US 3546846 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 15,197()v 1F. 1'. sans 3,546,846 METHOD AND APPARATS FOR PACKAGING FIBRoUs MATERIAL Filed nu. 29. 1965 n 2 sheets-sheet 1 I s' INVENTOR.
ATTORNEYS `v F. T. SENS Dec. l5, 1970 A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING FIBROUS MATERIAL Filed DEC. 29, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVNTUR. FRED 7 5EA/5 ATTORNEYS 3,546,846 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING FIBRQUS MATERIAL Fred T. Sens, Newark, Ohio, assignor to QWenS-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 29, 1965, Ser. No. 526,929 Int. Cl. B65b 1/26, .7l/50 U.S. Cl. 53-24 11 Claims ABSTRACT F' THE DHSCLOSURE This invention relates to a method and apparatus for packaging material in general and, particularly, to a method and means of handling and packaging lengths of fibrous material in a rolled-up form or in a fiat stacked relationship in a manner facilitating handling and transportation of such material. The invention relates further to a product resulting from the novel method and apparatus disclosed herein which may be used as a building component or in insulation applications.
It has been conventional practice in packaging or preparing brous material, as for example, materials formed of glass fibers especially usable for insulation purposes, to roll predetermined lengths of fibrous mats in spiral fashion around a mandrel, while mechanically compressing the spiral roll by rollers or other means as the mandrel is rotated and encircle the finished spiral roll with a sleeve or other holding means to retain the spiral roll in its packaged configuration for shipping and handling. As an alternative, stacks of lengths of fibrous material have been mechanically compressed and inserted into a sleeve or envelope for shipping and handling.
The above methods have been in broad use for quite a While, but attempts to decrease the size of the spiral roll or the height of the flat stacks in order to better facilitate handling and to save on shipping costs and storage space have not been too successful heretofore., Difficulties have been encountered since exteriorly applied compression to the spiral rolled lengths of fibrous material or stacks of fiat fibrous material results in nonuniform compression of the material and in many instances a portion of the length may be compressed to a degree sufficient to break or fracture the individual fibers thus reducing the resiliency of the length of material when unrolled. When such lengths of fibrous material are unpacked for application and use, the fibers, if crushed or broken, will not spring back or revert to their normal expanded condition. The crushing or breaking of the fibers substantially reduces the insulating value, rendering the length of fibrous materials unsatisfactory and inefficient for the purpose intended. Further, when the exterior compressive forces have been applied to a loose spiral roll, the convolutions of the rolled-up fibrous materials or mat were unevenly compressed, the backing paper becoming wrinkled or torn and generally exhibiting a tendency to funnel in toward nit-.ed States arent the center, causing objectionable bulges in the fibrous material.
It is, accordingly, an object of this invention to provide an improved means and method for handling and packaging materials.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved means and method for packaging fibrous materials which enables the packaging of more fibrous materials within the same volume occupied by a similar previous package Without breaking or mechanically damaging the fibers and thus not reducing the insulating value nor the resiliency of such material so that the fibers will spring back to their normal expanded condition when the fibrous materials are removed from the package.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved product resulting from the novel method and means described herein for packaging lengths of fibrous material, which product may be used as a building component or used as packaged insulation.
The invention thus features a method for packaging lengths of fibrous material which comprises the steps of providing an air impervious backing for a length of fibrous material, evacuating air from Within the interior of said fibrous material to compress the fibrous material, applying an air impervious top cover over said fibrous material, and edge-sealing the top cover and the backing together to retain the fibrous material in the evacuated and compressed state. The step of providing an air impervious backing may include the steps of advancing a sheet of backing material into engagement with and in synchronism with the advancement of a length of fibrous material and applying adhesive to one of the backing and fibrous materials before engagement of the two materials. The backing and fibrous materials may be pressed together after engagement to insure adhesion. If the product is to be used as a building cornponent, or in other applications in which a structural type package is desired, both the top cover and the backing may be adhered to the fibrous material to provide a package structure having an improved bulk modulus. The fibrous material may advantageously be mechanically compressed at the same time or immediately after the air is evacuated from within the interior of the brous material.
