WO2015126323A1 - Conductor twisting apparatus - Google Patents

Conductor twisting apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2015126323A1
WO2015126323A1 PCT/SG2014/000075 SG2014000075W WO2015126323A1 WO 2015126323 A1 WO2015126323 A1 WO 2015126323A1 SG 2014000075 W SG2014000075 W SG 2014000075W WO 2015126323 A1 WO2015126323 A1 WO 2015126323A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
rotary
jaw
gripper
twist
conductors
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/SG2014/000075
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Aik Tze YONG
Hee Meng HONG
Original Assignee
Practical Solution Pte Ltd
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
Application filed by Practical Solution Pte Ltd filed Critical Practical Solution Pte Ltd
Priority to PCT/SG2014/000075 priority Critical patent/WO2015126323A1/en
Publication of WO2015126323A1 publication Critical patent/WO2015126323A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01BCABLES; CONDUCTORS; INSULATORS; SELECTION OF MATERIALS FOR THEIR CONDUCTIVE, INSULATING OR DIELECTRIC PROPERTIES
    • H01B13/00Apparatus or processes specially adapted for manufacturing conductors or cables
    • H01B13/02Stranding-up
    • H01B13/0207Details; Auxiliary devices
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H51/00Forwarding filamentary material
    • B65H51/18Gripping devices with linear motion
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H2701/00Handled material; Storage means
    • B65H2701/30Handled filamentary material
    • B65H2701/34Handled filamentary material electric cords or electric power cables
    • B65H2701/341Handled filamentary material electric cords or electric power cables in a manufacturing process

Abstract

A conductor twisting apparatus and a method for making a twisted wire product are provided, the conductor twisting apparatus comprises a first rotary member (506) for holding one end of at least two conductors; a second rotary member (508) for holding an opposite end of said at least two conductors, the second rotary member being disposed substantially directly opposite the first rotary member; a force sensor for sensing force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member and for providing a force signal; wherein the first rotary member and the second rotary member are configured to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path (514) disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member; wherein the first rotary member is configured to rotate in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member.

Description

CONDUCTOR TWISTING APPARATUS
TECHNICAL FIELD
The present disclosure relates broadly to a conductor twisting apparatus and to a method for making a twisted wire product.
BACKGROUND
A twisted pair of wires ("twisted pair wire") is typically two conductors/wires with the wires wound around each other, or being two halves of a single conductor/wire twisted together in a helical manner. One purpose of twisted pair wiring is to cancel out electromagnetic interference (EMI). In twisted pair wires, the electromagnetic interference of the wires mutually interfere and cancel out each other since they are arranged to be 180 degrees out of phase. Examples of EMI include electromagnetic radiation/interference from unshielded twisted pair cables and crosstalk between neighboring wire pairs.
Twisted pair wires are used in areas such as production of cable harnesses for motor vehicle manufacture, telecommunication systems and local area networks (LAN) for transmitting data at high frequency etc. One advantage of twisted pair wires in such applications is low cost as compared to using other types of wires such as coaxial or fibre optic cables. For a twisted pair wire to be functional, parameters such as length of lay (pitch) and lay symmetry are typically measured to be within preset tolerance values for cancelling out EMI. Twisted pair wires may be produced using manual, semi-automatic or fully- automatic processes. The steps for producing a twisted pair wire typically comprise a preparation phase and a twisting phase. In the preparation phase, individual wires are typically prepared by cutting the wires to a pre-determined length and further processed by stripping away a portion of the insulation and/or providing an electrical connection element on at least one end of each wire. In the twisting phase, the individual wires are typically mounted in parallel by securing first ends of the wires in a stationary position. The opposite ends (from the first ends) of the wires are secured at a single rotatable device. During twisting, the rotatable device rotates to twist the wires. One consideration for such twisting is how to accommodate the shortening length of wires and tension within the wires caused by the twisting process.
As the demand for twisted pair wires increases, there is a desire to increase output of twisted pair wires produced per unit time. One solution is to increase the number of twisting apparati running simultaneously. However, increasing the number of apparati gives rise to increased costs and maintenance of the equipment.
Another solution is to improve the speed of the twisting apparati. However, such an approach may be dangerous because the preparation, loading and twisting processes in current technology are at capacity. For example, the rotation speed of rotatable devices for twisting is presently operating at relatively high rotation speeds. Increasing speeds may be difficult due to technical limitations and safety concerns. Thus, there is a need for a conductor twisting apparatus and a method for making a twisted wire product that seek to address at least one of the above problems.
SUMMARY
In accordance with an aspect, there is provided a conductor twisting apparatus, the apparatus comprising, a first rotary member for holding one end of at least two conductors; a second rotary member for holding an opposite end of said at least two conductors, the second rotary member being disposed substantially directly opposite the first rotary member; a force sensor for sensing force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member and for providing a force signal; wherein the first rotary member and the second rotary member are configured to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member; wherein the first rotary member is configured to rotate in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member.
The apparatus may further comprise the first rotary member being configured to be movable with respect to the second rotary member based on the force signal.
The apparatus may further comprise at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to move along a track substantially parallel to the twist path.
The apparatus may further comprise the first rotary member being configured to rotate with a synchronised rotational speed as compared to a rotational speed of the second rotary member. The apparatus may further comprise at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to rotate with a variable rotational speed based on the force signal.
The apparatus may further comprise a first twisting motor for driving the first rotary member and a second twisting motor for driving the second rotary member.
The apparatus may further comprise the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to rotate simultaneously. The apparatus may further comprise, at least one draw-in gripper for retrieving along a draw-in path said at least two conductors; at least one transfer member for transferring said at least two conductors from said at least one draw-in gripper to the first rotary member and the second rotary member; wherein said at least one transfer member is configured to be movable to a standby position between the draw-in path and the twist path.
The apparatus may further comprise, one or more treating stations for treating one or both ends of said at least two conductors; and one or more swivel members for holding said one or both ends of said at least two conductors and for movably presenting said one or both ends of said at least two conductors at the one or more treating stations.
In accordance with another aspect, there is provided a rotary member for use with a conductor twisting apparatus as described in the preceding aspect, the rotary member comprising, a first jaw member and a second jaw member for forming a gripper to receive an end of at least two conductors; wherein the first jaw member and the second jaw member are angularly coupled together such that the gripper is biased closed. The rotary member may further comprise a first link member coupled to the first jaw member, the first jaw member being capable of rotating about a first pivot point along the first jaw member; a second link member coupled to the second jaw member, the second jaw member being capable of rotating about a second pivot point along the second jaw member; wherein the first link member and the second link member are angularly coupled together at a connection point such that the gripper is biased in a closed position; and wherein the first jaw member and the second jaw member are configured to pivot about the first and second pivot points respectively to open the gripper upon a compressive translational force being applied at the connection point. The rotary member may further comprise the first jaw member and the second jaw member being configured to have respective centres of gravity substantially through the first and second pivot points respectively.
The rotary member may further comprise a cylinder configured for applying the compressive translational force to the connection point to bias the gripper open.
The rotary member may further comprise the cylinder further configured for applying an expansionary translational force to the connection point to facilitate biasing the gripper to the closed position.
The rotary member may further comprise a securing collar movable between a twist mode position and a transfer mode position; wherein in the twist mode position, the securing collar is disposed over the first pivot point and the second pivot point to maintain the gripper in the closed position. The rotary member may further comprise a twist head cover extendable to and from a cavity within the gripper; wherein the twist head cover is capable of maintaining in position the end of said at least two conductors. In accordance with another aspect, there is provided a method for making a twisted wire product, the method comprising, holding one end of at least two conductors using a first rotary member; holding an opposite end of said at least two conductors using a second rotary member; disposing the second rotary member substantially directly opposite the first rotary member; rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member, the rotating of the first rotary member being in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member; sensing force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member using a force sensor; and providing a force signal using the force sensor.
The method may further comprise moving the first rotary member with respect to the second rotary member based on the force signal. The method may further comprise moving at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member along a track substantially parallel to the twist path.
The method may further comprise rotating the first rotary member with a synchronised rotational speed as compared to a rotational speed of the second rotary member.
