WO2000078546A1 - Method and apparatus for sealing - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for sealing

Info

Publication number
WO2000078546A1
WO2000078546A1 PCT/US2000/016990 US0016990W WO0078546A1 WO 2000078546 A1 WO2000078546 A1 WO 2000078546A1 US 0016990 W US0016990 W US 0016990W WO 0078546 A1 WO0078546 A1 WO 0078546A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
wire
components
toner
surfaces
cartridge
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/016990
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Philip J. Miraglia
Original Assignee
Miraglia Philip J
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/02Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure
    • B29C65/34Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement"
    • B29C65/3472Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the composition of the heated elements which remain in the joint
    • B29C65/3476Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the composition of the heated elements which remain in the joint being metallic
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/02Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure
    • B29C65/34Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement"
    • B29C65/3404Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the type of heated elements which remain in the joint
    • B29C65/342Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the type of heated elements which remain in the joint comprising at least a single wire, e.g. in the form of a winding
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/01General aspects dealing with the joint area or with the area to be joined
    • B29C66/05Particular design of joint configurations
    • B29C66/10Particular design of joint configurations particular design of the joint cross-sections
    • B29C66/11Joint cross-sections comprising a single joint-segment, i.e. one of the parts to be joined comprising a single joint-segment in the joint cross-section
    • B29C66/112Single lapped joints
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/01General aspects dealing with the joint area or with the area to be joined
    • B29C66/05Particular design of joint configurations
    • B29C66/10Particular design of joint configurations particular design of the joint cross-sections
    • B29C66/13Single flanged joints; Fin-type joints; Single hem joints; Edge joints; Interpenetrating fingered joints; Other specific particular designs of joint cross-sections not provided for in groups B29C66/11 - B29C66/12
    • B29C66/131Single flanged joints, i.e. one of the parts to be joined being rigid and flanged in the joint area
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/50General aspects of joining tubular articles; General aspects of joining long products, i.e. bars or profiled elements; General aspects of joining single elements to tubular articles, hollow articles or bars; General aspects of joining several hollow-preforms to form hollow or tubular articles
    • B29C66/51Joining tubular articles, profiled elements or bars; Joining single elements to tubular articles, hollow articles or bars; Joining several hollow-preforms to form hollow or tubular articles
    • B29C66/54Joining several hollow-preforms, e.g. half-shells, to form hollow articles, e.g. for making balls, containers; Joining several hollow-preforms, e.g. half-cylinders, to form tubular articles
    • B29C66/542Joining several hollow-preforms, e.g. half-shells, to form hollow articles, e.g. for making balls, containers; Joining several hollow-preforms, e.g. half-cylinders, to form tubular articles joining hollow covers or hollow bottoms to open ends of container bodies
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/02Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure
    • B29C65/34Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement"
    • B29C65/3472Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the composition of the heated elements which remain in the joint
    • B29C65/3476Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the composition of the heated elements which remain in the joint being metallic
    • B29C65/348Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated elements which remain in the joint, e.g. "verlorenes Schweisselement" characterised by the composition of the heated elements which remain in the joint being metallic with a polymer coating
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/70General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts characterised by the composition, physical properties or the structure of the material of the parts to be joined; Joining with non-plastics material
    • B29C66/71General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts characterised by the composition, physical properties or the structure of the material of the parts to be joined; Joining with non-plastics material characterised by the composition of the plastics material of the parts to be joined

Abstract

A method for sealing component parts (11, 12) together by placing the component parts adjacent to each other, interposing an electrically resistive wire (20) between the parts and passing an electric current through the wire to cause the temperature of the wire to rise. When sealing component parts made of certain types of materials having a relatively low softening point, such as plastic or other polymeric material, the component parts are urged toward each other so that when the wire becomes heated it will cause the surface of each plastic component part in contact with the wire to soften. When sealing component parts made of other types of materials, such as glass, metal or other materials having relatively high softening points, the wire will have a coating of hot melt glue which will soften and adhere to the surfaces to be bonded when the electrical resistive wire is heated by passing a current through it.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SEALING

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of sealing components of various compositions or materials of construction together, and more particularly to a method and means for causing such components to be bonded and sealed together quickly, inexpensively and in such a manner that they can be readily unsealed and detached from

each other. In a particular application, the invention is used for sealing components of an ink or toner cartridge together.

