US 3673036 A
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3,673,036 ING ARTICLE FILLED June 27, 1972 3, LIFE MEIHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORM WITH FILAMENT FIBERFILL Filed Aug. 5, 1970 INVENTOR JEROME 6. LIFE BY WfW.
f A ORNEY United States Patent 3,673,036 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING ARTICLE FILLED WITH FILAMENT FIBERFILL Jerome G. Lipe, Jacksonville, Ala., assignor to Celanese Corporation, New York, N.Y. Filed Aug. 5, 1970, Ser. No. 61,123 Int. Cl. B65b 1/16, 5/00, 66/00 US. Cl. 156-250 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A process for filling a plurality of articles with continuous filament fiberfill comprising the steps of opening a crimped multifilament tow, spreading the opened tow, subdividing the opened tow, delivering each subdivision of the opened tow to a pneumatic propelling device, whereby the subdivided tow is bulked and propelled, discharging each subdivision of the tow into an enclosed zone of an article to be filled, and, when said article is filled, discontinuing delivery of new tow to the pneumatic propelling device, severing the tow downstream of the pneumatic propelling device, removing the filled article and replacing it with a new article to be filled, and resuming delivery of the new tow to the pneumatic propelling device. A corresponding apparatus and the filled article are also claimed.
The present invention relates to a process and apparatus for producing articles filled or stuffed with synthetic fibers, especially sleeping bags.
In producing articles filled with synthetic fibers, the standard practice is to start with a crimped tow of continuous filaments, and to form them into a batt or web, generally stitched to a loose backing fabric. The backing fabric and batt are then placed between the outer fabric layers which will make up the outsides of the filled fabric and additional stitching is undertaken to secure the components and to form pockets to limit the migration of individual fibers should they work their way loose.
The repeated stitching is not only uneconomical but it also serves to reduce the bulk of the filled articles whereas bulk, either for warmth or appearance, is generally precisely the reason for undertaking filling initially.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a novel process and apparatus for producing superior filled articles.
This and other objects and advantages of the invention are realized in accordance with the present invention which involves a process for filling a plurality of enclosed zones of an article with continuous filament fiberfill comprising the steps of opening a crimped multifilament tow, spreading the opened tow, subdividing the opened tow into a plurality of sub-tows corresponding to the number of enclosed zones to be filled, delivering each sub-tow of the opened tow to a pneumatic propelling device, whereby the sub-tows are bulked and propelled, discharging each of the sub-tows into an enclosed zone of the article to befilled, and, when the enclosed zones of said article are filled, discontinuing deliveery of new sub-tows to the pneumatic propelling device, severing the tow downstream of the pneumatic propelling device, removing the filled article and replacing it with a new article to be filled, and resuming delivery of the new tow to the pneumatic propelling device. The invention also provides an apparatus for carrying out the process.
The invention will be described in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:
The single figure is a perspective view of a portion of the apparatus for carrying out the process also showing a sleeping bag as produced.
Referring now more particularly to the drawing, a
plurality of continuous crimped multifilament tows 12 (12a 12b, 120, etc.) pass through a banding jet 14 provided with an elongated slot 16 subdivided by spacers to keep the tows laterally separated from one another. The banding jet 14 is supplied with airwhich strikes the tows substantially perpendicularly and spreads the tows laterally to form flat bands each occupying its full space; the crimps, however, are still in substantial registry. The spread tows pass successively about pretensioning bars 18, 20, 22 and then between pairs of rolls 24, 26 and 28, 30. One roll of each pair is driven and the other rotates through contact; in addition, one roll of each pair is helically threaded while the other is smooth, as described more fully in US. Pat. 3,156,016. The downstream rolls 28, 30 run at a higher peripheral speed than the upstream rolls 24, 26 and the crimps in the tows issuing from rolls 28, 30 are no longer in registry, i.e. the tows have been opened. The tows pass about guide bars 32 so positioned as to cause the tows to pass under static eliminator rod 34, the tows next passing about guide bar 36 from whence they enter venturi tubes 38 (38a, 38b, 38c, etc.), one tube for each tow. The venturi tubes 38 are provided with air from a common header 40 and discharge their respective tows 12 through fiexible tubes, i.e. hoses, 42 (42a, 42b, 42c, etc.) spaced slightly from the ends of the venturis.
