US 3829939 A
In a needle punching machine, a fiber batt to be needled is confined in the needling zone between a fabric-reinforced plastic foil and an endless, moving belt carrying spaced carrier elements, such as pins. The barbed needles of the machine pass through the foil into the fiber batt until their points project into the spaces between the carrier elements. The feed zone of the machine tapers toward the needling zone between the belt and the foil, and the foil is prevented by an adjustable gate member from yielding under the pressure of the batt. A backing member whose contact face has two angularly offset portions is arranged behind the belt and may be shifted in the direction of batt movement through the needling zone.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States Patent [191 Dilo [ Aug. 20, 1974 NEEDLE PUNCI-IING MACHINE  Inventor: RichardDilo,Eberbach/Neckar,
Germany 22 Filed: May 14, 1973 211 App]. No.: 360,086
 Foreign Application Priority Data Primary Examiner-Louis K. Rimrodt Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Kurt Kelman [5 7] ABSTRACT In a needle punching machine, a fiber batt to be needled is confined in the needling zone between a fabricreinforced plastic foil and an endless, moving belt carrying spaced carrier elements, such as pins. The barbed needles of the machine pass through the foil into the fiber batt until their points project into the spaces between the carrier elements. The feed zone of the machine tapers toward the needling zone between the belt and the foil, and the foil is prevented by an adjustable gate member from yielding under the pressure of the batt. A backing member whose contact face has two angularly offset portions is arranged behind the belt and may be shifted in the direction of batt movement through the needling zone.
10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures NEEDLE PUNCHING MACHINE.
This invention relates to a needle punching machine for entangling the fibers of a felt batt, and particularly to an improved arrangement for confining the batt in its approach to the needling zone of the machine.
It is common practice to move a fiber batt through the needling zone of a needle punching machine between two confining plates. One of the plates is perforated for passage of the needles during their movement into and out of the needling zone and strips the fibers from the needles during the outward movement of the needles. The other plate serves as a carrier for the batt and must be apertured for receiving the points of the needles after they pass through the batt.
As the initially loose batt enters the needling zone of the known machines, it tends to bunch up, whereby it enters the needling zone at varying weight rates. To avoid the resulting non-uniformity of the needled product, it has been attempted to compress the batt between pressure rollers prior to entry into the needling zone or to subject the batt to a preparatory light needling. These expedients were not fully successful, and they increase the cost of building and operating the needling machine.
It is a primary object of this invention to prevent nonuniform entry of the fiber batt into the needling zone.
Another object is the provision of a needle-punching machine which can be switched from one needling pat tern to another pattern in a particularly simple manner.
With these objects and others in view, the invention provides a needle punching machine of otherwise largely known construction with a confining arrangement in which the fiber batt is confined between a thin foil arranged for passage of the punching needles therethrough during their reciprocating movement into and out of the batt. The carrier for the batt includes a multiplicity of carrier elements spaced from the foil in a direction away from the crosshead on which the needles are mounted. The elements are spaced apart transversely to the direction of reciprocating needle movement for passage of the needles therebetween. The elements are continuously conveyed through the zone with the batt being needle.
Other features and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will readily be appreciated as the same becomes better understood from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment when considered in connection with the appended drawing in which:
FIG. 1 shows a needle punching machine of the invention in fragmentary side elevation, and partly in section; and
FIG. 2 shows the machine of FIG. 1 in a different operating condition.
Referring now to the drawing in detail, there is seen an eccentric drive 1 for vertically reciprocating a crosshead 2 carrying parallel, elongated needles 3, as is conventional, the needles being provided with barbs too small to permit pictorial representation on the scale of the drawing.
A fiber batt is delivered to the illustrated elements of the needle punching machine by a conveyor 16 in the direction of an arrow 9, and is further supplied to the needling zone by a continuous conveying belt 5 trained in a closed loop over two cylindrical rollers 4 whose shafts are continuously driven during operation of the machine. The belt 5 consists of pivotally connected metal links 7 from which closely spaced pins 6 of steel or nylon project transversely to the direction of belt movement toward the needles 3. The length of the pins 6 which carry the batt through the needling zone is chosen so that the points of the needles 3 can enter the spaces between the pins 6, but cannot touch the belt link 7.
In the needling zone and both ahead of the same and behind the zone, the belt 5 is backed by a steel pad 8 mounted on a horizontal support plate 17 which is a part of the stationary frame of the needle punching machine, the frame not being shown otherwise. As indicated by a double arrow, the pad 8 may be shifted on the support plate 17 horizontally in the general direction of batt movement through the needling zone, but its position is normally fixed. The contact face of the pad 8 which engages the belt 5 has two angularly offset portions and imparts a corresponding configuration to the moving belt 5, so that the belt slopes obliquely upward through a feeding zone 15 into the needling zone and is horizontal as it leaves the latter zone.
The batt 10, while moving through the two zones, is upwardly confined by a tensioned fabric-reinforced, elongated plastic foil 11 whose ends are wound on a supply reel 12 and a take-up reel 13. At the entry to the needling zone, the foil 11 is backed by a gate bar 14 which may be adjusted vertically, as indicated by a double arrow. The foil 11 slopes obliquely upward from the gate bar 14 toward the supply reel 12 so that the feeding zone 15 tapers toward the needling zone defined by the paths of movement of the needles 3.
