|Publication number||US3477619 A|
|Publication date||Nov 11, 1969|
|Filing date||Jun 28, 1967|
|Priority date||Jun 28, 1967|
|Publication number||US 3477619 A, US 3477619A, US-A-3477619, US3477619 A, US3477619A|
|Inventors||Lee Wing J|
|Original Assignee||Lee Wing J|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (8), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE Filed June 28, 1967 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig./
Wing J. Lee
Nov. 11, 1969 WING J1EE 3,477,619
AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE Filed June 28. 1967 '7 Sheets-Sheet 2 Nov. 11, 1969 WING J. LEE 3,477,619
AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE MW mm Nam 11, 1969 WING J. LEE
AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed June 28, 1967 INVENTOR.
NOV. 11, 1969 w J LEE 7 AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE '7 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed June 28. 1967 Wing J. Lee
Nov. 11, 1969 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed June 28, 1967 INVENTOR.
1969 WING J. LEE
AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 Filed June 28. 1967 6 e m w m W F 0 I 2 gm w 4 g 4\ 2 1m 4 5 w x I W I? RV! km M w B 3 o w a W a 3 7 i W3 w I 3 4321;... m N w 4 I- .al 4 l 3 \W x w o H a 155% \IIIHIJ p w 8 o 3 x p 4 a 3 x United States Patent 3,477,619 AUTOMATIC SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE Wing J. Lee, 1322 Neck Road, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11229 Filed June 28, 1967, Ser. No. 649,695 Int. Cl. A41h 33/00 US. Cl. '223--37 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A table top having means at one end thereof engaging and creasing a collar and adjacent shoulder portions of a shirt, means at the other end engaging the tail portion of a shirt, means adjacent the tail engaging portion for folding the tail portion of a shirt longitudinally into overlying relation to the main body portion thereof, means along each side of the table top to support and engage the sleeve of the shirt and fold them inwardly into overlying relation to the folded tail portion of the shirt and means along each side of the table top engaging the side portions of the shirt to fold the side portions of the shirt along with the folded sleeves into overlapping relation to each other and in overlying relation to the folded tail portion of the shirt.
The present invention generally relates to automatic shirt folding machines and includes certain improvements in apparatuses such as disclosed in previous Patent No. 3,111,246 issued Nov. 19, 1963, for Shirt Folding Machine.
In shirt folding machines, conventional structures require that certain operations be manually performed. For example, the lower end or tail portion of the shirt must be folded into overlying relation to the rear upper portion of the shirt in order that a laundered shirt may be provided with a retaining band and, in some instances, placed into a bag-like container or the like. In order to render the shirt folding operation substantially automatic, it is an object of the present invention to provide a structure which will fold the tail portion of the shirt upwardly into overlying relation to the rear surface of the upper portion of the shirt so that the folding of the shirt is completely automatic and requires no manual folding operation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an automatic shirt folding machine having a longitudinally movable and elevatable support structure for the tail of the shirt so that the tail of the shirt may be folded upwardly and towards the collar portion of the shirt for effectively shortening the over-all length of the shirt after which the sleeve and side portions of the shirt are folded into overlying relation to the already folded main body portion of the shirt thereby completely folding the shirt into a condition such that a band or other retaining device may be immediately installed in encircling relation to the folded shirt.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an automatic shirt folding machine having a device for catching the tail of the shirt and holding it in position when the tail folding assembly is actuated.
Still another object of the present invention is to pro vide an automatic shirt folding machine having a shirt engaging structure which will engage the tail of the shirt after it is folded to retain it in position thereby enabling the tail folding apparatus to return to its normal position for subsequent in-folding of the sleeves and side portions of the shirt.
Still another feature of the present invention is the provision of an automatic shirt folding machine having collar engaging structural features which not only retain the collar but fold the collar into a substantially flat 3,477,619 Patented Nov. 11, 1969 'ice condition so that not only the tail portion, sleeves and side portions of the shirt are positioned in a final condition but also the collar portion thereof is properly folded into a desired flattened condition.
Yet another important object of the present invention is to provide an automatic shirt folding machine which is relatively simple in construction, efficient in operation, dependable and long lasting and relatively inexpensive to manufacture and maintain.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as. more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the automatic shirt folding machine of the present invention with portions thereof broken away illustrating some of the structural details thereof;
FIGURE 2 is a longitudinal sectional view of the shirt folding machine of the present invention illustrating the structural features thereof;
FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the shirt folding machine;
FIGURE 4 is an exploded group perspective view illustrating the cam shaft and the associated structural devices;
FIGURE 5 is a detailed perspective view illustrating the structure of the shirt tail catch;
FIGURE 6 is a fragmental perspective view illustrating the structure of the collar engaging and folding structure;
FIGURES 7-11 inclusive illustrates the steps followed by the machine in folding a shirt;
FIGURE 12 is a fragmental perspective view illustrating the drive mechanism for the shirt folding machine illustrating a cam shaft and other structural features;
FIGURE 13 is a perspective view of a portion of the invention illustrating schematically a modified shirt tail folding structure illustrating such structure in its lowered position; and
FIGURE 14 is a perspective view similar to FIGURE 13 but illustrating the structure in elevated position.
Referring now specifically to the drawings, the numeral 20 generally designates the shirt folding machine of the present invention which includes a housing or casing structure such as designated by numeral 22 and 24 which is generally T-shaped in plan configuration with the housing being suitable sheet metal or the like and being mounted on an internal framework constructed from suitable structural members. The particular manner of attaching the casing or housing component to the framework may vary and forms no particular part of the present invention.
