US 2938239 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 31, 1960 w. F. LEINEWEBER, JR., ETAL 2,938,239
BALE OPENING METHOD AND APPARATUS Filed Feb. 10, 1960 3 e ts-Sheet l m INVENTORS AffOPA/AEVS May 31,- 1960 w. F. LEINEWEBER, JR.. ET AL 2,938,239
BALE OPENING METHOD AND APPARATUS Filed Feb. 10, 1960 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 May 31, 1960 Filed Feb. 10, 1960 W. F. LEINEWEBER, JR ETAL 2,938,239
BALE OPENING METHOD AND APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Utlit BALE OPENING METHOD AND APPARATUS William F. Leineweber, Jr., and John C. Whitehnrst,
Greenville, S.C., assignors to James Hunter, IIICOI'PO! This invention relates generally to the textile industry and is particularly concerned with the opening of bales of fiber and the blending of such fibers.
During the past to years much progress has been made in the manufacturing processes of producing yarns and fabrics, resulting in improved quality. When synthetic fibers were first introduced it was found that fabrics could be produced which had new properties and characteristics if several of these synthetic fibers were blended together in making the yarns and fabrics. Since the synthetic fibers reacted differently to various types of dyes used in treating fabrics, it became necessary to devise means by which the various fibers could be accurately proportioned in predetermined amounts and percentages to prevent streaks of different shades appearing in the cloth when dyed with the different dyes. Apparatus which was developed for that purpose and which has become widely known and accepted throughout the industry by its now registered trade name Fiber Meter is disclosed in the patent to Greene et al., No. 2,412,506. While the Fiber Meter is able to weigh and proportion several fibers satisfactorily each feeder and weigher of the Fiber Meter is not capable of operating on more than a part of one bale of fiber even though portions of several bales may be manually placed in the machine. It is also only capable of opening such portion of the bale to a limited degree and consequently the degree of intimate blending of the batches of Weighed fibers discharged from each of the feeders is also limited.
It has long been known that cotton fibers vary widely in characteristics including diameter, length and'percentages'of long, inter-mediate and short fibers depending on the localities and conditions under which the cotton is grown. Since the yarn and cloth will necessarily vary with the variations in fibers contained in it, efforts have been made to obtain mixtures and blends of fibers which are as nearly uniform as possible. One of the means employed to aid in making such mixtures and blends has been the Micronaire, an instrument for determining the fineness of the various fibers in a bale based on-weight per unit length of the fibers. When the Micronaire values of several bales of fibers are known, it is possible readily to determine the amounts and percentages of the various bales which should be mixed and blended to obtain a yarn or cloth of certain desired characteristics.
In attemptingto mix and blend fibers from different bales according to their Micronaire numbers, the industry has employed fiber meters, and has instructed the operator to take certain amounts of fibers manually from each of a plurality of bales and place such lots of fibers in a feeder. While this procedure resulted in placing the fiber from several bales into a given feeder, it was not completely satisfactory because of the uncertainty of the human element and'because the fibers actually fed and .weighed by the fiber meter did not contain fibers from each of the bales fed into it and also these fibers were not suificiently openedso as to be readily and thoroughly blended. Hence, a demand has existed for a long time States Patent" O for automatic mechanical means for opening a plurality of bales of fibers and doing so in such a manner that the that demand by providing a new method of, and new apparatus for, mechanically and automatically opening a plurality of bales of fiber by removing from each one small tufts of fibers which can be readily cleaned and readily and intimately blended with similar tufts from many other bales.
