US 3772948 A
A method and apparatus for forming cloth lengths with folded hems from a continuous supply of cloth wherein the supply of cloth is intermittently fed along a first path to a cutting and transfer station, a predetermined length of cloth is cut from the supply and transferred to a second path extending approximately normal to the first path, a cut end of the cloth length is double folded and sewn, the cloth length is folded across its length so that its other cut end is positioned on the same side as the hemmed end, and the other cut end is double folded and sewn. The folded and hemmed cloth lengths are folded again and stacked at the end of their second path.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 Burton METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING CLOTH LENGTHS WITH FOLDED ITEMS  Inventor: Perry E. Burton, Duluth, Ga.  Assignee: Burton & Noonan, Duluth, Ga. 221 Filed: Dec. 29, 1971  Appl. No.: 213,510
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 43,756, June 5,
1970, Pat. No. 3,640,235.
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 445,329 1/1891 Kerr 112/10 678,788 7/1901 Millhiser..... 270/61 2,694,372 11/ 1954 Hadfield 112/2 Nov. 20, 1973 Primary ExaminerFrank T. Yost AttorneyHarold D. Jones, Jr. et al.
[57 ABSTRACT A method and apparatus for forming cloth lengths with folded hems from a continuous supply of cloth wherein the supply of cloth is intermittently fed along a first path to a cutting and transfer station, a predetermined length of cloth is cut from the supply and transferred to a second path extending approximately normal to the first path, a cut end of the cloth length is double folded and sewn, the cloth length is folded across its length so that its other cut end is positioned on the same side as the hemmed end, and the other cut end is double folded and sewn. The folded and hemmed cloth lengths are folded again and stacked at the end of their second path.
6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PAIENTEDunvzo ms 3; 772,948
SHEET 1 [IF 4 PAIENTEU NOV 2 0 ms SHEET 2 BF 4 F I G 3 FIG 4 PAIENIEDuuvzo 1913 3,772,948
sum 3 CF 4 FIG 6 w METHOD "AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING CLOTH-LENGTHS WITH FOLDED HEMS CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 43,756, filed June 5, 1970, entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CUTTING AND I-IEMMING CLOTH LENGTI-IS, now U. S. Pat. No. 3,640,235.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION stitches through the fold to create a folded hem, or various other processes which form a hem structure.
While various automatic machinery has been developed for feeding outand cutting predetermined lengths of cloth,- the prior devices have been somewhat unsuccessful in that constant andclose attention is required byan operatorin order. to assure that the cloth is properly aligned with a cutting apparatus, the cut lengths of cloth are substantially equal in length, and the cuts are properly formed'at the ends of the lengths ofcloth. In
. the past, the cut cloth lengths were processedthrough sewing machines by'hand with the sewinglmachine operator guiding the cut'ends of theQcloth lengths through asewing machine to form" the overedge stitching or to form the folds and stitching through the foldsJWhile some automatedmachinery has been developed to relieve the machine operators from the continuous close 1 observation and control of the sewing machines. used for treating the cut'ends of cloth lengths, itusually'rhas 'been'necessary for the cut lengths of cloth to be cut, accumulated in stacks, manually transferred to various sewing stations, then handled by the sewing machine operators in the end treating process, and restacked. The various manual steps require the presence and at- .tention of several workers and cause the cloth lengths to be expensive to manufacture.
SUMMARY OF'THE INVENTION Briefly described, the, present invention comprises a method and apparatus for automatically forming hernmedcloth lengths wherein cloth lengths arecut' from acontinuous supply of cloth, the cut' ends are folded over and sewn,.and the cloth lengthsare folded and stacked for shipment,-without requiring the manual handling of the cloth lengths between 'thevarious steps of the process.'The cloth lengths are cut from acontinuous sheet of cloth as the continuous sheet is intermittently fedalong a first path toiacutting station, the cut lengths of cloth are then transferred to a; second path of movement which is generally normal .to the first path of movement of the continuous sheet of'cloth, and the cut lengths of cloth move in a path parallel to thecut ends of the cloth. The cut ends-are progressively folded, ad the folds are sewn closed in a continuous process. In order than only standard rig'ht handed sewing machines be utilized to sewclosedthe folded ends of the cloth lengths, the cloth lengthsare folded =across their lengths so 'thatthe cut ends are placed on the same side of the cloth lengths, and the folding and pathaof movement of the cloth lengths.
