US 3875769 A
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United States Patent n91 Inoue i 1 AUTOMATIC STEEPING APPARATUS FOR FABRIC  Inventor: Tsukumo Inoue, 38
Motoimazato-St. Higashiyodogawa-ku, Osaka, Japan  Filed: Jan. 2, 1974 121] App]. No.: 430,154
 US. Cl 4. 68/22 R; 68/9; 68/27; 68/176  Int. Cl. B051: 3/178  Field of Search 68/22 R, 27, 99, 175, 176. 1 68/177, 9; 26/20, 21; 118/117, 424
Primary E.\'mninerHarvey C. Hornsby Assistant E.taminerPhilip R. Coe Attorney, Agent, or FirmLarson, Taylor and Hinds 1 1 Apr. s, 1975  ABSTRACT A vessel and a pair of rollers mounted above the vessel for advancing a length of material through the device, the pair of rollers including a driven roller and a follower roller. The vessel is divided into a plurality of bath chambers and a length of material fed to the rollers is advanced spirally through successive baths and discharged from the other end of the pair of rollers. According to the invention, devices of this type are improved by locating the follower roller below the driven roller. The follower roller is segmented into individual and independent rollers each associated with an individual bath. A detector located in a bath determines if the amount of material in a bath is less than a pro-determined amount. If this condition is detected. the follower roller associated with that bath is lowered away from the driven roller and thus the material is no longer advanced to the next adjacent bath. Accordingly, the material being fed to the apparatus builds up in the bath. Once the amount of material in the bath is sufficient, the follower roller is raised to press the material against the driven roller and the material is once again conveyed to the next bath.
5 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures AUTOMATIC STEEPING APPARATUS FOR FABRIC BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to automatic steeping apparatus for fabric. which automatically regulates the unevenness of the amount of cloth to be treated remaining in several treating liquid baths.
In steeping apparatus for non-endlessly treating cloth fabric, cloth introduced from one end of the apparatus. after being advanced spirally in the apparatus successively in the order of first row, second row, third row. (through treating liquid bath. squeezing rollers, auxiliary roller, reel and the like) is discharged from the other end of the apparatus. When cloth to be treated such as round knitted goods. cotton cloth, towel or the like is treated in rope-shape or in a folded condition, the amount of cloth remaining in the liquid bath in each of the rows may frequently become uneven. This is because when the cloth passes through the treating process the cloth becomes round or flat and thereby partial unevenness is caused in the thickness of the cloth, and when a round thick part reaches the rollers. the peripheral speed ofthe cloth is increased. and when a flat thin part reaches the rollers. the peripheral speed is decreased. The accumulation of these differences of speed causes differences in the advancing speed of the cloth. and thus causes differences in the amount of cloth remaining in the liquid bath in each row. In an ex treme case. the advancing speed of cloth is so large that cloth is not retained in the liquid bath at all. and it may be moved to the next row in a stretched condition. When the amount of cloth remaining differs considerably in each row. not only unevenness in treatment is caused. but also no treatment may be applied in one or more rows. To regulate such unevenness, the driving of the squeezing rollers must be stopped and the cloth retained in a bath in insufficient amount must be pulled down from the squeezing rollers into the liquid bath by hand. This is considerably undesirable not only because labor is needed and productivity is reduced. but also because undesirable tension may be applied to the cloth thereby impairing the finish of the cloth. Consequently. improvement has been demanded by many users of these devices. Accordingly. it is an object of the present invention to provide a device which is capable of automatically regulating the evenness of the amount of material remaining in the several baths without human power and also without applying unnecessary tension to cloth.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing and other objects which will be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art are achieved according to the present invention by providing improved apparatus for treating a length of material. The apparatus comprises a vessel and a pair of rollers mounted above the vessel for advancing a length of material through the device. the pair of rollers including a driven roller and a follower roller. The vessel is divided into a plurality of bath chambers and a length of material fed to the rollers is advanced spirally through successive baths and discharged from the other end of the pair of rollers. According to the invention, devices of this type are improved by locating the follower roller below the driven roller. The follower roller is segmented into individual and independent rollers each associated with an individual bath. A detector located in a bath determines if the amount of material in a bath is less than a pre-determined amount. If this condition is detected, the follower roller associated with that bath is lowered away from the driven roller and thus the material is no longer advanced to the next adjacent bath. Accordingly. the material being fed to the apparatus builds up in the bath. Once the amount of material in the bath is sufficient. the follower roller is raised to press the material against the driven roller and the material is once again conveyed to the next bath.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION A preferred embodiment of the invention will be explained with reference to the drawings of which FIGS. 1 and 2 show respectively. a side elevation and a front view.