The method may further comprise rotating at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member with a variable rotational speed based on the force signal.
The method may further comprise driving the first rotary member using a first twisting motor and driving the second rotary member using a second twisting motor.
The method may further comprise rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member simultaneously. The method may further comprise, retrieving along a draw-in path said at least two conductors using at least one draw-in gripper; transferring said at least two conductors from said at least one draw-in gripper to the first rotary member and the second rotary member using at least one transfer member; and moving said at least one transfer member to a standby position between the draw-in path and the twist path.
The method may further comprise, treating one or both ends of said at least two conductors using one or more treating stations; and providing one or more swivel members to hold said one or both ends of said at least two conductors; moving said one or more swivel members to present said one or both ends of said at least two conductors at the one or more treating stations.
In accordance with another aspect, there is provided a method for gripping at least two conductors, the method comprising, forming a gripper using a first jaw member and a second jaw member to receive an end of said at least two conductors; angularly coupling the first jaw member and the second jaw member together such that the gripper is biased closed. The method may further comprise coupling a first link member to the first jaw member, the first jaw member being capable of rotating about a first pivot point along the first jaw member; coupling a second link member to the second jaw member, the second jaw member being capable of rotating about a second pivot point along the second jaw member; angularly coupling the first link member and the second link member together at a connection point such that the gripper is biased in a closed position; and pivoting the first jaw member and the second jaw member about the first and second pivot points respectively to open the gripper upon a compressive translational force being applied at the connection point. The method may further comprise making the first jaw member and the second jaw member to have respective centres of gravity substantially through the first and second pivot points respectively.
The method may further comprise applying the compressive translational force to the connection point using a cylinder. The method may further comprise applying an expansionary translational force to the connection point using the cylinder. The method may further comprise, providing a securing collar movable between a twist mode position and a transfer mode position; moving the securing collar over the first pivot point and the second pivot point to maintain the gripper in the closed position in the twist mode position. The method may further comprise, providing a twist head cover extendable to and from a cavity within the gripper; maintaining in position the end of said at least two conductors. -
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Example embodiments of the invention will be better understood and readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from the following written description, by way of example only, and in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a wire twisting apparatus in an example embodiment.
Fig. 2 is a schematic perspective view drawing of a preparation module in an example embodiment.
Fig. 3 is a schematic top view drawing of the preparation module of Fig. 2.
Fig. 4 is another schematic perspective view drawing of the preparation module in the example embodiment.
Fig. 5A is a schematic perspective view drawing of a wire twisting module in an example embodiment. Fig. 5B is a schematic exploded view drawing of a first transfer member and a second transfer member, and a first twist head and a second twist head of the wire twisting module. Fig. 5C is a schematic perspective view drawing of the second transfer member and the second twist head of Fig. 5B.
Fig. 5D is an exploded view of a portion of the second twist head. Fig. 6 is a schematic perspective view drawing of a wire twisting module prior to wire transfer in an example embodiment.
Fig. 7 is a schematic perspective view drawing of the wire twisting module during wire transfer in the example embodiment.
Fig. 8 is a schematic perspective view drawing of the wire twisting module during a twisting operation in the example embodiment.
Fig. 9A is a schematic perspective view drawing of a twist head in proximity to a transfer member in an example embodiment.
Fig. 9B is a schematic side view drawing of the twist head and the transfer member of Fig. 9A. Fig. 9C is a schematic cross-sectional view drawing of the twist head of Fig. 9B.
Fig. 10A is a schematic front view drawing of another twist head in an example embodiment. Fig. 10B is a schematic cross sectional view drawing of the twist head of Fig. 10A.
Fig. 11 is a schematic flowchart for illustrating a method for making a twisted wire product in an example embodiment. Fig. 12 is a schematic drawing of a computer system suitable for implementing an example embodiment.
Fig. 13A is a schematic front view drawing of another twist head in a configuration for receiving wires in an example embodiment.
Fig 13B is a schematic front view drawing of the twist head in a configuration for ejection of a twisted wire product in an example embodiment.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
Exemplary, non-limiting embodiments may provide a conductor twisting apparatus and a method for making a twisted wire product.
Fig. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a wire twisting apparatus 100 in an example embodiment. The wire twisting apparatus 100 comprises a preparation module 102, a wire twisting module 104 coupled to the preparation module 102, and a processing module 106 coupled to the wire twisting module 104 and the preparation module 102 for controlling and monitoring the processes of wire preparation and twisting. The preparation module 102 functions to retrieve at least two conductors/wires and to process wire ends of the wires, for example but not limited to cutting wires into pre-determined lengths, stripping away insulation layers on the wires, crimping, sealing of the wire ends and providing electrical connection elements at the wire ends etc. Additional processes may be implemented in the preparation module 102 depending on the needs of a user. The wire twisting module 104 functions to receive processed wire ends of the wires such that each opposite end of each wire is held/maintained in a rotary member/device. For example, for a set of wires, each wire having two ends, two rotary members are provided. The processing module 106 functions to instruct rotation parameters and/or characteristics of the rotary members. For example, for forming a twisted wire product comprising two wires, each rotary member holds one ends of the two wires and each rotary member rotates in a synchronized manner and in opposite directions to form the twisted wire product. The processing module 106 may further comprise control of other process parameters and workflow of the wire twisting apparatus 100. Fig. 2 is a schematic perspective view drawing of a preparation module 200 in an example embodiment. Wire drums e.g. 202 are provided to transmit a set of wires/conductors e.g. 204 to the preparation module 200. In the example embodiment, two wires e.g. 204 are used to produce a twisted pair product. Each wire e.g. 204 is processed by the preparation module 200 via a corresponding wire receiver. In the example embodiment, the two wire receivers are adjacent each other. For ease of illustration, only one wire receiver is described. It will be appreciated that the wire receivers function substantially similarly. A wire 204 is fed into the preparation module 200 through a corresponding wire receiver that comprises a wire straightener 208 and an encoder 210 disposed adjacent the wire straightener 208. The wire straightener 208 functions to retrieve/draw and to straighten the wire 204, and the encoder 210 functions to measure the length of the wire 204 that has been transmitted into the preparation module 200.
A swivel member/arm 212 is provided in the preparation module 200 to receive the set of both wires e.g. 204 for processing/treating simultaneously e.g. cutting, seal insertion etc. The preparation module 200 further comprises an instructing/processing module 214 for controlling feeding the wires e.g. 204 into the preparation module 200. Control parameters may comprise, but are not limited to, the length of wires e.g. 204 to draw from the wire drums e.g. 202 and a rate of drawing the wires e.g. 204 into the preparation module 200. In the example embodiment, the wire e.g. 204 is fitted at the swivel arm 212 via both the wire straightener 208 and the encoder 210 at start of operations for transmission or retrieval of wire e.g. 204 into the preparation module 200.
Fig. 3 is a schematic top view drawing of the preparation module 200 of Fig. 2. The preparation module 200 further comprises a strip/cut module 312, a seal insertion module 316 and a pressing module 314. The leading end of each wire e.g. 204 is fed into its corresponding wire receiver. The wire 204 follows a feed path e.g. 308 which passes through the wire straightener 208 and the wire encoder 210. The leading ends of the set of wires e.g. 204 are received and held/maintained in position (e.g. using a braking block or gripper) at the swivel arm 212 where further processing of the wire ends is carried out. The swivel arm 212 is configured to swivel to each of the processing stations such as the strip/cut module 312, the seal insertion module 316 and the pressing module 314 for processing of ends of the set of wires e.g. 204. Fig. 4 is another schematic perspective view drawing of the preparation module 200 in the example embodiment. The preparation module 200 further comprises a draw-in gripper 412 for receiving the set of wires e.g. 204 from the swivel arm 212.
The following description may be read with reference to Fig. 2, Fig. 3 and Fig. 4.
In the example embodiment, the wire straightener 208 functions to straighten e.g. a coiled wire from a wire drum e.g. 202. The wire straightener 208 comprises one or more sets of rollers, each set having at least two rollers being disposed on opposite sides of the feed path 308. As the wire 204 travels through the feed path 308 and passes between the sets of rollers, twists or kinks in the wire 204 are straightened by the rollers. It will be appreciated that the wire twisting apparatus of example embodiments is not limited in the design of the wire straightener.
