Title:
Coil chuck and methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of a dispensing apparatus capable of dispensing flexible material coiled on a roll or winding flexible material onto a roll include a rotatable spindle having an attached end and an opposite free end, a first roll guide proximate the attached end of the spindle, a second roll guide positionable proximate the free end of the spindle and at least one selectively actuated clutch arm operatively coupled to the spindle and movable between an unlocked position and a locked position. The spindle is configured to extend through an axial hole of the roll and the second roll guide is removable to allow installation or removal of the roll from the spindle. When in the locked position, at least a portion of the clutch arm extends through a side surface of the spindle and is engageable with the roll to reduce rotation of the roll relative to the spindle.



Inventors:
Cranston III, Albert E. (Oregon City, OR, US)
Cranston, Montgomery Scott (Clackamas, OR, US)
Blankenship, William Maier (Oregon City, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/056872
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/11/2005
Assignee:
Cranston Diversified Industries, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H75/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DONDERO, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KLARQUIST SPARKMAN, LLP (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An apparatus capable of dispensing flexible material from or winding flexible material into a coiled roll, comprising: a rotatable spindle having an attached end and an opposite free end, the spindle configured to extend through an axial hole of the roll; a first roll guide proximate the attached end of the spindle; a second roll guide positionable proximate the free end of the spindle and removable to allow installation or removal of the roll from the spindle; and at least one selectively actuated clutch arm operatively coupled to the spindle and movable between an unlocked position and a locked position, and wherein in the locked position, at least a portion of the clutch arm extends through a side surface of the spindle and is engageable with the roll to reduce rotation of the roll relative to the spindle.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one selectively activated clutch arm is configured to hold the second roll guide in place proximate the free end of the spindle when the clutch arm is in the locked position.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one selectively activated clutch arm comprises at least a first portion extendible through a first opening in the side surface and a second portion extendible through a second opening in the side surface when the clutch arm is in the locked position, the first portion being capable of bearing against an inside surface of the roll to reduce rotation of the roll relative to the spindle, and the second portion being shaped to restrict axial movement of the roll and to maintain the second roll guide in position.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the roll guides each comprise a side member, each side member having an anti-binding feature configured to urge the side member axially toward a center of the roll as material from the roll is uncoiled or material is wound on the roll to reduce binding.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein at least a portion of the side members apply a compressive force to the ends of the roll.

6. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein actuation of the clutch arm with the roll and first and second roll guides positioned on the spindle engages the anti-binding feature of the first roll guide and of the second roll guide.

7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the anti-binding feature includes at least one spring positioned to urge the respective side member axially toward the center of the roll.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least two first roll guide springs coupled to an outer surface of the first roll guide proximate an outer surface of the spindle and at least two second roll guide springs coupled to an outer surface of the second roll guide proximate an outer surface of the spindle, the springs configured to urge the first and second roll guides towards each other to reduce binding of as material is uncoiled for dispensing.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a brake mechanism coupled to the spindle and actuatable to selectively slow or stop rotation of the spindle.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the spindle includes at least one alignment groove shaped to receive a roll support member supporting a roll such that the support member can be positioned to extend into the alignment groove with the supported roll passing over the free end of the spindle and onto the side surface of the spindle.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the spindle includes at least one alignment feature, further comprising an associated transporter for use in transferring the roll to or from the apparatus, the transporter having a support member on which the roll can be positioned, wherein the support member includes an alignment portion engageable with the alignment feature on the spindle to align the transporter with the spindle for transfer of the roll.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the support member is coupled to a vertical lifting device for raising and lowering the support member and any supported roll.

13. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the transporter is mounted to a wheeled frame to facilitate movement of the transporter.

14. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the transporter includes an upright member and support member is movably cantilevered from the upright member.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first roll guide is fixed to the spindle near the attached end.

16. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the clutch arm comprises a third portion extending through a third opening in the spindle between the first and second spindle openings when the clutch arm is in the locked position.

17. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein a surface of the second portion is angled to urge the roll toward the first roll guide as the clutch arm moves from the unlocked to the locked position.

