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Publication numberUS3607503 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 21, 1971
Filing dateAug 14, 1969
Priority dateAug 14, 1969
Also published asDE2024543A1, DE2024543B2
Publication numberUS 3607503 A, US 3607503A, US-A-3607503, US3607503 A, US3607503A
InventorsCanova Ronald V, Parlin David B
Original AssigneeBigelow Sanford Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of manufacturing a needled heat-shrinkable tufted pile fabric
US 3607503 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent David B. Parlin Thompsonvllle, Conn.;

Ronald V. Canova, East Longmeadow, Mass.

Aug. 14, 1969 Sept. 21, 1971 Bigelow-Sanford Inc.

Thompsonville, Conn.

[72] Inventors [21 Appl. No. [22] Filed [45] Patented [73 Assignee [54] METHOD OF MAN UF ACTURING A NEEDLED HEAT-SHRINKABLE TUFTED PILE FABRIC 3,075,865 1/1963 Cochran 156/148 X 3,309,252 3/1967 Adler 156/72 3,360,421 12/1967 Sands 156/148 3,366,529 1/1968 Olson 161/67 3,383,259 5/1968 C0chran.... 156/148 3,394,043 7/1968 Parlin et al. 161/67 3,451,109 6/1969 Klein 28/722 3,476,636 11/1969 Crosby 161/67 3,506,529 4/1970 Sanders..... 161/67 3,515,622 6/1970 Jordan 156/72 X Primary Examiner-Benjamin R. Padgett Assistant Examiner-Gary G. Solyst A!t0rneyE. T. LeGates ABSTRACT: A process for the manufacture of tufted pile fabric in which the pile yarns are tufted on a backing comprising primarily needled heat-shrinkable synthetic thermoplastic fibers with the fibers of at least one surface bonded together, fibers in the interior of the backing remaining unbonded, and the fabric after tufting is subjected to a widthwise heat shrinkage treatment with the dimensions of the fabric controlled both widthwise and lengthwise of the fabric, and at a controlled temperature,

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PATENTED sEP21 :97:

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METHOD OF MANUFACTURING A NEEDLED HEAT- SHRINKABLE TUFTED PILE FABRIC The present invention relates to the manufacture of tufted pile fabric and more particularly to the manufacture of tufted pile fabric wherein the fabric backing is a nonwoven fibrous fabric containing a predominant proportion of heat-shrinkable synthetic thermoplastic textile fibers.

An object of the invention is to provide a method of making a tufted pile fabric having a backing predominantly composed of nonwoven heat-shrinkable synthetic thermoplastic fibers in which the fabric may be tufted at a wider width than the desired final width of the fabric, whereby large pile yarns may be used and the tufting apparatus may be one containing relatively larger needles or one having the needles set at a wider gauge, or both.

Another object of the invention is to provide a method for the manufacture of tufted pile fabric having such a backing which will produce cut pile fabrics wherein any objectionable rowiness" of the pile face is reduced or eliminated.

Another object is to provide a tufted pile fabric having such a backing structure in which any tendency of the completed fabric to shrink widthwise when exposed to unduly high temperatures is reduced.

A further object is to provide such a process wherein a single tufting machine may be used for the manufacture of tufted pile fabrics of two different widthwise gauges with the same single set of high-low pattern control attachments.

Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of an illustrative embodiment of the invention wherein reference is made to the accompanying drawing, in which FIG. 1 is a plan view, somewhat schematic, illustrating the process and showing apparatus on which the process may be practiced;

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 22 of FIG. 1 looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a tufted pile fabric having a backing of the type made use of in the invention; and,

FIG. 4 is a similar perspective view of the fabric of FIG. 3 after it has been treated by the process of the invention.

