US 2831525 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 22, 1958 P. M; COLE TUFTER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 24, 1955 RE mL m0 C M L M P ATTORNEY April 22, 1958 p, co 2,831,525
TUFTER Filed March 24, 1955 Z'ShQBtS-Shfit 2 nrrrrrrrrrrrl-rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm 1NVENTOR PA U L M. COLE ATTORNEY United States Patent TUFTER Paul M. Cole, Wilmington, Del., assignor to E. l. du Pont de Nemours and (Jompany, Wihnington, Del., a corporation of Delaware Application March 24, 1955, Serial No. 496,479
11 Claims. (Cl. 154-11) This invention relates to production of nonwoven materials having upstanding tufts or pile, such as carpeting, and novel machinery therefor.
The development of synthetic fibers characterized by high resistance to abrasion, crushing, and soiling and the advent of greatly increased costs for woven tufted fabrics have prompted considerable interest in nonwoven synthetic pile carpets and similar tufted materials. However, economical manufacture of these products requires marked changes and improvements in existing apparatus and methods.
An object of the present invention is improved tufting of fabrics. Another object is simplified production of nonwoven carpeting. Other objects of this invention, together with means and methods for accomplishing the various objects, will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying diagrams.
Figure l is a perspective view of apparatus of this invention. Figure 2 is a sectional elevation of the apparatus of Figure 1. Figure 3 is a sectional elevation of an element of apparatus partially resembling that of Figure 1. Figure 4 is a schematized side view of another tufting apparatus. Figure 5 is a side elevation of additional apparatus useful according to the present invention. Figure 6 is a section of tufted product.
In general, the objects of this invention are accomplished by means of a multitude of identical thin slats extending transversely of and outward from a long curved surface and tiltable fore and aft with respect thereto with the tilting angle and the outer-edge separation of the slats controlled to provide close spacing for confinement of tufting material therebetween and open spacing for injection or release of the tufting material. The present invention comprehends also combination of these means with means juxtaposed thereto for injecting tufting material between the slats, described in detail below, along with apparatus for applying binding and backing material to the tufting so formed.
Figure 1 shows in perspective a particular form of apparatus in accordance with this invention. carries cylindrical drum 2 alilxed to it and supports fixed protective plate 3 (held from moving by external supports not shown) covering the end of the drum, being partly cut away in the drawing for a clearer showing. The peripheral surface of the drum has slots 4 oriented transversely of the curved surface (i. e., longitudinally with respect to the drum axis) and arranged in three sets, located one about each end of the drum and one about the center, to receive tabs 5 extending from the inner edges of slats 6, arranged on edge about the drum, and retain the slats loosely for tilting in the forward and the after directions.
The tab ends extend sufiiciently inward upon proper radial orientation of the slats to engage, during rotation of the drum, top cam 8 and bottom cam 9 of cam support 10, visible in Figure 2, which is a sectional elevation taken through one of the nearer sets of slots (the slots themselves being too narrow to appear separately on the scale of this view). Located abovethe drum is a rotary injector comprising axle 12 with protruding transverse blades 13 intermeshing with the slats above the top cam location. Warp 14 of tufting material is visible at the upper left of Figures 1 and 2, the parallel yarn ends extending from a distant source (not shown) to the intermeshing location of blades and slats, where each of the the yarns is forced into a convoluted configuration of bights or loops held between each pair of adjacent slats and joined successively about the outer edge of each of the slats. To the lower right of the drum and juxtaposed to the exposed portions of this configuration is presser roll 16 over which backing material 17 passes into contact with the tufting material. At the lower left opposite the bottom cam is take-01f roll 15 about which the combined backing and tufting material passes on its way to eventual collection.
As the drum of Figure 1 has three sets of slots to receive the tabs of the slats, it conveniently includes three separate cam supports at corresponding internal locations. All of these supports, of which only one is visible in an end sectional view, may be visualized as identical. The preferred construction shown in Figure 2 reveals each cam support 10 to be shaped as a ring gear supported in contact with spur gear 2t) mounted on axle 21. Also contacting the cam-supporting ring gear are flanged pulleys 22 and 22' carried on respective axles 23 and 23, each spaced equidistant and equiangularly from one another about the drum axle to locate the ring gear concentrically. The axles of the pulleys and of the spur gear are mounted in flanges 27, integral with the drum axle and the drum itself and located between the locations of the gear pairs. The furthermost cam-supporting gear has extension 11 fixed externally to hold that gear motionless with respect to external fixed points.
