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Publication numberUS3712611 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 23, 1973
Filing dateMar 17, 1971
Priority dateMar 17, 1970
Also published asDE2111637A1
Publication numberUS 3712611 A, US 3712611A, US-A-3712611, US3712611 A, US3712611A
InventorsAmicel C, Jacquot M, Renaudon M
Original AssigneeTech Des Ind De L Habillement
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Suction gripping apparatus
US 3712611 A
A suction gripping apparatus particularly for fibrous material which includes a nozzle one dimension of which is not greater than twice the average diameter of the fibers of the fibrous material, the nozzle being pivoted with coupling means to secure the nozzle to a vacuum source.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent J acquot et a1.

[4 1 Jan. 23, 1973 SUCTION GRIPPING'APPARATUS Inventors: Michel Jules Jacquot; Charles Gustave Amicel, both of Yvelines;

Marie Michel Fernand Renaudon,

Hauts de Seine, all of France i Des Industries De LHabillement Filed: March 17, 1971 App]. No.: 125,057

Foreign Application Priority Data March 17, 1970 France ..7009489 Oct. 15, 1970 France. ..7037247 US. Cl ..271/11, 271/27 Int. Cl. ..B65h 3/10 Field of Search ..294/64 R, 65 R; 271/34, 28,

Primary Examiner-Even C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Bruce H. Stoner, Jr. Attorney-Watson, Cole, Grindle & Watson [57] ABSTRACT A suction gripping apparatus particularly for fibrous material which includes a nozzle one dimension of which is not greater than twice the average diameter of the fibers of the fibrous material, the nozzle being pivoted with coupling means to secure the nozzle to a vacuum source.

18 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTED JAN 2 3 I975 sum 1 0F 4 .611

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PATENTEU m 23 I975 SHEET 2 BF 4 ii! innlkwillamw srniP 1 SUCTION GRIPPING APPARATUS The invention relates to a suction gripping device particularly suitable for handling flexible materials in sheet form, for example woven or knitted fabrics, nonwoven fabrics, etc in a pile. For example, the apparatus can be used to pick off a pile a piece of fabric which must then be placed on a work table belonging, for example, to a cutting or making up station.

With conventional apparatus of this type it is often difficult to pick the fabric pieces up one by one, due to the block effect produced by piling up the pieces. Conventional gripping systems using suction discs have the disadvantage of picking up several pieces at a time, since the permeability of textiles to air causes the vacuum to act not only on the top piece, but also on those immediately below. The pieces cannot, therefore, be picked up singly.

According to the invention, it is possible to over come this disadvantage and pick up only one piece of fabric or similar material at a time, by using suction nozzles whose orifices have at least one small dimension, substantially ofthe same order as the average diameter of the elements, such as fibers, forming the material, and preferably at most double this diameter. The nozzles are preferably interchangeable, so that they can be suited to the textures of the material handled, according to the diameters of the fibers or other elements of which the material is made.

In one embodiment of the invention, the apparatus is in the form of a transfer table for materials in sheet or piece form piled on a support, and the or each nozzle is incorporated in a drum forming part of a carriage movable into the vicinity of the support. Means are provided to bring the or each nozzle in contact with the top sheet on the pile when the drum is level with this sheet, so that thesheetis carried away by the drum when the carriage moves away fromthe support.

The drum may be hollow and contain small holes through which a vacuum maintained inthe drum can act on the sheet carried away, to facilitate transfer of the sheet.

Ina variant, these holes and the vacuum are omitted, so that the apparatusis simpler and lighter. Instead, the materials carried'away are made to adhere to the drum by pins which are provided onthe outside surface of the drum and on which the materials touch.

