|Publication number||USRE40598 E1|
|Application number||US 11/322,203|
|Publication date||Dec 2, 2008|
|Filing date||Dec 28, 2005|
|Priority date||Jun 1, 1998|
|Publication number||11322203, 322203, US RE40598 E1, US RE40598E1, US-E1-RE40598, USRE40598 E1, USRE40598E1|
|Original Assignee||Microboards Technology, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (110), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (9), Classifications (13), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention is a continuation-in-part of commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/088,652, filed Jun. 1, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,337,842 B1.
This invention relates to memory storage disk handling systems and particularly to systems for handling, printing, duplicating or replicating compact disks, DVD's, and the like.
Disk handling systems typically move a single disk between a stack of disks and a workstation. Such systems are particularly useful for handling memory storage disks such as CD's, DVD's and the like. Common memory storage disk handling systems include data writers, label printers, or both.
Some disk handling systems employ robotic arms to handle the disks. Others rely upon a gantry, or double gantry system. Many systems slide disks from the top of a stack, or robotically lift disks from the top of the stack. Sliding disks from a stack may scratch the surface of the disk. Robotically lifting the disks from the stack may prevent scratches when the robot functions properly.
One drawback to robotic arms and gantry systems is that they have moving parts, which wear. Wear can ultimately can cause system misalignment and failure of a gantry or robotic arm over time. Accordingly, the known robotic arm and gantry systems should be carefully maintained.
While the typical memory storage device systems are effective, users may desire more throughput, i.e. an increase in the number of disks handled per hour, and less maintenance. Accordingly, what is desired is a reliable way of increasing the throughput of a typical disk handling system. What is also desired is a low-maintenance memory storage device handling system.
A memory storage disk handling system includes a housing with a hopper for holding disks. The system has an elevator pin, linkage and a servo motor mounted on the housing. The linkage attaches between the servo motor and the elevator pin. The servo motor rotates the arm to lift the elevator pin and deliver memory storage disks into the hopper. Preferably the linkage is a single arm and the servo motor causes the arm to cam against the elevator pin to lift the elevator pin.
The hopper defines a base and includes more than one pawl for holding lifted disks, thereby preventing the stacked disks from falling out of the hopper.
According to one aspect of the invention, the servo motor includes a shaft and the linkage includes a single arm. The arm has a fixed end and a moveable end. The fixed end is fixed with respect to the shaft and pivots when the shaft rotates. The moveable end includes a cam surface that cams against the elevator pin to lift the elevator pin. Rotation of the servo motor shaft pivots the arm to lift the elevator pin.
The elevator pin includes an axis that aligns with the force of gravity. The elevator pin reciprocates in the direction of the axis to lift disks up and down.
According to an aspect of the invention, the stack retainer includes three posts oriented to surround lifted disks. Each post includes a hollow portion, and the pawls are mounted at least partially within the hollow portions of the posts. Accordingly when the elevator pin lifts a disk, the disk contacts the pawls and lifts the pawls into the hollow portions of the posts. As the disk further lifts past the pawls, the pawls slide to extend out of the hollow portions. The elevator pin then lowers, seating the disk on the pawls. This process repeats to up-stack a number of disk in the hopper.
FIG. 16 and
FIG. 32 and
FIG. 34 and
FIG. 36 and
FIG. 38 and
The housing 32 encloses a CD recorder for writing data on disks. The disk dispenser 38 dispenses disks 40 into the recorder. When data writing is complete, the turntable 36 rotates and accepts the written disk is a selected hopper. Further rotation of the turntable 36 enables the disk dispenser 38 to dispense another disk into the CD recorder, repeating the data writing process.
The turntable 36 includes embedded magnets 35. The sensor 33 detects the magnets 35 to enable the system to recognize when the turntable 36 is in a desired rotational position with respect to the housing 32.
The disk dispenser 38 of the present invention is useful in conjunction recording data on memory storage disks such as compact disks, and duplicating compact disks. It can be appreciated, however, that a variety of media including optical or magnetic memory storage media may be dispensed and duplicated in accordance with the present invention. According to one variation of the invention, the housing 32 encloses a CD printer for printing indicia on disk surfaces and the disk dispenser 38 dispenses disks to the CD printer.
The disk dispenser 38 mounts on the turntable 36 adjacent one opening 43 to dispense disks through the turntable 36. The outer posts 54 cooperate with the central post 52 to define the hopper 46 which guides disks into the disk dispenser 38.
