US 3621780 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 23, 1971 J. cs. TILLOTSON PRODUCTION OF RANDOM DYED FILE TEXTILES 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed June 26, 1967 EVE INVENTOR. JOHN G. TILLOTSON 1971 J. G. TILLOTSON PRODUCTION OF RANDOM DYED FILE TEXTILES 4 Sheets-$heet I Original Filed June 26, 1967 FIG. 3
JOHN G. TILLOTSON ATTORNEYS Nov. 23, 1971 J. G. TILLOTSON 3,
PRODUCTION OF RANDOM DYED PILE TEXTILES Original Filed amaze, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet s /7/77777 r/(w r/r O l I l I I I FIG. 5
INVENTOR. JOHN G. TILLOTSON ATTO RN EIS Nov. 23, 197-1 J; G. TILLOTSON PRODUCTION OF RANDOM DYED PILE TEXTILES Original Filed June 26, 1967 Variable Pitch Pulley Mechanism 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 50 Variable I Speed Motor INVENTOR.
JOHN G. TILLOTSON ATTORNE S United States Patent Office 3,621,780 Patented Nov. 23, 1971 3,621,780 PRODUCTION OF RANDOM DYED PllLE TEXTILES John G. Tillotson, Dalton, Ga., assignor to Advance Finishing, Inc., Dalton, Ga.
Original application June 26, 1967, Ser. No. 648,652. Divided and this application Mar. 21, 1969, Ser. No. 851,512
Int. Cl. B411 17/10 U.S. Cl. 101-172 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Dye printing means wherein a number of yarns in a horizontal path are engaged by a plurality of printing bar units, arranged seriatim along the path of travel, to produce a random multi-color pattern on the yarns.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This application is a division of copending application Ser. No. 648,652, filed June 26, 1967, now Pat. No. 3,447,215, dated June 3, 1969.
The field of the invention comprises generally the art of producing pile textiles including carpets, upholstery and apparel fabrics, wherein pile loops or out pile yarns of different colors are distributed spatially in an apparently random manner.
More specifically, the invention is concerned with the technique of dyeing pile forming yarns by printing a pattern of differently colored segments upon a sheet of yarns, followed by the formation of pile in a backing sheet, usually by tufting the yarns and to a lesser extent by a form of knitting. The yarns pass through a printing station having means to print differently colored dye liquors upon irregularly spaced segments based on a specified color balance, the pattern repeating itself at well spaced intervals -to produce the desired random effect. This method has been proposed in one form or another as an alternative to a method in which the yarns are first knitted into tubing and then printed, after which the dyes are set or fixed and the tubing de-knitted. In either case the dyed yarns are usually wound up on cones at some stage prior to formation of the pile. In a subsequent step the cones are shuffled to separate adjacently printed yarns and loaded into a creel associated with a standard multi-needle tufting machine or some other suitable pile-forming machine.
These earlier methods have presented certain difiiculties including patterning of the colors as evidenced by barr, herring-bone or striated effects and the like. Also, the condition of the yarns is generally adversely affected by winding them upon cones. This results from friction between the yarns and variable tension, temperature and moisture content which also produce variations in the crimp of the fibers which are evident when the yarns are fed into a tufting machine.
To produce a rug or other fabric to order by the foregoing processes, yarns are dyed in the prescribed colors, taken up on cones, stored and later transferred to a pile forming machine. For economic reasons it is usually desirable to exhaust the cones before terminating the pile forming operation, during which time the pile forming machine is unavailable for other orders. The
dyeing and pile forming steps are performed in independent operations, often some distance apart. Commonly, this procedure results in a time delay and a buildup of stored cones in job lots. This represents a substantial inventory commitment with an attendant risk of loss due to quickly changing conditions which take place in any fashion-influenced industry.
Furthermore, there has been substantial difficulty in duplicating an order after intermediate orders have been filled because of various changes in the interim manufacturing conditions and control settings of the machinery employed. It is well known that tension and friction between the yarns caused by taking them up on cones affects their crimp and other physical properties, and that temperature and moisture content affect the dyeing process as well as the physical condition. All of these factors are difficult to reproduce exactly, and the result is liable to be a noticeable difference in the appearance of randomdyed textiles.
