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Publication numberUS20080289389 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/127,582
Publication date27 Nov 2008
Filing date27 May 2008
Priority date25 May 2007
Publication number12127582, 127582, US 2008/0289389 A1, US 2008/289389 A1, US 20080289389 A1, US 20080289389A1, US 2008289389 A1, US 2008289389A1, US-A1-20080289389, US-A1-2008289389, US2008/0289389A1, US2008/289389A1, US20080289389 A1, US20080289389A1, US2008289389 A1, US2008289389A1
InventorsBradley A. Fitch, Mark A. Kempf, Anthony M. Harrison
Original AssigneeFitch Bradley A, Kempf Mark A, Harrison Anthony M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wire-forming apparatus
US 20080289389 A1
Abstract
A forming device includes an input including wire in an unformed state. The forming device has a forming station configured to receive the wire, the forming station comprising a plurality of forms, each independently movable toward and away from the wire such that the forms collectively bend the wire into a formed state that is periodic and defines a wavelength. The plurality of forms bends less than a single wavelength of wire from a unformed state to a formed state at one time
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Claims(21)
1. A forming device comprising:
an input including wire in an unformed state; and
a forming station configured to receive the wire from the input, the forming station comprising a plurality of forms, each independently movable toward and away from the wire such that movement of the forms toward the wire bend the wire into a formed state that is periodic and defines a wavelength;
wherein the plurality of forms bend less than a single wavelength of wire from a unformed state to a formed state at one time.
2. The forming device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of forms bend substantially one half of a single wavelength of wire from an unformed state to a formed state at one time.
3. The forming device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of forms constrains no more than one and one half wavelength at one time.
4. The forming device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of forms bend no more than a single wavelength of wire at one time.
5. The forming device of claim 1, wherein the formed state is a sinusoidal shape having an amplitude and a wavelength, the amplitude being greater than the wavelength.
6. The forming device of claim 5, wherein the wavelength is 40-90 percent of the amplitude.
7. The forming device of claim 5, wherein the amplitude is between twenty five thousandths of an inch and forty thousandths of an inch and the wavelength is between fifteen thousandths of an inch and twenty four thousandths of an inch.
8. The forming device of claim 1, wherein the diameter of the wire is between one half of one and ten thousandths of one inch.
9. The forming device of claim 1 further comprising:
a guide configured to receive the wire in its formed state;
a clamping mechanism configured to actuate such that the wire is pinned against the clamping mechanism when the clamping mechanism is actuated in toward the guide.
10. A forming device comprising:
an input including wire in an unformed state; and
a forming station configured to receive the wire from the input, the forming station comprising a plurality of forms, each having respective forming points defining a forming zone configured to bend the wire into a formed state of periodic shape having a wavelength;
wherein the forming zone bends no more than one half of the wavelength of wire from a unformed state to a formed state at one time.
11. The forming device of claim 10, wherein the formed state is a sinusoidal shape having an amplitude and a wavelength, the amplitude being greater than the wavelength.
12. The forming device of claim 10 further comprising:
a guide configured to receive the wire in its formed state;
a clamping mechanism configured to actuate such that the wire is pinned against the clamping mechanism when the clamping mechanism is actuated in toward the guide.
13. The forming device of claim 12, wherein the guide, clamping mechanism and the forms cooperated to move the wire toward the output by one wavelength.
14. A forming device comprising:
an input including a wire in an unformed state;
a forming station configured to receive the wire from the input and to bend the wire into a formed state of periodic shape having a wavelength;
an output configured to receive the wire in the formed state;
first and second output forms in the forming station and adjacent the output, the first and second output forms configured to actuate toward the wire in order to hold the wire in its formed state; and
first and second input forms in the forming station and adjacent the input, the first and second input forms configured to actuate toward the wire in its unformed state in order to bend the wire to its formed state.
15. The forming device of claim 14, wherein the first input form is further configured to both hold and to form wire.
16. The forming device of claim 14, wherein the formed state is a sinusoidal shape having an amplitude and a wavelength, the amplitude being greater than the wavelength.