The central post 52 aligns with the turntable axis 44. The outer posts 54, 56 and 58 are positioned co-radially with respect to the turntable axis 44. The outer posts 56 and 58 cooperate with the central post 52 to surround the respective turntable openings 43 and to define the reject hopper 48 and accept hopper 50, respectively.
Although outer posts 54, 56 and 58 cooperate with the central post 52 to define the hoppers 46, 48 and 50 and provide a light weight structure to guide disks, one can appreciate that hoppers may assume any of a number of configurations. A cylindrical wall may define a hopper, for example. Also for example, a helical coil, or by another structure having a lightweight design could define the hopper.
The upper guide 60, the lower guide 62 and the plate 64 each define a generally circular opening to enable a disk to pass through the disk dispenser 38. Each opening is sized for a disk to pass through when the disk parallels the plate 64. The upper guide 60 and the lower guide 62 are axially offset from each other so that a portion of the rim 72 of lower guide 62 stops disks which may fall thorough the upper guide 60 towards the lower guide 62. The opposing edge 75 diametrically opposes the support lip 74. The support lip 74 cooperates with the opposing edge 75 to hold a disk on the lower guide 62. The plate 64 slidably mounts between the upper guide 60 and the lower guide 62 to selectively pass disks stopped by the lower guide 40 through the lower guide 62.
The pin 70 extends between the lower guide 62 and the upper guide 60 to retain the spring 68. The plate 64 includes a pair of holes 78, which align with respective fasteners 76. The fasteners 76 extend through the upper guide 60, the plate 64 and the lower guide 62 to hold the upper guide 60 and the lower guide 62 together. The fasteners 76 retain the plate 64 between the upper guide 60 and the lower guide 62. The fasteners 76 align the plate 64 relative to the upper guide 60 and the lower guide 62 when the plate 64 slides.
The lower guide 62 includes a groove 71. The spring 68 is a coil spring having two ends. The spring 68 lies in the groove 71. The pin 70 inserts perpendicularly into the groove 71. Accordingly, one end of the spring 68 contacts the pin 70. The spring 68 biases the plate 64 in a desired position. According to one aspect of the invention, the spring 68 offsets the plate 64 from the lower guide 62 to enable the lower guide 62 to support a disk.
The plate 64 has a shoulder with an edge 80. The edge 80 contacts the other end of the spring 68. The spring 68 biases the plate 64 into a desired position relative to the lower guide 62. When the plate 64 slides towards the pin 70, the spring 68 dampens movement of the plate 64. The plate 64 has a generally uniform thickness “t”. The thickness “t” approximates the thickness of an individual disk to be dispensed so that when the plate 64 slides, only one disk is dispensed.
The upper guide 60 has an opening with an axis 83. The axis 82 of the lower guide 62 opening is axially offset from the axis 83 of the upper guide 60 opening.
According to one aspect of the invention, the elevator pin 98 is a single unit. According to another aspect of the invention, the elevator pin 98 has multiple components, which extend and retract.
A single elevator pin cycle is completed when the elevator pin 98 retracts and the arm 104 withdraws. At this point in the cycle, the turntable 36 rotates. Rotation of the turntable 36 enables a subsequent cycle of the elevator pin 98 to lift the disk 40 back onto the turntable 36, for example.
The central post 52 of the feed hopper 46 includes a recessed portion 130, an extended portion 132 and an adjustable set screw 133. The recessed portion 130 is adjacent the upper guide 60 to feed disks, in horizontal alignment with the plate 64, from the feed hopper 46 to the upper guide 60. The set screw 133 rotatably extends through the central post 52 to adjust the distance at which the extended portion 132 extends from the central post 52 and insures proper feeding of disks from the feed hopper 46 to the upper guide 60.
The extended portion 132 angles disks stacked in the feed hopper 46 with respect to the plate 64. Angling disks within the feed hopper 46 minimizes forces caused by disk weight on the disk dispenser 38, and particularly on the plate 64. Minimizing such forces enables multiple disks to be stacked in the feed hopper 46 and optimizes reliability of the disk dispenser.
The ends 120 of the disk clips 108 are angled to contact primarily the outer edge 114 of the disk 40. The angled ends 120 align the disk 40 in parallel with the turntable 36 as the disk passes through the turntable 36. This alignment insures that the disk 40 will not flutter on the elevator pin 98 when the elevator pin 98 extends to lift the disk 40 through the turntable 36. The elevator pin 98 retracts to place the disk 40 on to the disk clips 108.
Repeating the process shown in
The tray 126 includes an opening 128 to enable the elevator pin 98 to extend through the turntable 36, via the tray 126. The hard drive 124 couples with the recorder 122 to deliver data to be written. A controller including a circuit board within the housing regulates operation of the hard drive 124, the recorder 122, the linkage 102 and the turntable 36.
