US 1912466 A
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J1me 1933- J. P. REMINGTON 1,912,466
METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRICS Filed Sept. 25, 1951 I N VEN TOR.
Patented June 6,
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE JOSEPH P. REMINGTON, 0F PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, ASSIG-NOR TO STOKES AND SMITH COMPANY, OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, A CORPORATION OE PENNSYLVANIA METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRICS Application filed September 25, 1931. Serial No. 565,091.
My invention relates to a method of and apparatus for straightening, stretching or spreading cloth, or like yielding material, to reduce deformation thereof and extend the same to substantially its normal dimensions, and specifically sheets, towels, napkins, or similar articles, particularly to prepare them for ironing by a mangle, or fiat-work ironer.
Heretofore in laundries, it has been necessary for operators to pick up the damp pieces individually. shake them to remove wrinkles and then pile them in stacks. The operators of the ironer remove the pieces from the stack, place them in succession upon the feedbelt of the ironer, and attempt to stretch or spread them sideways by hand. However, as the belt travels at high speed. these operators have insufiicient time to maintain a continuous supply of pieces and to stretch them properly.
Further, articles, as towels, are usually fed lengthwise through the ironer so that after being laundered a few times, the repeated stretching (in one direction only) so distorts them that it is impossible for the ironer operators to straighten them by hand during the feeding operation, and the preliminary steps of shaking out and stacking by other operators are necessary. Even then, unless constant diligence is exercised, the pieces are not in proper condition for ironing and these preparatory steps are responsible for a large proportion of the cost of laundering.
In accordance with my invention, the cloth, or cloth articles, as towels, are straightened, stretched, and shaken, all in one operation to remove wrinkles and folds so as to bring or restore them to proper dimensions and smoothness by one or more blasts of air, steam, or the like, which are, more specifically, directed generally in the direction in which it is desired to stretch the articles, and transversely of their direction of feed in the case of pieces being fed to a flat-work ironer, for example.
Further inaccordance with my invention, these operations are performed coincidentally with the transit of the pieces through the ironer thus saving the time as well as the labor heretofore required since it is only necessary for the machine operators to place the articles on the ironer feed belt, or equivalent, without the preliminary steps of shaking and stacking, the blast smoothing and stretching the pieces during their travel on the feed belt. Preferably, the pieces are subjected to successive blastsdirected against their opposite surfaces.
Further in accordance with my invention, the blast may be of hot dry air or of more or less wet steam to partially dry or to redampen the articles, as they are being'stretched, to bring them to the proper condition for ironmg.
My invention further resides in the methods and apparatus hereinafter described and claimed.
For an understanding of my invention and for an illustration of one form thereof, reference is to be had to the accompanying drawing in which:
Fig. 1 in perspective illustrates the disposition of nozzle structure at the receiving end of the conveyor of a flat-work ironer.
Fig. 2 is a plan view of an article of wash, as a towel, having wrinkles and turned-over edges.
Fig. 3 discloses the action of air blasts upon the towel of Fig. 2 in smoothing it and restoring it to its original size.
Referring to Fig. 1, the roller or pulley 1 rotates with the shaft 2 driven from or in timed relation to the ironing rolls, not shown, of a flat-work ironer. The travelling surface which conveys or feeds the cloth pieces to the ironer comprises feed-belt structure 3, which passes over the roller 1, and is shown as a single belt, although it is to be understood that it may consist of a series of narrow spaced belts. The roller 4 mounted upon shaft 5 which is journaled in the side frames of the machine, not shown, engages the articles and presses them against the belt 3, within a short time after they are placed thereon by the operator.
The freshly washed fiat-work, as towels, napkins, and the like, are so wrinkled that they must be smoothed before they come into engagement with the ironing rolls. As the feed-belt 3 moves at a fairly rapid rate, for
shake and spread the same.
example, sixty feet per minute, it is impossible for the machine operators to keep an uninterrupted suppl of pieces on the feed belt and also to smoot 1 them. If the ironer operators take the time to carefully shake and stretch the pieces, the output of the machine is seriousl curtailed. Other 0 erators pick up the in ividual pieces and shake them to remove wrinkles in preparation for the machine operators. Since the pieces are fed in the same direction, i. e., lengthwise, through the ironer, after being laundered a few times e cal y, they have been elongated to substantial extent, the pulling action which has increased their length also reducing their width, particularly near the center. For example, towels after a few launderings, are much narrower in the middle than at the ends.
