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Publication numberUS3714720 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 6, 1973
Filing dateAug 10, 1971
Priority dateAug 10, 1971
Publication numberUS 3714720 A, US 3714720A, US-A-3714720, US3714720 A, US3714720A
InventorsDrost A, Glanz R
Original AssigneeKimberly Clark Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for cooling a traveling web of material
US 3714720 A
Abstract
A cooling apparatus for cooling a traveling web of fabric having adhesive which must be rapidly set. The apparatus includes a heat conductive bed surface having a transverse upstream edge where the fabric is received. An upwardly directed air jet cools as well as partially supports the web as it passes onto the bed surface. Immediately downstream of the air jet are two liquid cooling mechanisms that have the bed surface as an upper wall thereof. A cooling liquid is pumped through the mechanisms to cool the underside of the bed surface and therefore the fabric traveling over the surface. The elevation of the bed surface is adjustable to suit the desired running conditions and is also capable of being raised to permit access to the equipment below the surface.
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United States Patent 91 Drost et al.

[ 1 APPARATUS FOR COOLING A TRAVELING WEB OF MATERIAL [75] Inventors: Adrian D. Drost, Balfour, N.C.;

Ronald P. Glanz, Covington, Va.

[58] Field of Search ..34/30,13, 62, 85, 111,117, 34/124, 125; 156/498; 165/120 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,352,220 6/1944 Overton ..34/13 2,456,804 12/1948 1 Feb. 6, 1973 Attorney-Wolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.

[ 5 7 ABSTRACT A cooling apparatus for cooling a traveling web of fabric having adhesive which must be rapidly set. The apparatus includes a heat conductive bed surface having a transverse upstream edge where the fabric is received. An upwardly directed air jet cools as well as partially supports the web as it passes onto the bed surface. Immediately downstream of the air jet are two liquid cooling mechanisms that have the bed surface as an upper wall thereof. A cooling liquid is pumped through the mechanisms to cool the underside of the bed surface and therefore the fabric traveling over the surface. The elevation of the bed surface is adjustable to suit the desired running conditions and is also capable of being raised to permit access to the equipment below the surface.

12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Hil Ill

Pmmimm sum 3.714.720 SHEET 10F 4 diff {f PATENTED FEB 8 I975 3,714,720 SHEET 3 BF 4 APPARATUS FOR COOLING A TRAVELING WEB OF MATERIAL The present invention generally relates to cooling apparatus useful for cooling a traveling web and, more particularly, to apparatus for cooling nonwoven fabrics having an adhesive associated therewith which must be cooled to insure the structural integrity of the web fabric produced. Even more particularly, the apparatus is useful in the production of high loft nonwoven fabrics of the type described in copending US. application Ser. No. 31,225, filed Apr. 23, 1970 and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.

In recent years many different types of nonwoven materials have been produced, both to replace conventional woven fabrics and, also, to create new markets in which woven fabrics have not yet become established. This is particularly true in the case of materials for single use in disposable products, such as sanitary supplies, hospital garments, disposable sheets, and the like. For these application the nonwoven fabric is generally made in the form of continuous sheets with one or more layers of staple length fabrics and/or a reinforcing scrim structure adhesively bonded together or laminated between plies of other material such as cellu losic wadding in plastic sheeting. The fibers may be natural, synthetic or various blends, and of course, the particular composition of the nonwoven fabric is greatly influenced by its intended use. Because virtually all of these nonwoven materials have an adhesive as an integral part thereof, coupled with the fact that many of the adhesives are subject to reactivation when heated, apparatus producing these nonwoven materials generally include a cooling station at one or more places during their production. However, because many of the nonwoven fabrics are relatively flat and thin, the type of cooling apparatus may not be critical in maintaining the structural integrity of the fabric produced, for the fabrics are relatively stable as they travel along the producing apparatus.

Prior developments in the art of cooling a traveling web have included passing the fabrics over cooling drums or through cooling enclosures, or in some instances, directing a jet of air upon the traveling web of fabric.

With the advent of the high lofted nonwoven fabrics of the type described in the above referenced copending application, the cooling of the traveling web becomes more critical due to the inherent structural instability of the fabric during production while the adhesive is tacky, and prior to its being set. Therefore, a cooling apparatus that cools the web of fabric to rapidly set the adhesive, in terms of time and length of travel, is important to maintain the structural integrity of the web.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a cooling apparatus that will quickly cool and set an adhesive in a traveling web of nonwoven fabric in a relatively short length of travel.