Thus, it is an object of the. present invention to provide a methodand apparatus for expediently and inexpensively forming cloth lengths with folded herns from a continuoussheet of cloth. e
Another object of this invention is to provide an inexpensive, durable, versatile,: and reliable apparatus for rapidly and accurately cutting, folding and stitching the cut ends of cloth lengths.
. Another object of this invention is to provide various individual methodsand devices for performing the individual steps in a series of steps required to cut cloth lengths from a continuous sheet of cloth, fold over the cut ends ofthe cloth length, stitch closed the folds, and stack the cloth lengths in a continuous process.
.Otherobjects, features and advantages of the present invention, will become apparent upon reading the following speciflcation, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING iFIG. 1v is a schematic illustration of,the method and apparatus for forming cloth lengths with folded hems. IG. Zis'a 'detailed illustration of the feed roll and its related elements.
DESCRIPTIONOF THE. PREFERRED EMBODIMENT :Referring now in more'detailto the drawing, in which like numerals indicate like parts throughout'the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates theapparatus'for forming cloth lengths-which is broadly designated by the numeral 10 and which includes support means 11 for supporting a roll or continuous supply'l2of sheet material such as woven cloth, terry cloth, or virtually any textile fabric,
plastic, paper or other sheetmaterial. First feed means 14 comprises a pair of rotatable rollers 15 and'l6 which are counter-rotatable and arranged to feed the free end of, the supply of sheet material therebetween. Rollers 11 5 and Marc rotated by .an electric motor (not shown),and the'on-off condition of the electric motor is controlled by photoelect'ri c cell 18 and the appropriate electrical circuitry (not shown), so that when a free supply ofcloth" 19 extends from feed means 14 in a downward. direction so as to block the light from light source20 tophotoelectric cell 18, the feed rollers 15 -andl6 terminate their rotation and feeding of the I cloth.
Feed tableor-platform 21 is positioned with its upper surface in an approximately horizontal attitude, and the supply of cloth 12 isfed in a singlesheet over a horizontal guide bar 22 onto and across the feed platform, 21
toward feed roller. 24. A resilient 'sheetof material 25 -is supported at one edge by its support bar 26 above '-.feed platform 21 and slopes downwardly across the lfeed platform2l toward feed roller 24.Support bar 26 is angled so as to bias the resilient sheet 25 down into engagement with the feed platform 21 and the sheet of cloth on the platform, so that the resilient sheet 25 functions as a drag means. I
As is illustrated in FIG. 2, feed roller 24 comprises an inner feed roll 28 which is rotatable in the direction indicated by arrow 29 by an electric motor and clutch (not shown), and the feed roll 28 is covered with a inch sheet of flexible foamed polymeric material 30 which is a resilient material that can be crushed and will resume its original configuration. Such foamed polymeric materials include latexes, polyurethanes, natural and syntheticrubbers, and the like. More particularly, a suitable foamed material is polyurethane foam obtainable by the reaction of polyisocyanates with polyhydroxy compounds, such as polyethers and polyesters. A particular foamed material is reticulated polyurethane foam as disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3, l 7 l ,820. The material is cut into sheets of appropriate thickness, preferably into sheets which are 36 inch thick, and has approximately 30 pores per square inch. The texture of the sheet 30 is such that the opened cells tend to frictionally engage the woven, knitted or other types of cloth or similar material such as the supply 12 of sheet material, but the sheet does not tend to penetrate, cling to or otherwise significantly .frictionally engage the hard, non-porous upper surface of feed platform 21. Thus, feed roller 24 functions to feed the continuous supply of sheet material across the feed platform without generating enough heat by its sliding friction against the feed platform to damage the feed platform or the roller.
The sheet material 12 can be virtually any material which can be handled by the apparatus, and can include woven and other types of material which has one edge more tightly woven than the opposite edge or central body portion of the sheet material. The edge of sheet material having a tightly woven edge or selvage usually is slightly shorter than the remaining portion of the sheet and when the sheet is fed by hard feed rollers, etc., the longer portions of the sheet become wrinkled as the sheet passes through the rollers, or the sheet tends to ride off the edge of the feed rollers.
