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Патент USA US3086504

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April 23, 1963
R. v. D. STRONG
3,086,496
VACUUM COATING APPARATUS
Filed Nov. 9, 1959
>
INVENTOR.
RICH ARD V. D._ STRONG
WM Aw
ATTORNEY
United States latent O 'i ICE
,.
1
v
asserts
Patented Apr. 23, 1963
2
obtaining access to its interior, so as to permit repairs and
3,086,496
VACUUM COATING APPARATUS
Richard V. D. Strong, Meadowbrook, Pa, assignor to
F. J. Stokes Corporation, Philadelphia, Pa., a corpora
tion of Pennsylvania
Filed Nov. 9, 1959, Scr. No. 851,865
2 Claims. (Cl. 118-49)
replacement, while at the same time permitting a vacuum
tight seal to be obtained when the interior of the outer
vessel 10‘ is evacuated.
'The understructure designated generally as 22 may be
movably supported on the base 12. A wide variety of
understructmres may be utilized, and no claim is made as
to any speci?c understructure construction. Preferably
the understructures 22 should comprise a plurality of
threaded standards 24, each of which should be thread
ably received within nuts carried by the bed plate 26. In
articles, such as a web of material, with a metal or the like
this manner, the height of the support plate 28 in respect
which has been vaporized in a vacuum.
to the base 12 may be selectively regulated.
In the vacuum coating of articles by contact with vapor
The base 12 may ‘be provided with guide ways 30 and
ized material from a boat or reservoir of molten mate
rial, severe difficulties have been encountered due to the 15 32 for permitting the transfer of the understructure 2-2
and the material carried thereon along the surface of the
diffusion of the material being vaporized to the feed
base 12.
source. For example, in the vaporization of aluminum or
The support plate 28 carries the means for feeding the
zinc, where the same is introduced as a wire into a boat,
material to be vaporized as well as the processing cham
deposition of the vaporized aluminum or zinc on the
means for introducing the wire to the boat has caused clog 20 her.
The material to be vaporized is preferably in the form
ging and jamming of such means and resultant failure of
The present invention is directed to vacuum coating
apparatus, and more particularly to apparatus for coating
the apparatus. Since satisfactory commercial production
requires the continuous adding of material to be vaporized
of a wire coil, such as the wire coil :34 carried on the
spool 36. For the purposes of illustration, in the example
set forth herein, the wire coil 34 will be referred to as a
to the boat, the diffusion of such material to the feed
source and clogging of the introduction of the feed has pre 25 coil of aluminum wire 38.
The spool 36 is r-ota-tably mounted, as on trunnions, in
vented e?icient commercial utilization of vacuum coating
techniques where vacuum coating for protracted periods
of time is desired.
The present invention has as an object the provision
of a novel vacuum coating apparatus.
The present invention has as another object the provi
sion of a vacuum coating apparatus in which the supply
of the material to be vaporized may be constantly replen
ished so that the vacuum coating apparatus may be on
termediate the standards 40‘. The standards 40 are car
ried on the support plate 28, and are rigidly connected to
spaced standards 42 by the connecting arm 44.
A shaft 46 is supported in bushings 48 and 50 above
the standards 40‘ and 42. The rack 52. having an internal
bore is clamped on the shaft 46 which extends through
its bore. The rack 52 and shaft 46 are recipro-cated in
bushings 48 and 50, as will be explained below.
The segment gear 54 is pivotably carried in respect to
35
stream for protracted periods of time.
its gear-support 56 on the pivot 58. Thus, the segment
This invention has as another object the provision of
gear 54 is provided with a collar which rotates about
‘vacuum coating apparatus in which the loss of vaporized
the pivot 58. The gear-support 56 is carried on the con
necting arm 44. A lever 68 is rigidly secured to the collar
of the segment gear 54 which embraces the pivot 58. The
free end of the lever 60 is coupled to the compression coil
spring 62, The collar of the segment gear 54 also car
ferred; it being understood, however, that this invention
ries the link 64 on which is mounted outside of vessel 10
is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumen
the cam follower 66. The action of the compression coil
talities shown.
FIGURE 1 is a schematic elevational View of a pres 45 spring 62 urges the cam follower 66 against the heart
shaped cam 68.
ently preferred embodiment of the vacuum coating appa
The heart shaped cam 68 is rotatab-ly mounted on the
ratus of the present invention.
outside of vessel 10 on the shaft 70 which carries the
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary plan view revealing the
sprocket 72. The sprocket 72 is driven by the chain drive
operation of the wire feed.
