US 3382643 A
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y 4, 1968 w. B. HULLHORST .ETAL I 3,382,643
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND PACKAGING MATERIAL Filed May 18, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS W/LL/AM 5. MIL M0257,
Pa /ms 5. flea/val 62 BY MAL/AM MOS/ER 'ATTOPA/'J S May 14, 1968 w. B. HULLHORST ETAL 3,382,643
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND PACKAGING MATERIAL Filed May 18, 1965 ml 63 4 000000 00 IODOOOOGOQO 2 llolocoOongoq 0 o ooooouooo OIOQDOQOOOO 000000000 0000000003 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 L! 105 r LOADlNG SURFACE Am EXHAUST 116 I I PLATE PLENUM MR EXHAUST 1% /?0 j CROSS RAM PLENUM AIR EXHAUST INVENTORS WILL/AM 5. HULLHO/Ffifi H5065 5. Bea/w 52 BY MLL/AM H. 05/52 United States Patent F METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND PACKAGING MATERIAL William B. Hullhorst and Pierce B. Brown, Granville,
and William H. Mosier, Pleasantville, Ohio, assignors to Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed May 18, 1965, Ser. No. 456,750
Claims. (Cl. 53-24) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Method and apparatus for handling and packaging stacks of mats of fibrous material which includes the use of vacuum surfaces to move a stack, support the stack, assist in evacuating air from within the stack during compression, and to retain the stack compressed during a multiple loading sequence and during loading into a package.
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for handling materials in general, and in particular to method and means of handling and packaging fibrous material in a manner facilitating handling and transportation of such material.
It has been conventional practice in packaging or preparing fibrous materials, as for example, materials formed of glass fibers especially usable for insulation purposes, to stack predetermined lengths of fibrous mats in contiguous relation, compress the stack or assembly of mat lengths in a direction normal thereto and insert the compressed assembly into preformed paper bags or containers 'which are sealed or stapled to enclose the assembly. This method of packaging or conditioning fibrous mats for handling and shipment has been quite expensive for the reasons among others that the bags, being necessarily fabricated of heavy material, are costly and manual handling involves a large amount of labor. The bags or enclosures for the fibrous material must have a comparatively high tear strength to adequately withstand rough handling and resist the expansive force of the mats by reason of their tendency to return to normal thickness. Furt-hermore, exteriorly applied compression tothe assembled mats results in nonuniform compression of the mats and in many instances one or more of the stacked mat sections may be compressed to a degree sufiicient to break or fracture the individual fibers thus reducing the resiliency of the mat. When such mats are unpacked for application and use, the fibers, if crushed or broken, [will not spring back or revert to their normal expanded condition. The crushing or breaking of the fibers substantially reduces the insulating value, rendering the mats unsatisfactory and inefficient for the purpose intended. Examples of previous packaging apparatus are found in US. Patents Nos. 2,765,838, and 2,789,406.
A new approach toward solving these problems is the subject of a co-p'ending application by the same inventors and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. There is disclosed in that application method and means for evacuating air from within fibrous materials to assist or accomplish compression of the fibrous materials. -In order to most effectively utilize this air evacuation technique there is disclosed herein novel vacuum techniques that are advantageously utilized in combination with the air evacuation methods of compression, as well as having application in other more generic loading situations.
It is, accordingly, an object of this invention to provide an improved means and method for handling and packaging materials.
3,382,643 Patented May 14, 1968 It is another object of this invention to provide an improved means and method for packaging fibrous material which enables the packaging of more fibrous material within the same volume occupied by similar previous packages without breaking or mechanically damaging the lfi'bers and thus not reducing the insulating value nor the resiliency of such material so that the fibers will spring back to their normal expanded condition when the package is removed.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved method and means for loading fibrous ma- 'terials.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an improved method and means for loading successive charges of fibrous material into a compressing position after previous charges have been compressed.
The invention thus features a method of handling material comprising the steps of positioning the material as desired by providing a surface exerting a negative pressure adjacent the material, and moving the surface.
In a more specific application the invention features a method of handling a stack of mats of fibrous material comprising the steps of delivering a stack of mats to a pick-up area, aligning individually misplaced mats, positioning a loading surface adjacent a side of the stack, adhering the stack to the surface by reducing ambient pressure between said stack and the loading surface, and moving the surface and the adhered stack to a desired location. The aligning step may comprise advancing a pair of substantially parallel plates past the ends of the stack. At least one of the plates advantageously has a forward edge flared away from the stack to guide individually misplaced mats back into stack alignment.
