US 3837275 A
An apparatus and method for embossing and printing on a web of flooring material making use of an embossing roller, transfer roller, and gravure roller. The gravure roller is a segmented roller, adapted to coact with a printing ink reservoir, provided with individual compartments matching in number the segments on the gravure roller. Multiple colors of ink are subsequently transferred to the flooring material in accordance with such predetermined segmented gravure roller to produce a material having a multi-color effect.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91 Madsen 1 1 Sept. 24, 1974 MULTIPLE COLOR EMBOSSING OF FLOORING MATERIAL  Inventor: John S. Madsen, Belle Mead, NJ.
[7 3] Assignee: GAF Corporation, New York, NY.
 Filed: Sept. 25, 1972  Appl. No.: 291,994
 US. Cl 101/23, 101/207, 101/350  Int. Cl. B4lf 5/04, B4lf 31/06  Field of Search 1711/5, 6, 23, 24, 32, 101/206-210, 219, 349, 350, 364
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 262,938 8/1882 Dyer et a1. 101/23 680,533 8/1901 Marinier et al. 101/23 690,822 1/1902 Auril 101/23 698,034 4/1902 Maas 101/23 729,002 5/1903 Spalekhauer 101/210 805,697 11/1905 Auril 101/23 805,699 11/1905 Auril 101/23 144,673 11/1873 Hart 101/208 581.201 4/1897 Haddon 101/152 1.774.119 8/1930 Waller 101/152 Primary ExaminerJ. Reed Fisher Attorney, Agent, or FirmWalter C. Kehm; Samson B. Leavitt [5 7] ABSTRACT An apparatus and method for embossing and printing on a web of flooring material making use of an embossing roller, transfer roller, and gravure roller. The gravure roller is a segmented roller, adapted to coact with a printing ink reservoir, provided with individual compartments matching in number the segments on the gravure roller. Multiple colors of ink are subsequently transferred to the flooring material in accordance with such predetermined segmented gravure roller to produce a material having a multi-color effeet.
2 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures MULTIPLE COLOR EMBOSSING OF FLOORING MATERIAL The present invention is directed to multi-color printing and embossing upon a vinyl material such as vinyl floor tile. More particularly, the instant invention is directed to a method and apparatus for applying in registration to a preselected design, a multiplicity of two or more colors of ink, by means of a roller combination to a floor tile or sheet, while maintaining a high degree of separateness in the respect of colors as they are applied to the vinyl material.
In general, it is well known to apply printing inking material to a substrate such as vinyl flooring by means of a series of rollers including a metering roller which dispenses the ink received from a receptacle onto a transfer roller, which roller has a predescribed pattern having land and valley areas which subsequently engages an embossing roller and imparts ink tothose areas forming an interface between such transfer roller and the embossing roller. More commonly, such printing techniques are designated as valley printing and embossing. This approach to the printing of substrate is quite well known to the field and is one that has been known to the prior art for a substantial period of time. In accordance with the aforementioned, present valley printing and embossing techniques accomplish the printing of multiple colors by means of individual print heads containing a different color of ink as received from the transfer roller in the aforementioned technique. Such ink is applied in registration with the design on the embossing roll and is subsequently placed in contact with the substrate to be worked upon. The number of colors used on a valley printer and embosser by present techniques is limited by the number of specific print head assemblies that can be mounted around a single embossing roll; that is, the space limitations, as well as the overall apparatus configuration of present assemblies limits the number of colors that can be rendered upon a given substrate. Obviously, the prior art has not been able to satisfy the situation in which a multiple number of colors are able to be applied to a given substrate while in registration from a single print head which contains two or more colors. Obviously, this problem and the solution thereof would clearly represent an advance in the art of valley printing to the extentthat such an approach would need less store space in which to operate, obviously is less expensive, and can be used in control within preselected limits compared to a use of a multiplicity of roller arrangements as would be represented by such prior art.
With the availability of more elaborate and ornate designs, as for an example shown and described in U.S. Pats. Des. 213,3 16, 217,817 and 22l,545; i.e., patterns which utilize a multiplicity of colors, it is desirable to utilize an arrangement in which the number of colors that can be used in any one product design is not limited by available equipment configuration and set up arrangements.