The encoder 210 receives the wire 204 from the wire straightener 208. The encoder 210 measures the length of movement of the wire 204, thereby providing positional information to the processing module 214. In the example embodiment, as the wire 204 is pulled via the wire straightener 208 and travels along the feed path 308, the linear motion of the wire 204 past the encoder 210 is translated into rotary motion of the encoder 210. The encoder 210 encodes the rotary motion information into an electric signal and provides the processing module 214 with length measurement of the wire 204. It will be appreciated that the wire twisting apparatus of example embodiments is not limited in the design of the encoder.
The swivel arm 2 2 receives the leading ends of the set of wires e.g. 204. The swivel arm 212 holds/maintains, e.g. using a braking block or gripper, the leading ends of the wires e.g. 204 and is capable of rotary motion. Rotation of the swivel arm 212 provides a circumferential path along which one or more treating/processing stations for treating/processing the wire ends may be positioned. Different processing stations may be provided on each side of the preparation module 200, which may include, but are not limited to, stations for seal insertion, and crimping. Other processes may also be provided using stations such as for, but not limited to, compacting wire strands together, resistance welding of wire ends and ultrasonic welding of wire ends to a component e.g. a terminal, etc. In the example embodiment, the swivel arm 212 rotates via servo control. By sequential rotation of the swivel arm 212, the leading ends of the wires e.g. 204 which are held/maintained by the swivel arm 212 are processed by the respective processing stations. The set of wires e.g. 204 are cut and stripped at a first station and the swivel arm 212 rotates to another processing station to e.g. insert seals and crimp terminals on the wires e.g. 204. The swivel arm 212 is capable of rotating and positioning the wires e.g. 204 both out of, and back into, the feed paths e.g. 308 with respect to the processing stations. The draw-in gripper 412 is configured to grip the processed leading ends of the wires e.g. 204 and to draw in the wires to a desired pre-determined length. After the drawing in of the pair of wires, a cut/strip module 312 of the preparation module 200 is configured to cut/strip the wires to form trailing ends of a first set of wires and to cut/strip leading ends of a second set of wires e.g. for next processing. The trailing ends of the first set of wires may be rotated e.g. using an additional swivel arm substantially similar to the swivel arm 212 to the another processing station e.g. to insert seals and crimp terminals.
In the example embodiment, the cut/strip module 312 comprises a blade holder with three pairs of blades per wire for the cutting and stripping of wires. The three pairs of blades are positioned sequentially with a predetermined distance apart between each pair. The distance between the pairs of blades provides the strip length, that is, the length of insulation to be stripped away at wire ends. The strip length is based on a programmed value. For example, the distance between the pairs of blades provides a machine stripping length for a distance of about 16 mm. There may be a possible maximum 15 mm stripping length and, for example, to strip a 5 mm length of insulation, a haul-off mechanism moves the wires by an offset of 11 mm before stripping is performed.
A first pair and a third pair of blades are used for stripping away insulation on a wire while a second pair of blades is used for cutting through the wire. Accordingly, the first and third pairs of blades may have substantially identical dimensions while the second pair of blades may have different dimensions from the first and third pairs of blades to perform wire cutting. The three pairs of blades may be disposed either in a non-cutting or a cutting configuration. In the non-cutting configuration, the draw-in gripper 412 is able to draw in the wires to a desired length.
The cut/strip module 312 may be switched to the cutting configuration. In the cutting configuration, the second pair of blades cuts through the wires to sever a wire length to form a first set of wires and a second set of wires. A haul-off mechanism (not shown) moves the first set of wires and the second set of wires respectively by an offset value to a desired strip length. The first set of wires having trailing ends is engaged by the first pair of blades. The third pair of blades engages the insulation of the leading ends of the second set of wires for removing the insulation from the leading ends of the second set of wires. The haul-off mechanism moves further to strip off the insulation from the trailing ends of the first set of wires and the leading ends of the second set of wires.
The wire ends (leading and/or trailing) may be further processed e.g. by insertion of a sealing sleeve and/or forming a crimp connection between each wire end and an electrical connection element. Other further processing may also be performed. The pressing module 314 is provided to perform pressing and crimping operations while the seal insertion module 316 is provided to perform seal insertion operations. Sealing and crimping are performed by rotating the swivel arm 212 to a predetermined angle where the processing stations e.g. the pressing module 314 and the seal insertion module 316 are positioned, and a trigger signal is sent respectively to each processing station e.g. the pressing module 314 and the seal insertion module 316 to perform the processing operations.
After cutting, stripping and further processing of the wire ends, the leading ends of the wires e.g. 204 are gripped by the draw-in gripper 412 and drawn in length for transfer to a wire twisting module.
Fig. 5A is a schematic perspective view drawing of a wire twisting module 500 in an example embodiment. The wire twisting module 500 functions substantially similarly to the wire twisting module 104 of Fig. 1. A first draw-in gripper 502 (compare 412 of Fig. 4) of a preparation module (compare 200 of Fig. 4) is provided for drawing in a set of wires (compare e.g. 204 of Fig. 4) for transfer to the wire twisting module 500. In the example embodiment, the first draw-in gripper 502 comprises two or more gripper heads, each gripper head configured to grip the leading ends of conductors/wires. In the example embodiment, the wire twisting module 500 further co-operates with a second draw-in gripper 530 of the preparation module. The second draw-in gripper 530 may be fixed in position. The second draw-in gripper 530 comprises two or more gripper heads, each head configured to grip the trailing ends of conductors/wires drawn in by the first draw-in gripper 502. In alternative example embodiments, the second draw-in gripper 530 may be coupled to an additional swivel arm for processing trailing ends of wires. The first draw-in gripper 502 is configured to be capable of translating along a draw-in path 504 to draw in the wires to a predetermined length. After drawing in the wires, the first draw-in gripper 502 may be fixed in position. The wire twisting module 500 comprises a first rotary/rotation member 506. The first rotary member 506 may also be referred to as a first twist head 506. The first twist head 506 comprises one or more grippers for gripping/holding the wires (e.g. at leading ends) to be twisted to form a twisted wire product. The wire twisting module 500 also comprises a second rotary/rotation member 508. The second rotary/rotation member 508 may also be referred to as second twist head 508. The second twist head 508 comprises one or more grippers for gripping/holding the wires (e.g. at trailing ends) to be twisted to form a twisted wire product, in rotational cooperation with the first twist head 506. The first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 are coupled to a processing module (compare 214 of Fig. 2) for receiving e.g. rotational parameters to perform wire twisting operations.
In the example embodiment, one or both of the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 are configured to translate along a twist path 514. In the example embodiment, the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 are disposed facing substantially directly opposite each other such that a wire held between the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508, and along the twist path 514, is preferably maintained in a substantially uncoiled state. The first twist head 506 translates along the twist path 514 to impart tension to the wires based on a programmed tension force value, prior to the wire twisting process. The location of the twist heads 506, 508 directly opposite each other is advantageous in eliminating/minimizing twisting inconsistencies. In the example embodiment, the first twist head 506 is movable with respect to the second twist head 508 along the twist path 514 e.g. before and also during rotation of both twist heads 506 and 508 such that appropriate tension force may be imparted/maintained during formation of a twisted wire product e.g. to prevent breaking of the wires or to maintain the tension force in the wires based on a programmed tension force value. For example, during twisting, the wires may become shorter as tension increases. A movement of the first twist head 506 towards the second twist head 508 may reduce or control the tension of the wires to meet the programmed tension force value. The first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 are configured to rotate in opposite directions In the example embodiment, the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 rotate simultaneously. However, the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 may also be capable of sequential rotation. The wire twisting module 500 further comprises a first transfer member 510 for transferring leading ends of wires from the first draw-in gripper 502 to the first twist head 506. A second transfer member 512 is provided for transferring trailing ends of wires from the second draw-in gripper 530 to the second twist head 508. In the example embodiment, one or both of the first transfer member 510 and the second transfer member 512 are configured to be capable of translating along the draw-in path 504.