The method disclosed herein further advantageously includes a step of adhering the ends of a bottom one of the stack of mats to the pair of plates by reducing the ambient pressure between the ends of .the bot-tom mat and the plates when the stack is adhered to the loading surface.
When the stacks are being compressed, after moving by the loading surface, into a loading area between a pair of vacuum plates the air is evacuated from within the mats at a rate suificient to retain the compressed configuration of the stack. As a successive charge or stack is moved into position for compressing, however, it has been found advantageous to release the vacuum on the previously compressed stack and allow it to expand against the bottom of the second stack as it is moved into compressing position. This causes the cessation of air turbulence around the bottom of the second stack and avoids possibilities of misalignment before compression.
The invention features apparatus for accomplishing the above methods comprising a loading surface having an exhaust plenum attached thereto with perforations providing communication between the plenum and the surface contacting the stack. The stack is thus adhered to the loading surface by the reduction of ambient pressure bet-ween the surface and the stack. This reduction causes velocity pressure through the stack pushing the stack against the surface as well as the ordinary vacuum action. Means are provided for moving the surface to the pick-up area to adhere the stack and for moving the surface and the adhered stack to a desired location, e.g. a compression area.
Means are provided in the pick-up area for preventing premature movement of the stack which includes a support means for the bottom of the stack which inclines the stack away from the loading surface and a second support means for the inclined side of the stack.
Since individual mats within a stack are sometimes misaligned there is shown herein a pair of substantially parallel plates, advantageously attached to the loading surface, to be advanced past the ends of the stack for aligning purposes. The forward edge of one of the plates may be flared away from the stack to guide the mats into alignment.
Other objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent when the following description is taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective of apparatus embodying the teachings of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a view in perspective of the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 1 having some parts removed and broken away to clarify the operation;
FIGURE 3 is an end view taken from the right side of the apparatus of FIGURES 1 and 2 with some parts removed for clarity;
FIGURE 4 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 1 with parts removed for clarity;
FIGURE 5 is a view in perspective of the loading portions of the apparatus of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is a plan view of the apparatus of FIGURE 5 illustrating the relation of the various components;
FIGURE 7 is a front elevational view of the pickup area apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 6; and
FIGURE 8 is a circuit diagram illustrating one of the methods of operation of this invention.
The present invention is described with reference to compacting and packaging quantities of fibrous materials in mass formation or a series of bats or sections of mineral fibers such as fibers formed from glass, slag, fusible rock or the like. The manufacture of mats or bats of fibers formed from mineral material has been carried on for several years, and such mats or bats have been used extensively for heating and acoustic insulation in buildings and as heat insulation in appliances such as refrigerators, freezing units, ranges and water heaters as well as in places where heat loss or heat transfer is to be avoided as far as possible.
Fibrous bats of this character are usually formed by attenuation of fiber-forming material by high velocity gaseous blasts in a manner wherein the fibers are accumulated in hap-hazard or random assembly into a mass or mat of substantial thickness. The fact that the mats are necessarily thick in order to obtain high insulating or sound-attenuating efficiency increases the cost of transportation because of the bulk of the fibrous masses or mats. While the mats are comparatively light in weight, they normally occupy a comparatively large volume per unit of weight.
As discussed hereinbefore, several methods of packaging have been tried and used with varying degrees of success. The major difficulty in most previous methods of packaging was that in compressing the mats to a degree where economical transportation was afforded there was sometimes resultant fiber breakage by the mechanical compression mcthOds and apparatus used which reduced the insulating value and the ability of the fibers to spring back.
It has been discovered that fibrous mats may have the air evacuated from the mass of fibrous materials and greater compression is obtained without the breakage of the fibers comprising the mats.
Referring to the drawings there is illustrated an embodiment of the teachings of this invention in which the discoveries herein are shown in operation in connection with the packaging of stacks of bats of fibrous material.
Referring to FIGURE 1 for the moment, it may be seen that a stack of bats 54 of fibrous materials is delivered by a conveyor 52 to a pick-up area of a packaging apparatus generally indicated at 50.
