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Temporary adhesive needed for a page turning machine

  1. Sep 17, 2007 #1
    I am designing a robotic page turner and I am trying to determine the best way for lifting up a page. In my research I ran across an article that discussed using PDMS, the main ingredient in silly putty, as the most optimal material for creating a temporary adhesive bond with paper in order to turn a page. Is that the best kind of material, and what are the potential problems involved with this material? Would the adhering capability of this material significantly decrease over time after consistently coming in contact with paper?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2007 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    How did Jordan do it in the movie "Real Genius"? Looked like it worked pretty well.

    How about using a small air suction thing to attract the paper for turning the pages?

    Seems like an adhesive approach would wear out pretty quickly. Just try some experiments with Post-It notes to see how many pages per Post-It you can turn....
  4. Sep 17, 2007 #3
    You're probably right about adhesive wearing out quickly. However, what would cause something like silly putty to "wear out"? I know that might sound like a rather dumb question, but isn't there quite a difference between these two types of materials? The Post-it notes have a strip of microscopic acrylic spheres, and continued use would cause the number of spheres on the note to slowly decrease thereby reducing its sticking power. But if I used a blob of silly putty, what adhesive aspect would be coming off over time? The only thing I can think of is that some of the fibers of the paper would clean to the putty and inhibit it from sticking to pages in the future.

    I have considered using suction, but I was concerned about the possibility of picking up more than one page at a time. The thinnest type of pages in a book that I would be turning would be those of a paperback book. Could the application of suction on such a page draw in enough air through the paper to counteract the effect of the suction?
  5. Sep 17, 2007 #4


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    Something else that might work, although I'm not sure about its longevity, is 'paste-up' wax such as graphic artists use to arrange magazine pages (pre-computer).
  6. Sep 19, 2007 #5
    Maybe use a roller + fan?
  7. Sep 19, 2007 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Let's look at an example class of paper handlers that lift paper:

    These are machines insert folded paper into envelopes, like the bills you get from electric utilities.

    They all use vacuum. No adhesives at all on any model I've ever seen. They require absolute control of "grab and letgo" How would you control the "letgo" with adhesives?

    My take on this is if silly putty or something were even moderately practical somebody would have used it long ago and you would see it on this type of machine.

    Manufacturers would love to get rid of vacuum. The main reason is that vacuum components like flexible lines and suction tips are a point of failure, do not have a fantastic MTBF and so require a lot of pre-emptive maintenance. Vacuum adds a big manufacturing cost up front and and complexifies maintenance greatly.

    Pitney-Bowes would love to lose them I'm sure. If you found a product that could have adhesiveness turned off/on by EMF or delta voltage you'd be retired in a mansion on the beach right now.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  8. Sep 19, 2007 #7
    This is probably a wild idea, but maybe a charge inducer that could be turned on/off with an oppositely charged bar to move accross the page. Although, it has a high chance of not working; its worth speculating. :)
  9. Sep 20, 2007 #8


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    Interesting approach. That's pretty much how photocopiers work, so the idea seems feasible. Good thinking.
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