17. The forming device of claim 16, wherein the first and second input forms bend less than a single wavelength of wire from a unformed state to a formed state at one time.
18. The forming device of claim 16, wherein the forming station forms the wire during initial wire processing and subsequent wire processing and wherein the first and second output forms only hold the wire in its formed state and do not bend the wire from its unformed state to its formed state during subsequent wire processing.
19. A method of forming a wire into a formed state of periodic shape having a wavelength, the method comprising:
receiving the wire in an unformed state
actuating first and second output forms adjacent the output toward the wire in order to hold the wire;
actuating first and second input forms adjacent the input toward the wire in its unformed state in order to bend the wire to its formed state; and
bending the wire less than a single wavelength at one time from a unformed state to a formed state with the first and second input forms.
20. The method of claim 19 further comprising indexing the wire by one wavelength after bending a single wavelength.
21. The method of claim 19 further comprising actuating first input form toward the wire in order to bend, and subsequently to hold the formed wire in order for the second input form to accurately bend the wire.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This patent application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/940,305 entitled “WIRE FORMING DEVICE AND PROCESS,” having a filing date of May 25, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to a forming device and method. In one embodiment, the forming device is configured to form a relatively straight wire into a periodic shape, such as a sinusoidal shape. In some cases forming devices have utilized a gear or teeth to shape a generally straight wire into a sinusoidal shape. Because there are limitations to such approaches, there is a need for the present invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0003]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0004]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of a forming station of one embodiment of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 3 a illustrates a plurality of forms in a forming station of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 3 b illustrates a segment of a wire formed in the forming station of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0007]
    FIGS. 4 a-4 i illustrates a plurality of forms during a sequence of forming a wire in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0008]
    FIGS. 5 a-5 i illustrates a plurality of forms during a sequence of forming a wire in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a segment of a wire formed in the forming station of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective top view of a forming station of one embodiment of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 8 illustrates a plurality of forms in a forming station of a forming device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0012]
    In the following Detailed Description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. In this regard, directional terminology, such as “top,” “bottom,” “front,” “back,” “leading,” “trailing,” etc., is used with reference to the orientation of the Figure(s) being described. Because components of embodiments of the present invention can be positioned in a number of different orientations, the directional terminology is used for purposes of illustration and is in no way limiting. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The following detailed description, therefore, is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of forming device 10 in accordance with one embodiment. In FIG. 1, forming device 10 includes an input 12, a forming station 14 and an output 16. In one embodiment, a spool 22 holds wire 20 that is in an unformed state 20 a at input 12. Wire 20 is then fed into forming station 14 and is formed such that it comes out in a formed state 20 b in output 16. In one embodiment, wire 20 in an unformed state 20 a is generally straight, and in a formed state 20 b is generally periodic. Output 16 includes a tray 50 into which wire 20 in a formed state 20 b is fed from forming station 14. An orientation axis is given in the figure to illustrate x, y, and z-axes.
  • [0014]
    In one embodiment, forming station 14 includes first, second, third and fourth actuated blocks 41, 42, 43 and 44. Corresponding to each actuated block 41-44 is first, second, third and fourth forms 31, 32, 33 and 34 (illustrated in FIG. 2). In one case, each of first, second, third and fourth actuated blocks 41, 42, 43 and 44 is coupled to one of first, second, third and fourth forms 31, 32, 33 and 34 and aligned such that they are perpendicular to wire 20 as wire 20 moves from input 12 to output 16 along the x-axis. In one embodiment, first through fourth actuated blocks 41-44, and thus first through fourth forms 31-34, are actuated along the y-axis.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of a forming station 14 in accordance with one embodiment. First, second, third and fourth forms 31, 32, 33 and 34 are respectively coupled to first, second, third and fourth actuated blocks 41, 42, 43 and 44. In one embodiment, first, second, third and fourth actuated blocks 41, 42, 43 and 44 are seated on first, second, third and fourth rails 51, 52, 53 and 54. The x and y-axes are illustrated, and the z-axis would extend out of the page.
