US 20090126074 A1
A reinforced glove includes a substrate, typically in the form of a shell having the shape of a human hand, and a protective coating disposed on the substrate to form a composite therewith. The shell and any integral or non-integral reinforcing elements are at least partially covered by the protective coating, which penetrates such reinforcing elements to thereby improve the bond between the shell and reinforcing elements, whereby the durability, strength and grippability of the glove are enhanced.
1. A reinforced glove, comprising a shell in the shape of a hand, said shell having a first side and a second side opposite said first side, at least one of said sides being reinforced over at least a portion thereof to thereby form a reinforced portion of said shell, and a coating applied to said shell so as to at least partially cover said shell and said reinforced portion thereof.
2. The glove of
3. The glove of
4. The glove of
5. The glove of
6. The glove of
7. The glove of
8. The glove of
9. A reinforced, multi-layered glove, comprising a shell in the shape of a hand, said shell defining a first layer and having a palm side and a back side; a second layer applied to said first layer so as to reinforce at least a portion thereof; and a third layer applied as a coating so as to at least partially cover said first and second layers.
10. The glove of
11. The glove of
12. The glove of
13. The glove of
14. The glove of
15. The glove of
16. The glove of
17. The glove of
18. The glove of
19. The glove of
20. The glove of
21. The glove of
22. The glove of
23. A reinforced glove, comprising a shell in the shape of a hand, said shell having a first side and a second side opposite said first side, at least one of said sides being reinforced over a portion thereof to thereby form a reinforced portion and an unreinforced portion, and a coating applied to said shell so as to at least partially cover said reinforced and unreinforced portions thereof, said coated reinforced portion having a characteristic which distinguishes said coated reinforced portion from said coated unreinforced portion.
24. The glove of
25. The glove of
The present application claims the priority of the U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/856,558 filed Nov. 3, 2006, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present invention relates to multilayer, reinforced gloves and methods for manufacturing such gloves.
Gloves of the prior art are constructed of various materials and are used for various purposes. For example, the prior art includes workman gloves, surgical gloves, driving gloves, household gloves, skiing gloves, and gloves for providing warmth. Gloves of the prior art have typically been formed from leather, polyvinyl-chloride, rubber, and fabric. It is also known in the art to provide composites, such as fabric gloves dip-coated with a natural or nitrile rubber.
The prior art also includes gloves having fabric and leather reinforcing elements that are mechanically fastened to a glove. For example, the prior art includes fabric and leather strips sewn onto the outer surface of the glove. The fabric and leather reinforcing elements are positioned on sections of the glove corresponding to the fingertips, the knuckles, the wrist, the palm, and/or the back side of the hand. Although fabric and leather reinforcing elements increase a glove's grip and wear resistance, they are expensive materials and must be mechanically fastened to the glove. This increases the total manufacturing cost of the glove, as well as the final retail price paid by consumers.
It is also known in the art to provide a glove having polyvinylchloride patches bonded to an underlying fabric. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,185,747 discloses polyvinylchloride patches that are metal-screened to the fibers of the underlying fabric. Unfortunately, the bond between the screened polyvinylchloride and the fibers causes the fibers to stiffen, which in turn causes discomfort and potential irritation to the hands of a person wearing the glove. Furthermore, the fabric of the glove is exposed in multiple locations, such as in the areas between the polyvinylchloride patches. This forms vulnerable areas that have low wear resistance and that are easily susceptible to puncture and/or chemical penetration.
What is needed in the art is a glove that provides good grippability at a low cost and does so without unnecessarily compromising the wear resistance or comfort of the glove.