Another object of the present invention is a cooling apparatus that utilizes the combination of a cooling air jet directed at the web and one or more liquid cooling mechanisms, with the combination operating to rapidly cool and set the adhesive in the web.

A further object is a cooling apparatus that includes a heat conductive bed surface over which the traveling web may pass, with the bed surface being an integral part of the liquid cooling mechanisms so that liquid passing through the cooling mechanisms cools the bed surface as well as the web passing thereon.

Still another object is a cooling apparatus in which the cooling air jet is directed upwardly to the traveling web to thereby partially support the web as well as to initially cool it.

Still a more specific object is a cooling apparatus having a bed surface that is vertically adjustable to vary the physical characteristics of the fabric being produced as well as to provide access to portions of the apparatus below the bed surface.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the attached detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view, in side elevation, of a portion of fabric producing apparatus that may be employed to make a high loft nonwoven product, including the cooling apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view, in section, illustrating the cooling apparatus, as well as portions of the producing apparatus shown schematically in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of portions of the apparatus viewed in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 5 and 6 are side views of the cooling apparatus and portions of the producing apparatus of FIG. 1, illustrating the vertical adjustability of the cooling apparatus; and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged side view of portions of the producing apparatus and cooling apparatus, illustrating the spacial relationship between the doctor blade and air jet nozzle.

While the present invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents that may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.

Although the present invention may be used to cool a traveling web of many fabrics of differing characteristics, it is quite useful during the production of high loft nonwoven fabrics and, accordingly, an apparatus useful in producing such a high loft fabric will now be briefly described. Referring to the schematic illustration of FIG. 1, an endless conveyor belt 10 passes through an adhesive application station 12 which applies a pattern of tacky adhesive to the underside of the belt. Multiple slivers 14 of textile fibers are drawn from supply cans (not shown) into a draw frame 16 which drafts and spreads out the individual fibers to form a flat, striated web 18 of substantially aligned fibers which adhere to the adhesive on the belt 10. A second supply of fibers 20 may similarly be drafted and spread to overlie the web 18 to form a two layer web 18b which passes around roller 22 before reaching a heated curing drum 24 where fusing and curing of the adhesive is substantially completed while the web 18b is maintained in firm contact therewithto bond the individual fibers.

The web then passes around a tensioning roller 26 to a drive roll 28 which also serves as a cooling drum to set the adhesive so that it may be stripped from the belt to travel around rollers 30 and 32 and onto the surface of a heated forming drum 34 which is preferably made of metal with a highly polished chromium plated surface that is heated to a temperature of approximately 250 F. As the web 18b is fed onto the drum 34, the heat from the drum surface reactivates and softens the open adhesive pattern on the underside of the web causing it to become tacky and to adhere slightly on the drum surface. The drum temperature of approximately 250 F, is less than the melting point of the adhesive to prevent dispersion of the adhesive into the fibers of the web.

The web 18b of fibers and softened adhesive is reformed by the cooperative action of the drum 34 and a gathering blade 36. The gathering blade 36 operates to consolidate the open adhesive pattern into a substantially, continuous backing layer of adhesive, while simultaneously looping the fibers of the web 18b outwardly from between the open spaces in the original adhesive pattern. The reformed and consolidated material 38 then leaves the gathering blade and moves onto a cooling apparatus, indicated generally at. 40, and is then carried away by a discharge conveyor 42 to a winder mechanism (not shown).

Referring to FIG. 2, the cooling apparatus 40 of the present invention is comprised of a combination of cooling mechanisms, each of which contribute to the total cooling capability of the apparatus. The assembly 40 includes, in its preferred embodiment, an air cooling mechanism 44, a first liquid cooling mechanism 46 and a second liquid cooling mechanism 48, with the liquid cooling mechanisms being downstream in the machine direction relative to the air cooling mechanism. With each of the respective mechanisms contributing to the total cooling effect of the apparatus 40, the adhesive in the fabric may be cooled and set in a relatively short length of travel to insure that the consolidated adhesive backing of the product material 38 does not separate or otherwise depart from its desired structure.

Turning now to the specific constructional features of the present invention shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the apparatus 40 has a substantially flat bed or take-away surface 50 over which the web product 38 may slidably travel. To provide for suitable sliding of the web product 38, the bed or take-away surface 50 maybe coated with a suitable low friction material. As is clearly shown, the trailing or downstream edge of the take-away surface 50 sufficiently overlaps the conveyor belt 42 so that the web product 38 may easily pass onto the conveyor belt, while the upstream edge of the takeaway surface is laterally spaced away from the gathering blade 36.

