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Dexterix  is a high performance cost effective automation solution for CD/DVD/BD processing. (Click the image to watch a video)

The compact robot provides automatic disc-changing for the equipment it is attached to, whether it is a regular PC or a specialized manual optical-disc processor such as a duplication tower. It works both for professionals and non-professionals, for either short runs or industrial scale disc processing.

 

Concepts and technical solutions embodied in the product are protected by an issued patent (US7360812) and other pending US and International patent applications.

The “heart” of the robot is our patented automatic disc-pickup device -the first and only one of its kind in the field. It engages/releases the disc automatically, without any external electro-mechanical actuation.

The picker flexibly self-adjusts its position to the center of the disc and grips it securely from beneath, ensuring reliable single-disc pickup. Problems commonly encountered by other disc-picking devices (such as picker-to-disc misalignment, disc dropping during transport or double-disc pickup) are completely eliminated. Watch a rough demo here.

The independent functionality of the picker reduces to a minimum the number of components prone to failure and allows for extreme robotic simplicity and increased reliability.

The robot is simply placed on the top of the tower/PC and works like a crane: the pickup device is being raised/lowered using a flexible cable (made of stranded steel wires, nylon coated) and accesses from above the disc drives and the disc stacks placed around. The crane concept provides versatility; the simple and compact robot works for either large or small capacity systems alike, allowing for:

-long vertical travel (access as many stacked drives as needed)

-high capacity disc stacks, when needed

-variable number of disc bins, user-adjustable as needed (minimum 2 and up to 8 disc bins, up to 4 on each side)

 

The robot is reliable, fast, compact and easy to install and to use. Despite its apparent simplicity, Dexterix comprises all the elements characteristic to any automation design, and it is inherently a complex machine.

A user-friendly single button operation provides intuitive configuration setup and helps aligning the system interactively.

Once placed on the top of the tower the robot needs to be aligned with the drives so it places the disc centrally into the tray. The robot’s magnetic bottom provides positive grip to the tower case underneath and secures their relative alignment. Optional interlocking guides can be installed, allowing the robot to be detached and re-attached to the tower in no time whenever needed, preserving the alignment.

 

Dexterix works with a minimum of 2 and up to 8 disc bins. The user can choose how many and which disc-bins to use, depending on the current job’s requirements. There must be at least one bin for blank and one for written discs so one could have a maximum of 7 blank disc bins. Regular CD/DVD disc packaging can be used for stacking the discs. With 7 such 100 disc bins filled with blanks, a maximum of 600 discs can be processed unattended. For larger scale tasks, capacity can be multiplied by using larger, custom disc magazines. Regularly the rejected discs are placed under the drive trays.

 

A simple, interactive procedure allows positioning all the bins to their correct locations within 3 minutes: the robot itself places an alignment indicator on the tabletop where each bin needs to be positioned. The user then simply puts a non-slip bin-supporting ring at each such precisely indicated location. These non-slip ring supports under the disc-bins provide abiding alignment. See "Set-up" and/or the Manual for details about choosing the bins configuration and setting-up the robot.

 

Unlike other automatic disc handlers, Dexterix recovers from accidental situations. Whenever the robot movement is accidentally obstructed, the robot will resume its job without failure as soon as the aggression ceases. Click here to watch.

 

Dexterix can be controlled via RS232, either by specialized disc-processing controllers or by custom applications:

 

Using Dexterix with duplicators (duplication towers)

At this point, Dexterix can only automate duplicators provided with Wytron controllers. If your duplication towers use Wytron controllers, they are Dexterix autoloader ready! Simply connect the RS232 module/cable (provided) to Wytron's COM2 port and your former manual duplicator turns into a standalone reliable high speed, high capacity automated duplicator, ready to work overnight! See "interfacing" for more details. There are certain mechanical requirements for the tower to be compatible with Dexterix.

The Wytron controller inside the duplication tower requests the attached robot to change the disc when necessary. With such duplication towers, the robot smartly “knows” where to deliver the written discs to and which bin to bring blank discs from, depending on the bin-configuration selected by user at startup. When all the blank discs in a bin have been written/processed, Dexterix automatically moves to the next available one, delivering the written discs to the last empty bin. The rejected discs will be placed in front, under the drawers.