The present invention will be better understood by those skilled in the art from the following specification read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which 7 Figure 1 is a top plan view of an assembly of apparatus embodying the present apparatus invention and suitable for carrying out the present method invention;
Figure 2 is a perspective fragmentary view of one of the several fiber lines of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a fragmentary, side elevational view of the apparatus of Figure 2;
Figure 4 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the plucking and doffing means of the apparatus of Figures 1 to 3;
Figure 5 is a vertical transverse, partly sectional view taken on line 5-5 of Figure 3;
Figure 6 is a fragmentary, perspective view showing the bridging means between adjacent tables in the apparatus of Figure 3 and constituting a portion of the plucking means;
Figure 7 is a fragmentary, side elevational view partly in section showing the feeder and 'weigher mechanism of Figure l;
Figure 8 is a vertical, fragmentary, sectional View showing an alternative form of doffer;
Figures 9 and 10 are, respectively, top plan and end fragmentary and elevational views of a modified'form of plucking apparatus; and,
Figure 11 shows diagrammatically a conventional feeder which may be employed instead of the feeder 0 Figure 1 shows a plurality of fiber lines each including a feeder and weigher 1 and a conveyor 2 disposed to receive tufts of fibers removed from each of a plurality of bales 3 and to deliver such tufts to the feeder and weigher. Each of the feeders and weighers -1 as is better shown in Figure 7, is provided with a hopper enclosing the spike apron 4 to receive the commingled'tufts from conveyor 2 and move them upwardly, a comb 5 to regulate the thickness of the layer of tufts on the apron 4, a doifer 6 to remove tufts from the apron 4 and to direct them downwardly into the scale pans 7 of a weighing device. Fibers weighed in pan 7 may be discharged onto a conveyor 8-which is disposed to receive weighed amounts of fibers from each of the other feeders and weighers 1 and to convey those several lots of weighed fibers to a cleaning and blending machine 9 .of conventional construction whence the cleaned and blended fibers may be transferred to a picker or other apparatus of conventional form for further processing. Since each of the feeders 1 is of the type used in a Fibe Meter and is disclosed in considerable detail in Greene et 21. Patent No. 2,412,506, any description of feeder 1 in addition to what has been stated above is believed to be unnecessary.
Since each feeder 1 is provided withthe same bale handling, plucking and doffing apparatus and conveyor the description of one line of such apparatus will be suificient. I
The feeder 1 is usually supplied with a considerable quantity of fibers, for example, a portion of a bale, by
L 2,938,239 Patented May 31, 196( arms 41.
placed onto a short, horizontal conveyor extending serenel nan" spike" apron That hoii'z'ontal' eon: veyor has been replaced in the present apparatus by a long conveyor 2 which extends from adjacent to the lower end 'o'f spike apron 4 beneath and to a point beyond a pluralityof aligned tables on which bales of fiber may be placed. At'its remote end, conveyor 2 is provided with any suitable means for moving it, for example, motor 10 drive chain 11, as is shown in Figure 2. Several tables are placed in alignment with the legs straddling conveyor 2 and with a short space between the adjacent ends of the tables. Each of these tables is preferably slightly shorter than the length of a bale of fibers to be placedthereon. The distance between center lines of the plucking units is preferably slightly longer than the length of'a bale.
' Means is provided at each table to move a bale of fibers back and'fo'rth across the space between the two adjacent tables. As is shown in Figures 1 to 4, each table is providedwith an endless belt 16 and at least two rolls 17 and may be provided with idler rolls 18 between rolls 17, ifdesired.
"The several rollers 17 and 18 are provided'with axles in-the form of rods which project'from the ends of the rolls'and are rotatably carried by side angles '20 of the tables.- At least one roller 17 of each table is provided with a sprocket 21 positioned outside of one angle, and the spr ockets 21 of the several tables 15 of one line may be rotated by any suitable mechanisms, for example, the reversing motor 25 of Figures 1 and 2, a drive chain 26 from the rotor of the motor to a sprocket on the adjacent roll 17, and an endless chain 27 which engages each of the sprockets 21 of the several tables 15 in one line.
A bridge 30 in the form of a metal sheet spans the space between the adjacent ends of each pair of tables 15, this bridge being better shown in Figure 2. There, bridge 30 is shown as being attached to the adjacent ends of angles of two of the tables. This bridge 30 is slightly arched but may be flat and is provided with a plurality of elongated openings 31 extending crosswise thereof to accominsane pins 32 of the plucker mechanism.
Between the adjacent ends of each pair of tables 15 andbeneath each bridge 30 is disposed mechanism for removing small tufts of fibers from the bottom of a bale of fibers as the latter moves back and forth across the bridge. This plucker mechanism is indicated in Figure 'Bbut is better shown in Figures 3, 4 and 5. There, this mechanism consists of a plucker and a dotfer. The plucker comprises a shaft 40 which is adjustably supported by one of the tables through the medium of adjustable support arms 41 and the shaft 40 is provided with a isprocket 42 which may be rotated in unison with the plucker shafts of the several other tables by any suitable means such as the endless chain 43 which is driven by motor 44 and chain 45. Each plucker shaft 40 is also provided with another sprocket 46 which serves to drive a chain 47 engaging sprocket 48 on dofler shaft 49.
