US 3748977 A
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United States Patent [1 1 Mrozek [451 July 31,1973
[ DISC FOR'LABEL-MAKING MACHINE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE  Inventor: James M. Mrozek, Milwaukee, Wis.
 Assignee: W. H. Brady C0., Milwaukee, Wis.
 Filed: Feb. 16, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 226,707
 US. Cl. 95/85  Int. Cl B4lb 15/12  Field of Search 95/45, 85
 I References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,976,786 3/1961 Grube 95/45 3,308,732 3/1967 Raak 95/4.5
Primary Examiner.lohn M. Horan Attorney-Donald G. Casser et al.
 ABSTRACT Ultraviolet light, directed through a character template, forms an image on sensitized tape below. The disc includes a rigid support member having a series of windows formed around its periphery and a series of slots formed radially inward therefrom. A sheet of heat conductive opaque material is bonded to a sheet of transparent backing material and a proportional spacing template and a character template are formed by etching away portions of the conductive sheet. The spacing template is bonded to the supportmember and operates to alter the length of each opening formed by the slots to thereby control the tape drive mechanism. The character template is also bonded to the support member, with each image, or character in the template positioned under a window.
9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures DISC FOR LABEL-MAKING MACHINE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of the invention is templates used to form images on ultraviolet light sensitive surfaces. More specifically, the invented method relates to the manufacture of discs for use with compact label-making machines such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,698,296 Actinic Label-Making Tool filed issued Oct. 17, 1972, which machine forms characters, or images, on a pressure sensitive adhesive tape having a layer that changes color upon exposure to ultraviolet light.
The nature of such label-making machines has introduced numerous constraints on the design of a template. The ultraviolet light sensitive tape is located directly beneath the template and the light source which is located directly above is momentarily activated to expose the tape surface and form an image thereon. A high density image is desired, thus requiring that a high intensity ultraviolet light source be used and that transparent portions of the template pass a high percentage of this light. Templates made with photographic films have not proven satisfactory because the plastic materials used are poor ultraviolet light transmitters, and are subject to blistering and distortion from the heat generated by the ultraviolet light. The heating problem is compounded by an additional requirement that the exposure period be short and that the light source be located close to the template to maintain machine size within reasonable limits.
It is known that certain fluorocarbon polymers are highly transparent to ultraviolet light, however, it is also well known that it is difficult to adhere substances to them. As a result, attempts to make templates using fluorocarbon polymers have not proven entirely satisfactory because of the difficulty in obtaining adhesion between them and photo emulsions or printing inks. Also, the heat generated by the light source in a labelmaking machine distorts the characters which are formed on a template made by a printing or photographic process.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an improved character template for use with an ultraviolet light source and a method of manufacturing the same. The character template is formed by bonding a thin sheet of metal between relatively thick and rigid supporting member, and an ultraviolet light transmitting backing material. The characters are cut or etched in the metal sheet and are aligned withinwindows formed in the supporting member. A selected character is formed on sensitized tapelocated beneath the backing material by passing ultraviolet light through its window. The character template is made by first bonding the metal sheet to the transparent backing material, etching the characters in the metal sheet, and then bonding the combination to the supporting member.
An object of the invention is to provide a method of manufacturing a disc for an ultraviolet light labelmaking machine, which disc has both a character template and proportional spacing slots. The disc is formed by bonding a character template to the circular supporting member, locating the character template directly under a series of windows formed around the periphery of the supporting member. A series of slots are formed in the supporting member, each slot corresponding to a character in the template and the length of each being determinative of the space needed for that character on the sensitized tape. The disc is assembled by forming slots of uniform length in the supporting member along with the windows; bonding a metal sheet to a transparent backing material; and forming a proportional spacing template from the metal sheet in the same etching process used to form the character template. The proportional spacing template is then bonded to the supporting member directly beneath the spacing slots to block, or obstruct portions of the slots and thereby determine their length.
Another object of the invention is to provide a template that can be used to fonn highly defined images which are not distorted by heat from an adjacent ultraviolet light source. The characters are formed in a sheet of heat conductive metal which distributes the heat evenly throughout and away from the transparent backing material. 3
Another object of the invention is to provide a durable template that forms highly defined and dense images on an ultraviolet light sensitive surface. A fluorocarbon polymer backing material is particularly useful because of its high transparency, its resistance to heat distortion, its natural non-stick properties, and, because it does not blister when heated, or become brittle when exposed to high intensity ultraviolet light. The characters etched in the sheet metal are disposed between the supporting member and the backing material to form a durable structure which is particularly resistant to abrasive wear from the tape located immediately below.
The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear from the following description. In the description reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown by way of illustration and'not of limitation a preferred embodiment of the invention. Changes may be made in the illustrated embodiment and different embodiments may be devised which will be within the full scope of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of a disc incorporating the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a view in cross section of the disc of FIG. 1 taken on the plane 22,
FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the invention incorporated into a label-making machine, and
FIGS. 4 through 8 illustrate the disc structure during various stages of construction.
