US 3756173 A
A machine for making tufted carpets consists of a plurality of hollow needles on a reciprocating needle bar, each needle being supplied at appropriate intervals through a flexible tube with a cut-off tuft of pile yarn, the tufts being inserted in a backing fabric by the needles. The tufts are ejected from the needles by rams or compressed air and held with respect to the backing fabric by stops located on the side of the fabric remote from the needles.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Q I United States Patent 1191 11 11 3,756,173 Shorrocir 1 1 Sept. 4, 1973 I 1 MACHINE FOR MAKING A TUFTED 3,387,577 6/1963 Spanel et a1. .1 11:, w R CARPET 3,336,889 8/1967 Short 112m R 11 3,670,672 6/1972 Spanel et a1. .1 112/79 R  Inventor: Stanley ShOI'IOCk, The Braids,
Bimnge End Rd" Blackburn FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS England 1,499,515 9/1967 France 112/79 R 22 F1 d: 1 l 6 Dec 1971 Primary Examiner.1ames R. Boler  App]. No.: 213,631 Attorney-Leonard H. King  Foreign Application Priority Data ABSTRACT Dec. 31, 1970 Great Britain 62,092/70 A machine for making tufted carpets consists of a plurality of hollow needles on a reciprocating needle bar, i  11.5. C1. 112/79 FF, 112/266 each needle ng pp at pp pri intervals  1111. C1. D05c 15/16 gh a flexible tube with a cut-off tuft of pile yarn,  Fieid of Search 112/79 R, 79 A, 80, the tufts ng in in a king fabric y h ne 12/266, 410 dles. The tufts are ejected from the needles by rams or compressed air and held with respect to the backing  Referen es Cited fabric by stops located on the side of the fabric remote UNITED STATES PATENTS from the needles- 3,595,185 7/1971 Shorrock et a1. 112/79 R 10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTED 191 3759173 SHEET 2 OF 2 I My invention relates to a tufting machine for making fabric such as carpets, and has for its object the provision of a machine therefor capable of inserting tufts of pile fabric into a backing material in succession, the tufts being of different colours as required.
A needle for such a machine is hollow and is capable of reciprocation into and out of a backing fabric. Means are provided for feeding tufts of yarn to the needle by blowing the tufts along a flexible tube connected to the needle, by compressed air, whereupon a ram inserts the tuft fully into the needle and the latter then moves through the backing material and deposits the tuft in situ, the needle being thereafter withdrawn In this connection I have found that when the backing material is of a fibrous character, then occasionally some fibres of the material follow the needle during its rearward movement, i.e., the movement which separates it from the fabric after inserting the tuft. Such fibres bend upwards, i.e., in the direction of the needle movement, and may tend to spring back after the needle has left. This may result in either ejection of the tuft, or in insufficient material of the tuft being left projecting through the backing fabric for adequate holding thereof by a subsequently applied adhesive.
I have therefore devised a machine using a needle of the type described, and provided with a stop on the side of the backing material away from the needle, the stop acting to limit the motion of the tuft through the backing fabric. The stop may be a fixed adjustable plate, which may be common to a plurality of needles. Alternatively, a hollow horse-shoe shaped stop with a base may be provided for each needle. This shape of stop has the advantage not only of engaging the lower end of an inserted tuft to limit its axial movement, but also of securing at least half the circumference of a tuft during its insertion. The movement of the backing fabric during or after the tuft insertion is of course such as to withdraw inserted tufts from the open end of the horseshoe thus emptying it for the insertion of subsequent tufts.
It should be noted that since the needle is situated, in its fully retracted position, only just above the backing material, then even if the tuft is blown completely into the needle, its front end will initially be stopped by the fabric, so that it cannot be ejected from the needle. Again, once the needle has penetrated the backing fabric, movement of the tuft is always limited by the stop, so that the ram may not be necessary.
In an alternative form of my invention, the stop is made in the form of a short movable rod, one rod being provided for each needle. In this case, air pressure is employed to blow a tuft into the needle into which it may be fully pressed by means of the ram if used, or alternatively, the tuft may be fully pressed into position by theair pressure, movement of the tuft through the needle being initially arrested by the backing fabric. As the needle pierces the fabric, the head of the stop underneath the fabric rises so as to contact the lower end of the tuft, and prevents its ejection from the needle, the ram and stop moving downwards (if the ram is used) at substantially the same rate as the needle. The stop may enter the bore of the needle for a short distance.