The configuration of the feeding zone 15 and of the adjacent portion of the needling zone may be modified by shifting the gate bar 14 and the backing pad 8 in respective vertical and horizontal directions on the ma chine frame. In the position of the bar 14 and the pad 8 illustrated in FIG. 1, the batt 10 is compressed gradually between the portion of the foil 11 ahead of the bar 14 and the upwardly sloping part of the belt 5 substantially to the entrance of the needle zone. The rate of compression is reduced at the gate bar 14 from which the foil 11 runs in an approximately horizontal path through the needling zone and to the pick-up reel 13. The apex of the obtuse angle between the two portions of the contact face on the pad 8 is located at the beginning of the needling zone.
When the slopes of the foil 11 and belt 5 bounding the feeding zone 15 are properly adjusted for the batt material, the batt enters the needling zone smoothly and without bunching up at the entrance to the zone. In the position of the pad 8 illustrated in FIG. 1, all but the first needle 3 pass completely through the batt during reciprocating movement of the crosshead 2. The needles nearest the gate bar 14 only partly pass through the batt and perform a preneedling operation which may be completely avoided, if unnecessary, by shifting the batt 8 further to the right, as viewed in FIG. 1.
In the position of the pad 8 illustrated in FIG. 2, the apex of the angle between the two portions of the contact face of the pad 8 is sufficiently shifted in the direction in which the batt 10 is conveyed through the needle zone that a majority of the needles 3 performs a preneedling operation while only relatively few needles 3 completely penetrate the batt, and their points enter the spaces between the pins 6. The treatment of the batt in the needle punching machine of the invention may be further modified in an obvious manner by shifting the gate bar 14 to suit the specific material to be needled.
When the needles 3 first pass through the foil 11, they punch holes in the foil and subsequently move back and forth in the same holes causing little further weakening of the foil which is tensioned between the rollers 12, 13. A piece of thin plastic foil reinforced with fabric, such as woven or non-woven glass fibers, stands up for an extended period of operation. If it ultimately wears out, a new length of foil 11 is readily supplied by turning the rollers l2, 13.
The pins 6 provide spaces for passage of the needle points which project through the batt 10 at the end of the downward crosshead stroke. However, both the needles 3 and the pins 6 are sufficiently flexible to prevent damage to the needles or pins if a penetrating needle point should strike a pin. Analogous results can be obtained when the pins 6 are replaced by a coursetextured felt having a rough surface and open structure in which the carrier elements are constituted by the fibers of the non-illustrated felt. The fibers are preferably adhesively bonded to each other to permit a loose structure for entry of the needle points without loss of the necessary mechanical strength. The rough felt surface engages the batt 10 with adequate friction to convey the batt through the needling zone.
The needled batt is pulled from the needling machine by means of a pair of driven rollers, as is conventional and not explicitly illustrated. The batt is pulled over a stripper bar 18 for separation from the pins 6 or the corresponding coarse felt cocering of the belt links 7.
When it is desired to change the needling pattern, it is only necessary to replace the crosshead 2 by another crosshead carrying needles 3 in the desired modified pattern. It may also be necessary to provide a fresh length of foil 11. No change or adjustment is needed in the carrier elements on the chain 5, thus making the changeover much more simple than in conventional machine in which at least the upper perforated confining plate must be changed for each change of needling pattern, replacement of the carrier plate also may be necessary under many conditions.
It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing disclosure relates only to a preferred embodiment of the invention, and that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for the purpose of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A needle punching machine comprising:
1. a crosshead carrying a plurality of needles elongated in a common direction;
2. drive means for reciprocating said crosshead in said direction inward and outward of a needling zone;
3. feed means for feeding a batt of fibers to said zone;
and 4. confining means for confining said batt in said zone in said direction, said confining means includa. a foil member arranged for passage of said needles through said foil member into and out of said batt during said reciprocating, and
b. carrier means including a plurality of carrier elements spaced from said foil member in a direction away from said crosshead, said elements being spaced apart transversely of said direction for passage of said needles therebetween, and conveying means for continuously conveying said elements transversely to said direction through said zone.
2. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said conveying means include an endless belt, and means for continuously moving said belt in a closed loop.
3. A machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said carrier elements enclude a plurality of pin members elongated in said common direction when being conveyed through said zone.
4. A machine as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a supply reel and a take-up reel offset from said zone in opposite directions transverse to said common direction, said foil member being elongated and having two longitudinally terminal portions respectively wound on said reels.
5. A machine as set forth in claim 4, wherein said reels are spaced from each other in the conveying direction in which said elements are conveyed through said zone by said conveying means.
6. A machine as set forth in claim 5, wherein said confining means further comprise a gate member preventing movement of a portion of said foil in said common direction under the pressure of the confined batt, said gate member being offset from said zone opposite to said conveying direction.
7. A machine as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a backing member having a contact face, said conveying means including an endless belt supporting said carrier elements, and moving means for continuously moving said belt through said zone in a predetermined direction transverse to said common direction while engaging said contact face, said contact face having two portions angularly offset from each other, one of said portions sloping obliquely toward said foil member, and the other portion being approximately parallel to said foil member in said zone, said belt being interposed between said backing member and said foil member.
8. A machine as set forth in claim 7, further comprising a support, said backing member being mounted on said support for adjustment in a direction approximately parallel to said foil member in said zone.
9. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said carrier elements jointly constitute a coarse-textured felt of rough surface and open structure.
10. A machine as set forth in claim 9, wherein said carrier elements are fibers adhesively bonded to each other.