The housing 24 includes a top panel 26 which may be considered a table top surface having a relatively large square or rectangular opening 28 formed therein and which is normally substantially closed. by a shirt tail folding plate or panel 30 which may also be constructed of suitable sheet metal or the like. The portion of the top panel 26 adjacent the casing 22 is provided with an opening 32 for receiving the front portion of the collar of a shirt when placed face down on the shirt folding machine. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the table top or top panel 26 and the plate 30 are normally disposed in coplanar relationship thus forming a substantially flat surface area on which a shirt 34 is disposed. When the shirt 34 is disposed on the machine, the collar portion 36 thereof is disposed within the opening 32 and the tail portion thereof extends over the panel 30 and beyond the panel onto the portion of the top surface 26 having a-tail catch structure generally designated by the numeral 38 formed thereon for retaining the tail of the shirt in position. The sleeves 40 of the shirt 34 extend laterally outwardly beyond the side edges of the table top surface 26 in a manner described hereinafter.
The tail catching mechanism 38 is illustrated in more detail in FIGURE 5 and includes a supporting plate 42 supported on a suitable frame member 44 and having an upstanding plate 46 rigid therewith. The vertical plate 46'is fixedly secured to the plate 42 as by welding or the like and includes a cut-out 48 receiving a piston rod 50 extending outwardly from a fluid pressure operated piston and cylinder assembly 52. The piston rod 50 is attached to a slide plate 54 that is reciprocally mounted beneath opposed guide plates 56 secured to the plate 42 in any suitable manner so that the piston rod 50 will be guided in horizontal reciprocating movement. A tension spring 58 extends between a pin 60 on the piston and cylinder assembly 52 and the guide plate 54 to normally bias the plate 54 towards the piston and cylinder assembly 52 with the piston and cylinder assembly 52 being a single acting type of piston and cylinder assembly having a fluid pressure hose or conduit 62 communicated with the ends thereof for extending the piston rod 50.
The outer end of the piston rod 50 is provided with an upwardly extending rod 64 rigid therewith which is provided with a clamp plate 66 at the upper end thereof which is disposed horizontally and provided with an upwardly flared end portion 68 which is disposed in overlying relation to the table top surface 26 and also in overlying relation to a lower clamp plate 70. The rod 64 is received within a slot in the table top surface 26 so that the clamp plate 66 may reciprocate laterally when the rod 64 is moved laterally when the piston and cylinder assembly 52 is expanded so that the rod 50 is extended.
The lower clamping plate 70 is also disposed above the table top surface 26 and is pivotally attached thereto by a suitable hinge structure 72 with the end of the plate 70 which underlies the clamp plate 66 in its normal condition being engaged by a vertically slidable actuating bar 74 having a rounded upper end which is slidably received in a guide plate 76 carried by the plate 46. The lower end of the slide bar 74 is provided with a crosshead 78 and tension springs 80 extend between the crosshead 78 and the plate 76 for biasing the bar 74 upwardly thus biasing the lower clamp plate 70 upwardly toward the clamp plate 66.
In operation, the shirt 34 is disposed'in inverted position with the outermost panel 82 of the overlapping shirt front panels against the top surface of the clamp plate 70 and the clamp plate 70 is forced downwardly and the free edge of the outer panel 82 of the shirt 34 is then inserted under the clamp plate 66. The inner panel of the overlapping shirt front panels designated by 84 which has the buttons thereon is then disposed .in overlying relation to the clamp plate 66 with the free edges of the panels 82 and 84 being straightened by manually exerting longitudinal tension on these two panels of the shirt. In this condition, the shirt front will be held in position and the back portion of the shirt will be disposed in a smooth unwrinkled condition in overlying relation to the overlapping front panels. It will be understood that when the piston and cylinder assembly 52 is actuated, the clamp plate 66 will be moved laterally away from overlying relation to the plate 70 thereby releasing the tail of the front portion of the shirt.
The structure for engaging the collar 36 and adjacent shoulder portions of the shirt 34 is illustrated in more detail in FIG. 6 and includes duplicate structure on opposite sides of the machine for association with opposite portions of the collar. In FIG. 6, the operating structure for engaging one side of the collar is illustrated and it will be understood that this structure is duplicated on the opposite side of the machine. The structure involved includes a mounting plate 86 laterally slidably supported from a bottom panel 88 below opening 32 in the top surface 26. A slot 90 is provided transversely of the bottom panel 88 for lateral sliding movement of the mounting plate 86 which is carried by a depending pin 92 received in the slot 90 and provided with a retaining member 94 on the lower end thereof to retain the mounting plate 86 in position and to enable lateral sliding movement thereof.