  • [0016]
    In FIG. 2, wire 20 is illustrated moving in the x-axis, or passing from right-to-left as viewed in the figure, such that it is in an unformed state 20 a entering forming station 14 on the right side and such that it is in a formed state 20 b exiting forming station 14 on the left side. In forming station 14, first through fourth actuated blocks 41-44 and first through fourth forms 31-34 move independently and in timed sequence in the y-axis toward and away from wire 20 such that forms 31-34 bend wire 20. Wire 20 exits forming station 14 in a formed state 20 b, which in one embodiment, is substantially of a sinusoidal shape.
  • [0017]
    In one embodiment, first-fourth blocks 41-44 are actuated toward and away from wire 20 along first-fourth rails 51-55, which also lie along the y-axis. Forming station 14 can include a variety of mechanisms that move blocks 41-44, and thus forms 31-34 that are coupled thereto, toward and away from wire 20 in to bend it into a formed state 20 b. For example, each of first-fourth blocks 41-44 on first-fourth rails 51-55 can be coupled to, and actuated by, a solenoid that moves each block 41-44 linearly perpendicular to wire 20. Similarly, a pneumatic device can be coupled to each of blocks 41-44 to actuate blocks 41-44 and forms 31-34 toward and away from wire 20 as wire 20 is moved through forming station 14. Other embodiments include other means of moving the blocks 41-44 and forms 31-34 toward and away from wire 20.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 3 a illustrates a portion of first through fourth forms 31-34 of a forming station 14 in accordance with one embodiment. In one example, each of first through fourth forms 31-34 respectively include first through fourth forming points 36-39. As forms 31-34 and associated forming points 36-39 engage wire 20 as they are moved toward and away from wire 20 as wire is moved through forming station 14 in the direction indicated by arrow 25, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a into its formed state 20 b.
  • [0019]
    In FIG. 3 a, each of forms 31-34 and forming points 36-39 are illustrated as extended fully “in” toward wire 20 such that a space or forming zone 35 is left between the collective group of forming points 36-39. In the illustration, the width of forming zone 35 generally matches the width of wire 20. As such, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by forming points 36-39 so that its formed state 20 b is generally similar to the shape of forming zone 35. Forming points 36-39 can be configured in a variety of ways to create a variety of shapes for forming zone 35, and thus for formed state 20 b of wire 20.
  • [0020]
    In one example illustrated in FIG. 3 a, forming zone 35 has a sinusoidal shape defining an amplitude (Y35) and a wavelength (λ35). As wire 20 is indexed or moved through forming zone 35 in direction 25, forming points 36-39 are moved toward and away from wire 20. As such, formed state 20 b of wire 20 can be a continuous sinusoidal shape.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3 b illustrates a segment of wire 20 in a formed state 20 b that is formed in a forming station 14 in accordance with one embodiment. In the example, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by forming points 36-39 to generally be similar to the shape of forming zone 35, such that wire 20 in a formed state 20 b has an amplitude (Y20) and has a wavelength (λ20). The respective amplitudes (Y35 and Y20) and wavelengths (λ35 and λ20) of forming zone 35 and wire 20 in a formed state 20 b can be similar, but are not necessarily identical. In one example, wire 20 has some spring-back associated with it such that wire 20 in a formed state 20 b has an amplitude (Y20) that is slightly smaller than the amplitude (Y35) of forming zone 35 and has a wavelength (λ20) that is slightly longer than the wavelength (λ35) of forming zone 35. In one example, wire 20 is a metal, such as a cobalt based superalloy.