An important feature of the arrangement of feed roller 24 is that the material from which feed roller 24 is fabricated has the ability to compensate for the different lengths of the sides of the sheet material, such as woven cloth, etc. The crushing or collapsing of the pore structure of the reticulated foam 30 of the feed roller 24 as the foam engages the feed table 21 or the sheet material being fed across the feed table causes the side of the roller which feeds the tight selvage to allow a limited amount of back slippage during the feeding process. This causes a positive feed of the cloth along the length of the cloth without any accumulation, folding or wrinkling of the cloth along its longerportions by allowing the shorter edge of slip rearwardly with respect to the longer edge across the feed area at the feed roller 24. Thus, the nonuniform structure of the cloth is compensated for and no accumulation of cloth is allowed to build up at the feed roller and cause the cloth to walk off the side of the feed roller or allow the feed roller to feed wrinkles onto the transfer table 34.
The arrangement of the feed roller 24 together with the resilient sheet 25 is such that these elements function as a feeding means to feed the sheet material across and beyond feed platform 21, and the cellular sheet or layer 30 about the feedroll 28 when engaging the sheet material causes the sheet material to accelerate rapidly with only controlled slippage between the feed roller 24 and the sheet material 12, and when the feed roller rapidly'decelerates, the resilient sheet 25 functions as a drag means to assist in the deceleration of the cloth, and the converging angle'of-the drag means 25 with respect to the feed platform tends to keep any folds or wrinkles from forming in the sheet material at the feed roller 25.
As is illustrated in FIG. 1, cutting blade v31 is located at the edge of feed platform 21 and is hinged at its lower end at the feed platform so as to bemova blein an upward and downward direction to cut the sheet material. Pneumatic ram 32 functions to oscillate cutting blade 31.
Transfer table 34 functions as'a transfer station to transfer the cut length of material 35 from a first path of movement from the support means 11 over the feed platform 21 to a second path of movement which is ap proximately normal to the first path of movement. Transfer table 34 comprises table 36 and a plurality of conveyor tapes or belts 38a, 38b, 38c, and 38d which extend across the top of table 36 and over conveyor rollers 39 and 40 and which pass back beneath the table 36 and form a conveyor belt means. While four conveyor tapes 38a-d are illustrated, it will be understood that more or fewer conveyor. tapes can be employed, or a single wide conveyor belt can be employed, if desired. The exposed surface of conveyor tape 38a has a relatively low coefficient offriction with respect to the exposed surfaces of conveyor tapes 38b, 38c, and 38d. The texture of conveyor tape 38a is chosen so that it forms a relatively slick moving or live smooth surface with respect to the sheet mate:
rial or length of cloth 35 passing from feed platform 21 onto the transfer table 34. The conveyor tapes 38b-d therefore form a first surface portion having a relatively high coefficient of friction while tape 38a forms a second surface portion having a relatively low coefficient of friction.
Photoelectric cell 41 is positioned in the vicinity of transfer table 34 and is arranged to detect the presence or absence of light from the surface of the table, as by reading the light 42 from below transfer table 41. Photoelectric cell 41 together with the appropriate circuitry is arranged to control the rotation of feed roller 24, the downward movement of cutting blade 31, and the rotation of transfer table conveyor rollers 39 and 40. The arrangement is such that when the photoelectric cell 41 sees light from its light source 42, feed roller 24 rotates to feed the supply of sheet material across feed platform 21, and conveyor rollers 39 and 40 function to move the conveyor tapes 38a-d across table 36. Conveyor rollers 39 and 40 function to move the conveyor. tapes 38a-d at a linear velocity which is faster than the linear velocity of the sheet material onto transfer table 34, so that the conveyor tapes tend to stretch out the leading portion of the sheet material away from feed roller 24; however, since the feed roller 24 positively grips the supply of sheet material 12 against the upper surface of feed platform 21, the conveyor tapes 38ad will tend to move out from beneath the supply. of sheet material unless the sheet material is folded or wrinkled, whereupon the folds or. wrinkles will be stretched out away from feed roller 24 and removed from the cloth. When the photoelectric cell detects darkness by the leading edge of the cloth blocking the light from light source 42, feed roller 24 will stop its rotation and cutting blade 31 will move under the influence of its ram 32 in a downward direction to cut way that portion of the sheet materialextending from the cutting blade over the transfer table, and the conveyor rollers 39 and 40 of the transfer table will decelerate at a rate slower than the deceleration of feed roller 24. When the cutting blade 31 has moved to its full down position where the sheet material has been cut, its limit switch (not shown) will open and ram 32 will reverse to lift the cutting blade 31 back up to its ready position. The slower deceleration of the conveyor tapes compensates for any folds that might be created in the cloth from any snap back of the cloth on the transfer table which might result when the cloth is cut. As long as the now cut length of material remains on transfer table 34 to block the light from light source 42 to photoelectric cell 41, no further feeding or cutting of the sheet material will take place.