One end of an elongated lever 96 is connected to pin 92 by a slot connection 97 with the other end of the lever 96 being pivotally attached to a pin 98 for horizontal swinging movement about substantially a vertical axis, Intermediate the ends of the lever 96, a link 100 is connected by a pivot pin 102 and the other end of the link 100 is attached to an operating bar 104 by a pivot pin 106. The operating bar 104 reciprocates and is provided with a T-head 108 at the end thereof remote from its connection with the link 100 with the center of the T-head 108 being fixed to a piston rod 110' which extends from a fluid operated piston and cylinder assembly 112. Tension springs 114 are connected to the outer ends of the T-head 108 and anchored to the piston and cylinder assembly 112 to return the piston rod 110 to its retracted position with the piston and cylinder assembly 112 being single acting in substantially the same manner as the piston and cylinder assembly 52. When pressure is not introduced into the piston and cylinder assembly 112, the mounting plate 86 will be in extended position as illustrated in FIGURE 6 inasmuch as the springs 114 cause the mounting plate 86 to move toward its outermost position and when pressure is admitted to the piston and cylinder assembly 112, the mounting plate 86 will be moved inwardly which is the position that the mounting plate 86 must be in to receive the shirt collar 36 and to release the shirt collar 36 after the shirt has been folded.
Mounted on the plate 86 is a pair of rotatable shafts 116 and 118 which are journalled in any suitable manner on the plate 86. The shaft 116 has a spur gear 120 fixed thereto in any suitable manner while the shaft 118 has a spur gear 122 fixed thereto in any suitable manner with the spur gears being spaced from each other but located in the same horizontal plane for meshing engagement with opposite sides of a double rack 124 which has teeth along both side edges thereof and which are meshed with the gears 120 and 122 respectively. The double rack 124 is connected with a rod 126 in the form of a piston rod for a fluid pressure operated piston and cylinder assembly 128 carried by a bracket 130 which is also attached to the mounting plate 86 for oscillating the shafts 116 and 118 when the piston and cylinder assembly 128 is extended or retracted.
A tension spring may be provided for the piston and cylinder assembly 128 to enable the structure to be spring return operated. Mounted at the upper end of the shaft 118 is a collar catch 132 having .an upwardly extending hook-like arcuate member 134 at the free end thereof. The other shaft 116 has a laterally extending arm 136 thereon which serves to crease the portion of the shirt immediately outwardly of the collar which corresponds to the shoulder portion of the shirt. The collar catch 132 is disposed in more or less underlying relation to the creasing arm 136 when the mounting plate 86 is in its open position towards the outer end of the track or slot 90. When the shirt is placed on the machine, the mounting plate 86 in FIG. 6 and the duplicate mounting plate on the opposite side of the machine will be in their closed position, that is, in adjacent relationship toward the center of the slot 90. In this condition, the shirt collar catchers 132 are rotated so that they will be in close proximity for insertion into the interior of the downwardly facing collar. At this time, the creasing arms 136 are directed toward the outer corner of the mounting plate 86 so that they will not interfere with placement of the collar onto the collar catchers 132. After the shirt has been placed in position, the cylinder 128 may be extended to the position illustrated in FIGURE 6 in which event the catcher 132 is swung outwardly intothe interior of the collar to define the crease in the collar and the creasing arm 136 is swung inwardly to make the crease along the top edge or shoulder portion of the shirt just outwardly of the fold or crease in the collar itself.
After the shirt 34 has been placed with the collar 36 engaged by the collar catcher and the creasing arm 136 and the flaps of the tail engaged with the tail catch structure 38 and the shirt has been smoothed into position, a paper panel 138 may be placed on the uppermost surface of the shirt. Such paper panels 138 may be conveniently stored in a tray-like rack 140 supported by upwardly extending support members 142 extending upwardly from the housing 22. Braces 144 of any suitable construction may be provided for the rack 140 to support the paper panels 138 in any position. Such panels may be flexible paper or cardboard or any other material used in conventional shirt folding procedures. A retaining arm 146 is then pivoted downwardly to bring a pair of laterally adjustabe retaining plates or panels 148 into engagement with the smoothed shirt. The panels 148 may be adjusted by a slotted mounting connection as at 150 for attaching the plates 148 in adjusted position. Also, the width of the plates may be adjusted depending upon the size of the shirt with the'outer edges of the plates 148 generally defining the width of the folded shirt.
The arm 146 is pivotally supported from a pivot pin 152 carried by a bracket 156 supported from a mounting plate 158 in the forward upper portion of the housing 22. The arm 146 includes a lateral extension 160 having a cam follower roller 162 journalled thereon for engagement with a cam 164 mounted on an elongated transverse cam shaft 166. Rotation of the cam shaft 166 will cause rotation of the cam 164 thus causing the arm 146 to swing in a vertical arcuate manner through a slot 168 provided in the front plate 170 carried by brackets 172 which also support the plate 158 and which are supported from a bottom plate 174 having bearing blocks 176 rotatably journalling the cam shaft 166.
The entire structure including the plates 158, 170 and 174 serves as a pivoting head and swings about a horizontal axis so that the plate 174 is upwardly inclined in a manner described hereinafter. In order to automatically operate the machine, the arm 146 is initially lowered slightly by hand which engages a spring of the flat leaf type 178 which controls a valve switch structure 180 and which has the free end thereof extending into the path of movement of the arm 146 so that it will serve to actuate the cycle of operation of the machine. The arm 146 w1ll be retained in the lowered position by pivotally mounted catch or hook 182 having the central portion thereof pivotally supported from a pin 184 on the plate 170. The lower end of the catch 182 is connected to a piston rod 186 of a piston and cylinder assembly 188. A tension spring 190 is provided to return the piston rod 186 to its retracted position. When the fluid operated piston and cylinder assembly 188 is extended, the upper end of the catch or latch 182 will be retracted thus releasing the arm 146.