The machine operators rior to my invention picked the prepare pieces from the stack and placed them in turn upon the feedbelt and endeavored to smooth them further. In view of the aforesaid high speed of the belt, however, the attempts were in general unsatisfactory. If the speed of the machine were slowed down to afford a longer interval of time for smoothing, the cost of laundering was still further and substantially increased.
The towel T, Fig. 2, illustrates generally the appearance of flat-work ready for ironing. As indicated it may be full of wrinkles,
the edges may be turned over or under as indicated at 17, and the ends may be far from straight.
To eliminate the preliminary steps of stacking, shaking and stretching the indivldual pieces, I employ blasts of air, preferably during the feeding of the articles. For example, the nozzles 9 carried by the support 7 (Fig. 1) adjustable along the bar 6 extendmg parallel to and adjacent the pulley 1, dlrectd'ets of air, steam or the like, outwardly towar the edges of the pieces, which jets agitate. the slack portion of the pieces proceedmg to engagement with the feed belt to The distance between the jets 9 is suitably less than the width of the towel T, or other article.
The blasts, as indicated, engage the slack portion of the piece immediately adjacent the place of its meeting with thefeed belt,
and are directed substantially at right angles to the direction of feed though there may be a reasonable variation. However, if the departure from this relation is made too great, difiiculty will be experienced by the blast turning back the leading or trailing edges of the pieces. The air issuing from the jets causes the cloth, because of its flexibility, to ripple or shake which removes all wrinkles. Further, the blast is sufiiciently strong to actually stretch the cloth cross-wise. Although the jets of air from the nozzles 9 are are considerably out of shape; specifidirected only against one side of the cloth, the blasts may, if desired, be strong enough to straighten out edges turned back against the other surface because of the decided whipping action at the edges due to the waves or ripples in the cloth produced by the jets. Although a single pair of powerful jets 9 may be used, it is not desirable, for the lighter fabrics, since unless the piece is accurately centered, there is a tendency for the trailing end to cree sideways on the belt. Preferably, there ore, the blast from the jets 9 is suitably moderate, to effect removal of wrinkles and some stretching, (Fig. 3), and the blast from a second pair of jets 9' is uti lized to complete the stretching and straight ening out of edges turned back against the upper surface of the towel.
The blast from the jets 9 may be quite strong, since the towels in this position are lying on the belt 3 and are disposed only slightly in advance of the roller 4. The second pair of nozzles, 9', may be carried by the individual supports 8 adjustable along bar 6 transversely of the feed belt 3.
In the construction here shown the blasts of air are directed nearly parallel to the surface of. the cloth. This has a tendency to permit entrained air drawn from below the jets to tip the-edge of the cloth and cause it to ripple or.shake. .The angle at which the jet strikes the cloth may be varied to suit conditions or double jets working simultaneously on both sidesof the cloth may be used.
The air blasts are capable of substantially stretching the cloth cross-wise, for example, they may increase the width one-half to one inch or more, the amount of stretching varying with different materials, force of the blasts, etc. For all practical purposes, however, it is only necessary for the cloth to be stretched or spread sufiiciently to take out the slack in the cloth thus making all edges straight and of the same width. I prefer to employ properly directed air blasts for this purpose because the pieces cannot be torn during the stretching operation as could readily happen if they were positively gripped by some mechanism and all pulled out a definite amount. Further, the use of air requires only a small amount of mechanism occupying little space and permits facile and nice adjustment of the stretching force.
The air for the nozzles 9 is supplied from a header 12' through the flexible tubes 10 which slip over the nipples 11 in the header 12. Similarly the air from the nozzles 9 is supplied from the header 12 through the individual flexible tubes 10, connected to nipples 11.