In accordance with the present invention, a glove, which includes a shell in the shape of a human hand, is reinforced over at least a portion of the shell and then coated so as to at least partially cover the shell, including its reinforced portion. The shell can be reinforced integrally by, for instance, making a portion of it thicker than the rest of the shell. If the shell has a knit construction, the reinforced portion can be formed by knitting thicker (i.e., lower gauge) threads into the shell at desired locations on the palm side and/or the back side of the shell. Once the shell is coated, the result is a composite glove having a plurality of reinforced portions that enhance the durability, grippability and/or comfortability of the glove. It is also possible to reinforce the shell using independent reinforcing elements that are attached to the palm side and/or the back side of the shell by the coating. The result, in this instance, is a reinforced, multi-layered glove having enhanced durability, grippability and/or comfortability.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following description of various exemplary embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
The shell 12, especially if it has a knit construction, may also include areas or portions (not shown) that have a gauge (i.e., number of courses of threads per inch) or strength or size different from the rest of the shell 12, thereby providing integrally formed reinforcing portions with different texture, weight and/or integrity. For instance, such integrally formed reinforcing portions can result in raised areas having a cushioning effect if the size or gauge (i.e., diameter) of the threads in the reinforced portion is larger than the size of the threads used to make the remainder (i.e., the unreinforced portion) of the shell 12. Rather than modifying thread size, the type of material used to make the reinforced portion could be different than the type used to make the unreinforced portion of the shell 12, thereby providing an opportunity to enhance the durability, grippability and/or comfortability of the glove 10. The use of a stronger (i.e., more wear-resistant) material for the reinforced portion would, by way of example, enhance durability which would, in turn, increase the useful life of the glove 10.
If the shell 12 is made from one of the foregoing constructions, suitable materials include polyester, nylon, acrylic, KevlarŽ, DyneemaŽ, rayon, polypropylene, lyocell, glass lyocell, glass and metallic fibers, acetate, aramide, modacrylic. melamine, urethane etc., or blends thereof. The other suitable materials include all natural fibers such as vegetable fibers (i.e., cotton, flax, jute, and sisal, also including animal fibers such as wool, horsehair and silk), and synthetic fibers including regenerated cellulose, polylactic acid, polyurethane, vinyl and polyolefins. High performance specialty fibers such as aramide, polybenzimidazole, polyimide, phenolaldehyde and polysulfone are also suitable for construction of the shell 12. The shell 12 could be made from non-fabric materials. For instance, heat-sealed plastic or rubber (natural or synthetic), as well as other elastomeric materials, might be used to form the shell 12.
Referring now to
Other suitable materials for the reinforcing element 14 include knit or woven fabrics. The knit or woven fabrics have a mesh-like or somewhat open construction and are typically made from cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, KevlarŽ, DyneemaŽ, rayon, polypropylene, lyocell, etc., or blends thereof.
The reinforcing element 14 can also be made from non-woven fabrics constructed by any known process, such as airlaid, spun bound, spunlace (e.g., Ahlstrom Green Bay, Inc. Grades SX-392, SX-252 and SX-600), melt blown, carded/bonded and needle punched processes. Like the knit and woven fabrics, the non-woven fabrics can be constructed from cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, KevlarŽ. DyneemaŽ, rayon, polypropylene, lyocell, etc., or blends thereof. Other materials suitable for the reinforcing element 14 are perforated plastic films, plastic foams, reticulated foams, plastic netting and molded plastic. Rubber sheeting, rubber foams, molded rubber, and soft metal (e.g., bronze and aluminum) mesh and screening are also suitable. Leather, reconstituted leather (e.g., perforated leather) and low quality leather are suitable as well. Preferably, all of these materials should have an open construction. The term “open construction” is used herein to define a characteristic or property which allows liquid agents used to form the coating layer 16 to more readily penetrate or permeate the reinforcing element 14.
When a fabric material (e.g., knit, woven or non-woven fabric) is used to make the reinforcing element 14, the preferred weight of the fabric material can range from about 1.0 oz per square yard to about 8 oz per square yard. Of course, the fabric material could have a weight outside this range, depending upon the type of fiber used and the degree of reinforcement desired.
In certain cases, it may be preferable to perforate or die cut openings in the reinforcing element 14 to achieve satisfactory penetration/permeation of the coating agent (to be described in greater detail hereinafter) into the reinforcing element 14. If desired, an anti-vibration effect can be achieved by selecting an appropriate material for the reinforcing element 14. For instance, a reticulated urethane foam or a bonded non-woven fabric (e.g., 6 denier polyester bonded fiber) having a thickness of about 0.12 inch can be used as the reinforcing element 14 to achieve such an effect.
