US 3155540 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1964 1.. A. LOEFFLER ETAL 3,155,540
APPARATUS FOR THE EXTRUSION COATING 0F FABRIC 0R LIKE MATERIALS Filed June 15, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 BY FRANK E. LyoN ATTORNEY PUMP 1964 A. LOEFFLER ETAL 3,155,540
APPARATUS FOR THE EXTRUSION comma OF FABRIC 0R LIKE MATERIALS Filed June 15, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 i. INVENTORS LAWRENCE A. LOEFFLER FRANK E. Lyon aze;
A'r'romusvs 1954 L. A. LOEFFLER ETAL 3,
APPARATUS FOR THE EXTRUSION COATING OF FABRIC OR LIKE MATERIALS 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 15, 1959 LAWRENCE A.Loen=|.en FRANK E. LyoN @MQw ATTORNEYS Nov. 3, 1964 L. A. LOEFFLER ETAL APPARATUS FOR THE EXTRUSION COATING 0F FABRIC 0R LIKE MATERIALS Filed June 15, 1959 evagaz 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTORS LAWRENCE ALoEFFLER FRANK E. LyoN A TTTT NEYS United States Patent 3,155,540 APPARATUS FOR THE EXTRUSIGN COATlNfi 9F FABRIQ OR LIKE MATERIALS Lawrence A. Loelher and Frank E. Lyon, Toledo, Ohio,
assignors to The Landers Corporation, Toledo, Ohio,
a corporation of Ohio Filed June 15, 1959, Ser. No. 829,157 2 Claims. (Cl. 118-60) This invention relates to a method and apparatus for applying a coating of natural or synthetic polymeric materials to a suitable base or to a web of cloth or other fabric.
At the present time, so-called coated fabrics which comprise, for example, a film of vinyl or the like resin applied to a fabric web are made by calendering, or by doctoring a polymeric dispersion or solution either in a film of continuous thickness or of varying thickness to form ridges or stripes. By either method or application the fabric web is completely covered from edge to edge. Since a completely covered fabric is almost impervious to air, the sheet so formed is incapable of breathing, and many expedients have been suggested to make the resulting sheet permeable and thus more desirable for upholstery materials and similar applications.
The use of the doctoring and calendering techniques has been recognized as disadvantageous in many other respects, among them the inability to apply a multiplicity of differently colored coating materials simultaneously in a definite and repetitive pattern. The art has thus been limited in the artistic effects that are available by the application of surface variations imprinted by an intaglio roll to simulate textured surfaces, or to the application of successive layers by re-running the fabric, or to printing with transparent or opaque lacquers. In every instance, the continuity of the base coat has remained substantially complete.
It has also been proposed to coat fabrics or the like with a discontinuous or area coating in which stencils are used to establish the design, so that the coating appears only on selected portions of the base. Up to the present time these coatings have been unsuccessful for upholstery applications because the edges of the coating material were sharply defined and have a tendency to snag clothing and are otherwise uncomfortable to sit on because the edges of the coating resist sliding. Further, the design restriction imposed by the method have made fitting and tailoring of the material difiicult.
The present invention is based on the discovery of a method for coating a fabric or like web by applying a great multiplicity of discrete streams of material, spaced from each other is desired, which streams are simultaneously deposited from a plurality of sources, whereby a plurality of colors may be used to impart novel and unusual designs. By spacing the streams of'coating material the base fabric may be left uncoated in predetermined areas so that the finished sheet may be of any degree of permeability that might be required. The term coating material is used herein in its broadest sense to include any of the natural or synthetic polymeric materials.
The primary object of the present invention is to provide a novel apparatus and method for applying a coating material to a base or substratum such as a fabric which results in a product that has improved physical characteristics and improved appearance and finish.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method of coating a fabric or base sheet which can be operated to produce a wide variation of fabric patterns and designs.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for coating a fabric or similar base with plastic or other materials which can be adapted to existing coating machines to produce a product which has improved breathability and improved finish of a wide variety of patterns and designs.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of a preferred form thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, in which-- FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic plan view, with parts broken away, of an apparatus suitable for carrying out our novel method and embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary elevational view of a preferred form of coating applicator;
FIG. 4 is a somewhat enlarged fragmentary view of one form of apparatus used for reciprocating the coating applicator;
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 4 with the parts shown in a different position;
FIG. 6 is a view of the opposite end of the coating applicator shown in FIGS. 4 and 5;
FIG. 7 is a section on line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a section on line 8-8 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a section on line 99 of FIG. 6; and
FIGS. l0, l1 and 12 are diagrammatic plan views showing the path of travel of the center lines of a multiplicity of applied streams and the patterns of their deposition on a web.
