US 3134183 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 26, 1964 R. L. DU FLOT 3,134,183
APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS Filed April 20, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 F fg. 3
M y 1964 R. DUFLOT 4 APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS Filed April 20, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 May 26, 1964 R. 1.. DUFLOT 3,134,183
APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS Filed April 20, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 awe/wok Kern. 4. 91/7107 May 26, 1964 R. 1. DUFLOT APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS Filed April 20. 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 rrgmvsy's R. L. DUFLOT 3,134,183
APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 May 26, 1964 \wm Wm United States Patent 3,134,183 APPARATUS FOR SPREADING FABRIC PIECE GOODS Ren Louis Dufiot, 25 Rue des Mastraits, Noisy-le-Grand, France Filed Apr. 20, 1961, Ser. No. 104,396 7 Claims. (Cl. 38-143) The present invention relates to laundry equipment and more particularly to a spreader and feeder machine for unfolding large sheets of fabric such as bed sheets prior to the feeding thereof into a subsequent machine such as a drier.
The machine which, as aforesaid, is used for large sheets of fabric, such as table cloths and other coverings of substantial size, is also adapted to remove wrinkles in the material before feeding thereof into the next machine thereby eliminating any manual handling.
The engagement of such sheets in a drier is, as is known, always difficult. Some existing machines for the engagement of sheets are far from being satisfactory either because they are too complicated or costly or because they require the constant presence of skilled labour.
These machines usually consist of opposing conveyor belts, between which a skilled operator laterally stretches and inserts the articles to be engaged. Flattening out of the sheets is thus a manual operation and there is never any assurance that all the wrinkles have been eliminated.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to obviate these difficulties by providing a machine which is economical, eflicient in operation, automatic, simple to operate and easy to service.
The machine according to the invention is essentially characterized in that it generally comprises an upstanding frame; a work feeding mechanism at the upper end of the frame for receiving one end of a sheet to be treated; the mechanism forcing displacement of the sheet from front to rear of the frame at a predetermined speed, and conveying means forwardly of and below said feeding mechanism, travelling in the same direction and at a speed greater than said predetermined speed to force the remainder of the sheet, not engaged by said feeding mechanism, inwardly of the frame and in hanging condition from the mechanism.
According to an important special feature of the invention, the conveying mechanism includes spreader and straightener rollers having helically arranged ribs on their surfaces, disposed thereon from the center to the roller ends, the said ribs when the rollers rotate causing the fabric to be laterally stretched towards the edges thereof and flattened out. Also friction of the rollers on the opposite faces of the fabric stretches it longitudinally.
Other objects and further advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
'FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are diagrammatic elevation views of the machine of the invention in three different stages of operation.
3,134,183 Patented May 26, 1964 FIGURE 9 is an end view of the spreader and straightener smoothing rollers of FIGURE 8.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 1 to 4, reference numerals 1 and 2 designate the lateral upstanding frame of the machine on which are mounted the bearings carrying the various rollers to be discussed hereinbelow.
Reference numeral 3 designates a conveying trolley supplying the sheets leaving a wringing machine to the input of the device of the invention. The upper lefthand corner of the machine illustrated in :FIGURES l, 2 and 3 is in direct contact with the input of a drier (not shown).
Reference numeral 4 indicates, in dotted lines, a sheet, the evolution of which through the machine will now be followed hereinbelow.
At 5 and 6 are shown the driving rollers around which conveying belts 7 are wound, and at 8 is shown the counter-motion roller disposed at the output of the machine. At 9 is a driving roller around which are wound the opposing conveyor belts 10, which are also wound on a counter-motion roller 11. Reference numeral 12 designates a tensioning roller for the opposing belts 10: Driving roller 9 is mounted, in a conventional manner, on a resiliently adjustable support allowing adjustment of the pressure between rollers 5 and 9.
The above described apparatus forms the work feeding mechanism.
The selvedge of a sheet, preferably the foot thereof, is brought between rollers 5 and 9 which rotate in the directions indicated by the arrows drawn concentrically about the said rollers. Once gripped between the said driving rollers, the sheet carried by belts '7 and roller 6 is displaced at a constant speed in the direction of arrow 13, without being able to move backwardly.
At 14, 15 and 1d are shown spreader and straightener rollers formed with helical ribs on their faces, which may be continuous or discontinuous, have reverse pitch and are symmetrical relatively to the centre of the rollers, such as 14a, 14b, 15a, 15b, 16a, 16b. Furthermore, provision is made for conveying means formed of rollers 17, 18, 1% driving conveyor belts 20, 21, 22, respectively, the belts 20 winding about a counter-motion roller 23 disposed near the upper face of roller 15, belts 21 terminating near the upper face of roller 16, and belts 22 being mounted adjacent the lower face of roller .16.