The plates 158 and 170 are retained in space relation by tubular spacers 192 and fastening bolts 194 extend through the spacers 192 and serve to retain the plates 158 and 170 in spaced relation.
Extending through the front plate and journalled in the plates 170 and 158 is a pair of shafts 196 and 198 each of which has a spur gear 200 and 202 respectively thereon. The opposite end of the shaft 196 is provided with a laterally extending arm 204 disposed outwardly of the plate 170 and the shaft 198 is provided with a corresponding laterally extending arm 206 as illustrated in FIG. 3.
The gear 200 is in meshing engagement with an elongated rack gear 208 slidably supported in a guide plate 210 which is suitably mounted on the plate 158. The lower end of the rack gear 208 is provided with a roller follower 212 engaging the cam 214 mounted on the cam shaft 166. A tension coil spring 216 has one end thereof anchored to the plate 158 and the other end anchored to a laterally extending arm 218 on the upper end of the rack 208 for retaining the follower 212 against the surface of the cam 214. The gear 202 is driven in a similar manner by virtue of a rack 220, a roller follower 222 on the lower end thereof engaging a cam 224 and being retained in engagement therewith by a tension spring 226 similar to the spring 216 for operating in a similar manner.
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4, the folding arm 204 is provided with a bushing 228 which receives the shaft 196. Intermediate the length of the arm 204, an outwardly and laterally projecting L-shaped lug 230 is mounted and on the outer end of the arm 204, there is provided an elongated rod 232 to receive the sleeve 40 of the shirt 34. Also attached to the outer end of the arm 204 is a mounting link 234 which is pivotally supported on the rod 232 so that the link 234 may be pivot-ed about the axis of the rod 232. The link 234 has an elongated rod 236 with an offset end 238 pivotally connected to the free end thereof as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 9. The rod 236 is in parallel relation to the rod 232 and can swing in an arcuate path about the center defined by the pivotal connection between the offset end 238 thereof and the link 234 and the entire assembly of the link 234 and the rod 236 may swing about the axis of the rod 232 during inward swinging movement of the arm 204 in a manner described hereinafter.
The lug 230 on the arm 204 serves as a support or limit means for the end of the link 234 remote from the rod 232 when the arm 204 is swung into the inwardly extended position as illustrated in FIG. 10 when the sleeve 40 is folded inwardly. The plate is also provided with an L-shaped stop bracket 240 which engages the rod 236 to retain it generally in horizontal alignment with the rod 232 when the arm 204 is in its outermost position to facilitate insertion of the sleeve 40 of the shirt 34 between the rods 232 and 236.
The arm 206 is provided with a similar bushing 242 where it receives the shaft 198 and extending outwardly from the arm 206 is a pair of elongated plate members 244 which are parallel to each other and which overlie the shirt 34 outwardly of the collar 36 and along the side edges thereof as illustrated in FIG. '9. Thus, when the sleeve 40 is folded inwardly, the outer edge of the outermost plate 244 forms a folding edge for the sleeve 40 and the rod 236 serves to fold the cuff portion of the sleeve into overlying relation to the upper portion of the sleeve as lllustrated in FIG. 10. Then, the arm 206 is rotated inwardly which then folds the outer side portion of the shirt inwardly into overlying relation to the folded sleeve into the condition illustrated in FIG. 11 and as illustrated in FIG. 3, the arm 204 is disposed sufliciently spaced laterally from the arm 206 to enable this overlapping foldmg operation to occur.
I Also, it is noted that the machine is also provided with similar arms on both sides of the machine and similar operating mechanisms are provided with the cams being lllustrated in FIG. 4 and designated by numeral 214' and 224' respectively inasmuch as they are of slightly different shape for timing the folding operation so that the sleeves will be sequentially folded and then the side portigns sequentially folded in a manner described hereina ter.
It further will be understood that the cam shaft 166 has a drive sprocket 246 thereon which is engaged by a sprocket chain 248 for driving the cam shaft 166 from a sprocket gear 250 mounted on a transversely extending drive shaft 252 as illustrated in FIG. 12 which is journalled on suitable bearing brackets 254 carried by a frame 256 disposed in the housing 22.
The structure for folding the tail of the shirt towards the collar portion is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8 with the movable plate 30 having a depending flange 258 at each corner thereof adjacent the edge of the opening 28 remote from the collar of the shirt. Attached to the lower edge of each flange 258 is a pair of longitudinally spaced rollers 260 rollingly engaging a pair of side tracks 262. Each track 262 has an inner end portion thereof generally parallel to the table top 26, a vertically inclined intermediate portion 264 and an outer end portion 266 at a level below the inner end portion. The rollers 260 move from lower outer end portion 266, proceed up the intermediate portion 264 and then forwardly in the inner end portion. Thus, the plate 30 as it moves forwardly towards the collar portion will initially have the forward edge thereof pivoted upwardly and forwardly as the plate 30 moves forwardly thus folding the tail of the shirt with a fold 268 and a fold 270 over the front edge of the plate 30 thus bringing the tail portion of the shirt into folded overlying relation to the main portion of the body of the shirt as illustrated in FIG. 8. The tail portion of the shirt where it is folded about fold 268 will overlie the panels 148 and also the plate members 244 so that the tail portion of the shirt 34 will be folded inwardly when the arm 206 is folded inwardly in a manner described hereinafter.