In accordance with the invention we provide a method of making a tufted pile fabric, such as a pile fabric floor covering, employing a sheet backing fabric which comprises a needled sheetlike web of intermixed textile fibers in which the majority of the fibers are of a heat-shrinkable synthetic thermoplastic material, preferably polypropylene, the web being needled throughout its thickness at a multiplicity of closely spaced points distributed over its surface with fibers at different levels of the web having portions which are displaced vertically relative to the thickness of the web at said points, the exposed fibers on at least one exterior surface of the web being bonded together, the needled web also including fibers located between the exterior surfaces thereof which are not bonded together and are mobile relative to each other, the backing fabric having a plurality of spaced pile yarns extending therethrough at spaced points along each yarn to provide a plurality of pile elements upstanding in rows from one face of the backing fabric, the yarns extending from the pile elements through the backing fabric and along its other face to adjacent pile elements, and the portions of said pile yarns passing through the backing fabric being resiliently gripped by the unbonded fibers of the backing fabric, thereafter shrinking the backing fabric by continuously moving the backing fabric in a direction lengthwise of the pile yarns through a heating zone, preferably a heating zone containing a heated atmosphere, to heat the shrinkable fibers to a temperature above the temperature at which they shrink but not to heat them above their fusion temperature for any appreciable length of time, while substantially inhibiting lengthwise shrinkage of the backing fabric by engaging the backing fabric along a line transverse to said lengthwise direction adjacent one side of said heating zone and feeding it toward the interior of said heating zone at a controlled rate of advance and again engaging said backing fabric along another line transverse to said lengthwise direction adjacent to the opposite side of said heating zone and withdrawing the backing fabric from the interior of said zone at the same controlled rate, and controlling shrinkage of said backing fabric in the transverse direction by continuously engaging each side edge of said backing fabric and constraining each of said edges to move along a fixed line inclined toward the middle of said backing fabric as it travels in said heating zone. Preferably the side edges of the fabric are engaged and constrained to remain at a constant distance apart during the final portion of the travel of the fabric within the heating zone.

Although the invention is not confined thereto, the backing fabric conveniently may be a backing fabric of the character disclosed in Parlin et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,394,043 issued July 23, 1968, the disclosure of which patent is incorporated herein by reference. Generally speaking, the backing fabric of U.S. Pat. No. 3,394,043 is comprised principally of fibers of a thermoplastic material, such as polypropylene or other polyolefins having similar characteristics, including mixtures, which have been subjected to needling and with the fibers on at least one surface of the backing fabric being bonded together. The fibers employed may be those termed waste fibers in the trade. The fabric may be fon'ned by distributing the fibers by means of garnets in one or more superimposed layers on a carrier such as a low-count cotton cheesecloth. The cheesecloth with the fibers deposited thereon is then moved to a needling machine where the web is subjected to a needling operation which causes the fibers to be intimately intertwined and interengaged with each other throughout the thickness of the web, particularly at the points of needling, and causes fibers from different levels of the web to be intermixed in more intimate engagement with each other and imparts strength to the web. A closed barb needle of small diameter, such as a 032 fine-felt triple-barb needle may be employed for this purpose. Needling preferably is performed with the cheesecloth adjacent to the lower face of the web so that the ends of some fibers are forced through the open mesh of the cheesecloth. Thereafter when the surface fibers of this side of the fabric are fused or bonded together they also engage with and grip the threads of the cheesecloth and thus prevent slippage or movement of the cheesecloth relative to the web of needled fibers. Under these conditions the fused fibers and the threads of the cheesecloth combine to resist and overcome the forces exerted on the backing fabric as a result of tufting and permit the desired dimensions to be maintained. When the fabric is tufted it is preferable that the cheesecloth or the like be adjacent to the upper or pile face of the fabric.

After needling, fibers on one or both exterior surfaces are bonded together to a flattened and hardened condition with the interior fibers remaining unbonded and mobile relative to each other. This may be done by heating the surface fibers to their melting temperature so as to fuse the surface fibers without fusing the fibers of the interior of the web. Such bonding may be accomplished with fibers of polypropylene having a melting point between 310 and 320 F. by heating the surface fibers briefly to a temperature between 325 and 350 F. by contact with rollers. When heated in this manner the fibers in the center or interior of the web do not reach their melting temperature and will remain unbonded or unfused and mobile with respect to each other. Such bonding tends to increase the tensile strength of the web and reduce its elongation and the bonded or fused surface can pass beneath the needles of the tufting machines during the tufting operation without excessive interference or objectionable drag.