Transfer arm 45 is located above transfer table 34, and its lower surface comprises a layer of the cut foamed material 46 of the type used on feed roller 24. Transfer arm 45 is normally maintained above the conveyor tape 38a whichhas the slick exposed surface. Pneumatic rams 48 and 49 control the movement of transfer arm 45, with ram 48 functioning to move the transfer arm 45 down into engagement with the portion of the cut length of material which covers conveyor tape 38a, while ram 49 functions as a transfer ram and urges transfer arm 45 off transfer table 34 and onto sewing table 50. As is illustrated in FIG. 3, transfer ram 49 is angled so that its motion off transfer table 34 is less than 90 from the firsth path of movement of the continuous supply of sheet material, as indicated by arrow 13. The support for rams 48 and 49 is pivotally connected to table 36 by upright support bar 51, and the angle which transfer ram 49 takes with respect to table 36 is controlled by adjustable turnbuckle 52.
Sewing table 50 comprises a table surface 54 disposed in an approximately horizontal plane, and a plurality of conveyor tapes 55a, 55b, 55c, and 55d extend across the table and return back beneath the table so as to move the lengths of material 35 is a second path 56 which is approximately normal to the first path 13 and which is parallel to the cut ends of the lengths of cloth or sheet material. Conveyor tape 55a is mounted on a roller of slightly larger diameter so that the surface speed of conveyor tape 55a is faster than the surface speeds of the remaining conveyor tapes. A plurality of stationary leaf springs 58 are mounted on a support 59 extending above the sewing table, and the leaf springs are urged down into engagement with the conveyor tapes 55a-d. The leaf springs 58 are fabricated from a smooth material so that they slide easily with respect to the conveyor tapes or the cut lengths of material passing over the conveyor tapes. Thus, the leaf springs function to urge the cut lengths of material passing along second. path 56 into engagement with the conveyor tapes, so that the higher friction between the conveyor tapes and the cut lengths of cloth functions to cause the lengths of cloth to move in unison with the conveyor tapes across the sewing table. While only one set of stationary leaf springs is illustrated, several sets are used along the length of sewing table 50 as required to urge the cloth lengths to move with the conveyor tapes. In addition, movable leaf springs 59 are supconveyor tapes across the sewing table.
ported in cantilever fashion by rotatable supportbar 60, and the movable leaf springs are pivoted by pneumatic ram 61 at the end of bar 60 into and out of engagement with the cut lengths of cloth passingwith the Photoelectric cell 62 is located above the table surface and is arranged to detect the presence or absence of light emanating from the table surface, as from light source 64 located beneath the table surface. Photoelectric cell 62 together with the appropriate circuitry functions to actuate transfer arm 45. More specifically, when photoelectric cell 62 detects the presence of light, pneumatic ram 48 of transfer arm 45 is actuated to urge the transfer arm downwardly toward the smoother conveyor tape 38a of transfer table 34 until it engages the cut length of cloth present on the transfer table, transfer ram 49 is caused to distend and move transfer arm 45 from conveyor tape 38a and transfer table 34 toward sewing table 50 until the transfer arm limit switch (not shown) is engaged, whereupon ram 48 retracts, and ram 49 retracts to return the transer arm to its elevated ready position. The movement of transfer arm 45 is a rectangular movement, first down, then across, then up, then back. When the transfer arm limit switch is closed by the transfer arm 45' having been moved to its furtherest position over on sewing table 50, the limit switch functions to actuate pneumatic ram 61 and pivot support bar 60 so that movable leaf springs 59 move down into engagement with the cut length of cloth and urge the cloth into engagement with the conveyor tapes 55a-d of the sewing table, thus causing the cut length of cloth to move in unison with the conveyor tapes across the sewing table. As the cut lengths of material move in series with the conveyor tapes, they pass beneath the stationary leaf springs 58 and are therefore continuously urged into engagement with the conveyor tapes. When the photoelectric cell 62 again detects light, pneumatic ram 61 is reversed to lift the movable leaf springs 59 out of engagement with the cut lengths of material andreturn the leaf springs to their ready positions. Moreover, when the photoelectric cell 62 again detects light, it begins its cycle again to transfer a cut length of material from transfer table 34 from the first path 13 toward the second path 56.
