SELF-ALIGNING PROFILE TRACK
Original Publication Date: 2000-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Robotic actuators in automated storage libraries and other mobile mechanical entities may need communication cables routed to them. These cables would need to be supported so that they would not fatigue and fail under repetitive mechanical motion. This article shows how flat-cable 10 is supported in profile track 20. Figure 1 gives an end view of this profile track. Seen from an end, profile track 20 has a C-shaped cross-section and cable 10 rests inside of it. Figure 2 shows a side view of profile track 20. Along each side of the profile track are a series of holes 21. Beginning at each hole 21 is a slit 22. These slits allow the profile track to be flexible due to a bending-moment in the +Y direction according to the right-hand rule, or +My. When such a +My bending-moment is applied to the profile track, the slits 22 open up. This allows the profile track to bend around a radius, which could be a capstan on the robotic actuator. However, when a bending-moment is applied in the -Y direction, or -My, the profile track is structurally stable and can be expected to maintain itself as an unsupported beam for some distance. Thus, the cable 10 can be bent around radii or supported across distances by the profile track 20. This lengthens the life of cable 10. Profile track 20 is preferably made out of flexible thermoplastic material. Stress concentrations are inversely proportional to the radius of the removed material. Thus, slits 22 would have large stress concentrations were it not for holes 21. Holes 21, with their large radii, act as stress-concentration reducers, so that repetitive flexure due to the +My bending-moments does not fracture the plastic comprising profile track 20.