News Column

Patent Issued for Plant for Manufacturing a Rubber-Coated Electronic Component

August 6, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- Michelin Recherche et Technique S.A. (Granges-Paccot, CH) has been issued patent number 8783321, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Sevaille, Alain (Aulnat, FR); Wiel, Pierre (Yssac-la-Tourette, FR).

This patent was filed on June 19, 2009 and was published online on July 22, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "It is normal practice to incorporate into a tire an electronic component comprising for example a passive radio-frequency identification transponder furnished with two antennas forming a bipole. This type of transponder is usually identified by the acronym RFID. Such an electronic component can store data, for example relating to the manufacture of the tire.

"To improve the quality of transmission of the data stored in the electronic component, it is normal to previously coat it in rubber. Specifically, in a general manner, the higher the dielectric constant of the mass of rubber coating the electric member, the more the electric signal received and sent by the electronic member is attenuated. Since the dielectric constants of the rubbers usually used for the manufacture of tires are high, the transmission of the data is greatly improved if the dielectric constant of the rubber for coating the electronic component is low. Preferably, the dielectric constant of the mass of coating rubber is less than 3 in the UHF frequency range (higher than 300 MHz).

"Moreover, the prior coating of the component makes it possible to protect it when it is stored before being installed on a tire."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In the prior art, various methods for manufacturing a member comprising a rubber-coated electronic component are known. One object of the invention is to provide a new manufacturing method that is simple and cheap to apply.

"Accordingly, one aspect of the invention is directed to a method for manufacturing at least one member comprising at least one rubber-coated electronic component, the component is placed in contact with a first strip of rubber and it is covered by a second strip of rubber so as to coat the component, and in that the two strips run substantially at the same speed from a first zone the two strips are separated to a second zone two respective faces of the two strips are in contact with each other.

"By virtue of the method of the invention, the manufacture of a member comprising at least one rubber-coated electronic component is simple, fast and cheap. Specifically, strips of rubber can be manufactured simply, for example by means of an extruder. Then, it is sufficient to insert one or more electronic components between two strips of rubber in order to coat them totally. Because of the general elongated shape of the strips of rubber, it is possible to have them both run at one and the same substantially constant speed and to bring them together in a second zone in order to coat the components that will have been previously placed in the first zone.

"Preferably, the first strip of rubber is placed substantially horizontally and the electronic component is placed on the top face of this first strip. Then, the second strip is placed on top of the top face of the first strip so as to cover the component. Naturally, it is also possible to place the electronic component on the bottom surface of the first strip of rubber, the attachment of the component to the strip being obtained by virtue of the adhesive properties of the rubber. Thereafter, the assembly of the first strip and of the component is placed on a second strip of rubber so as to coat the component.

"The method according to an embodiment of the invention may also comprise one or more of the following features. The two strips are cut crosswise simultaneously after the component has been coated. This manner of proceeding makes manufacturing easier and increases its productivity. Specifically, it makes it possible to place a plurality of electronic components along the first strip of rubber, spacing them evenly, and then to coat all of the components in a single operation with the aid of a second strip of rubber. Then, it is sufficient to cut the two strips of rubber crosswise between two adjacent electronic components in order to divide these strips of rubber into a plurality of members. At regular intervals, at least one component is placed on the said face of one of the strips, in a predetermined placement zone situated in the first zone. Since the strips run, it is possible to place components at regular intervals in a predetermined and fixed zone. Because the placement zone is fixed, it simplifies the placement step which can therefore be automated. The component is placed at a speed that is substantially identical and parallel to that of the run of the strip. This allows the relative speed of the component compared with the first strip to be substantially zero when the component is placed. This therefore reduces the risk that this placement step damages the electronic component or the rubber strip because of an impact due to a speed differential.

"Another aspect of the invention is directed to a plant for manufacturing at least one member comprising at least one rubber-coated electronic component, comprising: means for running two strips of rubber arranged to cause the strips to run from a first zone in which they are separated to a second zone in which two respective faces of the two strips are in contact with one another, means for placing the component on the said face of one of the rubber strips, in a predetermined placement zone situated in the first zone.

"This plant is suitable for applying the method defined above.

"The plant according to an embodiment of the invention may also comprise one or more of the following features. The plant comprises means for feeding the placement means with components. The placement means comprise a conveyor arranged to convey a component from the feeding means to the placement zone. Preferably, this conveying is, carried out at a speed that is substantially identical to the run speed of the rubber strip. This conveyor may, for example, be a notched belt extending from the feeding means to the placement zone. Preferably, the direction of conveying is substantially parallel to the direction of run of the rubber strip at the predetermined placement zone. The feeding means comprise a drum arranged between the placement means and means for storing components. The storage means allow the storage of components for the purpose of manufacturing the members. The drum makes it possible to extract the components from the storage means and to present them to the placement means in order to be placed on the rubber strip. The feeding means comprise means for moving the drum in translation between the placement means and the storage means, and means for rotating the drum. The drum comprises magnetic means for holding the components on its outer surface. Therefore, the mechanical means make it possible to hold a component initially stored in the storage means on the outer surface of the drum. Then, a rotation of the drum by virtue of the rotation means makes it possible to move the component from the storage means to the placement means. The deactivation of the magnetic means then makes it possible to release the electronic component from the drum to the placement means. The drum comprises a plurality of axial housings for components, which housings are arranged on the outer surface of the drum. The axial housings comprise a groove of the surface of the drum, leading to one face of the drum."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Sevaille, Alain; Wiel, Pierre. Plant for Manufacturing a Rubber-Coated Electronic Component. U.S. Patent Number 8783321, filed June 19, 2009, and published online on July 22, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8783321.PN.&OS=PN/8783321RS=PN/8783321

Keywords for this news article include: Electronic Components, Michelin Recherche et Technique S.A.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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