As the cut lengths of material 35 move along second path 56, the first cut edge 63 and the second cut edge 64 are approximately aligned with the direction of movement of the cut lengths of material. The second cut edge 64 is trimmed by a conventional edge trimmer 65 so that if any imperfections are present in the cut edge of the length of sheet material they will be remedied. The cloth lengths 35 are then moved further along second path 56, and second cut edge 64 passes through first edge folder 66.
First edge folder 66 comprises a first stationary concave guide member 68 having a concave guide surface 69 which converges into and along the path of the second cut edge 64 of the sheet material, and is curved about and around the upper portion of the path of the second edge so as to induce the'edge of the cut length of material 35 to form a fold along the edge of the material. Presser foot 70 is positioned along the edge of the path of the cut sheet material 35 at a position displaced inwardly from the edge of the material. Presser foot 70 extends into guide member 68 and presses, the cut sheet of material 35 into positive engagement with conveyor tape 55a as the first fold is being created along the edge of the sheet of material.
First guide member extension 71 has a helical configuration and extends beyond first guide member 68. Second guide member 72 is positioned further down the path from first guide member 68 and is located inwardly toward the middle portion of the path of the sheet material from the first guide member and is curved about the edge of the path of the sheet and about the first guide member extension 71. Second guide member 72 is located inwardly of the normal path of travel of the edge of conveyor tape 55a, and induces the conveyor tape 55a to form a fold in its edge at 74. First guide member extension 71 extends from first guide member 68 into second guide member 72 and functions to guide the first fold formed in the edge of sheet of material and the edge of conveyor tape 55a into second guide member 72, thus forming a fold in the conveyor tape 55a and a second fold in the edge of the sheet material 35.
When the conveyor tape 55a emerges from second guide member 72, the folded portion of the conveyor tape is allowed to unfold and continue as a flat conveyor tape. Second presser foot 75 is positioned in alignment with second guide member 72 and reaches into the fold of the conveyor tape as it unfolds from the second guide member 72 to contact the double fold in the edge of the sheet of material 35 to cause the double fold to be maintained in the sheet material while the fold in the conveyor tape 55a is straightened.
Conveyor tape 55a is moved at a greater velocity than the remaining conveyor tapes 55b-d. As is illustrated in FIG. 5, the faster movement of conveyor tape 55a causes the cut edge 64 of the cut length of sheet material 35 to move ahead of the remaining portion of the cut length of material. When the second cut edge 64 is passed through first guide member 68, the friction between the cut edge 64 and the stationary curved surface 69 of the first guide member 68 causes the edge 64 to distort rearwardly of the leading edge of the sheet material, as indicated in sheet 35b of FIG. 5. Thus, the leading end 76 and trailing end 81 of the first fold 77 outside fold line 78 in the sheet material will be displaced at an angle from the fold line 78 which is less than 90 from the fold line; however, the increased velocity of the conveyor tape 55a forming the second fold and carrying the edge portion of the length of material advances the second cut edge 64 ahead of the leading end 79 of the sheet of material so that the portion of the leading end 76 and trailing end 81 inside fold line 78 is distorted ahead at an angle approximately equal to the angle made by the leading and trailing ends outside the fold line 78, so that the ends of the first fold 77 are approximately coextensive with the leading and trailing ends of the sheet of material. Also, when the second fold 80 is completed about fold line 78b, the leading ends of the first and second fold will be coextensive with the leading end 79 of the sheet of material, and there will be no hem hangout at the leading or trailing ends of the fold.
