US 3649411 A
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March 14, 1972 M. M. BOLLES 3,649,411
APPARATUS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF A BONDED TEXTILE FABRIC 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 5, i969 FIG. "I"
INVENTOR. MILTON M. BOLLES ATTORNEY March 14, 1972 M. M. BOLLES 3,549,411
APPARATUS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF A BONDED TEXTILE FABRIC Filed Feb. 3, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. MILTON M. BOLLES United States Patent 3,649,411 APPARATUS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF A BONDED TEXTILE FABRIC Milton M. Bolles, Spartanburg, S.C., assignor to Deering Milliken Research Corporation, Spartanburg, S.C. Filed Feb. 3, 1969, Ser. No. 796,135 Int. Cl. B32b 5/08; B65]: 54/70 US. Cl. 156-391 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to the production of textile fabrics and, more particularly, to an improved process and apparatus for the formation of non-woven net fabrics.
In French Pat. No. 1,208,968 there is disclosed a process and apparatus for the production of textile non-woven net fabrics wherein one or more continuous threads are wound about a pair of spaced thread support members in a plurality of parallel loops or reaches which are moved laterally therealong to form a weft sheet. One or more sheets of warp threads are brought into contiguous coplanar relation with the moving weft sheet and are adhesively secured thereto to form a composite non-woven net fabric. These fabrics are widely used as reinforcement in various laminated products, such as synthetic polymeric sheets and film, paper sheets, and the like, and as a support backing for carpets and multi-part materials, such as ceramic or wooden floor tiles. Such fabrics are also useful as packing materials, and as screening material for windows, doors, and the like.
In the aforementioned French patent, the continuous threads which form the weft sheet are wound on the spaced thread support members by the use of a cylindrical bobbin-support ring which is disposed outside the support members and is continuously rotated to wrap one or more ends of thread from the bobbins thereon about the support members, thereby forming the parallel reaches of the weft sheet. Due to the fact that the bobbins are supportably positioned at appreciable distances from the axis of rotation, the support rings are necessarily of a relatively heavy construction, and the resulting weight and mass of the rings cause undesirable vibration, inertial, and im balance problems, making it difficult and quite expensive to adequately support and uniformly drive the ring, particularly at the high rotational speeds desired for most economical operation of the apparatus. Additionally, the necessary location of the ring outside the edges of the weft sheet to properly wind the thread about the weftforming spaced support members requires such large ring sizes that it substantially prohibits the use of such a bobbin-support ring arrangement in the production of relatively wide width net fabrics.
To overcome some of the problems incident to the use of the above described bobbin-support ring in the production of non-woven net fabrics, French Addition Pat. No.
3,649,411 Patented Mar. 14, 1972 ice 79,765 discloses an improved apparatus for forming the fabrics wherein the bobbin-support ring is replaced by a rotating circular disc on which is peripherally mounted an outwardly extending thread-guide tube. In this apparatus, stationary thread packages positioned near the axis of the rotation of the disc and tube supply a continuous thread to a central opening in the disc. The thread passes radially outwardly along the disc and through the hollow tube to be laid about the spaced thread support members during rotation.
Although positioning the thread packages adjacent or on the axis of rotation of the disc and guide tube reduces, to an extent, the weight and balance problems present in the use of the rotating bobbin-support ring, the disc and tube arrangement also has certain disadvantages in operation. Since the outer end of the guide tube, just as the bobbin-support ring, must pass in a circular path radially outside the spaced thread support members to properly form the weft sheet, there must be sufficient clearance both above and below the path of the sheet to permit free passage of the arm during its rotation. With relatively wide fabrics this greatly increases the vertical space requirements for proper operation of the apparatus and correspondingly increases the overall cost of production. In addition, at high rotational speeds, forces acting on the large diameter, relatively thin disc and guide tube create stresses which tend to structurally weaken the components, thereby limiting the effective life of the apparatus and increasing the chances of injury to operating personnel due to structural failure of the winding means.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved process and apparatus for producing non-woven net fabrics which overcome the problems of the prior art.
