US 3559804 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent  Inventor Kenneth G. Lytton Gastonia. N.C.  Appl. No. 769,521 g [221 Filed Oct.22, 1968 (45] Patented Feb. 2, 1971  Assignee Fiber Controls Corporation Gastonia, N.C. a corporation of North Carolina  FIBER CLEANER 10 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
[52} US. Cl 209/3, 209/250, 209/283. 209/394: 19/93, 19/95, 19/205  lnt.Cl B07b 9/00  Field of Search 209/132- l35,l42, 143, 250, 281, 283, 394; 19/93-95. 204, 205 [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,357,124 10/1920 Stacy 19/93 1,680,978 8/1928 Garner 209/135 2,148,184 2/1939 Baker.. 209/250 3,374,505 3/1968 Neitzel et a1 209/25OX FOREIGN PATENTS 1,284,843 1/1962 France 19/95 265,130 8/1927 Great Britain 19/95 Primary ExaminerFrank W. Lutter Assistant Examiner-R. J. Hill Alt0rne vCushman, Darby & Cushman ABSTRACT: A fiber cleaning machine adapted to be placed in a pneumatic fiber carrying conduit leading to equipment for processing cotton or other fibers. Except for inlet and outlet openings in opposite ends of the machine casing for receiving the fibers to be cleaned and for passing the cleaned fibers from the machine, respectively, the casing is airtight. Between the inlet and outlet openings is a straight channel establishing a path for the air to pass through the machine. Along that path, the air channel has a cross-sectional area at least twice as large as the inlet or outlet opening, thereby decreasing the air velocity in the channel to one-fourth the incoming and outgoing velocities. This establishes a substantially dead air space below the air channel, which is mostly open on its lower side. Below the air channel are two beater-type cleaning cylinders rotatably mounted through the casing of the machine in the dead air space to allow their cleaning operation to be accomplished without being disturbed by the overhead, slowed airflow through the machine. Arcuate grids made up of parallel bars are placed below the lower surfaces of each of the cleaning cylinders. The grid bars constituting each of the grids are simultaneously rotatable to increase or decrease the distance between each of the bars and correspondingly change the upward rake angle of pointed edges extending laterally from the tops of each of the grid bars. Below the cleaning cylinders and grids is an air tight trash removal area.
- 'PATENTEU FEB exam I 3 3 SHEET 1 UF 2 INVENTOR 44 .J A QWeZZGY Z'ZWY ATTORNEY:
FIBER CLEANER PREAMBLE This invention relates to a machine for cleaning textile fibers, particularly natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, hemp, or other fibers that have extraneous material in them which can be extracted by centrifugal force.
Machines of the type to which my invention is directed are conventionally placed in a suction or forced air line which transports natural fibers between processing machinery. Such fibers usually contain foreign matter, such as dirt, sand, rocks or the like, and this material must be removed from the fibers before it can be processed. Conventional cleaning machinery generally utilizes at least two beater cylinders having pins or pointed members extending radially from the surfaces thereof or just having arms extending radially from a shaft. The pins, pointed members or arms catch the fibers flowing through the machine in the airstream and loosen them so that the foreign matter will fall from the fibers or be forced from them by centrifugal force. A screen, grid, or the like is placed under the beaters in such a manner that the fibers are driven against and raked over it by the rotating beaters. The fibers, being of light weight, merely pass over the screen or grid while the foreign matter, which is heavier, drops through it falling into a hopper for removal from the machine.
In the prior art machines of this nature the beater cylinders have generally been placed directly in the air path through the machine. As the foreign matter is worked loose from the fibers, the airstream through the machine tends to stir it around rather than allowing it to fall through the grate below the heaters. There is therefore a tendency for some of the foreign matter to be recombined with the fibers, making the cleaning operation taking place in the machine less than efficient. A further significant problem also encountered in such machines has been abrasion between the rotating or stationary metal parts and the trash, particularly the metal trash. It is apparent that such abrasions present a severe fire hazard in a fibrous atmosphere.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a machine for cleaning and opening fibers in which the actual cleaning operation takes place in a substantially dead air space undisturbed by overhead airflow which is considerably slowed through the machine by an enlarged air channel.