As is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 6, crows foot advancer 82 is positioned above the path of travel of the second cut edge 64 of the cut lengths of material, beyond edge folder 66. Crow's foot advancer 82 comprises pneumatic ram 84, ramrod 85, stem 85 and crows foot 87. When the rod 85 of ram 84 is retracted, stem 86 abuts rest 88 andthe end of the crows foot 87 and is slightly retracted above the path traveled by the double fold along the edge of the cut sheet of material.
tained until the leading end 90 of the double fold reaches the presser foot of the sewing machine.
Photoelectric cell 92 is arranged to detect the presence or absence of light from the surface of the sewing table 50, as from light source 93 positioned below the table, so that the leading end of a sheet of material passing along the sewing table will block the light from the photoelectric cell. Photoelectric cell 92 and the appropriate circuitry functions to control the operation of crows foot advancer ram 84 and the timing when the crows foot 87 reaches down into engagement with the leading end of the double fold 80 in the sheets of material. When the ram 84 has fully distended its rod 85, a limit switch (not shown) functions to reverse ram 84 and retract the crows foot.
Sewing machine 91 is a high speed machine arranged to operate continuously and to form a chain of thread between the adjacent ones of the sheets of material passing along the sewing table. Sewing machine 91 is a reversible sewing machine of conventional design, such as Pfaff, model 438-6/0l-AS, manufactured in West Germany, or the reversible machine manufactured by Union Special Sewing Machine Company. Photoelectric cells 94 and 95 positioned above sewing table 50 function to detect the presence or absence of light from the surface of the sewing table, as from light source 96 positioned below the sewing table, so that when a sheet of material is moving along the sewing table its leading and trailing edges will be detected. Photoelectric cells 94 and 95 are arranged to momentarily reverse sewing machine 91. For instance, photoelectric cell 94 is arranged to momentarily reverse sewing machine 91 when it detects the leading edge of a sheet of material 35 so that the sewing machine functions to create a backstitch 98 at the leading end 90 of the double fold or hem 80, and then continue with a regular stitch 99 along the intermediate portion of the double fold, while photoelectric cell 95 functions to reverse the sewing machine 91 when the trailing end of the double fold is beneath the sewing machine, so as to form a backstitch 100 at the trailing end of the double fold. Since the edge of the sheet material having a double fold hem therein is advanced ahead of the reamining portion of the sheet material by means of the conveyor tape 55a of edge folder 66 and then by crows's foot advancer 82, the sewing machine 91 can momentarily stop the advancement of the folded portion of the sheet material to form the first backstitch 98 without unduly distorting the sheet material. Sewing machine 91 is adjusted to operate at a speed which is faster than the velocity of the sheet material along sewing table 50; that is, the feeding and stitching mechanism of the sewing machine advances the hem along path 56 at a rate faster than the conveyor tapes 55b-d advance the remaining portion of the sheet material, so that by the time the trailing end 81 of the double fold 80 of the sheet of material reaches the sewing machine, the folded end portion of the sheet material is again advanced ahead of the remaining portion of the sheet material and the sewing machine can again be reversed to form double stitch 100 at the trailing end of a hem without unduly distorting the flat sheet material.
As is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 6, cutting means 102 is provided in sewing table 50 and defines an opening 104 in the table surface 54, a slotted cutter head 105, a plurality of rotatable cutter blades 106, an air suction means 108. The slotted head 105 is formed so that the flat sheet material cannot enter the opening 104 and reach the rotating blades 106; however, the thread chain 109 extending between .the adjacent ends of the sewn hem can be received in the slot of the head 105, and the suction means 108 tends to induce the thread chains to enter the slot. Moreover, since sewing machine 91 operates to move the hem of the sheet material at a faster velocity than the remaining portion of the sheet material, the leading end of the hem will advance toward the trailing end of the hem of the sheet material ahead of it to create slack in the thread chain, so that the thread chain can reach the rotating blades 106 through the slotted head 105 of the cutter 102. With this arrangement, substantially all of the thread chain extending between the adjacent hems is cut and removed from the vicinity of the sheets of material.
