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Publication numberUS3396687 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1968
Filing dateMar 1, 1966
Priority dateMar 1, 1966
Publication numberUS 3396687 A, US 3396687A, US-A-3396687, US3396687 A, US3396687A
InventorsNowicki Henry F
Original AssigneeLees & Sons Co James
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tufting machine having plural shiftable needlebars and the method of making a tufted fabric
US 3396687 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 13, 1968 H. F. NOWICKI 3,396,687


/ AA CQ. 4x4



TUFTING MACHINE HAVING PLURAL SHIFTABLE NEEDLEBARS AND THE METHOD OF MAKING A TUFTED FABRIC Filed March 1, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent 3,396,687 TUFTING MACHINE HAVING PLURAL SHIFT- ABLE NEEDLEBARS AND THE NIETHGD OF MAKING A TUFTED FABRIC Henry F. Nowiclri, Norristown, Pa., assignor to James Lees 8: Sons Co., Bridgeport, Pa., a corporation of Delaware Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 272,648, Apr. 12, 1963. This application Mar. 1, 1966, Ser. No. 530,915

Claims. (Cl. 112-79) This invention relates to the production of tufted pile fabrics and more particularly to improved apparatus and fabrics having a far wider range of pattern and design.

This is a continuation-in-part of my co-pending application Ser. No. 272,648, filed Apr. 12, 1963, entitled Method of Tufting a Pile Fabric, now United States Patent No. 3,249,078.

As described and claimed in my patent identified above, it is possible to produce on a yardage or broad tufting machine pile fabrics having comparable design characteristics to that of the Wilton loom. Specifically, this is achieved by a close coordination of a bar type pattern attachment for feeding the yarn and a shifting needlebar which jogs the pile yarns transversely across the backing fabric during the tufting of the pile yarns through the backing fabric.

The construction and operation of broad tufting machines on the order of in width are well known and described in Patents 2,335,487, 2,528,392, 2,872,741, 2,878,763. In order to control the height of the pile yarns used in such a tufting machine it is customary to employ a pattern attachment which may be any one of several varieties. For purposes of illustration in connection with the present invention a pattern attachment similar to that shown in Crawford Patent 2,853,033 will be described. However, it will be understood that other types of pattern attachment may be used and particularly any type of attachment which preferably enables control of single yarn ends.

The shifting needlebar or other means for shifting the pile yarns with respect to the backing fabric may take the form of the construction shown in Batty and Broadrick Patent 3,109,395 or Manning Patent 2,855,879 but to best describe a preferred embodiment of the present invention, I have illustrated the co-related operation of the pattern attachment together with plural means for shifting groups of pile yarns across or with respect to the moving backing fabric. This preferred embodiment involves the use of accurately spaced shifting or sliding needlebars each controlling substantially one half the total number of yarn ends being tufted into the backing fabric. Preferably a single pattern attachment assembly is utilized to supply controlled lengths of yarn to each of the needlebars. However, more than one pattern attachment can be utilized for this purpose if desired.

In carrying forward the design possibilities of the invention described in my copending application, it has been found surprisingly enough that a synergistic effect is produced when a unitary design is formed in a running length of backing fabric by means of two or more sets of yarn ends controlled by separate and independently movable needlebars which simultaneously operate in precision timed relationship with the vertical movement of the needlebars and the feed of the pattern attachment. Not only is it possible to achieve an overall homogeneous effect in the fabric in which all striations and traces of zig-zag pattern are eliminated but now for the first time it is possible in a multi-color tufted fabric to produce in one pass of the fabric through a single tufting machine both nongeometrical and geometric figures as may be desired.