The backing may be made entirely from polypropylene fibers or from mixtures of polypropylene fibers with fibers of other materials such as nylon, rayon,. acrylic resins, and polyesters, or mixtures thereof. A satisfactory backing or support fabric for tufted carpets may be made from polypropylene fibers of 3 to 15 denier, which are commonly produced commercially.

An example of a suitable mixture of fibers is a mixture containing 65 percent of 6 denier crimped polypropylene fibers of i k-inches staple length, 25 percent of 3 denier crimped polypropylene fibers of 3-inches staple length and percent of rayon fibers of 3-inches staple length.

The unbonded or unfused fibers in the interior of the backing retain their resilient characteristics and thus have a tendency to close on the portions of the pile yarns which extend through the backing fabric and to hold the pile yarns in place more effectively in the drawing of the loops than is the case with loosely woven backing fabric such as burlap.

Preferably the bats or mats of fibers issuing from the garnet are disposed transversely in the web of backing material formed from them, as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,394,043, so that the fibers are disposed predominantly transversely, i.e. widthwise, of the web. It is generally desirable to deposit more than one layer of the mat issuing from the garnet on to the cheesecloth, or other carrier, so as to obtain a more even and uniform distribution of the fibers in the backing fabric.

In lieu of cheesecloth, we may employ a layer of longitudinally extending polyester filaments, threads or yarns, or a layer of an oriented synthetic polymer film, preferably a polypropylene film, which is fibrillated by the needling operation.

The pile elements are formed on the backing in an entirely conventional manner by the use of the usual tufting machines employing a gang of reciprocating needles, as is well known in the art.

An illustrative process in accordance with the invention will now be described. Referring to the drawing, a tufted pile fabric floor covering 2 having pile tufts 3 and a nonwoven backing 4 of the character heretofore described is supplied from a supply roll 6. The roll 6 is provided with pins or spikes 7 which prevent slippage of the backing 4 on the roll and the roll 6 is driven in any suitable manner at a controllable speed. The roll 6 thus serves to engage the backing along a transverse line and release the fabric 2 at a controlled rate. The tufted pile fabric 2 moves forwardly in the direction of the arrow 8 over a guide roll 10. The opposite edges of the fabric are engaged by a pair of tenter chains l2, 14. The tenter chains l2, l4 carry upstanding pins 16 and at their front ends pass about guide rolls 18, 20 respectively so that their inner flights move beneath the edges of the fabric 2, as shown, in position to engage the edges on the pins 16. Two rotary brushes 22, 24 engage the upper or pile face of the fabric 2 above the pins as shown and press the edges downwardly to engage the edges of the fabric on the pins 16, as shown to best advantage in FlG. 2.

Upon leaving the brushes 22, 24 the fabric 2, with its edges engaged with the tenter chains 12, 14, enters a heating zone in a heating chamber 26. The heating chamber 26 contains air heated to the appropriate temperature by steam-circulating coils 28. In the case of a tufted fabric having a backing which is composed predominantly of polypropylene fibers as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,394,043, the temperature in the heating chamber 26 is maintained in the range 3 l 5-320 F.

Adjacent the entrance to the heating chamber 26 the inner faces of the tenter chains 12, 14 pass over guide rolls 32, 34 which serve to suitably space the tenter chains in their extent from the rollers 18, 20 to the guide rolls 32, 34. Ordinarily this spacing will be such that the fabric 2 as it is engaged and held by the pins 16 is maintained at its initial width. Thereafter the outer faces of the tenter chains 12, 14 pass over the guide rolls 36, 38 which are spaced more closely together than the guide rolls 32, 34 so that the tenter chains and the edges of the fabric 2 engaged by them are constrained to move along a fixed line inclined toward the middle of the backing fabric. As the fabric 2 moves into the heating zone in the heating chamber 26 its temperature is raised and as the temperature of the shrinkable fibers in the backing reach their shrinking temperature the fabric shrinks. As the fabric shrinks, the inclined portions of the tenter chains between guide rolls 32, 34 and guide rolls 36, 38 control the shrinkage so that it is uniform and of the desired amount.