When the needle and tuft have reached their lowest positions, the stop remains so positioned along with the tuft, whilst the needle moves upwards. If a ram is used, then the ram may also remain positioned to hold the tuft accurately in place in the backing fabric until the needle has been fully withdrawn. Thereafter the ram is withdrawn in readiness for the insertion of the next tuft.
Preferably the various movementsof the needle, stop (and ram if used) are effected by means of eccentrics,
as these are not only easier to produce than cams but are more reliable and quieter in action than cams. If, however, it is found that the various movements of the parts concerned cannot be so interrelated by simple harmonic motions, then shaped cams may be employed.
It should be noted in connection with the embodiment using a moving stop that even though the ram may not be employed, it is possible to insert a tuft accurately in position in the backing material using a supply of compressed air which is interrupted by a suitably timed valve when once the tuft is ejected from the needle.
Since the injection of each tuft in the backing fabric is found to require a high degree of accuracy of coordination between the needle movement, the tuft position and the backing fabric, I have found it advisable to use a ratchet drive for the backing material of the type used on looms, the drive being such that the backing material is stationary during insertion of the needle into the fabric. Once the needle has been retracted and whilst the next tuft is being fed into it, the ratchet mechanism operates to draw the fabric one tuft row past the needles of the machine.
Although reference to a single needle has been made it will be obvious that a tufting matchine will incorporate a plurality of needles and their associated gear, the needles extending in a straight line normal to the direc-' tion of movement of the backing fabric.
To ensure that a tuft is not displaced by any compressed air remaining in the tube during withdrawal of the needle, I may arrange a small leakage path, which may be either past or through the ram, if used. It should be noted that the tufts may be inserted so that either the pile ends or the fixing ends may be on the side of the backing fabric first contacted by the needles.
According to one aspect of the present invention a tufting machine comprises a machine frame, a needle, means for passing a backing fabric past said needle, means for reciprocating said needle into and out of said fabric, a yarn entry to said needle, means for periodically supplying a tuft of pile yarn via said entry to said needle, and a stop on the side of the backing fabric remote from the needle, the stop co-operating with the needle to locate said tuft in the backing fabric.
According to a further aspect of the present invention a method of making tufted carpets includes the steps of cutting off a tuft of pile yarn, blowing said tuft into a needle, inserting said needle and tuft through a backing fabric, arresting the movement of said tuft by means of a stop, holding said tuft in the arrested position during withdrawal of said needle from said fabric, and leaving said tuft engaged in said fabric.
Reference should now be made to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic outline of a tufting machine according to my invention;
FIG. 2 shows the means for varying the stroke and the timing of the needle bar;
FIGS. 3 and 4 show the insertion of a tuft with either the pile end or the fixing end downwards; and
FIG. 5 shows a modified form of stop.
Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that a needle 1 is inserted into a needle bar 2 which extends the full width of the backing fabric and is adapted to carry a plurality of needles at equal spacings. Each needle is fixed to the bar by means of a grub screw 3, and the needle bar is oscillated in guides (not shown) by a link and strap 4, 5 actuated by an eccentric 6 which is driven by a main shaft 7. If required, the needles may be provided with a steady bar 8 to ensure accurate movement with respect to the backing fabric 9. This fabric passes over a base plate 10 which is attached to the frame of the machine from a delivery roll 11, and is taken up in the direction of the arrow 12 by means of a take-up roller 13. The latter is preferably driven by a ratchet mechanism 13a such as those used in looms, the mechanism being synchronised with the movement of the needle bar so that when the needles pierce the backing fabric, the latter is immobile.
In each needle there is a ram 14 which slides freely in the bore of the needle. The ram is driven by a strap 15 and an eccentric 16 fastened to the driving shaft 7, and timed, as will be described later, with respect to the needle movement. The shaft also carries another eccentric 17 which by means of a rod 18 drives a stop carrying bar 19 which supports a plurality of stops 20. The stops are lined up with their respective needle bores, and the bar is driven by a rod mechanism 21 sliding in guides 22. Rod 21 is interconnected with the rod 18 by means of a lever linkage 23, the latter having an adjusting slot 24 in which the rod 18 engages by means of a pivot pin 26. Movement of the pin 26 in the slot 24 varies the throw of the stops 20. The base 10 is adjustable up and down with respect to the stops and needles and the timing of the stops with respect to their needles can be varied by means of the eccentric 17. This method of variation will be described later.