According to one aspect of the invention, the recorder 122 is a Compact Disk Recorder, a DVD recorder, or the like. Preferably, the housing 32 of
The transparent cover 204 is split and includes hinges 206 to enable the cover 204 to open and close without requiring removal of the cover from the housing. The cover 204 is transparent to enable inspection of the disk duplicating and printing apparatus 200 during operation.
While the turntable and disk dispenser are shown in conjunction with a recorder and a printer, it can be appreciated that the turntable and dispenser can be used in any of a number of operations which are performed on memory storage disks, including cleaning, polishing, re-recording, packaging, and reading, etc.
The elevator pin 98 extends and retracts. The recorder 212 includes a tray 228. The tray 228 includes a central opening to allow the elevator pin to extend through. A portion of the tray 220 is bifurcated to form a U shaped opening. Bifurcation of at least a portion the tray 220 enables the tray 220 to extend and retract when the elevator pin 98 extends. Accordingly, the tray 220 can extend or retract independently of the relative position of the elevator pin 98.
The tray 220 of the printer 214 and the tray 228 of the recorder 212 oppose each other. This is not the only possible configuration. Conceivably, the recorder trays and printer trays can radially align, or stack above an appropriately configured elevator pin in accordance with the present invention.
The turntable 36 rotates to position the disk dispenser 38 above the elevator pin 98, another disk 40 is dispensed, and the elevator pin 98 lowers the newly dispensed disk to the recorder 212 to repeat the sequence shown in FIG. 23-
It can be appreciated that the disk recorders 212 are but one example of a workstation type, which can be used in accordance with the present invention. For example, the disk recorders 212 may be replaced with disk printers, disk cleaners, disk surface testing devices and other useful devices in accordance with the present invention.
Although the elevator pin 98 aligns with the central axis 301, it can be appreciated that depending on relative position of the disk recorders 212 and the turntable, the elevator pin 98 may be positioned adjacent any of the disk recorders 212. According to another variation, multiple elevator pins 98 may be used. In accordance with the present invention, the elevator pin 98 may be laterally moveable to lift disks from any of the disk recorders 212. Alternatively, the recorders 212 may be moveable, laterally for example, to enable the elevator pin 98 to lift disks from the recorders 212.
The cylindrical sleeves coaxially align and slide with respect to each other to enable the elevator pin 98 to telescope from a retracted configuration to an extended configuration. The spring member 306 contacts least one sleeve and wraps helically around the alignment pin 308 to bias the sleeves apart. The intermediate sleeve 304 slidably retains the alignment pin 308.
The fixed sleeve 302 is affixed to the housing and has an outside diameter, which is relatively smaller than the working sleeve 310 outside diameter. The working sleeve 310 includes fasteners 312. The fasteners 312 attach to the mechanical linkage 102 (
Elevator pin 98 extension is a two-stage process. During the first stage, the working sleeve 310 slides along the intermediate sleeve 304. The spring member 306 biases the intermediate sleeve 308 in a fixed position within the fixed sleeve 302. The second stage begins when the working sleeve 310 extends to reach a maximum extension relative to the intermediate sleeve. The spring member 306 lengthens and allows the intermediate sleeve 304 to slide. The intermediate sleeve 304 slides within the fixed sleeve 302 to enable the working sleeve 310 to extend. Accordingly the working sleeve 310 cooperates with the intermediate sleeve 304 to enables optimal extension of the elevator pin 98 while maintaining precise alignment between the working sleeve 310 and the fixed sleeve 302 during both the initial and later stages of elevator pin 98 extension.
FIG. 34 and
The housing 402 defines a base 416 and a hopper generally designated with the reference numeral 418. The hopper 418 functions to hold memory storage disks in a stack, preferably a vertical stack.
The hopper 418 has a stack retainer including posts 420. Three posts 420 define a periphery of the hopper 418. The base 416 is planar and the posts 420 extend perpendicularly with respect to the base 416.
The hopper 418 includes a bottom 422 with an opening 424 for enabling the elevator pin 404 to extend from below the hopper 418, through the bottom of the hopper 418. The hopper 418 has a lateral opening 426 defined on the periphery of the hopper 418 near the bottom 422 of the hopper 418. Disks feed through the lateral opening 426 to rest near the bottom 422 of the hopper 418 on the elevator pin 404. The elevator pin 404 lifts resting disks into the stack retainer portion of the hopper 418, which is the portion of the hopper 418 situated above the lateral opening 426.
