US 3667665 A
Flock distributing apparatus of the kind which comprises an elongate receptacle for flock, said receptacle having a foraminous bottom, an elongate rotary agitator within and extending longitudinally of the receptacle and which is operative to cause flock fiber to sift down through the bottom of the receptacle, and with further provision of means operative to drop flock down onto the rotary agitator at definitely spaced points lengthwise of the latter.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Spencer [4 1 June 6, 1972 APPARATUS FOR PREPARING F LOCKED FABRIC Inventor: Francis T. Spencer, Biddeford, Maine Assignee: West Point-Pepperell, Inc., Boston, Mass.
Filed: May 20, 1971 Appl, N0.: 145,547
Related US. Application Data Continuation of Ser. No. 834,825, June 19, 1969, abandoned.
US. Cl ..222/4l2, 222/238 Int. Cl. i Golf 11/20 Field of Search .,222/1, 176, 177, 240, 272,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,811,134 10/1957 Friderici ..1 18/636 3,403,817 10/1968 Morash ..222/l Primary ExaminerSamuel F. Coleman Assistant Examiner-Larry Martin Attorney-Robcrts, Cushman & Grover [5 7] ABSTRACT Flock distributing apparatus of the kind which comprises an elongate receptacle for flock, said receptacle having a foraminous bottom, an elongate rotary agitator within and extending longitudinally of the receptacle and which is operative to cause flock fiber to sift down through the bottom of the receptacle, and with further provision of means operative to drop flock down onto the rotary agitator at definitely spaced points lengthwise of the latter.
4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR PREPARING FLOCKED FABRIC This application is a continuation of Ser. No. 834,825, filed June 19, 1969, and now abandoned.
This invention pertains to the manufacture of flocked material and more especially to improved means for distributing flock fiber uniformly over a substrate having a sticky surface and, in particular, to means operative to distribute flock fiber so as to form a layer of substantially uniform density over a substrate of very substantial width, for example, a width of 70 inches or more.
In the copending application Ser. No. 565,235, filed July 14, 1966, by Francis T. Spencer, flock distributing apparatus is disclosed wherein a series of like distributing units is so arranged that each unit distributes flock fiber upon an area extending transversely of a substrate material, the several units depositing flock fiber, in succession, upon the same area, and the several units being so devised and arranged that lack of unifonnity in the layer of fiber deposited by one unit is compensated by a succeeding unit. It is recommended that at least four such units be used.
However, when the substrate exceeds 70 inches in width, and since the individual units much necessarily be of a length at least as great as the width of the substrate, even the multiple unit apparatus described in said copending application, if the individual units are like those disclosed in said application, does not obtain the uniformity desired in the completed product. With the object of overcoming this deficiency and to provide apparatus capable of producing a flock layer of uniform density on a substrate up to or exceeding 70 inches in width, the present invention provides an improvement in the individual distributing unit whereby an acceptable degree of uniformity in the flock layer is assured even though the substrate be of great width.
In the attainment of these desirable results the present invention provides a flock distributing unit comprising a receptacle or hopper of a length at least as great as the width of the material to be flocked. This receptacle has a bottom consisting of perforate or screen material of a mesh such that fibers, up to a length of 6 mm. at least, may pass freely through it. Within such receptacle, means for agitating the fibers is provided such as to induce fibers to pass through the screen. A second hopper or receptacle, above and parallel to the first and of approximately the same length, has a series of spaced holes in its bottom through which flock may drop into the lower receptacle. Conventional means is provided for feeding flock into the upper receptacle,-for example, at a point near one end of the latter. A smooth-surfaced rotating helix, for example of steel or a suitably hard synthetic plastic, ofa diameter such that its spires do not quite touch the inner surface of the receptacle is operative to urge the fibers to travel longitudinally of the receptacle from the supply point but without cutting or crushing the fibers. As the fibers are moved along the apertured bottom of the receptacle some of them drop down through each aperture into the first receptacle at spaced points along its length. By so dropping the fibers into the lower receptacle, at spaced points along its length (rather than at one point only) the possibility of forming a uniform layer is greatly increased.
Provision is made for varying the effective areas of the holes in the bottom of the upper receptacle. Preferably the arrangement is such as to make it possible to adjust the effective size of each of the several holes, independently.
