US 3535744 A
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o. 1'. R EISE 3,535,744
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SEVERING FLEECE FROM A SHEEP FELT Oct. 27, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 15, 1969 Jm/mtor @alm @156 Oct. 27, 1970 o. r. REISE 3,535,744
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SEVERING FLEECE FROM A SHEEP PELT 7 Filed Jan. 13. 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 1 MM 10%, MW 1 w aztorwga 3,535,744 APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SEVERING FLEECE FROM A SHEEP PELT Owen T. Reise, 2336 W. Green Tree Road, Milwaukee, Wis. 53209 Filed Jan. 13, 1969, Ser. No. 790,729 Int. Cl. D01b 3/00 US. Cl. 19-2 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Disclosed herein is apparatus and a method for severmg the wool fleece from sheep pelts which include an air pervious conveyor belt for transporting pelts to an endless belt knife which is located at a bend in the conveyor. The pelt is held firmly to the bend by suction caused by a blower below the conveyor. As the pelt traverses the bend and engages the belt knife, a suction hood above the conveyor directs air flow to lift the wool fibers upwardly to facilitate cutting of the fibers. The air flow in the hood also pneumatically conveys the severed fleece to a transport conveyor which carries the fleece to an inspection station.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION The apparatus and method of the invention relates to the removal of wool fleece from the pelts of slaughtered sheep or lambs. Heretofore, the fleece has been either manually clipped from the skin or treated with a chemical and manually pulled. It is desirable to remove the wool from a sheep skin in a fleece or one intact piece to facilitate skirting or separation of the prime portions of the fleece from the less desirable portions. The prime wool generally comes from the shoulders and sides and is desirable because of its length, strength and color. Belly wool is shorter, often dirty, stained and may have vegetable matter adhering.
No apparatus has been developed in the art which successfully removes an intact fleece from a skin and which replaces the traditional manual methods.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION The invention provides a method and apparatus for severing or removing the wool from the pelt of an animal such as a sheep in one intact fleece and without damaging the skin. The method includes the steps of bending the pelt to expose the base of the fibers, pneumatically lifting the fibers upward from the bent pelt and severing the lifted fibers from the bent pelt. The method also includes the additional step of pneumatically conveying the severed fleece from the cutting zone.
The apparatus includes an air pervious conveyor belt which transports the hides or skins containing the wool fibers to a cutting station and around a bend, means for creating an air flow around the fibers to lift them at the bend Where the wool is severed from the skin by a horizontal belt cutting knife which travels transversely to the direction of movement of the air pervious conveyor belt. The knife engages the wool as the pelt and conveyor travel over a perforated curved nose which supports the end of the conveyor belt adjacent the cutting knife and defines the bend traversed by the conveyor belt.
The undersurface of the skin is firmly held to the conveyor belt at the cutting station by a blower connected to the nose.
The upper run of the conveyor belt and upper wall of the nose are desirably at an angle of three to six degrees relative to the horizontal plane of the cutting edge of the belt knife to provide clearance of the hide and skin be- United States Patent 3,535,744 Patented Oct. 27, 1970 ice neath the cutting edge, and prevent jamming and bunch ing of the severed fleece rearwardly along the conveyor.
To facilitate cutting of the matted fibers at a uniform distance from the skin, the fibers are drawn or lifted into an upstanding angularly forward extending position by air flow directed by a hood which partially encloses the cutting zone. The hood is connected to a blower which provides sufficient suction to both pull the fleece fibers vertically upward immediately prior to the cutting and also to pneumatically convey the intact fleece from the cutting station to a second transport conveyor which carries the fleece to an inspecting and skirting station.
It is an object of the invention to provide a method for severing the wool fleece from a sheepskin which replaces the manual methods.
A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus to sever a fleece from a sheep pelt which results in increased production with a minimum of personnel and substantial cost savings.
An additional object of the invention is to provide apparatus from removing an intact fleece from a pelt, to facilitate separation of the prime wool from the less desirable wool.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following disclosure.
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of apparatus in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the cutting station and nose as shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view with portions broken away of a dirt trap.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely exemplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structure. The scope of the invention is defined in the claims appended hereto.
Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows apparaus in accordance with the invention which is generally designated 10 and which includes a support or frame 12 which is not further described or illustrated in detail. Pelts 14 from slaughtered sheep which contain both the wool fleece 15 and the sheekskin 16 are introduced into the apparatus from a table or platform 18 and fed through a pair of narrowly spaced rollers 20 and 22, which squeeze any remaining flesh and fats from the skin 16. The rollers can be provided with tangentially aligned scrapers 21, 23 to clean the rollers. The rollers 20 and 22 can be driven by a motor 24 through a chain and a sprocket drive 26.
Conveyor means in the form of an open wire mesh or reticulated air pervious conveyor belt 30 is provided for transporting the pelts 14 to a cutting station 28. The conveyor belt 30 is supported at its pelt receiving end by a roller 32 which is connected to a motor (not shown) by a chain and sprocket drive 34.
Means are provided for supporting the pelt delivery end of the conveyor belt 30 adjacent the cutting station 28 to cause the pelt to traverse a sharp bend 29 at the cutting station and for holding the pelt 14 firmly to the conveyor. In the disclosed construction the means includes a foraminous nose 36 which is located between the upper and lower runs 38 and 40 of the conveyor belt 30 and which includes an elongated generally flat upper wall 42 which generally spans the width of the conveyor belt 30 and an angularly extending lower wall 44 connected by an arcuate wall portion 46 (FIGS. 2, 3). The arcuate wall portion 46 desirably has a rather small radius, such as three quarters of an inch, to provide a sharp bend in the conveyor 30. The sides of the nose are enclosed by end walls 47. The upper wall 42 and arcuate wall 46 are provided with a plurality of perforations or apertures 48 to secure the skin 16 to the conveyor by suction, as hereinafter described. In a practical embodiment of the invention, there are 425 three-eighth inch apertures in the nose 36. Alternatively, an elongated slot extending transversely to the conveyor can be utilized.
The means for supporting the conveyor 30 and holding the skin 16 firmly to the conveyor also includes a labyrinth type settling box or dirt trap 50 (FIG. 3) which is supported by the frame 12. The dirt trap is desirable to keep the passage between the nose 36 and a blower 67 free from foreign particles to maintain the desired suction for adhering the skin 16 to the conveyor belt 30 during the cutting operation as hereinafter described.
The dirt trap 50 (FIG. 3) includes top and bottom walls 51 and 52, a pair of end walls 53, two rear walls 54, 55 (FIG. 1) and two front wall portions 55A and 56 which are spaced to provide a gap 57 through which extends the lower run of the conveyor belt 30. As shown in FIG. 1, an idler roller 58 is provided to guide the lower run through gap 57. The gap 57 is defined by upper and lower intermediate spaced partitions 59 and 60 which extend from the front walls to the rear walls 54, 55 and are separated from each end wall 53 by gaps 61. The side edges of partitions 59 and 60 are connected by vertical partitions 62. Two angularly connected baflies 63 and 64 interconnect the top wall 51 and the upper intermediate partition 59 and extend from the front wall 56 to the rear wall 54. The lower rear wall 55 is provided with an opening 66 which communicates with a blower 67 (FIG. 1) through a duct 69. The front wall 55 is provided with several clean-out doors 70. The rear wall 54 is also provided with clean-out doors 71. The top wall 51 is separated from the upper edge 72 of the front wall 56 by a gap 73.
Connection of the nose 36 to the dirt trap 50 is facilitated by an outwardly extending flange 74 at the upper edge 72 of the top wall 56. The nose 36 is bolted or otherwise secured to the trap 50 across the gap 73. The gap 73 provides an air fiow path for air entering the perforations in the nose 36.
The blower 67 desirably provides a sub-atmospheric pressure or suction in the nose 36. The air drawn into the nose 36 by the blower 67 follows the path indicated by arrows 75 (FIG. 3). The air passes through the nose 36 and gap 73 and enters the area or trap portion 77 between the top Wall 51 and the upper intermediate partition. The partitions 63 and 64 deflect some of the air laterally toward the end walls 53 where it passes through the gaps 62, below the lower partition 60 and through the outlet 66. Dirt, fibers and other foreign particles that are drawn in through the nose 36 and accumulate in the trap portion 77 between the upper wall 51 and the upper partition 59 and can be removed by access through door 71. Particles that accumulated below the lower partition in the trap portion 79 can be removed through clean-out doors 70.
Vertical height adjustment of the nose 36 and the trap 50 is afforded by two vertical adjustment screws 78 which are provided with hand cranks 76 and connected to the frame 12 on each side of the trap 50.