It is another object of the invention to provide an improved process and apparatus to produce relatively wide width non-woven net fabrics at high speeds.
It is another object to provide an apparatus of the type described which is of durable, economical construction, is highly stable during operation, and can be operated with minimum danger to operating personnel due to structural failure of its components.
It is a further object to provide an apparatus of the type described which may be employed to produce wide width non-woven net fabrics with minimum space requirements for the operational components of the winding mechanism of the apparatus.
The above as well as other objects of this invention are accomplished by providing an apparatus for producing non-woven net fabrics wherein the winding means for laying a continuous thread about the spaced support members to form the weft sheet comprises an endless flexible element having a thread guide thereon, the element and guide being mounted for movement in a generally elliptical path closely adjacent the plane of the weft sheet, such that the width of the net fabric produced may be indefinitely increased without increasing the space required above and below the sheet for operation of the winding means. More particularly, the endless flexible element and guide are mounted for movement on spaced, rotatable drive elements to define a generally racetrack-shaped path of movement, the major axis of which is generally parallel to the plane of the spaced support members and weft sheet formed thereon.
By avoiding the use of the circular bobbin support ring or circular disc and guide arm which have heretofore been employed to wind the thread on the thread support members, inertial and space requirement problems inherent in their operation are eliminated, and the moving belt and guide winding means of the present invention permits effective high speed operation of the apparatus to produce non-woven net fabrics of wide width construction.
Further detailsv of the invention may be best explained and understood by referenceto the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic line drawing of a side elevation of an apparatus for producing non-woven net fabrics including the novel features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic plan .view of the apparatus of FIG. 1, with portions of the warp thread path shown in FIG. 1 omitted for convenience; and
FIG. 3 is an enlarged and somewhat exaggerated perspective view of the winding and weft sheet forming sections of the apparatus in FIG. 1, showing in greater detail the construction and arrangement of the thread Winding means of the apparatus.
Referring more specifically to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an apparatus for continuously forming non-woven net fabrics which generally comprises a thread winding section 10, a weft sheet forming section 12, a warp and weft sheet combining section 14, and a section, generally indicated at 16, for securing the sheets in contiguous coplanar relation to form a non-woven net fabric. As presented in the drawings, the relative size of the components of the winding section and the weft sheet forming section 12 have been altered, and the two sections have been exploded away from each other, as will he explained, in order to better show the operative relation of the components in the two sections in initially forming the weft sheet.
As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, thread Winding section 10 includes thread winding means comprising an endless flexible element or belt which is mounted for movement in a generally elliptical and more particularly a racetrack-shaped path by spaced rotatable elements or pulleys 22, 24. Supporting shafts 26, 28 of the respective pulleys 22, 24 are rotatably mounted in bearings 30, 32, respectively, secured to a support frame 33. Sprockets 34, 36 on the ends of the pulley shafts 26, 28 are interconnected by an endless chain 38 to a drive sprocket 40 mounted on a hollow drive shaft 42 which is, in turn, drivingly connected by sprockets 43, 44, and an endless chain 45 to the drive shaft of a motor 46 which is operated to move the belt 20 in a substantially racetrack-shaped path during operation of the apparatus.
Mounted on the surface of belt 20 for movement therewith is a thread guide 50 which extends outwardly from the belt beyond pulleys 22, 24 and has a pair of spaced, thread guiding eyelets 52, 54 therein. The distance between the eyelets of the guide is shown greatly exaggerated in length in the drawings to retain them in proper relative position with respect to the components of the weft sheetforming section 12, which components are shown relatively enlarged and separated a distance from the winding section 12, as will be explained.
The weft sheet-forming section 12 includes a pair of spaced elongate thread support members, shown as helical springs 60, 61. A hollow support shaft 62, 63 on the end of each spring is rotatably supported on a cross arm 64 which is centrally mounted by a bearing 65 surrounding the hollow drive shaft 42. The helical springs 60, 61 are continuously rotated about their longitudinal axes by means of sprockets 66, 68 which are drivingly interconnected by an endless chain 70 to a central drive sprocket 72 on the hollow drive shaft 42. Continuous threads from packages 74, 76 pass through the hollow support shafts and the center of each spring to form a selvage thread in each edge of the weft sheet, as will be explained, which serve to strengthen the non-woven net fabric product. The cross arm 64 and springs 60, 61 are prevented from rotating about the drive shaft 42 by engagement of the springs with a pair of suitably supported stop members or blocks 77 positioned beneath the springs.