18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one selectively actuated clutch arm comprises at least first, second and third clutch arms, the first, second and third clutch arms being generally equally spaced about the spindle.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, comprising at least a first arm retention spring having a first end coupled to the first clutch arm and a second end coupled to the second clutch arm, a second arm retention spring having a first end coupled to the second clutch arm and a second end coupled to the third clutch arm, a third arm retention spring having a first end coupled to the third clutch arm and a second end couple to the first clutch arm, the first, second and third arm retention springs forming a generally triangular-shaped configuration.

20. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an actuator capable of actuating the at least one selectively actuated clutch arm, the actuator comprising an expandable airbag and a piston, wherein the piston causes the clutch arm to move into the locked position when the airbag is expanded.

21. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the flexible material comprises strapping material.

22. A method of loading a coil of flexible material comprising: providing a rotatable spindle having an attached end and an opposite free end, the spindle configured to extend through an axial hole of the roll; providing a first roll guide proximate the attached end of the spindle and a second roll guide positionable proximate the free end of the spindle; providing an at least one selectively actuated clutch arm movably coupled to the spindle and movable between an unlocked position and a locked position; loading a roll of flexible material onto the spindle; and locking the clutch arm to prevent the roll from rotating relative to the spindle by moving the clutch arm such that at least a portion of the clutch arm extends through a side surface of the spindle and engages the roll.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the spindle comprises at least one alignment groove and the roll to be loaded is supported on a support member, the method further comprising engaging a portion of the support member with the at least one alignment groove to align the roll with the spindle.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein loading a roll includes adjusting the height of the roll with a lifting device.

25. The method of claim 22, further comprising urging the first and second roll guides towards each other to reduce binding as material is uncoiled for dispensing or coiled for winding.

26. The method of claim 22, wherein the at least a portion of the clutch arm comprises at least one pressure inducing tab configured to prevent the roll from rotating relative to the spindle and a retention tab configured to restrict axially outward movement of the roll and maintain the roll on the spindle, wherein locking comprises selectively moving the clutch arm such that the pressure inducing tab extends through a first opening in the side surface of the spindle and the retention tab extends though a second opening in the side surface of the spindle.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein locking further comprises moving the clutch arm such that the retention tab maintains the second roll guide in position such that the first roll guide abuts a first end of the roll proximate the attached end of the spindle and the second roll guide abuts a second end of the roll proximate the free end of the spindle.

28. The method of claim 26, wherein a surface of the retention tab is angled, and wherein locking further comprises utilizing the angled surface of the retention tab to urge the roll toward the first roll guide as the clutch arm moves from the locked to the unlocked position.

29. The method of claim 22, further comprising providing an actuator having a piston, the actuator being coupled to the spindle, and wherein locking comprises activating the actuator such that the actuator piston moves the clutch arm into the locked position.

30. The method of claim 22, further comprising winding flexible material onto the roll.

31. The method of claim 22, further comprising dispensing material from the roll.

32. The method of claim 22, further comprising unloading the coil of flexible material by unlocking the clutch arm and removing the coil of flexible material from the spindle.

Description:

FIELD

The application relates to coil chucks, and in particular, to coil chucks used for coiling flexible material into rolls or dispensing flexible material stored in coiled rolls.

BACKGROUND

Devices and methods for dispensing flexible material wound around a roll are known. One such flexible material is conventional strapping. The strapping material is generally dispensed by rotating the roll on its axis as material is required. Conventionally, rolls of some types of strapping material are first fitted to a separate spool before the spool and roll combination is loaded onto a rotatable spindle of the coil chuck, also referred to herein as a dispensing device. Such an arrangement can be cumbersome because the roll must be lifted to place it on the spool, which maybe at a location remote from the dispensing device and thus requires the additional step of transporting the spool and roll combination to the dispensing device.

In addition, conventional devices using a keying approach require precise alignment between the spool and the spindle of the dispensing device to load the spool and roll, which can be difficult to achieve.

In some conventional devices, as the coiled material was dispensing, slack was induced, which often caused the coiled material to slip off the roll and bind the rotatable device.