  • [0022]
    An illustration of a process of bending wire 20 from its unformed state 20 a into its formed state 20 b is given in FIGS. 4-5. FIGS. 4-5 illustrate first through fourth forms 31-34 and first through fourth forming points 36-39 independently and sequentially moving toward and away from wire 20 as it moves from input 12 to output 16 through forming station 14, thereby bending wire 20 into a formed state 20 b. FIG. 3 b illustrates a portion of wire 20 into its formed state 20 b that is formed using the processes illustrated in FIGS. 4-5.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 4 illustrates an initiation of a process starting with a wire 20 that is completely in an unformed state 20 a as the process begins. In the example, it is referred to as initial wire processing. FIG. 5 illustrates subsequent processing where at least some bending of wire 20 has already occurred as the process begins. In the example, it is referred to as subsequent wire processing.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 4 a illustrates wire 20 entering first through fourth forms 31-34 in forming station 14 in an unformed state 20 a, such as from input 12. Output 16 is referenced to the left in the figure. In one embodiment, this illustrates the initial wire processing for bending wire 20. In FIG. 4 a, fourth form 34 is illustrated “in” toward wire 20, while first through third forms 31-33 are illustrated “out” away from wire 20. In FIG. 4 b, first form 31 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. Fourth form 34 remains in and second and third forms 32-33 remain out. As first form 31 is actuated in, wire 20 is moved by the impact of first forming point 36 against wire 20.
  • [0025]
    In FIG. 4i c, second form 32 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. First and fourth forms 31 and 34 remain in and third form 33 remains out. As second form 32 is actuated in, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by the combined impact of first and second forming points 36 and 37 against wire 20. In FIG. 4 d, fourth form 34 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. First and second forms 31 and 32 remain in and third form 33 remains out.
  • [0026]
    In FIG. 4 e, third form 33 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. First and second forms 31 and 32 remain in and fourth form 34 remains out. As third form 33 is actuated in, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by the combined impact of second and third forming points 37 and 38 against wire 20. Because fourth form 34 remains out at that point in time, wire 20 is allowed to move on the side of input 12. As such, only approximately one half of a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b. At that point, a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is constrained between forming points 36, 37 and 38 of first, second and third forms 31-33.
  • [0027]
    In FIG. 4 f, first form 31 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. Second and third forms 32 and 33 remain in and fourth form 34 remains out. In FIG. 4g, fourth form 34 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. Second and third forms 32 and 33 remain in and first form 31 remains out. As fourth form 34 is actuated in, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by the combined impact of third and fourth forming points 38 and 39 against wire 20. In this way, only approximately one half of a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b. At that point, a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is constrained between forming points 37, 38 and 39 of second, third and fourth forms 32-34.
  • [0028]
    In FIG. 4 h, second form 32 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. Third and fourth forms 33 and 34 remain in and first form 31 remains out. In FIG. 4 i, third form 33 is also illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. First and second forms 31 and 32 remain out, while only fourth form 34 remains in. As such, at the end of the initial wire processing, since each of first, second and third forms 31, 32 and 33 remain out, wire 20 is not impinged by them and can be readily moved or indexed for subsequent wire processing.
  • [0029]
    FIGS. 5 a-5 i illustrate one embodiment of such subsequent wire processing. As with FIG. 4 i, in FIG. 5 a only fourth form 34 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20, while first, second and third forms 31, 32 and 33 remain out. Relative to wire 20 in FIG. 4 i, wire 20 in FIG. 5 a is indexed slightly toward output 16. For example, viewing FIG. 4 i, a first wavelength (λ20) in wire 20 (i.e., that portion of wire 20 that transitions from “up” to “down” to “up” again, as viewed in FIG. 4i) is generally “below” forming point 37 of form 32. In FIG. 5 a, wire 20 is indexed toward output 16 by one wavelength (λ20) such that that same wavelength (λ20) is now moved past forming point 36 of form 31 on the side of output 16.
  • [0030]
    In FIG. 5 b, first form 31 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. Fourth form 34 remains in and second and third forms 32-33 remain out. In FIG. 5c, second form 32 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. First and fourth forms 31 and 34 remain in and third form 33 remains out. As first form 31 is actuated in, a previously bent portion of wire 20 is secured by first and second forming points 36 and 37 against wire 20. In FIG. 5 d, fourth form 34 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. Third form 33 remains out and first and second forms 31 and 32 remain in securing wire 20.
  • [0031]
    In FIG. 5 e, third form 33 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. First and second forms 31 and 32 remain in and fourth form 34 remains out. As third form 33 is actuated in, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by the combined impact of second and third forming points 37 and 38 against wire 20. Because fourth form 34 remains out at that point in time, wire 20 is allowed to move on the side of input 12. As such, only approximately one half of a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b. At that point, a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is constrained between forming points 36, 37 and 38 of first, second and third forms 31-33.