At each given moment Dexterix considers four active locations for the disks to be transported to/from:
-one source of blank disks
-one destination for the processed disks
-one destination for the disks rejected during processing (rejected discs are currently placed under the drive trays)
-the processing unit (the drive trays)  

A disc-change cycle follows these steps: Dexterix takes the written disc from the processing tray, delivers it to the corresponding destination (processed or rejected discs location), picks up a blank from the source and places it into the tray.
On average, such a disk changing cycle (unloading and reloading a tray) lasts about 14 seconds when automating a regular desktop computer or a 8 drives manual duplication tower. It is even faster on smaller towers.
At each moment the active source is the blank-discs bin closest to the active destination for processed disks. Each time a source becomes empty, the working stacks are automatically changed: the empty bin becomes the new destination for processed disks (its corresponding LED turns red) and the closest bin filled with blanks becomes the active source. The former destination, now filled with already processed disks, is deactivated (its corresponding LED turns off).

By the end of the duplication job, when all the discs have been processed, all the green LEDs have turned off, one-by-one. 

 

One may expect best performance when using Dexterix in conjunction with a 4-8 targets tower provided with a hard-drive, wherein all its drives are identical writers (no reader).

Such a system is able to duplicate unattended multiple masters/different number of copies. To enable this feature, set the “Load nonblank disc” option on Wytron’s menu to “Yes”.

During the duplication process, whenever the controller detects a non-blank disc in one of the drives, it automatically transfers the content of this CD or DVD master to the hard disc drive in the tower. The system then loads and records blank discs, until it detects another master. When a new master is detected, its content is loaded onto the hard disc and the duplicator continues to record the new content onto the following blank discs.

This allows multiple titles to be duplicated in one duplication session without interruption. When multiple titles are duplicated in one job, care should be taken to not mix the titles when unloading the bins.

The first master content disc should be placed on the top of the discs in the bin that is first accessed by the robot (the blank discs bin closest to the empty bin). This allows the master disc to be the first disc that is loaded when the duplication operation is started.

 

The pickup device hangs and travels vertically, like a plumb. In order for Dexterix to reliably automate duplicators with 6 drives or more, the tower’s verticality must be carefully adjusted. The higher the tower is, the tighter the tower’s verticality requirement.

 

Tip: Despite the common beliefs, the hourly throughput of an automated duplicator is not directly proportional to the number of drives. This is especially true when using faster writers and lower amount of data, where the writing session is shorter. The explanation resides in the drawback of synchronous writing: the tower stalls during disc changing period, namely all its writers are waiting until the last drive loaded with a disc. The higher the tower is, the longer it takes to load/unload all the discs, even when done manually. Dexterix is one of the fastest autoloaders on the market, compensating somehow this drawback. The hourly throughput of an 11 writers system is only about 15% bigger than that of an 8 writers system, but such an 11 drives tower takes longer to unload/reload and is more difficult to align vertically than the smaller ones.

 

Using Dexterix with custom applications 

We have also provided Dexterix with a set of commands allowing specialized applications to control (via RS232 interface) the transport of a disc between any 2 of the 9 possible locations.

Two types of commands -pick up a disc from a certain location and respectively deliver the disc to a certain location- provide all one might need to automatically complete the most complex disc processing tasks.

Please see “ Developer’s corner” for details.

Bose Corp. and Microsoft are among our customers that have used Dexterix for such specialized applications.

 

 

 

 

 

Dexterix CD DVD autoloader - disc-change cycle for an 8 targets duplication tower ( Wytron DVD688 controller + Pioneer burners). Dexterix can also be controlled (via RS232) by custom software for other types of applications.

 

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About the disc-picker

Our patented disc pickup device engages/releases the disc automatically, without any external electro-mechanical actuation. The picker flexibly self-adjusts its position to the center of the disc and grips it securely from beneath, ensuring reliable single-disc pickup. Problems commonly encountered by other disc-handlers (such as picker-to-disc misalignment, disc dropping during transport or double-disc pickup) are completely eliminated.

Dexterix raises/lowers the picker using a flexible yet strong cable made of stranded steel wires, nylon coated. However, the device can also be adapted/attached to traditional, rigid robotic arms.

 

 

 

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Dexterix reaction when obstructed

Traditional robotics get in trouble when their movement impeded, requiring reset and re-calibration. Unlike other such automatic disc handlers, Dexterix recovers from accidental situations. Whenever the robot movement is accidentally obstructed, the robot resumes its job without failure as soon as the aggression ceases.

 

 

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