The invention also features apparatus for carrying out the novel method of packaging lengths of fibrous material which includes means for delivering a length of fibrous material With an air impervious backing, means for evacuating air from Within the interior of the firous material, means for applying an air impervious top cover over the evacuated fibrous material and means for sealing the top cover to the backing to retain the fibrous mass evacuated. The delivery means may include means for advancing a length of fibrous material into engagement with and in synchronism with the advancement of a sheet of backing material and means for adhering the backing to the fibrous material. The adhering means may include roller means adapted to press the edges of the backing and fibrous materials and means for pressing the backing and fibrous materials together. The delivery means may also include a conveyor means having a conveyor belt and means for removably coupling the backing to the belt for advancement of the backing. The coupling means advantageously may include suction means disposed beneath the belt, the belt being of a foraminous nature so that suction is applied to the backing holding the backing to the belt. The air evacuating means may include suction chambers disposed along the length of the conveyor means and adapted to withdraw air from the edges of the length of fibrous material. Air barrier means may be disposed on top of the length of brous material and between the air evacuation suction chambers to prevent atmospheric or ambient air from replacing the air evacuated from within the interior of the fibrous mass. In another embodiment, the air evacuating means may comprise an air evacuating hood adapted to t over the exposed top and edges of the advancing length of fibrous material.
The top cover applying means of the apparatus herein may include means for dispensing a cover sheet on top f the fibrous length immediately after evacuation of air from within the interior of the fibrous mass. Mechanical compression means adapted to receive the evacuated mass and the dispensed cover sheet may be used to retain compression of the brous mass while the top cover and the backing are sealed together. The sealing means may include roller means adapted to press the edges of the backing means and the top cover means together for sealing. The compression may include compression roller means disposed intermediate the edge sealing roller means and adapted to hold the fibrous mass compressed after evacuation. Means may be provided for adhering both the backing and the top cover to the brous mass to provide a structural bulk modulus to the package.
The invention further features a product resulting from the above method and means which comprises a compressed length of fibrous material having a backing means and a top cover means sealing the fibrous material therebetween. Air is preferably evacuated from within the interior of the librous material, and the backing and top cover are air impervious to retain the evacuated state. One or both of the backing and top cover means may advantageously be made from or include radiation reflecting materials to aid in retaining heat or other radiated waves within or without an enclosure. In one embodiment of the product, the seal effected between the backing and the top cover means may be made breakable or puncturable to allow expansion of the fibrous material to its normal size. The seal may be effected between -aps eX- tending from the backing means and cover means, the aps becoming support means for installation of the product when the seal is broken. The backing means may also be a substantially rigid material such as paneling or siding so that the product may be used directly as a building component.
Other objects, advantages, and features of this invention will become apparent when the following description is taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a side elevational view of apparatus embodying the teachings of this invention and for carrying out the method and making the product of this invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevational view of a portion of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. .1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 illustrating the operation thereof and showing additional components utilized therein;
FIG. 4 is an end view of a process conveyor and compression means utilized in this invention;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 3 taken along lines V--V;
FIG. 6 is a View in perspective of an air barrier means utilized in this invention; and
FIG. 7 is a view in perspective of a second embodiment 0f the teachings of this invention.
The present invention is described with reference to compacting and packaging lengths of fibrous material in mass formation such as iibrous materials formed from glass, slag, fusible rock or the like. The manufacture of lengths of brous materials have been carried on for several years, and such lengths have been used extensively for heating and acoustic insulation in buildings as well as heat insulation in appliances such as refrigerators, freezing units, ranges and water heaters and in other places where heat loss or heat transfer is to be avoided as far as possible.
Lengths of fibrous material of this character may be formed by attenuation of fiber-forming material by high velocity gaseous blasts in a manner wherein the libers are accumulated in haphazard or random assembly into a mass or mat of substantial thickness. The fact that the lengths of the mats of fibrous material are necessarily thick in order to obtain high insulating or sound-attenuating eiliciency increases the cost of transportation and storage because of the bulk of the fibrous masses or mat lengths. While the mats are comparatively light in weight, they normally occupy a comparatively large volume per unit of weight.