There are of course numerous methods known in the art for sealing or

bonding various types of items together. These methods range from the use of a variety

of adhesives to various types of welding techniques. Depending upon the nature of the

items to be bonded together, the materials of construction of such items and the

requirements for such bonding, different techniques will be employed. When bonding

components together to form a container for housing liquids, fine powders, or other fluid

materials it is important that the seal between the components be absolute so that there is

no leakage of the fluid material through the sealed components . In many situations it is

desirable to have access to the interior of such a sealed container for replenishing the fluid

material. In such situations, it is sometimes necessary to separate previously sealed

components to gain access to the interior of the container and to then reseal the separated components after the container is refilled. Examples of such containers that contain fluid

material which is frequently replenished include battery casings, ink cartridges used in printing devices and toner cartridges which carry either liquid or fine powder toner for use in office copying machines.

For the sake of simplifying an understanding of the present invention, the

invention will be described and illustrated herein in connection with unsealing and resealing the major components of an office copier type of toner cartridge container which

components are constructed of polymeric materials. However, it should be understood that the principles of the invention are applicable to other types of components made or

constructed of any type of material having surfaces that are to be sealed or otherwise joined

together.

The development of the xerographic photocopying process has led to the

expansion of this copying technology to other devices, such as printers used with

computers. Devices using the xerographic printing or digital imaging systems frequently

use a dry fine powder toner, which is often supplied in a cartridge to be installed in a

printer or office copying machine from which toner is dispensed as required during printing

operation. Such cartridges typically include many structural components and functional

elements, such as toner hoppers, toner dispensing rollers, photo conductor rollers,

operating levers, etc., and are accordingly relatively costly to replace when the toner supply

is depleted. However, the rollers and other hardware which are generally included with

such cartridges, are often sufficiently durable to last through several refills of toner in a

given cartridge. Thus, the discarding of the cartridge and accompanying hardware when

the toner is depleted, is quite costly and wasteful. Manufacturers of such cartridges are well aware of this problem, but of course desire to maximize profits by selling new toner cartridges, complete with new rollers, platens, levers and other hardware, even though all that may be needed by the

customer is a fresh supply of toner within the cartridge. In fact, in at least some cases,

manufacturers of such cartridges have included features in the cartridge which complicate

the disassembly or opening of the cartridge for replenishment of the toner supply and seal

therein, in order to discourage the refilling and reuse of the cartridges by the consumer.

Many, if not most, users of such cartridges try to reuse their cartridges in order to reduce

expense; a refilled and reused cartridge may cost only one half or less than that of the price

of a new cartridge. However, the used cartridges must still be sent out to another facility,

or back to the manufacturer, for refilling since it requires disassembly of its components.

Accordingly, a number of devices have been proposed for facilitating the

opening of such cartridges in order to gain access to its interior to replenish the toner and

recycle such cartridges for reuse by the consumer. Examples of such devices are shown

in U.S. patents 5,223,068 and 5,407,518 to Baley and in patent 5,657,678 to Cohen. By

opening the cartridge along an existing seam as shown in the prior patents the cartridge

will be separated into its two major components which will have to be sealed together after

the cartridge is refilled with toner. In addition covering seals, used to prevent inadvertent

dispensing of toner until the cartridge is placed in use, will also have to be replaced.

Toner cartridges of the type shown and described in the above referenced

patents used for dispensing fine powder toner in office copying machines typically consist of two major components. One of the major components is a generally elongated housing or hopper having a generally N-shaped cross section. The open end of the hopper forms

a rectangularly shaped opening. The rectangle is defined by the top surfaces of the side and

end walls of the hopper. These top surfaces usually protrude to form a flange, thereby forming ledges on flanged surfaces. The other major component is a generally planar dispensing cover which rests on top of the rectangular opening and thus encloses the

hopper. The cover typically has a dispensing mechanism, which may include an opening

with dispensing rollers and other hardware for proper dispensing of the toner when the