  • [0032]
    In FIG. 5 f, first form 31 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. Second and third forms 32 and 33 remain in and fourth form 34 remains out. In FIG. 5 g, fourth form 34 is illustrated actuated in toward wire 20. Second and third forms 32 and 33 remain in and first form 31 remains out. As fourth form 34 is actuated in, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a by the combined impact of third and fourth forming points 38 and 39 against wire 20. In this way, only approximately one half of a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b. At that point, a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is constrained between forming points 37, 38 and 39 of second, third and fourth forms 32-34.
  • [0033]
    In FIG. 5 h, second form 32 is illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. Third and fourth forms 33 and 34 remain in and first form 31 remains out. In FIG. 5 i, third form 33 is also illustrated actuated out away from wire 20. First and second forms 31 and 32 remain out, while only fourth form 34 remains in. As such, at the end of the subsequent wire processing, since each of first, second and third forms 31, 32 and 33 remain out, wire 20 is not impinged by them and can be readily moved or indexed for additional subsequent wire processing.
  • [0034]
    One skilled in the art will understand that the subsequent wire processing illustrated in FIGS. 5 a-5 i can be repeated on wire 20 in order to create a continuous piece of formed material having a substantially periodic, and in one example, sinusoidal-like shape, over its length. The overall length can be varied in accordance with the desired application. Wire 20 in its formed state 20 b has sinusoidal shape with an amplitude (Y20), and is generally flat along the z-axis (the dimension coming out of the page as viewed in FIGS. 2, 3 a and 3 b, for example).
  • [0035]
    As is evident from the subsequent wire processing illustrated in FIGS. 5 a-5 i, when first and second forms 31 and 32 are transitioned in, they are configured to hold or constrain wire 20 in its formed state. This is illustrated, for example, in FIG. 5 e where first and second forms 31 and 32 are constraining wire 20. When third and fourth forms 33 and 34 are transitioned in, they are configured to engage wire 20 in its unformed state 20 and bend it into its formed state 20 b. This is illustrated, for example, in FIG. 5 e, where third form 33 bends wire 20 from its unformed state 20 to its formed state 20 b, and in FIG. 5 g, where fourth form 34 bends wire 20 from its unformed state 20 to its formed state 20 b. In addition, in this last example of FIG. 5 g, third form 33 also constrains wire 20 after it has been bent in order for fourth form 34 to accurately bend wire 20.
  • [0036]
    As is evident from the initial and subsequent wire processing illustrated in FIGS. 4-5, approximately one half of a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b. Put another way, when forming points 36-39 of forms 31-34 are actuated to bend wire 20 from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b, less than a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is bent at one time. In one embodiment, when the wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is significantly less than the amplitude (Y20) of wire 20, bending an entire wavelength (λ20) or more of wire 20 from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b at one time with forming points 36-39 can cause the formed state 20 b to be a distorted sinusoidal shape, of even cause wire 20 to brake or fracture.
  • [0037]
    In one embodiment, wire 20 has a diameter of four thousandths of one inch (0.004 inch). In other embodiments, wire 20 has a diameter as small as one half of one thousandths of one inch (0.0005), and in others it is as large as ten thousandths of one inch (0.010 inch). Also, a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 created by forming points 36-39 is approximately twenty-four thousandths of one inch (0.024 inch), while the amplitude (Y20) of wire 20 in its formed state 20 b is and approximately forty thousandths of one inch (0.040 inch). With these fairly small dimensions, and with this ratio of amplitude (Y20) to wavelength (λ20), wire 20 is fairly easily bent, and if a full wavelength (λ20) or more is bent from an unformed state 20 a to a formed state 20 b at one time, the sinusoidal formed state 20 b illustrated in FIG. 3 a will not be achieved.
  • [0038]
    Also, where the amplitude (Y20) of wire 20 in its formed state 20 b is significantly larger than a single wavelength (λ20) of formed wire 20, as illustrated in FIG. 3 b, bending a relatively small diameter into a sinusoidal shape cannot effectively be achieved with a gear or tooth-type mechanism, which would effectively bend an entire wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 over a tooth of the gear.