74 which is coupled to the sprocket 76 of the gear box
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken on line 3—3 of
78 which is rotated by the motor '80. The engagement be
FIGURE ‘1.
tween the cam follower 66 and the rotating heart shaped
FIGURE 4 is a view taken on line 4-—-4 of FIGURE 3.
cam 68 will give a uniform ‘oscillating motion to the seg
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken on iine 5—5 of
ment gear 54, which will result in the uni-form movement
FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 6 is a view similar to that of FIGURE 3 55 of the rack member 52 on the shaft 46.
The aluminum wire 38 is urged towards the processing
showing a modi?ed embodiment in which reclamation of
chamber 82 by means of the feeder 84. The feeder 84 in
coating metal from the shield is effected.
coating material on the feed source is minimized.
Other objects will appear hereinafter.
For the purpose of illustrating the invention there is
shown in the drawings forms which are presently pre
cludes a pair of vertically spaced rotating members, be
Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference char
tween which the wire 38 is passed, namely the driver
acters refer to like parts, the vacuum coating apparatus of
the present invention comprises an outer vessel 10‘ having 60 86 and the idler 88. Preferably the driver 86 is provided
with a knurled outer surface, .and the idler 88 is formed
a base 12, sides 14 and 16, and a ceiling !18. The entire
with a smooth surface. The inlet 90 to the feeder 84
interior of the outer vessel 10 may be evacuated to a high
comprises a relatively large bore ‘guide tube, while the
vacuum through the conduits 20 and 20a in the side 16.
outlet 92 of the feeder 84' is coupled to the feed duct 94.
Thus, the conduits 20‘ and 20a may be connected to a
feed duct ‘94 comprises a metal tube of relatively
vacuum system (not shown) whereby the interior of the 65 The
small
inside diameter. Preferably, the feed duct 94 is
outer vessel 10 may be evacuated.
lined with a self-lubricating material 95, such as the plastic
A wide variety of outer vessels may be utilized, as
Te?on, a tetra?uoroethylene polymer, to facilitate the
will be readily understood by one having skill in the art,
movement of the wire '38 therethrough.
and accordingly the detailed construction of the outer 70
Since the feeder 84 is ?xedly secured to the rack-mem
vessel 10 will not be set forth herein. It is, of course, to
ber 52 it is reciprocated therewith upon the movement
be understood that the outer vessel 10 includes means for
of the segment gear 54.
3,086,496
3
4
The rotation of the knurled driver 86 by which the
aluminum wire 38 is urged through the feeder 84 is ac
Complished notwithstanding the movement of the feeder
84 in the manner set forth below.
The knurled driver 86 is carried ‘at the end of the rod
96 on which is carried one member of the universal joint
dictated by the process requirements (see in particular
FIGURE 3).
The regulation of the distance of the shield 126 from
the boat 128, and the size of the posts 132 and the distance
which they project beyond the feed duct 94 permit closely
limiting the extent of deposition of aluminum on the feed
98. The other member of the universal joint 98 is ?xedly
ing portion of the feed duct about the discharge end 130
secured to the coupling rod 106 of the spline coupling
thereof.
102. The spline coupling 182 also receives the coupling
Thus, the temperature of the molten aluminum being
rod 104 which carries at its opposite end one member of 10 vaporized within the boat will ‘be of the order of 1,800”
the universal joint 106. The other member of the uni
C. The temperature of the shield 126 must be su?iciently
versal joint 186 is secured to the shaft 108 which is car
high so aluminum will deposit thereon and remain in
ried in the bearing 110 and which has on its end the
the liquid state. This can be accomplished by maintain
sprocket 112. The sprocket ‘112 is driven by the chain
ing the temperature of the shield within the range between
drive 114 which is coupled to the sprocket 116 of the gear
the melting point and the boiling point of aluminum,
box 118 which is driven by the motor 120‘.
namely between about 659° C. and l,800° C.