3,396,687 Patented Aug. 13, 1968 "ice The results obtainable in accordance with the present invention could be accomplished heretofore only by individual operators using a manual single needle tufting gun which followed a design imprinted on the back of the fabric in much the same fashion that a:hooked rug has been produced or, alternatively, the use of a pass machine in which a relatively small backing fabric is run several times through a tufting machine having on the order of 6 to 24 needles thereby producing bands or very wide areas of various colors. Obviously in such a pass operation, the backing fabric had to be successively run through several ditferentpass machines threaded with the variously colored yarns, or the yarns in a single machine had to be changed between passes.

A primary object of the present invention, therefore, is to provide a tufted fabric having at least two complete sets of different types of yarn tufted through the entire surface of the fabric and in which the rows of stitches of each set of pile yarns are independently traversed across the width of the fabric to produce a unitary pattern on the fabric.

A further object of the invention is to provide abroad single pass multicolor tufted pile fabric having at least two separately controlled sets of pile yarns running in rows of stitches diagonally across a backing fabric.

A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus for producing patterned tufted pile fabric in which two independent shifting needlebars carry separate sets of pile yarns through a moving backing material and in which the height of the pile yarns extending from the backing material is controlled by a pattern attachment together with interconnected and timed drive means for each needlebar and the pattern attachment.

A further object of the invention is to provide in a tufting machine a plurality of shifting needlebars for introducing two separate sets of pile yarnsthrough a backing fabric and cam means for sliding the needlebars in timed relation to means for feeding the yarn to each needlebar.

Further objects will be apparent from the specification and drawings in which FIGURE 1 is a longitudinal section of a tufting machine constructed in accordance with the present invention,

FIGURE 2 is a detail on a reduced scale as seen at 2-2 of FIGURE 1,

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary detail of the pile yarn length control zone of the apparatus of FIG- URE 1,

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary front view of a part of the tufting machine showing two needlebars and a pattern control for shifting the needlebars,

FIGURE 5 is a sectional detail as seen at 55 of FIGURE 4,

FIGURE 6 is an end view as seen at 66 of FIG- URE 4,

FIGURE 7 is a schematic representation showing the thread-up of the front and back needlebars,

FIGURES 8-11 are enlarged schematic sections of a fabric produced in accordance with the present invention,

FIGURE 12 is a view on a reduced scale of a fabric having both geometric and nongeometric figures,

FIGURE 13 is a straight line exploded layout showing the placement of a series of pile yarns fed to each of two needlebars,

FIGURE 14 is a partially exploded view of one of the characters of FIGURE 15 showing a top view of all the pile projections in the fabric,

FIGURE 15 is a view of the same character seen in FIGURE 14 but as it would finally appear in the fabric of FIGURE 12, and

FIGURES 16-18 are enlarged schematic views of the back or reverse side of several fabrics that can be produced with the present invention.

The present invention will be described in connection with a simplified embodiment using a single pattern attachment, two shifting needlebars actuated by circular cams and only two colors in a loop pile fabric. It will be understood, however, that any number of pattern attachments, shifting needlebars and colors may be employed within the scope of the present invention and provided there is accurate synchronization to produce the desired design of figures in one pass of the backing fabric. Furthermore, the looper may be of the type for uncut pile as shown in FIGURE 1, the type for cut pile, the selective cut/loop type, or may be dispensed with entirely in the event it is desired to use fluid control yarn feeding means as described in Short Patent 3,217,675.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings, a tufting machine incorporating the present invention is provided with a bedplate 25 having a widened throat 26 through which the needles 27, 27 and 28, 28 pass. Needles 27, '27 reciprocate through the blades of a conventional throat plate 29 as is well known in the tufting machine art. The backing material 30 which may be either Woven or nonwoven or of a synthetic or natural material or both is fed from a roll or beam not shown over guide roller 31, pin feed roller 32, guide roller 33, takeup pin roller 34 in such a manner that it traverses the throat 26 under both sets of needles 27 and 28. A double series of loopers oscillate underneath the throat 26 to engage the yarns carried by needles 27, 27 and 28, 28 in accordance with usual practice. As shown in FIGURE 1, the tufting machine is provided with a series of loopers 35, '35 and a second series of loopers 36, 36. Loopers 35, 35 cooperate with needles 27, 27 and loopers 36, 36 cooperate with needles 28, 28. The series of loopers 35 is mounted on looper rockshaft 37 whereas the series of loopers 36 is mounted on looper rockshaft 38 which are tied together by means of connecting links 39. As shown in FIGURE 1, both series of loopers produce uncut or loop pile fabric but it will be understood that any type of looper may be used or the loopers may be dispensed with entirely if the machine is otherwise equipped to produce a pile fabric.