For each needle the needle bar has a drilled hole 27 to which is attached a flexible pipe 28. The pipe has a plurality of branches of which only three are shown, these being numbered 29, 30 and 31. Each branch pipe 29 is connected to a cutter and valve mechanism 32, and each cutter and valve mechanism has a yarn feed 33 the yarns being of different colours. Each cutter and valve mechanism 32 has a control device 34 which can be energised over one of the electric leads 35 these leads being connected to a pattern control mechanism which forms no part of the present invention.
Each of the cutter and valve mechanisms 32 consists of means for feeding a predetermined quantity of yarn into the mechanism, cutting off this amount, and then blowing the yarn into the tube 29, thence into the tube 28 and thence into the needle 1, by means of a supply of compressed air fed to a pipe 36. For each stroke of the needle, one of the mechanisms 32 is energised by means of the leads 35, and one coloured tuft is therefore fed forward, cutoff and blown into the tube 29, 30 or 31, thence to tube 28 and its associated needle. Each needle is fed from a similar individual valve and cutter mechanism assembly. Since only one of the cutter mechanisms 32 is actuated at any one stroke, only one air valve opens, so that only one supply of air is available to blow the tuft into its associated needle.
As each tuft 37 is inserted into the backing fabric 9, its long end, shown in the figure as extending below the fabric, constitutes part of the pile of the carpet. The short end above the backing fabric is splayed out, and thus provides a temporary hold for the tuft. In order to ensure that the tufts stay in position, a layer of adhesive is applied to them as a spray by means of a yet 38, and this adhesive may be dried for example by infra-red heating apparatus 51 before the carpet is wound up onto the roller 13.
Referring to FIG. 2, it will be seen that the main driving shaft 7 is provided with a circular disc 40 which is concentric with the shaft. This disc has a pair of concentric slots 41, and mounted on the shaft is an eccentric 42. The position of the eccentric with respect to the shaft can be altered by slacking off bolts 43 which connect the disc 40 with eccentric 42, shifting the eccentric to the required position, and then clamping the disc and eccentric together with the bolts.
On the eccentric is a strap 44, and this engages by means of a pivot pin 45 in a slot 46 which is formed in a lever 47. The lever is pivoted at 48 and the pivot point 45 may be moved along and fixed in the slot 46, the position of the pivot point in the slot with respect to the main pivot 48 determining the stroke afforded to the driving end of the lever. This driving end is connected to a link 49, and the link is pivoted to a bar 4 which reciprocates the needle bar 2. Thus the mechanism shown enables the stroke and the timing of the needle to be varied with respect to the remainder of the apparatus. A similar adjustment is provided both for the ram 14 FIG. 1, and for the stop bar 19, in addition to which the spacing between the needles and their stop can also be varied. The degree of penetration of the needle into the backing fabric can be varied by lifting or depressing the base 10 so that a full range of adjustment is available to all the parts of the apparatus.
The machine operates in the following manner. Assuming that the needle bar is at the top of its stroke, then one of the cutter and valve mechanisms 32 is actuated by the pattern mechanism over one of the leads 35 to advance a predetermined length of yarn of the required colour, cut it off, and blow it down into its associated needle. Since the needle does not rise very far above the backing fabric, the tuft is stopped near the point of exit of the needle bore, whereupon the needle starts to descend towards the fabric. Even if the tuft does not actually reach the exit of the needle bore, it is pushed into position during the descent of the needle by the ram 14, which descends with the needle, the ram occupying a position with respect to the needle such that the end of the tuft is just on a level with the end of the needle bore. As the needle passes through the backing fabric, its associated stop 20 in bar 19 rises, and the end of the stop may at least partially enter the bore of the needle, so that the tuft is held in position at its front end by the stop, and at its back end by the ram. The needle, ram, stop and tuft now descend to the appropriate point at which the tuft is to be ejected. At this point both the ram and stop remain substantially stationary, and the needle withdraws backwards out of the fabric, leaving the tuft with a long end (the pile end) below the fabric and a short end (the fixing end) above the fabric. The latter is splayed out to a certain degree on being freed from the needle, and after complete retraction of the needle, the cycle is repeated, the needle either supplying a further tuft of the same colour or of a different colour as determined by the associated pattern mechanism.
In order to ensure exact location of each tuft, it is preferable to use a non-woven backing fabric, and to arrange that the fabric moves toward the take-up roller 13 only when the needle is disengaged from the fabric. 7
This is effected by providing a ratchet mechanism on the take-up roller, and the normal brake mechanism on the let-off roller 11, the ratchet being operated synchronously with the main drive shaft 7.
The fixing ends of the tufts are preferably sprayed immediately after tuft insertion with an adhesive from the jet 38, and if required, a further layer of adhesive may be applied later, together with the addition of, for example, a foam layer so as to make a carpet with a very soft feel.
