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End face polishing apparatus

Imported: 13 Feb '17 | Published: 30 Jan '07

Koji Minami, Junji Taira

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

An end face polishing apparatus has a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face and a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement. A polishing member is mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece. A slidable contact member is disposed on the jig plate for slidable contact with the polishing plate during a polishing operation to thereby regulate a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/783,878 filed on Feb. 15, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,800,021 and claiming a priority date of Mar. 13, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an end face polishing apparatus for polishing end faces of rod-shaped members of optical communication fibers and the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

An optical communication fiber is used after it has been adhered and fixed to a center hole of a ferrule which is a main member of a connector, and then an end face of the ferrule and an end face of a fiber are simultaneously smoothly polished to become a mirror surface. If the polished surfaces of the ferrule and the fiber thus polished are not vertical to a center axis of the ferrule, or the polished surfaces have damages, the optical connector having ferrules oppositely connected with each other is deteriorated in accuracy at the opposite position, resulting in an increase in loss. Therefore, the polished surface of a ferrule including an optical fiber requires finishing of the polished surface with high accuracy.

As a conventional optical fiber end face polishing apparatus, for example, there is one disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-open No. Hei 3-26456. The optical fiber end face polishing apparatus disclosed in this publication has an eccentric plate which rotates on a concentric circle of a self-rotation disc, and has a planetary gear which transmits rotation of a motor for revolution to this eccentric plate, and these are combined with a polishing plate to cause the polishing plate to self-rotate and revolve. The plurality of the end-faces of the ferrule held by a jig plate are pressed to the polishing member fixed to the polishing plate and polished.

As described above, the conventional optical fiber end-face polishing apparatus conducts polishing by pressing the end faces of a plurality of ferrules with spring and the like held by the jig plate to the polishing member fixed to the rotating and revolving polishing plate. However, polishing of the rod-shaped member is adjusted by time, so that the polishing length of the rod-shaped member cannot be adjusted. Further, there is no problem if the lengths of the ferrules mounted on the jig plate are all the same, but from reasons that adhesives for fixing the ferrule accuracy and optical fiber flow out from the tip end of the ferrule and harden, the lengths of the respective ferrules differ. Therefore, if the ferrules differing in lengths are made to slidably contact the polishing plate, the jig plate tilts to the polishing plate, thereby causing variation in polishing angle, radius of curvature and eccentricity. Further, there is a problem that variation inferrule lengths occur after polishing.

The object of the present invention in view of the above, is to provide an end face polishing apparatus improved in polishing accuracy regardless of the length of the ferrule when polishing the end faces of the ferrule.

To solve the above objects, according to a first aspect of the present invention, an end face polishing apparatus in which a rod-shaped member mounted on a jig plate by a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate which is rotatably and swingably supported to the apparatus body is pressed to be polished is characterized in that, the jig plate is provided on either the jig plate or the polishing plate, and the other is slidably contacted by a slidable contact member, and is supported in a state where rotation is regulated on the polishing plate.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, in a first aspect of the invention, an end face polishing apparatus is characterized in that the length in the axial direction of the rod-shaped member protruding from the lower end face of the jig plate is longer than the height of the slidable contact member.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, in the first or second aspect, an end face polishing apparatus is characterized in that the jig plate is held by biasing in the polishing plate direction by the support mechanism where the jig plate is provided on the apparatus body.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, in any one of the first to third aspects, an end face polishing apparatus is characterized in that the jig plate comprises an adjusting mechanism for adjusting the height of the polishing member.

In the end face polishing apparatus of the present invention, by providing a slidable contact portion on either the jig plate or the polishing plate to slidably contact the other with a low friction, the jig plate can be maintained horizontal to the polishing plate, thereby improving the polishing accuracy of the rod-shaped member. Further, the length of the rod-shaped members may be made uniform.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments of the present invention are explained below referring to the figures.

Embodiment 1

FIGS. 1A and 1B, respectively, are a part of a perspective view and an enlarged view of an end face polishing apparatus of an embodiment of this invention.

FIGS. 2A and 2B, respectively, are a perspective view and a top view of a jig plate, and FIGS. 3A and 3B, respectively, are a front view and a cross section view of a jig plate.

