Title:
High density tray
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus that handles a high density of HDA components, integrated circuits or disk-shaped objects is disclosed. The components are stored in at least two different horizontal planes of the tray



Inventors:
Ho, Thi Q. (Murrieta, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/055340
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/10/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D1/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Isabelle R. McAndrews (Fremont, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An apparatus for holding a plurality of disks, comprising: a first array of protrusions in a first plane, wherein said disks can be placed in said first plane by positioning a portion of said protrusions through a central opening in each disk; a second array of protrusions in a second plane, wherein said second plane is at a different height than said first plane, wherein said disks can be placed in said second plane by positioning a portion of said protrusions through a central opening in each disk; and wherein said second array of protrusions are laterally offset from said first array of protrusions by a distance less than the diameter of the disks but greater than the radius of said disks, and wherein said first plane is separated from said second plane by a distance greater than the thickness of said disks.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the components comprise disks, disk clamps, or spacers.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus comprises a stackable tray.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein said tray is formed from an insulating, static dissipating or electrically conductive material.

5. An apparatus for holding electronic components comprising: a) a matrix of horizontal and vertical ribs that connect at an intersection; b) a serpentine rib that is located between pairs of vertical ribs along the longitudinal axis of the matrix; c) a first array of protrusions in a first plane on the intersection upon which a first component can be placed; and d) a second array of protrusions in a second plane at a different height than said first plane, said protrusion on a serpentine rib, wherein a second component can be placed on said protrusion.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said second array of protrusions are laterally offset from said first array of protrusions by a distance less than the diameter of the disks but greater than the radius of said disks, and wherein said first plane is separated from said second plane by a distance greater than the thickness of said disks.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the components comprise disks, disk clamps, or spacers.

8. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the apparatus comprises a stackable tray.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the tray is formed from an insulating, static dissipating or electrically conductive material.

10. An apparatus for holding components comprising: a) a tray having a matrix of cells formed by intersecting ribs; b) angled ribs located in predetermined cells; and c) stand-offs attached to a portion of the angled ribs; wherein a plurality of notches on the stand-offs hold components in more than one horizontal plane on the tray, wherein each plane is of a different height than any other plane.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the components comprise integrated circuits.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising locating markers on a portion of the intersecting ribs to indicate where components may be placed within each plane of the tray.

13. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein said tray is formed from an insulating, static dissipating or electrically conductive material.

14. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein said tray is stackable.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for handling a plurality of electronic components. The apparatus specifically concerns a tray that holds a high density of components used in head disk assemblies, such as media disks, disk clamps, and spacers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Current trays for handling disk drive components are typically limited to holding only 50 components. A typical tray consists of a thermoformed or injection molded tray comprising a matrix of 50 cells formed by five rows and ten columns. A component is placed in each cell. Such prior art trays are limited to holding only 50 components. In addition, the prior art components are vulnerable to misalignment and contamination caused by operators that transfer components from the prior art trays to an automation line. A need exists for a higher density tray with a capacity for handling a larger number of components. A need also exists for trays that reduce the amount of operator intervention, thereby decreasing handling costs and rendering the manufacturing process more efficient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns an apparatus for holding a plurality of disks. The apparatus has a first array of protrusions in a first plane that hold disks by positioning a portion of the protrusions through a central opening in each disk. The apparatus also has a second array of protrusions in a second plane, located at a different height than said first plane. Disks can be placed in the second plane by positioning a portion of the protrusions through a central opening in each disk.

The second array of protrusions is laterally offset from the first array of protrusions by a distance less than the diameter of the disks but greater than the radius of the disks. The first plane is also separated from the second plane by a distance greater than the thickness of the disks.

In a second embodiment, the invention is directed to a matrix tray that is designed to store components lacking a central opening. Such components are stored in at least two different planes, and may include disk-shaped objects, electronic devices, or integrated circuits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the high density tray of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates an enlarged view of area I of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a rear view of the enlarged view of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 illustrates the tray of the invention containing two layers of disks therein.

FIG. 5A illustrates a partial sectional view along line V-V of FIG. 4.

FIG. 5B illustrates a sectional view along line V-V of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of the high density tray partially loaded with components that lack a central opening.

FIG. 7 illustrates the tray of FIG. 6 partially loaded with semiconductor devices.

FIG. 8 is a sectional view along line VIII-VIII of the tray in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a generally rectangular tray 100 for handling a plurality of electronic components 15 is shown. In a preferred embodiment the electronic components will have a central opening. Tray 100 has a first array of protrusions 22 in a first plane and a second array of protrusions 33 in a second plane. Each protrusion is a registration point for holding a component in position.

A matrix of horizontal ribs 28 intersect with vertical ribs 26. The pitch between rib 26A and rib 26B is preferably equidistant throughout the matrix. Similarly, the pitch between horizontal rib 24A and horizontal rib 24B is also equidistant.

In a preferred embodiment, the pitch between vertical ribs 26 is between 19 and 21 mm. In a more preferred embodiment, the pitch between vertical ribs 26 is between 20 and 21 mm. As used herein, pitch refers to the distance between the center of one rib to the center of an adjacent rib.