Some of the same drawbacks are encountered with devices that primarily serve to form coiled rolls rather than dispense them.

Therefore, devices and methods allowing easier and more efficient transportation, loading and retention of rolls of flexible material would be desirable.

SUMMARY

Disclosed below are representative embodiments that are not intended to be limiting in any way. Instead, the present disclosure is directed toward novel and nonobvious features, aspects, and equivalents of the embodiments of the coil chuck and methods described below. The disclosed features and aspects of the embodiments can be used alone or in various novel and nonobvious combinations and sub-combinations with one another.

Embodiments of the coil chuck or dispensing device can include a rotatable spindle with an attached end and an opposite free end. The spindle is designed to extend through an axial hole of a roll from which coils of material can be dispensed and/or on which coils of material can be wound. A first roll guide is positionable proximate the attached end of the spindle and a second roll guide is positionable proximate the free end of the spindle. The coil chuck has at least one selectively actuated clutch arm that is operatively coupled to the spindle and selectively movable between an unlocked and locked position. At least a portion of the clutch arm extends through a side surface of the spindle and engages the roll to prevent its rotation relative to the spindle. When in the locked position, the clutch arm also engages the second roll guide to assist in holding it and any roll that is present on the spindle in place.

In some embodiments, at least a first portion of the clutch arm extends through a first opening in the side surface of the spindle and a second portion extends through a second opening in the side surface of the spindle when the clutch arm is in the locked position. The first portion is capable of bearing against an inside surface of the roll to reduce rotation of the roll relative to the spindle and the second portion is shaped to restrict axial movement of the roll and to maintain the second roll guide in position.

In other embodiments, the chuck includes anti-binding features coupled to the roll guides to bias the roll guides against the roll as material is dispensed from the roll or material is wound on the roll. The anti-binding features result in at least a portion of the side members applying a compressive force on the ends of the roll. The anti-binding features engage the roll guides upon actuation of the clutch arm when the first and second roll guides are positioned on the spindle. In some embodiments, the anti-binding features each comprise at least one spring configured to urge the roll guides in an axially inward direction.

In some embodiments, the coil chuck includes an associated transporter to facilitate loading the roll onto the spindle or unloading the roll from the spindle. The transporter has a support member with an alignment portion near a tip of the support member to align the transporter with the spindle during transfer of the roll. In particular embodiments, the transporter is a ground transporter with a wheeled frame and a vertical lifting device to adjustably raise or lower the roll. In other embodiments, the transporter is a hanging arm connected to an overhead support that is configured to adjustably raise or lower the arm.

In some embodiments, the coil chuck includes a brake mechanism coupled to the spindle to selectively slow the rotation of the spindle.

Some embodiments of a coil chuck include three arm retention springs coupling three clutch arms. The retention springs are designed to bias the clutch arms into an unlocked position and are positioned about the spindle such that their ends are adjacent to form a generally triangular-shaped configuration. In other embodiments, the coil chuck includes more or fewer than three clutch arms and arm retention springs.

In several embodiments, the clutch arms are movable between an unlocked and locked position using an actuator. The actuator can be an airbag shaft piston combination where expansion of the airbag linearly extends the piston. The piston is in contact with a portion of several movable clutch arms when the arms are in an unlocked position such that protraction of the piston causes the clutch arms to move into a locked position. Contracting the airbag causes the piston to retract and the clutch arms to return to the unlocked position. Other forms of actuators, such as electrical, magnetic, mechanical or fluid actuators, can also be used.

Methods of loading a roll from which flexible material will be dispensed or onto which flexible material can be wound include providing a rotatable spindle having an attached end and an opposite free end, a first roll guide proximate the attached end of the spindle, a second roll guide positionable proximate the free end of the spindle and at least one selectively actuated clutch arm movably coupled to the spindle and movable between an unlocked position and a locked position. The spindle is configured to extend through an axial hole of the roll. The methods further include loading a roll of flexible material onto the spindle and locking the clutch arm to prevent the roll from rotating relative to the spindle by moving the clutch arm such that at least a portion of the clutch arm extends through a side surface of the spindle and engages the roll. In some embodiments, the methods include providing an associated transporter and loading a roll onto the coil chuck using the transporter for support and alignment. The methods can also include unloading the coil of flexible material by unlocking the clutch arm and removing the coil of flexible material from the spindle. Furthermore, the transporter can be used to facilitate the unloading of the coil of flexible material.