As shown in FIG. 1, the rotating shaft of the motor 11 for self-rotation is firmly fixed to the center portion of the first rotation transmitting shaft 12, and on the first rotation transmitting shaft 12 a plurality of first coupling pins 13 are fixed on the concentric circle with the rotation center as the fulcrum. Then, the respective first coupling pins 13 are coupled rotatably to the eccentric portion of the corresponding respective rotation transmitting plates 14. The eccentric portion of the respective rotation transmitting plates 14 are fixed with second coupling pins 15. The respective second coupling pins 15 are coupled to a second rotation transmitting plate 16.

On the other hand, the rotating shaft of the motor 17 for revolution is firmly fixed with a center potion of the driving gear 18, and this driving gear 18 engages with a following gear 19. This following gear 19 is firmly fixed to a periphery of the lower portion of the revolution transmitting shaft 20, and around the periphery of the upper portion of this revolution transmitting shaft 20, a bearing cylinder portion 22 of the apparatus body 21 is coupled. Then, this revolution transmitting shaft 20 is inserted with a rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation in a position that is eccentric by a predetermined amount from the rotation center, and the lower end portion of the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation is fixed to the center portion of the second rotation transmitting plate 16.

Further, the upper end portion of the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation is connected to the polishing plate 25 with the coupling member 24, and further the polishing member 25a is provided on the upper surface portion of the polishing plate 25.

On the other hand, in the apparatus body 21, a jig plate 30 fixed with a plurality of rod-shaped members W such as a ferrule are supported by a support mechanism 26.

Next, the support mechanism 26 and the jig plate 30 will be explained in detail.

As shown in FIGS. 2A, 2B and FIGS. 3A, 3B, the jig plate 30 is rectangular in shape, and is provided with mounting pieces 32 opposite the plurality of recess portions 31 formed on a side surface opposite to each other in a pair. In between the mounting pieces 32 and the recess portions 31 the rod-shaped member W is inserted to fix the mounting pieces 32 with the fixing screw 33, thereby detachably fixing the rod-shaped member W to the jig plate 30.

Further, in the upper face center portion of the jig plate 30 is provided a boss portion 35, at the center of which a through hole 36 is provided in the direction of the thickness of the boss portion 35. The upper portion side of this through hole 36 is a taper portion 37 which increases toward the opening.

Further, the region opposite the polishing plate 25 at the lower surface of the jig plate 30 is provided with a slidable contact member 40 slidably contacting the polishing plate 25 with low friction. In this embodiment, the slidable contact member 40 comprises four ball members 41 mounted on the lower surface of the jig plate 30 for rotation relative to the jig plate 30, holding holes or pockets 42, and plate members 43. Specifically, the holding holes or pockets 42 are formed on the lower surface of the jig plate 30, and each of the ball members 41 which is spherical is inserted in a respective one of the holding holes 42. Each of the holding holes 42 is covered with one of the plate members 43 having an opening of a diameter slightly smaller than a diameter of the ball members 41, so that the ball members 41 are rotatably supported on the lower surface of the jig plate 30. Since the ball members 41 relative to the jig plate 30 the polishing plate 25, there is low friction between the jig plate and the polishing plate so that the jig and the polishing plate can be maintained in a horizontal state. Further, the jig plate 30 is mounted with rod-shaped members W which protrude from the slidable contact member 40.

On the other hand, the support mechanism 26, is structured by a pressing shaft 61 for pressing downwards with a predetermined pressure force to the fixed portion 21a fixed to the apparatus body 21, and a rotation stopping pin 62 formed in parallel to the pressing shaft 61. The tip end of the pressing shaft 61 is a conical portion 61a, which is inserted to the taper portion 37 provided in the boss portion 35 of the jig plate 30 and thus presses the jig plate 30 downwards. Further, the rotation stopping pin 62 is engaged to the notch portion 38 formed in the boss portion 35 to regulate the movement of the rotation direction of the jig plate 30.