As is fully described in the above referenced copending application, the elevation of the take-away surface 50 relative to the tip of the gathering blade 36 is one of the controlling parameters that determine the physical characteristics of the web product 38 being produced. For example, if the take-away surface 50 is sufficiently lower. than the tip of the gathering blade 36, pronounced ridges transverse to the machine direction will be formed in the web product, while a take-away surface elevation that is approximately level to the tip of the gathering blade 36 will produce a relatively smooth web product.

Another of the controlling parameters is the angle between the end of the gathering blade 36 and a line tangent to the drum 34 at the point of contact (see FIG. 6). Since the gathering blade 36 is adjustable within limits relative to the drum 34, the angle 6 may be varied. With the gathering blade 36 in the lower position as shown, the angle 6, will be less than 0 (6 being the resulting angle when the gathering blade is in the position shown in phantom). Variation of the angle 9 also varies the structure of the product 38, as is fully described in the aforementioned copending application. Thus, it should be understood that the adjustability of the elevation of the take-away surface 50 is important in producing a web product having the desired structural characteristics.

In keeping with the invention and referring to FIGS. 2 and 4, air cooling of the web product is provided by an adjustable, elongated air nozzle 52 secured to the cooling apparatus 40 beneath the take-away surface 50. The air nozzle 52 extends substantially across the width of the bed or take-away surface 50 and has a relatively narrow continuous slot 54 through which a jet of air may pass to contact the end portion of the gathering blade 36 as well as the leading edge of the take-away surface 50. A bolt 56 or the like may be rotated to vary the width of the slot 54. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a plurality of flexible conduits 58 connect the nozzle 50 to a header 60 which is initially connected to'a source of air not shown). The number of individual conduits 58 is chosen to insure a relatively uniform air jet velocity flowing from the slot along its length so that substantially even cooling of the web product will occur and, although the velocity of the air jet passing through the slot 54 may vary considerably, good results were obtained with the air jet velocity approximating 250 ft. per second. Referring to FIG. 7, it has also been found that the relationship between the width of the slot shown as d and the distance D between the tip of the gathering blade 36 and the end of the nozzle 52 is also important, with favorable results being obtained when the distance D approximates 4 times the distance d. In addition to initially cooling the web product, the air jet serves the added function of at least partially supporting the web product 38 as it is removed by the gathering blade 36 to the upstream edge portion of the take-away surface 50, and therefore helps to prevent any stretching or distortion of the web product before the adhesive therein is completely set. 3

Referring now to the liquid cooling aspect of the present invention and again to FIGS. 2 and 4, the upstream liquid cooling mechanism 46 includes a closed elongated reservoir 62 generally in the shape of a half cylinder having -the take-away surface 50 as a part thereof. To provide optimum cooling of the take-away surface 50, a generally vertical partition 64 extends substantially the length of the reservoir and has its upper edge terminating a short distance from the lower side of the take-away surface 50 which permits liquid to flow over the partition.

The reservoir 62 has a number of flexible supply conduits 66 connecting the upstream side of the reservoir to a header 68 which is connected to a source (not shown) of cold liquid, such as water. A number of flexible discharge orreturn conduits 70 are connected to the reservoir 62 downstream of the partition 64 and the conduits 70 are also connected to a return header 72. The return header 72 may in turn be connected to the water supply feeding the supply header 68 to thereby form a closed system. The supply may be connnected to a chilling unit (not shown) to chill the water or liquid to an extremely cold temperature and the system may be pressurized to rapidly circulate the chilled liquid through the reservoir 62 for maximum cooling effect.

To provide additional cooling of the traveling web product 38, another liquid cooling mechanism, independent of the first liquid cooling mechanism 46 indicated generally at 48, is located adjacent and downstream of the liquid cooling mechanism 46. This liquid cooling mechanism includes a closed enclosure 74 that utilizes the take-away surface 50 and a portion of the downstream wall of the reservoir 62 as integral parts. One or more supply conduits 76 (see FIG. 3) connect a supply of liquid (not shown) to a pair of elongated conduits 78 extending substantially across the width of the bed surface. The conduits 78 have a plurality of relatively small apertures in their upper surface so that water or other liquid being pumped from the supply conduits 76 is sprayed through the apertures to contact the underside of the bed surface 50 for additional cooling. The liquid then drains through a number of conduits 80 to a return header 82 which may be connected to the supply feeding the conduits 76. This supply may also have an associated chilling unit to increase the cooling capability of the cooling mechanism 48.