The foregoing and additional features and advantages of the disclosed embodiments will become more apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the coil chuck and associated ground transporter carrying a roll of coiled material to be loaded onto the chuck, also showing one of the roll guides removed to allow loading.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the coil chuck of FIG. 1 and an embodiment of an associated hanging transporter carrying a roll of coiled material to be loaded onto the chuck.

FIG. 3 is a sectioned front elevational view of the coil chuck of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a sectioned side elevational view of the coil chuck of FIGS. 1 and 2 in the unlocked position, showing a roll in place and a removable roll guide being installed.

FIG. 5 is a sectioned side elevational view similar to FIG. 4, except showing the chuck in a locked position to secure the roll and removable roll guide in place.

FIG. 6 is a sectioned front elevational view of an interior portion of a coil chuck showing clutch arms and clutch arm retention springs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Described below are embodiments of a coil chuck capable of receiving a roll for flexible material on a rotatable spindle, selectively securing the roll in place by actuating members associated with the spindle and rotatably supporting the roll as material is wound on or dispensed from the secured roll. Although the illustrated embodiments generally include a coil chuck for dispensing flexible material from a coil, the embodiments are not limited to dispensing flexible material from a roll, but can also be directed to coiling or winding flexible material on a roll. In other words, a coil chuck of the present application can be configured to dispense flexible material and/or coil or wind such material.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a cylindrical roll 22 being transported for loading onto an embodiment of the coil chuck 10. The coil chuck 10 includes a rotatable spindle 12, a fixed roll guide 14 attached proximate an attached end 16 of the spindle and a removable roll guide 18 for coupling to the spindle proximate a free end 20 of the spindle after the roll is installed.

Spindle

The spindle 12 has an outer side surface shaped to accommodate the cylindrical roll 22, which has a core 24 defining a generally circular axial hole 26. In the illustrated embodiments, and as described in greater detail below, the spindle has a multi-lobed cross-section with a major dimension less than the diameter of the axial hole 26.

In the illustrated embodiments, the spindle 12 has a three-lobed cross-section with each lobe or supporting section 27 defined by adjacent alignment grooves 40. In some embodiments, the alignment grooves 40 include a lateral guide 122 extending in a generally axial direction.

The coil chuck 10 has a roll securing mechanism. In some embodiments, the spindle 12 is fitted with at least one clutch arm 70 (FIG. 3) having one or more projections selectively actuatable to protrude through one or more openings, such as openings 23, 25, in the spindle 12 to secure the roll 22 against rotation and/or axial movement relative to the spindle. The openings 23, 25 are formed in a corresponding number of the supporting portions 27 of the spindle 12. In the illustrated embodiments, there are a total of three clutch arms, each being associated with one of the three supporting portions 27. However, in other embodiments, the spindle 12 can include one, two or more than three clutch arms.

The spindle 12 also includes a front plate 29 and a rear plate 60 (see FIG. 3). Pins 71, or other fasteners, assist in attaching the spindle front plate 29 to the supporting portions 27.

The core 24 is typically made of a heavy cardboard or other similar material. Flexible material 28 is coiled around the core 24 in overlapping wraps to form the roll 22. In some embodiments, the flexible material 28 can be a strapping material, such as a steel or plastic band, and can be single width or level wound. In other embodiments, the flexible material can be any other material capable of being wound on a roll.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show the coil chuck 10 with the roll 22 loaded but not yet secured against movement relative to the spindle 12. The spindle 12 includes the front plate 29, the rear plate 60 and the three supporting portions 27 equally spaced about the spindle, together forming its major outer surface, which are each coupled to the front plate and rear plate. Alignment features, such as the alignment grooves 40, are defined in the spindle between respective pairs of the supporting portions 27. In the illustrated embodiment, the supporting portions 27 each have two contact edges 62 adapted to contact the inner surface of the core 24 during loading and unloading of the roll 22. The contact edges 62 are generally formed at junctions between straight sections in the supporting portions 27. The contact edges 62 facilitate loading and unloading by minimizing contact points with the core 24, thereby reducing frictional forces opposing movement of the core against the spindle 12 as the roll is loaded and unloaded. Support rods 64 couple the supporting portions 27 to an actuator shaft guide 94.

