US 3575316 A
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United States Patent References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS  AppLNo. 811,163  Filed Mar. 27, 1969  Patented Apr. 20, 1971 Necchi Societa Per Azioni Pavia, Italy  Assignee 11,947 1l/1901 221/133 3,047,193 7/1963 Broderson.................... 221/200X Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Attorney-Steven, Davis, Miller & Mosher 8 M 1 m m. A 2m, DM A13 M o n P 11]] 23. 333 [.11
ABSTRACT: A button-feeding. means for sewing machines comprising a plurality of button storage tanks and a device for m m s mum  us. 221/133, ele i ly f ing butt n from any on f i nk to the 112/113 machine button clamp.
PATENTED'APR 2 0 I97! SHEET 1 OF 2 INVENTOR NEREO BIANCH! TTORNEYS lHilUT'IXON-FEEDWG MEANS FOR SEWHNG MACHINES The present invention refers to an automatic device for feeding buttons of different types to the button clamp in known sewing machines which are especially adapted to sew buttons onto fabric.
At present there are automatic button-feeding devices for sewing machines which consist of a tank from which buttons are discharged by means of a known drive device, such as a vibrator,'and conveyed along a chute from the end of which they are taken by a lever for loading into a button clamp. To sew different types of buttons onto garments produced in small numbers, it is advantageous to use a single sewing machine provided with an automatic button selector device, especially when the time for presetting the sewing machine for each different type of button is eliminated. In this regard,
buttons may differ from one another in size, shape and color,
provided that the distance between the holes thereof is always the same.
It is well known that, for example, a mans coat is provided with little buttons at the sleeve ends and larger buttons along the coat front. In readymade clothing when the color of the coats is changed, it is necessary to sew onto the sleeve ends buttons of equal size but different in color, in order to match the color of the respective coats. In these cases, the operator, using loading devices known in the art, must remove from the single tank buttons remaining from the previous series of coats and fill said tank with other buttons for the new series of coats, their emptying and refilling operation consuming a relatively enormous amount of time.
An object of the present invention is the avoidance of the aforementioned emptying and refilling operations while changing over from one type (size, shape or color) of button to another. Accordingly, a single machine is provided with a button-feeding means which includes a plurality of button storage tanks which respectively may hold a particular type button different from the other tanks. Further, a selector device is provided which permits the machine operator to easily alternate as to which of the tanks is to feed buttons to the sewing means, specifically to the button clamp of the machine.
Other objects of the present invention are those which are inherent or obvious in the disclosed combination of parts, a preferred embodiment of which is specifically described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. l is a pictorial assembly view of a button-feeding means according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical end view of a portion of the means shown in FIG. ll;
FIG. 3 is a view taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a section view taken along line M in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view of another portion of the means of FIG. l.
With reference to FIG. i, the device of the invention comprises a vibrator Ml, of a type well-known in the art, resting on a base 31, supported by a column 1B rigidly fastened to a base 12 fixed to a table 13 which also supports the sewing-machine, not shown, which is associated with said device.
Button tank 113 rests on plate M rigidly connected to vibrator l0, and on said tank three other tanks 17, 18, 19 are mounted with cylindrical spacers 16 therebetween. Plate M, spacers i6 and tanks l5, l7, 13, 19 are rigidly fastened to one another by means of a tie rod 20 which runs axially along the stack of tanks and is threadably secured to vibrator by turning handgrip M which is rigidly connected with the upper end of said tie rod 265. Vibrations of plate M of vibrator it) are transmitted to all the tanks and urge buttons, stored in them, to rise from the bottom of each tank along a spiral track 22, which is formed aiong the inner tank wall. Buttons, suitably oriented by known means provided in every tank and not shown in the drawings, are conveyed by gravity along chutes 23, 2d, 23 and 26 connected with upper ends of tanks l3, l7, l3, and M respectively.
In the drawings and in the specification, various related constructive details not essential to an understanding of the present invention have not been described although various of such details are disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,390,812.
Chutes 23 to 26 extend vertically into extensions thereof 23 to 26', respectively, which constitute a unitary curvilinear chute body 27 serving to connect the chutes 23 to 26 with the inlet side of selector device 33 which, as is seen in FIG. 1, may be positioned along a different axis and in a different plane from chutes 23-26. A transparent window sheet 28, such as of plexiglass, is secured to body 27 by means of screws 29.
The outlet end of chute body 27 comprises a longitudinal extension 32 (FIG. 2) which extends telescopically into the inlet side of selector device 33. As is seen in FIG. 3, the outlet or lower ends of chutes 23 to 26' lead vertically into the inlet ends of chutes ,23" to 26", respectively, formed in selector device 33. The chutes 23" to 26" in selector device 33 are curvilinear along a wide radius and become horizontal at their outlet ends.
