Spin Master has filed a patent for a braiding machine that includes a set of spool shuttles dispensing strands of flexible material under tension. The machine has shuttle stations arranged in a circuit, and a shuttle carriage that moves the shuttles along the circuit to braid the strands. A drive arrangement is coupled to the shuttle carriage. GlobalData’s report on Spin Master gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Spin Master, Intelligent toy robots was a key innovation area identified from patents. Spin Master's grant share as of September 2023 was 88%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Braiding machine with shuttle carriages for flexible material strands

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Spin Master Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230287610A1) describes a braiding machine with several unique features. The machine includes a set of strand shuttles, each equipped with a strand holder for dispensing and holding a strand of flexible material. A tensioner arm is hingedly coupled to multiple shuttle stations and is designed to securely receive and apply tension to the strands, retracting them as needed. The shuttle stations are arranged in a circuit, and a shuttle carriage repeatedly selects and moves the strand shuttles from one station to another along the circuit, allowing for the braiding of the strands. The machine is driven by a drive arrangement connected to the shuttle carriage.

One notable feature of the braiding machine is the strand retractor, which includes a fixed-position strand guide with a passageway through which the strands pass. The tensioner arm also plays a crucial role, as it has a strand clamp for securely receiving the strands and a friction grip for holding them when the clamp is opened. The machine also incorporates a unique shuttle design, with each shuttle having a shaft that fits into notches on the shuttle stations, preventing axial passage. The shuttle carriage is rotatably mounted on a carousel, which is driven by the drive arrangement to rotate in one direction, while the shuttle carriage rotates in the opposite direction. Engagement features on the shuttle carriage interact with the shafts of the strand shuttles, transporting them between stations.

Additional features of the braiding machine include a lifter on the carousel that elevates the strand shuttles from one elevation to another, a shuttle guide that restricts movement of the shuttles away from the shuttle carriage, and loading slots on the shuttle guide for placing the shuttles at different stations. The strand shuttles also have removable spools with the strands wound around them, which resist rotation until a threshold tension is applied. The drive arrangement of the machine includes a manual crank connected to gears that rotate the carousel, with the crank restricted to rotation in a single direction.

Overall, this patent describes a braiding machine with various innovative features that enhance the efficiency and functionality of the braiding process. The machine's design allows for the controlled movement and tensioning of strands, facilitating the braiding of flexible materials.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.