As discussed above, the roll securing mechanism in some embodiments includes one or more clutch arms 70 movably coupled to the spindle 12. In the illustrated embodiments, as best shown in FIG. 3, the three clutch arms 70 are equally spaced about the rotation axis 82 of the spindle 12. In the illustrated embodiments, the arms 70 are rotatably or pivotably coupled to the spindle at an end of the arms proximate the spindle's attached end 16, e.g., using clamp pin 72 and brackets 74. As illustrated, the brackets can be attached to the respective supporting portions 27. The arms 70 are generally rotatable between an unlocked position (see FIGS. 3 and 4) and a locked position (see FIGS. 5 and 6). Clutch arm guides 73 are configured to assist in preventing the clutch arms from moving laterally, i.e., in the circumferential direction relative to the spindle.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the clutch arms 70 can include one or more projections, referred to herein as “tabs,” for contacting, or otherwise preventing movement of, the roll 22. While the illustrated embodiments show two tabs 76 and one tab 78, in other embodiments, the clutch arms can include fewer or more tabs depending upon specific requirements. In some embodiments, the tabs 76 are generally rectangular-shaped with angled outer surfaces that slope slightly downward relative to the rotation axis 82 in a direction away from the pivot when the clutch arms 70 are in an unlocked position, as shown in FIG. 4. When the clutch arms 70 rotate into the locked position, the outer surfaces of the tabs 76 are generally parallel to the rotation axis 82; as shown in FIG. 5. The tab 78 is generally triangular-shaped with an inclined edge surface 80 inclined at an angle relative to a spindle rotation axis 82 and facing a direction away from the spindle free end 20.

The roll securing mechanism is selectively actuatable to secure the roll in place (e.g., after loading) or to release it (e.g., when the roll is depleted and needs to be changed). According to some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the roll securing mechanism can include a linear actuator 84 coupled to the spindle 12 to move the clutch arms 70. The actuator 84 includes an expandable airbag 86, a piston 88 and an actuator shaft 90 coupling the airbag 86 and the piston 88. The clutch arms 70 each include a converging inner edge portion 92 proximate the middle of the arm where the converging inner edge portion converges toward the spindle rotation axis 82 in a direction away from the fixed end 16 of the spindle 12. As shown in FIG. 4, the piston 88 of the illustrated embodiments is generally frustoconical and contacts the clutch arms 70 at a location proximate a section of the converging inner edge portion 92 nearest the fixed end 16 of the spindle 12 when the arms are in the unlocked position. Although the actuator of the illustrated embodiment utilizes an airbag, it is recognized that actuators of different types may also be implemented, such as electrical, magnetic, mechanical or fluid actuators.

When the clutch arms 70 are in an unlocked position as shown in FIG. 4, the airbag 86 is in an unexpanded state. The clutch arms 70 are rotated into the locked position by selectively filling the airbag 86 with air, or other fluid, causing the airbag to expand. As the airbag 86 expands, the shaft 90 moves piston 88 axially outward, urging the arms 70 to move outwardly with the tabs 76, 78 projecting through the openings, 23, 25 as indicated in FIG. 5. In some embodiments, the actuator shaft guide 94 is positioned within the spindle to support and guide the shaft to facilitate proper linear motion of the shaft and piston 88.

The coil chuck 10 can include an actuator return spring 91 as shown having one end coupled to the actuator piston 88 and another end coupled to the spindle front plate 29. The actuator return spring 91 is compressed as the actuator extends which creates a force against the actuator that biases the actuator to return to a retracted or unexpanded state when actuation is completed.