Fig. 5B is a schematic exploded view drawing of the first transfer member 510 and the second transfer member 512, and the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508. It is shown that a securing collar/ring e.g. 516, provided on each of the first transfer member 510 and the second transfer member 512, is in a transfer mode position to allow the grippers of the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508 to be able to extend/open and receive/release wires. In the following description, only one of the first transfer member 510 and the second transfer members 512 is described for ease of illustration. It will be appreciated that the other transfer member may be constructed substantially similarly.
In the example embodiment, the first transfer member 510 comprises one or more transfer member grippers 518 for gripping onto wires from a draw-in gripper (compare 502 of Fig. 5A). The transfer member grippers 5 8 are configured to translate along a transfer path 520 such that wires gripped onto by the transfer member grippers 518 may be transferred and gripped/held onto by twist head grippers of the first twist head 506. In the example embodiment, the track of the transfer path 520 is substantially perpendicular/transverse to the draw-in path 504 and the twist path 514.
Fig. 5C is a schematic perspective view drawing of the second transfer member 512 and the second twist head 508 when viewed from the direction 522 of Fig. 5B. Fig. 5D is an exploded view of a portion of the second twist head 508. It will be appreciated that only description of the second twist head 508 is provided and the first twist head 506 may be constructed substantially similarly. The second twist head 508 comprises a guide shaft 524 for securing the second twist head 508 to the wire twisting module 500 of Fig. 5A. The second twist head 508 further comprises a linear bush bearing 526 for facilitating translational movement of the second twist head 508 along the twist path 514 of Fig. 5A. In addition, the second twist head 508 comprises a force sensor 528 for sensing tensile force/tension exerted at the second twist head 508, e.g. during twisting operations for wires held between the second twist head 508 and the first twist head 506. The force sensor 528 is configured to feedback force signals to a processing module (compare 214 of Fig. 2). The rotational speeds of the first twist head 506 and the second twist head 508, and the translational movements between the two twist heads 506, 508 e.g. during twisting operations are parameters that the processing module (compare 214 of Fig. 2) is capable of controlling/monitoring e.g. to prevent wires from breaking or to compensate for tensile forces.
The operation of the wire twisting module 500 is described in the following figures. The wire twisting module 600 in Figs. 6 to 9 functions substantially similarly to the wire twisting module 500 as described in Figs. 5A to 5C.
Fig. 6 is a schematic perspective view drawing of a wire twisting module 600 prior to wire transfer in an example embodiment. A set of wires e.g. 602 may be cut to length by a cut/strip module (compare 312 of Fig. 3). The set of wires e.g. 602 are retrieved and gripped/held onto by a first draw-in gripper 606 and a second draw-in gripper (compare 530 of Fig. 5A) of a preparation module (compare 200 of Fig. 2). For example, the wires e.g. 602 are maintained substantially parallel to one another and spaced about 60 mm apart from one another. In the example embodiment, a processing module (compare 214 of Fig. 2) instructs a first transfer member 610 and a second transfer member 612 of the wire twisting module 600 to move to positions respectively corresponding to adjacent the first draw-in gripper 606 and the second draw-in gripper (compare 530 of Fig. 5A). The motion of the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 may preferably be in an up or down vertical motion (see numeral 614) with respect to the position of the first draw-in gripper 606. The processing module further instructs transfer member grippers e.g. 616 of the first transfer member 610 to grip/hold onto the wires e.g. 602 of the first draw-in gripper 606 and transfer member grippers of the second transfer member 612 to grip/hold onto the wires e.g. 602 of the second draw-in gripper (compare 530 of Fig. 5A). The processing module instructs the draw-in grippers e.g. 606 to release the wires e.g. 602 upon instructing the transfer member grippers e.g. 616 to complete gripping of the wires e.g. 602. Fig. 7 is a schematic perspective view drawing of the wire twisting module 600 during wire transfer in the example embodiment. In the example embodiment, the transfer member grippers 616, 618 of the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 respectively translate along a transfer path (compare 520 of Fig. 5B), away from a draw-in path (compare 504 of Fig. 5A) towards a twist path (compare 514 of Fig. 5A), to move the set of wires e.g. 602 towards a first twist head 710 and a second twist head 712. During the transfer operation, the wires e.g. 602 are maintained substantially parallel to one another.
In the example embodiment, the intermediate position of the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 between the draw-in path (compare 504 of Fig. 5A) and the twist path (compare 5 4 of Fig. 5A) is referred to as a standby position.
In the example embodiment, the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 may be positioned in the standby position if the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are in the process of twisting a set of wires to form a twisted wire product. In the example embodiment, after the first draw-in gripper 726 and the second draw-in gripper (compare 530 of Fig. 5A) of the preparation module (compare 200 of Fig. 2) are instructed to release the wires e.g. 602 and upon translation of the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 away from the draw-in path (compare 504 of Fig. 5A), the processing module instructs the draw-in grippers to translate along the draw-in path (compare 504 of Fig. 5A) to a draw-in position 724 for receiving leading ends of a next set of wires within the preparation module (compare 200 of Fig. 2).
Fig. 8 is a schematic perspective view drawing of the twisting module 600 during a twisting operation. In the example embodiment, the processing module instructs the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 to move to corresponding positions adjacent the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 respectively. The processing module instructs twist head grippers of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 to engage and grip/hold onto the wires e.g. 602. A securing collar/ring e.g. 808 of each of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 is moved to a twist mode position. Thus, the wires e.g. 602 are held along the twist path 814 and between the twist heads 710, 712. For example, the wires e.g. 602 are maintained substantially parallel to one another and spaced about 12 mm apart from one another. The processing module instructs the transfer member grippers to release the wires e.g. 602, and the first transfer member 610 and the second transfer member 612 to translate to the standby position e.g. between the draw-in path (compare 504 of Fig. 5A) and the twist path 814. In the example embodiment, a next set of wires e.g. 810 are gripped/held onto by the first draw-in gripper 606 and the second draw-in gripper (compare 530 of Fig. 5A). In the example embodiment, the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are disposed facing substantially directly opposite each other along the twist path 814 and are movable with respect to each other. The first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 being disposed facing substantially directly opposite each other may provide a more accurate sensing of force exerted within conductors or twisted wire product held between the twist heads 710, 712. The first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are configured to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to the twist path 814 that is disposed between the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712. One or both twist heads 710, 712 may be configured to translate along a track substantially parallel to the twist path 814. The movement of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 with respect to each other is based on the tension force and length of the wires. The processing module is also configured to instruct the rotational speeds of the twist heads 710, 712. The processing module receives feedback on the tensile force exerted by the set of wires in the twisting operation sensed at the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 to determine e.g. the wires do not rupture/break.
In a first example, prior to start of rotation of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712, the first twist head 710 translates along the twist path 814 away from the second twist head 712 to impart a tension force in the wires based on a programmed tension force value. During the wire twisting operation, the tension force in the wires increases due to shortening in the lengths of the wires. The processing module instructs the first twist head 710 to translate along the twist path 814 towards the second twist head 712, thereby maintaining the tension force substantially constant at the programmed tension force value during the wire twisting process. For example, the range of tension force which is programmed may be from about 10 N to about 100 N.
In a second example, if the processing module determines that a tensile force exerted by the set of wires in the twisting operation is approaching a predetermined terminal (breaking) value, the processing module is configured to instruct the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 to reduce the distance between the twist heads 710, 712. W
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In the example embodiment, the processing module is capable of calculating automatically a desired straight/untwisted wire length and number of twists required based on the final length and pitch of a twisted wire product as provided/input by a user. The processing module may terminate a twisting operation once the desired parameters such as twists have been achieved. Due to the nature of different wires, wires may be over-twisted (i.e. twisted by more than the actual number of twists required) and untwisted again to remove form memory of the wires. Form memory of wires is a tendency for wires to return to an untwisted form i.e. uncoil. For example, a twisted wire product may tend to untwist itself after ejection from a wire twisting apparatus.