cartridge is placed in use. A seal is usually positioned between the flanged surfaces of the

hopper and the dispensing cover in order to insure a seal between the surfaces of the cover

and the flanged surfaces of the hopper. Once the hopper is filled with toner powder the

dispensing cover is adhered to or otherwise sealed with the hopper thus retaining the toner

within the hopper and permitting it to be dispensed through the dispensing mechanism in

the cover. The components for cartridges of this type are usually made of a polymeric

material such as ABS plastic, or PVC resin. The dispenser cover is usually sealed to the

top surfaces of the hopper using a compatible adhesive or a welding technique. Once the

toner material carried within the hopper is depleted the cartridge becomes useless unless

it can be "opened" by removing the dispenser cover from the top side and end wall surfaces

of the hopper so that the hopper can be refilled for reuse. In order for the cartridge to

become usable again after being refilled, the dispenser cover must be resealed onto the top

side and end wall surfaces of the hopper in order to prevent leakage of the refilled toner. Prior techniques for resealing the dispenser cover onto the top side and end wall

surfaces of the hopper have included applying a hot melt glue in a bead along the top side and end wall surfaces of the hopper; using short metal clips spaced apart to hold the cover

in place on the top surface of the hopper, or using elongated rail type clips which extend the length of the top surface of the hopper for holding the cover in place. Other means of

sealing cartridge components together have included the use of acrylic adhesives or ultrasonic welding. None of these prior sealing techniques are satisfactory. The use of hot

melt glues or acrylic adhesives spread along the top surfaces of the hopper present a

number of problems. First, it is difficult to apply a bead of hot melt glue or acrylic

adhesive only to the surfaces to be adhered together without interfering with the proper

placement of a piece of film (the cover seal) typically positioned over a dispensing opening

in the dispenser cover used to seal the dispensing opening until the cartridge is ready for

reuse. The film is usually required to be removed before using the cartridge. In order to

accomplish the application of such adhesives effectively, costly and complicated traveling

devices must be used to uniformly dispense the adhesive in a consistent bead in the correct

locations. In addition, the use of an adhesive requires that the process be completed in a

very short period of time to avoid having the adhesive set prematurely. Accordingly, the

components to be sealed must be accurately positioned before the adhesive begins to

harden. Operating in such a short time period invariably results in errors.

The use of short metal clips or elongated clips has also been found to be

unsatisfactory. Such clips require that a gasket made of closed cell foam strips be placed

between the parts to be secured together in order to prevent toner from leaking between the assembled components. Surfaces usually have high and low spots and such an extensive use of gaskets to seal all of the mating surfaces of the hopper and the cover does not always ensure against leakage. Considerable time and effort is required to properly

align and position such foam gaskets. If the foam gasket is not properly cleaned prior to

the parts being reassembled, toner might tend to migrate through the gasket creating

undesirable leaks. Even if the difficulties of using foam gaskets are overcome, the use of

clips can cause damage or deformity of the cartridge along the toner applicator rollers thus

resulting in poor print quality. The use of clips also causes problems when attempting to

reuse a cartridge in an existing office copying machine. A clip placed in a specific area of

the cartridge along the top surface of the hopper may not allow the reassembled toner

cartridge to be correctly positioned in the copier. Misalignment of the cartridge within the

copier will result in poor print quality. In addition clips may fall off the cartridge resulting

in damage to the copy machine or may cause physical harm to a user as they frequently

have sharp edges. Such clips also create an unsightly appearance.

Finally, ultrasonic welding techniques require elaborate and expensive

welding equipment which while effective for certain types of materials are usually not cost

effective and can only be used on level surfaces.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly a general object of the present invention to overcome the

disadvantages of the foregoing sealing methods and to provide a method and means for

sealing component parts, whether they have even or uneven surfaces, together in a quick,

convenient and inexpensive manner. It is another general object of the invention to provide a method of sealing components made or constructed of any materials together which permits easy and rapid unsealing of the same components.

A further object of the invention is to provide a method for sealing

components together which overcomes the need for the use of a foam gasket.