The pair of universal joints 98 and 106 and the rela
The shield 126 will be heated by virtue of its disposi
tively telescoping motion of the coupling rods 180 and
tion closely adjacent the boat 128. Its temperature will
104 in the spline coupling 102 enables the feeder 84
be in turn dependent upon such distance, and on the
to be rcciprocated, as shown in phantom line in FIGURE
diameter of the posts 132, their number, and their con
2, while the knurled driver 86 is being rotated due to
ductivity. Since the relative position of the ‘shield 126
the action of the chain drive 114 on the sprocket 112.
in relation to the duct 94 and boat 128 can be selectively
The feed duct 94 is supported by the guide 122 which
regulated, precise control of the temperature of the shield
is carried on the free end of the shaft 46.
The front
portion of the feed duct 94 is provided with the cooling
coil 124 through which liquid coolant may be introduced.
The cooling coil 124 prevents the feeding portion of the
feed duct 94 which is disposed within the processing
126 can be accomplished.
By maintaining the shield 126 at a temperature Xbelow
the boiling point of the aluminum being vaporized and
below its vaporization temperature, aluminum vaporized
from the boat 128 will be condensed on shield 126 away
chamber 82 from becoming overheated. This is neces
from the discharge end 130 of the feed duct 94, thereby
sary as melting of the aluminum wire 38 within the ‘feed 30 not clogging such feed duct 94.
duct 94 must be avoided for the satisfactory operation of
the apparatus of the present invention.
A shield 126 formed of high melting metal may be pro
vided on the feeding portion of the feed duct 94 at the
‘side thereof adjacent the boat or crucible 128 in which
‘the molten aluminum obtained from the melting of the
aluminum wire 38 discharged from the feeding portion
of the feed duct 94 is carried.
The shield 126 is interposed ‘between the boat 128 and
‘the discharge end 130 of the feed duct 94. The shield
'126 is carried on the posts 132 which are ?xedly secured
to the sides of the feed duct 94 in the region of its feed
ing portion adjacent its ‘discharge end 130. Thus, the
While it is possible to provide independent heating of
the shield 126 as by the provision of electrical conduits
running thereto, the same is normally not necessary, since
satisfactory heating of the shield 126 can be effected due
to the radiation of heat from the boat 128. Where de
sired, the disposition of the liquid particles from the shield
126 may be regulated so that they reenter the boat 128
or fall onto the feed Wire 38 by positioning the location
of the shield 126 in respect to the boat 128 or feed Wire
38. An embodiment in which the coating metal liquid
particles are recaptured after having dripped from shield
126 by being caught within ‘boat 128 is shown in FIG
URE 6.
posts 132 may be secured to the outside wall surface of
A coolant tray 143 is carried on the standards 136 and
the ‘feed duct 94 as by welding or brazing, or clamping, 45 138 at a spaced distance beneath the boat 128 to protect
provided that the weldment or brazement is capable of
the mechanical and electrical parts therebelow ‘from
withstanding high temperatures.
‘thermal radiation and haphazard diffusion of vaporized
The relative distance between the discharge end 130
aluminum about the bottom portion of the processing
and the shield 126 may be selectively adjusted ‘as will be
chamber 82.
explained below to meet speci?c requirements.
50
By moving the discharge end 130 of the feed duct 94
The shield 126 is provided with an aperture 134 which
along the length of the boat 128, engagement of the
is in spaced alignment to the discharge end 130 of the
aluminum with the boat is along the length of the boat
feed duct 94. This enables aluminum wire 38 discharged
rather than in a localized area. This both facilitates in
from the discharge end 130 of the feed duct 94 to pass
the vaporization of the aluminum and also increases the
through the shield 126 into the boat 128.
life of the boat, since the wear at the region of the engage
The shield 126 has a su?icient length to‘ protect the
ment of the boat with the aluminum wire 38 is dispersed
discharge end 130 and the immediate region at all sides
over a wide area rather than localized.
,
of such discharge end 130 including7 the region in which
The outer vessel 10 is provided with a shelf 144 having
the posts 132 are secured to the feed duct 94 from the
adverse affects of aluminum depositing from the boat 128
on the feed duct 94.
The boat 128, which may comprise one or more boats
in series or other disposition, is of conventional construc
a slot 146 disposed above the boat 128. As seen in FIG
URE 1, the slot ‘146 may have a width somewhat larger
than the boat 128, since the metal being vaporized will
leave the boat 128 ‘along a path which will diverge from
the ends of the boat as well as include the region directly
tion, and may be formed from boron nitride or other re
above the boat (see phantom lines in the right portion
fractory, provided with conducting ‘material, so that the 65 of FIGURE 1).
boat 128 may be heated to a temperature su?icient to
The material to be coated, which may be paper, foil,
effect the boiling of the aluminum introduced to it from
the aluminum wire 38. Thus, the boat 128 may be car
ried on standards ‘136 and 138 within the processing
chamber 82. The standards 136 and 138 are provided
with electrical conduits 140 and 142 for effecting heating
plastic, etc. is shown in the illustrated embodiment as
comprising a web 148, such as a web of plastic like
Mylar.
