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The Micro-Adjustable Circuit Panel Gripper System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000101038D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-16
Document File: 4 page(s) / 155K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Larnerd, JM: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

This system is used for the automated, or robotic handling, of circuit boards. Its purpose is to provide a means of handling circuit panels of any size or shape within, for example, a 12" x 13" to a 19" x 21" panel dimension range.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

The Micro-Adjustable Circuit Panel Gripper System

       This system is used for the automated, or robotic
handling, of circuit boards.  Its purpose is to provide a means of
handling circuit panels of any size or shape within, for example, a
12" x 13" to a 19" x 21" panel dimension range.

      This gripper system adjusts to any size circuit panel, within
the physical constraint, with no hardware or tooling changes.  It
expands or retracts automatically to "fit itself" to a certain sized
circuit panel (Fig. 1) with little or no adjustability.

      The miniature vacuum cups that are mounted on two sides of the
outer edges of the unit provide the suction required to pick up the
various panels (Fig. 2).  These vacuum cups are strategically located
to contact the circuit panels only on the non-circuitized outer edges
of the panel.  The outer edge vacuum-cup placement also provides the
stability needed when handling rather large flat objects, primarily
because this is where there is the most leverage available to handle
the panel.

      The gripper system has ultrasonic sensing capability. The
ultrasonic transducers are mounted in the center cavity of the unit
(Fig.  2).  This sensing capability gives the gripper system a "sense
of touch".  The sound pulses transmitted and received by the
transducers reflect off any type of surface, therefore indicating the
distance to, or the presence of an object.  Flexibility is built into
this gripper system by using the center cavity as a location for
other sensors and sensing devices.

      The micro-adjustable gripper system has four major parts: the
adjustable frame unit, the motion control hardware, sensing
capabilities, and the pneumatic system.

      The Adjustable Frame Unit The frame of the gripper system is
constructed using rigid structural foam, which has a light weight,
but rigid characteristics.  Sections of the frame were fabricated by
bonding the structural foam pieces to form three sections: a center
piece and two side units.  The center piece contains all control
hardware and provides a foundation from which gripper motion can
occur (expansion or contraction).

      The Motion Control Hardware The motion control equipment
provides the system adjustability.  This equipment has a servo motor,
two lead screws, and two pulley systems (Fig. 2).  The servo motor is
located in the center part of the gripper system and is coupled
directly to both lead screws using a pair of pulley drive belt
systems.  Thi...