A further more specific object of the present invention is to provide a quick

and convenient method for resealing the major components of toner cartridges together

after they have been separated to allow refilling of the cartridge with new toner material

so that the cartridge may be reused.

In one embodiment of the invention, a method of sealing components

together is accomplished by placing the components adjacent to each other, interposing

an electrically resistive wire between the parts and passing an electric current through the

wire to cause the wire to increase in temperature and soften the adjacent surfaces of the

parts to be joined so that they become welded together. In an alternative embodiment, the

wire is coated with an adhesive which will soften upon passing the electric current through

the wire causing it to bond with the surface of the parts to be joined.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide an electrically resistive wire

coated with a hot melt adhesive so that when an electric current passes through the wire

the adhesive will melt. Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description hereinafter.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is directed to a method for sealing component parts together

by placing the component parts adjacent to each other, interposing an electrically resistive

wire between the parts, and passing an electric current through the wire to cause the

temperature of the wire to rise. When sealing component parts made of certain types of

materials, having a relatively low softening point, such as plastics, the component parts are

urged toward each other so that when the wire becomes heated it will cause the plastic

component part in contact with the wire to soften. By applying a force to the softened parts

in order to urge them into contact with each other, the softened parts will be sealed

together. Removing the electric current from the wire will allow the wire and the parts to

cool so that the softened contact surfaces will harden forming a seal between them. When

sealing component parts made of other types of materials, such as glass, metal or other

materials having relatively high softening points, the wire will have a coating of hot melt

glue which will soften and adhere to the surfaces to be bonded when the electrically

resistive wire is heated by passing a current through it. The hot melt glue coating can also

be used when bonding low softening point materials, such as plastics.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Figure 1 is a partially exploded perspective view illustrating the major

components of a toner cartridge to be sealed together using the method of the present

invention; Figure 2 is a sectional view taken along lines II-II of figure 1 showing one embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E. 3F, 3G, 3H and 31 are plan views of one of the major components of the toner cartridge shown in figure 1 and illustrating nine different

arrangements for practicing the present invention;

Figure 4 is a sectional view similar to figure 2 showing an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 5 is a perspective view illustrating one embodiment of a resistive

wire with a coating of hot melt glue;

Figure 6 is a perspective view illustrating an alternative embodiment of a resistive wire coated with a hot melt glue;

Figures 7, 8, 9 and 10 are plan views illustrating further embodiments of a

resistive wire coated with hot melt adhesive; and

Figure 11 is perspective view of a toner cartridge illustrating the major

components of the toner cartridge shown in figure 1 after being resealed together using the

method of the present invention. DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As noted above, the present invention will be described in connection with the sealing and resealing of toner cartridge components. Figure 1 illustrates a typical toner

cartridge 10 of the type described in patents 5,223,068, 5,407,518 and 5,657,678. The cartridge is formed of two major components, a toner hopper 1 1 and a dispensing cover 12.

Cover 12 includes a toner dispenser mechanism 13. Hopper 1 1 has a generally V-shaped

cross section as illustrated in figure 2. The hopper has an interior region 14 for housing

toner material. The interior region 14 is defined by end walls 15 and 16 and elongated side

walls 17 which are integral with each other. The top edge surfaces of end walls 15 and 16

form top ledges or flanges 25 and 26 respectively. The elongated top edge surface of side

walls 17 forms elongated top ledges or flanges 27. When assembling cover 12 with hopper

1 1 it is critical that a narrow elongated peripheral border area 18, illustrated in dotted line,

of the cover 12 be sealed with the elongated top ledges 27 in order to prevent undesirable

leakage of toner from the hopper 1 1 when the cartridge is placed in use. The top ledges

25 and 26 are similarly sealed with the narrow peripheral end borders 19 of cover 12, or

the space between them can be filled with a gasket in order to prevent leakage of toner

from the ends. When the cartridge is placed into use in an office copier machine it will be

positioned such that the hopper 1 1 is oriented in a manner to permit the toner to be

dispensed through the dispensing mechanism 13 using gravity to assist in the dispensing

action. Accordingly, it is highly undesirable if any toner were to leak or otherwise pass

between perimeter surfaces 18 or 19 of the cover 12 and the top ledges 25, 26 or 27 of

hopper 11. Manufacturers have used a variety of techniques for sealing the cover 12 to the

hopper 11. As noted above, these techniques range from applying an adhesive to the

surfaces of perimeters 18 and 19 and to the surfaces of ledges 25, 26, 27, to using

expensive ultrasonic welding techniques to weld these surfaces together. For the reasons noted above, these various techniques have been either unsatisfactory or expensive to implement.