A wide variety of means may be used to feed the web
148 over the slot 146, and no claim of invention is
of the boat 128.
made in the present application for any particular means
The discharge end 130 of the feed duct 94 with its
to do so. In the illustrated embodiment, the web 148
associated shield 126 is spaced adjacent boat 128 as 75 is carried between two rollers, one roller 150 being
3,086,496
6
shown, with one of the rollers, namely the roller 150
being rotated by the motor 152.
The apparatus of the present invention enables pro
longed runs to be made. Thus, the metal to be vaporized
may ‘be continuously fed into the boat 128 at the same
rate at which such metal is being vaporized, so that a con
of coating metal from the duct may be fed to the open
boat, said shield being mounted on heat-conducting
members which are ?xedly secured to the feed duct,
and with said heat-conducting members carrying away
heat from said shield.
2. Vacuum coating apparatus for coating a metal onto
stant inventory of molten metal may be maintained with
an article including a vacuum chamber containing an
in the boat 128. Since the apparatus of the present in
open heated boat for vaporizing the coating metal, and
vention provides for both long life of the boat 128‘ and
feeding means for feeding coating metal to said open
avoidance of clogging of the discharge end 130 of the 10 boat, said feeding means including a feed duct through
feed duct 94, the apparatus may function for extended
which the wire of the coating metal is fed to the boat,
periods of time without the necessity for ceasing produc
said feeding means being operative to feed wire pass
ing therethrough in a plane parallel to the longitudinal
tion to replace either the boat 128 or the feed duct
94 (the two most common causes of failure in prior
axis of said boat, with the discharge end of said duct
vacuum coating equipment being the failure of the boat 15 being spaced adjacent said boat, the discharge end of
which was largely due to the localized introduction of
said duct being spaced laterally from the longitudinal
the aluminum wire, or the clogging of the discharge end
axis of said boat, a shield secured to said duct and spaced
of the feed duct due to deposition of vaporized metal
intermediate said boat and the discharge end of said
thereon and condensation of such vaporized metal on the
duct, said shield being of sufficient size to block access
cooled feed duct).
20 of vaporized coating metal to the discharge end of the
The present invention may be embodied in other
feed duct and the portion of the feed duct adjacent to the
speci?c forms without ‘departing from the spirit or es
vdischarge end, with said shield having an aperture there
sential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference
in which is in alignment with the discharge end of the
should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the
duct through which the Wire of coating metal from the
foregoing speci?cation as indicating the scope of the
duct may ‘be fed to the open boat, said shield being in
such close proximity to the open boat that when metal
invention.
I claim:
is vaporized from said boat, said shield is heated above
1. Vacuum coating apparatus for coating a metal onto
the melting temperature of the metal being vaporized by
an article including a vacuum chamber containing an
radiant heat from said boat, said shield being positioned
open heated boat for vaporizing the coating metal, and
above the boat in such disposition that liquid particles
feeding means for feeding coating metal to said open
boat, said feeding means including a feed duct through
which a wire of the coating metal is fed to the boat, with
on the face of the shield drop therefrom into the boat.
the discharge end of said duct being spaced adjacent said
boat, the discharge end of said duct being spaced later 35
ally from the longitudinal axis of said boat, and a shield
secured to said duct and spaced intermediate said boat
and the discharge end of said duct, said shield being of
sufficient size to block access of vaporized coating metal
to the discharge end of the feed duct and the portion 40
of the feed duct adjacent to the discharge end, with said
shield having an aperture therein which is in alignment
with the discharge end of the duct through which the wire
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,587,036
2,635,579
2,664,853
2,691,814
2,715,617
Germer et a1. ________ __ Feb.
Chadsey ____________ __ Apr.
Schuler _____________ __ Jan.
Tait ________________ __ Oct.
White ______________ __ Aug.
26, 1952
21, 1953
5, 1954
2,914,643
Fields ______________ __ Nov. 24, 1959
2,922,869
Giannini et al. ________ __ Jan. 26, 1960
19, 1954
16, 1955
.
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