As the tenter chains leave the guide roll pair 36, 38 they pass to the guide rolls 40, 42 engaging their outer surfaces and about which they pass so that their return flights 44, 46 are passed about the guide rolls 48, 50 and 52, 54 to return to the guide rolls 18, 20, respectively. The guide rolls of the pair 40, 42 are spaced apart the same distance as the guide rolls 36, 38 so that the side edges of the fabric 2 are maintained a constant distance apart, corresponding to the shrunken width of the fabric, during the final portion of the travel of the fabric within the heating zone.

Adjacent the exit side of the heating zone the fabric 2 is engaged along another transverse line by a spike roll 56 which is driven in any suitable manner at the same rate as the roll 6 to withdraw the fabric 2 from the heating zone at the same speed as it is released from the roll 6 so as substantially to inhibit lengthwise shrinkage of the backing fabric. When the shrinkable fibers in the backing 2 are disposed predominantly in the transverse direction, this disposition of the fibers aids in confining the shrinkage of the fabric to a widthwise shrinkage. Also, when the backing contains longitudinally extending polyester strands, which do not shrink at the temperatures which are sufficient to adequately shrink the backing made predominently of polypropylene fibers, this arrangement also aids in confining shrinkage to the widthwise direction.

The fabric 2 issuing from the heating chamber 26 is lifted from the pins 16 of the tenter chains at 58 and is finally wound up on any suitable takeup arrangement such as the takeup roll 60.

FIG. 3 illustrates the tufted pile fabric 2 in the condition in which it enters the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2. The pile yarns form the pile element 3 upstanding from one face of the backing 4 with the yarn extending from the pile elements through the backing 4 and along the lower face of the backing at 62 to connect with adjoining pile elements. ln this embodiment the backing does not contain a cheesecloth layer but instead contains a layer of polyester threads or yarns 64, bonded to the superficial polypropylene fibers at the front or upper face of the tufted fabric. Such arrangement aids in confining shrinkage to the transverse direction, which is crosswise of the strands 64.

The tufted pile fabric in the condition in which it issues from the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2 is shown in FIG. 4. Here the backing is narrower than in FIG. 3. We have found that a tufted pile fabric floor covering may very conveniently be reduced in width by 20 percent, that is reduced from a standard 15-foot width to a width of 12 feet, when the backing is composed of polypropylene fibers, if the temperature in the heating chamber 26 is maintained in the ranges 3 l5320 F the length of the chamber is approximately 21 feet, the distance between the roll pair 32, 34 and the roll pair 36, 38 is approximately 13 feet, and the distance from the roll pair 36, 38 to the exit end of the chamber is approximately 8 feet, and the speed of the fabric through the heating chamber 26 is approximately 4% feet per minute. Thus a fabric tufted on a 5/32-inches gauge machine finishes to a ;b-int2hes gauge-type fabric or a /s-inches gauge fabric finishes to a 1/ 10-inch gauge fabric, and so on. In this case, the roll pairs 32, 34 and 36, 38 are adjusted so that the spacing between the tenter chains 12, 14 decreases by 20 percent in passing from one roll pair to the other.

We have found that when applied to cut pile tufted fabrics, our process provides a completed fabric in which the objectionable rowiness often associated with cut pile in tufted carpet is greatly reduced or entirely eliminated. We think this may be due to the legs of the cut tufts turning as the fabric shrinks and compresses adjacent cut legs against one another so that the objectionable visual effect due to some of the tufts being J-tufts, and others not, is greatly reduced. in any case, whatever the explanation may be, we have found that cut pile I tufted fabrics, even those having a pronounced degree of rowiness," have this defect either materially reduced or entirely eliminated when treated by the process of the invention.