Referring to FIG. 5, as the clutch arms 70 rotate from the unlocked position to the locked position, the tab 78 extends through the tab opening 25 formed in the spindle 12. As the tab 78 extends through the opening 25, the inclined surface 80 of the tab 78 engages the removable roll guide 18, causing it to move in an inward direction towards the fixed end 16 of the spindle 12. The length of the roll 22, spindle 12 and clutch arms 70 are predetermined such that as the removable roll guide 18 moves inwardly toward the fixed end 16 of the spindle 12, the removable roll guide applies an inward axially directed pressure against an outer end 96 of the roll 22. In this way, tab 78 facilitates movement of the removable roll guide 18 into the proper locked position and restricts the roll 22 from moving in an outward axial direction when in the locked position.

As shown in FIG. 5, at a predetermined fully expanded state of the air bag 86, the clutch arms are rotated into a locked position. In the locked position, the tabs 76 extend through the tab openings 23 formed in the spindle 12. The outer surface of each tab 76 extends beyond the outer surface of the spindle supporting portions 27 and engages the core 24 by applying an outwardly directed pressure against the inner surface of the core 24 (see also FIG. 6). The pressure on the roll 22 restricts the roll from rotating relative to the spindle 12.

Although the tabs 76 are generally rectangular shaped and have planar outer surfaces generally parallel to the roll longitudinal axis when deployed as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, in other embodiments, the tabs can be configured in different shapes. For example, outer surfaces of the tabs can include a plurality of teeth to facilitate enhanced gripping of the roll when the clutch arms are in the locked position.

According to some embodiments, the chuck includes clutch arm retention springs 120 (FIGS. 4, 5 and 6). The retention springs are generally configured to bias the clutch arms toward the unlocked position such that when the actuator and piston are retracted, the clutch arms responsively rotate into the unlocked position. According to a specific embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 6, the chuck 10 includes three clutch arms 70 and three retention springs 120. Each spring 120 includes a first end coupled to a clutch arm 70 and a second end coupled to an adjacent clutch arm where the springs form a generally triangular-shaped configuration. Furthermore, the lateral guides 122 of the alignment grooves can assist in protecting the air bag 86 and the springs 120 from support members 36, 52, as will be described more fully below.

Roll Guides

In some embodiments, the fixed roll guide 14 and the removable roll guide 18 include disks 35, 37, respectively, that have a slightly contoured shape in cross-section, as exaggerated for emphasis in FIGS. 4 and 5. Each disk typically has an outer diameter greater than a maximum diameter of the roll 22, i.e., the diameter of a roll when a maximum amount of coiled material is wrapped around a core of the roll. The roll guides 14 and 18 each have an aperture 30 defining an inner diameter slightly larger than the spindle major dimension. In the illustrated embodiments, the fixed roll guide 14 and the removable roll guide 18 include a roll guide mount 13, 15, respectively, coupled to the guides 18, 14 by brackets 17. The roll guide mount 13 includes an angled edge 11 which facilitates contact with the inclined edge surface 80 of tab 78. The roll guides 14, 18 also include a support ring 19 to facilitate concentricity between the roll guides 14, 18 and the spindle rotation axis 82.

In some embodiments, the roll guides 14, 18 include disk urging elements, such as springs 104, 106, respectively. Spring 104 is positioned proximate the fixed end 16 and outer surface of the spindle, and biased to urge the fixed roll guide disk 35 towards the free end 20 of the spindle. Spring 104 includes one end that is coupled to fixed roll guide disk 35 and an opposite end coupled to the fixed roll guide mount 13. Similarly, spring 106 is positioned proximate the free end 20 and outer surface of the spindle 12 and biased to urge the removable roll guide disk 37 towards 18 the fixed end 16 of the spindle when the clutch arms 70 are in the locked position. Spring 106 includes one end that is coupled to the removable roll guide disk 37 and an opposite end coupled to the removable roll guide mount 15.

When in the locked position, the roll guide springs 104, 106 are designed to urge the fixed roll guide disk 35 and the removable roll guide disk 37, towards each other. In the illustrated embodiment, there are four springs, including two springs 104 and two springs 106. In other embodiments, fewer or more than four springs can be used.