The invention also includes an endless belt splitting knife 80 at the cutting station 28 to sever the fleece 15 from the skin 16. The belt knife 80 is conventionally supported between two spaced wheels (not shown), one of which is driven by a motor (not shown). The upper run 83 (FIG. 1) of the belt splitting knife 80 travels in a generally horizontal plane transverse to the direction of movement of conveyor 30. The belt knife 80 is continually sharpened by grinding wheels 84 located on the lower run 85 of the belt knife 80. The cutting edge 82 of the upper run 83 is located slightly below the upper run 38 of the conveyor belt 30 and vertically above the arcuate wall 46 4 which forms the bend of the nose 36 at the point 86 a short distance from the commencement of the bend 29 in the conveyor 30.
The upper wall 42 of the nose and the top wall 51 (FIG. 2) of the dirt trap 50 can be at an angle A which is desirably from three degrees to six degrees relative to a plane through the upper run 83 of the belt knife and cutting edge 82. An angle A of four degrees is preferred. This angle provides the desired slope of the upper run 38 of the conveyor belt 30 to afford clearance of the skin 16 beneath the belt knife 80 and minimize jamming or bunching of the severed portions of the fleece rearwardly over the pelt 14 and away from the cutting edge 82.
The invention also provides means for pneumatically erecting or lifting the wool fibers vertically upward at the cutting station to facilitate the cutting of the fibers and also for pneumatically conveying the severed fleece from the cutting station 28 to a second conveyor 88. In the disclosed construction, the means includes a hood 90 which is located above the belt knife and bend 29 in the conveyor 30 and which spans the width of the conveyor belt 30. The hood includes a top wall 92 and an adjustable gate 94 and means in the form of a slot 94A (FIG. 3) in the wall 94 and a wing nut and bolt 95A (FIG. 3) for selective height adjustment of the lower edge 95. The height of the lower edge 95 is adjusted for pelts having various length fibers to provide clearance of the tips of the fibers (FIG. 2). It is desirable to maintain the edge 95 close to the tips to obtain an upward air flow in the hood as shown by arrow 96 (FIG. 1).
The hood 90 is connected to an air chamber 98 by an angularly extending duct 100 which has angularly extending top and bottom walls respectively 102 and 104 and parallel opposed side walls 106 which connect the top and bottom walls 102 and 104. The top wall 102 extends forwardly from top wall 92 of the hood. The bottom wall 104 forms a ramp which extends from adjacent the cutting blade to adjacent the second conveyor belt 88 at 110. The air chamber 98 has a generally box-like structure which has a forward wall 114, a rear 'wall and side walls 116. The forward wall 114 joins the wall 102 to form an opening 116A to afford communication of the duct 100 with the air chamber 98. The rear wall has an air outlet 117 at the top of the rear wall 115 connected to suction means in the form of a fan or blower 123. An air seal at the rearward end of the chamber 98 is provided by a foam rubber roller 118 'which is rotatably supported about a horizontal axis 119 and which engages a rubber flap 120 depending from the lower edge 121 of the rear wall 115. The roller 118 permits movement of the fleece 14 from the air chamber 98 to an inspection station 122. The air flow created by the blower 123 is variable and a flow of up to 4000 cubic feet of air per minute through the hood 90 is desirable.'A greater suction is undesirable since the air flow 'will pull the fleece apart. However, if the suction is too low, the fibers will not be pulled upwardly at the cutting station 28.
In operation of the apparatus of the invention and in practicing the method, the pelt containing the fleece and sheepskin is fed through the rollers 20 and 22 to press out or squeeze any flesh or fats from the skin 16. The rollers 20, 22 also flatten out the skin 16 so it will not be damaged by the belt knife 80. The pelt is transported by the conveyor 30 to the cutting station 28. As the pelt 14 enters the hood 90, the suction created by the fan 123 causes the fibers to be drawn upwardly at an angle as shown in FIG. 2. The undersurface of the skin is held firmly to the conveyor 30 by the suction created by fan 67. The cutting edge 82 engages the fibers of the fleece 15 and severs the fleece as the skin 16 traverses the bend 29 and as the fibers break from the skin 16. As the fleece 15 is severed it is pneumatically conveyed upwardly through the hood 90 and along ramp 104 onto the second conveyor 88. The skin 16 drops downwardly below the belt knife 80 where it can be removed and packaged. A
rotating kicker 130 (FIGS. 1, 3) can be provided to remove the skin from the conveyor belt 30. A ramp 132 (FIG. 1) can be provided to guide the skin 16 from the lower run of the belt knife 80.