A vertical diaphragm 341, which is stationarily fastened by means of a suitable bracket not shown to column 11, is positioned at a slight distance from the outlet ends of body 33, said diaphragm 34 including a slot 33 of a size to permit free passage of buttons therethrough and onto a bracket 6 which forms part of the machine and on which the machine clamp 36 may hold the buttons which are subsequently transferred therefrom by a not-shown changing lever to the machine button clamp, also not shown.
Selector device 33 is vertically displaceable by means of connecting rod 73 to respective positions which correspond to the outlet ends of chutes 23" to 26" being individually aligned with said slot 35. The telescopic relationship between the chutes of body 27 and selector body 33 allows for such vertical displacement of body 33 without disturbing the alignment between chutes 23' to 26' and chutes 23" to 26".
A plate member 37 is pivotable in the horizontal gap between diaphragm 34 and body 33 along a stroke from an inoperative position in which plate 37 does not obstruct free passage between the slot 35 and the chutes 23" to 26" with which said slot is aligned, to an operative position whereby said plate 37 swings across slot 35 and by means of a camlike projection 84 on said plate serves to push a button 85, which extends into said gap, back into its chute in body 33.
The vertical movements of selector body 33 result from actuation of a control means which is generally designated by numeral 33 and includes a support 39 and is fastened to table 13 and comprises a pair of spaced-apart projections 40 between which is rotatably supported a shaft 54. Four parallely disposed selector members in the form of cylindrical pushbutton-type members 41 to 44 are mounted on support 39 for reciprocal linear displacement in a direction perpendicular to the axis of shaft 54. The visible end of each of the push members 41 to 44 has mounted thereon a button d5 to 48 which corresponds, respectively, to the button contained in each of the respective tanks 15, 17, 18 and 19. A cover'fi for the push members is secured to support 39 by screws 7.
FIG. 3 shows the details of one of the push members 43, the others being identical thereto. Member 43 is reciprocally slidable within sleeve 50 from an inoperative to an operative position against the urging of coil spring 51 which extends within an axially extending bore 52 in member 43 with one end of said spring leaning against the button of said bore and the other end leaning against the button of a bore 53 in the support 39.
Each of the push members includes a radial notch 55 of rectangular shape for receiving lock member 33 therein in order to hold the push member in its operative position against the urging of spring 3i. Each push member also includes an inclined or cam-type forward edge 56 which, as one push member is moving towards its operative position, is adapted to lift lock member 33 out of notch 35 of any other push member which is already in its operative position. Each push member also includes a radially extending abutment member 57 located substantially centrally of the push member length. Abutment member 57 includes a forward abutment surface 58 for engaging a tongue portion 59 which is integral with body 60 which in turn is freely rotatably mounted on shaft 54.
A clamp device is rigidly secured to shaft 54 by screw means 61 which acts to tighten the two spaced-apart legs 62 and 63 of said clamp around the shaft. A screw means 64 serves to adjustably determine the angular relationship between clamp and tongue 59. Clockwise angular oscillatory adjustment of tongue 59 is obtained by threading screw member 64 into clamp 5 while counterclockwise adjustment is obtained by unthreading screw member 64 from said clamp 5 whereby spring 65 serves to urge tongue 59 apart from clamp 5.
A second shaft 66 is rotatably mounted on support 39 parallel to shaft 54 and pivotally supports a lever L which includes an arm 67 extending radially from shaft 66 and another arm 67' extending perpendicular to arm 67 and parallel to shaft 54 across the path of all the push members 41 to 44.
Arm 67 is connected by means of a pivot pin 68 to one end oflink 69, the other end of which is connected by pivot pin 70 to the lower end of pivot plate 37. Said plate 37 is pivotably mounted on a pin 71 which serves the additional purpose of securing the diaphragm 34 to a not-shown bracket which, in turn, is fixed to column 11. A coil spring 72, fastened at one of its ends to support 39 and at the other of its ends to link 69, urges the pivot plate 37 to an inoperative position relative to slot 35.
The lower end of connecting rod 73 is connected by a screw clamp 74 to one end of L-shaped lever 75 whose other end is connected to shaft 54 by screw clamp 76.
In order to complete the representation of the invention, various parts have been represented even if not necessary to an understanding of the invention. These parts are a motor 77, a pulley 78, a belt 79, a second pulley 80 and a shaft 81 connected therewith. A cylinder at the end of shaft 81 and not shown presses against a button located on bracket 6 and kept in position by clamp 36. Motor 77 brings about, through the above-mentioned elements, the orienting of said button on a loading button lever, not shown, which then draws the button from said clamp 36 and transfers it to the machine button clamp. Further, an electromagnet 82 is represented which is provided to cause said button lever to perform the movements necessary to carry out its function.
Ample illustration of the two necessary devices mentioned hereinbefore and of their functions is found in U.S. Pat. No. 3,390,812.