The upper structure of the tufting machine comprises a housing 40 which encloses a crankshaft 41 having eccentrics 42 connected in turn to piston rods 43, 43 by means of cranks 44. Piston rods 43 are journ-aled in crossheads 45 secured to the lower portion of housing 40. A series of fixed needlebar supports 46 are attached to the lower end of each of the piston rods 43 and the support 46 is suitably grooved or slotted to receive a front needlebar 47 and a back needlebar 48. These bars in turn carry banks or sets of front needles 27, 27 and back needles 28, 28.

The pile yarns Y are fed from a creel not shown through suitable stationary guides 50 and 51 to a yarn feed control zone 52 between the interdigitating bars or slats 53 and 54 of a conventional bar type pattern attachment as shown generally in the Crawford patent cited above. Briefiy, a pattern attachment of this type is mounted on vertical frame members which are shown secured to the upper housing 40 of the tufting machine. Horizontal frame members 61 and 62 carry the upper flight of pattern bar chains 63, 63 (FIG. 2.) These chains are provided with series of notched pattern bars 53, 53

which sequentially intermesh with the plain feeding bars 54, 54 carried on the lower chains 65, 65. The depth of effective meshing as determined by the depth of the notches in bars 53 controls the amount of yarn in each of the yarn ends Y that is fed through zone 52. Chain 65 and bars 54 are mounted on a lower horizontal frame member 66 and the assembly is driven from crankshaft 41 through sprocket 67, chain 68, driving connections 69 and 70 and countershaft 71 provided with sprockets 72, 72 for chains 65, 65. The drive for chains 63, 63 is effected from the opposite end of shaft 71 through bevel gears 75, vertical shaft 76, bevel gears 77 and upper shaft 78 which carries chain sprockets 79 and 80 for chains 63, 63. The construction and operation of a bar type pattern attachment as described above forms no part of the present invention and is well known in the tufting art. Contrary to normal practice, however, the yarn ends upon leaving the feed zone 52 are split into two separate groups of pile yarns shown in FIGURE 1 as YF for the front group and YB for the back group. Yarns YF are fed through stationary yarn guides 83, 84 and 85 thence through movable yarn guide or jerker bar 86 secured to the needlebar support 46. In a similar manner the back yarns YB are carried through stationary yarn guides 90, 91 and jerker bar 92 likewise mounted on the needlebar support 46. Presser foot 93 is positioned between needle banks 27 and 28 and is secured to cross head 45 by set screw 94.

