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Publication numberUS3588092 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1971
Filing dateJun 2, 1969
Priority dateJun 2, 1969
Also published asDE2026573A1, DE7020210U
Publication numberUS 3588092 A, US 3588092A, US-A-3588092, US3588092 A, US3588092A
InventorsDubas Alexander
Original AssigneeSinger Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for removing a single ply of fabric
US 3588092 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Alexander Dubas Passaic. NJ.

Appl. No. 829,196

Filed June 2, 1969 Patented June 28, 1971 Assignee The Singer Company New York, N.Y.


US. Cl 271/19, 271/14 Int. Cl B6Sh 3/32 FieldofSearch 271l19,2l, 22, 24,25, 20,14,16

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 643.6Zl 2/1900 Berger 271/1 4UX 1,319,716 10/1919 Linebaugh.... 271/14 1,904,416 4/1933 Cross 271/21 3,276,770 10/1966 Griswold 271/19 Primary Examiner.loseph Wegbreit Attorneys-Marshall .l. Breen, Chester A. Williams, Jr. and

Harold Weinstein ABSTRACT: This disclosure relates to a method and apparatus for removing a single ply of fabric by means of a mechanical gripper. If there is a pile of fabric plys, the top ply will be separated from the rest of the pile which remains in a clamped condition to permit its sole removal from the pile by the mechanical means. Alternately, a single ply lying upon a support surface may be removed by a mechanical gripper having a jaw which passes under the piece by pivoting upon the support surface or entering a slot therein.



PATENTEDJUN28L97| 3,588,092

SHEET 2 OF 2 mum; 7

Fig. l3

INVENTOR. Alexander Dubus BY WITNESS: W ,ixwe Momma AT TORNEY METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR REMOVING A SINGLE ILY F FABRIC BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION lleretofore, material handling systems have been able to remove one or more plys in the system by means of conveyors or other rotary members, or by various clamping arrangements. In most instances, the pickup means were too costly or too complex or did not provide sufficient reliability in extended periods of use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention. a method and apparatus is provided whereby a single ply of fabric may be successively removed. In the event the ply is in a pile, rotatable members will engage and lift the edge portion of the top ply to permit clamping of the remainder of the pile in the vicinity of the lifted edge. Upon release of the lifted edge, it will drape over the clamp to form an aperture between it and the remainder of the pile. A mechanical gripper extends into the aperture to seize and remove the top ply.

Alternately, if the ply is on a support surface, a mechanical gripper having a pair ofjaws, one fixed and one movable, will seize the edge of the ply by passing the movable jaw under the ply to clamp the same against the fixed jaw. To facilitate the moving jaw sliding underneath the ply, it will be either made pivotal for point contact along the work surface prior to engagement with the ply, or it will enter a slot in the support surface over which the edge of the ply is disposed so as to initially be underneath the edge during closing of the mechanical gripper.

It is therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an improved method and apparatus for removing a single ply of fabric in a manner which overcomes the prior art deficiencies; which is simple, economical and reliable; which can remove a single ply whether the same is in a pile of fabric or individually placed upon a support surface; which separates the top ply from the pile to form an aperture in which a mechanical gripper may be extended to seize said top ply; which uses a mechanical gripper having a pivotal movable jaw; which has a mechanical gripper extending into a slot of a support surface to pass under the extended edge of the ply to seize the same; and which provides for positive removal of a single ply of fabric.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following description of several embodiments of the invention and the novel features will be particularly pointed out hereinafter in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS This invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGS. 1 through I0 show a schematic representation of one embodiment of the present invention wherein: FIG. I shows a side elevational view of the clamped pile of fabric; FIG. 2 shows a side elevational view of the pile of fabric prior to separation of the top ply; FIG. 3 is a top plan view taken along line 33 showing the lifting of the edge of the top ply from the unclamped pile; FIG. 4 shows a side elevational view of the pile being clamped while the edge of the top ply remains lifted; FIG. 5 is a top plan view taken along line 5-5v showing the rotary clamp returning to its original position to release the lifted edge; FIG. 6 is a front elevational view taken along line 6-6 showing the formation of the apertures prior to raising the rotary clamps; FIG. 7 is a side elevational view after raising of the rotary clamps; FIG. 8 is a side elevational view showing the mechanical grippers seizing tl" top ply after extending into the apertures; FIG. 9 is a sir" aaticzil view showing the mechanical grippers removing the top ply from the pile of fabric plys; and FIG. 10 is a side elevational view showing the mechanical grippers releasing the top ply with the pile restored in its initial condition of FIG. 1 for recycling,

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION The embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. I through It), depicts a removal system, designated generally as 20, which includes a mechanical gripper 22, the details of which are more fully shown in FIGS. 11 and I2. The removal system 20 operates upon a fabric pile 24 made up of a plurality of single plys 26, the top ply of which is designated 28. The pile 24 is placed upon a support surface 30, above which is mounted a pair of edge clamps 32 and a pair of rotary torque clamps 34. The clamps 32 and 34 are mounted to a suitable carriage (not shown) and adapted to be shifted vertically to maintain predetermined distances from the top ply 28. AI- temately, the support surface 30 can be elevator actuated by any known means, (not shown) to maintain the desired spacmg.

