Disk singulating apparatus

  • US 6,024,532 A
  • Filed: 05/18/1999
  • Issued: 02/15/2000
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/12/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
First Claim
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1. An apparatus for discharging a disk from a stack of aligned disks, each disk having a pair of parallel, planar surfaces and an outer peripheral edge, the apparatus comprising:

  • a first feed gate subassembly and a second feed gate subassembly supported in a spaced apart, diametrically opposing relationship so as to define a disk receiving opening therebetween, the first and second feed gate subassemblies adapted to cooperatively support the stack of disks in the disk receiving opening and to engage at least a portion of the outer peripheral edge of the disk positioned at the bottom of the stack of disks to discharge the bottom disk from the stack of disks, each of the first and second feed gate subassemblies comprising;

    a cylinder having a piston slidably disposed therein so as to be adapted for reciprocating movement relative to the cylinder;

    a piston rod having one end connected to the piston so that the piston rod is reciprocatingly movable relative to the cylinder, the piston rod extending in a radially inward direction toward the disk receiving opening;

    a support flange rigidly connected to the cylinder, the support flange extendible into the disk receiving opening for supporting the stack of disks;

    a clamp block connected to a distal end of the piston rod and having an inwardly extending lip, the lip having an edge engaging surface and a stack support surface, the clamp block positioned relative to the support flange so that the edge engaging surface of the clamp block is abuttingly engagable with a portion of the outer peripheral edge of the disk positioned at the bottom of the stack of disks and supported by the support flange upon actuation of the clamp block to a disk engaging position wherein the edge engaging surface of the clamp block is caused to abuttingly engage a portion of the outer peripheral edge of the bottom disk; and

    means for resiliently biasing the cylinder and the support flange in a radial inward direction such that the support flange extends into the disk receiving opening a distance sufficient to support the stack of disks when the edge engaging surface of the clamp block is in a non-engaging relationship relative to the outer peripheral edge of the bottom disk and for permitting the cylinder and the support flange to slide in a radial outward direction such that the support flange is moved to a non-supporting position relative to the stack of disks upon positioning the clamp block into the disk engaging position; and

    actuating means for selectively actuating the clamp block of the first feed gate subassembly into the disk engaging position to move the bottom disk laterally relative to the remainder of the stack of disks and in turn cause the cylinder and the support flange of the first feed gate subassembly to move in the radial outward direction such that the support flange of the first feed gate subassembly is moved to the non-supporting position to free the bottom disk of the support flange of the first feed gate subassembly while the stack support surface of the clamp block of the first feed gate subassembly is maintained in a position beneath at least a portion of the adjacently disposed disk to support the remainder of the stack of disks, and for selectively actuating the clamp block of the second feed gate subassembly into the disk engaging position, subsequent to the support flange of the first feed gate subassembly moving to the non-supporting position, to move the bottom disk laterally relative to the remainder of the stack of disks and in turn cause the cylinder and the support flange of the second feed gate subassembly to move in the radial outward direction such that the support flange of the second feed gate subassembly is moved to the non-supporting position to free the bottom disk of the support flange of the second feed gate subassembly and thus discharge the bottom disk from the stack while the stack support surface of the clamp block of the second feed gate subassembly is maintained in a position beneath at least a portion of the adjacently disposed disk to cooperate with the stack support surface of the first feed gate subassembly to support the remainder of the stack of disks.

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