Upon locking the roll in place, the springs 104, 106 are preloaded to facilitate contact between the roll guide disks and the coiled material at the axially outermost edges of the roll. Furthermore, as the coiled material is uncoiled for dispensing or new material is wound onto the roll, the springs 104, 106 maintain the biasing force against the roll guide disks to assist in maintaining contact between the roll guide disks and the outermost edge of the roll as the outer diameter of the roll decreases or increases. By maintaining contact with the roll, the roll guide disks provide an inwardly directed pressure which assists in keeping the coiled material on an outer perimeter of the roll, thus helping to prevent binding.

Although the illustrated embodiments use springs to bias the roll guides, other spring type mechanisms capable of producing a biasing effect can also be used.

As shown in FIG. 5, when a roll is loaded onto the spindle 12 and the clutch arms 70 are rotated into the locked position, the roll guide spring 104 biases the fixed roll guide disk 35 against roll inner end 98 and the roll guide 106 biases the removable roll guide disk 37 against roll outer end 96. The roll guide springs 104, 106 thereby facilitate constant containment of coiled material on the outer circumferential surface of the roll 22.

In certain embodiments, the coil chuck 10 includes an optional cap 124 coupled to the removable roll guide 18 to covers the removable roll guide aperture 30. The cap 124 can also be configured to cover the free end 20 of the spindle 12, the front plate 29, and the alignment groove 40 proximate the free end of the spindle, when the removable roll guide 18 is secured to the spindle. The cap 124 prevents debris and contaminants from entering the spindle through the aperture 40 and guards against rotational voids of the alignment groove 40.

Coil Chuck Brake and Drive

In some embodiments, such as is illustrated, the coil chuck is free wheeling and rotates in response to material being pulled from the roll 22.

According to other embodiments, coil chuck 10 can include a driving mechanism 32, such as an electric motor, to drive, i.e., rotate, the spindle 12 and a roll loaded onto the spindle. The driving mechanism 32 can be coupled to the spindle 12 via a drive shaft 33 (see FIGS. 4 and 5). The driving mechanism 32 is selectively activated to rotate the spindle to facilitate dispensing the coiled material 28 from the roll 22 or winding material onto the roll 22.

Referring back to FIGS. 4 and 5, the coil chuck 10 includes a brake mechanism in some embodiments. The brake mechanism can include a brake member, such as brake disk 114, coupled to and rotatable with the spindle 12, and a brake caliper (not shown). The brake member 114 can be coupled to the spindle by fasteners 116. The brake caliper, or other similar component, such as pneumatic drag and drop pucks, is actuatable to contact and slow, or stop, the brake disk 114.

When the coil chuck 10 is operating in a dispensing state and a decrease in the rate of material being dispensed is desired, the brake mechanism assists in slowing the rotation of the spindle and the roll thereby decreasing the rate of dispensed material. Similarly, when a change in the coil chuck 10 operation from a dispensing state to a non-dispensing state is desired, the brake mechanism assists in stopping the spindle and the roll 22, thereby stopping the chuck from dispensing additional material. Further, when the coil chuck is operating in a coiling state, the brake mechanism 112 can be used to decrease the rate of coiling or assist in stopping the coil chuck from coiling. The brake mechanism 112 can also assist in locking the spindle 12 in place to facilitate alignment of the spindle 12 with the support members 36, 52 during loading of the roll 22 onto the spindle 12.

Loading and Unloading of Coil Chuck

The roll 22 is loaded onto the spindle 12 by sliding the roll onto the spindle such that the spindle free end 20 enters and extends through the axial hole 26 of the core 24 until the leading end of the roll contacts the fixed roll guide 14. The removable roll guide 18 is then slid onto the spindle such that the spindle free end 20 enters and extends through the aperture 30 until the removable roll guide 18 contacts the end of the roll opposite the leading end. Loading is generally completed by actuating the clutch arms 70 to lock the roll in place.

Unloading can be accomplished in a similar manner by retracting the clutch arms 70 to unlock the chuck 10. The removable roll guide 18 can then be removed and the roll can be slide off of the spindle 12.