When the fleece enters the enlarged air chamber 98 the decrease in air velocity causes the fleece to be released from the air flow and carried by the second conveyor 88 (FIG. 1) where it is transported under the compressible roller 118 to the inspection station 122. The intact fleece 15 can then be inspected for condition and the prime portions manually skirted from the poor quality portions and the various grades separated. In the alternative, the inspected fleeces can be conveyed directly to a wool dryer, scouring train or containers.
The apparatus of the invention can process pelts where the fibers range from one-fourth inch to twelve inches in length. The belt knife 80 can also be provided with means for vertical height adjustment to afford selection of the length of the stubble of fibers remaining on the skin.
Various of the features of the invention are set forth in the following claims.
1. Apparatus for removing the fleece from animal pelts comprising cutting means for cutting the fleece in an intact unit from the skin, said cutting means having a transversely moving cutting edge, conveyor means for transporting the animal pelts to said cutting means, said conveyor means being spaced from said cutting edge to provide a gap which receives the skin for removal of the skin from said cutting edge, means adapted to hold the animal skin to said conveyor means as the fleece is cut from the skin, a bridge located adjacent said cutting edge, and pneumatic means for sliding the severed fleece along said bridge away from said cutting means and forwardly of the conveyor means and along the longitudinal centerline of the conveyor means.
2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said conveyor means comprises an air pervious conveyor belt 'with upper and lower runs and said means adapted to hold a skin to said conveyor belt comprises an elongated nose having an arcuate wall, a plurality of perforations in said arcuate wall, and means for mounting said nose between the upper and lower runs of said conveyor with said arcuate 'wall in supporting relation to the upper run of said conveyor and causing a bend in said conveyor, and suction means connected to said nose and communicating with the undersurface of a skin through said perforations and said conveyor belt for holding a skin to said conveyor belt during movement of said conveyor belt around the bend in said conveyor.
3. Apparatus for removing the fleece from animal pelts comprising cutting means for cutting the fleece in an intact unit from the skin, said cutting means having a transversely moving cutting edge, conveyor 'means for transporting the animal skins to said cutting means, means adapted to hold the animal skin to said conveyor means as the fleece is cut from the skin, said means adapted to hold the animal skin to said conveyor including an elongated nose for supporting the forward end of said conveyor means and means for mounting said nose between the upper and lower runs of said conveyor, said means for mounting said nose being in the form of a dirt trap, said trap having an elongated transversely extending gap for receiving therethrough the lower run of said conveyor.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 in which said trap includes spaced top and bottom walls, upper and lower partitions spaced from each other to form a first gap and spaced from the top and bottom walls, said first gap receiving said lower run of said conveyor belt, end walls connecting the top and bottom walls, an upper front wall extending upwardly from said upper partition, said upper front wall terminating at a point spaced from said top wall to form a second gap, said nose being connected across said second gap, a lower front wall connecting said lower partition to said bottom wall, an upper rear wall connecting said upper partition to said top wall, a lower rear wall connecting said lower partition to said bottom wall, an opening in said rear wall for communication with said suction means, vertical partitions connecting the side edges of said upper and lower intermediate partitions, said vertical partition being spaced from said end walls to provide third and fourth gaps for communication around the edges of said upper and lower partitions, clean-out doors in said lower front wall and said upper and lower rear walls, and means for mounting said trap on a support.
5. Apparatus for removing the fleece from animal pelts comprising cutting means for cutting the fleece in an intact unit from the skin, said cutting means having a transversely moving cutting edge, conveyor means for transporting the animal pelts to said cutting means, means for holding the animal skin to said conveyor means as the fleece is cut from the skin, a hood located over said cutting means and the forward end of said conveyor means, said hood including a top wall which spans the width of said conveyor means, an air chamber located forwardly of said conveyor means and said hood, a duct connecting said hood with said air chamber to afford communication between said hood and said air chamber, and suction means connected to said air chamber to cause the fibers of a pelt located beneath said hood to extend in a generally erect position from said skin, a second conveyor, said second conveyor having an upper run with a portion of said upper run being located within said air chamber and forming the bottom of said air chamber, said air chamber having a substantially larger volume than said hood and said duct to afford a decrease in air velocity Within said air chamber to deposit the fleece on said second conveyor after the fleece is conveyed through said duct by suction.