The mechanism for shifting or sliding needlebars 47 and 48 in supports 46 will now be more particularly described in conjunction with FIGURES 4 to 6. Each of the needlebars 47 and 48 carries a pivoting connection 95 land 96 at approximately the midpoint of the needlebar. For the sake of convenience, only the lefthand needlebar support 46 (as seen in FIG. 4) is shown in FIGURE 1 but it will be understood that depending upon the width of the machine any desired number of supports 46 for the needlebar may be provided. The drive for front needlebar 47 is provided by means of a rockshaft 97 journaled in pillow blocks 98 and 99 as shown in FIGURE 5. This rockshaft is connected to the joint 95 by means of a driving rod 100 and an oscillating bell crank 101. The analogous arrangement for the front needlebar 47 is :allochiral and comprises a driving rod which connects the joint 96 to a bell crank 106 pinned to shaft 107 which is in turn journaled in pillow blocks 108 and 109. The front needlebar 47 is controlled from a step cam or other comparable pattern device 110 mounted on a shaft 111 (FIG. 6) journaled in bearings 112 and 113 on machine base 114. A beam 115 is fulcrumed on a shaft 116 mounted in frame or base 114 at 117 (FIG. 6). The lower extremity of beam 115 is provided with a cam follower 120 which contacts the periphery of cam 110 and in turn actuates the needlebar 47 through a connecting rod 121. Positive positioning of the needlebar is achieved by means of an extension spring 122 secured between the frame 114 and the upper end of beam 115. The driving system for needlebar 48 is similar to that just described for needlebar 47 and comprises aback walking beam 125 fulcrumed at 126 in frame 114 and having a cam follower 127 which is controlled by the back step cam 128 also pinned to shaft 111. The connecting rod 130 (FIG. 5) lactuates the countershaft 107 through a bell crank 131 under biasing by spring 132- Shaft 111 is driven from crankshaft 41 and mounted in accurate timed relation thereto by means of a sprocket 135, chain 136 (FIG. 4), sprocket 137, and reducing unit 138, the output of which is carried to shaft 111 by means of shaft 139 and bevel gears 141, 141. It will be understood from the above description that both front and back needlebars are driven from a common shaft 111 but the timing and configuration of cams 110 and 128 can be so arranged that the relative movement of the front and back needlebars is entirely unrelated and under control of each individual cam or pattern imparting mechanism.

In FIGURE 7 the tufting machine is illustrated as threaded up for single end control using two needlebars with alternate ends on each pattern bar carried to adjacent needles on the front and back bars. Pattern bar 53 controls each yarn end YF on the front bar 47. This control may provide for any desired pile projection height. The yarns entrained in the high notches 145, of the pattern bar 53 will produce high pile areas in the fabric whereas the yarn ends in the deep notches 146, 146 will form the low pile projections shown in FIGURES 8-11. The planting of the yarn ends in either needlebar and in the pattern bars can be varied to produce the desired result in the fabric.

FIGURES 8-10 illustrate the manner in which the front and back bars 47 and 48 shift transversely of the fabric to place the pile yarn ends in non-linear rows. The shift from FIGURE 8 to FIGURE 9 shows a high loop 147 in the second row from the left in FIGURE 8 appearing in the first row of the fabric in FIGURE 9. During the progression of this shift the low pile projections 148 and 149 which are carried by a different needlebar appear in the same longitudinal row of stitches in FIGURE 9 since this needlebar was controlled to avoid a shift in the sequence between FIGURES 8 and 9. Low projection 150 in FIG- URE 8 now appears in the third row from the left in FIG- URE 9 where it is maintained as a low projection. FIG- URE 10 illustrates the reverse situation in which the needlebar carrying yarn ends 147 and 150 does not shift but the alternate needlebar carrying yarn ends 148 and 149 now shifts two rows to the right. FIGURE 11 shows the same relative position of theyarns as seen in FIGURE 10 but with a change in the pattern bar control so that the low pile in selected areas is entirely concealed by the higher pile to provide either a single color or a homogeneous effect in the top of the fabric due to the blanketing of the pile by means of higher pile. The yarn plant shown in FIGURES 8-11 utilizes three colors in each needlebar in such a way that reading from left to right they are shown as red, green and blue. Referring to FIG- URE 8 for example, the pile yarns are designated with letters corresponding to the above colors. It will be understood in FIGS. 8-11 that every other pile projection or loop is carried by one needlebar and intermediate pile projections are carried by the other needlebar. One needlebar shifts two rows to the left from FIG. 8 to FIG. 9. The other needlebar shifts in the opposite direction from FIGS. 9 to 10 as shown.