For reciprocating the plate 30 along the side track 262, a transverse rod 272 extends between the flanges 258 and may be the axle for the rearmost rollers 260. Engaged with the transverse rod 272 is a pair of elongated levers 274 each having a longitudinal slot 276 engaged over the rod 272. The levers 274 are pivotally attached to a bracket 278 by a pivot pin 280 so that each lever 274 may swing about the axis of the pivot pin 280. The bracket 278 is attached to framing member 44 as illustrated in FIG. 2. Thus, as each lever 274 is swung in an arcuate manner about the pivot pin 280, the transverse rod or axle 272 will be moved longitudinally thus moving the plate 30 along the track 262 from the full line position illustrated in FIG. 2 to the dotted line position illustrated therein and subsequent return to the full line position to complete a cycle of operation.
For pivoting each lever 274 about the axis of the pivot pin 280 there is provided an elongated rod or bar 282 having one end thereof pivotally connected to the levers 274 intermediate the pivot point 280 and the transverse rod 272 by a transverse rod 284 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The other end of the rod 282 is provided with a downwardly extending end portion 286 which forms a cam follower for engaging a cam 288 carried by a shaft 290 journalled in suitable bushings or brackets within the casing 22. A tension coil spring 292 is provided between the elongated rod 282 and the frame 256 to retain the cam follower 286 against the cam 288 and due to the elongated nature of the rod 282, a guide plate 294 may be provided to support the central portion of the bar or rod 282.
As illustrated, the track 262 may be channel-shaped members or angle iron members or any other suitable structural arrangement and these may be supported from the casing 24 or the table top surface 26 in any suitable rigid and secure manner.
As the plate 30 returns to its normal position after the shirt 34 has been folded, a transversely extending retaining bar 296 engages the upper surface of the folded shirt to prevent the folded shirt from returning with the plate 30 during its return movement to its normal position. The bar 296 may be in the form of a cylindrical friction-type material mounted on a rod 298 extending centrally therethrough and extending across the table top surface in spaced parallel relation thereto and normally spaced above the surface 26 and above the uppermost position of the plates 148. The rod 298 includes a pair of parallel rods 300 integral with the ends thereof which are slidably received in tubular guides 302 supported by brackets 304 in a pivotal manner from the upstanding support members 142 for tray 140 by pivot pins or bolts 306. The free ends of the rods 300 are connected to actuating rods 308 at the g ends thereof by pivot pins 310 and the rods 308 extend down through slots 312 in the top of the housing 22 and terminate in offset end portions 314 which form a cam follower for engagement with cams 316 at the opposite ends of cam shaft 290. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the rods 308 are pivotally supported by pivot pins 318 on suitable brackets 320 carried by the frame 256 so that the rods 308 are swung about the axis of the pins'318 and thus cause the pivot pins 310 to swing in an arcuate manner thereby reciprocating the rods 308 and the transverse rod 298 and the clamping bar 296 and also causing these components to pivot due to the pivotal movement of the sleeves 302 and the arcuate movement of the pins 310. Thus, the clamping bar 296 will swing in a vertical direction and also move in a longitudinal direction in relation to the shirt so that as the folding plate 30 for the tail portion of the shirt moves inwardly to its limit of movement, the clamp bar 296 will be moved downwardly into engagement with the shirt adjacent the fold 270 therein for retaining the folded shirt in position so that the plate 30 may be retracted from the shirt and returned to its normal position without return movement of the shirt afterwhich clamp bar 296 returns to its normal position.
The head assembly defined by the plates 158, and 174 and the drive assembly including frame 256 are pivotally supported in relation to the remainder of the machine by a hinge structure 322 so that the entire assembly may pivot to an inclined position or a horizontal position. An actuating rod 324 is connected pivotally to the frame 256 in spaced relation to the hinge 322 for oscillation thereof. The hinge 322 supports the head and frame 256 in any conventional manner and the actuating rod 324 has a fluid pressure operated piston and cylinder assembly 326 connected thereto with the other end thereof connected to a suitable anchor on housing 22.
The shaft 252 is driven from an electric motor 330 having an output shaft 332 provided with a sprocket gear 334 receiving a drive sprocket chain 336 which in turn is engaged over a sprocket gear 338 connected to the shaft 252 through a slip clutch mechanism 340 of conventional construction. The shaft 252 is drivingly connected with the shaft 290 through a sprocket chain drive assembly 342 and through a slip clutch 344. The slip clutch 340 is operatively associated with a one revolution clutch assembly 346 for cyclically controlling operation of the shaft 252 and correspondingly, the slip clutch 344 is connected with a corresponding one revolution clutch mechanism 348 for cyclic operation of the shaft 290. The one revolution clutch structures are conventional in construction and are actuated by piston and cylinder assemblies 349 and 350 which rotate the shaft one revolution or a portion of a revolution and then release the shaft.
The components of the shirt folding machine are adjustable to enable the machine to elfectively fold various types, styles and sizes of shirts. For example, the plates 148 are laterally adjustable, the plates 244 may be adjustable, the length of arm 204 may be adjustable and the components may be removable to vary the length thereof if desired. The degree of movement of the various components may be adjusted by adjusting the position of such components such as the degree of movement of the collar engaging catches, the shoulder creasing arm and the shirt tail retaining roller or bar. The specific details of the fluid pressure system are not disclosed but foot treadles may be provided for actuating the machine and of course the shirt board can be moved down by hand and is retained in the down position because of the hook shaped catch which also automatically operates a valve by virtue of the arm of the shirt roller engaging the valve. When this valve is operated, it shuts off the air of the valve connected to the tilt cylinder 326 so that the head lowers and operates the cylinders 349 and 350 to operate the one revolution clutches 346 and 348 and also operates the cylinder 52 which holds the shirt tail to the top rear of the table surface 26. Foot pedals such as foot pedals 352 and 354 may be provided for operating the collar engaging structure and shoulder creasing structure.