It is another object of this invention to provide a machine for cleaning fibers of the type having rotating cylinders with a grid or grate means placed therebelow in which the fire hazard from abrasions between the rotating cylinders or grid or grate means and trash is significantly reduced.
A further object of this invention is to provide a machine for cleaning fibers fulfilling the aforementioned objects and in which the area of the openings in the screen, grid, grate or the like below the beater cylinders is variable and in which these variations can be made simultaneously.
The aforementioned and other objects may be obtained in a fiber cleaning machine the features, advantages and aspects of which may be learned by reference to the detailed description of the preferred embodiment hereinbelow, and the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation view partially broken away of a preferred embodiment of the fiber cleaning machine of this invention,
FIG. 2 is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 1, and
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The preferred embodiment of this invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 with the numeral indicating the fiber cleaning machinein its entirety. Fiber cleaning machine 10 is housed in a casing 12, which has a rectangular plan view (not shown) and which is airtight except for the top portion of front and rear sides or ends in which are equal size inlet and outlet openings 13a and 13b, respectively. These openings permit connection of the fiber cleaning machine to a forced air or suction line which transports fibers which often contain foreign matter to processing machinery. In fiber cleaning machine 10, the airflow therethrough between openings 13a and 13b is rightwardly in FIG. I, as indicated by the direction of the arrow in the top portion of the casing. Therefore, fibers to be cleaned are introduced into machine 10 through opening 13a, and the cleaned fibers are conveyed from machine 10 from opening 13b. Although not always necessary, a deflector plate 14 is placed in the top corner of casing 12 nearest opening 13a for the purpose of deflecting the entering fibers downward.
Extending straight between irilet opening 13a and outlet opening 13b is an air channel 15, which is mostly open on its bottom side but which immediately at least doubles in height from either of those openings throughout its length therebetween, as most noticeable perhaps at plate 22. Since the width of channel 15 remains the same, its doubled crosssectional area reduces the air velocity to one-fourth of the inlet and outlet velocity, thereby causing the volume below channel 15 to be substantially a dead air space. For example, fiber is conventionally carried pneumatically at the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 ft./min. in a 12 inch diameter conduit which is approximately one square foot in cross section. If inlet 13a is 6 inches high by 4 feet in width to effect 2 square feet, transition from the conduit to the inlet reduces the air-fiber velocity to 500 to 750 ft./min. A further doubling of the cross-sectional area in channel 15 at plate 22 reduces the air velocity to 125 --l ft./min. (about I 2 mi./hr.) which causes all the space below channel 15 from inlet 13a to outlet 13b to be substantially dead air space especially since it is airtight.
Beater type cleaning cylinders 16 and 18 are disposed in that dead air space below channel 15 and thus are below the path of the airflow through casing 12 between openings 13a and 13b, and in fact they may be considered along with plate 22 to form substantially the lower boundary for channel 15 through casing 12. Cylinders l6 and 18 extend substantially the full width of casing 12 on respective shafts l6 and 18' journaled in both the left and right sides of the casing (considering the front end in FIG. 1 as the side containing inlet 13a). The axes of cylinders 16 and 18 are parallel and coplanar, and these cylinders rotate in the same direction, i.e., downward on the inlet side and upward on the outlet side, which in FIG. 1 is counterclockwise as shown. On the surfaces of cylinders 16 and 18 are mounted radially extending stainless steel pins 17 and 19, respectively. Pins 17 and 19 are located on their respective cylinders 16 and 18, in a spaced relationship and may be placed longitudinally spirally around the surfaces of the cylinders. Cylinders 16 and 18 are driven at different speeds by a motor 20 mounted on top of casing 12 and belt 21, preferably at different speeds by use of different size pulleys 17' and 19 on their respective shafts 16' and 18' for more efficient cleaning. In a presently preferred embodiment, the rotational speed of cylinder 16 is 480 r.p.m., and the rotational speed of cylinder 18 is 610 r.p.m. An exemplary diameter for cylinders 16 and 18 is 24 inches with pins 17 and 19 extending outward therefrom approximately 2 inches. The center to center distance of cylinders 16 and 18 may be 30 inches so that the distance between the outer ends of radial pins 17 and 19 on a line between the centers of the cylinders is, for example, approximately 2 inches.