Although the stop is shown in FIG 1. as being in the nature of a short rod which is capable of entering the bore of the needle, an alternative form of stop may be provided in connection with each needle. This stop is shown in FIG. 5. In this case, the needle I pierces the backing fabric 9 and enters a horseshoe shaped receptacle 50 which is fastened on the needle bar 19. This kind of stop holds the length of the tuft firmly in position, and since the movement of the backing fabric is in the direction of the arrow, each tuft after insertion moves out of the horse-shoe shaped stop without hinderance.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show two alternative positions for tuft insertion. FIG. 3 shows the position of the stop and ram if the tufts 37 are to be inserted in the backing fabric with their pile ends downwards. It will be seen that needle, ram and stop are all at the positions in which they are capable of retaining the tuft in position during withdrawal of the needle. After the needle is withdrawn bar 14 moves upwards and the stop may move downwards.
FIG. 4 shows the position of the three members during the insertion of tufts in which the pile ends of the tufts are upwards with respect to the backing fabric. As will be seen, the positions of the ram, stop and needle are all moved upwards, so that only a short portion of each tuft is inserted in the backing fabric, the fixing ends of the tufts being downwards.
Since a certain amount of air under pressure may remain in the pipe 28 after the tuft has been blown into position in the needle, I may arrange that this air can dissipate itself either past the tuft in the needle, or past the ram 14. For this purpose, the end of the ram may be provided with air escape orifices, or may be made an easy fit in the bore of the needle.
Although the stop for each needle has been shown as fitted on a moving bar 19, it may be found for a particular yarn that a movable stop is not necessary. In this case, all the stops may either be carried by a fixed but adjustable bar, or they may be replaced by a single flat adjustable plate.
Finally, although it has been said that a ram is used to hold each tuft in position during its location in the fabric, it may occur with certain yarns that the air pressure from the cutting mechanism is sufficient to position the tuft in the needle and hold it there during tuft insertion, in which case the ram is omitted.
I. A tufting machine for straight tufts comprising a machine frame, a needle bar, a plurality of hollow needles mounted on said needle bar, a yarn entry to each said needle, means for periodically supplying a tuft of pile yarn via said entry to said needles, means for passing a backing fabric past said needles, means for reciprocating said needle bar whereby said needle moves into and out of the backing fabric, a plurality of rams each located to start in the bore of the respective needle, means for carrying said rams, means for reciprocating said ram carrying means, stop bar means, a plurality of stops corresponding to said plurality of needles mounted on said needle bar said stops being on the side of the backing fabric remote from said needles, said stops cooperating with said needles to locate the tuftsin the backing fabric and means for reciprocating said stop bar means with respect to said needles.
2. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1 wherein said stop is in the form of a fixed but adjustable plate.
3. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1 wherein said stops are horseshoe shaped.
4. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1 wherein said reciprocating means for said stop bar means includes a driven shaft, an eccentric cam mounted on said driven shaft, a linkage from said eccentric cam to said stop bar means to be reciprocated, means for angularly adjusting the position of said eccentric cam with respect to said driven shaft and lever means adapted to adjust the extent of reciprocation of said stop bar means. j
5. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1, including take-up roll for said fabric, and a ratchet operated synchronously with said needles and acting on said roll to advance said fabric step by step past said needles during the periods when said needles are free of said backingfabric.
6. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1 comprising a plurality of yarn feeding and cutting mechanisms associated with each needle, a means for supplying of compressed air connected to each cutting mechanism, and a branched tube connecting the outputs of said cutting mechanisms to the yarn entry of the respective needle.
7. A tufting machine as recited in claim 1 wherein each tuft on insertion in said backing fabric has a long (pile) end and a short (fixing) end, and in which means are provided for applying an adhesive to said short ends of said tufts.
8. A method of producing a tufted carpet including the steps of cutting off a straight tuft of pile yarn, blowing said tuft into a needle, inserting said needle and tuft through a backing fabric, arresting the movement of said tuft by means of moving a stop into engagement therewith, holding said tuft in the arrested position during withdrawal of said needle from said fabric, and leaving said tuft engaged in said fabric.
9. A method as recited in claim. 8 including the step of applying a ram to the end of said tuft remote from said backing fabric during and after movement of said needle through said backing fabric, to locate and hold said tuft accurately with respect to said fabric.
10. A method as recited in claim 8 including the step of applying an adhesive to said tufts to fix them to said backing fabric. I