Also, a valve is provided which is automatically moved by the rack of the last folding arm which serves to release the collar blocks and crease cylinders and also operates the valve which opens the air to pivot the head up and it also releases the catch on the shirt board arm. The specific details of the pneumatic system have not been illustrated inasmuch as each individual installation will require adaptation of a pneumatic system accordingly. Various types of drive mechanisms may be provided and if desired, individual motors may be provided for various of the drive shafts, a fluid pressure operated motor may be employed for operating the tail folding board and also operating the tail holding roller if desired and various conventionally provided gear reduction mechanisms may be employed, slip clutches, controlled revolutions and the like may also be employed which are controlled by fluid pressure operated piston and cylinder such as the two clutches illustrated herein. The degree of movement of the collar engaging mechanism may be varied by varying the degree of movement of the piston and cylinder assembly or by varying the effective length of certain of the linkages involved. The cam lugs are mounted on the shaft in a manner which enables adjustment thereof to vary the degree of movement of the various components and to time the movement of such components.
In operating the machine, it will normally be disposed with the head oriented in inclined position with the various plates and arms extending upwardly in an inclined position awayfrom the table surface so that the table surface is exposed for enabling access to the collar engaging catches 132. The shirt is arranged in a front down position with the shirt buttoned in a conventional manner. The operator engages the shirt collar downwardly over the shirt engaging catches which are in the closed or inward position and'thereafter the blocks 86 are moved outwardly thus engaging the collar, forming the crease in the collar and the crease arms simultaneously form the crease in the shoulder portion of the shirt immediately outwardly of the collar inasmuch as the collar will be disposed in substantially a flat condition. Thus, the collar will be securely retained by the collar engaging components of the machine. The remainder of the shirt is flattened and smoothed in a conventional manner by hand with the sleeves inserted downwardly between the rods 232 and 236 and merely resting or hanging downwardly and engaging the rod 232. The two overlapping front panels 82 and 84 of the inverted shirt 34 are disposed in their normal position and the lowermost panel 82 which happens to be the outer front panel of the shirt having the button holes therein is inserted under the clamp plate 66 by exerting downward pressure on the plate 70 and sliding the free edge of the panel 82 under the clamp plate 66 with the inner panel 84 of the shirt which has the buttons thereon merely disposed in overlying relation to the panel 82 in a conventional manner. Of course, the buttons do not extend to the tail portion of the shirt and do not interfere with movement of the panels in relation to the gripping mechanism. Then, with the shirt in a completely smooth condition, the shirt folding board 30 will be actuated and this occurs simultaneous with the operation of the cylinder 52 which moves the retaining clamp plate 66 laterally thereby releasing the tail of the shirt so that it can move forwardly into a folded condition with the folds 268 and 270 being formed. As the shirt folding board 30 reaches its forwardmost position, the shirt retaining bar or roller 296 will be moved longitudinally and downwardly into engagement with the top surface of the folded shirt adjacent the fold 270 to retain the folded tail portion of the shirt in position when the shirt folding board 30 returns to its normal position. When the shirt folding board 30 returns to its normal position, the shirt retaining roller or bar 296 is also returned to its elevated and retracted position out of .10 the way of the subsequent movement of the rods 232 and 236 and the plate 244.
As the retaining bar 296 returns to its normal position, the cam shaft 166 causes inward swinging of the outer arm 204 thus folding the sleeve 40 inwardly over the plates 244 with the rod 236 serving to retain the outer portion of the sleeve 40 in position. This movement also engages the rod 232 and the rod 236 with the fold 268 and the fold 270 to prevent the tail portion of the shirt from moving. It is noted that the rod 236 is disposed generally along the inner edge of the plate-like members 244 as illustrated in FIG. 10. After one sleeve has been folded inwardly, the other sleeve is then folded inwardly in exactly the same manner due to carns 214 and 224'. After both sleeves have been folded inwardly and both sides of the shirt have the appearance as illustrated by one side of the shirt in FIG. 10, the arms 206 are then swung inwardly in sequential relation which folds the side portion of the shirt, the side portion of the folded tail portion and the outer portions of the sleeve into overlying relation to the bars 236 and 232 and the portions of the shirt engaged thereby. Thus, all of the shirt panels will be folded generally along a pivot line coinciding generally with the inner edge of the inner plate member 244. The final condition of the shirt is illustrated in FIGURE 11 in which both of the arms 206 have been folded inwardly in sequential relation so that the plate like panels 244 generally overlie each other and the final width of the shirt is substantially the same as the shirt board defined by the panels 148. In this position, a retaining band may be provided around the shirt by merely inserting it under the shirt at the relieved portion of the table top surface and securing it in encircling relation to the shirt in any suitable manner. At that point, the collar engaging assembly may be moved to the closed or inner position thus releasing the collar and the folded shirt may then be easily moved longitudinally off of the various rods 232, 236, the various plates 244 and the shirt board 148. Of course, the head will pivot to the upwardly inclined position at this point to enable easier removal of the shirt without corresponding engagement with the recessed portion of the table top surface 26.