Each plucker shaft 40 includes a plurality of hubs 50 keyed thereto and angles 51 attached to the hubs to which strips 52 may be attached. These stn'ps carry a plurality of sharp pins 32 of sufficient length to project through openings 31 in bridge 30 to slightly above the top surface of the bridge and into contact with the bottom surface of a bale of fiber-s as it moves. across the bridge.
The dofier of each plucker includes a shaft 49 which is rotatably supported by arms 55 which are preferably adjustably mounted on the tables beneath plucker supporting The doifer mounted on shaft 49 may be of any suitable construction, but as is shown in Figures 3 to 5, it employs hubs 50' which are quite like plucker hubs 50, angles 51' which are quite like plucker angles 50 and strips 52' which are quite like plucker strips 52; Each of strips 52' is provided with a plurality of brushes 60 which plucker pins 32.
The operation of the above described apparatus of Figures 1 to 6, inclusive, is substantially as follows.
A plurality of bales 3 of fibers which are to be blended according to the present invention are placed on a row of tables 15 behind a feeder 1. Figure 1 shows seven such bales and a total of eight tables. When motor 44 is energized the pluckers and doffers between the blades of tables 15 will be rotated and the speed of rotation may be varied at will, although experience has shown that the rate at which-it is'desired'to supply fibers to the feeder is the main factor determining the speed of rotation of the pluckers, and there seems to be very little variation in the tufts removed from the bales at different rotational speeds of the pluckers or during the forward or reverse movement of the bales over the pluckers. When the motor 25 is energized, the belts 16 of the several tables will be moved in one direction far enough to move the bale 3 of fibers from one table across the bridge 30 and onto the next adjacent table. Then, upon reversal of the motor 25, each bale will be moved back across bridge 30. As each'bale is moved across its bridge 30, the plucker pins 32 will remove small tufts of fibers substantially uniformly from the bottom surface of the bale for its full width and length. It has been found that the pluckers may be continuously rotated in one direction while the bales are being moved back and forth over the plucker apparatus, although if desired the direction of rotation of the plucker shafts may be reversed every time the direction of movement of the bale is reversed.
The tufts of fibers removed from the bales by the plucker pins are removed from those pins by engagement with the brushes 60 and the tufts so removed are directed downwardly onto the conveyor 2 which is driven by motor 10. Thus, it will be seen that after the plucking operation has proceeded for a short time, the conveyor will be covered with tufts on its upper reach and that the tufts removed from each successive bale starting with the one nearest to feeder 1 will be disposed on top of the previously deposited layer of tufts.
Feeder 1 will have presented to it a sandwich consisting of a horizontal layer of tufts taken from each of the bales 3. Since the spike apron 4 moves upwardly across the face of this sandwich, the spike apron will remove what amounts to slices from the leading end of the sandwich and each slice will contain approximately the same number of tufts from each of the several bales 3. Thus, the fibers discharged into scale pans 7 will contain approximately the same percentage of fibers from each of the seven bales. When each of the feeders v1 =has weighed out its predetermined weight of such commingled fibers, the scale pans of the several feeders 1 are opened, and fibers are discharged onto conveyor 8 by which they may be discharged into the cleaning and blending machine 9. Preferably, the several quantities of weighed fibers are discharged simultaneously from the several feeders and weighers 1, but if desired they may be discharged consecutively so that each one will fall on the fibers discharged from the preceding scale pan with resultant formation of a sandwich which may be discharged into the cleaning and blending machine as such.
It will be understood from the foregoing description of apparatus and method that the plucker devices not only remove substantially uniform small quantities of fibers inthe form of small tufts from throughout the full width and length of the bottom of each bale but that these tufts are made up of fibers which are quite *icleaningapparatus as compared with the present pro- 'ccdure where the fibers from the bale are not well opened and the dirt and foreign material therein is so well surrounded by fibers that much of such material cannot beremoved by the cleaning apparatus. Furthermore, the thorough opening of the fibers during the formation of the tufts and the preservation of those tufts as such until they encounter the spike apron 4 in the fiber feeder 1 is conducive to intimate and uniform blending of the fibers from the several bales or from the several lines of bales such as is illustrated in Figure 1.,
By means of this present apparatus and method invention, it is possible to establish and maintain a' predetermined average micronaire grade of fibers made from a plurality of different bales after determination of the micronaire grade of each bale. (It will be understood that the term micronaire grade refers to the grade or class of fibers which involves a determination of the fineness of the fibers in a given bale. By knowing the micronaire grade of each of several bales, the micronaire grade may be established for a plurality of bales and may then be attained and maintained by the present invention.
