Online Packaging Method of Filament Cathode for Intelligent Manufacturing

Ling-hua KONG, Yong QIAN, Yu-ming CAI, Jing-fang XIE, Ding-rong YI


It is challenging to automatically package spiral shaped filament cathodes that are widely used in worldwide microwave ovens. The difficulties include a fast packaging speed of over one parts per second and the dexterity required to handle tangling and embedding between spiral filaments’ multiple circles. In order to convert conventional labor intensive packaging lines of filament cathodes into automatic ones, an online fast automatic packaging method is reported. The method converts the fast incoming sequential flow of filament spirals into a batch of twenty-parallel queues with two stopping levers. The proposed method using two levers to release only the front twenty filaments at a time, one from each queue to fill one complete row of the plastic packaging tray. In this way, it speeds up packaging speed twenty times over conventional sequential packaging method. The inner diameter of the queue tube matches the outer diameter of the filament. It is this dimeter matching to eliminate the embedding problem occurred between neighboring filaments. The proposed method uses vibrating brush to decouple tangled filaments. Large number of validating experiments indicate that the proposed method could automatically package 200 filaments spirals within 2 minutes, with positional accuracy of over 97%. Thus, the proposed packaging method could meet the manufacturing requirement of filament cathodes, releasing four labors out of every production line at every work-shift. Further, this method also simultaneously improves the surface quality of the filaments by eliminating scratch caused by their sharp fresh-cutting cross sections.


Magnetron cathode, Cathode filament, Tangling and embedding, Online packaging, Sequential to parallel conversion, Parallel queue, Stopping lever, Automatic grabber.


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