To provide adjustability of the elevation of the cooling apparatus 40, and particularly the take-away surface 50, an elevation control mechanism is provided. As shown in FIG. 5, a pair of brackets 84 are attached to opposite ends of the take-away surface 50 and each of the brackets is connected to a plate 86 by suitable bolts 88 or the like. A second stationary support 90 suitably connected to the frame of the apparatus adjacent each of the plates 86 has a pair of elongated slots 92 and a pair of pins 94 or the like, fixed to the plate 86 with the pins 94 being slidable in the slots 92. The slidability of the pins 94 within the slots 92 operate as a cam follower, and permit the take-away surface 50 to be moved in a generally vertical direction. The movement is upwardly and partially downstream so that the upstream edge of the take-away surface 50 will clear the surface of the drum 36 as it travels to its fully extended position shown in phantom in FIGS. 4 and 5.

To control the elevation of the take-away surface 50, a pair of suitable extendable air or hydraulic cylinders 96 are attached to the cooling apparatus 40 as well as the stationary frame structure, so that changing their effective lengths changes the elevation of the takeaway surface as desired. As mentioned, the conduits 58, 66, 70 and 80 are flexible to permit adjustment of the elevation of the take-away surface 50 relative to the respective headers to which they are connected. Although these conduits are shown as being straight in FIGS. 2 and 3, for the sake of clarity they are preferably of a longer length, so that they would be substantially straight when the take-away surface is in its fully extended upward position shown in phantom in FIG. 5, and accordingly would be deflected or bowed when the take-away surface is at lower elevations.

Thus, 'a compact and highly efficient cooling apparatus has been illustrated and described that is useful in cooling a web traveling at production speeds.

I claim as my invention:

1. Apparatus for cooling a traveling web of material, comprising, in combination:

a heat conductive bed surface having an upstream edge extending transversely of the traveling web, with the bed surface supporting the web;

an air jet means for cooling the web, the air jet means being adjustably positioned to upwardly direct a jet of air at the web immediately upstream of the bed surface upstream edge, the jet being operative to at least partially support the web prior to the web contacting the bed surface; and

first and second liquid cooling means, each of the cooling means being operative to pass a cooling liquid therethrough, each of the cooling means extending transversely across the bed surface in cooperative relationship with the bed surface whereby the cooling liquid contacts the underside of the bed surface to cool the bed surface and the web traveling thereon.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the first liquid cooling means is independent of and separate from the second liquid cooling means, the first liquid cooling means being upstream of the second.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the air jet means comprises:

an elongated nozzle extending substantially the width of the bed surface, the nozzle having an exit slot from which the jet of air is forced, the width of the slot being adjustable for. regulating the air jet;

a number of air supply conduits being positioned along the length of the nozzle at regularly spaced intervals such that the velocity of the air jet passing through the slot is substantially uniform along'its length; and

an air supply means associated with the supply conduits, the supply means providing air for the air jet means.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the first liquid cooling means further comprises:

an elongated, generally half cylindrical reservoir extending substantially the width of the bed surface, with the bed surface forming a closed top for the reservoir, the reservoir having a substantially vertically oriented partition extending longitudinally the length thereof, with the top of the partition terminating a short distance from the bed surface such that liquid may pass therebetween;

a reservoir inlet at the upstream side of the partition;

a reservoir outlet at the downstream side of the partition;

a liquid supply operatively connected to the inlet and outlet of the reservoir, the liquid supply forcing liquid into the reservoir through the inlet where it passes over the partition prior to leaving the reservoir through the outlet.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the second liquid cooling means further comprises:

an elongated, closed enclosure extending substantially the width of the bed surface, the enclosure having a generally triangularly shaped cross section, with the bed surface providing a top to the enclosure;

at least one conduit positioned within the enclosure, the conduit having a multitude of apertures located therein adapted to spray a cooling liquid upon the underside of the bed surface;

an outlet for draining the liquid from the enclosure;

and

a liquid supply in communication with the conduit, the supply being adapted to forcibly spray the liquid through the apertures in the conduit to cool the bed surface and the web traveling thereon.

6-. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein a cam follower means and a controlling means are operatively associated with the apparatus to generally vertically and angularly adjust the bed surface relative to a horizontal reference plane.