The mechanical gripper or pickup clamp 22 is connected to a movable frame 36 which normally positions it in spaced relation to the edge clamps 32 on the downstream side thereof.

In order to obtain the desired objectives of the present invention the removal system 20 is controlled by suitable electric and pneumatic control circuits (not shown), which will cooperatively act in a predetermined manner to permit the system 20 to operate in the sequential manner to be described hereinafter so as to effect removal of the top ply 28 from the pile 24.

The edge clamps 32 as shown in FIG. 1 will engage the top ply 28 to clamp the pile 24 at opposite sides thereof, with the rotary torque clamp 34 and the mechanical gripper 22 each inactive at the beginning of the cycle.

Upon lowering of the rotary torque clamps 34 to engage the top ply 28, the edge clamps 32 will be raised as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The rotary torque clamps 34, as shown in FIG. 3, engage the top ply 28 upstream form the front edge 38 and slightly inwardly from the side edges thereof. Each of the rotary torque clamps 34 will be turned in a direction away from the front edge 38 toward the side edge as represented by the arcuate arrows 40. The angle turned by each of the rotary torque clamps 34 is predetermined so as to create a buckling of the front edge 42 of the top ply 28, which having been placed in tension will lift upwardly and away from the fabric plys 26.

The rotary clamps 34 remain in the turned position with the front edge 42 lifted to permit the edge clamps 32 to be lowered as shown in FIG. 4 to reclamp the fabric plys 26.

The edge clamps 32 move in a vertical line and in clamped position will slightly extend over the front edge 38 and ad- Restoring the rotary torque clamp 34, as represented by the arcuate arrows 41, to its unturned position releases the tension from the lifted edge 42 of the top ply 28 to permit the same to fall back upon the pile 24.

However, as is shown in Flg. 6 in the interim between lifting and releasing the edge 42 the enlarged heads 44 of the clamps 32 have been paced upon the pile and prevent the edge 32 from returning to its flat position. Instead, it will drape over a portion of the head 42 to form an aperture 46 bounded by the edge 42, the topmost ply 26, and the head 44. The rotary torque clamps 34 move in a vertical line and upon returning to their original rotary position will be removed from the pile, thus leaving the pile 34 in clamped condition, by the edge clamps 32, except for the top ply 28, as is illustrated in FIG. 7.

The mechanical grippers 22 are mounted in spaced pairs. each disposed on the inside of the edge clamps 32, in a position in line with the locality of the apertures 46 as shown in FIG. 5. Since the height of the pile 24 is predetermined the lower jaw 48 will be set at a height corresponding to the aperture 46, while the upper jaw is spaced above the lower jaw by an amount sufi'icient to enable it to pass over the edge 42 of the top ply 28 upon the lower jaw 48 entering aperture 46. Actuation of the mechanical gripper, as illustrated in FIG. 8 results in the top ply being seized between the lower jaw 48 and the upperjaw 50.

Once seized the top ply 28 will be removed from the pile 24 by the downstream motion of the frame 36 of the mechanical gripper 22 as shown in FIG. 9. Thereafter, the top ply 28 will be released from the mechanical gripper for subsequent handling or conveying (not shown) as desired, as illustrated generally in Hg. 10. The cycle may now be repeated so as to separate and subsequently remove the next top ply 28.

A preferred embodiment of the mechanical gripper is shown in FIGS. II and 12, in which the lower jaw 48 and upper jaw 50 are shown open in FIG. 11 and closed to seize a ply 28 in FIG. 12. The upper jaw 50 is affixed to the frame 52 having a narrow waist section 54 intermediate the upper jaw 50 and a mounting flange 56 for connecting an air cylinder 58 thereto. The mechanical gripper 22 may be screw connected to the frame 36 at boss 60 by threaded engagement with a screw 62 (see FIG. I). The air cylinder is biased in open position and has a connecting rod 64 extending from the forward end thereof to actuate the lower jaw 48, the movement of which will be guided by a strap 66 slidably connected about the waist 54. On actuation of the air cylinder 58 the connecting rod 64 will urge the lower jaw 48 in the direction of the upper jaw 50 to achieve the closed position shown in FIG. 12.

If desired, the removal system 20 could use either a mechanical gripper 70 shown in Flg. 13 or a mechanical gripper 72 shown in Flg. 14. Each of the mechanical grippers 70 or 72 would require the motion of the respective connecting frames 74 and 76 to be from above and to the right of pile 24 represented in FIG. I, to permit pickup of the desired top ply 28. On the other hand, if a single ply were to be removed from a support surface any of the embodied mechanical grippers 22, 70 and 72 could be used.