The following is a description of various embodiments of the invention given by way of example only, reference being had to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic cross-section illustrating a detail of apparatus embodying the invention;

FIG. 2nis a cross-section showing, in more detail, an embodiment of gripping nozzle;

FIG. 3 is an elevation, partly in longitudinal section, of apparatus equipped with nozzles like those in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 isa cross-section on a line lV-IV in FIG. 5, showing a gripping and transfer apparatus;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5,. showing the carriage of the apparatus in another position;

FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 arepartial perspective views of vari ants of the gripping nozzle; and

FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a drum provided with pins.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the apparatus shown in FIG.

FIG. 1 shows diagrammatically the top piece or sheet 1 on a pile of pieces 2 of materials such as fabric made from natural, artificial or synthetic textile fibers, placed on a work table 3.

The piece 1 is shown being picked up by means of a tube 6 ending in a nozzle 5, the diameter D of whose orifice is small, substantially of the same order as the average diameterof the fibers in the material. The tube 6 is joined to a pipe 4 connected to a vacuum source, for example a vacuum pump, ejector or suction fan, indicated diagrammatically by a screw 12.

The vacuum source generates a suction force F, represented at the nozzle 5 by suction components f. These forces f, which depend on the level of the vacuum produced and on the diameter of the nozzle orifice, act on the fibers in the piece 1 and pick it up. Good results are obtained provided that D is not more than approximately double d.

FIG. 2 is a more detailed view of a nozzle of the kind described with reference to FIG. 1. A socket 7 is fixed into the pipe 4 as indicated by lines 10. Fixing may be by any suitable means, for example riveting, welding or screwing. The latter form of fixing makes the nozzles more readily interchangeable.

Inside the socket 7, the upper portion of the tube 6 is retained by a flange 11 and its'free lower portion by a spring 8, supported on a flanged ring 9 welded to the end of the tube 6. The internal diameter of the socket 7 and the external diameter of the tube 6 are such as to permit the tube 6 to slide freely inside the socket 7 while leaving minimum clearance. The number of nozzles used depends on the dimensions and weight of the stacks of material. When more than one nozzle is used, the various nozzles come into contact with the upper surface of the pile even if it is not flat, since their spring mounting compensates for any local irregularities or undulations in the piece which is to be handled. FIG. 3 shows apparatus embodying the invention with three nozzles, in which the sockets 7 are fixed to the casing 4 subjected communicating with the vacuum source 12, as described with reference to FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4 to 6 illustrate gripping apparatus in the form of a transfer table on which the pieces of fabric are picked one by one off the top of a pile 2 lying on an adjus'tablesupport 3. The transfer table comprises two drums'l4, 15 whose axles l6, 17 are connected by a chassis 18. The ends of the axles l6, l7 beartoothed wheels 19 which run on two track rails 20. The drive is provided for example, by an electric motor 21 and transmissions 22. The ends A of the rails 20 are level with the beginning of the pile'2 of pieces 1 to be handied and are on each side of this pile, the associated drum 14 being at this end A in FIG. 5. The drum 14 is hollow and contains small holes 23 subjected continuously to vacuumfrom within by a source (not shown).

. Two bent levers 25 are pivoted at their centers on the axle 16 of the drum 14. Two casings 13, each with a series of nozzles 5, are fixed to one arm of the bent levers. The figure shows two casings by way of example, so

that the table can be used simultaneously to transfer two pieces of material, possibly with different fiber dimensions. The levers 25 enable the casings to be lowered or raised when the lever outer arms pass over a projection 26 associated with the rails, to bring the nozzles out or in through a longitudinal slit provided for them in the drum. The axle 16 is connected to the vacuum source 12 by a rotary seal 24 and by tubes 27, connected in turn to the casings 13 by hoses 28. The pieces are transferred by belts or filamentary elements 29 wound round the drums 14, 15.

The apparatus operates as follows.