While the shirt folding operation may be completely automatic "after the shirt has been inserted in the machine, the various steps may also be manually performed. For example, the tail folding portion of the shirt may be manually performed or the control for the tail folding shirt board 30 may be manually controlled as may the controls for the other components of the machine thereby enabling the machine to be controlled by a series of sequentially operated foot pedals, push buttons, valve handles or the like which may be conveniently located for control by an operator. The various piston and cylinder assemblies may be pneumatically operated inasmuch as most laundry and dry cleaning plants will have a source of compressed air and the control mechanism may be such that various sequences are semi-automatic to enable the operator to make certain that the various procedural steps and folding steps are properly conducted and to enable the shirt to be smoothed out by the operator in the event this becomes necessary thereby assuring that the shirt when in its finally folded condition will be subst'antially smooth and wrinkle-free.
FIGURES l3 and 14 disclose another arrangement for folding the tail portion of the shirt and includes a plate or panel 360 which corresponds to the plate 30 illustrated in FIGS. 1l2 in that it operates in the same general manner for folding the tail portion of the shirt. This construction includes a supporting framework generally designated by numeral 362 and which includes a base plate 364 and upstanding corner members 366 which are in the form of T-bars which have the central flange thereof disposed inwardly to form vertical guides or tracks for a vertical carriage generally designated by the numeral 368 and which includes a pair of longitudinal cylindrical rods or pipes 370 having a roller 372 on each end thereof. Each of the rollers 372 is grooved to rollingly and guidingly receive the inwardly extending flange on the T-bar corner posts 366' so that the carriage may move vertically in relation to the corner posts 366.
For elevating the carriage 368, there is provided a parallelogram linkage arrangement including a first U-shaped member 374 and a second U-shaped member 376 disposed in parallel relation to each other with the central portion of each of the U-shaped members being pivotally supported from a horizontal frame member 378 by pivot bolts 380 or the like. The U-shaped member 374 has the lower end thereof formed by a transverse member 382 while the U-shaped member 37 6 has the bight portion thereof omitted. The lower ends of the members 374 and 376 are interconnected by a link member 384 parallel with the frame member 378 for retaining the parallelogram linkage. The upper ends of the U-shaped members 374 and 376 have grooved rollers 386 thereon engaging the longitudinal members 370 of the vertically movable carriage 368. Tension coil springs 388 interconnect the carriage 368 and the frame members 378 for biasing the carriage 368 to its lowermost position. Thus, as the U-shaped members 374 and 376 are simultaneously pivoted about pivot bolts 380, the carriage 368 will be elevated and lowered.
A fluid pressure operated piston and cylinder assembly 390 has one end thereof pivotally attached to the base 384 by supporting lugs 392. A piston rod 394 extends from the piston and cylinder assembly 390 and is pivotally attached to the transverse connecting rod 382 by a sleeve 396 thereon. The piston rod 394 is provided with an extension 398 that is pivotally attached to the lower end of an oscillating frame 400 for the hold-down bar 402 which corresponds with the bar or roller 296 in FIGS. ll2. A tension spring 404 returns the frame 400 about its pivot axis and the extension 398 is pivotally attached to the frame 400 and also pivotally attached to the sleeve to enable articulation thereof during reciprocation of the piston rod 394.
The plate 360 is provided with a pair of depending supports 406 at each rear corner thereof with a longitudinal support member 408 rigid therewith. The longitudinal support member includes four grooved rollers 410 which engage the longitudinal member 70 for rolling movement of the plate 360 thereon. A piston and cylinder assembly 412 is pivotally attached to the frame 362 by an attachment lug 414 and the piston rod 416 provided thereon is connected to a transverse member 418 extending between the forward ends of the longitudinal frame member 408. Thus, expansion and retraction of the piston and cylinder assembly 412 will cause reciprocation of the folding plate 360 to fold the tail portion of the shirt in the same manner as the plate 30. Thus, with this'construction, the folding table or plate 360 is operated in both a vertical direction and a longitudinal reciprocating direction with the operation being such that the movement of the plate 360 and the clamp bar is ,so arranged that when the plate 360 returns to its normal position, the clamp bar will engage the shirt to retain it in its folded position in the same manner as the clamp bar 296.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described.
What is claimed as new is as follows:
1. A shirt folding machine comprising a generally flat horizontally disposed rectangular table top having a supporting surface adapted to receive a shirt in downwardly facing position, means at one end of said surface for engaging and retaining the collar and adjacent shoulder portions of the shirt, means adjacent the other end of the surface for engaging and releasably retaining the tail portion of a shirt with the sleeves of the shirt extending laterally from the edges of the surface, means mounted on the table top for moving longitudinally of the supporting surface and folding the tail portion of the shirt into overlying relation to the main body portion thereof, means mounted at the end of the surface having the collar engaging means thereon for receiving and supporting the sleeves of a shirt and folding the sleeves inwardly in overlying relation to the main body portion of the shirt, and means mounted adjacent the sleeve engaging means adapted to engage the shirt inwardly of the side edge thereof with the sleeves being disposed thereover when folded inwardly for folding the sleeves and side portions of the shirt into overlying relationto the central portion thereof.
2. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said machine also includes means for moving into engagement with the folded tail portion of the shirt for retaining it in folded condition during return movement of the shirt tail folding means.