SUMMARY This invention solves many of the foregoing problems as well as similar problems found with solid color pile textiles, by a continuous process starting with undyed yarns and ending with a pile textile. This process ensures close control over the dyeing or printing of the yarns and permits them to be fed directly to the pile forming machine with optimum uniformity and condition as to tension, crimp control and humidity, and without friction or intermediate winding upon cones. Furthermore, the yarns are placed in random or pseudo-random orientation by effective and uniformly reproducible procedures, ensuring a uniformly high quality product and an accurately reproducible color balance and spatial distribution. The linking of the dyeing and pile forming steps eliminates time delays and related inventory problems, permits rapid reloading from let-offs or creels of undyed yarns, and ensures efficient use of the dyeing and pile forming equipment.
The end product is superior to those previously produced as to yarn condition, reproducibility, color balance and spatial color distribution or randomness.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a partially schematic view of a complete random dyeing and tufting apparatus operating according to a preferred process and embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the pseudo-random dye printing station 23 shown in the upper part of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation in section showing the dye liquor pans in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a side elevation viewed from the lower side of FIG. 2 showing the print bar drive mechanism.
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic representation of the yarn shuffler 26 shown in the lower part of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is an exploded, partially schematic view of the tufting machine 32 shown in the lower part of FIG. 1, depicting its drive controls.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, a number of gray or undyed pile yarns 1 to 16 (FIG. 5) are withdrawn in a line or sheet 18 from a let-off roll 19 by a pair of continuously rotating drive rolls 20. The yarns are preferably of a contin-uous filament nylon or other synthetic of the type hitherto employed in tufted rugs and other textiles, althrough spun yarns may also be used. Wool, polyesters, acrylics, cottons and rayons are among the yarns in use in the tufting industry. The yarns may also be drawn from cones, if desired. They pass next over idlers 21 and 22 into a printing station designated generally at 23, the details of which are further described below.
From the printing station the sheet 18 enters a steam heated dye fixation column 24 where the dye colors are set or fixed in the yarns. For a predetermined period Of time the yarns remain at a controlled temperature within the column 24, being ordinarily continuously fed into it at the top and withdrawn from it at the bottom.
The yarns are then threaded in a predetermined manner through a shuflier 26 where optimum spatial separation is afforded between adjacently printed yarns, as hereinafter more fully described. Then, the sheet passes through a conventional washer 28 which removes unwanted dye liquor components shown for simplicity as a single-stage unit although in practice several similar stages are usually preferred, as is well known.
Next, the yarns pass through a drier-dealigner 30 in which the moisture content is reduced to an optimum uniform level for tufting and the yarns are also longitudinally shifted or dealigned to add a further randomizing factor.
Finally, the yarns pass to a tufting machine 32 into which a web 33 of suitable backing material is fed from a draft roll 34. The backing material may be woven jute for rugs, or any other backing material commonly employed in tufted textiles. Tufted fabric 36 is withdrawn continuously into a scray'or on to a take-up roll for further manufacturing operations of the usual type including coating with latex or other suitable binders, and double-backing if desired.
Referring more particularly to the printing station 23, the first portion preferably comprises a pad 38 consisting of a pair of driven rubber rolls 40 forming a bite through which the sheet 18 passes. The bite is filled with a base dye liquor by suitable conventional means such as a pressure feed system (not shown) to maintain a quantity of dye liquor 42 above the bite. The yarns then pass under an idler 44 and through an array of spaced, polished steel idler tension rolls 46 whose function is primarily to maintain tension on the yarns as they pass next through a number of printing units 46, 48 and 50.
The printing units respectively include dye pans 52, 54 and 56 containing different colored dye liquors 58, 60 and 62 (FIGS. 2, 3 and 4) maintained at the desired liquid levels by conventional means. The pans are supported on a platform forming an integral part of a frame 66 (FIG. 2). A number of ball bearings 68 are fastened to the frame in pairs aligned with and above the pans. Print bar drive shafts 70, 72 and 74 are mounted in these hearings and are continuously driven by sprockets 76, 78 and 80 if differing diameters, interconnected by chains 82 and 84. The entire system of chains and sprockets is driven by a motor '86 through a drive chain 88.
Pairs of circular flanges 90, 92 and 94 are respectively secured by keys or set screws to the shafts 70, 72 and 74. Round polished stainless steel print bars 96, 98 and 100 are fastened between the flanges near their peripheral edges on axes parallel with the respective shafts 70, 72 and 74. The levels of the dye liquors are sufficiently high to cause thorough wetting of the print bars as they rotate with the shafts.