Accordingly, it is the main object of the present invention to provide an apparatus free of the shortcomings of the prior art.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a simple and efficient roller configuration suitable for valley printing for substrates such as floor tile or vinyl flooring in which a multiplicity of colors can be simultaneously printed in registration from one given embossing roller.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a less costly, easily controllable roller arrangement for the valley printing of vinyl substrate.
A further object of the present invention is to provide two or more roller arrangements operating in concert with one another adapted to print a series of uniquely different patterns on the same substrate each having different respective colors.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide for an apparatus which will enable a number of variations of a particular design to be employed with the present apparatus.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be ascertainable from the accompanying drawings and claims appended to the present specification.
With the foregoing and other objects in view, there is provided, in accordance with the invention an improved apparatus for embossing and printing a web of flooring material including: a plurality of rollers adapted to be driven in concert with one another to thereby advance the forward movement of said web; a gravure roller segmented along its length into several discrete portions; and a reservoir for printing ink, provided with compartments corresponding in number to the segments on said printing roller, said reservoir having partitions adapted to coact with said discrete printing roller portions to enable the transference of individual ink colors without loss of such color.
The present invention also contemplates a method of embossing and printing in registration therewith a web of flooring material including the steps of: introducing said web into an embossing nip formed by a pattern embossing roller and a back up roller moving in concert therewith; transferring printing ink unto said embossing roller via a transfer roller adapted to coact therewith; immersing a segmented gravure roller into a printing ink reservoir provided with several compartments of different colored ink; withdrawing said segmented roller from said reservoir after the application of ink to said segmented roller; metering said ink from said segmented roller prior to transference to said transfer roller; and printing said web of material according to the pattern received by said embossing roller.
The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the figures of the accompanying drawings showing the apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention showing the relationship of the embossing roll, transfer roll and gravure roll with respect to the web of material being worked upon.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional profile view of FIG. 1 in part with particular showing of the web as it is being worked upon as between the embossing roll and the back-up roll.
A web W of vinyl asbestos material is fed into the apparatus between the embossing roll 1 and the back up roll 9 and is embossed in the nip formed therebetween. The web travels according to the arrow T and travels into the apparatus (as shown in FIG. 2) from a belt conveyer through idler rolls 11 into the nip of rolls 1 and 9, and is then carried by idler rolls to belt conveyer 13 where it passes down the line through subsequent operations. The embossing or impression into the vinyl web is attained by hydraulic pressure applied through cylinders (not shown) to the back up roll 9 forcing the web against the embossing roll 1 and the pattern on the embossing roll 1 is impressed into the web W. The depth of embossing in the web W is controlled by hydraulic pressure applied to the back up roll 9. The drive for this embossing unit is accomplished by driving through an electric motor and speed reducer (not shown) to the back up roll 9 and to the embossing roll 1, transfer roll 2 and gravure roll 3 through the nip 15 between the back up roll 9 and the embossing roll 1. Supplemental drive from the embossing roll 1 to the transfer roll 2 is accomplished by gears 8. The gear on the transfer roll 2 is provided with an adjustment feature which enables registration of the pattern on the transfer roll 2 with the pattern on the embossing roll 1. Gear sizes are determined by relative roll diameters and pattern size. Additional drive is accomplished from the transfer roll 2 to the gravure roll 3 through gears 7. Again these gears are sized by the relative diameters of the transfer roll 2 to gravure roll 3. The embossing roll 1 is a chrome plated steel roll for example, into which a pattern has been engraved. The depth of the pattern is obviously dependent upon the depth of embossing to be obtained on the web W as it passes through the nip 15. The transfer roll 2 is for example, a steel roll, rubber covered to sufficient depth such that a pattern can be applied to the rubber surface. It is quite apparent from the arrangement of the rollers, that the transfer roll 2 will only apply ink to the embossing roll 1 in the desired areas of the design. The gravure roll 3 which is a segmented roll applies ink in a manner as will be explained below. Ink is picked up from pan 6 doctored off by doctor blade 4 and then transferred by direct contact to the rubber transfer roll 2; thereafter the rubber transfer roll 2 applies the ink to those areas of the embossing roll 1 to be colored with a particular color in a predetermined area. A matching of surface speeds between the embossing roll 1 and the transfer roll 2 is important for good quality inking of the embossing roll. This is accomplished by proper determination of the gear size on the phase gears, as well as, control over the roll diameters, so that matching of the respective surface speeds is accomplsihed.