Namely, the jig plate 30 is pressed in the direction of the polishing plate 25 by the pressing shaft 61, in a state where the movement of the rotation direction is regulated by a rotation stopping pin 62, is supported on a polishing plate 25 by a tip end portion of the rod-shaped member W fixed by a mounting piece 32. Then, when the rod-shaped member W is polished for a predetermined amount, the slidable contact member 40 slidably contacts the polishing plate 25 and the jig plate 30 is supported in parallel to the polishing plate 25, to thereby regulate the polishing amount of the rod-shaped member W.

In this way, by providing a slidable contact member 40 slidably contacting the polishing plate 25 with low friction in the lower surface of the jig plate 30, the rod-shaped member W can be polished with the position of the polishing plate 25 slidably contacting the jig plate 30 as a standard for polishing, therefore the lengths of the rod-shaped member W can be made uniform as well as reducing the shift or variation in radius of curvature, polishing angle and eccentricity. Further, since there is no need to make uniform the lengths of the rod-shaped member w by removing in advance the adhesive attached to the rod-shaped member W or the like, the polishing process can be simplified.

Next, the above-described operation of the end face polishing apparatus of this embodiment is described.

As shown in FIG. 1A, first, in a revolving movement, the revolution transmitting shaft 20 is rotated through the gears 18 and 19 by driving the motor 17 for revolution to rotate the polishing plate 25 in a revolving motion by a predetermined eccentric amount. In this case, the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation is in the revolution transmitting shaft 20. In between this and the first self-rotation transmitting plate 12 a plurality of rotation transmitting plates 14 are arranged, so that the rotation transmitting plates 14 rotate respectively in a same phase as the revolution transmitting shaft 20 in the direction of the first coupling pins 13. Accordingly, even if the first self-rotation transmitting plate 12 stops, or is rotating, the rotation of the revolution transmitting shaft 20 will not be regulated.

On the other hand, in a self-rotating movement, the first self-rotation transmitting plate 12 is rotated by driving the motor 11 for self-rotation. Since the first coupling pin 13 is on the same concentric circle as the first self-rotation transmitting plate 12, the same trail as described above is taken, the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation is eccentric by a predetermined amount, but is coupled though the rotation transmitting plates 14 so that the same number of rotation as the first self-rotation transmitting plate 12 is transmitted to the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation.

In this way, the polishing plate 25 self-rotates to revolve by the rotation movement of the revolution transmitting shaft 20 and the rotating shaft 23 for self-rotation.

On the other hand, the jig plate 30 is regulated in the movement of the rotation direction by the rotation stopping pin 62 in respect to the polishing member 25a of the polishing plate 25, and the end face of the rod-shaped member W is pressed to the polishing member 25a, in a state where the jig plate 30 is biased in the direction of the polishing plate 25 by the pressing shaft 61.

At this time, with the variation in length of the respective rod-shaped members W, the jig plate 30 does not become parallel to the polishing plate 25, and the end face of the rod-shaped member W is tilted and polished. However, as polishing carries on, the slidable contact member 40 provided on the lower surface of the jig plate 30 slidably contacts the polishing plate 25, the jig plate 30 is supported parallel to polishing plate 25, and the polishing plate 25 is polished as the standard for polishing. In this way, the lengths of the rod-shaped member W may be made uniform, as well as reducing the shift and variation of a radius of curvature, a polishing angle and eccentricity. Therefore, the tip end of the rod-shaped member W is processed to be an ideal convex spherical surface.

Embodiment 2

In the above Embodiment 1, the ball member 41 which is a slidable contact member 40 is held rotatably in the lower surface of the jig plate, but in Embodiment 2, an example of a ball member provided rotatably on the polishing surface is explained.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are a perspective view and a cross section view of a jig plate and a polishing plate according to Embodiment 2. Further, members that have similar functions as those in the embodiment described above have the same reference numerals and explanation is omitted.

As shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, the slidable contact member 40 in this embodiment has an annular shape, and is structured by a holding portion 45 formed with a groove 46 in the circumferential direction of one end face, and a plurality of spherical shape ball members 41 rotatably held in the groove 46 of the holding portion 45. The slidable contact member 40 is fixed in the region opposing the jig plate 30 in the peripheral portion of the polishing plate 25.