Figure 8 illustrates a modified form of dolfer. The doffer of Figures 3 to 5 and including shaft 49, brushes 60 and associated parts to remove tufts of fiber from 1 plucker pins 32 has been replaced by an air blast doifer 70.
This doffer includes a source of air under pressure (not shown) supplied as by a header tube (not shown) or in any other suitable manner to a plurality of tubes 70 which are disposed to direct streams of air, indicated at 71 against each of the plucker pins 32 to blow the tufts of fiber from those pins and to direct them downwardly into a hopper 72, whence they may be removed through pipe 73 by any suitable means such as a source ofvacuum (not shown).
-It will be understood that fibers may be removed from surfaces of bales other than the bottom surfaces "as is illustrated in Figures 1 to 7. In Figures 9 and means is' shown for removing the fibers from a vertical side of each of the bales. The means so illustrated in cludes vertical plates 80 which are provided with a plurality of horizontally spaced, vertical openings to permit sharp plucker pins 81 to extend theret-hrough and remove small tufts of fiber from the bale 3. Alternat-ively, a bridge such as 30 may span the space between two adjacent walls 80. The bales 3 may be supported on a table 82 along which they may be propelled in any suitable manner and may be kept in contact with walls 80 by any suitable means such, for example, as pressers 83 engaging the opposite side of the bales and fluid pressure means 84 which urge the pressers against the bales ,and the bales toward the walls 80.
The plucker apparatus indicated at 88 and the doffer apparatus indicated at 89 may be substantially the same :as is shown in greater detail in Figure 4 and the opera- .tion of these two devices may be the same as has been described above. The plucker and doffer shafts are :shown as being supported in position by plates at their lower and upper ends, but it is to be understood that they may be supported in any other suitable manner and :that any suitable means may be employed for rotating these devices. A vertical wall 90 is disposed outside of each doffer 89 to intercept tufts of fibers and to direct them downwardly ontothe horizontal endless conveyor 91 -by which they may be transported to a feeder and weigher such asis shown at 1 in Figure 1.
It is to be understood that any conventional feeder may be used to feed the tufts from the pluckers disclosed herein. One such feeder is shown in Figure 11 where a series of beater rolls 100 are disposed on an incline in a housing 101 conformed to the rolls. The tufts from several bales may be discharged from conveyor 102 into the lower part of the housing 101 when they are picked up by the lowest roll 100, opened and blended thereby and advanced to the next higher roll 100. The fibers progress from roll to roll until discharged from the top of the housing in well opened and blended condition. Thereafter, they may be further opened, cleaned, blended, if desired.
Instead of the weighing apparatus disclosed hereinabove, any other suitable conventional means may be employed for determining the desired weights or proportions of commingled tufts or blended fibers from a plurality of bales.
Having thus described this invention in such full, clear, concise and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains'to make and use the same, and having set forth the best mode contemplated of carrying out this invention, we state that the subject matter which we regard as being our invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in what is claimed, it being understood that equivalents or modifications of, or substitutions for, parts of the, above specifically described embodiment of the invention may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in what is claimed.
What is claimed is: l
1. Apparatus for transforming a plurality of bales of fibers into a substantially continuous mat of superimposed horizontal layers of fibers from said bales which comprises supports for a plurality of bales of fibers arranged in a row and spaced from each other longitudinally of the row by transverse longitudinally short spaces, plucker means disposed in each of said spaces and adapted to pluck small tufts of fibers from the surfaces of bales of fibers as they move across said spaces, means to move all the said bales simultaneously lengthwise of the row back and forth across the spaces between these supports, a conveyor extending lengthwise of and beneath said bale moving means, means to move the conveyor endwise, and means to remove the tufts of fibers from the several pluckers for collection in substantially continuous horizontal superimposed layers on said conveyor.