Too fast or too slow a rate of travel of the rubber transfer roll 2 in relation to the embossing roll 1 results in a condition of wipe up. This merely means that because the speeds are not matched, there is a tendency to apply an excess of ink either to the leading or trailing edge of a figure on the embossing roll, which when applied to the web, produces a directional effect on the product. The net effect is that the color does not appear to be the same when viewed from opposite sides from opposite directions. This is the principal reason for maintaining good speed controls between the rolls. As far as speed matching between the transfer roll 2 and the gravure roll 3, here too, it is desirable to keep speeds matched as closely as possible. However, since the gravure roll 3 is reworked from time to time by engraving (i.e., grinding out the old engraving sufficiently deep to remove it completely then reengrave it), it is desirable to keep the matching surface speeds within possibly 10 percent of one another. The aforementioned relationship is not critical but represents good practice. In addition, there also are adjustment features built into the roll mounting devices so that the respective rolls can be positioned properly based on diameter, as well as, the contact pressure between rolls. Contact pressure between gravure roll 3 and the transfer roll 2, is important, such pressure has an effect on quality, since this is an important means of regulating the transfer of ink between the gravure roll 3 and the transfer roll 2. Generally speaking,higher contact pressure will result in light inking; whereas, light contact pressure will result in heavy inking. This shows up again by the amount of ink applied by the transfer roll 2 to the embossing roll 1. The effects of light or heavy inking are also apparent in the product after the web has passed through the entire apparatus. This adjustment feature is provided in the mounting of these rolls. The adjustment features mentioned above are two in number. A first adjustment, controls the spatial relationship of the gravure roll 3 to the transfer roll 2. A second adjustment feature controls the spatial relationship between the transfer roll 2 and the embossing roll 1. These are separate and distinct adjustments.'
The gravure roll 3 is what has been described as a segmented roll.The segments D'are actually undercuts between certain areas on the roll and serve to provide a means by which various ink colors are separated from one pan compartment to the other with contamination. In turn, these undercuts are located on the gravure roll 3 relative to the pattern on the embossing roll 1 and are on the transfer roll 2, too. The pattern on the transfer roll 2 must match and coincide with the pattern on the embossing roll 1. Each of the pan compartments 6 are provided with suitable plumbing (not shown) for introducing the ink to the compartment, a pump is connected with the necessary piping to the pan 6 and each pan is also provided with an overflow which returns ink through piping to the ink reservoir in the appropriate pump. In this way it is possible to introduce the respective colors in their reservoir. Though FIG. 1 illustrates only four different colors, such number is included for illustrative purposes only.
The dividers 5 are put into the pan 6 in such a way that they are water tight or fluid tight between compartments, in order to prevent contamination or the seepage of ink from one compartment to the other. The configuration of the divider 5 is also contoured to prevent contamination from ink being carried up the gravure roll 3 to the doctor blade 4. The undercuts 16 are provided in the gravure roll 3 whenever a color separation is desired. The depth of this undercut is such, that the roll 3 fits between the several dividers into the designated pan area to further prevent contamination or flow of ink from one compartment to another. The width of the undercut is designed to clear on either side of the divider 5. For practical purposes, the present design contemplates a dimension of about three-eighths of an inch between color separations on the web. However, it is not intended to be so limited.
In FIG. 1, the areas printed by each of the inks from the respective compartments 6 are shown as though there is a boundary line between each color, ie the areas marked A,B,C,D. For example, the colors within the A area represent a single color, the B area still another color, etc. These could be any four different colors desired. The doctor blade 4 is of standard construction but for the exception that slots are provided in the doctor at each point of undercutting 16 in FIG. 1. This feature is incorporated to prevent contamination ink along the doctor blade and those areas where a change of color occurs.
Doctor blade 12, as shown in FIG. 2 is in contact with the back up roll; and is merely used to strip the web W from the back up roll, if for any reason such web has a tendency to cling to roll 9. This doctor blade 12 does not actively contribute to the operation of doctor blade 4.