The nozzles as previously stated, are adjustable to accommodate different widths of pieces, and several sets of nozzles may be used, some of which may be differently spaced from the others to accommodate the machine for simultaneous operation upon articles of different sizes. For example, referring to Fig. 1, the two right-hand sets of nozzles, 15 and 15' fed by flexible tubes 16 and 16 are set to smooth and stretch the wide towels T, while the left-hand nozzles 9 and 9 are more closely spaced to smooth and stretch the narrower towels t.
The valves 18 and 18 are preferabl provided in the connections from the hea ers 12 and 12 to the individual nozzles to permit regulation of the blast in accordance with the weight or size of the articles; for example, the blast for the heavy towel T may be substantially higher than the blast for the small towels t, handkerchiefs, etc.
The supports 13 and 13' adjustable along bars 6 and 6 carry the bafiles 14 and 14' to prevent adjacent air jets operating upon different pieces, (Fig. 1), from blowing up or turning back the edge of the other towel.
In operating an ironer utilizing my pneumatic spreader, the machine operator picks the pieces up from a mass ofedamp wash which need not be stacked nor shaken out as heretofore, and places them on the feed-belt 3 at a point above the jets 9 which instantly blast out the under-turned wrinkles in the pieces and stretch them sideways. As they travel forward on the belt they go under the second set of jets 9 which further stretch them and blast out any over-turned edges or wrinkles. Although the pieces lie flat on the feed-belt when subjected to the second set of air jets, the feed-belt does not interfere with the spreading since the air blasts ripple the edges, lifting them from the belt.
If the work is too dry for satisfactory ironing, sufiicient moisture may be introduced into the air blast to dampen the work; for example, the blast may be of wet steam. On the other hand, if the work is too damp, the blast may be of hot dry air.
It is also possible to stretch the pieces after ironing but this is not generally satisfactory or desirable, as stronger blasts are required and there is strong tendency for the dry pieces to resume their original condition as soon as the blast stops. The articles while damp have considerable plasticity, are easily stretched by the blasts, and retain their stretched condition as the wet fabric has little elasticity. On the contrary, the articles when dry possess little plasticity and considerable elasticity.
Although the invention has been specifically described and illustrated for preparing individual towels or the like for ironing, it can be utilized to advantage for stretching cloth or other yielding material in more or less continuous length, such as toweling in thirtyfoot lengths commonly used in roller towel cabinets. It is also within the scope of the invention to utilize the air blasts to smooth and stretch cloth for purposes other than ironing, as for example, printing, or filling, and the like.
For brevity in the appended claims, the term air is used in a generic sense and comprehends other gases, or vapors, for example steam, either wet or dry, and the term spreading is used to comprehend smoothing, stretching, removal of wrinkles, creases, overfolds or turned-over edges, and expanding to substantially normal dimensions.
What I claim is:
1. The method of stretching cloth which comprises directing blasts of air against one face of the cloth outwardly toward opposite edges thereof, and subsequently directing blasts of air against the other face outwardly toward said opposite edges.
2. An apparatus comprising conveying means including belt structure for transporting cloth articles, and nozzle structure for directing blasts of air generally in the plane of the articles and outwardly toward opposite edges of said articles transversely of the direction of belt movement.
3. An apparatus comprising conveying means including belt structure for transporting cloth articles, and nozzles disposed to direct blasts of air against said articles while being transported by said belt structure, said nozzles being disposed to cause the blasts to move in opposite directions toward opposite edges of the articles transversely of their direction of movement.
4. An apparatus comprising conveying means including belt structure for transporting cloth articles, a roller for pressing said articles against the belt structure, and nozzle structure disposed in advance of said roller, with respect to movement of the belt structure, to direct blasts of air outwardly towards the opposite edges of articles transversely to the travel of said belt structure as they are advanced by said belt structure for engagement with said roller.
5. In combination with the feed belt of a flat-work ironer for transporting damp pieces of wash thereto, nozzle structurefor direct ingblasts of air against the pieces outwardly towards their opposite edges and transversely of their movement by said belt.