In the annexed drawings, wherein one desirable embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example,
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic side elevation with parts of the easing broken away or omitted, illustrating one complete flock distributing unit according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary vertical section, to larger scale, on the line 2-2 of FIG. I,-the outer casing being omitted;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view, looking upwardly from the plane indicated by the line 33 of FIG. 2, showing the means for adjusting the size of the holes in the bottom of the upper hopper;
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic plan view, to very small scale, showing a series of units like that of FIGS. 1 to 3, relatively arranged as a flocking machine to provide a flock layer of uniform density; and
FIG. 5 is an elevation of the apparatus of FIG. 4.
Referring to FIG. 1, the character U designates a single distributing unit embodying applicant's invention. This unit comprises a casing 10 which may be of sheet metal or other suitable material, having mounted in its upper part an elongate receptacle or hopper 11 (FIG. 2) and having in its lower position, a second receptacle or hopper l2,-these receptacles extending longitudinally of the casing, being supported by the casing in any desirable manner. Rotary shafts 13 and 14 extending longitudinally of the upper and lower receptacles, respectively, may extend outwardly from the end wall of the casing and have means for driving them, for example, pulleys 15 and 16 fixed to their projecting outer ends, the pulleys being driven in the same direction by a belt or otherwise. By way of example, shaft 13 may be driven at 42 RPM and shaft 14 at 40 RPM.
The upper receptacle 11, as shown in FIG. 2 has a semicylindrical pan or bottom B provided with a plurality of holes 17. These holes may be at the lowest part of the bottom, but, as illustrated in FIG. 2, are somewhat displaced toward one side.
For adjusting the size of these holes, a slide 19, having a series of spaced holes and adjustable lengthwise of the receptacle 11, is supported by suitable guides 19:: and is provided (FIG. 3) with a handle 20 by which it may be moved forwardly or backwardly. By adjusting this slide, all of the openings 17 in the bottom B of the receptacle 11 may be adjusted simultaneously. However, it may be desirable to adjust the effective side of the openings 17 independently and for this purpose auxiliary slides 21 (FIG. 2) corresponding to each of the openings 17 and provided with a hole 17b is movable relatively to the slide 19, these auxiliary slides 21 being suitably supported and guided by guides 19b for movement transversely of the main slide 19 and may be held in adjusted position by set screws, not shown, passing through the respective auxiliary slide and into the slide 19.
On the shaft 13 of the upper receptacle there is provided a longitudinally extending helix H which may be of smooth polished steel or hard plastic,the diameter of this helical element being such that its spires are closely adjacent to the upper surface of the bottom B of the receptacle 11 but do not actually touch it, so that its contact with flock fibers within the receptacle cannot cause any crushing or cutting of the fibers. However, this member H, which acts as a pusher, tends to move fibers longitudinally of the receptacle. As shown in FIG. 1, the elongate hopper 10 is provided near one end with a socalled cyclone C which is a customary device in the bandling of dry, comminuted materials and which, as shown, is operative to deliver flock fibers down into the forward end of the hopper l l,the member H acting to push fiber toward the opposite end of the receptacle and, in so pushing the fiber across the openings 17, 17b, tends to cause substantially equal quantities of fiber to fall through each of the several openings.
The pan," that is to say, the bottom B of the upper receptacle 11 may be of any suitable material, for example, sheet metal or a hard synthetic plastic having holes 17 in its bottom, of, for example, 2 inches in diameter and spaced 8 inches apart. In practice, the receptacle or hopper is of a length such as to have 12 such holes, the hole nearest to the forward end of the pan or bottom preferably being directly below the cyclone C.
The lower receptacle 12, as shown in FIG. 2, has a curved bottom B2 concentric with the shaft l4,-this bottom being constituted by a screen which may be of woven wire or other filamentous material or a perforated sheet of metal or plastic. This screen or perforate member B2 may be made of a coarse or fine mesh according to the length of flock fiber or the material of the flock fiber, for example, it may be of 5 X 5 mesh; a 4 X 4 mesh; or a 2 X 2 mesh, or in fact any other suitable mesh or opening size, to permit the flock fibers of the length desired and denier desired, to pass through the meshes or perforations. If a perforated sheet be used to form the bottom B2 of the lower receptacle, then round holes may be used,-staggered or in straight parallel rows. For example, the holes may be from onesixteenth to one-half inch diameter, providing an aggregate open area of from 20 to 60 percent of the total area. The helical device H2 on the shaft 14 may be of metal, for example, thin polished steel or a glossy surfaced hard plastic, but preferably it is a bristle brush and of a diameter such that the tips of the bristles actually contact the screen bottom B2.