Referring to FIGURES 2, 3 and 4, it will be noted that there is apparatus generally indicated at 60 for loading the stack 54 into position at a compressing station. The loading apparatus 60 comprises a loading plate or surface 61 having a plenum 62 attached secured thereto with perforations 63 providing communication between the plenum 62 and the loading surface of the plate 61. A flexible conduit 64 provides a connection between the plenum 62 and an air exhaust system not shown. The plenum oZ-plate 61 arrangement is supported by a frame 67 on rollers 66 for reciprocation toward a stack 54 of hats at pick-up area an and back into compressing position. After the stack 54 has been engaged by or adhered to the plate or surface 61 as a result of velocity pressure fiow through stack 54, the loading mechanism 6th is returned from the pick-up area 49 to the position shown in the FIGURES 2 and 3 taking the stack of bats 54 therewith into position between a compression platen or ram plate means 70 and pedestal means Compression platen means 79 is adapted to be driven in a downward direction in front of loading surface 61 and between side plates 51 and 55 (FIGS. 1 and 5), to mechanically compress the stack 54. Examples of suitable driving means for the platen means '70 may be found in the hereinbeforc mentioned patents. The pedestal means 81} is mounted upon shaft 84 and is adapted to be driven downwardly by the compression of the stack 54 to a position shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 3 so that a compressed stack may be in a position to be inserted in a package by a cross ram means 99. A stop 86 may be provided to insure that the lowermost position of pedestal means at} is properly aligned with cross ram means 90 to insure proper pickup of a compressed stack of bats 54. Pedestal means do may include a plate 81 (see FIG. 2) having a plenum 83 attached thereto with perforations 32 providing communication between the stack side of the plate 81 and the plenum 83. A flexible conduit 85 may be utilized to connect the plenum 83 to a suitable pressure source. A shaft $4 supports the pedestal 80.
Referring to FIGURES 2, 3 and 4, it may be seen that the cross ram means 90 comprises a combination ram and plenum chamber 91 having horizontally extending wings 91a and 91b of sufiicient length to receive a compressed stack of bats $4 for loading. The inner surfaces of the wings 91a and 91b have perforations 92 formed therein so that the inner surfaces may communicate with plenum chambers within the wings 91a and 91b to form vacuum plates or surfaces which are connected to the main plenum chamber 91. A flexible conduit 93 may be provided to connect the main plenum chamber 91 to a suitable air evacuation system. A shaft 94 is to be connected to a suitable driving arrangement for shuttling the cross ram means 90 into and out of packaging or sleeve chute means Itlt whenever sufiicient mats have been compressed within the confines of the wings 91a and 91b. A suitable shuttle drive arrangement may be found in the hereinbefore mentioned patents and is not a part of this invention,
Referring to FIGURES 1 and 4, it will be noted that the packaging means or bag chute is secured to and sup ported by a side plate 34 and is positioned to received the wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 9d when a compressed stack 54 is to be packaged. Wings or flanges ltll and 102 of chute means 100 are curved to receive the curved plenum configuration of the wings 91a and 91b of the cross ram it. A bar or sleeve of suitable packaging material such as kraft paper may he slipped over and surround flanges 101 and 102 and secured in place by a clamp means 1G4 which may be a solenoid or air actuated clamping means. An aperture is formed in the side plate St? to admit cross ram means 99 to the chute means 100.
Package unloading means to assist in unloading a filled sleeve or bag are indicated generally at and The unloading assist means 110 comprises a conveyor 111 and a plenum chamber 113, having a plurality of perforations formed in the upper surface thereof, and disposed beneath the under surface of the upper loop of the conveyor belt and adapted to provide positive air pressure between the plenum 113 and the belt via perforations 112. The plenum chamber 113 is connected via conduit means 114 to a suitable air pressure source.
The unloading assisting means 120 comprises a plate 121 pivotally secured by hinge means 125 to side plate 30 so that the plate 121 may be lifted while the sleeve or bag is being placed over chute means 100. The plate means 121 is curved upwardly at the unloading end opposite its hinged end to permit ready access while placing a bag over chute means 100 without lifting the plate 121 any further than necessary. The curved end of plate 121 is also operative to avoid creasing the sleeve or bag or causing a rupture thereof as the filled package is expanding as it is being removed from chute 100. That is, a filled package tends to expand and a sudden expansion of the package over a sharp corner or edge of plate 121 as it is being removed from chute 100 might rupture or tear the sleeve or bag. It will be seen in FIGURES 1 and 4 that a plenum chamber 123 is secured to the top of plate 121 and communicates with the package side of the plate 121 via perforations 122 distributed along the package side of plate 121. A flexible conduit 124 may be utilized to connect the plenum 123 to a suitable pressure source.