6. A feeder and spreader for a fiat-work ironer comprising conveyor belt structure for feeding the damp pieces of wash, nozzle structure for directing blasts of air against the pieces during travel with said belt structure and outwardly toward their opposite edges to ripple them transversely of their direction of travel, and means for agitating the slack portions of the pieces advancing toward said feed belt structure.
7. A feeder and spreader for a flat-work ironer comprising conveyor belt structure for feeding parallel rows of damp pieces of wash,
nozzles, for directing blasts of air toward opposite edges of each of said pieces transversely of its movement, andmeans for preventing the blast directed against the edge 5 of one piece from turning back the edge of a piece in an adjacent row.
8. A feeder and. spreader for a flat-work ironer comprising conveyor belt structure for simultaneously feeding dam pieces of wash in side by side relation, nozz es for directing blasts of air toward opposite edges of eac of said pieces transversely of its movement, and baflie structure between adjacent nozzles directing blasts on different pieces.
9. A feeder and spreader for a flat-work ironer comprising conveyor belt structure for feeding damp pieces of wash, and nozzle structure disposed adjacent said belt structure and directing blasts toward opposite edges of the pieces to ripple each piece while on said belt structure to whip out wrinkles and folded edges.
10. A feeder and spreader for a flat-work,
ironer comprising conveyor belt structure for feeding'damp pieces of wash, nozzle structure disposed adjacent said belt structure and directing blasts toward opposite edges of the pieces to ripple each piece outwardly toward opposite edges transversely of the g direction of conveyor travel to whip out wrinkles and over-fol ed edges, and means for removing under-folds from slack portions of the pieces as they advance toward said conveyor belt structure.
11. A feeder and spreader for a flat-work ironer comprising a conveyor having belt structure for feeding damp pieces of wash,
nozzle structure disposed above said belt structure for directing blasts toward oppo- 4 site edges of the pieces thereon and transversely of the direction of conveyor travel, a roll at the receiving end of said conveyor, and means adjacent said roll for agitating the glack portions of the pieces depending thererom.
12. A feeder and spreader for a flat-work ironer comprising a conveyor having belt structure for feeding damp pieces of wash, nozzle structure for directing blasts toward opposite edges of pieces on said conveyor and transversely of the conveyor travel to ripple the pieces, and nozzle structure for directing blasts of air toward opposite edges of the slack portions of said pieces tranversely of 55 their movement toward said belt structure.
13. A spreader for damp pieces of cloth comprising belt structure on which said pieces are disposed substantially free of restraint, and nozzle structure for directing blasts of air toward opposite edges of said pieces transversely of the belt travel, said blasts being sufiiciently powerful to effect rippling of the cloth.
14. The method of spreading cloth which 05 comprises dampening the cloth, and while the cloth is damp and substantially free of restraint, directing a powerful blast toward an edge of the cloth from a zone intermediate that edge and another edge of the cloth.
15. The method of spreading cloth which comprises dampening the cloth, and while the cloth is damp and substantially free of restraint, directing powerful blasts toward opposite edges thereof.
16. The method of spreading cloth which comprises dampening the cloth, moving the cloth while damp and substantially free of restraint along a path, and as the cloth passes through a zone alon said path, directing a powerful blast toward a side edge of the cloth to produce rippling transversely of the movement of the cloth along said path.
17. The method of spreading cloth which comprises dampening the cloth, moving the cloth while damp and substantially free of restraint along a path, and as the cloth passes through a zone along said path, directing blasts towards opposite edges thereof to produce rippling transversely of the direction of movement of the cloth.
18. The method of preparing cloth articles for ironing which comprises dampening the articles, and thereafter, and while the articles are damp and substantially free of restraint, directing powerful blasts oppositely toward opposite edges of said articles to restore them to their normal dimensions and to remove wrinkles and folds therefrom.
19. The method of preparing cloth articles for ironing which comprises dampening the articles, conveying them while damp toward an ironing station, and during conveying of the articles directing powerful blasts toward opposite edges of the articles transversely of their movement to spread them to substantially their'original dimensions.
JOSEPH P. REMINGTON.