The thickness of the various elements shown in FIGS. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 are not to scale, but instead have been enlarged to more clearly illustrate the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGS. 1-3 show a disc that includes a circular shaped supporting member 1 which has been stamped from a sheet of aluminum. The shape of the supporting member l is determined primarily by the requirements of the label-making machine to which it is attached. For example, a central opening 2 is fonned in the supporting member to accommodate a spindle (not shown in the drawings) which is manually operable to rotate the disc and thereby select the image or character to be formed. Detents 20 are formed in the rim of the support member 1 which operate to locate the disc in discrete positions selectable by rotating the spindle. Such selection can be aided by the addition of an indicator label (not shown in the drawings) applied to the surface of the support member ll. Also, a ring of slots 3 is formed around the central opening 2 which slots 3 operate in combination with a finger on a tape drive mechanism (not shown in the drawings) to limit the advance of the sensitized tape a selected amount each time a character is formed thereon. The slots 3 in the aluminum support member 1 have a uniform length, however, as will be discussed below, the length of the openings formed by them are altered by a proportional spacing template 4 bonded to the underside of the disc. Each time a character is formed, the sensitized tape is advanced a distance which is proportional to the width of the character to be formed thereon. For example, the letter W requires more tape than the letter I if a uniform spacing between letters is to be maintained, and consequently, the opening 3W must be longer than the opening 31. It is one feature of the present invention that the spacing template 4 is formed and bonded to the support member 1 to alter the length of the slots 3 to thereby determine the spacing.
Formed through, and located in a band which extends around the periphery of the supporting member 1, are a series of windows 5. Each window 5 is substantially rectangular in shape having two opposing radial edges 6, and two opposing circumferential edges 7. The windows 5 are closely spaced and define a series of ribs 8, one between each window 5. The number of windows 5 is determined by the number of selectable characters on the disc. In the embodiment shown, 45 windows are included a number sufficient to accommodate the alphabet, numbers -9 and a few punctuation marks.
Bonded to the bottom, or backside of the supporting member 1 is an annular-shaped mask 9. The mask 9 is formed from a sheet of brass having a thickness of 3 to 10 mils. It has a radial width sufficient to overlap the circumferential edges 7 of the windows and to thereby completely cover, or mask the windows 5. Characters, such as letters of the alphabet, numbers, words, symbols, logos, etc., are formed through the mask 9, one within each window 5. The characters are formed by either a cutting or etching process in which portions of the brass mask 9 are removed to form openings having the shapes of the desired images.
As shown in FIG. 2, a sheet of backing material 10 is bonded to the under side of the support member 1 and mask 9. The backing 10 is a sheet of material which allows passage of ultraviolet light and has a thickness of from three to seven mils. For this purpose, a fluorocarbon polymer, such as that sold under the trademark Teflon, is preferred because it transmits a high percentage of incident ultraviolet light. The backing material 10 is annular shaped and is bonded to the under side of the supporting member 1 and mask 9. The backing material l0 protects the relatively vulnerable mask 9 and provides support for protruding and completely detached portions which remain after the characters are formed therein.
When in use, the supporting member 1 is indexed to rotate the window 5 containing the selected character into an image-forming station. As shown in FIG. 3, when in the image-forming station, the selected character is disposed between an ultraviolet light 11 located above the disc and a pressure-sensitive adhesive tape 12 located below it. The ultraviolet light 1 l is activated and the selected character is imaged on a sensitized surface 13 of the tape 12. The surface 13 changes color where struck by the ultraviolet light, thus forming the character on the tape. Reference is made to the above cited copending application for a further description of this operation.
In compact labeling machines, the ultraviolet light 1 l is activated momentarily and is located in close proximity to the disc. As a result, considerable heat is generated and transmitted to the disc during operation. The brass mask 9, however, is a good heat conductor and it is firmly attached to the aluminum supporting member 1, which acts as a good heat sink. Also, the heat is evenly distributed throughout the metallic supporting member l and mask 9 thus minimizing localized heating and the distortions which result therefrom.
CONSTRUCTION The disc described above is assembled by a particularly useful and economical method. Referring to FIG. 4, a pressure sensitive adhesive, such as a vinyl-acrylic adhesive is applied to a sheet of release coated liner 14. The adhesive covered liner 14 and a sheet 15 of 5. mil Teflon are combined in a laminating process and cut into squares slightly larger than the support member 1. Referring to FIG. 5, a second laminateis then made by bonding two sheets 16 and 17 of release coated liner together using a pressure sensitive adhesive, and cutting them to form a circle slightly larger in diameter than the proportional spacing template 4. The liner 14 is removed from the Teflon Sheet 15 and the second laminate is applied to it on center. Referring to FIG. 6, a five mil brass sheet 18 is cut to the sizeof the Teflon sheet 15 and cleaned. A liquid or dry film photo resist is then applied to the top side of the brass sheet 18. The top liner 16 of the second laminate is removed from the Teflon sheet 15 and the brass sheet 18 is applied thereto with its photo resist side up, or exposed. The resulting laminate is placed under a master film (not shown) with the photo resist side of the brass in direct contact with the emulsion side of the film. A vacuum is applied and the brass is exposed to light. The surface is then developed and submersed in an etchant such as ferric chloride which removes those portions of the brass sheet which are not protected by the developed photo resist.