The stand-offs 41, 43 for holding components in a second plane can be on a portion of ribs 26 or a portion of ribs 28. In addition, the stand-offs can be on a portion of angled ribs 24. When present, angled ribs 24 are located within cells 20 formed by intersecting vertical and horizontal ribs. The angled ribs have an oblique angle relative to either rib 26 or rib 28 as shown in FIG. 3. In a preferred embodiment, the angled ribs 24 have an acute angle II between 60 and 65 degrees, and an obtuse angle III between 115 and 120 degrees.

A first array of protrusions 22 are provided in a first plane. By placing the center opening of each component over a protrusion 22, the disks are oriented along imaginary diagonal lines. This diagonal arrangement alone increases the carrying capacity of the tray from 50 to 67 disks.

A second array of protrusions 33 are provided for holding a second layer of disks in a second plane within tray 100. The second array of protrusions 33 is in a second plane that is at a different height than said first plane. As can be seen from FIG. 2, protrusions 33 are offset from protrusions 22. Stand-offs 41 and 43 cooperate with protrusions 33 to second layer disks. The second layer of disks also preferably has a diagonal arrangement.

FIG. 4 illustrates how a double layer of components would appear in the tray of the present invention. When each position within the two planes is occupied, the maximum density of the tray of the invention is 125 components. This higher density represents more than a two-fold increase over the trays in the prior art.

FIG. 5A is a partial cross-section of FIG. 4 taken alone line V-V. For clarity, only the cross-section of the top tray in FIG. 4 is shown. Components 15-1, 15-2, and 15-3 are disposed in a first plane having a height H1. Components 45-1, 45-2 are disposed within a second plane. The second plane has a height H2, which is a height different than H1 of the first plane. FIG. 5A also shows how the first array of protrusions 22 is laterally offset from a second array of protrusions 33. In this manner, the packing density for electronic components 45 is increased.

An alternative embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 6, for components that tack a central opening, such as integrated circuits or circular objects. Any component that has an outer dimension smaller than the dimensions of cell 47 can be handled by tray 300. The alternative embodiment omits protrusions 22 and 33, but is similar to tray 100 in nearly all other respects. In place of protrusions 22 and 33, registration markers 44, or locating markers, can be provided on tray 300 to identify where each component may be placed. Registration markers in a first plane are located on a vertical or horizontal rib. Registration markers on stand-offs mark the position where components are stored in a second plane at a different height than the first plane. In addition, retaining members such as notches on predetermined standoffs function to retain components 70 in position. The notches are dimensioned to be slightly greater than the thickness of the components and are located on opposing surfaces of the standoffs. In addition, the tray in FIG. 6 may have an indentation 17 on one side on which an identification label can be placed.

FIG. 7 illustrates another high density tray, similar to the tray of FIG. 6. Tray 150 is partially loaded with electronic components 75, such as integrated circuits (ICs). Non-limiting examples of ICs that can be handled by the trays of this invention include chips on tape, Very Thin Quad Flat Packs (P-VQFNs), BGAs, Tape-BGAs, or leadless chip packages. Any non-circular component that has an outer dimension smaller than the dimensions of cell 47 can be handled by the tray shown in FIG. 7. Optional notches may be provided on more than one side of standoffs 35 to secure the components in their desired position. Component 75 may be supported by additional standoffs 35 where necessary to enhance the stability of the components 75A and 75B. Standoffs 35 are preferably located at the juncture of specific angled ribs. A sectional view of FIG. 7 taken along line VII-VII is provided in FIG. 8.

FIG. 8 illustrates that components 75A are separated from components 75B and are laterally offset from each other. Moreover, each layer of components is disposed within a separate plane. Components 75A-1, 75A-2, and 75A-3 are disposed in a first plane having a height H1. Components 75B-1, 75-B2, and 75B-3 are disposed within a second plane. The second plane has a height H2, which is a height different than H1 of the first plane.

In both embodiments of the invention, multiple openings 31 extend through the tray to prevent residue build up during processing. Washing and rinsing steps allow excess particles to be removed through these openings. Accordingly, it is not essential that the trays of the present invention have a solid floor.

The trays of the present invention can be stacked on top of one another. FIG. 5B is a sectional view of two trays loaded with disk clamps 45. A ridge 27 is located on the periphery of tray 40-2 in FIG. 7. On the underside of tray 40-2 is a recess 29 that conforms in shape and size to ridge 27. During stacking, ridge 27 of tray 40-1 engages with the recess of tray 40-2 to form stack 150. Trays designed to handle ICs in accordance with the second embodiment are also stackable in the manner described above. Prior to shipment, an empty tray is placed at the top of a stack to serve as a protective cover. The stack of trays is then bound with tape and placed in a shipping carton for shipment.

The present invention is fabricated from traditional methods of injection molding. The present invention can be fabricated from conductive, thermoplastic, non-conductive, and insulated plastic materials. In addition, the trays of this invention can be fabricated from material that has electrostatic dissipating properties.

The examples described herein are solely representative of the present invention. It is understood that various modifications and substitutions may be made to the foregoing examples without departing from either the spirit or scope of the invention. It is therefore the intent that the invention not be limited to the particular examples disclosed herein.