As discussed hereinbefore, several methods of packaging have been tried and used with varying degrees of success. The major diiculty in most previous methods of packaging was that in mechanically compressing the mats to a degree where economical transportation was afforded there was sometimes resultant fiber breakage by the compression methods and apparatus used which reduced the insulating value and the ability of the fibers to spring back. It has been discovered that fibrous mats may have the air evacuated from within the mass of fibrous materials and greater compression is attained without the breakage of the fibers comprising the mass.
Referring to FIG. l there is illustrated a side elevational view of the novel apparatus for carrying out the novel method of this invention to provide the new product described herein. At the left of FIG. 1 there is illustrated a delivery conveyor 10 which may be a part of any of a number of suitable mat forming lines Well known in the art. A continuous mat 11 may be advanced along conveyor 10 and guided between parting rolls 15, 16. The function of parting rolls 15, 16 is well known in the art and will not be described in detail here. However, motor or other means 17, 18 are utilized to drive parting rolls 1S, 16 respectively. The rolls 15 and 16 are rotated in a direction to further the advancement of the continuous mat 11 toward the processing area.
If pelts or shorter lengths of the mat 11 are desired, the motor means 17 or gearing means connecting the motor means 17 and the parting rolls 15 are reversed, backing up the oncoming continuous mat 11 in an accumulation loop 12. This backing up action in conjunction with the continuing forward action of the parting rolls 16 is suflicient to part the continuous mat 11 into pelts 11a if the parting sequence is repeated periodically.
In this embodiment of the teachings of this invention a delivery conveyor 19 then delivers the pelts 11a1 to the processing station at the left of FIG. l. Although in many instances it may be desirable to utilize pelts already having a backing applied thereto before the packaging process, there is shown in FIG. 1 a continuous line operation suitable for use in conjunction with the continuous mat forming operation. The conveyor means 20 has a foraminous belts 21 mounted on conveyor rollers 22, 23 and is adapted to receive a pelt 11a. In addition, the conveyor 20 is adapted to receive a backing sheet 33 from a dispensing station 30. The dispensing station 30 comprises in this instance a roll of backing material 31 mounted on a shaft 32. The shaft 32 may journally be mounted to rotate freely if means are provided to guide the sheet 33 onto conveyor 20 where it will become removably couple-d therewith, or driving means may be attached to shaft 32 to advance the sheet 33 in synchronism with the advancement of the pelt 11a.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3 it will be noted that a suction chamber 60 is disposed beneath the upper side of the loop of the belt 21. The suction chamber 60 has a plurality of perforations or apertures 63 formed in the upper side thereof which are adapted to exert a negative pressure at the surface of the foraminous belt, thereby removably coupling the backing sheet 33 thereto and advancing it in synchronism with the movement of the belt 21. To provide the suction or negative pressure a conduit means 64 is shown in FIG. 5 for connecting the plenum or suction chamber 60 to a suitable negative pressure source.
It is generally desirable to adhere the backing sheet 33 to the pelt 11m of fibrous material and this may be accomplished by the use of an adhesive applicator 34 situated intermediate the delivery conveyor 19 and the process conveyor 20. Adhesive applicators of this nature are Well known and will not be described in detail here. However, an adhesive is generally applied across the entire width of the sheet 33 so that when the pelt 11a engages the backing 33 the two will become adhered. An adhesive may also be sprayed or otherwise applied to the pelt 11a but it has been generally found that sufficient adherence is obtained by the method shown. In order to insure adherence of the backing and the length of fibrous material 11a, a compression roller 36 may be utilized to press the length of fibrous material and the backing together shortly after engagement of the two materials.
