Title:
Portable computer and method of forming rear cover thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable computer and a method of forming the rear cover includes a display part, a front cover having a display opening through which a display surface of the display part is exposed, and a rear cover formed by forming a forming material, coupled to the front cover, and having a reinforcement member embedded therein along a plate surface direction thereof. Thus, the rear cover of the display part is improved in strength.



Inventors:
Jeung, Tae-hee (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/507490
Publication Date:
03/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/22/2006
Assignee:
SAMSUNG Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/28
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Primary Examiner:
WRIGHT, INGRID D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EIPG (Mclean, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable computer having a display part, comprising: a front cover having a display opening through which a display surface of the display part is exposed; and a rear cover made of a forming material, coupled to the front cover, and having a reinforcement member embedded therein along a plate surface direction thereof.

2. The portable computer according to claim 1, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a plurality of through-holes formed therein and arranged transversely on a plate surface thereof.

3. The portable computer according to claim 1, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a magnetic substance.

4. The portable computer according to claim 1, wherein the forming material comprises an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resin.

5. A rear cover forming method of a portable computer having a rear cover which is coupled to a front cover with a display opening, the rear cover forming method comprising: preparing a reinforcement member to be embedded in the rear cover along a plate surface direction of the rear cover, and upper and lower molds to form the rear cover; arranging the reinforcement member in the lower mold; coupling the upper mold and the lower mold; injecting a forming material into a space formed between the upper mold and the lower mold; cooling the forming material; and separating the upper mold from the lower mold.

6. The rear cover forming method according to claim 5, further comprising: preheating the reinforcement member to have a predetermined temperature before the arranging of the reinforcement member in the lower mold.

7. The rear cover forming method according to claim 5, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a magnetic substance, and the lower mold includes a permanent magnet to secure the reinforcement member by a magnetic force with respect to the rear cover.

8. The rear cover forming method according to claim 5, wherein the reinforcement member comprises a plurality of position determination holes formed therein at predetermined positions of the plate surface thereof, and the lower mold comprises position determination pins to settle the position of the reinforcement member corresponding to the position determination holes.

9. The rear cover forming method according to claim 8, further comprising removing the rear cover by ejector pins movably provided in the lower mold, wherein the rear cover is removed as the position determination pins push the rear cover after the ejector pins push the rear cover.

10. An image forming device usable with a portable computer, comprising: a display part; and a rear cover to cover the display part and including one or more reinforcement members provided therein.

11. The portable computer according to claim 10, wherein the rear cover comprises a forming material.

12. The portable computer according to claim 10, wherein the reinforcement members have one or more position determining holes formed therein at predetermined intervals.

13. The portable computer according to claim 10, wherein the reinforcement members have through holes formed therein.

14. A molding apparatus to form a rear cover of an image forming device of a portable computer, the molding apparatus comprising: an upper mold; a lower mold to contact the upper mold to form a space therebetween to form the rear cover; a position determining core provided in the lower mold to position a reinforcing member within the space; and a nozzle to inject a forming material into the space to form a rear cover having a reinforcing member.

15. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the position determining core comprises permanent magnets corresponding to the reinforcing members to secure a position of the reinforcing members during a molding operation.

16. The molding apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the position determining core comprises permanent magnet accommodating parts to accommodate the permanent magenets therein.

17. The molding apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the permanent magnets are provided at a predetermined portion of the lower mold to arrange the reinforcing members with respect to the rear cover.

18. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the position determining core comprises position determining pins provided therein to protrude from the a lower surface of the lower mold to be received in the corresponding reinforcing member to properly locate the corresponding reinforcing members.

19. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the reinforcing member comprises one or more holes, and the lower mold comprises ejector pins to protrude from a lower surface of the lower mold to be inserted into corresponding ones of the one or more holes to eject the rear cover from the lower mold.

20. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the upper mold comprises ejector pins to protrude from a lower surface of the lower mold to eject the rear cover from the upper mold.

21. The molding apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the ejector pins correspond to portions of the rear cover having the corresponding reinforcing member provided therein to remove the rear cover after a molding operation.

22. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein: the upper mold comprises: an upper runner, and the lower mold comprises: a lower runner to provide the forming material to provide the forming material to the rear cover forming area.

23. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the forming material nozzle part comprises a screw to move the forming material.