In an embodiment whereby both the twist heads are configured to be movable, reducing the distance between the twist heads may be achieved faster as compared to only one twist head moving along the twist path. Alternatively, if both twist heads are configured to be movable, the processing module may instruct a first twist head having a force sensor sensing a larger force than a second twist head to translate closer to the second twist head to reduce the force at the first twist head in a faster manner.
In the example embodiment, the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are each configured to rotate at about 20,000 to about 25,000 degrees per second. It has been recognized by the inventors that in industrial applications of the relevant field, a rotational speed of 20,000 degrees per second of conventional twisting operations is considered as an upper limit as rotating at speeds greater than 20,000 degrees per second is typically dangerous. In the example embodiment, the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are instructed to rotate simultaneously to perform wire twisting on the wires e.g. 602 to produce a twisted wire product. The speeds of rotation for the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 are synchronised. The rotational direction of the first twist head 7 0 is opposite to the rotational direction of the second twist head 712. For example, if the first twist head 710 is rotating in a clockwise direction, the second twist head 712 is configured to rotate simultaneously in an anti-clockwise direction with a synchronised speed. It will be appreciated that the first twist head 710 may rotate in an anti-clockwise direction and the second twist head 712 may rotate simultaneously in a clockwise direction with a synchronised speed. Preferably, two different twisting motors are provided with each twisting motor driving one of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712. Alternatively, a single motor may also be used to achieve the opposite rotational directions of the first twist head 710 and the second twist head 712 by using gears, belts etc.
Advantageously, by using two rotational twist heads 710, 712, a higher output may be achieved. For example, for each twist head to rotate at 20,000 degrees per second, the effective rotational speed of the wire twisting module that may be achieved is about 40,000 degrees per second to about 50,000 degrees per second. It is recognized by the inventors that the effective rotational speed is thus significantly higher than the rotational speeds used in the relevant field. Accordingly, the amount of time taken to produce a twisted wire product is also therefore significantly reduced e.g. to less than half the cycle time.
In the example embodiment, the wire twisting module 600 is capable of producing twisted wire products each in a range of about 100 mm to about 2000 mm. The wire twisting module 600 may also be cascaded with more modules to form longer extensions (e.g. of about 2000 mm each) to produce longer lengths. In addition, the pitch or degree of twisting of the wires may also be varied by the processing module. The pitch achievable using the wire twisting module 600 is about 5 mm to about 50 mm pitch.
In the following description, more details of a twist head are described. Figs. 9A to 9C are used to illustrate for example a second twist head (compare 712 of Fig. 7) and Figs. 10A and 10B are used to illustrate for example a first twist head (compare 710 of Fig. 7). It will be appreciated that the twist heads may be constructed substantially similarly.
Fig. 9A is a schematic perspective view drawing of a twist head 902 in proximity to a transfer member 906 in an example embodiment. The twist head 902 comprises a twist head cover shaft 903 for translating a twist head cover (not shown), the twist head cover for maintaining ends of wires in a cavity within a twist head gripper 910. The transfer member 906 comprises a pair of transfer member grippers e.g. 904 for gripping/holding wires in a substantially parallel position.
Fig. 9B is a schematic side view drawing of the twist head 902 and the transfer member 906 when viewed in the direction from numeral 908 in Fig. 9A. Fig. 9C is a schematic cross-sectional view drawing of the twist head 902 taken along the line A-A in Fig. 9B.
In the example embodiment, the twist head gripper 910 comprises a serrated jaw/clamp 912 for receiving and gripping onto one or more wires. The twist head 902 further comprises a securing collar/ring 914 being movable between a twist mode position 918 to a transfer mode position 916 to allow the twist head gripper 910 to extend/open and grip/hold onto wires (e.g. 602 of Fig. 8). For example, the jaw/clamp 912 may be prevented from opening when the securing collar/ring 914 is in the twist mode position 918. During twisting operations, the securing collar/ring 914 is locked at a pivot point (without numerals) of the jaw/clamp 912 which corresponds to the position 918. The twist head 902 further comprises a twister motor 920 coupled to a timing belt and pulley assembly 922, the timing belt and pulley assembly 922 is for transmitting a driving force from the motor 920 to the twist head 902 for rotation of the twist head gripper 910.
It will be appreciated that another twist head provided for a wire twisting apparatus may be constructed substantially similarly and more details of the twist head are provided in the following drawings. Fig. 10A is a schematic front view drawing of another twist head 002 in an example embodiment. For example, this view may be obtained when the first twist head 710 is viewed along the direction of numeral 816 in Fig. 8. Fig. 10B is a schematic cross sectional view drawing of the twist head 1002 when viewed along the line B-B of Fig. 10A. In the example embodiment, the twist head 1002 comprises a serrated jaw/clamp
1004 as a twist head gripper for receiving and gripping onto one or more wires. The jaw 1004 is provided by a first jaw member 1006 and a second jaw member 1008. A pivot point 1010 is provided for the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 to pivot between an opening and closing of the jaw 1004. In the example embodiment, the centres of gravity of the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 are configured to be such that the centres of gravity are near, preferably substantially through, the centre of the pivot point 1010. This may advantageously provide stability to the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 during rotation of the gripper during twisting operations. In addition, the twist head 1002 comprises a first link member 1012 coupled to the first jaw member 1006 and a second link member 1014 coupled to the second jaw member 1008. It will be appreciated that the pivot point 10 0 is described as a single point or axis passing through respective first and second pivot points, wherein the first pivot point is the pivot location of the first jaw member 1006 between opening and closing of the jaw 1004, and the second pivot point is the pivot location of the second jaw member 1008 between opening and closing of the jaw 1004. That is, the first pivot point may be located along the first jaw member 1006 and the second pivot point may be located along the second jaw member 1008 for the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 to respectively rotate about the first and second pivot points for the opening and closing of the jaw 1004. The first link member 1012 and the second link member 1014 are coupled in a latch design at a connection point 1016 such that the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 are biased to be in a closed position. The first link member 1012 and the second link member 1014 may be coupled using a rivet. That is, the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 are coupled angularly to the connection point 1016. A first jaw reinforcement member 1044 is coupled to the first jaw member 1006 and a second jaw reinforcement member 1046 is coupled to the second jaw member 1008. The first reinforcement member 1044 and the second jaw reinforcement member 1046 may prevent the clamp 1004 opening/closing in a longitudinal axis along the twist head 1002 (refer to numeral 1042). The twist head 1002 comprises a twist head gripper cylinder 1018 for activating a shaft 1020 to provide a pulling/compressive translational force against the connection point 1016 to bias the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 open via pushing apart the first link member 1012 and the second link member 1014 such that the clamp 1004 may receive wires for twisting operations. The twist head gripper cylinder 1018 for activating the shaft 1020 may also provide a pushing/expansionary translational force on the connection point 1016 to bias the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 closed via pulling closer together the first link member 1012 and the second link member 1014 such that the clamp 1004 grips/holds the wires in a fixed position. In a closed position normally, the pushing translational force at the connection point 1016 to bias the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 close is minimal or absent due to the angular coupling of the latch design, which functions to bias the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 in a closed position.
In the example embodiment, the twist head 1002 further comprises a securing collar/ring 1040 that is movable between a transfer mode position 1022 and a twist mode position 1024. The securing collar/ring 1040 is lockable at the twist mode position 1024 such that it substantially covers the pivot point 1010 to enforce it, e.g. to prevent the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 from opening. The securing ring 1040 is coupled to a twist head cover open/close cylinder 1026, the twist head cover open/close cylinder 1026 is for translating the securing ring 1040 between the transfer mode position 1022 and the twist mode position 1024 with the use of a twist head cover shaft 1028. In addition, the twist head cover open/close cylinder 1026 is coupled to a twist head cover 1030 that is extendable into a wire cavity 1032 for further maintaining ends of wires, that are gripped by the serrated jaw 1004, in position during twisting operations. The twist head cover 1030 is extendable into the cavity 1032 and retractable from the cavity 1032 based on translational motion imparted by the twist head cover open/close cylinder 1026.