The length of fibrous material 11a adhered to the backing 33 is now advanced by conveyor 21 past air evacuating means generally indicated at 40. Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 5 in particular, it will be noted that the air evacuating means may include suction or negative pressure chambers or plenums 41, 42 disposed along the length of the conveyor belt 21 and adapted to remove air from within the interior of the pelt 11a via apertures or slots 43 formed in the conveyor side of the suction chambers 41, 42. Conduits 44, 45 are shown in FIG. 5 for connecting the suction chambers 41, 42 to suitable sources of negative pressure.
In order to aid the evacuation of air from the pelt 11a, an air barrier means 70 is placed upon the top of the pelt 11a to prevent ambient air from replacing the air evacuated from within the fibrous material. Referring to FIGS. 3, 5 and 6 in particular, it will be noted that the air barrier means 70 comprises in this instance a sled-like affair having a bottom wall 71 and upstanding side walls 72. The bottom wall 71 is of sufficient width to allow the air barrier means 70 to t snugly between the suction chambers 41, 42. The upstanding side walls 72 operate to effectively close off and thus regulate the air flow through apertures 43 when the thickness of the pelt 11a is reduced and the sled 70 lowers between plenums 41, 42. This permits the lower portions of the slot-like apertures 43 i to apply more suction to the reduced thickness of the pelt 11a, thereby withdrawing more air and compressing the pelt further. It will be noted that the bottom wall 71 curves upwardly at 74 at the rear of the air barrier means to aid in starting the pelt 11a beneath the air barrier means 70. At the forward portion the bottom wall 71 is curved upwardly in a lip 73 to avoid possible fracturing of the fibers due to the sudden release of the compressed mat in the short space before mechanical compression is applied again to the compressed mat.
It will be noted that rollers means 75 are journally supported on upstanding sides 72 of the air barrier means 70 to prevent the air barrier means 70 from sliding too far down between the suction chambers 41, 42. This prevents an over compression of the mat by the withdrawal of air from within the interior of the fibrous materials which might result in the crushing or breaking of some of the fibrous. Stops 46 may be advantageously placed on the delivery end of suction chambers 41, 42 to engage the forward roller 75 and prevent the air barrier means from accidentally interfering with the dispensing of the top cover onto the evacuated fibrous mass. To assist in the control of the air barrier a line 76 may be secured to the air barrier 70 and guided over a pulley means 77 and secured via spring or dampering means 78 to a stationary 6 surface. This affords some freedom of action of the air barrier means 70 within the limits prescribed by the elasticity of the means 78 and the stop means 46, without requiring an operator to continuously supervise the disposition of the air barrier means 70. The weight of the air barrier means may be made such to add mechanical compression to the mat 11a in addition to the compression provided by the evacuation of air from the interior thereof. Since the air barrier means 70 is in a sled-like form, Weights may be placed within the sled formed by the bottom and upstanding walls. In normal operation, however, additional weights or mechanical compression is neither required nor desirable.
In the embodiment shown herein a top cover sheet 53 is applied from a dispensing station 50 which includes a roll of top cover material mounted on a shaft 52. A with the backing material 33 the dispensing may be accomplished by the pull of edge-seal rollers to be discussed hereinafter or the shaft 52 may be driven at a speed desired. The top cover sheet 53 is thus dispensed from roll 51 on top of the evacuated pelt 11a. It will be noted in FIG. 5 that the backing sheet 33 has flaps extending on each side of the fibrous material and under the vacuum chambers 41, 42. The top cover or sheet 53 is similarly made wider than the pelt being evacuated so that the extensions or flaps may be sealed to the similarly extending iiaps of the backing 33 to retain the evacuated state of the pelt 11a.
A combination compression, edge-sealer roller means is utilized after the air is evacuated from within the interior of the mat. The combination roller 90 is best seen in FIG. 4 and comprises edge-sealing roller means 91 which are larger in diameter than the compression roller means 92 disposed intermediate the edge-sealer roller means 91. The bulk of the mat 11a is thus received between the conveyor 21 and the roller means 92 while the edge-sealer rolls 91 ride on the conveyor 21 and are operative to press the edge of the top cover 53 into engagement with the edges of the backing 33. When using certain types of backing and top cover material a seal may be obtained by heating the edge-sealing rolls 91. In this particular embodiment, there is shown an adhesive applicator station 54 for applying adhesive to the edges of the top cover sheet 53 to secure the edges of the top cover sheet 53 and the backing 33 together.