With this structure, similar to the above described Embodiment 1, since the rod-shaped member W may be polished with the polishing plate 25 as the standard, the length of the rod-shaped member W can be made uniform as well as reducing the shift and variation of the radius of curvature, the polishing angle and the eccentricity. Further, since there is no need to make uniform the length of the rod-shaped member W by removing in advance the adhesive attached to the rod-shaped member W or the like, the polishing process may be simplified.

Embodiment 3

In the above described Embodiments 1 and 2, the slidable contact member 40 was a ball member 41 so that slidable contact was with low friction, but Embodiment 3 is an example where a metal material is used as a slidable contact member which slidable contacts with low friction.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are a plan view and a cross section view of a jig plate and a polishing plate according to Embodiment 3. Further, members that have similar functions as those in the embodiment described above have the same reference numerals and explanation is omitted.

As shown in FIG. 5, the slidable contact member 40 of this embodiment is made of a protruding portion 50 which is a peripheral portion of the polishing plate 25 protruding elongated in the direction of the jig plate 30. The polishing plate 25 provided with an elongated slidable contact member 40 is formed of oil-less metal with low friction resistance at time of slidable contact.

In this way, by making the slidable contact member 40 the protruding portion 50 which is the protruding peripheral portion, and forming at least the protruding portion 50 of the polishing plate 25 with oil-less metal, the structure can be simplified as well as preventing the chip made when the rod-shaped member W is polished effecting the slidable contact with low friction.

With this structure, similar to the above described Embodiments 1 and 2, since the rod-shaped member W may be polished with the polishing plate 25 as the standard for polishing, the length of the rod-shaped member W can be made uniform, as well as reducing the shift and variation of the radius of curvature, the polishing angle and the eccentricity. Further, since there is no need to make uniform the length of the rod-shaped member W by removing in advance the adhesive attached to the rod-shaped member W or the like, the polishing process may be simplified.

Other Embodiments

The embodiments of this invention have been described, but the fundamental structure of the end face polishing apparatus is not limited to that described above.

For example, the polishing plate 25 in the above described Embodiments 1 to 3 may be provided with an adjustment mechanism for adjusting only the height of the polishing member 25a without changing the height of the region that the slidable contact member 40 slidably contacts. By this, the length of the rod-shaped member W can be adjusted.

As described in detail in the embodiments, the end face polishing apparatus of this invention is provided with a slidable contact member on either one of the jig plate or the polishing plate to contact the other with a low friction, so that polishing with the polishing plate as the standard for polishing may be conducted, the length of the rod-shaped member W can be made uniform, as well as reducing the shift and variation of the radius of curvature, the polishing angle and the eccentricity. Further, since there is no need to make uniform the length of the rod-shaped member W by removing in advance the adhesive attached to the rod-shaped member W or the like, the polishing process may be simplified.