A unit such as herein disclosed, as contrasted with the distributing units of this general type previously available, produces a dense flock layer which is more uniform than is produced by prior known devices, since the fiber is dropped onto the rotary element H2 at spaced points along the length of the latter instead of being presented to one end only of the rotary member. However, it is contemplated that, as diagrammatically shown in FIG. 4, a series of such units U,-- preferably at least four,-will be arranged and so disposed that the rotary helix H2 of alternate units, will turn in opposite directions. Such an arrangement of units of the kind herein described may be depended upon to provide a uniformly dense layer of flocked material up to or exceeding 70 inches in width.
While the rotary helix H has been found adequately sufficient to distribute the fibers along the helix H2, it is contemplated that other and equivalent devices may be provided for thus distributing the fiber at spaced points along the helix H2, as, for example, by delivering the fiber by pneumatic action through a series of delivery pipes leading from a common source and discharging the fiber onto the upper portion of the helix H2 at points spaced uniformly along the latter.
In a copending application Ser. No. 565,235, filed July 14, 1966, by Francis T. Spencer, for Flock Distributing Apparatus, there is disclosed flock distributing apparatus wherein a series of like distributing units is so arranged that each unit distributes flock fiber upon an area extending transversely of a substrate material,the several units depositing flock fiber in succession upon the same area, and it was therein pointed out that at least four such units, and preferably more, were desirable. In FIGS. 4 and 5 of the present drawings there is diagrammatically illustrated, to very small scale (in plan view in FIG. 4 and in elevation in FIG. 5) four units of the type herein disclosed,omitting details. As respects FIG. 5, the substrate on which the flock is to be delivered is moving along a horizontal path indicated by the character P and is vibrated vertically by a series of rotary beaters T, the upper and lower hoppers being indicated in dotted lines, and the cyclones for delivering fiber into one end of each hopper are designated by the character C. In the plan view (FIG. 4), the four units are designated simply by rectangles but show how the cyclones C of adjacent units are disposed at opposite ends of the units and with an endless chain X or the like arranged to drive the pulleys l5, 16 (FIG. 1) of the several units in a proper direction. It will be understood that the shafts 13 and 14 of adjacent units of the series will turn in opposite directions unless, as an alternative, the helices in adjacent units are of right-hand and left-hand pitch respectively, in which event they may be turned all in the same direction.
While one desirable embodiment of the invention has herein been disclosed by way of example, it is to be understood that the invention is broadly inclusive of any and all equivalents which fall within the scope of the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for distributing flock fibers on a moving web comprising vertically spaced, parallel, elongate hoppers supported transversely of the web, each hopper having a substantially half-cylindrical bottom wall, a helical screw having a continuous blade rotatably supported longitudinally within the upper hopper with the blade concentric with and spaced from the bottom of the hopper, and a helical brush having radially disposed bristles arranged in a helix rotatably supported longitudinally within the lower hopper with the bristles concentric with and in brushing engagement with the bottom, said bottom of the upper hopper comprising a smooth, nonforarninous structure containing longitudinally thereof at uniformly spaced intervals discharge holes through which equal quantities of fibers are adapted to be dropped onto the brush situated in the lower hopper at equally spaced intervals therealong, said helical screw having a smooth polished surface operable to advance fibers from one end of the upper hopper therealong toward the other and in sufficient quantity to maintain a substantial equal quantity of fibers above each of the discharge holes in the bottom throughout operation and providing sufficient clearance between its lower side and the bottom of the hopper to permit movement of fibers along the bottom without cutting and/or curling of the fibers, said bottom of the lower hopper comprising a foraminous structure containing uniformly distributed apertures through which fibers are adapted to drop and said helical brush operating to distribute the uniform quantities of fibers dropped thereon from the discharge holes in the upper hopper uniformly over the foraminous structure of the bottom wall of the lower hopper for discharge through the apertures therein.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising a cyclone at one end of the upper hopper for supplying fibers in bulk to said end of the upper hopper.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising means associated with the discharge holes in the bottom of the upper hopper for controlling discharge through said discharge holes to provide for discharge of predetermined quantities of fibers therethrough.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said means for controlling discharge through said discharge holes comprises valve plates supported exteriorly of the bottom of said upper elongate hopper, said valve plates being adjustable in unison longitudinally of the bottom and individually circumferentially of the bottom.