24. The molding apparatus according to claim 14, wherein: the lower mold comprises cooling channels to cool the molding apparatus; and the upper mold comprises cooling channels to cool the molding apparatus.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from Korean Patent Application No. 2005-0085852, filed on Sep. 14, 2005, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present general inventive concept relates to a portable computer and a method of forming a rear cover thereof, and more particularly, to a portable computer and a method of forming a rear cover thereof, in which a rear cover of a display part is improved in strength.

2. Description of the Related Art

A portable computer is lightweight and compact, but can still outperform a general desktop computer, so that the portable computer offers various conveniences that cannot be obtained from a general desktop computer. Further, the portable computer can be used almost everywhere, thus further expanding a usage scope over the general desktop computer. In general, the portable computer comprises an image forming part forming images, and a computer main body supporting the image forming part and is also equipped with various types of hardware.

The image forming part of the portable computer comprises a display part such as a display panel to form images, a front cover supporting the display part and defining an outer appearance, and a rear cover coupled to the front cover, interposing the display part therebetween. The rear cover serves to protect the display part such as an LCD panel, and is formed by die casting of a special material such as magnesium, or made, in a usual case, by forming of plastic. The portable computer is carried in a bag due to its portability, and tends to be used without being fixed at a certain place.

However, the rear cover of the conventional portable computer made of plastic is likely to be deformed by external force, impact or the like when a user carries it through a crowded public transportation system or a heavy object such as a thick book is put on the rear cover of the folded portable computer, so that the display part may be damaged. Such damage in the display part causes the LCD panel or the like to have defectives such as white spots, pooling, etc. Further, the rear cover of the conventional portable computer made of the magnesium die casting improves the strength thereof, but processes following the casting process, e.g., NC (numeric control) machining, oxidization coating and the like, are so complicated that a cost of assembly is very high.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general inventive concept provides a portable computer and a method of forming a rear cover thereof, in which a rear cover of a display part is improved in strength.

Additional aspects and advantages of the present general inventive concept will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the general inventive concept.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present general inventive concept may be achieved by providing a portable computer having a display part, including a front cover having a display opening through which a display surface of the display part is exposed, and a rear cover made of a forming material, coupled to the front cover, and having a reinforcement member embedded therein along a plate surface direction thereof.

The reinforcement member may include a plurality of through-holes formed therein and arranged transversely on a plate surface thereof, so that the forming material can move in a transverse direction of the plate surface.

The reinforcement member may comprise a magnetic substance, so that the reinforcement member can be settled while the forming material is injected.

The forming material includes an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resin, thereby enhancing fluidity.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present general inventive concept may also be achieved by providing a rear cover forming method of a portable computer having a rear cover which is coupled to a front cover with a display opening and, the rear cover forming method including preparing a reinforcement member to be embedded in the rear cover along a plate surface direction of the rear cover, and upper and lower molds to form the rear cover, arranging the reinforcement member in the lower mold, coupling the upper mold and the lower mold, injecting a forming material into a space formed between the upper mold and the lower mold, cooling the forming material, and separating the upper mold from the lower mold.

The rear cover forming method may include preheating the reinforcement member to have a predetermined temperature before the arranging of the reinforcement member, thereby protecting the forming material from defect such as cracks while it is cooled.

The reinforcement member may comprise a magnetic substance, and the lower mold includes a permanent magnet to secure the reinforcement member by a magnetic force with respect to the rear cover.

The reinforcement member includes a plurality of position determination holes formed therein at predetermined positions of a plate surface thereof, and the lower mold includes position determination pins to settle the position of the reinforcement member corresponding to the position determination holes.

The rear cover forming method may further include removing the rear cover by ejector pins movably provided in the lower mold, wherein the rear cover is removed as the position determination pins push the rear cover after the ejector pins push the rear cover, thereby decreasing defectives.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present general inventive concept may also be achieved by providing an image forming device usable with a portable computer, including a display part, and a rear cover to cover the display part and including one or more reinforcement members provided therein.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present general inventive concept may also be achieved by providing a molding apparatus to form a rear cover of an image forming device of a portable computer, the molding apparatus including an upper mold, a lower mold to contact the upper mold to form a space therebetween to form the rear cover, a position determining core provided in the lower mold to position a reinforcing member the space, and a nozzle to inject a forming material into the space to form a rear cover having a reinforcing member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and/or other aspects and advantages of the prevent general inventive concept will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the exemplary embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompany drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a portable computer according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view illustrating an image forming part of the portable computer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear view illustrating a rear cover of the image forming part of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating a reinforcement member of the image forming part of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view illustrating a coupling state of the rear cover with position determination pins in an apparatus to manufacture the rear cover according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept;

FIGS. 6A to 6D are schematic cross-sectional views illustrating a process of forming the rear cover in the apparatus of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a method of forming a rear cover according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present general inventive concept, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. The embodiments are described below so as to explain the present general inventive concept by referring to the figures.