When the drum 14 of the carriage formed by the drums l4 and 15, chassis 18 and belts 29 reaches the end A of the rails above the pile 2 of pieces 1, the ends 30 of the levers 25 encounter the projections 26 on the rails and therefore apply the lower ends of the nozzles to the top of the pile 2. The vacuum produced at the nozzles by the source 12 acts on the piece on top of the pile without affecting the pieces immediately below it. The motor 21 is then operated to move the carriage back in the direction of an arrow M, the drums 14 and running along the racks 20. The suction effect exerted on the piece 1 by the nozzles 5 is repeated by the vacuum which prevails inside the drum 14, and which acts through the holes 23 until the piece 1 has been transferred to the horizontal upper runs of the belts 29.

FIG. 7 shows a variant of the suction system described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. The series of nozzles 5 is replaced by a single nozzle with a longitudinal slit 35 running along the apex of a dihedral angle 36 situated at the base of the casing 4. As in the case of the nozzles 5, the width of the slit is selected according to the dimensions of the fibers in the fabric which is to be handled. I

FIG. 8 shows another variant in which the apex of the dihedral angle is fitted with a central body 37 arranged to form two longitudinal suction slits 38. This central body is fixed to the sides of the dihedral angle by brackets 39. Depending on the type of fabric, it may be an advantage to have a larger number of slits.

To reduce the power from the vacuum source, the suction area may be broken up by interrupting the slit at intervals with solid portions 40, as shown in FIG. 9. The slit portions 41 so formed are marked with arrows The drum 14 in FIG. 10 is similar in essentials to that described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 6. In particular, it contains suction nozzles 5 which can be brought in and out through a longitudinal slit 50 in the drum wall by means of a system of levers 25.

A row of pins 51 is provided slightly behind the slit 50in the direction (see arrow in FIG. 10) in which the drum turns while running back after it has picked a piece of material up off the pile. These pins .51 are formed of thin nails or pins, for example perpendicular to the cylindrical surface of the drum.

Peripheral lines of pins 52 similar to the pins 51 may be provided at intervals. For example, four equispaced lines may be arranged as shown in the figure, two near the ends of the drum and the other two towards the middle of the drum.

When the apparatus has two drums connected by an apron, the pins 51, 52 are positioned so that they do not damage the belts or filamentary elements 29 forming this apron, and are long enough, of course, to catch the pieces of material in spite of the presence of the apron round the drum.

The means to cause the nozzles 5 to move in and out of the drum are adapted to keep the nozzles in the active position, the extended position, while the carriage moves away from the table 3 after raising a piece of 'rotation of the drum 14 or 15.

The invention can be applied wherever it is necessary to handle materials capable of being gripped by suction. It is particularly useful for handling materials which are woven or knitted or otherwise have a discontinuous structure, such as woven, non-woven or knitted fabrics or similar products.

Obviously, modifications may be made to the embodiments just described, more particularly by substituting technical equivalents, without thereby exceeding the scope of the invention.

What we claim is:

1. Apparatus for transferring materials of discontinuous structure such as woven or knitted materials, said apparatus comprising:

a support for a pile of materials to be transferred;

guide rail means extending toward and away from said support;

a carriage mechanism mounted on said guide rail means for movement between a position adjacent said support and a position remote therefrom,

said carriage mechanism including a pair of drums and an endless apron which passes over the drums for receiving materials being transferred,

one of the drums including at least one suction nozzle provided with a suction orifice having at least one dimension which is substantially of the same order of magnitude as the average diameter of the individual elements making up the material being handled, said nozzle being mounted for movement toward and away from said support when the car riage mechanism is in the position adjacent the support,

said mechanism further comprising wheels coaxial with the drums mounting the mechanism on the guide rail means; and

means on the guide rail means and the carriage for moving the nozzle toward the support when the carriage mechanism is in its position adjacent the support whereby when the nozzle is connected to a vacuum source the top piece of material on a pile of the latter on said support will be carried away from the support by the drum when the carriage is moved toward its position remote from the support.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said means for moving the nozzle toward the support comprises a lever pivoted on the drum and on the nozzle and a projection on the guide rail means disposed to contact the lever when the carriage mechanism is at said position thereof adjacent the support for lowering the nozzle.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, characterized in that the said dimension of the nozzle outlet orifice is at most double the average diameter of the elements of the material.v

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the nozzle is resiliently mounted on its support.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the nozzle outlet orifice has a circular cross-section.