  • [0039]
    In one example, a formed wire 20 b has a sinusoidal shape where a single wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 is approximately fifty percent (50%) of the amplitude (Y20), while in another example it is approximately sixty percent (60%) and in yet another it is ninety percent (90%). The length of forming points 36-39 (as illustrated in FIG. 3) can be readily adjusted to create these various proportions.
  • [0040]
    In one embodiment, each of forms first through fourth forms 31-34 are configured for independent actuation such that they move independently and consecutively in and out of a forming zone 35, for example moving along rails 51-54. As such, the distance that forms 31-34 are actuated toward wire 20 can readily be adjusted during the forming process by regulating the distance of travel along rails 51-54. In this way, the amplitude (Y20) of the formed state 20 b can be adjusted. In one embodiment, the amplitude (Y20) of the formed state 20 b is adjusted during the forming process such that the overall amplitude (Y20) of the formed state 20 b of wire 20 varies over its length.
  • [0041]
    Similarly, when forms 31-34 and mounting blocks 41-44 are mounted on rails in the x-axis, the wavelength (λ20) of wire 20 can be adjusted. This is particularly true in the tapered region to accommodate for the slightly different wavelength produced at different amplitudes.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 6 illustrates one example of a wire 20 in a formed state 20 b that has been formed with an amplitude (Y20) that varies over its length. For example, near the center of the portion on wire 20 illustrated, the amplitude (Y20max) is at a maximum and toward the ends of the portion the amplitude (Y20min) is at a minimum. One skilled in the art will understand that the amplitude can be adjusted in various ways to achieve a wire in a formed state 20 b having various tapered forms.
  • [0043]
    In one embodiment, the indexing or moving a wire 20 through forming station 14 along the x-axis is done mechanically by physically moving wire 20 by one wavelength (λ20), as described and illustrated above in the transition from FIG. 4 i to FIG. 5 a. In another embodiment, this indexing of wire 20 can be achieved automatically with forming device 10.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 7 illustrates a portion of forming station 14 for forming device 10 in accordance with one embodiment. Forming station 14 includes first through fourth forms 31-34, wire guide 28 and index pin 29. Wire guide 28 includes slot 28 a. In the illustration, wire 20 in an unformed state 20 a enters forms first through fourth forms 31-34 and exits in a formed state 20 b.
  • [0045]
    In operation, wire 20 is bent from its unformed state 20 a to its formed state 20 b with first through fourth forms 31-34 in accordance with the process described relative to FIGS. 4 a-4 i and/or 5 a-5 i. In one embodiment, forming station 14 is configured with a wire guide 28, which in one example is configured to direct wire 20 in its formed state 20 b toward guide pin 29. In one example, wire guide 28 is configured with slot 28 a, into which wire 20 moves in its formed state 20 b. In FIG. 7, a portion of wire 20 that has entered slot 28 a and is inside guide 28 is illustrated in dotted lines.
  • [0046]
    Guide pin 29 is configured to be actuated along the z-axis, or in and out of the page as presented in FIG. 7. In one example, guide 28 is configured with a cylindrical bore that receives guide pin 29 so that guide pin 29 can be actuated up or away from guide slot 28 a so that wire 20 in its formed state 20 b can travel under guide pin 29 within slot 28 a. Then, guide pin can be actuated down or toward guide slot 28 a so that wire 20 in its formed state 20 b can be pinned within guide slot 28 a by guide pin 29, thereby holding wire 20 in place.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment, guide 28 and guide pin 29 are moveable along the x-axis relative to first through forms 31-34. As such, guide 28 and guide pin 29 can be used to index wire 20 relative to first through fourth forms 31-34. In one example, guide 28 and guide pin 29 are in a “back” position toward output 16 along the x-axis. Guide pin 29 is initially “up” (along the z-axis) and away from guide slot 28 a such that wire 20 can move freely in slot 28 a. Then, guide pin 29 is actuated “down” (along the z-axis) to hold the wire in place.