Rotation of the drum on its axle also rotates the fianges (Figure 2), thus revolving the axles of the pulleys and the spur gear about the axis of the drum. The spur gears for the other cam-supporting ring gears, being tied by a common axle to the spur gear contacting the fixed end ring gear, hold their respective ring gears still also as the spur gears roll around inside them. Pulley flanges 25 and 25' maintain proper location of the cam-supporting ring gears lengthwise of the apparatus and keep them in mesh with their spur gears.
Figure 3 represents a construction of earn support that often may be used satisfactorily in place of the construction just described. The drum andits mounting, as well as the various external elements may be like those of Figure 1. In Figure 3, drum 32 carried on axle 31 has tabs 35 of slats 36 extending through slots (too small for effective separate showing) in its cylindrical portion. Cam support 30, rotatably mounted on axle 31 by suitable bearings (not shown) has mass 37 of sufiicient size to hold the support motionless as the axle turns inside it and the tabs contact top or closing cam 38 located above the axle on an arm of the support and bottom or opening cam 39.
In composition, the articles and elements just men tioned are in no way unusual. The tufting material may be of any composition, natural or synthetic, staple or continuous filament, or combinations of these; furthermore, the warp of parallel yarn ends may be replaced by a batt of oriented fibers or filaments, as desired. The backing material should be capable of forming a permanent bond with the tufting material and may consist essentially of a natural or synthetic latex or a thermosetting plastic, as is well known in the art, If desired, the backing maybe a multilayered material adhesive on one side only. The drums, cam supports, rotors, rolls, and slats conveniently are of metal chosen for obvious structural requirements, steel being generally suitable for each of these elements; stainless steel is desirable for the slats of the drum and blades of the rotor because of their contact with the tufting material.
Operation of the apparatus described above is readily understood. The warp of yarn moves between the slats of the drum (rotating clockwise) and the blades of the injection rotor (rotating counterclockwise). Each blade of the rotor tilts a slat forward, increasing the separation between it and the following slat, and injects a portion of each warp yarn down between these adjacent slats to form a loop or bight therebetween. Continued rotation of the drum immediately brings the tabs of the yarn-receiving slats into contact with the top or closing cam on the cam support, which tilts each of them in succession further forward; as the tilting angle of the slats is limited by the dimensions of the retaining slots for the tabs, the yarn is gripped tightly between adjacent slats while in the resulting closed position. The slots preferably do not extend exactly radially through the drum surface but, instead, are oriented in the forward direction; this facilitates more effective camming of the slats by allowing a greater angle of tilting of the slats in the forward direction than in the after direction.
Rotation of the drum through somewhat less than a half circle more brings the protruding portions or bases of the tufts into contact with a continuous strip of backing material into which they are forced by the presser roll about which the backing material travels. The backing then solidifies to form a permanent bond with the tufts, as may be facilitated by heating or other recognized curing step carried out while the material is on the drum.
vAfter about almost another quarter rotation, the tabs of the slats, which have become oriented substantially radially underneath the drum under the influence of gravity, contact the bottom cam surface, which tilts them successively in the forward direction and frees the successive rows of tufts therefrom. The combined backing and tufting material then passes through a slight are about the nearby take-off roll and oif for further processing or windup.
The tufts may be sheared subsequently by conventional apparatus (not shown), whereupon the structure will appear as shown in Figure 6, in which backing 17 is shown for simplicity as composed of continuous base layer 18 and top layer 19 in which the bottom of adjacent tuft pairs is embedded. However, regardless of whether the tufts are sheared or left in their original looped condition, their bases are firmly anchored in the backing.
Instead of being mounted upon a drum, the spacing slats may be anchored at one end in an endless belt or chain; such an arrangement appears in Figure 4, which shows slats 44 carried on belt 42 about spreader roll 41 and other rolls. Each slat has a transverse rubber boss 45 near its outer edge to aid in subsequent gripping of tufting material 54. Reciprocating injector 51 mounted radially above and to one side of the spreader roll has arm 50, whose end moves back and forth to grip the tufting material where it passes over the outer edge of each successive slat, and adjacent blade 53, which slides back and forth along the arm but with a longer stroke to mesh with each pair of adjacent slats; these reciprocating movements are procured readily by means of cams or eccentrics (not shown) as is well known in the art. The injected tufts or material are held between the slats as the belt inflects and passes about nearby compressor roll as. The material then passes between presser rolls 47 and 47', which force the tufted material into firm contact with backing material 48 proceeding from forwarding roll 49. Subsequent passage of the belt over release roll 55 spreads the slats again at the outer edges, allowing the combined backing and tufting material to 4 pass away to a suitable collection location (not shown) while the belt carrying the slats returns about idler roll 56 to the spreader roll to complete the circuit.