In the example embodiment, the twist head 1002 further comprises a bearing and housing assembly 1034 that functions to disengage/isolate the shaft 1020 from the twist head gripper cylinder 1018. The bearing and housing assembly 1034 is coupled to the shaft 1020. The twist head 1002 further comprises a twisting motor 1036 coupled to a timing belt and pulley assembly 1038, the timing belt and pulley assembly 1038 is for transmitting a driving force from the motor 1036 to the twist head 1002 for rotation of the twist head gripper. In use, when the twist head gripper is rotated using the twisting motor 1036, the shaft 1020 rotates, and the bearing and housing assembly 1034 disengages the driving torque, arising from rotation of the shaft 1020, from the twist head gripper cylinder 1018.
In the example embodiment, as the twist head 1002 undergoes high speed rotation, centrifugal and frictional forces may act on the components of the twist head 1002.
Configuring the centres of gravity through a pivot point 010 for the first jaw member 006 and the second jaw member 1008 provides an anchor for the gripper such that when the twist head 1002 is rotating at high speeds, the gripper is stable and effects of the centrifugal forces to e.g. force open the gripper are minimized. In addition, configuring the centres of gravity through a pivot point 1010 for the first jaw member 1006 and the second jaw member 1008 may also minimize the vibrations in the components of the twist head 1002. In addition, a latch design (see connection point 1016 of Fig. 10B) provided by hinge joints may provide a biasing force to counteract the centrifugal forces. As centrifugal forces act to open the gripper, the latch design provides a resistance force to prevent the gripper from opening. Furthermore, to minimize the effects of centrifugal forces on the gripper of the twist head 1002, a securing collar 1040 may also prevent the expansion/opening of the gripper during twisting operations (e.g. when at the position 1024 of Fig. 10B). When the twist head 1002 is not rotating, the securing collar 1040 may be retracted (e.g. to the position 1022 of Fig. 10B). This allows the twist head gripper to open and receive wires. Thus, during twisting operations, expansion/opening of the gripper is advantageously prevented by the securing collar 1040. Fig. 13A is a schematic front view drawing of another twist head 1300 in a configuration for receiving wires e.g. 1302 in an example embodiment. For example, this view may be obtained when the first twist head 710 is viewed along the direction of numeral 816 in Fig. 8. A first wire 1302 and a second wire 1304 are positioned between a first jaw member 1306 and a second jaw member 1308 (compare 1006 and 1008 of Fig. 10B). The first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 comprise a first serrated surface 1314 and a second serrated surface 1316 respectively for receiving and gripping onto the first wire 1302 and the second wire 1304. The first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 are positioned such that the first serrated surface 1314 and the second serrated surface 1316 are substantially facing each other. In the example embodiment, the first serrated surface 1314 and the second serrated surface 1316 are matching and complementary to each other in a mated position. The first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 is movable between an open or a closed position. In the open position, the wires 1302 and 1304 may be transferred from a first transfer member (compare 610 of Fig. 6) to a space between the first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308. The first jaw member 1306 and second jaw member 1308 grips/maintains the wires 1302 and 1304 in a fixed position by moving to a closed position, and the first serrated surface 1314 and the second serrated surface 1316 are substantially contacting each other. In the closed position, a securing collar/ring 1318 (compare 1040 of Fig. 0B) moves from a transfer mode position (compare 1022 of Fig. 0B) to a twist mode position (compare 1024 of Fig. 10B), thus counteracting centrifugal forces which may cause the first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 to move apart during wire twisting operations.
Fig 13B is a schematic front view drawing of the twist head 1300 in a configuration for ejection of a twisted wire product in an example embodiment. Upon completion of a wire twisting operation, the first wire 1302 and the second wire 1304 forms a twisted wire product. In the example embodiment, the first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 are rotated 90 degrees with respect to the configuration for receiving wires in Fig. 13A. The securing collar/ring 1318 (compare 1040 of Fig. 10B) moves from the twist mode position (compare 1024 of Fig. 10B) to the transfer mode position (compare 1022 of Fig. 10B). The first jaw member 1306 and the second jaw member 1308 move to the open position to release the twisted wire product. The twisted wire product drops downwards (see numeral 1320) into a collection tray.
Fig. 1 is a schematic flowchart 1100 for illustrating a method for making a twisted wire product in an example embodiment. At step 1102, one end of at least two conductors is held using a first rotary member. At step 1104, an opposite end of said at least two conductors is held using a second rotary member. At step 1106, the second rotary member is disposed substantially directly opposite the first rotary member. At step 1108, the first rotary member and the second rotary member are rotated about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member, the rotation of the first rotary member being in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member. At step 1110, force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member is sensed using a force sensor. At step 1112, a force signal is provided using the force sensor.
Different example embodiments can be implemented in the context of data structure, program modules, program and computer instructions executed in a computer implemented environment. A general purpose computing environment is briefly disclosed herein. One or more example embodiments may be embodied in one or more computer systems, such as is schematically illustrated in Fig. 12.
One or more example embodiments may be implemented within a computer system
1200. The computer system 1200 comprises a computer unit or a processing module 1202, input modules such as a keyboard 1204 and a pointing device 1206 and a plurality of output devices such as a display 1208, and printer 1210. A user can interact with the computer unit 1202 using the above devices. The pointing device can be implemented with a mouse, track ball, pen device or any similar device. One or more other input devices (not shown) such as a joystick, game pad, satellite dish, scanner, touch sensitive screen or the like can also be connected to the computer unit 1202.
For example, a user may use an input module to input settings for a desired length of wire to be held between two draw-in grippers. The user may also input rotational speed settings for a first and a second twist head. Other parameters relating to preparation and/or twisting may also be input using the input module.
The display 1208 may include a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), field emission display (FED), plasma display or any other device that produces an image that is viewable by the user.
The computer unit 1202 can be connected to a computer network 1212 via a suitable transceiver device 1214, to enable access to e.g. the Internet or other network systems such as Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) or a personal network. The network 1212 can comprise a server, a router, a network personal computer, a peer device or other common network node, a wireless telephone or wireless personal digital assistant. Networking environments may be found in offices, enterprise-wide computer networks and home computer systems etc. The transceiver device 1214 can be a modem/router unit located within or external to the computer unit 1202, and may be any type of modem/router such as a cable modem or a satellite modem.
It will be appreciated that network connections shown are exemplary and other ways of establishing a communications link between computers can be used. The existence of any of various protocols, such as TCP/IP, Frame Relay, Ethernet, FTP, HTTP and the like, is presumed, and the computer unit 1202 can be operated in a client-server configuration to permit a user to retrieve web pages from a web-based server. Furthermore, any of various web browsers can be used to display and manipulate data on web pages. The computer unit 1202 in the example comprises a processor 1218, a Random
Access Memory (RAM) 1220 and a Read Only Memory (ROM) 1222. The ROM 1222 can be a system memory storing basic input/ output system (BIOS) information. The RAM 1220 can store one or more program modules such as operating systems, application programs and program data. The computer unit 1202 further comprises a number of Input/Output (I/O) interface units, for example I/O interface unit 1224 to the display 1208, and I/O interface unit 1226 to the keyboard 1204. For example, in example embodiments, an I/O interface unit may receive feedback signals from one or more force sensors of one or more twist heads. The computer unit 1202 may instruct, via an I/O interface unit, a distance between twist heads by moving one or more of the twist heads. The computer unit 202 may also instruct a variation to the rotation speeds of the twist heads and/or rotational directions of the twist heads via the I/O interface unit. Such instructions may be based on the feedback signals from the force sensors to e.g. prevent wires from breaking during twisting operations.
The components of the computer unit 1202 typically communicate and interface/couple connectedly via an interconnected system bus 1228 and in a manner known to the person skilled in the relevant art. The bus 1228 can be any of several types of bus structures including a memory bus or memory controller, a peripheral bus, and a local bus using any of a variety of bus architectures.