OPERATION The operation will be described with reference to the situation in which all tanks hold buttons of identical size and shape but of different color.
In order to change over from one color button to another, it is necessary to push towards the operative position, that is towards the right in FIG. 5, the push member which corresponds to the desired color button. As the push member moves towards the operative position its forward end camlike surface 56 slides along rounded lock member 83 which is integral with lever L, this, therefore, causing lever L to pivot clockwise. Clockwise pivoting of lever L acting through link 69, necessarily causes plate member 37 to pivot clockwise about pin 70 against the urging of spring 72. This pivoting of plate member 37 causes its camlike projection 84 to swing past slot 35 and to push a button 85 back into its chute in body 33 as heretofore described with reference to FIG. 4. Plate member 37, furthermore, serves to hold the buttons in all the chutes of body 33 while said body 33 is being vertically displaced from one to another of its operative positions relative to slot 35.
It is also to be noted that when surface 56 of the push member being moved lifted lock member 83 and pivoted lever L clockwise, said lock member 83 necessarily released any other push member which it had been holding in the operative position, the released lock member being returned to its inoperative position automatically by spring 51.
Continuing its stroke towards the operative position shown in Fig. 5, the surface 58 of push member projection 57 abuts against tongue 59 which, acting through screw 64 and clamp 5, turns shaft 54 counterclockwise as the push member moves fully to its operative position. Such counterclockwise pivoting of shaft 54 in turn causes a corresponding pivoting of lever 75 and an upward displacement of rod 73 as well as of body 33.
When the push member has completed its movement towards its operative position, the lock member 83 falls into notch 55 under the urging of spring 72 thereby doing two things simultaneously, namely:
a. the push member is locked in its operative position so that the machine operator may release the push member; and
b. the plate 37 is permitted to be pulled back out of the way of slot 35 by spring 72.
The respective projections 57 on each of the push members are slightly axially displaced from each other in order that each projection 57 corresponds to a different position of body 33 relative to slot 35. Furthermore, the point along the stroke of each push member at which its surface 58 abuts against tongue 59 can be adjusted through screw 64. In any event, body 33 will move either up or down depending upon the axial relationship of the projections 57 on two necessarily pressed push members. Body 33 is movable downwardly by virtue of its own weight while upward movement is imparted thereto by projection 57 abutting against tongue 59 as heretofore described.
The scope of the invention is not limited to the details disclosed herein relative to a particular embodiment of realization but is intended to encompass all other embodiments, modifications, substitutions, or equivalents which are either obvious or well within the purview of one skilled in the art.
l. A button-feeding means for feeding buttons to the button clamp of a sewing machine, comprising: a plurality of button storage tanks, a chute leading from each tank to a common selector device which includes a discharge slot and is arranged to selectively transmit buttons from either of said chutes to said slot, a control means to determine from which of said chutes said device will transmit buttons to said slot, wherein said selector device includes a movable guide member which defines a button chute means having an inlet and an outlet side respectively arranged to align either of said chutes with said slot, said guide member being movable by said control means to either of various positions which respectively correspond to a different one of said chutes being aligned with said slot.
2. The button-feeding means of claim 1, wherein said guide member defines a separate said chute means for each of said chutes, said chutes and said chute means being telescopically engaged with each other at said inlet side of said guide member, said chute means being transversely movable relative to said discharge slot whereby, pursuant to movement of said guide member, said chutes and chute means telescope relative to each other while a different one of said chute means becomes aligned with said slot.
3. The button-feeding means of claim 1, wherein said control means includes a selector member, one for each of said chutes and easily accessible to the machine operator, each selector member being actuable to displace said guide member to a particular one of said positions thereof.
4. The button-feeding means of claim 3, said discharge slot being defined by a stationary diaphragm, located adjacent to said chute means outlet side, and including a button displacer member displaceable in a space between said diaphragm and said chute means outlet side, said displacer member being displaceable to engage a button extending between said outlet side and said slot and to push same back into its chute means.
5. The button-feeding means ofjclaim 4, said button displacer member comprising a platelike'member which is I pivotable'in aplane extending transversely to the direction along which a button must travel in passing from said chute 7. The button-feeding means of claim 6,'including resilient means urging each said push member towards said inoperative position and lock means adapted to hold one of said push members at a time in said operative position against the urging of said resilient means, said lock means being releasable from locking relationship with any one of said push members pursuant to movement of any other push member into said operative position.
push member being 8. The button-feeding means of claim 6, including a button displacer member movable relative to said guide member outlet side for pushing any button extending partially from said chute means back thereinto, said push members each being arranged to so move said displacer member pursuant to said push .members being displaced into said operative position. 1
9. The button-feeding means of claim 3, including a rotatable shaft drivingly associated with said guide member,
each said selector member being operatively associated to rotate said shaft to a different extent relative to any other selector member in order to displace said guide member to a corresponding difierent extent to respective said positions thereof.