Hereinafter, a portable computer 10 and a method of forming a rear cover 40 of the same according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

In the portable computer 10 and a rear cover forming method of the same according to the present general inventive concept, the portable computer 10, as illustrated in FIG. 1, comprises an image forming part 30 to form and/or display images, and a computer main body 20 which supports the image forming part 30 and is equipped with various hardware to generate a signal corresponding to the images. Referring to FIG. 1, the image forming part 30 of the portable computer 10 includes a front cover 31 having a display opening through which a display surface of a display part 33 is exposed, and a rear cover 40 formed by forming a forming material like a plastic material to be coupled with the front cover 31 and having a reinforcement member 50 (refer to FIG. 2) embedded therein along a plate surface direction of the rear cover 40.

The computer main body 20 comprises a casing 21 to define an outer appearance thereof, and a hinge part (not shown) provided at a rear portion of the casing 21 and coupled to the image forming part 30 to rotatably support the image forming part 30. The computer main body 20 further comprises a motherboard (not shown) with a central process unit (CPU) and a random access memory (RAM) mounted thereon, a keyboard 23 used as an input device and provided in front of the computer main body 20 without overlapping the motherboard, an auxiliary memory unit and the like, and a touch pad 25 provided on a side of the keyboard 23 to control a cursor on a screen of the image forming part 30. A connection port (not shown) to connect with an earphone and a power source is provided on one side of the casing 21. Further, a card slot (not shown) to which a communication card, a memory card and/or the like is mounted is provided on the other side of the casing 21.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view illustrating an image forming part 30 of the portable computer 10 of FIG. 1. The image forming part 30 comprises the display part 33 with a flat display panel such as an LCD (liquid crystal display) to form and/or display the images, the front cover 31 having the display opening through which the display surface of the display part 33 is exposed, and the rear cover 40 formed by forming a plastic material to be coupled with the front cover 31 and having the reinforcement member 50 embedded therein along its plate surface direction. The image forming part 30 is coupled to the hinge part 27 so as to rotate up and down with respect to the computer main body 20. The image forming part 30 is rotated down to be folded to the computer main body 20, and rotated up to be unfolded from the computer main body 20.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the display part 33 may comprise an LCD (liquid crystal display) type in which images are reproduced by applying voltages between thin films with small pixels to form the images, a PDP (plasma panel display) type that employs a gas discharge principle, etc.

The front cover 31 has the display opening through which the display surface of the display part 33 is exposed, and defines the outer appearance thereof. The front cover 31 is coupled with the rear cover 40, interposing the display part 33 therebetween. The front cover 31 may be coated with paint of a predetermined color to render the outer appearance more attractive.

FIG. 3 is a rear view illustrating the rear cover 40 of FIG. 2. FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating a reinforcement member 50 of the image forming part 30 of FIG. 2. Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the rear cover 40 is formed by forming a plastic material, is coupled with the front cover 31, interposing the display part 33 therebetween, and has the reinforcement member 50 embedded therein along the plate surface direction. The rear cover 40 may be coated with a paint of a predetermined color to render the outer appearance thereof more attractive. Therefore, the rear cover 40 having the reinforcement member 50 is stronger than that formed of only a forming material such as plastic without the reinforcement member 50, thus reducing damage to the display part 33 due to impacts or the like.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view illustrating a coupling state of the rear cover 40 with position determination pins 83 in an apparatus to manufacture the rear cover 40 according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept. As illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5, a forming material 60 forms the outer appearance of the rear cover 40 and has a material characteristics such that it can readily flow to be injected into a rear cover mold 95 (see FIG. 6B) when forming the rear cover 40. For example, a mixture of PC (poly carbonate) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) may be used, rather than a mixture of PC and GF (glass fiber) 20%, the ABS is more fluid than a mixture of PC and ABS.

The reinforcement member 50 is embedded along the plate surface direction of the rear cover 40 formed by forming the plastic material. The reinforcement member 50 comprises a plurality of position determination holes 51 (51a, 51b, 51c, 51d, and 51e) formed with a predetermined size such that the reinforcement member 50 is arranged at a predetermined position of a lower mold 80, and a plurality of through-holes 53 formed transversely on the plate surface thereof such that the forming material 60 flows to pass through the plate surface of the reinforcement member 50. The reinforcement member 50 is made of a stainless steel, which is a magnetic substance and has a strong corrosion resistance, such as 430ss (SUS (steel use stainless) 430). Thus, the position of the reinforcement member 50 can be settled by magnetic force of a permanent magnet 91. The reinforcement member 50 may be a flat plate shape without any irregular portion, but may have predetermined irregular portions in a length or width direction to improve the strength thereof as necessary.