Each post 420 includes a pawl slot 430, a pawl pin 432 and a pawl 436. Each pawl 436 includes first end with a hook 438 for holding disks. Each pawl 436 includes a second end inserted into the pawl slot 430. The pawl pin 432 extends through the second end of each pawl 436 to slideably hold each pawl 436 in one of the pawl slots 430.
Each pawl 436 has pin opening 440 for receiving a pawl pin 432 and enabling the pawl 436 to slide between an extended position where the hook 438 extends from the post 420 to a retracted configuration where a portion of the second end of the pawl 436 extends into the pawl slot 430. The pawls 436 hold disks in the extended configuration and, in the retracted configuration the pawls 436 enable the elevator pin 404 to lift disks into a stack from the bottom.
The sensor 410 for detects the position of the elevator pin 404 with respect to the base 416. The sensor 410 includes the mechanical arm 434, which engages a portion of the elevator pin 404 to directly measure the position of the elevator and 404. Although a sensor with the mechanical arm is used in accordance with the present invention a can be appreciated that the position sensor can also include an optical sensor element or a magnetic sensor element.
Although only a few disks are shown in the stack 454. The present invention is intended to lift a multitude of disks. For example, one hundred or more disks can be lifted by the elevator pin 404 in accordance with the present invention.
The linkage assembly 408 includes an arm 466 that mechanically connects the servomotor shaft 464 to the elevator pin 404. The arm 466 has two ends 474 and 476. The end 474 fixedly mounts on the shaft 464 of the servomotor 406. The motor 406 rotates the shaft 464 to pivot the arm 466.
The elevator pin 404 defines an axis 468 that is perpendicular to the base 416 and parallels the force of gravity. The end 474 of the arm 466 cams against the elevator pin 404 to selectively lift and lower the elevator pin 404 along the axis 468.
The elevator pin 404 includes a slot 470 near the base of the elevator pin 404. The slot 470 parallels the base 416 and defines an internal cam surface 472. The end 476 of the arm 466 includes a cam pin 478 that extends through the arm 466 to engage the cam surface 472 of the slot 470. The cam pin 478 slides against the cam surface 472 to selectively lift or lower the elevator pin 404. According to one aspect of the invention, the cam pin 478 includes cylindrical roller that cams against the elevator pin 404.
The arm 466 includes several connection points 480 that enable the cam pin 478 to attach to any of the several connection points 480. The connection points 480 facilitate adjustment of the linkage assembly 408 to achieve precise movement of the elevator pin 404. The cam motor 406 is regulated to precisely rotate the arm 466 over a predetermined angle to lift and lower the elevator pin 404.
It can be appreciated that although the elevator pin 404 includes a cam slot 470, that the present invention does not necessarily require a slot 470 to achieve precise movement of the elevator pin 404.
The cam pin 478 and the elevator pin 404 are adapted, according to an alternate aspect of the invention, to engage a bottom portion of the elevator pin 404. A further alternative include configuring the elevator pin 404 with a protruding cam surface that extends from the periphery of the elevator pin 404 and engages the cam pin 478 to lift the elevator pin 404.
According to one aspect of the invention at least one guide 484 that attaches to the base 416 to guide the elevator pin 404. The guide 484 prevents rotation of the elevator pin 404 for about the axis 468.
While the present invention is described in terms of preferred embodiments, there are many possible variations of the invention that are possible. For example, the linkage can be modified to have an elliptical or other curved cam bud, instead of the cam arm shown in the drawings. Also, placement of the servo motor can change, having an appropriate power train for delivering power to the cam that lifts the elevator pin. Accordingly, the invention is to be limited only by the appended claims.
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|US7870570 *||Jul 13, 2006||Jan 11, 2011||Microboards Technology, Llc||Disk elevator system|
|US8006865 *||Aug 30, 2011||Shu-Yuan Lee||Disc feeding apparatus|
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|US20090179043 *||Jul 16, 2009||Shu-Yuan Lee||Disc Feeding Apparatus|
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|US20130092703 *||Oct 17, 2012||Apr 18, 2013||Ice House America, Llc||Collapsible Containers, Collapsible Container Dispensers, and Methods of Dispensing a Collapsible Container|
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|U.S. Classification||720/619, 369/30.57, 414/795.3, 414/794.9, 369/30.55, 369/30.6, 369/30.34|
|International Classification||G11B17/08, B65G57/30|
|Cooperative Classification||G11B17/10, G11B17/022|
|European Classification||G11B17/022, G11B17/10|
|Feb 24, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Apr 1, 2016||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|