In order to illustrate the manner in which the foregoing operation of the invention described in connection with FIGURES 7-11 is translated into production of figures in a tufted fabric, the control of the yarn ends to form a letter is shown schematically in FIGURE 13. The backing fabric 30 may be considered as moving from top to bottom in the direction of the arrow so that all of the yarn ends in front bar 47 are of the same color and are controlled by alternate notches in pattern bar 53a. It may be observed that the four yarns in the four lefthand deep notches in bar 53a have produced low pile projections which will ultimately show as a single color background in this area of the fabric. The center seven high notches on pattern bar 53a have produced high pile in the central areas. This high pile will conceal the low pile tufted in rows adjacent to those formed by the middle sections of pattern bar 530. The showing of the fabric below needlebar 48 indicates that there are both high and low pile projections in this area which form a completely full complement of pile yarns on the fabric and the registry of the yarns is designed so that the completed figure appears in this area as shown in FIGURES 12 and 15. In FIGURE 14 a four row shift sequence for each of the front and back bars is illustrated and this shift for each of the bars is out of phase so that the lines of stitches or rows cross each other at selected points. In FIGURE 14 the single color letter A is shown on a field 155 of a second Color. The pile projections have been opened out both longitudinally and transversely to show that'in all areas the other low pile projections are present. It will be noted in FIGURE 14 that the pile yarns of a single color follow the shift path 156 or shift path 157 for the needlebars.

The com leted fabric is shown in FIGURE 15 which is a schematic enlarged view of the portion of FIGURE 12 containing the letter A and is also a condensed or accurate picture of the fabric shown in FIGURE 14. The invention can be applied to produce any area in a solid color such as for example the script lettering 158 shown in the top of FIGURE 12, the geometrical area 159 as well as the block letters one of which has been enlarged in detail in FIGURES 13-15 described above.

In order to produce a wide variation of figures by a combined control of the placing of any desired color yarn at any desired position in a transverse or longitudinal row of stitches, it will be helpful to inspect the appearance of the back of the fabric as shown in FIGURES -1618 in order to appreciate the wide range of relative shifts that can be provided with variations of cams 110 and 128 or in the alternative, use of pattern chains having a longer repeat than could practically be used with circular cams. In FIGURE 16 yarns 170, 171 and 172 are all controlled by the same needlebar but each yarn is of a different color. Yarns 173, 174 and 175 are all controlled in another needlebar and these yarns may be of the same colors as yarns 170-172 or they may be of entirely different colors. The shift in FIGURE-16 is out of phase for the needlebars and is a four row reversal with no single yarn forming a straight row in the direction of fabric travel. The rows appearing on the face of the fabric will have each one of the colors as will be apparent from tracing a straight line longitudinally through the points of needle penetration. Whether a particular color will be apparent on the face of the fabric depends upon the yarn feed control of the pattern attachment.

A 90 out of phase relationship between the two needlebars is shown in FIGURE 17 in which the yarns 175, 176 and 177 are all controlled in the same bar and yarns 178, 179 and 180 are controlled by the opposite needlebar. This shift gives somewhat closer yarn spacing and more parallelism in the yarns but also provides color control in each straight longitudinal row on the face of the fabric.

Either or both of the needlebars can be temporarily retained in a transverse fixed position to form straight longitudinal rows of the same yarns as shown in FIG- URE 18. In this case yarns 181, 182, 183, 184, and 186 are all in the same needlebar and this bar produces pile without any shifting. Yarns 187, 188 and 189 are in another needlebar which is shifted two rows and reversed. In this case it will be noted that there are points of pile penetration such as 190 in which double projections of the same color appear on the face of the fabric or a double projection such as 191 in which yarns of different color appear at the same point in the face. This feature can be used to provide additional design and figure effects. Furthermore, it will be understood that there are innumerable combinations of the shifts of FIGURES 16, 17 and 18 possible to enable the designer to achieve unlimited figures and color patterns on the face of the fabric since it is possible to call for the appearance of any color at any given point. It is assumed, of course, that the color called for has been threaded into the needlebar in sutficiently close repeats.