The mode of operation of the above described machine is as follows:
Once one end of the fabric has been made flat and laterally extended over the forward end of belts 7,
brought between rollers 5 and 9 and gripped between belts 7 and 10 to be driven rearwardly of the machine, there is no necessity for further manual handling as the fabric sheet will automatically unfold completely.. Once released, the fabric sheet will automatically start to unfold on roller 14 and conveying means 17, 20, 23. The
roller 14- rotates more rapidly and in the opposite direction relatively to roller 6. Thus, its surface rubs on the lower face of the sheet and exerts a force opposing the direction of displacement of the sheet in the Zone referred to by numeral 24. Since conveyor belts 20- are displaced in the direction indicated by the arrow, the sheet 4 adopts successively, between the rollers 14 and 17, the various positions illustrated at 4a, 4b, 4c. Since roller 17 rotates at a speed substantially equal to that of roller 14, the sheet very soon adopts the position illustrated in FIG- URE 2 at 4d, i.e. it has unfolded over a length which is substantially greater than that by which the sheet has advanced between the conveyor belts 7 and 10. Due to mean-s including roller 16 and of belts 22 of astill further conveying means, the sheet is then entirely opened out within the machine, and it is thus appropriately tensioned between spreader and straightener rollers 14, 15 and 16. In this connection, it will be noted that sheet 4 passes successively from one side and the other of the said spreader rollers. These rollers rotate substantially at the same speed in the directions indicated by the arrows, the effect of this being to tension and smooth the sheet on the two faces thereof. Furthermore, due to the arrangement of the symmetrical, reverse-pitch helical ribs, the sheet tends, on contact therewith, to be expanded laterally towards its edges. The simultaneous action of the longitudinal and lateral friction eliminates all the wrinkles in the sheet, both in its middle and marginal portions.
The continuous action of the rollers 5 and 9, however, progressively raises the entire sheet between the belts 7 and 10, despite the opposing action of the friction developed by the spreader and straightener rollers, and an increasingly larger portion of the said sheet is engaged within the drier. It should be noted that the speed of the fabric through the drier should be higher than the speed between driving rollers 5 and 9 of the work feeding mechanism, the object of this being to ensure that there will always be sufiicient tension in the sheet between the spreader and feeder machine and the drier. However, when the part of the sheet which passes last into the spreader and feeder machine, has left rollers 5 and 9, it is then only maintained between the conveyor belts 7 and 10, and its speed is then that imparted by the rollers of the drier. Under these circumstances, the sheet slips between the set of belts 7 and 10, and this stretches and smooths out the terminal hem of the sheet.
A machine designed in accordance with the arrangements just described has permitted the easy engagement, by two non-skilled persons, of approximately 300 sheets per hour coming directly from the wringer.
The embodiment shown in FIGURES 5 and 6 is similar with respect to the driving rollers. This machine comprises only two spreader and straightener rollers 25 and 26 which are identical with spreader rollers 14, 15 and 16. These rollers also rotate in a direction such that they oppose the movement of the sheet between rollers 5 and 9. However, roller 25 is mounted on a fixed pivot, whereas roller 26 is mounted on a pivot 27 carried at the end of an arm 28 articulated about a fixed point 29. The control for the displacement of arm 28 about pivot 29 is obtained by a hydraulic or pneumatic control means 30 acting at a point 31 of lever 28. Pivot 27 is thus able to describe an arc of a circle 32 and to return into the position illustrated in FIGURE 6 between the driving roller 6 and spreader roller 25.
As in the preceding machine, the sheet 4 is first laid between the driving rollers, whereafter it is allowed to bear on the spreader roller 26. Thus, the latter withdraws the sheet from trolley 3 and causes it to drop within the machine, where it is able to enter into contact with smoothing roller 25. When the sheet has dropped under its own weight as far as the inner portion of the machine, it then breaks a beam of light 33 acting on a photo-electric cell 34 which, through an appropriate relay, trips the operation of hydraulic control 3t). Roller 26 then adopts the position illustrated in FIGURE 6, in such a manner that the sheet is stretched simultaneously longitudinally and laterally on its two faces. The operation of unfolding and unwrinkling on both sides is thus effected in the same manner as previously described; It will be apparent that a control relay depending on the complete passage of the sheet into the machine must operate at the end of the operation to control the return of roller 26 into the position illustrated in FIGURE 5.
In the two embodiments illustrated in FIGURES 1 to 4 on the one hand and 5 to 6 on the other hand, spe cial. mention has been made of the arrangement of spreader rollers, the surface of each of which carries two symmetrical helical ribs starting from the centre of the 4g. roller and extending with a reverse pitch towards the ends thereof.
The embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 7, 8 and 9 relates to a novel arrangement involving the use of special features common to the embodiments illustrated in FIG- URES l to 4 on the one hand, and FIGURES 5 and 6 on the other hand, this embodiment further comprising a special arrangement of certain of the spreader rollers used in the machine.
It is the object of this embodiment to achieve an improved extension of the sheet in the transverse direction relatively to the direction of displacement in the machine and, furthermore, improved extension of the thicker portions of the sheet, notably the hems which, as is known, shrink more during Washing than does the sheet itself.
Furthermore, this embodiment permits easy adjustment of the transverse spreading force acting on the sheet by relative positioning of two separate cooperating spreader rollers.