Horizontal plate 22, which may have a front to rear length of 10 inches for example, extends the width of easing l2parallel to cylinders 16 and 18 in a substantially tangential relationship to the top peripheral surfaces of both of the cylinders and aids in preventing air from flowing down between cylinders 16 and 18. Other and perhaps more important purposes of horizontal plate 22 are to give support to and prevent vibration and the like of a vertical fiber and air transfer plate 23 which extends the width of casing 12 and downward from horizontal plate 22 a distance in the range of about one-fourth to about three-fourths or so of the diameter of the beater cylinders, preferably about halfway. but its lower end may be approximately one inch from the tip of pins 17 and 19 on a radial line therethrough. In any event, plate 23 is so positioned that it helps to remove and transfers the centrifugally thrown fibers and air from cylinder 16 to cylinder 18 for further cleaning of the fibers thereby. On the output side of cylinder 18, an inclined deflection plate 24, which extends the width of casing 12. is placed in close proximity (e.g. one inch) to cylinder 18 to guide the centrifugally thrown fibers toward outlet 13b and to help remove any fibers from cylinder 18 which are not thrown therefrom by centrifugal force. The upper end of plate 24 reduces the height of channel 15, for example from l2 inches at plate 22 to 8 inches at plate 24, thereby increasing the airspeed near the outlet to aid in fiber removal via exit 13b.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, arcuate grids 25a and 25b, which are almost concentric with the respective cylinders 16 and 18, and include a plurality of parallel elongated bars 26 substantially of rectangular cross section are located below and closely surround the lower peripheral surfaces of cylinders l6 and 18, respectively. The grids extend, for example, 60 from either side of a vertical radial line of the respective cylinders. Grid bars 26 are so disposed that the distance from the radial pins 17 and 19, respectively, to the leftmost end of each of the grids, as viewed in FIG. 1, is greater than the distance between the radial pins and the grids at the rightmost ends of the grids. In a presently preferred embodiment, the distance between radial pins 17 and the grid 250 at the leftmost end of that grid is approximately 1% inches, while the distance between the radial pins and the grids at the rightmost end of that grid is approximately three-fourth inch. For the second cylinder 18, however, preferably the distance between radial pins 19 and grid 25b tapers in the same manner (left to right in FIG. 1) from a distance of approximately three-fourths inch (at which distance the first grid left off) to a distance of approximately one-fourth inch to effect finer cleaning.
For reasons apparent below, each of the grid bars 26 has a pointed edge 27 extending laterally from the tops thereof in a direction opposite the direction of rotation of beater cylinders 16 and 18. Preferably, grid bars 26 are made of aluminum with radial pins 17 and 19 being made of stainless steel yielding a combination which, if the two should happen to make contact with each other, or if abrasions be effected therebetween by metal trash or the like, will generate no sparks thereby reducing the fire hazard in fiber cleaning machine 10.
As shown in FIG. 3, grid bars 26 are pivotally mounted to casing 12 as by bolts or screws 28 in each end thereof. Each of the grid bars 26 for grid 25a in FIGS. 13 is attached to an arcuate frame member 30, while the bars of frame 25b are attached to arcuate frame member 31 under cylinder 18. Attachment between a grid bar and its frame member is effected by a clevis 32 which is screwed or bolted to the bottom side of a bar 26. The forked end of clevis 32 extends downwardly around member 30 which is pivotally attached thereto by bolt 33. Frame members 30 and 31 are connected at their centers (in a manner more fully explained below) to exterior rotatable handle 34 and 35, respectively, which when rotated cause the frame means to move laterally up to in either direction. This lateral movement of frame members 30 and 31 causes grid bars 26 to pivot, thus either increasing or decreasing, depending on the direction of movement of the frame members,
' the spacing between the grid bars and either increasing or decreasing the upward angle of pointed edges 27 to accommodate various types of fibers and regulate the desired degree of cleaning.