The present invention comprises, in its method aspects, the steps of progressively feeding a web of fabric or other base material, continuously extruding coating material under pressure from at least one source, depositing said coating material on the web in a predetermined pattern or design, and curing, fusing or drying the deposited material. Hereinafter, we have referred to the final step as a curing step. In its more limited forms, the invention includes the simultaneous deposition of a large number of discrete streams of coating material from two or more sources, and establishing a relative lateral movement between the streams and the web on which the material is deposited, whereby repetitive patterns and designs of the coating material are produced. In some instances, gaps or spaces between the deposited material may be left for the purpose of improving the breathability of the resulting coated fabric.
In the aspect of the invention relating to a novel apparatus, it includes means for moving a web of fabric or the like to be coated under one or more sources of coating material, extruding coating material under pressure from said sources onto the moving web in the form of solid, undispersed streams, and means to cure the material in place on the web. In some instances, means may be provided to impart surface effects to the deposited material by, for example, embossing it.
A suitable apparatus for carrying out our new method is shown diagrammatically in FIGS. 1 and 2. As there indicated, a Web of fabric or the like W is taken from a suitable supply over idler rolls 20 and 21 to a driving roll 23 driven from a shaft 24. Shaft 24 is driven from a motor 25 through an appropriate gear reducer 26. The Web W passes longitudinally of the entire machine in a manner well known in the art, and in its transit passes through a curing oven or chamber 30 and is eventually received on a wind-up roll 31 from which the finished material is taken from the machine. In many existing machines a layer of coating material such as a vinyl plastic is applied either by doctoring or calendering a mass of the material onto the web prior to its entry into the curing oven and imparting a design thereto by embossing J or the like prior to taking the finished material from the machine. In every instance with which we are familiar, the coating thus applied is continuous from side to side of the web, although attempts have been made to vary the thickness of the coating by using a toothed or serrated doctor blade.
The present invention provides means to apply the coating in a great number of discrete streams which are spaced apart by a predetermined distance and which, in the preferred form, remain spaced after deposition on the web. To this end, an elongated discharge assembly is provided which receives coating material under pressure from one or more pumps through flexible conduits 42. The discharge assembly is shown in detail in FIGS. 3 to 8. As will be hereinafter described, the present invention contemplates the use of a plurality of discharge assemblies. Each of the assemblies comprises a tubular body 44 to which one of the respective conduits 42 is connected at one end. A primary outlet from the tubular body 44 may take the form of a tapered slot or a series of spaced openings 48 of progressively larger diameter as they are spaced from the inlet end of the tubular body. Since the pressure on the coating material diminishes from the inlet end to the remote end of the depositor, the variation in the size or capacity of the primary discharge orifice or orifices has been found to be desirable.
Material discharging from the primary orifices is received in a secondary chamber 50 and the pressure of the material in this chamber is substantially uniform from end to end. In the preferred form the secondary chamber is constructed as shown in FIGS. 6, 7 and 9 to include a separate member, manifold means 52 attached to the tubular body 44 by a series of screws 54 so that the parts can be readily separated for cleaning. The member 52 comprises an angular or V-shaped body with the arms of the V in fluid-tight contact with the exterior of the tubular member and with the apex of the V drilled to form a large number of discrete depositing nozzles or orifices 56 from which coating material is forced under pressure. End closure plates 55 are provided at each end of the V-shaped member 52.
Each of the depositing nozzles 56 is drilled in a separate tip 58 spaced from its neighbor on each side to prevent the coating material from flowing laterally between the nozzles and thus to remain as a series of discrete streams. In practice, orifices as small as & have been found to be practicable and it is readily apparent that the orifice size may be greater or smaller than this. At the inside of the V-shaped member 52, counterbores 53 are made to provide a smooth entrance for the flow of material from the secondary chamber 50 to each of the discharge nozzles and to facilitate cleaning by the elimination of sharp corners.