6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the nozzle outlet orifice comprises at least one elongated slit.

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the nozzle outlet orifice comprises a plurality of mutually parallel slits.

8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the nozzle outlet orifice comprises slits aligned with one 5 another and separated by solid portions.

9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the drum is provided on its outside surface with pins capable of catching on the materials sucked onto it by the nozzle.

10. Apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the pins are arranged in a row parallel to the axis of the drum.

11. Apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the length of the pins is greater than the thickness of the apron associated with the drum.

12. Apparatus as claimed in claim 11 wherein, to avoid damage to the apron, the pins are situated at places on the drum over which the elements of-the apron do not pass. I

l3. Suction gripping apparatus for handling materials of discontinuous structure such as woven or knitted materials piled on top of one another, comprising:

a frame;

a pair of drums mounted on said frame inparallelism with each other;

an endless belt would round tee said drums, said drums and belt forming a carriage;

rack rails supporting said carriage, at least one of said rails having a projection at one end thereof;

at least one of said drums including a shiftable casing 0 provided with a plurality of suction nozzles each having an outlet orifice; and

a shiftable bent lever connected to said casing for lowering the casing upon passage of said lever onto said projection.

14. Apparatus as claimed in claim 13, wherein at least one of the dimensions of each nozzle outlet orifice is at most double the average diameter of the solid portions of the materials.

15. Apparatus as claimed in claim 13, wherein at least one of the drums is Hollow and includes holes subjected to a vacuum source.

16. Apparatus as claimed in claim 13, wherein the drums carry pins at their outer surfaces, said pins extending substantially perpendicular to said surfaces and being designed to catch pieces picked up by said apparatus.

17. Apparatus as claimed in claim 16, wherein the belt connecting the drums is arranged in the intervals of said pins and said nozzles whereby the latter do not damage said belt.

18. Apparatus as claimed in claim 16, wherein said lever lowers said casing to move the nozzles into contact with the uppermost piece of material, said lever being operable to hold said nozzles in the lowered position while said carriage moves away from the pile of material and at least until the extremities of a row of pins parallel to said nozzles are horizontal.

Patent Citations
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US2111024 *Oct 15, 1935Mar 15, 1938Donnellan Edward PMachine for counting paper money and similar material
US3008621 *Jan 14, 1960Nov 14, 1961Lees & Sons Co JamesPin roll stripper
US3095229 *Apr 27, 1960Jun 25, 1963Philips CorpDevice for handling articles
US3122391 *Mar 28, 1960Feb 25, 1964Didde Glaser IncSelf-valving sucker assembly
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3902750 *Jan 8, 1974Sep 2, 1975Ctre Etud Tech Ind HabillementDevice for gripping pieces of cloth fabric or the like
US4690393 *Oct 10, 1985Sep 1, 1987Chesebrough-Pond's, Inc.Apparatus for separating stacks of cloth
US4712782 *Sep 7, 1984Dec 15, 1987Dunlop Olympic LimitedMethod and apparatus of separating and transporting fabric pieces
US5569015 *Apr 29, 1994Oct 29, 1996Mars IncorporatedIntermediate storage apparatus
US5711649 *Aug 16, 1994Jan 27, 1998Mars IncorporatedSheet stacking apparatus
DE4112379A1 *Apr 16, 1991Oct 22, 1992Johannes Dipl Ing GrossStacked fabric sepn. - uses contact pressure and adhesion applied to leading end of top layer to peel it off towards the centre
U.S. Classification271/11, 271/95, 271/106
International ClassificationB65H3/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65H3/10, B65H2301/42324, B65H2406/3314
European ClassificationB65H3/10