2. Apparatus for transforming a plurality of bales of fibers into a substantiallycontinuous mat of superimposed horizontal layers of fibers from said bales which comprises an endless, elongated, substantially straight conveyor, means to move the conveyor endwise, a plurality of pluckers positioned adjacent to and spaced from each other along and above said conveyor, means to rotate said pluckers, members positioned on opposite sides of and closely adjacent to each of said pluckers,
the members adjacent to each plucker having surfaces disposed in substantially the same plane, pluralities of short pins projecting from each of said pluckers through the plane of the members adjacent thereto and adapted to remove small tufts of fibers from the surface of bales engaging said surfaces, means to move the several bales of fibers in engagement with said members simultaneously back and forth across the pluckers while said pins are removing small tufts of fibers from substantially the entire adjacent surfaces of said bales, and dofier means positioned above the conveyor to remove the tufts of fibers from said pluckers simultaneously and to direct the tufts toward the endless conveyor for the formation thereon of a substantially continuous mat composed of horizontal superimposed layers of fibers from the several bales.
3. Fiber handling apparatus comprising a device for feeding and weighing fibers and including a hopper, an elongated conveyor having its discharge end positioned to deliver fibers into said hopper, means to move said conveyor endwise, a plurality of supports for bales of fibers positioned above said conveyor, said supports being arranged in a row along said conveyor and spaced from one another by short transverse spaces, pluckers in said spaces above said conveyor, means to move bales of fibers on said supports simultaneously lengthwise of eassess 7 the ra ba k and orth some s d sp e m an to a tu e sa d s ack rs s m t n u to mo ts o fibers from the bales as they move across said spaces, and means to remove said tufts from said pluckers for collection upon said conveyor in horizontal superimposed layers.
4. Fiber handling apparatus comprising a device for ;feeding and weighing fibers and including a hopper, an elongated conveyor having its discharge end positioned to deliver said fibers into said hopper, means to move said conveyor endwise, a plurality of tables arranged in a row along said conveyor, short endless conveyors on each table above said elongated conveyor for supporting bales of fibers, said short conveyors being spaced from one another by short transverse spaces, plucke s in said spaces between said short conveyors, means to actuate said short conveyors and to move bales of fibers simultaneously lengthwise of the row back and forth across said spaces, means to actuate said pluckers simultaneously to remove tufts of fibers from, the bales as they move across said spaces, and means to remove said tufts from said pluckers for collection upon said conveyor in horizontal superimposed layers. 7
5. Fiber handling apparatus comprising a device for feeding and Weighing fibers and including a hopper, an elongated conveyor having its discharge end extending into said hopper, means to move said conveyor endwise, means for supporting a plurality of bales of fibers above the conveyor, said means being arranged in a row along said conveyor and spaced from one another by short transverse spaces, substantially horizontal pluckers in said spaces above said conveyor including a plurality of projections extending into engagement with bales of fibers over the spaces, means to move bales .of fibers on said supporting means simultaneously lengthwise of said row back and forth across said spaces, means to actuate said pluck'ers simultaneously to remove tufts of fibers from the bales as they move across said spaces, and means to remove said tufts from said pluckers and to direct the tufts onto said conveyor to form a mat of superimposed horizontal layers thereon.
6. The method of opening bales of fibers which comprises the steps of supporting a plurality of bales of fibers in a row with transverse spaces between adjacent bales which are short longitudinally of the row as contpared with the row-wise lengths of the bales, moving the bales simultaneously lengthwise of the row in the same direction back and forth across the spaces, simultaneously removing small tufts of fibers substantially uniformly from the entire surfaces of the bales opposed to said spaces, directing the tufts onto a surface moving endwise past all said bales, and collecting the tufts from each bale in a horizontal layer on the surface with the layers from the several bales being arranged in superposed relation.
7. The method of transforming a plurality of bales of fibers into a substantially continuous mat of superimposed horizontal layers of fibers from said bales which comprises the steps of moving an endless, elongated surface in .a substantially straight line, supporting a plurality of bales of fibers at an elevation higher than that of said surface and adjacent thereto, opposing two surfaces separated by a short space to a face of each bale,
mountin'g pluckers above said elongated surface and adjacent to said spaces, simultaneously moving each of the bales back and forth across its adjacent space with its face in engagement with its said surfaces, simultaneously actuating said pluckers and plucking small tufts of fibers from substantially the entire face of each of said bales as it moves across the space between the said surfaces, directing the tufts removed from each bale down toward said endwise moving surface to form a continuous layer of fibers thereon and superimposing the layers of fibers from the several bales onto one another to form a mat composed of horizontal layers of said fibers.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 551,677 Jaeger Dec. 17,1895 1,545,367 Tice July 7, 1925 2,221,262 Nims et a1 Nov. 12, 1940 2,445,912 Frost July 27, 1948 2,816,327 Hunter et al Dec. 17, 1 957 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,191,797 France Apr. 13, 1959