The present invention involves the use of an electrically resistive wire 20 positioned between the surfaces of the components to be joined. Depending on the

materials of construction of the components to be bonded, the wire 20 will be either bare

or may be coated with a hot melt adhesive, as described in further detail below. In the case

of bonding components made of polymeric materials which have a relatively low softening

point, a bare wire can be used. In figure 1 , electric wire 20 is shown as being placed along

one of the top ledges 27. When cover 12 is positioned for assembly with hopper 11, wire

20 will be positioned between the ledge 27 and perimeter 18 of cover 12 as more clearly

seen in figure 2. In operation, a device, such as a "C" clamp schematically illustrated in

figure 2 as reference numeral 21 or any other kind of device for applying or exerting

pressure on the cover 12 and hopper 1 1 to urge them toward each other, is positioned so

as to apply a force to cover 12 and hopper 1 1 in the areas of perimeter 18 and ledge 27

respectively in order to urge the facing surfaces together so that wire 20 will be in physical

contact with the surface of ledge 27 and the surface of cover 12 in the area of perimeter 18.

Upon passing an electric current through wire 20, diagrammatically indicated by plus and

minus signs at opposite ends of the wire, the wire 20 will become heated. In the case, as

described herein for bonding polymeric materials, such as the components of the toner

cartridge, a bare uncoated wire can be used which when heated will cause the material in

the areas of perimeter 18 and ledge 27 to soften. Good results are achieved using a 22

gauge nickel chromium alloy wire, known as nichrome, with an electrical resistance of

between 650 and 750 ohms per CMF (circular mill foot) which will heat up to about from

200°F to 400°F after a dwell time of about five seconds with approximately 40 volts applied across the wire. This will be sufficient to produce an adequate heating. As a result

of continued force applied by clamp 21 the softened surfaces will come in contact with

each other. Upon removal of the electric current from the bare electric wire, the wire will cool causing the contact areas of cover 12 and ledge 27 to cool and become welded together.

The electric wire whether bare or coated with a hot melt adhesive, can be

placed along only one of the longitudinal ledges 27, as illustrated in figure 1 , to seal the

surface of perimeter 18 with the surface of one of the longitudinal ledges 27. Similarly,

a wire 20 can be placed along both longitudinal ledges 27, as illustrated in figure 3 A,

which will result in sealing cover 12 with hopper 11 along both longitudinal sides. When

sealing only the longitudinal ledges 27 with cover 12, the transverse ledges 25 and 26 at

the top of end walls 15 and 16 respectively will be sealed using a foam gasket positioned

between the cover 12 in the area of perimeter 19 and the transverse ledges 25 and 26.

Alternatively, a wire 30 can be arranged in an L-shaped configuration, such as shown in

figure 3B to seal the cover 12 with hopper 1 1 along one of the longitudinal ledges 27 and

one of the transverse ledges 25 or 26. In this case, gaskets will be placed between the

facing surfaces of cover 12 and hopper 11 in the areas along the other longitudinal ledge

27 and the other transverse ledge. A U-shaped wire 40, as shown in figure 3C or a

rectangular shaped wire 50 shown in figure 3D, can be used to seal all the ledge surfaces

of hopper 1 1 with all the perimeter areas 18, 19 of cover 12. Figure 3E illustrates yet a

further arrangement of wires 20 for sealing transverse ledges 25 and 26 with perimeter areas 19 of cover 20; and figure 3F illustrates the use of a U-shaped wire 70 for sealing one of the longitudinal ledges 27 with a perimeter area 18, and the two transverse ledges 25 and 26 with perimeter area 19.