When the process is initially started, a short section of the backing 33 is started on conveyor 20 before a pelt 11a arrives. This provides a forward iiap which may be utilized for sealing with a similarly previously started portion of the top cover 53. Adhesive for sealing these two forward fiaps together may be applied by the applicator stations 54 or 34 or, a heat seal may be utilized with certain films or plastics. There will be no requirement to press the forward flaps of the backing 33 and the top cover 53 together since the evacuation of air from the mat 11a in combination with the edge-sealing described hereinbefore is sufiicient to draw the forward aps of the backing 33 and top cover 53 together for sealing. If pressure is desired, pressure rolls may be placed forward of the combination roller 90. In a process reverse of that just described, a rear flap of the backing roll 33 and of the top cover 53 may be dispensed and similarly sealed.
There has thus been provided a package of fibrous material which is compressed by air evacuation and retained in its compressed state by the sealing of a backing and a top cover together. The compressed pelts 11a may be further packaged by winding on a mandrel if the length makes this desirable, or a plurality of the compressed pelts 11a may be stacked and retained in their compressed position by an envelope, sleeve or bag holding the pelts. In either final packaging step it is obvious that many more lengths of fibrous material may be stored, shipped or handled in the same space required for previous methods of packaging, without the dangers of rupture, breaking or otherwise damaging the fibrous material.
The final use of the packaged material resulting from the above novel method and means varies, but it is anticipated that a substantial percentage of use would be in building or other insulation installations. With the final use of the product in mind, it may be desirable to vary the materials from which the backing and top cover are made. For example, the backing 33 may include a foil or other radiation reflective material to reflect heat or other radiated waves to confine them within or keep them without an enclosure. If additional reiiective properties are desirable, the top cover 53 may also be of a radiation reliec-tive material. When the product reaches the final installation point, the sides or iiaps of the sealing material may be slit to allow the pelt 11a to expand to its normal size. The fiaps remaining from the slits or puncturing of the sides may be utilized for stapling, nailing or otherwise securing theinsulation in place. In some instances, such as appliance installations, it may be desirable to have a more dense, compact package for installation and the sides not be cut or punctured and the mat installed as it is received from the packaging apparatus.
It is to be noted that although a fiexible backing has been shown that the process may be modified to include a substantially rigid backing such as wallboard, paneling, siding, etc., so that the rigid structural component including the backing and the evacuated pelt secured thereto may be received at the job and directly installed'in place between or on a suitable framework. The refiective coatings may also be added on one or both sides and the seal around the evacuated fibrous material may or may not be punctured, broken or slit depending upon the characteristics desired for the installation. It should further be noted that the backing may be fiexible yet of a sufficiently heavy character to be utilized as structural components within a framework and to present either a pleasing decorative appearance or to provide a waterproofed, weatherproofed surface for use without further additions to the exterior or interior. Such building products could be used in tent-like fashions to provide temporary insulated structures or the like. If the flexible backing is of the heavy character for such uses, it may be desirable to apply adhesive to the entire surfaces of the inside of the top cover 53 and the bottom cover or backing 3 3. This in combination with the binder already present in the mat or pelt 11a will provide a package bulk modulus which will improve its ability to be used as a building component as it is received at the installation.