As is illustrated in FIG. 1, fold bar 110 is supported from table surface 54 and extends above and along the path 56 of the sheet material in a cantilever arrangement. Fold bar 1 is adjustable so that its folding edge 111 can be accurately positioned along path 56. The sheets of material 35 pass beneath fold bar 102. Wiper rod 112 extends parallel to path 56 and is mounted on a pair of chains 114. Chains 114 are endless chains and include upper flights 115 which extend laterally with respect to path 56 above table surface 54, and lower flights 11 which extend beneath the table surface. A slot 118 is provided in the table surface so that wiper rod 112 can travel in a closed continuous path and emerge up through slot 118 in the table surface, then move in a lateral direction above and laterally across the table surface and fold bar 110, and then pass with the lower flights of the chains back beneath the table surface. Photoelectric cell 120 is positioned above the table surface so as to detect the presence or absence of light emitted from the table surface, as by light emanating from light source 121 beneath the table surface, so that the presence or absence of the leading edge of a sheet 35 will be detected. Photoelectric cell 120 together with the appropriate circuitry controls the movement of wiper rod 112, and when photoelectric cell 120 detects the absence of light from the presence of sheet material passing between photoelectric cell 120 and it light source 121, wiper rod 112 will emerge through its slot 118 and then move upwardly and over fold bar 110 and table surface 54 and wipe or fold over the first cut edge 63 of the sheet material so that the first cut edge 63 overlaps or extends beyond the first hemmed edge of the sheet material. When the wiper rod 112 moves along its return flight beneath the sewing table, it engages its limit switch (not shown) so that its movement is terminated until photoelectric cell 120 initiates its movement again.
Since the endless chains 114 which support wiper rod 112 completely surround the folded sheet material, the sheet material is therefore free to pass between the upper and lower chain flights and move through and beyond the folding mechanism. The sheet materialuses the edge 111 of fold bar as a reference point, and the fold in the sheet material is formed about the edge 111. When the'sheet material reaches the end .of fold bar 110 it drops off the fold bar and continues on its path 56 through chains 114. Wiper rod 112 can be supported on chains 114 so that it rotates about its longitudinal axis and therefore rolls about its axis as it wipes a fold into the sheet material and therefore minimizes the frictional engagement with the sheet material, or wiper rod 112 can be formed as a bent rod, somewhat crescent or banana-shapedwith the center portion of the rod as it moves across and above the, sewing table leading the end portions, so that the middle portion of the end'of the sheet material being wiped or folded tends to lead the corners during the wiping movement, and the corners will then come rest in a flat, unwrinkled position. This reduces any tendency of the corners from becoming wrinkled, folded or otherwise distorted in the folding function.
Once the sheet material has been folded by fold bar and wiper rod 1 12 as previously described, the first cut end 63 of the sheet material is double folded and the double fold is sewn closed in a manner similarto that previously described and illustrated in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. For instance, as illustrated in FIG. 1, a second edge folder applies a double fold to the first cut edge at 125, a second crows foot advancer 126 advances the second double fold to a second sewing machine 128, and a second thread chain cutter 129 cuts the thread chain between the adjacent hems. I
When the hemmed and folded sheets 35 reach the end of sewing table 50, the sheets are folded again and stacked by stacker 130. As is illustrated in FIG. 7, the sheets 35 are allowed to flow off the end of the sewing table and in a downward direction until the leading end of the sheets reaches the vicinity of photoelectric cell 131 and blocks the light emanated from light source 132. At this point, a tucking blade 134 is pivoted from beneath the table surface of the sewing table and extended over and above the top surface of a grate 135 of stacker 130. A stream of air from air tube 136 assists the downward movement of the leading edge of the sheet 35 between the sewing table 50 and stacker 130. Photoelectric cell 131 together with the appropriate circuitry functions to actuate stacker 130. Stacker comprises a framework 138, horizontal platform 139, collapsible grate 135, transfer arm 140, and arm support levers 141 and 142. Collapsible grate is formed in two door sectionshingedly supported on opposite sides so as to function as a trap door in that it opens in its center portion in a downward direction, as illustrated in thedashed line position of FIG. 7. When photoelectric cell 131 detects the presence of the leading end of a sheet 35, pneumatic ram 144 distends to move tucker blade 145 to its dashed line position and the tucker blade forms a second fold in the sheet material and carries the second folded portion of the sheet over onto the grate 135. Pneumatic ram 145 then distends to pivot support arm 141 in a downward direction with respect to support arm 142, causing transfer arm to move downwardly into engagement with the fold created in the sheet 35 about tucker blade 134. Pneumatic ram 146 contracts to pivot support arm 142 about its upper end, thus moving transfer arm 140 across grate 135 until support arm 142 reaches its broken line position. When in this position, support arm 142 engages its limit switch 148, whereupon pneumatic ram 149 opens grate 135 and allows the now folded sheet 35 to drop from the grate 135 onto horizontal platform 139. Also, pneumatic ram 145 lifts support arm 141 and transfer arm 140 with respect to grate 135, while pneumatic ram 146 distends to return transfer arm 140 back to its start position. When grate 135 has completely opened, its limit switch will function to reverse pneumatic ram 149 to return the grate to its closed position and to reverse ram 144 to return tucker blade 134 to its ready position.