Claims

1. An end face polishing apparatus comprising: a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face; a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement; a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece; and regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the regulating means comprising at least one pocket formed in a main surface of the jig plate and at least one contact member mounted in the pocket for undergoing rotation relative to the jig plate, the contact member having a portion extending from the main surface of the pocket for contacting the polishing plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece.
2. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 1; wherein the contact member comprises a ball member.
3. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 1; wherein the at least one pocket comprises a plurality of pockets formed in the main surface of the jig plate; and wherein the at least one contact member comprises a plurality of contact members each mounted in a respective one of the pockets for undergoing rotation relative to the jig plate and having a portion extending from the main surface of the pocket for contacting the polishing plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece.
4. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 3; wherein each of the contact members comprises a ball member.
5. An end face polishing apparatus comprising: a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face; a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement; a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece; and regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece; wherein the regulating means comprises a holding member disposed on a main surface of the polishing plate, and a plurality of contact members supported by the holding member for undergoing rotation relative to the holding member, each of the contact members having a portion for contacting the jig plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece.
6. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 5; wherein each of the contact members comprises a ball member.
7. An end surface polishing apparatus comprising:
a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face;
a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement;
a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece;
regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the regulating means comprising at least one pocket formed in a main surface of the jig plate and at least one contact member mounted in the pocket for undergoing rotation relative to the jig plate, the contact member having a portion extending from the main surface of the pocket for contacting the polishing plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece;
a first rotational shaft mounted for undergoing rotation about a first axis and for undergoing revolving movement about a second axis offset from the first axis, the first rotational shaft having a first end for connection to the polishing member to rotate and revolve the polishing member about the first and second axes, respectively;
a second rotational shaft for undergoing rotation about the second axis;
support means for supporting the second rotational shaft to undergo rotation about the second axis; and
drive means for rotationally driving the first rotational shaft and the second rotational shaft.
a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face;
a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement;
a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece;
regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the regulating means comprising at least one pocket formed in a main surface of the jig plate and at least one contact member mounted in the pocket for undergoing rotation relative to the jig plate, the contact member having a portion extending from the main surface of the pocket for contacting the polishing plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece;
a first rotational shaft mounted for undergoing rotation about a first axis and for undergoing revolving movement about a second axis offset from the first axis, the first rotational shaft having a first end for connection to the polishing member to rotate and revolve the polishing member about the first and second axes, respectively;
a second rotational shaft for undergoing rotation about the second axis;
support means for supporting the second rotational shaft to undergo rotation about the second axis; and
drive means for rotationally driving the first rotational shaft and the second rotational shaft.
8. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 7; further comprising a movable support mechanism for supporting the jig plate and for moving the jig plate to bring the end face of the workpiece into pressure contact with the polishing member to thereby polish the end face of the workpiece during rotation and revolving movement of the first rotational shaft.
9. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 7; wherein the contact member comprises a ball member.
10. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 7; wherein the at least one pocket comprises a plurality of pockets formed in the main surface of the jig plate; and wherein the at least one contact member comprises a plurality of contact members each mounted in a respective one of the pockets for undergoing rotation relative to the jig plate and having a portion extending from the main surface of the pocket for contacting the polishing plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece.
11. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 10; wherein each of the contact members comprises a ball member.
12. An end face polishing apparatus comprising:
a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face;
a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement;
a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece;
regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the regulating means comprising a holding member disposed on a main surface of the polishing plate, and a plurality of contact members supported by the holding member for undergoing rotation relative to the holding member, each of the contact members having a portion for contacting the jig plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece;
a first rotational shaft mounted for undergoing rotation about a first axis and for undergoing revolving movement about a second axis offset from the first axis, the first rotational shaft having a first end for connection to the polishing member to rotate and revolve the polishing member about the first and second axes, respectively;
a second rotational shaft for undergoing rotation about the second axis;
support means for supporting the second rotational shaft to undergo rotation about the second axis; and
drive means for rotationally driving the first rotational shaft and the second rotational shaft.
a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face;
a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement;
a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for undergoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece;
regulating means for regulating a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the regulating means comprising a holding member disposed on a main surface of the polishing plate, and a plurality of contact members supported by the holding member for undergoing rotation relative to the holding member, each of the contact members having a portion for contacting the jig plate during polishing of the end face of the workpiece;
a first rotational shaft mounted for undergoing rotation about a first axis and for undergoing revolving movement about a second axis offset from the first axis, the first rotational shaft having a first end for connection to the polishing member to rotate and revolve the polishing member about the first and second axes, respectively;
a second rotational shaft for undergoing rotation about the second axis;
support means for supporting the second rotational shaft to undergo rotation about the second axis; and
drive means for rotationally driving the first rotational shaft and the second rotational shaft.
13. An end face polishing apparatus according to claim 12; wherein each of the contact members comprises a ball member.
14. An end face polishing apparatus comprising: a jig plate for supporting at least one workpiece having an end face; a polishing plate mounted for undergoing movement; a polishing member mounted on the polishing plate for underaoing movement therewith to polish the end face of the workpiece during a polishing operation; and a slidable contact member disposed on the jig plate for slidable contact with the polishing plate during the polishing operation to thereby regulate a polishing amount of the end face of the workpiece, the slidable contact member comprising a plurality of ball members mounted on a lower surface of the jig plate, a plurality of pockets formed on the lower surface of the jig plate for receiving the respective ball members, and a plurality of plate members for rotatably supporting the ball members in the respective pockets.