Pairs of restraining bars 102 (FIG. 3) are mounted in the frame 66 and situated between the adjacent print units to restrain the sheet 18 which passes between them moving in the direction indicated by the arrow in FIG. 3. The parts are so related that each print bar, after immersion in the dye liquor, makes contact with the yarns and deflects them with a light pressure between the adjacent bars 102 for a portion of each revolution, thereby printing a segment of each yarn approximately equal in length to, or slightly greater than, the arc of contact at the point of maximum deflection.
A further feature of the printing units is that the print bars 96, 98 and are spaced different distances from their corresponding drive shafts, while each shaft is driven at a different predetermined corresponding angular speed such that the linear velocity of its print bar equals that of the yarns in every case. Thus each print bar makes a touching, non-sliding contact with the yarns during a finite dwell time of sufficient duration to transfer the dye liquor without smearing it upon the yarns. This method eliminates the need for backup means for pressure or impact of the printing means upon the yarns, as is found in prior art systems. As a result, the dye liquor is more uniformly applied to the yarns and more uniformly penetrates the fibers with the aid of capillary action.
It will be seen that since each of the print bars has the same linear speed as the yarns, but rotates on a shaft having a different angular speed than the others, an irregular periodic pattern of colors is applied to the yarn. This pattern can be rendered more complex by the addition of more printing units and colors, plural print bars on one or more of the units, or helical-shaped print bars of various different pitches. In a typical case the pattern cycle repeats itself at intervals spaced many feet apart and the repetitions are not discernable in the tufted product.
The yarns pass from the printing station 23 through a set of spaced chain-driven polished steel print drive rolls 104 which deliver the sheet to the dye fixation column 24. The purpose of these rolls is to drive the yarns frictionally at a uniform speed without passing them through a nip or bite, which would cause smearing of the dye liquors. A number of rolls is ordinarily necessary to drive the yarns in this way without slippage.
The structural and operation of the dye fixation column 24 will not be described in detail because this unit is of a conventional form. It will sufiice to say that it includes an inner chamber or space 106 into which the yarns fall in random plaits and a steam jacket 108 suitably supplied with about thirteen pounds of steam pressure. Ordinarily, the dyes are fixed in the yarns within 20 minutes or less under these conditions.
The yarns are continuously withdrawn from the bottom of the column and pass over a number of guide rolls 110, between which a piece of Teflon coated fabric 112 has been suitably folded. The fabric helps to prevent snarling of the yarns around the rolls or tangling as they are withdrawn from the column.
Details of the shufiler 26 are shown in FIG. 5. For purposes of illustration, a sheet 18 of only sixteen yarns has been shown, although in practice it is common to use around 1152 yarn ends in a carpet of 12 to 15 feet width, and in any case the number of yarn ends is not limited by the method herein disclosed. The purpose of the shuffier is to overcome certain occasional undesired variations in pattern and color intensity across the width of the sheet 1 8. These variations result from conditions such as variable exhaustion of the dyes in the pad 38 or within the individual pans 58, 60 and 62. It is desired to prevent any resulting pattern by separating the yarns that were adjacent or nearly adjacent when passing through the printing units.
All adjacently printed yarns should be well separated as they enter the tufting machine. Yarns separated by a. single yarn when printed should also be reasonably well separated, although not necessarily to the same extent as adjacently printed yarns. Yarns separated by two yarns when printed require less separation, and so on. It has been found that these criteria are most ideally met by shuffling the yarns to different relative positions as shown in FIG. 5. At the top of of FIG. 5 the yarns are shown entering the shufiler in their relative arrangement as printed, and are consecutively numbered. They are then rearranged by the shuffier with con- Smallest number of Weighted yarns effective Number of yarns intervening intervening separation after shufiling when printed after shuffling The third column is the sum of the first two columns. It will be seen that in no case is a pair of yarns, adjacent when leaving the shujfier, printed with fewer than three intervening yarns between them. This condition is equally as satisfactory as that of the pairs of yarns leaving the shufller with three intervening yarns, which are printed adjacently.
It can also be shown that less ideal separations would occur in certain instances if the adjacently printed yarns were distributed with a spacing either more or less than four positions. Further, this principle of shufiling applies generally to any number of yarn ends, namely, that the adjacently printed yarns shall be distributed to positions spaced according to the square root of the total number of ,yarn ends. For the 1152-end case previously discussed, .yarn 1 is distributed to the first position, yarn 2 to the 34th position, yarn 3 to the 68th position, and so on.