During operation of the apparatus, the weft sheet which is formed in the weft sheet forming section 12 is advanced through a pair of ip construction rolls 78, 80 where it is sandwiched between and thereby combined in contiguons co-planar relation with a pair of warp thread sheets 82, 84 (FIG. 1) which continuously are fed thereto from a suitable supply source, not shown. The combined sheets thereafter pass over a guide roll 86 to the securing section 16 where they are passed by squeeze rolls 88, 90 through an adhesive bath 92, after which they travel about a pair of heated drying rolls 94, 96 to a collection roll 98. During the drying of the adhesive on the sheets, the sheets are secured in contiguous co-planar relation to form the composite non-woven net fabric product.
To form the Weft sheet, a continuous thread 100 is passed from a suitably supported supply package 102 through the hollow support shaft 42 and a radially disposed outlet 193 in its wall. Thread 100 from outlet 103 passes through guiding eyelets 52 and 54 of the moving thread guide 50 and is wound thereby in a series of loops or reaches about the spaced support springs 60, 61 to form a plurality of thread reaches therebetween. The cooperative relationship of the components of the thread winding and weft sheet forming sections may best be explained by reference to FIG. 3 which is an enlarged, somewhat exaggerated perspective view of the major components of the two sections. As in FIGS. 1 and 2, the components of the weft sheet forming section 12 shown in FIG. 3 have been relatively enlarged and the two sections have been separated from each other along a line parallel to the general direction of movement of the weft sheet (note the dashed or broken lines) to better show the components and describe the operation of the sections. In actual construction, the selvage thread packages 74, 76 and supporting cross arm 64 could be positioned closer to the moving belt 20 and its support pulleys for compactness, with the clearance between the two sections limited only to that necessary to allow free passage of the trailing portion 100a of the thread therebetween during movement of the guide 50 about the support springs 60,61.
During movement of belt 20 and thread guide 50, thread guiding eyelet 54 is positioned in overlying or overlapping relation with the end portions of the helical springs 60, 61 to wind the leading portion of the continuous thread thereabout. To facilitate proper placement of the thread in the helices of the support springs 60, 61, each of the springs may be provided with a cone-shaped guide 104, 106 at its supported end which engages and slidingly directs the thread from eyelet 54 between the helices of the springs. As the springs are continuously rotated, each loop end of the thread reaches is engaged by a helix of the spring and the reaches are laterally advanced along the length of the spring to form the weft sheet. As the reaches approach the ends of the springs, they are engaged by and pass between the construction rolls 78, 80 and thereafter advance off the springs to be supported between the warp thread sheets 82, 84. The selvage threads passing through the springs 60, 61 are engaged by and disposed Within the loop ends of the weft thread reaches to support the weft sheet and reinforce the fabric product.
In like manner, guiding eyelet 52 is spaced inwardly along the guide 50 a sufficient distance to position the trailing portion 100a of the thread between the belt 20 and the springs 60, 61 and their support members to ensure its free passage therebetween during the winding operation. As endless belt 20 is moved by support pulleys 22, 24 to pass the thread guide 50 repeatedly about the helicalsupport springs, 60, 61, the thread outlet 103 in drive shaft'42 rotates therewith to prevent the trailing portion 100a of the continuous thread from being wrapped about shaft 42. To insure that the outlet 1133 makes one revolution for every traverse of thread guide 50 about the racetrack path of the belt, the relative speed of the bell 20 and the shaft 42 can be readily synchronized by adjustment of the size of the sprockets 34 and 36 which drive pulleys 22, 24 supporting belt 20.