The discharge assembly formed by the tubular body 44 and the attached V-shaped member 52 is supported over the path of the web W in such a position that the nozzles 56 are spaced vertically about 7 from the web. The assembly is provided with supporting and guiding means comprising a lower guide member 57 which cooperates with an upper clamping member 58 by side screws 59. The lower guide member 57 is received between spaced parallel frame members 60 and 61. A lower plate 62 is attached to the lower guide member 57 and forms, with such guide member, a means to prevent a vertical displacement of the tubular member with respect to the frame of the machine. Means are provided to reciprocate the entire discharge assembly in the direction of its length, or laterally of the path of the moving web W. The reciprocating means may take any suitable form to produce any desired reciprocation of the discharge assembly, regular or irregular, and at any desired rate. The rate and character of the reciprocation will determine the pattern of the material that is deposited on the web from the nozzles 56. In its simplest form, the
reciprocation of the discharge assembly is sinusoidal and is accomplished by an eccentric 65 carried on a shaft 67 and surrounded by a follower 69 to which a connecting rod 71 is attached. The connecting rod 71 has a detachable connection 73 in the form of a ball and socket, with an end member 75 carried by the discharge assembly. Shaft 67 is journaled in bearings 76 and 77 on the machine frame and is driven from the main motor 25 through a variable speed drive unit 79 and a chain 81 so that the rotation of the shaft bears a timed relation to the movement of the Web W caused by the feed roll 23. The eccentric 65 is, in the form shown, of the adjustable throw type which is a well known mechanical expedient and is adjustable between a zero position in which the center of the follower opening is concentric with the driving shaft 67 to some maximum throw position in which the maximum eccentricity exists, as shown in FIG. 5, and the travel of the discharge assembly is the greatest. With the adjustment in the zero position no reciprocation of the discharge assembly occurs, and the coating material is deposited on the web W in a series of spaced, straight lines. When the discharge assembly is reciprocated the material is deposited in wavy lines, the amplitude of the wave being determined by the adjustment of the eccentric 65 and the frequency or wave length between crests being determined by the adjusted speed of the driving shaft 67 relative to the speed of advancement of the web W.
The pattern of the deposited coating material can be changed by simultaneously depositing material from a plurality of sources. Thus, two or more discharge assemblies may be used, three being shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and being designated A, B and C. Each assembly is constructed as above described and its motion is controlled separately by a separate eccentric 65 although the motion is derived from the same driving shaft 67. Each of the discharge assemblies is supplied with coating material under pressure from a separate pump and all of the pumps may be driven from the same motor, if desired. A separate valve 80a, 80b and 800 is provided for each of the supply pumps to vary the quantity of material fed by the respective pumps to the respective discharge assemblies. The greater the quantity of material that is fed to a discharge assembly the heavier or thicker will be the line deposited by that assembly on the web W. The separate valves 80a, 80b and 800 also make it possible to adjust for variations in the viscosity of the several coating materials which may, of course, be of different compositions as well as different colors of the same composition.
Since there is no contact between the nozzles from which the coating material is forced or extruded there is no disturbance of the base or fabric of the web W such as frequently occurs with the use of a doctor blade. In some instances it has been found that a doctor blade will pick up a small discontinuity in the fabric and retain it, causing a streak or line imperfection in all of the coating material that subsequently passes under it. The presence of such a foreign particle or mass is usually not detected for some time, and certainly not until many yards of the fabric have been coated, and its removal is not always accomplished without shutting the entire machine down.
The application of the coating material by the extrusion or pressure casting technique above described has also been found to preserve most of the original physical properties of the base material, such as its tensile and tear strength and hand, both of which are adversely affected by known coating methods. The common defects in the base material usually permitted in the industry frequently cause large areas of the coated fabrics to be rejected as unsatisfactory. With the present method of coating, the effects of the permitted irregularities are eliminated or minimized and result in much less loss or rejection of the finished product.
In operation, coating materials of selected colors and selected compositions are supplied from suitable reservoirs through valves 80a, 80b and 800 to pumps 40. The pumps, in turn, supply the coating material under pressure to the tubular elongated primary distributors 44 through the flexible conduits 42. Depending on the viscosity of the material, a pressure of from 5 psi. to 95 psi. has been found satisfactory for pumping a vinyl plastisol and extruding the same from the discharge assemblies. The material passes through the outlet passages 48 into the secondary chamber 50 where it exists as a mass under equal pressure from end to end of the chamber. It is thence forced under pressure or extruded as a plurality of spaced and discrete solid streams through the discharge orifices or nozzles 56 onto the web W. The web W is driven, as above described, by the feed roll 23.
When it is desired to change colors or to shut the machine down the discharge assemblies are readily removable and can be readily cleaned by removing the V-shaped members 52 that form the secondary chambers 50. The nozzles 56 are thus exposed for easy cleaning and, since the tubular element 44 has large discharge orifices 4-8 formed therein, it also is readily cleanable.
FIGS. 10, l1 and 12 show patterns that result from depositing material from a plurality of separate dis charge assemblies. In FIG. 10, the pattern shown re sults when the discharge assemblies are not reciprocated, and consists of a plurality of lines of materials 82a, 32b and 820 of different colors of the same coating material or of the same color of different coating materials. Such a coated fabric resembles corduroy and the Wale of the corduroy may be changed in thickness, color and character by changing the pressure, viscosity and color of the supplied material and the spacing of the several discharge assemblies.
The pattern shown in FIG. 11 results from the simultaneous discharge of material from three separate discharge assemblies operated in timed relationship so that, while they discharge successively with respect to the motion of the web, the curves produced by the discharge are in phase with each other. Such a pattern may be, as above described, made of the same material of separate colors from the three assemblies.