Instead of using change in curvature of the belt path provided by a compresser roll to force the slats together at their outer edges for secure gripping of the tufts, the apparatus may include a suitable cam shoe to straighten out the belt or even curve it in the opposite direction as soon as it leaves the spreader roll. Figure 5 shows an end view of such an arrangement in which slats 64 are carried on beit 62 about spreader roll 61. As the belt passes off the spreader roll it slides over the surface of cam shoe 6?, which forces the outer edges of adjacent slats together to grip tufting material 74 therebetween.
Also illustrated in Figure 5 is another means for injecting the tufting material between the slats. Additional belt 71 proceeding from roll 72 is superimposed on the exposed outside of the tufting material as the inside of the material contacts the outer ends of the spread slats, and this belt and the tufting material when move along together at the same rate in the form of chords 73, rather than arcs. As the belt carrying the slats is about to leave the spreader roll, the additional outer belt contacts the concave surface of outer cam shoe 68, which forces it into are rather than chord form as the separation of the outer ends of the flanking slats begins to lessen. With the added belt sliding confined against this cam surface, the underlying tufting material is unable to buckle outward so that as the inner belt straightens out to force the outer edges of the slats together the tufting material buckles inward between successive adjacent slats. The bights or tufts so formed are approximately half as high as the greatest previous separation of the slat ends. Being under tension the added belt does not buckle but instead passes directly off the end of the outer cam shoe and about take-off roll 75 from which it proceeds about idler roll 76 and back to the supply roll. The tufted material then moves on to receive a backing (not shown) as in Figure 4 or any conventional manner.
The apparatus of this invention is notable for its simplicity of construction and utilization of easily maintaina'ble rotating elements. The positive gripping and ungripping action of the described apparatus permits operation with light thin slats so as to produce a high concentration of tufts in the final article. Use of nylon multifilament of 4650 denier in a warp so processed has permitted formation of a fine pile with more than 27,500 tufts per square foot; this article produced on a rubber base has a luxurious appearance and feel. As a concomitant of simplicity of construction, operation, and maintenance the apparatus of this invention affords highly advantageous over-all economy. Other benefits of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art of manufacturing tufting materials generally.
The claimed invention: 7
1. Apparatus comprising a multitude of independent slats oriented transversely of and outward from a long curved movable surface and tiltable fore and aft thereof by tilting means located in proximity to inner edges of the slats.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the movable surface comprises the peripheral surface of a cylindrical drum mounted for rotation on an axle and having slots oriented widthwise thereof and in which the slats have at their inner ends retaining tabs located in the slots in the drum surface.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 in which the tilting means comprises cams carried on a support mounted on the axle inside the drum for rotation relative thereto.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 in which the support has a first cam surface effective to tilt the slats forward near the top of the drum and a second cam surface effective to tilt the slats forward near the bottom of the drum.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 in combination with a rotary injector having radially protruding blades intermeshing with the slats near the top of the drum.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the movable surface is a flexible substantially planar belt passing about a slat-spreading roll and the slats are secured to the belt at their inner edges.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 in which an inner cam shoe eifective to straighten the belt is located between the spreader roll and the belt near the point of departure of the belt from the roll.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 in combination with an added belt enclosing and movable with the outer ends of the spread slats until a point of departure therefrom and an outer cam shoe located outside the added belt at a location opposite the spreader roll and having a concave surface adjacent the added belt near the point of departure of the added belt from contact with the tufting material.
9. Apparatus comprising a cylindrical drum having sets of slots through its curved surface, adjacent slots in each set being spaced from one another in a circle and the sets being spaced from one another longitudinally of the drum; slats oriented on edge about the drum and extending longitudinally, with tabs from the inner edges of the slats extending through the slots so as to retain the slats against the drum, and tiltable fore and aft with respect to a direction of rotation of the drum; cams located inside the drum at such distance from the inner surface thereof opposite each set of slots as to contact slats tilted in the after direction and, thus, effective to tilt the slats: in the forward direction upon rotation of the drum in that direction with respect to the cams.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 in which the cams opposite each set of slots are mounted on a ring gear held concentric with the drum axis by meshing spur gear and a plurality of flanged pulleys contacting the ring gear internally, the corresponding pulleys and spur gears being carried on axles held fixed with respect to the drum by internal flanges thereof and one of the ring gears being held fixed with respect to an external coordinate system 'by an arm extending from the ring gear to fixed external means without contact with the drum.
11. The apparatus of claim 6 in which each slat is provided with a rubber boss near its outer edge.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,293,295 Amidon Feb. 4, 1919 2,488,004 Crossley Nov. 15, 1949 2,553,017 Sterner May 15, 1952 2,583,337 Laing Jan. 22, 1952 2,636,250 Hernmi Apr. 28, 1953 2,747,647 Brinton et a1 May 29, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 475,737 Canada July 31, 1951