It will be appreciated that other devices can also be connected to the system bus 1228. For example, a universal serial bus (USB) interface can be used for coupling a video or digital camera to the system bus 1228. An IEEE 1394 interface may be used to couple additional devices to the computer unit 1202. Other manufacturer interfaces are also possible such as FireWire developed by Apple Computer and i.Link developed by Sony. Coupling of devices to the system bus 1228 can also be via a parallel port, a game port, a PCI board or any other interface used to couple an input device to a computer. It will also be appreciated that, while the components are not shown in the figure, sound/audio can be recorded and reproduced with a microphone and a speaker. A sound card may be used to couple a microphone and a speaker to the system bus 1228. It will be appreciated that several peripheral devices can be coupled to the system bus 1228 via alternative interfaces simultaneously. In example embodiments, these devices may comprise components of a preparation module (e.g. with reference to Fig. 3) and components of a wire twisting module (e.g. with reference to Fig. 5A to 5C).
An application program can be supplied to the user of the computer system 1200 being encoded/stored on a data storage medium such as a CD-ROM or flash memory carrier. The application program can be read using a corresponding data storage medium drive of a data storage device 1230. The data storage medium is not limited to being portable and can include instances of being embedded in the computer unit 1202. The data storage device 1230 can comprise a hard disk interface unit and/or a removable memory interface unit (both not shown in detail) respectively coupling a hard disk drive and/or a removable memory drive to the system bus 1228. This can enable reading/writing of data. Examples of removable memory drives include magnetic disk drives and optical disk drives. The drives and their associated computer-readable media, such as a floppy disk provide nonvolatile storage of computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules and other data for the computer unit 1202. It will be appreciated that the computer unit 1202 may include several of such drives. Furthermore, the computer unit 1202 may include drives for interfacing with other types of computer readable media.
The application program is read and controlled in its execution by the processor 1218. Intermediate storage of program data may be accomplished using RAM 1220. The method(s) of the example embodiments can be implemented as computer readable instructions, computer executable components, or software modules. One or more software modules may alternatively be used. These can include an executable program, a data link library, a configuration file, a database, a graphical image, a binary data file, a text data file, an object file, a source code file, or the like. When one or more computer processors execute one or more of the software modules, the software modules interact to cause one or more computer systems to perform according to the teachings herein.
The operation of the computer unit 1202 can be controlled by a variety of different program modules. Examples of program modules are routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, libraries, etc. that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. The example embodiments may also be practiced with other computer system configurations, including handheld devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, personal digital assistants, mobile telephones and the like. Furthermore, the example embodiments may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a wireless or wired communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices. The terms "coupled" or "connected" as used in this description are intended to cover both directly connected or connected through one or more intermediate means, unless otherwise stated.
The description herein may be, in certain portions, explicitly or implicitly described as algorithms and/or functional operations that operate on data within a computer memory or an electronic circuit. These algorithmic descriptions and/or functional operations are usually used by those skilled in the information/data processing arts for efficient description. An algorithm is generally relating to a self-consistent sequence of steps leading to a desired result. The algorithmic steps can include physical manipulations of physical quantities, such as electrical, magnetic or optical signals capable of being stored, transmitted, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated. Further, unless specifically stated otherwise, and would ordinarily be apparent from the following, a person skilled in the art will appreciate that throughout the present specification, discussions utilizing terms such as "scanning", "calculating", "determining", "replacing", "generating", "initializing", "outputting", and the like, refer to action and processes of an instructing processor/computer system, or similar electronic circuit/device/component, that manipulates/processes and transforms data represented as physical quantities within the described system into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the system or other information storage, transmission or display devices etc.
In addition, it is submitted that the description also implicitly covers a computer program, in that it would be clear that the steps of the methods described herein may be put into effect by computer code. It will be appreciated that a large variety of programming languages and coding can be used to implement the teachings of the description herein. Moreover, the computer program if applicable is not limited to any particular control flow and can use different control flows without departing from the scope of the invention.
Furthermore, one or more of the steps of the computer program if applicable may be performed in parallel and/or sequentially. Such a computer program if applicable may be stored on any computer readable medium. The computer readable medium may include storage devices such as magnetic or optical disks, memory chips, or other storage devices suitable for interfacing with a suitable reader/general purpose computer. In such instances, the computer readable storage medium is non-transitory. Such storage medium also covers all computer-readable media e.g. medium that stores data only for short periods of time and/or only in the presence of power, such as register memory, processor cache and Random Access Memory (RAM) and the like. The computer readable medium may even include a wired medium such as exemplified in the Internet system, or wireless medium such as exemplified in bluetooth technology. The computer program when loaded and executed on a suitable reader effectively results in an apparatus that can implement the steps of the described methods. Additionally, when describing some embodiments, the disclosure may have disclosed a method and/or process as a particular sequence of steps. However, unless otherwise required, it will be appreciated the method or process should not be limited to the particular sequence of steps disclosed. Other sequences of steps may be possible. The particular order of the steps disclosed herein should not be construed as undue limitations. Unless otherwise required, a method and/or process disclosed herein should not be limited to the steps being carried out in the order written. The sequence of steps may be varied and still remain within the scope of the disclosure.
Further, in the description herein, the word "substantially" whenever used is understood to include, but not restricted to, "entirely" or "completely" and the like. In addition, terms such as "comprising", "comprise", and the like whenever used, are intended to be non- restricting descriptive language in that they broadly include elements/components recited after such terms, in addition to other components not explicitly recited. Further, terms such as "about", "approximately" and the like whenever used, typically means a reasonable variation, for example a variation of +/- 5% of the disclosed value, or a variance of 4% of the disclosed value, or a variance of 3% of the disclosed value, a variance of 2% of the disclosed value or a variance of 1 % of the disclosed value.
Furthermore, in the description herein, certain values may be disclosed in a range. The values showing the end points of a range are intended to illustrate a preferred range. Whenever a range has been described, it is intended that the range covers and teaches all possible sub-ranges as well as individual numerical values within that range. That is, the end points of a range should not be interpreted as inflexible limitations. For example, a description of a range of 1 % to 5% is intended to have specifically disclosed sub-ranges 1 % to 2%, 1% to 3%, 1 % to 4%, 2% to 3% etc., as well as individually, values within that range such as 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% and 5%. The intention of the above specific disclosure is applicable to any depth/breadth of a range.
In the described example embodiments, conductors in the form of wires are used for forming twisted wire products. The wires are electrically conductive and capable of transmitting signals. The twisted wire products may be for use in data communication applications. Material which are suitable for use as wires include metals such as platinum, silver, iron, copper, aluminum and gold, alloys such as brass and bronze, and any combinations thereof. Copper is preferably used in most applications because of its cost and electrical conductivity. The wires may or may not be covered with a layer of insulating material. The cross sectional shapes of the wires may include but are not limited to circular, elliptical or square shape. The thickness or diameter of a wire for forming twisted wire products may be from about 0.1 mm to about 5 mm, or from about 0.2 mm to about 4.5 mm, or from about 0.3 mm to about 4 mm, or from about 0.4 mm to about 3.5 mm, or from about 0.5 mm to about 3 mm, or from about 0.6 mm to about 2.5 mm, or from about 0.7 mm to about 2 mm, or from about 0.8 mm to about 1.5 mm, or from about 0.9 mm to about 1 mm.
In example embodiments, the first twist head and second twist head may each be configured to rotate at about 20,000 to about 25,000 degrees per second, or at about 18,000 degrees per second, or at about 16,000 degrees per second, or at about 14,000 degrees per second, or at about 12,000 degrees per second, or at about 10,000 degrees per second.
In example embodiments, the pitch or degree of twisting of the wires may be varied by the processing module. The pitch achievable using the wire twisting module may be from about 15 mm to about 50 mm, or from about 10 mm to about 70 mm, or from about 15 mm to about 65 mm, or from about 20 mm to about 60 mm, or from about 25 mm to about 55 mm, or from about 30 mm to about 50 mm, or from about 35 mm to about 45 mm, or from about 35 mm to about 40 mm. In the described example embodiments, it is appreciated that the example embodiments are not limited to twisting two wires. The example embodiments are also applicable to twisting more than two wires, and/or even a single wire, to form a twisted wire product. In the described example embodiments, it is appreciated that a synchronized rotational speed between a first and a second twist head is not limited to both twist heads rotating at a same speed. That is, synchronised may also include both twist heads rotating at different speeds having a fixed offset.