We claim:

1. The method of making a tufted pile fabric which comprises providing a sheet backing fabric comprising a needled sheetlike web of intermixed textile fibers in which the majority of said fibers are of a heat-shrinkable synthetic thermoplastic material, said web being needled throughout its thickness at a multiplicity of closely spaced points distributed over its surface with fibers at different levels of the web having portions which are displaced vertically relative to the thickness of the web at said points, the exposed fibers on at least one exterior surface of said web being bonded together, said needled web also including fibers located between the exterior surfaces thereof which fibers are not bonded together and are mobile relative to each other, said backing fabric having a plurality of spaced pile yams extending therethrough at spaced points along each yarn to provide a plurality of pile elements upstanding in rows from one face of the backing fabric, said yarns extending from the pile elements through the backing fabric and along its other face to adjacent pile elements, the portions of said pile yarns passing through the backing fabric being resiliently gripped by the unbonded fibers of the backing fabric, thereafter shrinking said backing fabric by continuously moving said backing fabric in a direction lengthwise of said pile yarns through a heating zone to heat said shrinkable fibers to a temperature above the temperature at which they shrink but not above their fusion temperature for any appreciable length of time, while substantially inhibiting lengthwise shrinkage of said backing fabric by engaging said fabric along a line transverse to said lengthwise direction adjacent one side of said heating zone and feeding it toward the interior of said heating zone at a controlled rate of advance and again engaging said backing fabric along another line transverse to said lengthwise direction adjacent the opposite side of said heating zone and withdrawing the backing fabric from the interior of said zone at the same controlled rate, and controlling the shrinkage of said backing fabric in the transverse direction by continuously engaging each side edge of said backing fabric and constraining each of said edges to move along a fixed line inclined toward the middle of said backing fabric as it travels in said heating zone.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein a major proportion of said thermoplastic fibers are polypropylene fibers and the temperature of said heating zone is maintained within the range 3 l 5-3 20 F.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said backing fabric includes longitudinally extending polyester yarns bonded to the surface fibers which are bonded together.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the side edges of said fabric are engaged and constrained to remain at a constant distance apart during the final portion of their travel within the heating zone.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein said fibers are disposed predominantly transversely of said backing fabric.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the exposed fibers located at the other exterior surface of said web are bonded together.

8. The method of claim 2 wherein said backing fabric includes longitudinally extending polyester yarns bonded to the surface fibers which are bonded together.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the side edges of said fabric are engaged and constrained to remain at a constant distance apart during the final portion of their travel within the heating zone.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

1 1. The method of claim 10 wherein said fibers are disposed predominantly transversely of said backing fabric and wherein the exposed fibers located at the other exterior surface of said web are bonded together.

12. The method of claim 2 wherein the side edges of said fabric are engaged and constrained to remain at a constant distance apart during the final portion of their travel within the heating zone.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

14. The method of claim 2 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

15. The method of claim 4 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

16. The method of claim 8 wherein said heating zone contains a heated atmosphere.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4379189 *Dec 19, 1980Apr 5, 1983Phillips Petroleum CompanyNonwoven textile fabric with fused face and raised loop pile
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/148, 28/111, 28/160, 428/96, 26/86, 26/92, 156/72
International ClassificationD05C17/02, D04H1/00, D04H1/06, D05C17/00
Cooperative ClassificationD05C17/02, D04H1/06
European ClassificationD04H1/06, D05C17/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 23, 1986AS06Security interest
Owner name: BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC.
Effective date: 19860131
Owner name: ITT COMMERCIAL FINANCE CORP., 1400 NORTH CENTRAL L
May 23, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: ITT COMMERCIAL FINANCE CORP., 1400 NORTH CENTRAL L
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004563/0373
Effective date: 19860131
Nov 27, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC., GREENVILLE, SC., A CORP. O
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC.;REEL/FRAME:003930/0615
Effective date: 19810918
Nov 27, 1981AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC.
Owner name: BIGELOW-SANFORD, INC., GREENVILLE, SC., A CORP. OF
Effective date: 19810918