Various methods and apparatus have been utilized for stacking the mats or bats into the proper size stack 54. However, in order to insure that none of the individual mats are misaligned a pair of substantially parallel plates 51, 55 are utilized to realign the stack. The plates 51, 55 are advanced past the ends of the stack to push individual mats back in place. It is advantageous to flare a forward edge 56 of at least one of the plates to provide a guide for the mats that are quite far out of position. In the embodiment shown the parallel plates 51, 55 are secured to the loading surface 61 so that alignment occurs as the loading surface 61 is being advanced. The side plates 51 and 55 may also assist in the evacuation of air via perforations 63 from the fibrous mats by reducing the exposure of the stack ends to ambient air pressure.
The pick-up area 40 utilizes a support means or shelf 41 that is inclined away from the loader 60 to insure that the stack does not topple or otherwise move prematurely before the loader 60 picks it up. Second support means 43, shown in the form of stakes, support the inclined side of stack 54 and prevents it from falling from shelf 41. A step 42 is formed in the loader side of shelf 41 to provide a positive stop or index position for the loader 60. Any material having a generally low friction surface will sufiice for shelf 41. Legs 45 may be used to support shelf 41.
It has been found effective to adhere the ends of the bottom one of the stack of mats to the side plates '51, 55 to assist in moving the stack 54 to compressing position, and to retain a good configuration of the stack while initiating compression. To accomplish this plenums 20 are attached to the outside of plates 51, 55 and located to be disposed opposite the ends of the bottom mat when the loading surface 61 is adjacent the side of stack 54. The plenums 20 communicate with the interior or stack side of plates 51, 55 via perforations 21. An air exhaust means (not shown) is to be connected to flexible conduits 22 to reduce the ambient air pressure between the plates and the ends of the bottom mat through the perforations 21 and plenums 20.
There has been illustrated two methods for providing an end stop, if necessary, in the pick-up area to properly align the stack for pick-up from shelf 41. The first of these methods is illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 5 in which the plate 51 has been extended to provide a stop. No other stop would then be required.
If the plate extension is not desirable then stake or other means 44 may be used as a stop means for the stack as it is delivered from conveyor 52 (see FIGS. 3, 6 and 7). If such stake or other stop means 44 are utilized then it will be necessary to provide passage means 45 (see FIG. 7) to accommodate the plenum 20 being carried by plate 51 as it advances past the end of the stack. If the stakes 44 are used, then it may also be desirable to bevel or otherwise thin the forward edge 57 of plate 51 so that it may more easily be inserted between stakes and stack.
In operation the loading surface 61 is moved forwardly adjacent the side of stack 54. The air evacuating means attached to conduit '64 reduces the ambient pressure between the stack and surface 61, adhering the stack to surface 61. This enables to movement of a stack of bats 54 from the pick-up area 40 to a compressing position between ram means 70 and pedestal means 80. In addition to moving the stack 54 from the pick-up area into compressing position the evacuation of air from the stack 54 through perforations 63 may be utilized to prevent any buckling of the stack 54 as it is being compressed.
Air may be evacuated from the fibrous material via perforations 63 and to assist in compressing the stack of bats 54. Compression ram means 70' is mechanically moved vertically to further assist in compressing the fibrous mats 54, accomplishing a triggering of the vacuum effect by mechanical compression to raise the density of the mats 54 as they are being compressed. As the compression plate 70 moves downwardly and as the stack 54 is compressed the pedestal moves downwardly so that the mats are compressed into a position between plenum wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 90. Air is continued to be evacuated through perforations 92 from the mats 54 and the velocity and static pressures attained by such evacuation is sufficient to hold or retain the mats in their compressed configuration in cross ram means between plenum wings or vacuum surfaces 91a and 91b, even though the vertical ram means 70 is raised to its initial position and a successive stack or charge of bats 54 is moved into loading position by operation of the loading means 60. This enables two or more charges of stacks 54 of bats to be compressed for packaging in a single sleeve or bag. This reduces the height of the stacker necessary and reduces the difficulties inherent in dealing with very high stacks of bats of fibrous materials.