In the described example embodiments, the wire receivers have been described to be adjacent to each other. However, it is appreciated that the wire receivers are not limited to the configuration as described, other configurations e.g. the wire receivers being in sequential arrangement may be used.
In the described example embodiments, the preparation module comprises a swivel arm. It is appreciated that the preparation module is not limited as such and multiple swivel arms may be provided in the preparation module of the wire twisting apparatus. The swivel arms may be capable of rotating to engage with the processing stations provided in the preparation module. In the described example embodiments, the processing stations are provided on one side of the preparation module. It is appreciated that the processing stations may be provided on different (e.g. two) sides of the preparation module.
In the described example embodiments, two grippers may have been described in various components e.g. swivel arm, draw-in gripper, transfer member gripper and twist head gripper for gripping/holding wires in the wire twisting apparatus. It is appreciated that the number of grippers provided are not limited as such and any number of grippers may be provided in the wire twisting apparatus. In the described example embodiments, two transfer members and two draw-in grippers have been described. It is appreciated that the wire twisting apparatus is not limited as such, and more than two each of the transfer members and draw-in grippers may be provided. It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that other variations and/or modifications may be made to the specific embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects to be illustrative and not restrictive.

Claims

33 CLAIMS
1. A conductor twisting apparatus, the apparatus comprising,
a first rotary member for holding one end of at least two conductors;
a second rotary member for holding an opposite end of said at least two conductors, the second rotary member being disposed substantially directly opposite the first rotary member;
a force sensor for sensing force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member and for providing a force signal;
wherein the first rotary member and the second rotary member are configured to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member;
wherein the first rotary member is configured to rotate in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member.
2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 , further comprising the first rotary member being configured to be movable with respect to the second rotary member based on the force signal.
3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2, further comprising at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to move along a track substantially parallel to the twist path.
4. The apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising the first rotary member being configured to rotate with a synchronised rotational speed as compared to a rotational speed of the second rotary member.
5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 4, further comprising at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to rotate with a variable rotational speed based on the force signal.
6. The apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, further comprising a first twisting motor for driving the first rotary member and a second twisting motor for driving the second rotary member.
7. The apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising the first rotary member and the second rotary member being configured to rotate simultaneously.
8. The apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7, further comprising, at least one draw-in gripper for retrieving along a draw-in path said at least two conductors;
at least one transfer member for transferring said at least two conductors from said at least one draw-in gripper to the first rotary member and the second rotary member;
wherein said at least one transfer member is configured to be movable to a standby position between the draw-in path and the twist path.
9. The apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, further comprising, one or more treating stations for treating one or both ends of said at least two conductors; and
one or more swivel members for holding said one or both ends of said at least two conductors and for movably presenting said one or both ends of said at least two conductors at the one or more treating stations.
10. A rotary member for use with a conductor twisting apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, the rotary member comprising,
a first jaw member and a second jaw member for forming a gripper to receive an end of at least two conductors;
wherein the first jaw member and the second jaw member are angularly coupled together such that the gripper is biased closed.
11. The rotary member as claimed in claim 10, further comprising
a first link member coupled to the first jaw member, the first jaw member being capable of rotating about a first pivot point along the first jaw member;
a second link member coupled to the second jaw member, the second jaw member being capable of rotating about a second pivot point along the second jaw member;
wherein the first link member and the second link member are angularly coupled together at a connection point such that the gripper is biased in a closed position; and wherein the first jaw member and the second jaw member are configured to pivot about the first and second pivot points respectively to open the gripper upon a compressive translational force being applied at the connection point.
12. The rotary member as claimed in claim 11 , further comprising,
the first jaw member and the second jaw member being configured to have respective centres of gravity substantially through the first and second pivot points respectively.
13. The rotary member as claimed in claims 11 or 12, further comprising, a cylinder configured for applying the compressive translational force to the connection point to bias the gripper open.
14. The rotary member as claimed in claim 13,
the cylinder further configured for applying an expansionary translational force to the connection point to facilitate biasing the gripper to the closed position.
15. The rotary member as claimed in any one of claims 11 to 14, further comprising,
a securing collar movable between a twist mode position and a transfer mode position;
wherein in the twist mode position, the securing collar is disposed over the first pivot point and the second pivot point to maintain the gripper in the closed position.
16. The rotary member as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 15, further comprising,
a twist head cover extendable to and from a cavity within the gripper;
wherein the twist head cover is capable of maintaining in position the end of said at least two conductors.
17. A method for making a twisted wire product, the method comprising, holding one end of at least two conductors using a first rotary member;
holding an opposite end of said at least two conductors using a second rotary member; 36 disposing the second rotary member substantially directly opposite the first rotary member;
rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member about an axis substantially parallel to a twist path disposed between the first rotary member and the second rotary member, the rotating of the first rotary member being in an opposite rotational direction relative to the rotational direction of the second rotary member;
sensing force exertion on at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member using a force sensor; and
providing a force signal using the force sensor.
18. The method as claimed in claim 17, further comprising moving the first rotary member with respect to the second rotary member based on the force signal.
19. The method as claimed in claims 17 or 18, further comprising moving at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member along a track substantially parallel to the twist path.
20. The method as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 9, the step of rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member further comprises rotating the first rotary member with a synchronised rotational speed as compared to a rotational speed of the second rotary member.
21. The method as claimed in claim 20, the step of rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member further comprises rotating at least one of the first rotary member and the second rotary member with a variable rotational speed based on the force signal.
22. The method as claimed in any one of claims 17 to 21 , further comprising driving the first rotary member using a first twisting motor and driving the second rotary member using a second twisting motor.
23. The method as claimed in any one of claims 17 to 22, the step of rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member further comprises rotating the first rotary member and the second rotary member simultaneously. 37
24. The method as claimed in any one of claims 17 to 23, further comprising, retrieving along a draw-in path said at least two conductors using at least one draw-in gripper;
transferring said at least two conductors from said at least one draw-in gripper to the first rotary member and the second rotary member using at least one transfer member;
and moving said at least one transfer member to a standby position between the draw-in path and the twist path.
25. The method as claimed in any one of claims 17 to 24, further comprising, treating one or both ends of said at least two conductors using one or more treating stations; and
providing one or more swivel members to hold said one or both ends of said at least two conductors;
moving said one or more swivel members to present said one or both ends of said at least two conductors at the one or more treating stations.
26. A method for gripping at least two conductors, the method comprising, forming a gripper using a first jaw member and a second jaw member to receive an end of said at least two conductors;
angularly coupling the first jaw member and the second jaw member together such that the gripper is biased closed.
27. The method as claimed in claim 26, further comprising
coupling a first link member to the first jaw member, the first jaw member being capable of rotating about a first pivot point along the first jaw member;
coupling a second link member to the second jaw member, the second jaw member being capable of rotating about a second pivot point along the second jaw member;
angularly coupling the first link member and the second link member together at a connection point such that the gripper is biased in a closed position; and
pivoting the first jaw member and the second jaw member about the first and second pivot points respectively to open the gripper upon a compressive translational force being applied at the connection point.
28. The method as claimed in claim 27, further comprising, making the first jaw member and the second jaw member to have respective centres of gravity substantially through the first and second pivot points respectively.
29. The method as claimed in claims 27 or 28, further comprising,
applying the compressive translational force to the connection point using a cylinder.
30. The method as claimed in claim 29, further comprising,
applying an expansionary translational force to the connection point using the cylinder.
31. The method as claimed in any one of claims 27 to 30, further comprising, providing a securing collar movable between a twist mode position and a transfer mode position;
moving the securing collar over the first pivot point and the second pivot point to maintain the gripper in the closed position in the twist mode position.
32. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 31 , further comprising, providing a twist head cover extendable to and from a cavity within the gripper;
maintaining in position the end of said at least two conductors.
PCT/SG2014/000075 2014-02-21 2014-02-21 Conductor twisting apparatus WO2015126323A1 (en)

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DE102016015717A1 (en) 2016-05-18 2017-11-23 Lisa Dräxlmaier GmbH twisting
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