'3. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said shirt collar and shoulder engaging means includes a pair of mounting blocks, means sliding the blocks laterally inwardly and outwardly in relation to the surface for movement between a closed position for receiving a collar and an extended position for securing a collar, shirt collar catches mounted on said blocks for extending into the collar and engaging opposed surfaces of the interior of the collar to retain the collar in flattened extended condition, and crease arms attached to the blocks for creasing the portion of the shoulder of the shirt outwardly of the collar, and means carried by the blocks for moving the shirt collar catches and crease arms to effectively crease the collar and adjacent shoulder portion of the shirt.
4. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for retaining the tail of the shirt includes a laterally movable clamp plate and a vertically movable clamp plate, normally underlying the laterally movable clamp plate, said vertically movable clamp plate being springbiased upwardly and being capable of being depressed by exerting vertical hand pressure thereon whereby the lowermost panel of the overlapping front panels of the shirt may be inserted against the vertically movable clamp plate and forced downwardly and laterally under the lat erally movable clamp plate and power means for moving the laterally movable clamp plate laterally to release the lowermost panel of the shirt.
5. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for folding the tail portion of the shirt includes a longitudinal movable plate forming a portion of the table top for normally underlying the tail portion of the shirt inwardly of the ends thereof, track means supporting said movable plate for movement in a longitudinal and verticaldirection so that the plate will move initially in a vertical component and subsequently in a horizontal component in order to fold the tail portion of the shirt, and power means for cyclically moving said plate.
6. The structure as defined in claim 2 wherein said tail portion retaining means includes a clamp bar mounted on' said machine in overlying relation to the table top for sliding and pivotal movement in relation thereto.
7. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said sleeve receiving and supporting means includes a laterally outwardly extending arm pivotally supported for rotation about substantially a horizontal axis, an elongated rod attached to the outer end of the arm and extending in generally parallel relation to the shirt receiving surface and disposed in spaced relation to the surface for engaging the sleeve in spaced relation to the main body portion of the shirt so that when the arm and rod are swung about a horizontal axis, the sleeve will be folded inwardly into overlying relation to the main body portion of the shirt.
8. The structure as defined in claim 7 wherein said arm includes an extension link pivotally attached to the outer end thereof, said extension link including an elongated rod member parallel to said rod and swingable about an axis defined by said rod, a support bracket for engaging the outer end of the extension link to retain the rod memher in generally the same horizontal plane as said rod to define a relatively large slot-like opening for receiving the free end of the sleeve, said extension link and rod member being pivoted in relation to the arm during pivotal movement of the arm due to gravity thereby retaining the outer end portion of the sleeve in smooth condi tion, and lug means on the arm limiting the free gravity movement of the link and rod member to a position substantially in the same horizontal plane as the rod when the arm and rod are folded to their innermost position in overlying relation to the main body portion of the shirt.
9. The structure as defined in claim 8 wherein the means for folding the side portions of the shirt includes a swingable arm disposed for rotatable movement about a horizontal axis parallel to the axis of the sleeve folding arm, a plate extending laterally from the swinging arm and engaging the side portions of the main body of the shirt, the rod and rod member being disposed inwardly of the plate when in the inwardly folded position so that the plate and swinging arm may be swung inwardly into overlying relation thereto thereby folding inwardly the side portions of the shirt and corresponding portions of the sleeve.
10. In a shirt folding machine having a table-like supporting surface and means for retaining a shirt in position thereon, that improvement comprising a folding assembly for the tail portion of the shirt including a supporting plate mounted in and forming part of the supporting surface and adapted to be disposed in underlying relation to a shirt placed on the supporting surface and means supporting said plate on the machine for movement in a longitudinal and vertical direction in relation to the supporting surface While retaining the supporting plate and its path of movement in generally parallel relation to the supporting surface with the vertical direction of movement being combined with the initial longitudinal direction of movement of the plate for folding the tail portion of the shirt.
11. The structure as defined in claim 10 wherein said shirt folding machine also includes a retaining clamp bar mounted on the machine for movement into engagement with the folded portion of the shirt during return movement of the folding plate for retaining the folded portion of the shirt in position and subsequently moving to a retracted position for subsequent folding operation on the shirt.
12. The structure as defined in claim 11 wherein said machine includes a vertically movable trackway mounted thereon and longitudinally reciprocally mounting said supporting plate, means for raising and lowering said trackway, and means reciprocating said plate.
13. The structure as defined in claim 11 wherein said machine includes a trackway mounted thereon and having two longitudinally extending vertically offset portions interconnected by an inclined intermediate portion, and means reciprocating the supporting plate along the track- Way for moving the supporting plate in a longitudinal and vertical component of movement.
14. The structure as defined in claim 12 wherein said means for elevating the vertically movable trackway includes a parallelogram linkage, said vertically moving trackway having a pair of side rails thereon, said parallelogram linkage having rollers engaging the side rails, said supporting plate having rollers engaging the side rails of the vertically movable trackway, and corner guide posts engaging the ends of the side rails of the vertically movable trackway for guiding and controlling the movement thereof.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,616,594 11/ 1952 Calder et al. 22337 2,629,519 2/1953 Neckel 22337 2,950,848 8/1960 Gayring 223-37 3,181,747 5/1965 Lucius et al. 22337 3,269,619 8/1966 Freeman 233-37 MERVIN STEIN, Primary Examiner G. V. LARKIN, Assistant Examiner
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|International Classification||D06F89/00, D06F89/02|