To carry out this arrangement without rubbing contact between the yarns, a pair of parallel perforated distribution plates 114 and 116 is used. Each of these plates has a square configuration of holes 118 through which the yarns are threaded in a systematic manner. It will be noted that the lower plate 116 is angularly oriented in relation to the plate 114 to prevent the yarns from touching one another between the plates. The number of holes on a side in each configuration equals the square root of the total as previously discussed.
\Alternatively, in some cases effective separation is obtained by dividing the total number of yarns into two or more groups, each group being shuffled as above according to the square root of the number of yarns in that group.
Following the washing station 28 previously described, the shufiied yarns enter the drier-dealigner 30. This unit includes a housing 118 defining a chamber 120 through which air, preferably heated, is continuously circulated.
The yarns pass over a number of chain-driven rolls 122 respectively designated a, b, c and d, arrayed at the entrance to housing, and a number of chain-driven rolls 124 respectively designated c, f, g and h, arrayed at the exit. The rolls 122 and 124 define a number of paths of different length over which the yarns may travel in passing from an idler 126 to an idler 128.
The number of possible paths in the illustrated example is thirty-two, these paths having fifteen different lengths, of which ten include three passes through the drier and five include five passes. The shortest path has the sequence 1, a, c and the longest path has the sequence e, b, g, d. Thus each of the sixteen yarns except for two may travel a path of distinct length between the idlers 126 and 128. The yarns are preferably wrapped over the rolls in a systematic manner. The result is a pseudo-random longitudinal shift between the yarns in relation to their relative positions when passing through the printing units.
More or fewer rolls 122 and 124 may be employed according to the number of paths desired, or certain paths such as the diagonal sequences f, g, and e, h may be eliminated if desired. Also, the roll axes may be placed 6 in a square or rectangular configuration in place of the illustrated arrangement in which the axes are located at the apexes of equilateral triangles. The square configuration would produce ten paths of distinct length, of which five would include three passes through the drier and five would include five passes.
If there are fewer paths of distinct length than there are yarns, the yarns may be divided into as many groups as there are such paths, and the yarns in each group may be wrapped over the same path or over paths of equal length. The preferred system is to divide the total number of yarns by the number of paths of different length provided and to select for each path the yarns in positions separated by the quotient obtained. Thus for 58 ends and ten paths, every sixth yarn would be selected for each available path, and so on. Generally, this provides sufiicient dealignment to prevent patterning of the colors such as ribbed effects and the like.
It will be noted that it is possible to select only paths having portions of equal length within the dryer, in which case every yarn is dried for an equal period of time within the chamber 120, making either three or five passes through the chamber, as selected. If more paths are used the conditions are so adjusted that sufficient drying is obtained with the least number of passes taken by any of the yarns.
Throughout the continuous path of the yarns from the let-off roll 19 to the idler 128, care is taken to prevent the yarns form becoming entangled with one another. To this end, a number of perforated separator plates like the plates 114 and 116 in FIG. 5 are preferably located between the several units. The separator plates have been omitted from the drawing for simplicity of illustration. In front of the shuffier 26, the yarns may be threaded through the plates in the pattern shown by the plate 114. Behind the shufiier they may be threaded through the plates in the pattern shown by the plate 116. If desired, the separator plates may have more holes in one dimension than in the other, for example two rows of eight holes each in the illustrated case, as these plates are not intended for shufiling the yarns. Like considerations apply when a greater number of yarn ends is used.
As the yarns pass over an idler upon leaving the dryer-dealigner, they are returned to the straight-line arrangement shown at the bottom of FIG. 5, and pass into the nip of feed rolls 132 forming a part of the tufting machine 32. This machine is of conventional construction except for certain features of its drive system shown in FIG. 6. In this figure the conventional mechanisms have been shown schematically for simplicity of illustration.
The tufting machine has the usual main drive shaft 134 which has four power takeoffs: a flywheel crank drive 136 for reciprocally stroking the tufting needles 13-8, a chain or link belt drive 140 for rotating the yarn feed rolls 132, a chain drive 142. for rotating a backing feed drive r011 144, and a chain drive 146 driving a wormcam mechanism 147 for longitudinally reciprocating a backing feed backup roll 148. The rolls 144 and 148 are situated in cooperating relationship for pulling the tufted product therebet ween through the line of needles, as is commonly done.