The position determination holes 51 (51a, 51b, 51c, 51d, and 51e) are horizontally formed in the plate surface of the reinforcement member 50 to correspond to the size of position determination pins 83 (83a, 83b, and 83c to be described later) such that the position of the position determination holes 51 (51a, 51b, 51c, 51d, and 51e) is predetermined when being arranged. The number and the positions of position determination holes 51 (51a, 51b, 51c, 51d, and 51e) may be varied according to the sizes and/or strengths of the reinforcement member 50.

The through-holes 53 are horizontally and/or vertically formed in the plate surface of the reinforcement member 50 such that the forming material 60 flows to pass through the plate surface of the reinforcement member 50. The number and the positions of the through-holes 53 may be varied according to material characteristics of the forming material 60, the temperature, the sizes of a mold, etc. Thus, the forming material 60 can be injected entirely uniformly.

The position determination pins 83 (83a, 83b, and 83c) can be protruded from a plate surface of the lower mold 80 for the rear cover 40 and move to determine the position of the reinforcement member 50 when the reinforcement member 50 is arranged on the lower mold 80, and presses the forming material 60 during a process of extracting the rear cover 40 (to be described later). A position determination core 87 (87a, 87b, and 87c) comprises a position determination pin hole 85 to accommodate the position determination pin 83, and a permanent magnet accommodating part 93 recessed from the plate surface of the lower mold 80 corresponding to the permanent magnet 91 so as to accommodate the permanent magnet 91.

The permanent magnet 91 is accommodated in the permanent magnet accommodating part 93 of the position determination core 87 (87a, 87b, and 87c). The permanent magnet 91 has a predetermined thickness and may be annularly formed, but may take a variety of shapes as necessary. The permanent magnet 91 settles the reinforcement member 50 by magnetic force to prevent the reinforcement member 50 from being moved due to injection of the forming material 60. That is, the reinforcement member 50 is disposed on the position determining core 87 at a predetermined position within the forming material 60 according to a magnetic force between the permanent magnet 91 and the reinforcement member 50 before the forming material 60 is inserted.

A plurality of ejector pins 89a and 89b are provided in the lower mold 80 and push the forming material 60 to get the rear cover 40 off the lower mold 80. The ejector pins 89 are moved by an ejector pin actuator 120, and the number and the arrangement position thereof may be varied according to a thickness, sizes or the like of the rear cover 40. The ejector pins 89 are disposed at positions misaligned with the through-holes 53 of the reinforcement member 50, so deformation of the rear cover mold 95 due to applying pressure thereon can be reduced.

With such a configuration, the portable computer 10 according to the present general inventive concept and a process of forming the rear cover thereof will now be described with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7.

FIGS. 6A to 6D are schematic cross-sectional views illustrating a process of forming the rear cover 40 in the apparatus of FIG. 5. FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a method of forming a rear cover 40 according to an embodiment of the present general inventive concept. As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 7, in an upper mold forming operation (operation S210), an upper runner 71 is provided to inject the forming material 60, thereby forming an upper part of the rear cover 40. In the upper mold 70, a cooling channel 73a is formed, through which a cooling fluid flows to cool down the injected forming material 60.