When the roll is loaded onto the spindle, the fixed roll guide 14 and the removable roll guide 18 facilitate constant containment of the coiled material on the circumferential surface of the roll and away from the ends of the roll as the material is being dispensed. In this way, the coiled material is prevented from slacking which could cause the material to undesirably wrap directly around the spindle or other parts of the chuck.

In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 1, a ground transporter 34 can be used to facilitate loading the roll 22 onto the spindle 12. The ground transporter 34 can include a support member 36 having an alignment portion 38. The alignment portion 38 can include a beveled tip for facilitating engagement with an alignment groove 40 formed in the spindle and extending a substantial portion of the length of the spindle 12.

To load the roll onto the spindle, the axis 42 of the roll 22 is aligned with the axis 82 of the spindle 12. Engagement of the alignment portion 38 and the alignment groove 40 can ensure the roll 22 and the spindle 12 are properly aligned. Upon proper alignment, the ground transporter 34 can then be used to mount the roll 22 onto the spindle until the spindle free end 20 extends through the axial hole 26. Mounting consists of manually sliding the roll 22 toward the fixed roll guide 14 as indicated by the direction arrow shown in FIG. 1. To facilitate mounting of the roll onto the spindle and maintain proper alignment during mounting, the support member 36 can engage the alignment groove 40 and the alignment portion 38 can remain engaged with the alignment groove.

For the alignment portion 38 to engage the alignment groove 40, some rotation of the spindle may be required. Therefore, in some embodiments, the spindle 12 includes three alignment grooves 40 approximately equally spaced about the spindle. With additional alignment grooves formed in the spindle, adjusting the rotational position of the spindle for engagement of the alignment portion 38 of the support member 36 with an alignment groove can be minimized and often eliminated. As shown in FIG. 4, the support members 36 and 52 of FIGS. 1 and 2, respectively, are represented between groove 40 formed in the spindle 12.

In some embodiments, the ground transporter 34 comprises a wheeled frame 44 having multiple wheels 46 to aid in transferring the ground transporter from one location to another. In some embodiments, the ground transporter 34 includes a vertical lifting device, such as winch 48. The vertical lifting device can be used to adjustably raise or lower the support member 36 and a loaded roll to assist in properly aligning the roll 22 with the spindle 12. For example, the vertical lifting device can lower the support members 36, 52 to be inserted into a roll supported by a pallet on the floor. In some embodiments, the wheeled frame 44 of the ground transporter 34 is configured to straddle or otherwise cooperate with a pallet or other supporting structure on which one or more rolls are placed.

Alternatively, in some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 2, a hanging transporter 50 can be used to facilitate loading of the roll 22. Similar to the ground transporter 34 of FIG. 1, the hanging transporter 50 can include a support member 52 having an alignment portion 54. The alignment portion 54 may also include a beveled tip for facilitating engagement with the spindle alignment groove 40. The hanging transporter 50 can also include an arm 56. The support member 52 can be coupled to the arm 56 with the arm being angled such that the longitudinal axis 42 of the roll 22 is approximately parallel to the ground.

Loading the roll using the hanging transporter 50 is similar to loading the roll using the ground transporter 34 except that transferring the hanging transporter from one location to another utilizes an overhead support mechanism (not shown), such as an overhead crane (not shown). The support mechanism can be coupled to the hanging transporter via cable 58.

Similarly, a transporter, such as ground transporter 34 or hanging transporter 50, can be used to facilitate unloading of the roll 22 from the spindle 12. The transporter can be positioned such that the transporter support member 36, 52 engages the alignment groove 40 of the spindle 12. The transporter support member 36, 52 is then extended along the alignment groove a substantial portion of the spindle 12 such that when the transporter support member 36, 52 is lifted by the transporter, the support member lifts the roll 22. The roll 22 can then be slid off of the spindle by backing up the transporter.

In several embodiments of the present application, the coil chuck can be made from a steel. However, in other embodiments, the coil chuck can be made from other materials, such as aluminum.

Although the invention has been disclosed in this patent application by reference to the details of some preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that this disclosure is intended in an illustrative rather than in a limiting sense, as it is contemplated that modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art within the spirit of the invention.