In general, conveyor belts for transferring components from one component manufacturer to another manufacturer that assembles these components into new products are well known. For example, in the field of circuit assembly, electronic components are often transferred from a component supply source to a specific location in a circuit board for mounting thereon. These elements can be of several types, including surface mount components. Specific examples include memory integrated chips, integrated circuit chips, resistors, connectors, dual series processors, capacitors, gate arrays, and the like. These components are typically attached to a circuit board that can then be loaded into an electronic device.
In addition to manually mounting individual electronic components onto a circuit board, the electronics industry also employs an automated pointing device, sometimes referred to as a "pick-and-down" device, that grabs parts at a specific station (source) and Place it on another specific station (board). In order to ensure continuous operation of the automated pointing device, the device must be continuously supplied with electronic components at a predetermined rate and station so that it repeats the precise sequence of motion as planned in each cycle. Therefore, it is important to have each such element be in the same position as the front and rear sequential elements (i.e., at this point the automated pointing device grasps the element).
One way to continuously deliver electronic components to a desired station is to use a conveyor belt. Conventional conveyor belts generally include an elongated belt having a series of identical sumpes formed at predetermined uniform intervals along the length of the belt. Each of the reservoirs is shaped to closely receive an electronic component. The strap typically also includes a series of through holes that are evenly spaced along one or both sides of the elongated strap. These through holes, commonly referred to as advancement holes, drive holes, locating holes, or guide holes, accommodate the drive sprocket teeth to advance the belt toward the automated pointing device.
Typically, the conveyor belts are made at one station, wound onto a reel and transferred to a second station where the belt is unwound and continuously fed to automatically load the electronic components into the sump On the machine. The advancement aperture allows the sump to be accurately positioned relative to the component loading machine to ensure that each component can be placed in a sump and in the proper orientation for subsequent removal by the automated pointing device. A continuous cover tape is then placed over the elongate strap to hold the component in the sump.