`Referring to FIG. 7 there is shown a second embodiment of the teachings of this invention in which an alternative air evacuating means 80 is being utilized. The hood type air evacuating means comprises an upper wall 84 and depending side walls 83 to cover the exposed top and side edges of the pelt 11a. A plenum 81 is situated on top of the top wall 84 and communicates with the under surface of the top wall 84 via a plurality of perforations (not shown). A port 82 is connected to a suitable negative pressure source. In operation the air evacuating means 80 draws air from within the interior of the pelt or fibrous material 11a via the perforations communicating with the suction plenum or chamber 81. The top wall 84 may be slanted from a position above the height of the pelt as it advances into the air evacuating hood downwardly toward the height of the completely evacuated pelt as it is received by the compression roller 92. Sufficient suction may be applied via port 82 to completely evacuate the pelt 11a arid thus compress the pelt to the height desired. In addition, the air evacuating hood 84 may be held in its position via suitable framework to apply a mechanical compression as the backing .33 and adhered pelt 11a is advanced by conveyor means 20. Edge sealing and end sealing lis effected in the same manner as described hereinbefore.
In both the systems or methods described herein the packaging conveyors may be run at slightly greater speeds than the delivery conveyors from a continuous mat forming line. This enables the package process conveyors to keep up with the continuous mat line, even though individual pelts are formed from the continuous mat and intervals are provided between the pelts in the packaging process.
What I claim is:
I. A method for packaging individual lengths of compressible integrated glass fiber mats comprising the steps of evacuating air from within the interior of a length of glass fiber mat to compress said mat without breaking individual glass fibers within the mat, applying an air impervious backing to and an air impervious top cover over said length of mat, edge-sealing said backing and said top cover together to retain said length of mat in said evacuated and compressed state, said step of applying an air impervious backing including the step of applying adhesive to one of said backing and integrated mat to adhere said backing to said mat, and utilizing said backing to advance the integrated mat adhered thereto to an air evacuating station and as an air barrier for one side of said mat dui-ing said evacuation step.
2. Apparatus for packaging individual lengths of compressible integrated glass fiber mats comprising means for delivering a length of glass fiber mat with an air impervious backing to an evacuation station, means for evacuating air from within the interior of said glass fiber mat to compress said mat without breaking individual glass fibers within the mat, means for applying an air impervious top cover over said evacuated mat, and means for sealing said top cover to said backing to retain said mat evacuated and compressed.
Apparatus as defined in claim 2 in which said air evacuating means comprises an air evacuating hood adapted to fit over the exposed top and edges of said advancing length of mat.
`4. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 which further includes means for adhering said backing and said top cover to said integrated mat to provide a unitary structural package.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 in which said delivery means includes means for advancing a length of mat into engagement with and in synchronisrn with a sheet of backing material, means for adhering said backing to said mat, and means for advancing said backing to said air evacuation station to permit evacuation of said mat.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim S in which said backing advancing means includes a conveyor means havmg a foraminous conveyor belt and suction means positioned on the opposing side of said belt for removably oupling said backing to said belt for advancement there- 7. Apparatus as defined in claim 6 in which said air evacuating means includes suction chamber means disposed along the length of said conveyor means to withdraw air from the edges of said length of mat.
8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 which further includes air barrier means disposed on top of said length of said mat adjacent said air evacuation suction chamber means.
9. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 in which said top cover applying means includes means for dispensing a cover sheet on top of said length of mat immediately after evacuation of air from within the interior of said length of mat.
a 10. Apparatus as defined in claim 9 in which said backing includes fiaps extending past the edges of said mat and which further includes mechanical compression means adapted to receive said evacuated mat and said dispersed cover sheet to retain compression of said evacuated mat which said top cvore is edge-sealed to said packing aps.
9 11. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 which further includes roller means extending downwardly on each side of said compression means to press the aps of said back* ing means and the edges of said cover means together for References Cited 5 UNITED STATES PATENTS 1/1934 Campbell 161--43X 6/1935 Gerard 156-374X 12/1940 Kuenzii 1611-4311)( 10 12/1958 Gaugler 161-407X 10/1961 Simms et al 161-43X 12/1961 Slayter 156-372X 6/1965 MacDonald 161-44X 0 3,246,443 4/ 1966 Slemmons 53-24X 3,382,643 5/ 1968 Hullhorst et al. 53-24X 3,307,319 3/1967 Christensen et al. 53-24X FOREIGN PATENTS 760,338 10/ 1956 Great Britain 161-43X ROBERT F. BURNETT, Primary Examiner W. A. POWELL, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.