A table 44 is provided with a reciprocating drive (not shown) which permits it to advance slowly to the right, stop, return rapidly to the left, stop again and repeat the cycle. An article to be filled such as a sleeping bag shell 46 is placed on the table 44 at its most forward position, the shell 46 being subdivided by lines of stitching 48 into a plurality of longitudinal channels 50. The flexible tubes are just long enough to extend almost to the forward ends of the channels 50 when the shell is at its most rearward position, as illustrated. Since the traverse of table 44 is just about equal to the length of the shell 46, when the shell is in its forwardmost position the ends of tubes 42 will overlap the shell slightly. In such position the end of each tube 42 is inserted into a respective channel 50, the mechanism is turned on and table 44 and shell 46 move to the left to the position illustrated.
A switch is thrown, actuating the air supply to header 40 so that all the venturi tubes 28 start propelling their deregistered tows through their tubes 42 and into their respect channels 50, thereby filling the with fiberfill. At the same time, table 44 starts moving slowly to the right so as to withdraw the tubes from their channels and so as to move the tube discharge points up relative to the channels as the channels fill up. After a predetermined weight of filling material has been delivered, ascertained by a meter 52 which is set to measure either time or the linear distance which the rolls have travelled, the advance of table 44 is discontinued, the air supply to header 40 is interrupted and a hot wire 54 moves down between the ends of venturi tubes 38 and the adjacent ends of flexible hoses 42, thereby severing the tows through melting.
The filled article is removed, a new empty shell is placed on the table with the ends of hoses 42 inserted into channels 50, the table moves to the left, ready to start a new filling cycle. In the meantime, tows have been delivered by the opening devices but, not being forwarded by the venturi tubes, they have accumulated. When the air is again turned on, however, the accumulated slack is taken up and process continues. The whole progress of the tow, including the path through the opening device, can be stopped or started without harm to the product.
In place of threaded roll openers, the crimped tows can be deregistered by other means such as tension, air blasts, and the like. If deregistered crimped tows are employed,
such as might be obtained by non-uniform shrinkage between or within filaments making up an initially straight tow, the opening step could even be dispensed with, although lateral spreading would generally be desirable.
In place of a hot wire cut off, blades or shears could similarly be used. The interruption of the process during replacement of a filled article with a new empty shell can be effected otherwise than by cutting oif the air supply to the venturi tubes. Thus, for example, the threaded roll drives could be interrupted in which case there would be no accumulation of tows. The cycle can "be automatic with actuations and initiations of motion being based on time or distance or weight. Alternatively the actions can be initiated by manual throwing of switches, although preferably at least the interruption of filling is effected automatically to ensure uniformity.
In addition, while a plurality of tows have been shown, obviously a single initial tow could be acted upon and subdivided longitudinally by guides, pins, hot wires, knives, shears, blades, etc., to form laterally spaced subtows; such sub-tows are the full equivalent of the tows shown herein. It is even posisble to use only a single tow and single venturi, and to fill the longitudinal channels (if there is more than one) in sequence, with the cycle for each channel being the equivalent of a cycle for each article as shown in the drawing.
The use of a hot wire for cutting the tows is of course predicated on the tows being made of thermoplastic or at least thermoresponsive materials. On the other hand, materials such as' rayon or high-temperature resistant tows can also be utilized, in which case other severing devices are best employed. The filamentary materials may comprise polymers which are cellulosic, e.g. cellulose acetate or rayon; polyamides of dicarboxylic acids such as adipic acid or sebacic acid and diamines such as hexamethylene diamine or of aminocarboxylic acids or of lactams, e.g. polyhexamethylene adipamide, polycaprolactam, poly-butyrolactam, poly-aminoundecanoic acid, copolymers thereof, and the like; polyesters of dicarboxylic acids such as terephthalic acid, isophthalic acid or adipic acid and glycols such as ethylene glycol, ethylene diglycol, dimethylolcyclohexane, butylene glycol, polyethylene glycol and the like, e.g. polyethylene terephthalate, polybutylene terephthalate, copolymers thereof, and the like; polymers and copolymers of vinylidene monomers such as ethylene, propylene, vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, vinylidene cyanide, acrylonitrile, methyl acrylate, and the like, e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene, vinyl chloridevinylidene chloride copolymer, acrylonitrile-methyl acrylate copolymer, and the like; or even inorganic fibers such as glass, metal, and the like.
The individual filaments may be as small as 1 denier or less and may be as large as 50 denier or more although for most filling purposes they range from about 3 to about 35 denier and preferably about 4 to 20. The total denier in each tow or sub-tow may vary within wide limits, e.g. from several hundred to several hundred thousand, depending upon the end use.