Extending downward from the grids is an airtight hopper 38 which receives all of the foreign matter falling between grid bars 26. Hopper 38 tapers downward to a trough 39 which extends the full width of casing and therethrough and effectively beyond a distance of 8 inches or so. The exterior extension of trough 39 is made airtight by an integral cover or housing 41 secured to casing 12. Disposed in trough 39 is a screw conveyor 42 which extends the width of casing 12 and exteriorally thereof to carry the foreign matter outwardly to outlet 40 in the lower portion of the exterior extension of trough 39. In airtight cooperation with outlet 40 is a bucket valve 43 rotatably mounted in its own casing to remove the foreign matter from fiber cleaning machine 10 via its outlet 44 to the floor or to a pneumatic suction line if desired. Bucket valve 43 contains radially extending flexible flaps 45 which provide successive pockets for the removal of the foreign matter while providing an airtight seal for outlet 40 preventing air from entering therein and into the vacuum created in hopper 38 by entrainment to the airflow between openings 13a and 13b Screw conveyor 42 and valve 43 are operated at desired speeds by equipment (not shown) such as a motor operating through sprockets and chains to turn the conveyor screw at 230 r.p.m. and valve 43 at 67% r.p.m., for example. This conveyor-valve motor may have a separate switch for cleaning out hopper 38 or not at any desired time without bothering the continuous and efficient cleaning operation going on above hopper 38.
FIGS. 2 and 3 show particular details of the grid bars and the movable frame members associated therewith. FIG. 3 includes a side view of the rotatable handle means 34 which moves frame member.30, and in this FIG. frame member 30 is partially shown in cross section. It is to be noted that the details of frame member 31 and handle 35 are the same. Frame member 30 at its center has extending downward therefrom a tab or leg 46 having a vertical slot 47 therein. A pin 48 extending through slot 47 is mounted on a disc 50 eccentrically relative to shaft 52 which extends through a bushing 54, casing 12, index plate 56 and handle hub 58 to nut 60. Index plate is marked at 15 from center zero in cooperation with a red line or pointer 62 on hub 58. Because of the-eccentric location of pin 48 rotation of handle 34 from side to side effects lateral movement of frame member 30, which in turn rotates bars 26 of grid 25a. Slot 47 allows pin 48 to move vertically as is necessary in this case, with respect to tab 46 to cause the desired lateral movement of member 30. When indicator 62 points to 0 on plate 56, the upper surface of bars is substantially perpendicular to a respective radial line from cylinder 16.
In operation the fibers to be cleaned enter fiber cleaning machine 10 by means of forced air suction through opening 13a. TI-Ie fibers are deflected downward by deflecting plate 14 if used, and are pulled downward by pins 17 into the path of counterclockwise rotating beater cylinder 16. Pins 17 rake the fibers over grid bars 26 of grid 25a through which foreign matter or trash falls into hopper 38. As the fibers pass the end of grid 251, they are centrifugally thrown off and transferred by plate 23 to beater cylinder 18, pins 19 of which grasp the fibers and pass them over the second and closer grid or grate 25b for a further and finer cleaning operation. Plate 23 also helps to insure that all fibers are transferred to beater cylinder 18 so that they do not become entangled around beater cylinder 16. A combination of centrifugal force and deflecting plate 24 causes the cleaned fibers to be thrown from beater cylinder 18 and picked up by the air stream through the top of casing 12 for removal from fiber cleaning machine 10 through opening 13b.
It is emphasized that because of the placement of beater cylinders 16 and 18 below the path 15 of airflow through casing 12, the cleaning operation performed by the beater cylinders is not disturbed by the airflow between openings 13a and 13b. Furthermore, because the distance from the top of casing 12 to horizontal plate 22 exceeds the heights of outlets 13a and 13b, respectively, the velocity of airflow through casing 12 is decreased substantially (by the square of the height change ratio) thereby further decreasing the air disturbance of the cleaning operation. The velocity of airflow through casing 12 is, however, sufficient to create a vacuum in hopper 38 by entrainment. This effect allows the foreign matter to fall directly into outlet 40 without being disturbed, stirred up or buoyed by air in hopper 38. The result of the aforementioned features is that fibers introduced into machine 10 are more efficiently cleaned because foreign matter is allowed to fall directly therefrom without being blown about and possible blown back into the fibers. as would be the case in the prior art fiber cleaning machines discussed hereinabove.