If desired, tucker blade 134 can be deactuated, framework 138 of stacker 130 can be moved closer to the sewing table so as to eliminate the space between the end of the sewing table and the stacker, and photoelectric cell 131 can be moved to detect the leading end of the sheet material 35 as it first moves off the surface of the sewing table and onto grate 135. This allows transfer arm 140 to be energized as soon as the leading edge of the sheet material moves onto grate 135, so that the second fold formed in the sheet 35 with the previous arrangement will be eliminated.
While this invention has been described in detail with particular reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinbefore and as defined in the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for cutting and transferring cloth lengths or the like from a continuous supply of cloth movable along a first conveyor path to a second conveyor path approximately normal to the first conveyor path comprising a transfer platform, conveyor belt means extending parallel to the first conveyor path across said transfer platform and defining a first surface portion extending along the length of said conveyor belt means having a relatively high coefficient of friction and a second surface extending along the length of said conveyor belt means having a relatively low coefficient of friction, feed means for feeding a continuous supply of cloth along the first conveyor path onto said transfer platform, cutting means arranged to cut across the continuous supply of cloth at a position between said feed means and said platform whereby cloth lengths are moved by said feed means from the continuous supply of cloth extending along the first conveyor path onto said conveyor belt means and said transfer platform and are cut from said continuous supply of cloth by said cutting means, and cloth engaging means for engaging a cut length of cloth on said transfer platform at the second surface portion of said conveyor belt means and for urging the cloth lengths across said platform toward the second path. 1 J
2. The apparatus of claim 1 and wherein said con veyor belt means comrises a plurality ofseparateend less conveyor belts and said first surface portion comprises at least one conveyor belt and said second surface portion comprises at least one conveyor belt.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 and wherein said cloth engaging means comprises resilient means. movable first in a downward direction toward engagement with said second surface portion of said conveyor belt means, then in a lateral direction toward the second conveypr path, and then in an upward and return direc tion toward a position above said second surface por; tion.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 and wherein said resilient means is movable in its lateral direction across said second surface portion toward the second conveyor path at an angle less than from the direction of movement of said conveyor belt means, and further including means for adjusting the direction of movement of said resilient means across said second surface portion.
5. A method of cutting and transferring cloth lengths or the like from a first path of travel to a second path of travel approximately normal to the first path of travel comprising moving the free end of cloth from a continuous supply of cloth along a first path of travel over a horizontal surface including a relatively high c0- efficient of friction on one side of the center line of the first path of travel and including a relatively low coefficient of friction on the other side of the center line of the first path of travel, moving the horizontal surface approximately in the same direction of movement as the first path of travel and at a velocity faster than the velocity of the free end of cloth on its first path of travel, terminating the movement of the free end of cloth after a predetermined length of cloth has been moved onto the horizontal surface, cutting across the supply of cloth at a predetermined distance from the free end of the cloth to form a cloth length on the horizontal surface, engaging the portion of the cloth length on the side of the horizontal surface having the low coefficient of friction and urging the cloth length off the horizontal surface toward the second path of travel.
6. The method of claim 5 and further including the step of slowing the movement of the horizontal surfaqe before engaging the cloth.