The mechanical gripper 70 includes a fixed frame 78 in which the mounting flange 80 is disposed below the screw 82 connecting the same to the movable frame 74. The flange 80 carries an air cylinder 84 biased in open position with the lower jaw 86 disposed in front of the upper jaw 88. The upper jaw is affixed to the underside of the flange 80. The lower jaw 86 is pivotally connected by pin 90 connected in the bifurcated end of a slide block 92 carried at the forward end of a connecting rod 94. The outer end 96 of lower jaw 86 biases the jaw clockwise by means of a spring 98 pin connected to the slide block 92. The clamping edge 100 is point-shaped in the direction of the upper jaw 88. The air cylinder 84 and connecting rod 94 are inclined at a slight angle to the support surface 102 upon which has been placed a single ply of fabric 104. The movable flange 74 will position the mechanical gripper 70 so as to have the upper jaw 88 clamp against the fabric ply I04 adjacent the forward edge 106 thereof. The lower jaw will upon contacting the support surface I02 to pivot to make full line contact therewith to place the point I thereof in pickup position so that it may slide underneath the forward edge I00 and I06 of the fabric ply I04 upon actuation of the air cylinder 84 to effect clamping of the fabric ply 104. FIG. I2 shows the mechanical gripper at a point in its operation where it has been actuated but has not as yet obtained a fully closed position.

The mechanical gripper 72 shows still another embodiment of the present invention, in FIG. 14. The removable frame 76 is disposed at a slight angle to the support surface 0 which is slotted as at 112 to permit the forward end ofa movable lower jaw 114 to extend therein upon placing the upper jaw 116 in engagement with the fabric ply 118. The mechanical gripper 72 has a fixed train I20 screw connected as at I22 to the movable frame 76. The upper jaw is intermittently connected to the frame I20 as at by threaded means 124. A mounting flange I26 is extended upwardly from the intermediate location of the jaw to connect an air cylinder I28 biased in open position. A connecting rod I30 extends from the air cylinder I28 to connect into a jaw block 132 biased by a spring 133,

and pivotally carries the lower jaw I14 in the bifurcated end thereof. A guide projection 134 extends forwardly of the flange 126 to prevent misalignment of the lower jaw 114.

Upon actuation of the air cylinder 128 the lower jaw 114 is disposed beneath a forward edge 136 lying over the slot 112 thus enabling the jaw 114 to pass underneath and clamp the same against the upper jaw 116 for subsequent removal thereof.

It will be understood that various changes in the details, materials, arrangements of parts and operating conditions which have been herein described and illustrated to explain the nature of the invention may be made by those skilled in the art within the principles and scope of the invention.


1. Apparatus for removing the top plies of a pile of flexible fabric plies comprising:

a. a frame,

b. a pair of rotatable means, each having an axis of rotation intersecting said pile and carried by the frame,

c. means for moving the pair of rotatable means and the pile into and out of engagement with each other,

d. means for simultaneously rotating the pair of rotatable means a predetermined amount with said rotatable means in spaced engagement with the pile to twist the topmost ply and displace one of the edges thereof from the remainder of the pile,

. a clamping means carried by the frame in superposition to the pile at the edge thereof corresponding to the displaced edge of the topmost ply,

. means for moving the clamping means and the piles toward and away from each other to effect clamping of the pile at the local of the displaced edge of the topmost ply to permit an initial separation to occur between the pile and the topmost ply at the clamped edge to form a space therebetween,

g. a mechanical gripper means having a pair of coacting jaws carried by the frame.

h. one of the jaws inserted into the initial separation between the pile and the topmost ply,

i. the other jaw cooperating with the firstjaw to grip the topmost ply therebetween, whereby the mechanical gripper means will remove the same, and

j. control means to operate the pair of rotating means, the clamping means and the mechanical gripper means in a predetermined sequence to remove successive top plies from the fabric pile.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3902750 *Jan 8, 1974Sep 2, 1975Ctre Etud Tech Ind HabillementDevice for gripping pieces of cloth fabric or the like
US4641827 *Jun 2, 1983Feb 10, 1987Richard R. WaltonFabric pickup and the like
US4645193 *May 30, 1984Feb 24, 1987Richard R. WaltonFabric pickup and the like
US4892298 *Sep 22, 1986Jan 9, 1990Richard R. WaltonDevice and method for pickup of sheet-form flexible fabric or the like
US4917368 *Mar 16, 1989Apr 17, 1990Polaroid CorporationSheet feeding method and apparatus
U.S. Classification271/19, 271/14
International ClassificationB65H3/22
Cooperative ClassificationB65H3/22
European ClassificationB65H3/22
Legal Events
Jan 13, 1989ASAssignment
Effective date: 19881202