According to this embodiment, a spreader roller is provided which can be pivoted toward and away from a second roller by the provision of a lever and connecting rod mechanism actuated by a hydraulic or pneumatic control means, the said roller being thus adjustably movable in relation to said second roller; the rollers being so disposed that the ribs thereon are in interengaging relationship when in frictional contact with the fabric.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 7, the members already described with reference to FIGURES 1 to 6 have been given the same reference numerals.
It will be seen, however, by comparison with FIGURES 1 to 4, that rollers 16, 18 and 19 and also conveyor belts 21 and 22 have been dispensed with, so that, in accordance with the operation of the machine illustrated in FIGURES 5 and 6, the sheet 4 can drop vertically as far as the foot of the machine while bearing on the spreader roller 15.
There is also provided a spreader roller 35 mounted on a lever assembly 36 articulated on a pivot 37. By means of a connecting rod assembly 38 connected to a hydraulic or pneumatic control 39, lever 36 and roller 35 can oscillate through a certain clearance angle, in such a manner that roller 35 can be brought closer to roller 15, the extent of which is being limited by an adjustable stop screw 40.
FIGURES 8 and 9 show the two arms of the lever assembly 36 supporting roller 35 in frictional contact with roller 15, the ribs of the said rollers intermeshing. At most, the ribs of one roller frictionally contact the smooth surface of the opposite roller. In practice, however, a sufficient distance must always be left between the said rollers, as a function of the incompressible thickness of the sheet hems.
The mode of operation of the machine just described is very similar to that of the previously described embodiments.
When sheet 4 drops vertically to the bottom of the machine, it breaks the light beam 33 which, by means of a conventional control mechanism, causes operation of the hydraulic or pneumatic apparatus 39 to bring roller 35 nearer roller 15. The sheet gripped between the two rollers is thus urged to spread laterally, due to the wedging thereof between the ribs and this is done on the opposite faces thereof, whereas, in the previous embodiments, the extension resulted only from the friction of the spreading rollers on a single face of the sheet. It has been found in practice that the combination of the spreader rollers 15 and 35 ensured perfect spreading of the sheet, notably of the hems thereof. Finally, it has been found that, due to the easy adjustment of the respective positions of the said spreader rollers, it was possible, in the axial direction of the rollers, to draw the ribs concerned more or less nearer to each other.
What I claim is:
1. For use as laundry equipment, a spreader and feeder machine for unfolding large fabric sheets such as bed sheets prior to the feeding thereof into a subsequent apparatus, said machine comprising:
(a) an upstanding frame;
(b) a work feeding mechanism at the upper part of said frame for receiving one end of a sheet to be treated; said mechanism forcing displacement of the sheet from front to rear of said frame at a predetermined speed, and
(c) conveying means forwardly of and below said feeding mechanism, travelling in the same direction and at a speed greater than said predetermined speed to force the remainder of said sheet not engaged by said feeding mechanism inwardly of the frame and in hanging condition from said mechanism.
2. A machine as claimed in claim 1, further comprising:
(d) a spreader and straightener roller in said frame, rearwardly of said conveying means; said roller being rotatable at a peripheral speed equal to that of said conveying means and in a direction opposite to that of said conveying means and having helically arranged ribs on its surface, disposed thereon from the center to the roller ends;
(e) lever means for holding said conveying means at one of the ends thereof and pivotable about the other end, and
(f) means for pivoting said lever means to bring said conveying means above said roller to force said sheet into contact with the roller.
3. A machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein said conveying means includes:
(1) a downwardly and rearwardly inclined endless conveyor, and
(2) a spreader and straightener roller below and rearwardly of the rear end of said conveyor;
(3) both said conveyor and roller travelling in the same direction but at a speed greater than said predetermined speed of said feeding mechanism;
said machine further comprising:
(d) a second spreader and straightener roller below and forwardly of the feeding mechanism inlet and above said endless conveyor; said roller being rotatable at a peripheral speed greater than said predetermined speed and in a direction opposite to that of said feeding mechanism,
4. A machine as claimed in claim 3 wherein said spreader and straightener rollers are provided, at the periphery thereof, with helically arranged ribs disposed thereon from the center to the roller ends.
5. A machine as claimed in claim 3, further comprising (e) a second conveying means including:
(1) a downwardly and forwardly inclined endless conveyor, and
(2) a spreader and straightener roller forwardly of and in continuation of said conveyor;
(3) said conveyor and roller travelling at the same speed and in the same direction which is reverse that of said first conveying means,
(1) a rearwardly and upwardly inclined endless conveyor located below said second conveying means travelling at a speed equal to said second conveying means but in a direction reverse that of said second conveying means.
6. A machine as claimed in claim 3,
(e) a third spreader and straightener roller substantially level with and rearwardly of the spreader and straightener roller of said conveying means and rotatable at an equal speed but in a reverse direction;
(7) leverage means for moving said third roller away from and into frictional contact with the roller of said conveying means.
7. A machine as claimed in claim 6 wherein the surfaces of the roller of said conveying means and said third roller are provided with helically arranged projecting ribs disposed thereon from the center to the roller ends and in such a way that, When the rollers are in frictional contact, they are in interengaging relationship.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,503,858 Steiner Aug. 5, 1924 1,925,582 Couch Sept. 5, 1933 2,508,096 Borgos May 16, 1950