It is further noted that a plurality of the fiber cleaning machines of this invention can be directly placed in series if more than one cleaning operation is required.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the foregoing description of this invention is only exemplary and that modifications can be made in the elements of the structure and their arrangement within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A machine for cleaning fibers comprising:
an air tight casing having open inlet and outlet means;
first and second cleaning cylinders respectively adjacent said inlet and outlet means and being mounted adjacent and parallel at substantially the same height within said casing for rotation in the same direction and having a plurality of cleaning pins extending from the surfaces thereof;
said inlet means and outlet means being in opposite ends of said casing for receiving fibers into and passing fibers from said machine, respectively; means in combination with said cleaning cylinders and said casing substantially forming a channel extending between said inlet and outlet means and substantially completely above and transverse to said cleaning cylinders for establishing a path for air flow through said casing; said channel having at least midway a cross-sectional area which is substantially larger than the cross-sectional area of either said inlet or outlet means to cause the air velocity in and below said channel to be greatly reduced;
first and second arcuate cleaning grids closely surrounding the lower peripheral surfaces of said first and second beater cylinders, respectively, on the under sides of said cylinders and including a plurality of elongated grid bars mounted in said casing in spaced relation to each other an parallel to said cylinders for cooperating therewith to cause foreign matter in said fibers to fall through said grids; and
means for removing from said machine foreign matter under said grids.
2. The fiber cleaning machine of claim 1 in which said radially extending pins are made of stainless steel and said grid bars are made of aluminum permitting said pins and said grid bars to withstand abrasion and prevent spark generation.
3. The fiber cleaning machine of claim 1 in which each of said grids are mounted so that the distance from said pins on each of said cylinders to the respective grid progressively decreases in the direction of rotation of each said cylinder.
4. The fiber cleaning machine of claim 3 including means for rotating the second cylinder faster than the first cylinder for a more efficient cleaning operation.
5. The fiber cleaning machine of claim I in which at least the central cross-sectional area of said channel is at least about twice the cross-sectional areas of either said inlet or outlet means for decreasing the flow velocity of air in said machine by at least about one fourth in relation to the flow velocities through said inlet and outlet means.
6. The fiber cleaning machine of claim 1 including means adjacent the downstream side of the second cylinder for reducing the cross-sectional area of said channel towards the cross-sectional area of said outlet means to increase the channel air velocity and aid in extracting and guiding the cleaned fibers from said second cylinder to said outlet means.
7. The fiber cleaning machine of claim 1 including means extending vertically between said cylinders in the upper half area thereof for aiding transfer of fibers and air from said first cylinder to said second cylinder.
8. THe fiber cleaning machine of claim 1 in which said grid bars are rotatable about their respective longitudinal axes and said machine has in addition first means for rotating the first grid bars simultaneously in the same direction and second means for rotating the second grid bars simultaneously in the same direction.
9. THe fiber cleaning machine of claim 8 in which each of said means for rotating the grid bars comprises an arcuate frame means having said grid bars pivotally attached thereto in a spaced relationship and to the sides of said grid bars opposite the sides facing said beater cylinder and a rotatable handle means extending exteriorially of said casing to cause said frame means to move laterally.
10. In a machine for cleaning fibers of the type for use in a suction line connected to further processing machinery and having rotatable cleaning cylinder means below which is disposed cleaning grid means, the improvement comprising:
means substantially forming an elongated air channel disposed substantially completely above and transverse to said cylinder means;
fiber-air inlet and outlet means at opposite ends of said channel forming means;
said channel having substantially throughout its length a cross-sectional area substantially larger than the crosssectional area of either said inlet or outlet means for greatly reducing the air velocity in and below said channel to cause the cleaning effected by cylinder and grid fneans to be performed undisturbed by the air flowing from said inlet to outlet means; and
housing means airtight except for said inlet and outlet means for housing said cylinder, grid and channel forming means.