6. Apparatus for removing the fleece from animal pelts comprising cutting means for cutting the fleece in an intact unit from the skin, said cutting means having a transversely moving cutting edge, conveyor means for transporting the animal skins to said cutting means, said conveyor means being spaced from said cutting edge to provide a gap which receives the skin for removal of the skin from said cutting edge, means adapted to hold the animal skin to said conveyor means as the fleece is cut from the skin, a hood located over said cutting means and the forward end of said conveyor, an air chamber, a duct connecting said hood to said air chamber, said duct including a bridge extending from adjacent said cutting edge to said air chamber, said hood including a gate with a free lower edge located above said conveyor means, means on said hood connected to said gate for selective height adjustment of said gate to control air flow into said hood and to provide clearance of the pelts beneath said lower edge and suction means connected to said air chamber to cause the fibers of a pelt located beneath said hood to extend in a generally erect position from said skin.
7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 6 wherein said air chamber includes a conveyor having an upper run forming the bottom of said air chamber and one end of said upper run of said conveyor extending to adjacent said bridge.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said air chamber has a rear wall which has an edge spaced from the upper run of said conveyor in said air chamber, and a compressible roller mounted for movement about a horizontal axis and engageable with said upper run of said conveyer in said air chamber and said edge of said rear wall to seal said air chamber from the atmosphere and afford movement of said upper run and fleece on said conveyor beneath said roller and past said rear wall.
9. Apparatus for removing fleece from animal pelts comprising a first conveyor for transporting animal pelts to a cutting station, a fleece cutter at said cutting station,
a second conveyor spaced forwardly of said first conveyor, a bridge located between said first and second conveyors to provide a substantially continuous surface between said conveyors, means adapted to hold the animal pelt to said first conveyor at said cutting station, and pneumatic means for erecting the fibers of the pelt at the cutting station and for pneumatically conveying the intact severed fleece along said bridge to said second conveyor.
10. Apparatus for removing fleece from animal pelts comprising first conveyor means for transporting the animal pelt to a cutting station, second conveyor means, an endless belt cutting knife located at the forward end of said first conveyor means and at said cutting station, means adapted to hold the animal pelt to said first conveyor means at said cutting station, a downwardly open hood located over said cutting station, said hood including a top wall spanning the width of said first conveyor means, a duct connected to said hood, said duct including a top wall which extends from the said top wall of said hood, and side walls which extend from said top wall, a bridge extending between said cutting knife and said second conveyor means and connected to said side walls of said duct, and pneumatic means for providing an air flow in said hood to erect the fibers of a fleece and for conveying the severed fleece along said bridge to said second conveyor means.
11. The method of severing fleece from the pelt of an animal comprising the steps of moving a pelt along a conveyor while holding the pelt firmly by suction, cutting the fibers from the skin in the form of an intact fleece, and pneumatically conveying the intact fleece beyond the conveyor with the natural orientation and position of the prime portions of the fleece maintained with respect to the inferior portions.
12. The method of severing fibers from the pelt of an animal in accordance with claim 11 including the additional step of delivering the fleece to an inspection and skirting station for skirting the prime portions of the fleece from the inferior portions of the fleece.
13. The method of severing fleece from the pelt of an animal in accordance with claim 11, including the step of bending the pelt, erecting the fibers at the bend and wherein the fibers are cut from the skin while said pelt is bent.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 978,217 12/1910 Ryan l9-2 1,278,537 9/1918 Wegner. 1,895,843 1/1933 Boyd 26--15 XR 2,143,422 1/1939 Plass 19--2 2,387,579 10/1945 Griflin et al. 26-15 FOREIGN PATENTS 628,031 6/ 1927 France.
1,482 1890 Great Britain. 668,004 3/1952 Great Britain.
DORSEY NEWTON, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 69--25 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 5,535 71m Dated October 7, 97
Inventor(s) Owen T Reise It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 4, Line 37, or bridge should be inserted between the words "ramp" and "which" W332i h'fi'i) Jul:
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Attesting Officer '-Z a. Oomissioner of Pam