Inks used in the valley printing of floor tile may be either plastisol or a solvent base ink. The inks are pigmented according to the color required. To maintain and obtain good quality printing in the web, the cell structure of the gravure roll 3 is important; it is necessary to have the proper cell structure so that correct amounts of ink are metered from the gravure roll 3 to the transfer roll 2 and, in turn, to the embossing roll 1 and then, in turn, to the web W. Wear on the respective rolls has a definite effect on quality with a loss in product quality as the rolls wear.
FIG. 1 shows the relationship of the apparatus for multicolor printing out of one fountain. In addition, the present invention contemplates mounting a second print head adapted to cover certain portions of the embossing roll from a patterned rubber transfer roll with a single color or if so desired to be set to print a second group of multiple colors. The exact configuration of this would depend upon a basic product pattern design, but the present apparatus is intended to have the flexibility of adding one or more additional series of colors through the second or even a third roll arrangement. in the event a second roll arrangement is employed, i.e. an embosser, the drive for such second apparatus is accomplished similarly to the drive shown in FIG. 1. The large phase gear 8 on the end of the embossing roll 1 also is in mesh with a phase gear located on a transfer roll 2 of the second apparatus arrangement,- and installed so the first gear on the embossing roll 1 is actually simultaneously driving several rolls and the registration of the transfer roll 2 with the patterned embossing roll is controlled by the adjustment feature of the first gear on the end of each transfer roll 2.
It will be understood that certain changes may be made in the construction or arrangement of the method and apparatus which is disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. An apparatus for simultaneously embossing and printing a design having multiple colors on a moving web of vinyl asbestos flooring material comprising, in combination, a motor driven chrome plated steel embossing and printing roller having a design engraved therein for embossing and printing on said web; a motor driven back-up roller disposed in close juxtaposition to said embossing and printing roller and defining a nip therebetween through which the web is advanced; means for controlling the pressure applied at the nip to said web; a doctor blade disposed in close juxtaposition to said back-up roller adjacent to the nip to facilitate separation of the web from said back-up roller; a multicompartment ink reservoir having partitions to separate each compartment, wherein each compartment is adapted to receive and hold a different color ink; a rotatable gravure roller having a plurality of segments corresponding in number to the number of compartments of said reservoir and having circumferential undercuts separating each segment; said gravure roller being positioned such that each segment is at least partially disposed within a corresponding compartment of the reservoir to receive ink therefrom, and each undercut is in engagement with the corresponding partition between the compartments; a doctor blade in engagement with the gravure roller to control the amount of ink of the surface thereof; a rotatable rubber coated steel transfer roller having a pattern formed in the surface thereof corresponding to the design engraved on the embossing and printing roller; said transfer roller being interposed between and in operative contact with the gravure roller and the embossing and printing roller to receive ink from the gravure roller and transfer said ink to the embossing and printing roller; and a gear train operatively linking the embossing and printing roller, the transfer roller and the gravure roller to rotate said transfer roller and gravure roller in unison with said embossing and printing roller, to synchronize the speed between said rollers and to control pattern registration between the transfer roller and the embossing and printing roller.
2. A method for simultaneously embossing and printing a design having multiple colors on a moving web of vinyl asbestos flooring material comprising the steps of advancing said web into a nip defined by a motor driven chrome plated steel embossing roller having a design engraved thereon for embossing and printing on said web and a motor driven back-up roller disposed in close juxtaposition to said embossing and printing roller; controlling the pressure applied to said web at the nip; removing the web from the back-up roller as said web is advanced; introducing various colored inks into discrete compartments of a multicompartment ink reservoir; applying said different colored inks to the surface of a gravure roller having a plurality of discrete segments corresponding in number to the number of compartments of said reservoir by rotating the discrete segments of said gravure roller within the corresponding compartments of the ink reservoir; controlling the amount of ink dispersed on the surface of each segment of the gravure roller by means of a doctor blade; transferring the ink from the gravure roller to a rotatable rubber coated ink transfer roller in contact therewith having a pattern formed in the surface thereof which corresponds to the design engraved on the embossing and printing roller; transferring said ink from the transfer roller to said embossing and printing roller; rotating the gravure roller, the transfer roller and the printing and engraving roller at a synchronous speed to control pattern registration between the transfer roller and the embossing and printing roller; and simultaneously embossing and printing the design onto the moving web. =l