FIG. 12 shows the pattern resulting from the simultaneous discharge of three materials from three separate extruders or discharge assemblies. The first discharge assembly having a center line designated Extruder 1 is set for the same degree of oscillation as the discharge as sembly the center line of which is designated Extruder 2. These two devices are, however, so timed as to produce a discharge that is 180 out of phase at the time of application on the web W. Extruder 3 of the series is set for a lesser degree of oscillation and produces a wavy line that has the same frequency as the discharge from Extruder 2 but has a lower amplitude. The curved lines thus cross or approach each other at the zero points and at points on each side of the maxima.
In each instance the coated web W passes from under the discharge assemblies A, B and C into the curing oven 30. As it emerges from the curing oven the coating material is still slightly plastic in most instances and may be embossed or rolled flatter by deforming the surface thereof. As shown in FIG. 2 the material is trained over idler rolls 96, 97 and 98 and over a heating cylinder 99 which cooperates with an embossing roll 100 and a backing roll 101. The embossing roll 100 may merely flatten the several lines of coating material or it may be provided with a suitable pattern to impart a design to the surfaceof the coating material in a known manner, prior to its being wound up on the final take-off roll 31.
If the web W comprises a dyed fabric or a fabric, woven in a particular design, the coating material may be applied in a manner to supplement the design or to complement the color of the web. A coated fabric so made is 6 not only different in its appearance but has greatly en'- hanced breathability since air can pass unimpeded through the exposed areas of the web or fabric.
What We claim is:
1. Apparatus for coating a fabric or the like which comprises a hollow body having a plurality of openings therein, manifold means attached to said body and forming a chamber therewith in communication with said openings, said manifold means having a plurality of orifices therein communicating with said chamber, means for supplying a viscous liquid coating material under a substantial positive pressure to said hollow body, whereby said material passes through said openings into said chamber under an equal positive pressure and exudes through said orifices in a plurality of discrete, solid, continuous streams spaced from one another, means for passing a Web of fabric or the like under said discrete streams to receive the same thereon, means to move said manifold means and orifices laterally of the path of travel of said web in a predetermined, repetitive path, means to cure said coating material in place on said web, a heated cylinder beyond said curing means around which said web and coating material are passed for heating the coating material to a deformable state, and a pair of squeeze rollers beyond said heated cylinder between which rollers said web is passed to deform the surfaces of the coating material with the separate identity of the streams of the material being retained, and with uncoated portions of the web therebetween for the passage of air therethrough.
2. An apparatus for applying discrete streams of a relatively high viscosity plastisol material to a web of fabric or the like comprising, an extruding head including an elongate hollow primary distributor having a plurality of discharge orifices in one wall, a secondary one piece distributor attached to said primary distributor and receiving material from said primary distributor and forming a pressure equalizing chamber therewith below said discharge orifices, said secondary distributor having spaced extrusion orifices overlying the web to be coated, means to force plastisol under a positive pressure into said primary distributor and to maintain an equalized positive extrusion pressure in said secondary distributor, means to cause relative movement of said web and said extruding head whereby extruded plastisol is deposited in lines on said web and means to cure said extruded plastisol in place on said web, a heated cylinder beyond said curing means around which said web and coating material are passed for heating the coating material to a deformable state, and a pair of squeeze rollers beyond said heated cylinder between which rollers said web is passed to deform the surface of the coating material with the separate identity of the streams of the material being retained, and with uncoated portions of the web therebetween for the passage of air therethrough.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,766,878 Campbell June 24, 1930 1,794,719 Maclean Mar. 3, 1931 2,031,387 Schwarz Feb. 18, 1936 2,218,811 Chaussabel Oct. 22, 1940 2,368,539 Gluckman Jan. 30, 1945 2,740,376 Kovach et al. Apr. 3, 1956 2,798,820 Nelson July 9, 1957' FOREIGN PATENTS 1,085,317 France Jan. 31, 1955 375,243 Great Britain June 23, 1932 OTHER REFERENCES Chemical Engineering, volume 59, No. 12, December 1952, p. 232 relied on.
Organic'Finishing, July 1952, volume 13, No. 7, pp. 13 and 14 relied on.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No, 3,155,540 November 3, 1964 Lawrence A. Loeffler et a1.
It is hereby certified that'error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.
In the grant, lines 2 and 3, for "assignors to The Landers Corporation, ofToledo, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio," read assignors, by mesne assignments, to Interchemical. Corporation,
f New York, N. Y. a corporation of Ohio, line 12, for "The Landers Corporation, its successors" read Interchemical Corporation, its successors in the heading to the printed specification, lines 5 and 6, for "assignors to the Landers Corporation, Toledo, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio" read assignors, by mesne assignments, to Interchemical Corporation,
A/ew York, N. Y., a corporation of Ohio Signed and sealed this 1st day of June 1965-.-
RNEST W. SWIDER EDWARD J. BRENNER ttesting Officer Commissioner of Patents