Depending upon the pressures involved there may be considerable turbulence in the upper part of the area defined by the plenum wings 91a and 91b, if the number of charges compressed between vacuum surfaces 91a and 91b into loading position are insufficient to cover all of the perforations 92. This turbulence will interfere with the proper positioning of successive charges or stacks as they are being brought into compressing position by the loader 60. It has been discovered that this can be overcome by releasing the vacuum on plenums 91a and 9112 as the loader 60 moves a successive stack into compressing position.
A simple circuit diagram for use in the operation of this apparatus is shown in FIGURE 8. Leads L1 and L2 provide power for the loading surface (61) exhaust means 100, the plate plenums (20) exhaust means 110, and the cross ram plenums (91a and 91b) exhaust means 120. After the loading surface 61 has been moved adjacent stack 54 switches 101 and 111 may be closed to adhere the stack for movement into compressing position. The switch 121 may be kept closed at all times except when successive charges are moved into position. Then switch 121 may be opened as a successive charge is being moved into compressing position to avoid the turbulence efiects discussed above. This allows a charge or charges already compressed into loading position between plenums 91a and 91b to expand to meet the bottom of the new charge. When all is ready for compression then switch 121 is closed and compression proceeds as discussed above.
After one or more charges of compressed stacks 54 are received between plenum wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 90 the cross ram means 90 is shuttled into bag or sleeve loading position within chute means 100. To assist the cross ram 90 in moving the compressed stack of bats into the chute a positive -air pressure may be applied via conduit 85 into plenum 83. This positive pressure results in air flow through perforations 82 and provides an air film bearing surface between plate 81 and the compressed bats between plenum wings 91a and 91b. A similar arrangement may be utilized in conjunction with the vertical ram means 90 to provide an air film bearing surface between the lower surface of ram 7 and the upper side of the compressed stack of bats between plenum wings 91a and 91b, if desired. For purposes of simplicity, however, and since such an arrangement would be virtually identical to that shown for pedestal means 80, the air film bearing surface arrangement for vertical ram 70 has been omitted from the drawings.
The use of such air films above and below a compressed stack of bats between plenum wings 91a and 9112 will prevent or greatly reduce any shearing efifects of the fibrous bats when the cross ram is shuttled into position within chute 100. Such air film arrangements may not be necessary depending upon the number of charges in each package, the density or compression ratio of the compressed stack between plenum wings 91a and 91b and the amount of evacuation pressure applied to the compressed stack by the exhaust system connected to main plenum 91 via conduit 93.
A bag or sleeve of packaging material is inserted onto chute 1% and flange 101, 102 and secured in place by one or more clamping means 104. When the cross ram means 90 has delivered the compressed stack to the proper position in chute 1013, the air evacuation pressure in plenum wings 91a and 91b is discontinued and the cross ram means 91 is shuttled back into loading position beneath vertical ram means 79 while the compressed stack of fibrous mats remains in chute 1%. It may be advantageous, again depending upon the pressures and densities involved Within the compressed stack, to reverse air flow within plenum 91 to provide air film bearing surfaces similar to that discussed hereinbefore between plenum wings 91a and 91b and the compressed stack to aid cross ram means 90 in its withdrawal.
Because a great many more bats may be placed in a package similar in size to that previously made for shipment there will be an increased tendency for the mats to try to resume their normal height and more pressure will be exerted upon a sleeve or bag means containing the compressed stack of bats While it is still on chute means 160. This, of course, will cause the sides of the sleeve or bag means to adhere tightly to the outside of flanges 101 and 1532 of chute 1% making it virtually impossible for the bag to be removed from chute 100 after the clamping means 104 has been released. To reduce the pressure of the package against flanges 101, 102 compressing forces are applied to the package in a direction normal to the area defined by flanges 191, 102 by compression surfaces of plates 121 and conveyor 111. To aid the removal of the package without damage the unloading means 114 and 12 provide positive air pressure from plenums 113, 123 via perforations 112, 122 from eonduits 114, 124, respectively, connected to positive air pressure sources (not shown). Air film bearing surfaces are thus provided between plate 121 and the surface of the bag and between plenum 113 and conveyor 111. The conveyor 111 is started and with the aid of the air film bearing surfaces just described the bag or package is removed from the chute 169 and the package is ready for shipment.
It is to be noted that the characterization of the material to be packaged. as mats, batts, etc., is not intended to be limiting but rather a generic description of material gathered together for compressing. The material may be loose or in an integrated layer. Further, fibrous material is meant to include porous materials such as glass fibers, rock wool, felt, cotton, etc., as well as other synthetic compositions such as sponge rubber, foamed products, etc., especially those having interconnected or communicating air or gas pockets or passages.