Conventional tufting machines employ a constant needle stroke rate, usually using an alternating current motor belted to the main drive shaft. However, the present machine employs a variable speed direct current motor 150 connected to this shaft by a V-belt 152.
The drive 140 is connected as in a conventional machine through a variable pitch pulley mechanism 154 to the yarn feed rolls 132. In a conventional machine this mechanism is employed to vary the rate of yarn feed. In the present machine, however, this mechanism has a different function, namely, to maintain a constant rate of yarn feed by compensating for any variations made in the speed of the shaft 134.
Thus the present machine differs from a conventional machine in that it is adapted to maintain a constant rate of yarn feed under all operating conditions. This speed is determined for the machine as a whole, and is dictated by the time and temperature relationships controlling the dye fixation process in the column 24.
The needle stroke rate is varied by changing the speed of the motor 150, While at the same time readjusting the mechanism 154 to maintain a constant rate of yarn feed.
The number of tufts per inch is determined by the speed of the roll 144 which is variable by means of a handwheel 156 and an associated variable speed means 158. The parts 156 and 158 are of conventional form. It will also be noted that in the present machine any change in the speed of the motor 150 also affects the number of tufts per inch. It will be seen that full flexibility is obtained in tufting fabrics of any desired number of tufts per inch and pile depth.
The reciprocation of the backing which is accomplished by the mechanism 147, causes each line of tufting to assume a zigzag configuration, which generally enhances the random effect of the textile previously described. Since the last mentioned feature is obtained in a conventional manner it is not further described herein.
As an alternative to the foregoing drive arrangement, it is possible to employ a constant speed drive for the feed rolls 132 with a variable speed drive connection therefrom to the drive shaft 134. The previously described arrangement is preferred, however, because it affords a ready means for adjusting the speed of the feed rolls 132 to compensate for any slight variations that may be made for any reason in the overall rate of feed of the yarns through the machine.
The manufacturing process herein described is fully adaptable to the production of solid color tufted textiles, in which case the pad 38 may be employed without the printing units 46, 48 and 50. A product of very uniform color is obtained by use of the shuffer 26 and dealigning features which insure the separation of yarns passing adjacently through the pad and also the dealignment of yarn segments that pass through the pad at the same moment of time. This tends to prevent any patterning effect that might arise either from variations in the composition of the dye liquor at various locations along the pad, or from variations in the composition of the dye liquor as a function of time.
While the present invention has been described with particular reference to a preferred embodiment and mode of operation, simplified for purposes of illustration, various modifications in addition to the several mentioned herein will become obvious from the description. Such modifications, including different arrangements and configurations of the parts and in the modes of operation 8 thereof, fall within the spirit and scope of the invention and are intended to be included within the scope of the claims to the extent that the language thereof permits.
What is claimed is 1. Random dye printing means comprising, in combination:
means to feed a number of yarns in a sheet along a generally horizontal path,
a plurality of printing units arranged seriatim along said path of travel of the yarns, each including a dye pan, a print bar drive shaft having its axis transverse to the yarns, rotatably supported over the dye pan and having flange means secured thereto, and a print bar of generally round cross section supported on said flange means and generally parallel to said shaft and in position to dip into and to stir a dye liquor in the pan and to contact the yarns as said shaft is rotated, the print bars having their yarncontacting surfaces located at different distances from the corresponding drive shafts and each in position to intersect said horizontal path and to make a touching, non-sliding contact with the yarns to deflect them momentarily from said path,
and drive means for said shafts adapted to rotate them at different angular speeds so related to said different distances as to cause the linear speeds of the print bars to be the same and equal to that of the yarns, each print bar printing by capillary action a segment of each yarn approximately equal in length to the arc of contact at the point of maximum deflection thereof.
2. The combination according to claim 1, with at least one pair of restraining bars through which the yarns pass, said restraining bars having the yarns therebetween and being located in said horizontal path between a pair of adjacent printing units.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 590,245 9/1897 Stokes l0ll72 1,035,959 8/1912 Goldsmith l18223 X 1,770,910 7/1930 Byrd 68203 1,800,859 4/1931 Chatfield 68203 1,886,428 11/1932 Sackner 118223 X 3,083,640 4/1963 Milner l0l-172 3,509,850 5/1970 Geating 118221 CLYDE I. COUGHENOUR, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.