The articles to be filled may be any regularly made with other kinds of filling, e.g. bedspreads, quilted housecoats or outerwear which may be further stitched after filling to secure the fibrefill in position, although it is an advantage of continuous filament fiberfill that it does not tend to lump and mat so that such lock-stitching, though permissible, is not necessary. The invention is especially suited, however, for making sleeping bags. The following example illustrates production of such an article.
EXAMPLE A sleeping bag shell is prestitched longitudinally to form 12 channels, each 72 inches long and 6 inches wide, and further stitched to close one end. A polyester tow, made up of 360,000 filaments each about denier and having about 10.5 crimps per inch, is opened by threaded rolls, spread laterally and subdivided by knives into 12 ounces of filling per channel; at about 50 feet per minute this took about 10-12 seconds. The tows are severed, the filled sleeping bag is removed and the open end is closed.
If desired, the same product can be produced using a smaller tow feeding to a single venturi which is used to fill all the channels successively. In either event the shells are filled rapidly, uniformly and simply.
It will be appreciated that the instant specification and examples are set forth by way of illustration and not limitation, and that various modifications and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A process for filling a plurality of articles with continuous filament fiberfill comprising the steps of (a) opening a crimped multifilament tow,
(b) spreading said opened tow,
(c) delivering said opened tow to a pneumatic propelling device, whereby the tow is bulked and propelled,
(d) discharging said tow into an article to be filled,
and, when said article is filled,
(e) discontinuing delivery of new tow to said pneumatic propelling device,
(f) severing said tow downstream of said pneumatic propelling device, removing said filled article and replacing it with a new article to be filled, and
(g) resuming delivery of the new tow to said pneumatic propelling device.
2. A process according to claim 1, wherein the article to be filled is elongated and the outlet of said pneumatic propelling device extends within and substantially to the end of said article, including the further step of advancing said article away from said pneumatic propelling device during filling.
3. A process according to claim 1, wherein tow opening and spreading are eifected at a substantially constant weight per unit of time or length, delivery of new tow to said pneumatic propelling device being discontinued automatically after a predetermined passage of time or length of tow, thereby supplying a uniform weight of filling to all the article.
4. A process according to claim 3, wherein said tow is continuously discharged from spreading but is intermittently accumulated upstream of said pneumatic propelling device while replacing a filled article with a new one to be filled.
5. A process according to claim 1, wherein said spread tow is laterally subdivided and delivered to a plurality of pneumatic propelling devices all of which discharge simultaneously.
6. A process according to claim 5, wherein said articles each comprise a plurality of longitudinal channels to be filled, the plurality of pneumatic propelling devices discharging into said channels.
7. A process according to claim 6, wherein said articles are unfilled sleeping bag shells.
8. An apparatus for filling a plurality of articles with continuous filament fiberfill comprising (a) means for opening a crimped multifilament tow,
(b) means for spreading said opened tow,
(c) means for delivering said opened, spread tow,
(d) a pneumatic propelling device which bulks tow delivered thereto by said delivering means and propels said tow to said article to be filled.
(e) means for discontinuing and resuming delivery of new tow to said pneumatic propelling device, and
(f) means for severing said tow downstream of said pneumatic propelling device, whereby when an article is filled delivery of new tow to said pneumatic propelling device is discontinued, the tow is severed, the filled article is replaced. by a new article to be filled and delivery of the new tow to said pneumatic propelling device is resumed.
9. An apparatus according to claim 8, including a support for each article to be filled, and means for intersub-tows which discharge through venturis to deliver 5.3 mittently advancing and returning said support relative to said pneumatic propelling device, whereby as said article is filled it moves away so that the pneumatic propelling device discharges tow to the unfilled space.
10. An Apparatus according to claim 8, including a flexible conduit having one end adjacent said pneumatic propelling device.
11. An apparatus according to claim 8, including means for automatically actuating said severing means after a. predetermined weight of filling material has been supplied to said article.
12. An apparatus according to claim 11, including means for discontinuing advance of tow from said pneumatic propelling device notwithstanding its continuous delivery from said spreading means, whereby tow intermittently accumulates upstream of said pneumatic propelling device while replacing a filled article with a new one to be filled.
13. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein said advance discontinuing means includes means for inter- References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,971,243 2/1961 Burns 28-21 3,341,911 9/1967 Smith 2821 X WILLIAM A. POWELL, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.