In a lower mold forming operation (operation S220), the lower runner 81 to guide the forming material 60 to be injected, a plurality of the position determination pins 83 and the ejector pins 89 protruding from the plate surface are provided. The forming material 60 is injected through the lower runner 81 to form a lower part of the rear cover 40. In the lower mold 80, a cooling channel 73b is formed to cool down the forming material 60. The lower mold 80 is connected with a mold actuator 110 (110a and 110b) to move the lower mold 80 during the forming process, and the ejector pin actuator 120 to move the ejector pins 89 to push the rear cover 40 and the like to get the rear cover 40 off the lower mold 80. Alternatively, the mold actuator 110 and the ejector pin actuator 120 may be connected with the upper mold 70. The mold actuator 110 and the ejector pin actuator 120 may comprise a conventional driving device, such as a motor, a hydraulic cylinder, a pneumatic cylinder or the like in order to move the lower mold 80 and ejector pins 89.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, in a reinforcement member preheating operation (operation S230), the reinforcement member 50 in which the position determination holes 51 and the through-holes 53 are formed are preheated to have a predetermined temperature before a reinforcement member arrangement operation (operation S235) (to be described later). The preheating of the reinforcement member 50 prevents the rear cover 40 from cracking during cooling.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 7, in the reinforcement member arrangement operation (operation S235), the reinforcement member 50 is arranged on the lower mold 80 so as to be embedded in the forming material 60. In the reinforcement member 50, the position determination holes 51 and the through-holes 53 are formed as described above, so the position determination holes 51 of the reinforcement member 50 are coupled with the position determination pins 83 of the lower mold 80, and the reinforcement member 50 is disposed to the lower mold 80 by magnetic force of the permanent magnet 91 embedded in the lower mold 80.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6B and 7, in an upper mold and lower mold coupling operation (operation S240), the upper mold 70 and the lower mold 80 are coupled to each other to form the rear cover mold 95. A method of coupling the upper mold 70 and the lower mold 80 may comprise a vertical and a horizontal type of coupling. In the vertical type of coupling of the present embodiment, the reinforcement member 50 is rarely moved during the forming process. As illustrated in FIG. 6B, the rear cover mold 95 is a space formed by coupling the upper mold 70 and the lower mold 80, in which the forming material 60 is injected to form the rear cover 40.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6C and 7, in a forming material injection operation (operation S250), a forming material nozzle part 100 is coupled to the upper mold 70, and the forming material 60 is injected into the rear cover mold 95 through the upper runner 71 and the lower runner 81. At this time, to increase fluidity of the forming material 60, the upper runner 71 and the lower runner 81 are maintained at a predetermined temperature by a heater (not shown). The forming material nozzle part 100 is provided with a nozzle main body 101, a screw 103 to inject the forming material 60 at a predetermined speed, and a nozzle heater 105 to maintain the forming material 60 at a predetermined temperature.

In a packing operation (operation S260), when the forming material 60 injected in the rear cover mold 95 is partially cooled due to temperature difference from the upper mold 70, the lower mold 80 and the like and is shrunken, a pressure is applied to the forming material 60 again to fill the rear cover mold 95 completely.

In a forming material cooling operation (operation S270), the cooling fluid circulates through the cooling channel 73 formed in the upper mold 70 and the lower mold 80, so that the forming material 60 is cooled down due to a heat transfer of the cooling liquid. Thus, uniform cooling is achieved to prevent deformation of the rear cover mold 95. In the cooling process of the forming material 60, the sizes and the arrangement of the cooling channel 73 provided in the upper mold 70 and the lower mold 80 may be changed according to the thickness, the sizes and the like of the rear cover mold 95 and the reinforcement member 50. For example, by arranging more cooling channels 73 around a thick portion with a great amount of the forming material 60, the cooling speed can become uniform entirely. Further, the cooling fluid may comprise oil, water or the like.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6D and 7, in an upper mold and lower mold separation operation (operation S280), the mold actuator 110 is operated to separate the lower mold 80 from the upper mold 70.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6D and 7, in a rear cover removing operation (operation S290), the position determination pins 83, the ejector pins 89 and the like push the rear cover 40 to remove the rear cover 40 from the lower mold 80. Further, a corner part of the position determination core 87 may be rounded to remove the rear cover 40 readily. In the rear cover removing operation (operation S290), the position determination pins 83, which push regions of the rear cover 40 formed of the thin forming material 60, are installed such that the position determination pins 83 push the rear cover 40 after the ejector pins 89 push the rear cover 40. Thus, deformation of the rear cover 40 can be prevented during the removal of the rear cover 40.

Further, after being subjected to predetermined processes, the rear cover mold 95 may be coated with predetermined paint to make its outer appearance more attractive.

As described above, a rear cover is formed with a reinforcement member embedded therein, so that a strength of the rear cover is improved to protect a display part such as an LCD from damage, thereby reducing damage and defects thereof. Further, a material having good fluidity such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is used in a method of forming the rear cover, the reinforcement member is preheated to prevent defects such as cracks and the like during a cooling operation, and position determination pins and ejector pins push the rear cover at different time points to prevent deformation of the rear cover during the removal of the rear cover. Accordingly, the rear cover can be formed stably and readily.

As described above, in accordance with the present general inventive concept, there is provided a portable computer and a method of forming a rear cover thereof, in which a rear cover of a display part is improved in strength.

Although a few exemplary embodiments of the present general inventive concept have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the general inventive concept, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims and their equivalents.