  • [0048]
    Next, wire 20 is formed in accordance with the process described in FIGS. 4 a-4 i and/or 5 a-5 i. Then, with at least two of first through fourth forms 31-34 still in toward wire 20 (along the y-axis), thereby holding it in place, guide pin 29 is actuated “up”. Then, guide 28 and guide pin 29 are moved to a “forward” position toward input 12 along the x-axis. Then, guide pin 29 moves downward (along the z-axis) to clamp or hold wire 20 within guide slot 28 a.
  • [0049]
    Next, all of first through forms 31-34 move out away from wire 20 (along the y-axis). Guide 28 and guide pin 29 are then moved back toward output 16 approximately one wavelength along the x-axis. First and second forms 31-32 then move in toward wire 20 (along the y-axis) and hold wire 20, then third and forth forms 33-34 actuate to bend another portion of wire 20. This process can then be repeated to continually index and bend wire 20.
  • [0050]
    In one embodiment, one or more of first through forth forms 31-34 can be movable along the x-axis in addition to along the y-axis. In this way, the forms themselves can be used to index wire 20. For example, rails similar to rails 51-54 in FIG. 2 could extend along the x-axis and allow first through forth forms 31-34 to be actuated in that direction as well.
  • [0051]
    In one example, guide 28 is stationary in all x-, y- and z-axis axes, and guide pin 29 is stationary in the x- and y-axes, while moving in the z-axis. Guide pin 29 starts out in the “down” position. Wire 20 is formed in accordance with the process described in FIGS. 4 a-4 i and/or 5 a-5 i. Then, first and second forms 31 and 32 are transitioned in toward wire 20 (along the y-axis), while third and forth forms 33 and 34 are transitioned out away from wire 20 (along the y-axis). Guide pin 29 is then actuated “up” (along the z-axis).
  • [0052]
    Next, first and second forms 31 and 32 are then moved back toward output 16 approximately one wavelength along the x-axis. Guide pin 29 then moves downward (along the z-axis) to clamp or hold wire 20 against guide 28 within guide slot 28 a. Next, first and second forms 31 and 32 are transitioned out away wire 20 (along the y-axis). Then, first and second forms 31 and 32 are moved to forward toward input 12 approximately one wavelength along the x-axis (back to the position from which they came).
  • [0053]
    Then, first and first and second 31 and 32 are transitioned in toward wire 20 along the y-axis to hold the part. Then, third and fourth forms 33 and 34 can continue to bend wire 20 in accordance with the process described in FIGS. 4 a-4 i and/or 5 a-5 i. Guide pin 29 is then retracted from guide slot 28 a, and this process can then be repeated to continually index and bend wire 20.
  • [0054]
    One skilled in the art understands that various embodiments are possible to accomplish the indexing of wire 20. This can be done automatically, or even manually with an operator moving the wire after each sequence detailed in FIGS. 5 a-5 i by one wavelength and visualizing each index one at a time.
  • [0055]
    One skilled in the art also understands that various periodic shapes may be achieved for the formed state 20 b of wire 20. FIG. 8 illustrates a portion of first through fourth forms 71-74 of a forming station 14 in accordance with one embodiment. In FIG. 8, each of forms 71-74 and are illustrated as extended fully “in” toward wire 20 such that a space or forming zone 75 is left between the collective group of forms 71-74.
  • [0056]
    In one example, each of first through fourth forms 71-74 respectively include forming points. In this example, the forming points further include features or grooves that give a forming zone 75 a modified sinusoidal shape. Although wire 20 bent in forming zone 75 will have a periodic shape, it will not be a true sinusoidal shape. Forming zone 75 has a modified sinusoidal shape defining an amplitude (Y75) and a wavelength (λ75). One skilled in the art will understand that various shape for forming zones are achievable with modification to the forms. For example, the forms can include other features, or may even be slanted slightly to produce “tilted” sinusoidal formed wires.
  • [0057]
    Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the specific embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof
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Classifications
U.S. Classification72/137, 140/71.00R
International ClassificationB21F45/00, B21F35/02
Cooperative ClassificationB21F1/04
European ClassificationB21F1/04
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