It may be desirable to provide one or more pressure relief areas 24 in the reinforcing element 14 for enhanced flexibility or conformity of the glove 10 to the hand of a user. In addition, the reinforcing element 14 could be replaced with a plurality of reinforcing elements, the size, shape and/or location thereof being variable. For instance, while the reinforcing element 14 shown in
The reinforcing element 14 provides enhanced cushioning to the hand of a user. The reinforcing element 14 also increases the tensile strength of the glove 10, while functioning as an abrasion-resistant and cut-resistant element. Accordingly, the shell 12 can be made from a comfortable material (e.g., fabric) and then reinforced with the reinforcing element 14.
The reinforcing element 14 could be dispensed with, if the shell 12 is provided with an integrally formed reinforcing portion as described above. Alternatively, the reinforcing element 14 could be used, as a supplement, in combination with any such integrally formed reinforcing portion.
The coating layer 16, which permanently adheres the reinforcing element 14 to the shell 12, can be made from any suitable liquid coating agent adapted for absorption or adsorption by the reinforcing element 14 or from such an agent that is not repelled by the reinforcing element 14. Suitable coating agents include any elastomeric compound known in the art, such as natural rubber latex, synthetic rubber latices (e.g., neoprene, nitrile (Rheichold/Dow TYLAC 68074-06) or urethane). Other suitable materials for the coating layer 16 include silicone, polyurethane, polyvinylchloride or other 100% solid plastic resins, and solvent solutions of similar resins. All of the foregoing materials could be expanded or foamed. In certain instances, the coating layer 16 might be formed from neoprene and/or styrene butadiene rubbers.
The coating layer 16 bonds to the shell 12, while permeating and penetrating the reinforcing element 14 to thereby securely attach it to the shell 12. More particularly, the coating layer 16 permeates or penetrates the reinforcing element 14 through its intersticies or openings. The bonds formed within the intersticies (not shown) of the reinforcing element 14 prevent the reinforcing element 14 and the coating layer 16 from bunching-up or folding onto themselves as the glove 10 is flexed by a user's hand, thereby providing greater comfort to the user and excellent durability for the glove 10. Preferably, the reinforcing element 14, including its peripheral edges 26, is encapsulated or enveloped by the coating layer 16. As a result, the coating layer 16 forms a fillet-like border 28 (see
The glove 10 can be made using the following process or method. First, the shell 12 is applied to a three-dimensional mold or two-dimensional form (not shown) which is in the shape of a human hand. Next, the reinforcing element 14 is applied to the shell 12 on the palm side 20 thereof. More particularly, the reinforcing element 14 can be applied loosely to the shell 12; or it can be temporarily affixed thereto using any conventional mechanism, such as a light spray adhesive. After such affixation of the reinforcing element 14, the shell 12 is dipped into a liquid bath of a suitable coating agent at an angle such that an area 30 (see
Depending upon the thickness and construction of the reinforcing element 14, the reinforcing element 14 can be readily observed on the glove 10. However, in some instances, it may be desirable to further highlight the appearance of the reinforcing element 14 from the rest of the glove 10. By selecting the reinforcing element 14 from the variety of the materials available, varying the thickness of the reinforcement or the degree of openness of the reinforcing element 14, the reinforced areas, after coating, can be visually and tactilely highlighted so that the glove 10 can be readily determined to be reinforced. Additionally, this can be accomplished by providing the reinforcing element 14 in a contrasting color (e.g., the reinforcing element 14 can be highlighted in black, while the shell 12 can be provided in white). The coating layer 14 could then be formulated with varying degrees of translucency to enhance the desired highlighting effect. Such a highlighting effect can be achieved by screen printing the contrasting color (e.g., black) over the portion of the coating layer 16 overlying the reinforcing element 14.
The preferred embodiments disclosed herein provide for a reinforced, multilayer glove that achieves many desirable objectives (e.g., grippability, durability, comfortability, etc.) at a relative low manufacturing cost. Various reinforcement elements enhance the properties of the gloves depending on the materials, and the form of the materials (e.g., knit, nonwoven, molded part, etc.), that are utilized in the construction of same. The invention also improves glove performance characteristics such as abrasion resistance, vibration isolation, thermal insulation, and protection against hand injuries. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make many variations and modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, all such variations and modifications, including those discussed above, are intended to be included within the scope of the invention.