The acurate selection of any one of several different colored pile yarns for any position in a tufted pile fabric produced on a multi-needle tufting machine together with the ability to selectively conceal or expose the color required for the precise position in the fabric, for the first time permits not only random non-geometric pattern effects as described in my co-pending application, but also enables the designer to produce figures in the form of letters, fiorals and similar multicolor patterns approaching the variation possible on an Axminster loom. In the event that an air type hollow needle tufting apparatus is employed of the type described in Short Patent 3,217,675, the exposure of the selected color is determined in exactly the same way, preferably by means of the same pattern attachment and the needlebars may also be shifted in the same way but without the necessity for loopers 35 and 36 together with their associated supporting and actuating mechanism.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. The method of producing on a tufting machine having a fixed head, a throatplate and a plurality of needle carrying shiftable needlebars mounted on said fixed head for reciprocation relative to said fixed head and transversely to the direction of advance of a backing fabric through said tufting machine, a figure design in a tufted pile fabric which comprises the steps of advancing a backing across said throatplate, penetraing said backing with a first series of pile yarns by means of yarn carrying needles on one of said shiftable needlebars, simultaneously penetrating said backing with a second series of pile yarns by means of yarn carrying needles on another of said shiftable needlebars whereby one face of the backing is completely covered by the pile yarns, shifting said first shiftable needle bar with respect to another shiftable needlebar in a direction transverse to the direction of advance of the backing while advancing the backing across said throatplate, again simultaneously penetraing the backing with the needles on both of said needlebars, concurrently controlling the height of pile projections extending through the backing in accordance with a pattern to conceal selected pile yarns in a given area thereby producing a figure in said area, and causing said pile yarns to be retained in position during the withdrawal of said needles.

2. The method of claim 1 in which the controlling step comprises selectively feeding differential lengths of pile yarns.

3. The method of claim 1 in which the causing of said pile yarns to be retained includes engaging the needle carried pile yarns underneath the fabric.

4. In apparatus for producing figure tufted pile fabric the combination which comprises a tufting machine having a fixed tufting head, a throat, a pattern attachment for feeding selected differential lengths of pile yarns to said throat, driving means for said pattern attachment, means for advancing a backing across said throat, a plurality of needle carrying needlebars, means mounting said needlebars on said fixed head for reciprocation relative to said fixed head in a direction transverse to the direction of advance of a backing through said tufting machine, means for reciprocating said needlebars toward and away from said backing so that the needles penetrate portions of said backing as it is advanced over the throat whereby one face of the backing will be covered by pile yarns, and means for cyclically displacing at least two of said needlebars across said backing in synchronized timed relation to each other, and to said pattern attachment whereby at least two complete sets of different types of yarn will be tufted through the entire surface of the backing, and in which the rows of stitches of each set of pile yarns will be independently traversed across the width of the backing to produce a unitary pattern effect on the backing.

5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 in which the needlebar shifting means comprises at least one cam, a cam follower, and normally rigid connections between said cam follower and the needlebar.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,513,261 6/1950 Behrens 112-79 3,249,078 5/1966 Nowicki 112266 2,313,725 3/ 1943 Anidon.

2,528,392 10/ 1950 Self 11279 2,679,218 5/1954 Jones 112-79 2,682,841 7/ 1954 McCutchen 11279 2,766,506 10/1956 Rice.

2,853,033 9/1958 Crawford 11279.6 3,026,830 3/1962 Bryant et al 11279 3,109,395 11/1963 Batty et al 112-79 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.

J. R. BOLER, Assistant Examiner.

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U.S. Classification112/80.41, 112/80.4, 112/475.23, 112/475.22, 112/80.72, 112/410
International ClassificationD05C15/20, D05C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationD05C15/20
European ClassificationD05C15/20