Alternative arrangements of the wire are illustrated in figures 3G, 3H and

31. In figure 3G wires 80 are placed along the longitudinal ledge 27 in a U-shaped configuration so that both exposed ends, indicated by + and - symbols will be located

adjacent each other for convenient placement of connections to a source of electrical

voltage. Figures 3H and 31 illustrate other arrangements of wires 81 and 82 for placement

along either of the longitudinal and transverse ledges.

While in most cases a traditional wire having a circular cross section, such

as indicated in figures 1 and 2, will achieve the purposes of the invention, an electrically

resistive wire, which is generally "flat", i.e., one having a cross section with an aspect ratio

of at least three to one, such as rectangular wire 60 illustrated in figure 4, may also be used

to create a wider or more effective heated zone. Good results are also achieved using a

nichrome flat wire having cross section dimensions of 0.008 inches by 0.062 inches.

The use of the electrically resistive wire in the manner described thus avoids

the need for a complete perimeter gasket.

An alternative embodiment of the invention is the use of a resistive wire

which is coated with a hot melt adhesive such as illustrated in figures 5 and 6. In figure

5, round wire 20 has a coating of hot melt adhesive 22. Figure 6 shows flat wire 60

provided with a coating of hot melt adhesive 23. The hot melt adhesive will be applied to the wire in a hardened and nonadhesive condition or allowed to harden, before the wire is placed for use. This will allow easy handling of the wire with the adhesive bonded to it. When using a resistive wire 20 or 60 having a coating of hot melt adhesive, passing an electric current through the wire will cause the wire to become heated resulting in the hot melt adhesive becoming soft to acquire adhesive quality so as to adhere to the components

being joined together. When the electric current is removed from the wire, it will rapidly

cool causing the hot melt adhesive to set and harden thus bonding the components together.

A wire of the same type as described above will also work well with a hot melt adhesive

coating when appropriate voltage is applied to it in order to soften the hot melt adhesive

coating to give it an adhesive quality. A wire having such a coating can be used for

bonding materials which have a higher softening point than plastics or other polymeric

material, but may also be used with polymeric materials, such as the toner cartridge components described above.

A wire, such as wires 90, 91, 92 and 93 illustrated in figures 7, 8, 9 and 10

respectively, each coated with hot melt adhesive 22, can be arranged so that the wire is

doubled over with both its exposed ends adjacent each other for easy and convenient

connection to a source of appropriate voltage. Wires 90, 91 , 92 and 93 in the appropriate

shape are coated with adhesive 22 by placing the wire between two sheets of dry adhesive

and cutting the adhesive, such as by die cutting, to conform to the shape of the wire.

Once the cover 12 is sealed or bonded to the hopper 11 as illustrated in

Figure 11, the ends 29 of the wire 20 can either be clipped or folded over the sealed

components into a position so that it will not interfere with the intended use of the cartridge 10 by the ultimate consumer.

Use of the method of the present invention for sealing the major components together through the application of heat applied by the use of an electrically resistive wire permits rapid and easy unsealing of the same components by once again

passing an electric current through the wire thus causing the wire to again become heated.

This results in softening the contact surfaces or the hot melt adhesive allowing easy

separation of the previously bonded components.

The invention has been described and illustrated in connection with certain

preferred embodiments which are illustrative of the principles of the invention. However,

it should be understood that various modifications and changes may readily occur to those

skilled in the art, and it is not intended to limit the invention to the construction and

operation of the embodiments shown and described herein. Accordingly, additional

modifications and equivalents may be considered by falling within the scope of the

