Apparatus for sensing a lens blank and a machine including such

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Details

36447437, 5116571, G06F 1546

Patent

active

051445611

DESCRIPTION:

BRIEF SUMMARY
The invention relates to apparatus for sensing a lens blank and is particularly but not exclusively concerned with such apparatus in a machine for generating toric lens surfaces.
According to one aspect of the invention there is provided apparatus for sensing a lens blank including a plurality of sensor means which sense the positions of portions of the blank to enable signals to be produced dependent on the positions of said portions, and means for receiving signals from the sensor means.
According to the invention there is provided apparatus for sensing a lens blank including a plurality of sensor means which sense the positions of portions of the blank and means for receiving signals from the sensor means. Such an apparatus can be used to enable lens blank parameters to be obtained.
Preferably the sensor means includes first sensor means arranged to sense an edge of the blank and may also include second sensor means arranged to sense inboard surface portions of the blank, e.g., at centre and off-centre positions.
The sensor means may include a plurality of movable elements. The first sensor means may include an element having a frusto conical surface engageable with the edge of the lens blank whilst the second sensor means may include a plurality of probes. At least one of the probes may be arranged to engage a surface portion of the lens blank at an off-centre position. Another of the probes may be arranged to engage a surface portion of the lens blank at or adjacent a central position. The centre position refers to the physical centre position of the lens.
The probes may be parallel and mounted for axial movement relative to each other.
The sensor means may be mounted on a carriage which is preferably movable towards and away from the lens blank. Where the sensor means comprises a plurality of movable elements such as probes they may be movably mounted on the carriage. Preferably bias means such as springs may be provided for biasing the elements normally towards a datum position. When the elements are moved into engagement with the lens blank they are preferably displaced relative to each other by the surface of the lens against the bias means.
Each sensor means may also include a sensing device such as a potentiometer for providing the aforesaid signals.
The signals may be received by means such as a computer for processing the signals to provide an output preferably for controlling the machining of the lens blank. Preferably the signal processing means is arranged to receive data relevant to the lens to be formed from the lens blank which is computed with the signals received.
A support such as a collet chuck may be provided for the lens blank to align the lens blank with the sensor means. Preferably, the lens blank is aligned with its physical centre substantially in alignment with the element of the sensor means which engages the centre position of the lens surface.
Preferably a holding member is provided for holding the lens blank securely relative to the support when the sensing is taking place. The holding member may comprise a foot or pressure pad which may be movable against the lens surface. Preferably the holding member is movably mounted on the carriage so that when the carriage is operated to move the sensor means towards the lens blank, the holding member will be urged into engagement with the lens surface preferably in advance of the sensors. The holding member may be resiliently mounted on the carriage so that the urging of the holding against the lens surface will cause the holding member to react against its resilient bias. Where a probe is arranged to engage a surface portion of the lens blank at or adjacent the central position, the probe may be surrounded by a tube carrying or including the holding member.
Preferably, the aforesaid apparatus forms part of a machine for machining the lens blank, the machine including a holder for a lens blank, a machining station where the lens blank in the holder is to be machined, a loading station where the lens blank can be loaded in the holde

REFERENCES:
patent: 4394099 (1983-07-01), Santinelli
patent: 4517870 (1985-05-01), Kopp
patent: 4653233 (1987-03-01), Brueck
patent: 4680998 (1987-07-01), Council, Jr.
patent: 4769954 (1988-09-01), Hatas et al.
patent: 4829715 (1989-05-01), Langlois et al.
patent: 4829716 (1989-05-01), Ueda et al.
patent: 4945684 (1990-08-01), Wada et al.

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