7. in an apparatus for producing a web of nonwoven fabric, the producing apparatus having a heated rotatable drum associated therewith for coacting with an adhesive on the fabric, a gathering blade means in cooperative relation to alter the physical characteristics of the fabric and to remove the fabric from the drum, and a conveying means to carry the web to a winder or the like, a cooling apparatus for setting the adhesive, comprising, in combination:

a frame structure;

a heat conductive take-away surface having an upstream edge adjacent and parallel to the gathering blade means and the drum, the take-away surface supporting the web being removed from the drum, prior to the web being carried by the conveying means;

an air jet means for cooling the web and a portion of the gathering blade means immediately adjacent the drum, the air jet means being adjustably positioned to upwardly direct a jet of cooling air upon the web and the portion of the gathering blade means, with the jet of air being operative to at least partially support the web as it passes from the drum to the take-away surface;

first and second liquid cooling means having a cooling liquid passing therethrough, each of the cooling means extending transversely across the takeaway surface in cooperative relationship with the take-away surface whereby the cooling liquid contacts the underside of the take-away surface, the first cooling means being intermediate of the air jet 1 means and second cooling means.

8. The cooling apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein the air jet means includes:

an elongated nozzle extending substantially the width 7 of the take-away surface, the nozzle having an exit slot from which the jet of air is forced, the: width of the slot being adjustable for regulating the air jet;

a number of air supply conduits positioned along the length of the nozzle at regularly spaced intervals such that the velocity of the air jet passing through the slot is substantially uniform along its length;

9. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein the first surface, with the take-awa surface forming a closed top for the reservoir, e reservoir having a substantially vertically oriented partition extending longitudinally the length thereof, the top of the partition being spaced a short distance from the take-away surface such that liquid may pass therebetween;

a reservoir inlet at the upstream side of partition;

a reservoir outlet at the downstream side of the partition;

a liquid supply connected to the inlet and outlet of the reservoir, the liquid supply forcing liquid into the reservoir through the inlet where it passes over the partition prior to leaving the reservoir through the outlet.

10. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein the second liquid cooling means further comprises:

an elongated, closed enclosure extending the width of the take-away surface, the enclosure having a generally trianguarly shaped cross section, with the take-away surface providing a top to the enclosure;

at least one conduit positioned within the enclosure, the conduit having a multitude of apertures located therein adapted to spray a cooling liquid upon the underside of the take-away surface;

an outlet for draining the liquid from the enclosure;

and

a liquid supply in communication with the conduit, the supply being adapted to forcibly spray the liquid through the apertures in the conduit to cool the take-away surface, and the web traveling thereon.

11. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein the takeaway surface is generally vertically adjustable relative to the gathering blade means and the drum i. to alter the physical characteristics of the web being produced and ii. to move the cooling apparatus relative to the drum and the gathering blade means to permit access to portions of the apparatus under the take-away surface.

12. Apparatus as defined in claim 11 further comprising:

a pair of pin means associated with each side of the take-away surface;

a bracket associated with the frame structure on opposite sides of the take-away surface, the brackets having a pair of elongated slots therein, the pin means being slidably positioned in the slots in a cam follower relationship; and g a control means associated with the take-away surface and the frame structure being operative to generally vertically adjust the take-away surface relative to the gathering blade means and the drum.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2352220 *Nov 28, 1941Jun 27, 1944Louisville Drying Machinery CoDehydrating machine
US2456804 *Dec 9, 1944Dec 21, 1948Universal Winding CoThread finishing machine
US3222895 *Dec 1, 1961Dec 14, 1965Monsanto CoApparatus for treatment of napped fabric
US3590493 *Jan 10, 1969Jul 6, 1971Hauni Werke Koerber & Co KgApparatus for producing webs of reconstituted tobacco
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5121560 *Dec 19, 1990Jun 16, 1992Advance Systems, Inc.Apparatus and method for cooling a printed web
US5522964 *Mar 8, 1994Jun 4, 1996Granados; Juan A. H.Air injector for cooling envelope weldings
US6207020 *May 12, 1998Mar 27, 2001International Paper CompanyMethod for conditioning paper and paperboard webs
US6613195Jul 9, 2002Sep 2, 2003International Paper CompanyMethod for conditioning paper and paperboard webs
US7125473Sep 12, 2003Oct 24, 2006International Paper CompanyApparatus and method for conditioning a web on a papermaking machine
US20050056392 *Sep 12, 2003Mar 17, 2005Anderson Dennis W.Apparatus and method for conditioning a web on a papermaking machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification34/120, 34/62, 156/498, 34/85
International ClassificationD06C29/00, D04H1/54
Cooperative ClassificationD06C29/00, D04H1/54
European ClassificationD04H1/54, D06C29/00