invention as described by the claims herein below.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method for sealing together component parts comprising:
placing said component parts adjacent each other; interposing an electrically resistive wire between said component parts; applying a force to said component parts causing said component parts so as to urge said component parts toward each other and into physical contact with said wire along a contact surface of each said
component part; causing an electric current to pass through said wire in order to
raise the temperature of said wire above the softening point of the materials of
construction of said parts and to cause said contact surface of each part in contact
with said wire to reach its softening point; continuing to apply said force to said
component parts when said contact surfaces have reached said softening point so
that said softened parts will come in contact with each other and be sealed together;
and removing said electric current from said wire allowing said wire and said parts
to cool so that said softened contact surfaces will harden forming a seal there
between.
2. The method according to claim 1 , further comprising the step of coating said wire
with a hot melt adhesive prior to interposing said wire between said parts so that
upon passing said electric current through said wire said hot melt adhesive will
soften causing said parts to adhere together.
3. The method according to claim 2 wherein said electrically resistive wire has a
circular cross-section.
4. The method according to claim 2 wherein said electrically resistive wire has a rectangular cross-section.
5. The method according to claim 2 wherein said electrically resistive wire has a
cross-section with an aspect ratio of at least 3 to 1.
6. A method for bonding first and second components of a toner cartridge together,
said first and second components being constructed of polymeric material, said first
component comprising an open hopper having two opposing side walls and two
opposing end walls, said side walls and said end walls having exposed edge
surfaces defining an opening to the interior of said hopper; said second component
comprising a cover having a dispensing mechanism for dispensing toner material
housed within said first component when said second component is assembled with
said first component to cover said opening, said second component having planar
surfaces arranged to fit complimentary with said exposed edge surfaces of said side
and end walls, wherein said method comprises the step of placing an electrically
resistive wire between said planar surfaces of said second component and at least
one exposed edge surface of said first component with the ends of said wire
exposed for connection to a source of electrical current; urging said first and
second components toward each other; and passing an electric current through said
electrically resistive wire causing said wire to become heated to a temperature
which will produce softening of the material of said first and second components
whereby said softened material of said first and second components will adhere to
each other and to said wire; and removing said electric current from said wire causing said wire to cool causing said softened material of said first and second components to harden and bond to each other.
7. The method according to claim 6 further comprising the step of cutting said exposed ends of said wire after said wire has cooled and said components have become bonded together.
8. The method according to claim 6 further comprising the step of bending said
exposed ends of said wire along an outside surface of at least one of said
components after said wire has cooled and said components have become bonded together.
9. The method according to claim 6 further comprising the step of coating said wire
with a hot melt adhesive which is in a nonadhering condition at room temperature
prior to placing said wire between said first and second components, whereby said
hot melt adhesive will soften into an adhesive condition when said wire is heated
in order to bond with the facing surfaces of said first and second components.
10. The method according to claim 6 wherein an electrically resistive wire is placed
between said planar surfaces of said second component and at least two of said
exposed edges.
11. The method according to claim 10 wherein said two exposed edges are the exposed
edges of said two opposing side walls.
12. The method according to claim 1 1 wherein said exposed ends of said wire are located at opposite ends of said side walls.
13. The method according to claim 11 wherein said exposed ends of said wire are located at the same end of said side walls.
14. The method according to claim 10 wherein said two exposed edges are the exposed
edge of one of said side walls and one of said end walls.
15. The method according to claim 6 wherein an electrically resistive wire is placed
between said planar surfaces of said second component and the exposed edges of
said two opposing side walls and at least one of said end walls.
16. The method according to claim 15 wherein said electrically resistive wire is placed
between said planar surfaces of said second component and the exposed edges of
said two opposing side walls and said two opposing end walls.
17. The method according to claim 6 further comprising the step of placing a closed
cell foam gasket between said planar surfaces of said second component and the
exposed edges of said first component that have no wire placed there between.
18. An electrically resistive wire coated with a hot melt adhesive which does not have
adhesive characteristics at room temperature and which will soften and become tacky to acquire adhesive quality upon passing an electric current through said wire
for use in bonding components together according to the method of claim 2.
19. The electric wire according to claim 18 wherein said wire has an electrical resistance of sufficient value to cause said wire to become heated and thereby render said hot melt adhesive to acquire adhesive quality upon applying an appropriate voltage to said wire.
20. The electric wire according to claim 18 wherein said wire has a resistance value of between 650 and 750 ohms per CMF.
21. The electric wire according to claim 20 wherein the ends of said wire are placed
adjacent each other.
PCT/US2000/016990 1999-06-22 2000-06-21 Method and apparatus for sealing WO2000078546A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US33799899 true 1999-06-22 1999-06-22
US09/337,998 1999-06-22

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2000078546A1 true true WO2000078546A1 (en) 2000-12-28

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Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
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