Although the guide means for properly positioning the leading portion of the continuous thread on the helical support springs while passing the trailing portion 100a of the thread behind the cross bar 64 and selvage packages 74, 76 are shown as spaced guiding eyelets 52, 54 other means might readily be provided to insure that the thread does not engage and entangle in the support and drive elements of the helical springs. For example, an inverted V-shaped guide plate may be disposed above the selvage packages 74, 76 and ends of the cross arm 64, With a single guiding eyelet positioned on guide 50 in line with the apex of the V so that the leading and trailing portions of the thread will fall on opposite sides of the arm during movement of the guide above the springs.
Although helical springs 60, 61 have been shown and described as being supported and driven by the central hollow shaft 42, other means may be substituted therefor to rotate the springs, in which cases other appropriate means could be provided to guide the continuous thread from the package 102 through the inside of the path defined by the belt 20 to the moving thread guide 50 to prevent its engagement with support pulleys 22, 24 during the winding operation.
The threads employed in the present apparatus to form the non-woven net fabrics may be composed of any continuous filament or spun yarns of natural or synthetic fiber composition. If high strength is desired in the fabric product, mineral threads, such as fiber glass, are especially desirable for use in the formation of the fabrics.
As can be appreciated, the endless belt winding means of the present invention may be readily adjusted to permit the construction of non-woven fabrics of various widths, it only being necessary to adjustably reposition the pulleys 22, 24 of the belt at varying distances from each other and employ endless belts of corresponding lengths therebetween. In producing various width fabrics, the length of the cross arm 64 and drive chain 70 of the weft-forming section 12 would also be altered to correspond to the Width of the fabric produced.
From the foregoing description of the invention, it can be seen that the nonwoven fabric-forming apparatus containing the endless belt winding mechanism herein disclosed can be employed to produce wide width non-woven fabrics without increasing the vertical space requirements of the apparatus, and can also be employed to produce non-woven fabrics at high operational speeds without the vibration and inertial problems inherent in such apparatus of the prior art.
The foregoing drawings and specification have set forth a. preferred embodiment of the invention and, although specific terms have been employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being limited only by the extent of the following claims.
That which is claimed is:
1. In apparatus for forming non-woven net fabrics comprising (a) a pair of spaced apart generally parallel elongated thread support members,
(b) means for rotating each of said support members about its longitudinal axis,
(c) means for winding a continuous thread about the rotating support members to form a plurality of generally parallel thread reaches extending therebetween,
(d) said thread support members comprising means for moving the reaches generally laterally along the longitudinal axis of said members in spaced relation to form a sheet of weft threads,
(e) means for positioning a selvage thread within and along each edge of the weft sheet,
(f) means for combining one or more sheets of warp threads with the sheet of weft threads in contiguous coplanar relationship, and
(g) means for bonding the contiguous sheets together to form a non-woven net fabric;
the improvement wherein said winding means comprises an endless flexible element having a thread guide mounted thereon, means mounting said element spaced from said thread support members with said guide extending therefrom for movement in a generally elliptical path about the support members, said guide having means located in overlapping relation to said thread support members to position a continuous thread thereon and means located between said support members and said flexible element to guide the trailing portion of the continuous thread therebetween during movement of said thread guide about the support members.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for guiding the continuous thread from a supply thereof through the space bounded by the elliptical path during winding to prevent its engagement with said flexible element and said flexible element mounting means.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said flexible element mounting means comprise a spaced pair of rotatable elements supportably engaging said flexible element to define end portions of said generally elliptical path.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,895,293 1/1933 Morton 28-1 (CL) 1,951,301 3/1934 Angier et al 156-439 X 2,772,718 12/1956 Magnuson 156-439 XL 3,360,410 12/1967 Romanin 156-439 XL 3,422,511 1/1969 Seguin 28-1 (CL) 3,493,455 2/1970 Bolt et al. 156-177 XL 3,049,230 8/1962 Van SCOY 28-21 FOREIGN PATENTS 873,405 7/1961 Great Britain 156-439 CARL D. QUARFORTH, Primary Examiner R. S. GAITHER, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.