It is apparent that, within the scope of the invention,
Q modifications and different arrangements may be made other than is herein disclosed and the present disclosure is illustrative merely, the invention comprehending all variations thereof.
1. A method of handling and packaging stacks of fibrous mats comprising the steps of delivering a stack to a pick-up area, holding said stack in said pick-up area against premature movement or falling, providing a loading surface exerting a negative pressure adjacent said stack, moving said loading surface and said adhering stack from said pick-up area to a compression area, compress ing said stack by evacuating air from within said fibrous mats, and loading at least one compressed stack into a retaining package.
2. A method as described in claim 1 in which said holding step includes inclining said stack against a support.
3. A method as described in claim 1 in which said negative pressure is increased to effect a pre-compression to said stack prior to said compression step.
4. A method of handling and packaging a stack of fibrous mats comprising the steps of delivering a stack to a pick-up area, moving a loading surface adjacent said stack, adhering said stack to said loading surface by reducing ambient air pressure between said stack and said surface, moving said loading surface and said adhered stack to a compression area, compressing said stack into a loading area between vacuum surfaces, evacuating air from said compressed stack to cause said compressed stack to retain its compressed configuration, repeating the above steps to move a second stack into said compression area, stopping said air evacuation of said previously compressed stack as said second stack moves into said compression area allowing said previously compressed stack to expand up against the bottom of said second stack, and compressing both stacks into said loading area.
5. A method as defined in claim 4 which further includes the step of aligning said mats in said pick-up area by advancing a pair of plates in parallel relationship past the ends of said stack, and flaring a forward edge of at least one of said plates away from said stack to guide individually misaligned mats into stack alignment.
6. A method as described in claim 5 which further includes a step of adhering the ends of a bottom one of said stack of mats to said plates by reducing the ambient air pressure between said ends and said plates when said stack is adhered to said loading surface.
7. Apparatus for handling and packaging a stack of mats of fibrous material comprising a loading surface, means for advancing said loading surface adjacent said stack, means for adhering said stack to said loading surface including means for producing a negative pressure between said stack and said loading surface, means for moving said loading surface and said adhered mats to a compression area, means for compressing said stack including means for evacuating air from within said fibrous mats, and means for loading said compressed stack into a retaining package.
8. A method of handling a stack of mats of fibrous material comprising the steps of delivering a stack of mats to a pick-up area, aligning individually misplaced mats by advancing a pair of plates in parallel relationship past the ends of said stack, positioning a loading surface adjacent a side of said stack, adhering said stack to said surface by reducing ambient pressure between said stack and said surface, moving said surface and said adhered stack to a desired location, and adhering the ends of a bottom one of said stack of mats to said pair of plates by reducing the ambient air pressure between said ends and said plates when said stack is adhered to said loading surface.
9. Apparatus for handling a stack of mats of fibrous material comprising means for delivering a stack of mats to a pick-up area, a loading surface, means for advancing said loading surface adjacent said stack, means for adhering said stack to said loading surface including means for producing a negative pressure between said stack and said loading surface, means for moving said loading surface and said adhered mats to a predetermined area, means for aligning misplaced mats in said stack including a pair of substantially parallel plates attached to said loading surface and adapted to be advanced past the ends of said stack as said loading surface is advanced, and means for adhering the ends of a bottom one of said stack of mats to said pair of plates including means for producing a negative pressure between said ends and said plates when said stack is adhered to said loading surface.
10. Apparatus for handling a stack of mats of fibrous material comprising means for delivering a stack of mats to a pick-up area, a loading surface, means for advancing said loading surface adjacent said stack, means for adhering said stack to said loading surface including means for producing a negative pressure between said stack and said loading surface, means for moving said loading surface and said adhered mats to a predetermined area, a pair of spaced vacuum surfaces, means for compressing said moved stack between said vacuum surfaces, said vacuum surfaces being operative to retain the compressed configuration of said stack by evacuating air therefrom, and means for disabling said vacuum surfaces as said loading surface moves a second stack into position for compression allowing the previously compressed stack to expand against the bottom of said second stack.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,858,009 10/1958 Bainbridge 214-1 X 2,984,172 5/1961 Roberts et a1. 100-90 3,017,730 1/1962 Rodish 53-424 3,117,513 1/1964 Burnett et al. 53124 X TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.