As shown in FIG. 7, two brass portions remain, the mask 9 and spacing template 4. Exposed adhesive is washed ofi at this point, care being taken to select a solvent which will not remove the photo resist material from the brass. The photo resist aids in preventing oxidation of the exposed brass. The spacing template 4 is removed by pulling the liner 17 from the Teflon sheet 15, and then separating the liner 17 from the spacing template 4 to expose the adhesive thereunder. The spacing template 4 is then laminated to the under side of the supporting member 1 to partially cover the slots 3 and thereby adjust their length to provide the proper spacing of the sensitized tape 12.
The top, or brassed side of the Teflon sheet 15 is next laminated with an adhesive covered release coated liner 19. The resulting laminate is then'die cut to form the final annular-shaped character template. Referring to FIG. 8, the character template is comprised of the mask 9 formed from the brass sheet 18 and the backing material 10 formed from the Teflon sheet 15. The template is bonded to the bottom side of the supporting member 1 by first removing one half the liner 19 to expose the adhesive thereunder. The exposed half is pressed into place, the remaining portion of the liner 19 is removed, and the other half is pressed into place. Care must be taken in performing this step to insure that the characters in the mask 9 are aligned within the windows 5 and that they correspond properly with the spacing template 4 so that the required space on the tape 12 is provided for each character. To aid in the accurate performance of this step, a set of four alignment holes 22 are formed in the supporting member 1 and aligned with a set of four corresponding dots 21 formed with the mask 9. Finally, exposed adhesive is thoroughly washed off all portions of the disc.
l. A template for use inlabel-making machines using an ultraviolet light source to form images on label material, the combination comprising:
a supporting member made of a rigid material adapted for use in label-making machines and having a plurality of windows formed through it;
a relatively thin sheet of heat conductive metal attached to one side of the supporting member to cover the windows,the heat conductive sheet having characters formed through it and aligned within the windows, said heat conductive sheet being operative to distribute heat generated by the ultraviolet light source during the formation of images on the label material; and
an ultraviolet light transmitting backing material attached to the supporting member to completely cover and protect said heat conductive sheet.
2. A template for use in label-making machines using ultraviolet light to form images on label material, the combination comprising:
a supporting member made of a rigid material adapted for use in label-making machines and having a plurality of windows formed through it;
a relatively thin sheet of heat conductive metal attached to one side of the supporting member to cover the windows, the heat conductive sheet having characters formed through it and aligned within the windows; and
an ultraviolet light transmitting backing material made of a fluorocarbon polymer and attached to the supporting member to completely cover and protect said heat conductive sheet.
3. The template as recited in claim 2, wherein the supporting member is disc-shaped, the windows are arranged in a band which extends around the periphery of the disc, and the heat conductive sheet is annular shaped.
4. The template as recited in claim 3, wherein the supporting member is aluminum and theheat conductive sheet is brass.
5. A method of manufacturing a disc for a labelmaking machine using ultraviolet light to form images on label material, comprising the steps of:
forming windows in a rigid supporting member;
bonding a sheet or heat conductive material to a transparent plastic backing material;
forming a character template by etching the sheet of heat conductive material; and
bonding the character template to one side of the supporting member such that each 1 character formed therein is aligned within a window.
6. The method as recited in claim 5 wherein spacing slots are formed in said supporting member along with said windows and a proportional spacing template is etched from the heat conductive material alongwith the character template, said method including the steps of:
removing said proportional spacing template from said backing material; and
bonding said proportional spacing template to said supporting member to thereby alter the lengths of said spacing slots.
7. A disc for a label-making machine using ultraviolet light to form images on a label material, the combination comprising:
a supporting member made of a rigid"material adapted for use in label-making machines and having a plurality of windows and a corresponding plurality of slots formed therethrough; v
a relatively thin sheet of heat conductive metal attached to one side of the supporting imember to cover the windows, the heat conductive sheet having characters formed therethrough and aligned within the windows;
an ultraviolet light transmitting backing material attached to the one side of the supporting member to completely cover and protect said heat conductive sheet; and
a proportional spacing template attached to the support member, said spacing template:having portions which extend into each slot to thereby alter the length thereof in accordance with the width of the character aligned in the slots corresponding window.
8.- A method of manufacturing a disc for a labelmaking machine using ultraviolet light to form images on label material, comprising the steps of:
forming windows in a rigid supporting member;
forming spacing slots in said supporting member;
forming a character template and a proportional spacing template from a sheet of heat conductive material;
bonding the character template to one side of the supporting member such that each character formed therein is aligned within a window; and
bonding the proportional spacing template to the supporting member to thereby alter the lengths of the spacing slots.
9. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein'said character template and said proportional spacing template are formed in a single etching process.
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