of the cutter speed with the wire speed is a feature that useful for severing many types of wire in a continuous process.

What is claimed is:

11. A device for handling wire automatically including means driving said wire, a cutter means, said wire moving past said cutter means, means to drive said cutter means along with said wire at substantially the same speed as said wire, means to operate said cutter to sever said wire while said cutter is traveling at substantially the same speed as said wire, storage means to store a length of wire cut by said cutter means, said storage means comprising a plurality of individual hollow tubes, and means to sequentially align open ends of said tubes with the path of movement of said wire and in downstream direction from said cutter means after each actuation of said cutter means.

2. The combination as specified in claim 1 wherein said tubes have longitudinal axes, a plurality of tubes being arranged with their longitudinal axes substantially parallel, and said tubes being positioned spaced apart but side by side, and flexible means joining said tubes together to form a bandolier of tubes, reel means for supporting said bandolier of tubes, and said means to sequentially align said tubes with the path of movement of said wire acting on said bandolier of tubes.

3. A device for storing components in individual tubular members comprising a plurality of said tubular members arranged side by side and having openings facing in a first direction, flexible means joining said tubular members to permit said plurality of tubular members to be wound onto a coil about an axis substantially parallel to the axes of said tubular members and to permit said tubular members to be removed from said coil, means to sequentially advance each of said tubular members to a loading station, and means to store said tubular members in a coil after they have passed said loading station.

4. The combination as specified in claim 3 wherein said tubular members are elongated in one direction, and said flexible members form said tubular members into bandoliers of tubular members, reel means for mounting said bandoliers of tubular members, said means to sequentially move said tubular members past said loading station comprises indexing drive means to move said bandoliers past said loading station one tubular member at a time in response to signals.

5. The combination as specified in claim 3 wherein said components to be loaded into said tubular members are subjected to tests prior to loading, and means to receive signals dependent upon said tests, and means to move said tubular members into position only in response to accept test signals.

6. A device for sorting and storing items in a continuous process comprising storage receptacles having openings therein, flexible means joining said storage receptacles to form a continuous band of receptacles capable of being wound onto a reel, first support means to hold a supply of empty receptacles, second support means to hold filled receptacles, a loading station between said support means, means to advance said band of receptacles a distance equal to one spacing between adjacent receptacles in response to predetermined signals, second signal means to move each of said receptacles into said loading station subsequent to being advanced said distance, and test signal means corresponding to each of the items to be sorted to control movement of said receptacles to said loading station.

7. A device for cutting, sorting and storing lengths of wire in a wire processing system comprising a wire supply, means of testing said wire for selected properties, drive means for said wire delivering signals indicating the length of wire passing therethrough, a wire cutting station, said wire cutting station including a wire cutter, means mounting said wire cutter for sliding movement in direction of normal movement of said wire through the drive means, said wire cutter normally being in a first stationary position, means to drive said cutter along its mounting means after a preselected amount of wire has passed through said cutter, means to energize said cutter to cut said wire as said cutter is moving in direction with said wire a preselected length of time after said wire cutter is initially moved, means to return said wire cutter to its normal position after said cutter has been energized, and a length of wire severed from the supply, a plurality of elongated storage tubes for said severed lengths of wire, the elongated storage tubes being formed into an elongated bandolier comprising a plurality of individual storage tubes joined by flexible members, a wire guide, drive means to move said bandolier in direction past said wire guide along a first plane, indexing means to index said bandolier the distance of the spacing between tubes to align said tubes in said bandolier with said wire nozzle in a first plane, reciprocating means to move a storage tube aligned with said wire nozzle in said first plane in a second direction into register with said wire nozzle in response to a signal from said wire testing means a preselected time after said cutter is actuated, means urging said reciprocating means in direction to move a tube away from said wire nozzle except in the presence of an accept test signal, and separate means to transport lengths of wire severed from the wire supply in direction toward said storage tubes.

8. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said indexing means to move said bandolier the spacing between tubes comprises ratchet means operable when said reciprocating means moves in opposite direction from said second direction.

9. The combination as specified in claim 7 and an indexing wheel means having a plurality of pockets defined in the periphery thereof, the pockets in said indexing wheel means being of size to partially receive said wire nozzle, and simul-taneously partially receive an end portion of one of said storage tubes to thereby align said tube and nozzle prior to entry of wire into said tube.

10. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said cutter is urged toward its normal stationary position with a biasing force, an electric clutch means in the drive for said cutter, said electric clutch means being deenergized after said cutter has been energized to permit said cutter member to move back to its stationary position under said biasing force.

11. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said bandoliers are mounted on reels on opposite sides of said wire and nozzle.

12. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said means for advancing said bandolier the spacing between tubes drives on both ends of the tubes in said bandolier.

13. The combination as specified in claim 12 wherein said means for advancing said bandolier at both ends of the tubes are operated simultaneously.

14. The combination as specified in claim 7 wherein said separate means to transport cut lengths of wire comprises a venturi means in said wire guide nozzle, and an air supply actuating said venturi means tending to move wire in said nozzle toward said tubes, said air being supplied to said venturi after a length of said wire has been cut from the wire supply by said cutter.

Patent Citations
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US2842923 *Jun 18, 1956Jul 15, 1958Rca CorpLight element transport apparatus
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4038805 *Dec 23, 1975Aug 2, 1977Southwire CompanyMethod and apparatus for coiling and packaging electrical cable
US5005338 *Jan 19, 1990Apr 9, 1991U.S. Philips CorporationMethod of positioning products on a tape comprising compartments as well as an apparatus for implementing the method
US5131206 *Nov 20, 1990Jul 21, 1992Georg SillnerMethod and device for the insertion of components, in particular electrical components, preferably chips, into depressions of a tape
U.S. Classification53/54, 53/507, 53/236, 53/522
International ClassificationB65B19/34, B65B19/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B19/34
European ClassificationB65B19/34