The apparatus is a steeping machine to treat a nonendless fabric. On the upper front part of treating liquid bath 1 are provided seueezing rollers with driving roller 2 disposed above and follower roller 3 disposed below. The follower roller 3 is divided into six sections. Each of the follower rollers formed by dividing is carried by two air cylinders 4 for moving each follower roller between a first. raised position against the driving roller 2 above for advancing the material through the apparatus and a second. lowered position remote from the driving roller for stopping the advance of material through the apparatus. Air cylinders 4 are responsive to information concerning the amount of material in a bath. they act to lower or raise the follower rollers 3 carried thereby, and the material is caused. respectively. to stop or advance. The treating liquid bath 1 is divided with partition walls 5 into the same number of bath chambers la, lb, Ic' Ifas the number of the follower rollers. The partition walls are conventional and may be either porous or non-porous. In the drawing. 6 is a port for supplying liquid into the bath provided with non-porous partition wall and 7 is a discharge port. In each of the baths is fitted individually an information detecting and transmitting device 9. The device has T- shaped member 8 pivotally mounted in the bath and includes a pressure switch. The information detecting and transmitting device 9 is constructed to sense the deviation ofthe lever 8 and when the deviation reaches a prescribed extent, to transmit the information thereof to the air cylinders 4 by means of an electrical signal.
The cloth to be treated is led from a preceding process to the liquid treating apparatus 1, and is squeezed between the driving roller 2 and a first follower roller 3 above bath la. The cloth to be treated is led from a preceding process or supply over auxiliary roller 10 and reel 11 and into bath la. The cloth is drawn from bath la by first follower roller 3 in bath In which is held in engagement with driven roller 2 by a pair of air cylinders 4. The cloth is then led obliquely over roller 10 and reel 11 into bath lb through which it is drawn by second follower roller 3 engaged against driven roller 2 and so on spirally and successively through the desired number of bath chambers and is then discharged from the apparatus to a subsequent process or to stor age.
When there is no unevenness in the amount of cloth remaining in each bath. the cloth in each bath passes through normal path 12 (FIG. I) but when the amount ofcloth remaining in a bath is reduced. the cloth in that bath comes to pass in the stretched path 13. While cloth is passing in the path 12. the lever 8 is not moved. but when the path is moved to the right in the sense of FIG. 1, the lever 8 in engagement with the cloth is moved to the right together with the cloth. The T-shape of member 8 facilitates cooperation thereof with the moving cloth. The information detecting and transmitting device 9 detects the movement of the cloth by means of movement of the lever 8, and when the lever B is moved. for example. by an angle as far as the path 13, an electrical signal is transmitted to the air cylinders 4. Then. the air within the air cylinders 4 is ex hausted. and the follower roller 3 is lowered. for exampie. to the position of the follower roller 3 at the extreme left side in FIG. 1. and thereby the advance of cloth passing through a particular bath is stopped. Since the advance of cloth out of the bath chamber is stopped, the amount thereof remaining in the bath is increased because the cloth continues to be fed into the bath chamber. and when the cloth is returned back again into normal tensionless path 12. lever 8 is also returned back to its original position, and the information detecting and transmitting device acts to actuate the air cylinders 4 to push the follower roller 3 up to its original position. The follower roller 3 then commences to rotate following the driving roller 2 and the cloth again begins to be drawn out of the bath chamber. The unevenness of the amount of cloth remaining in each bath may thus be regulated. lt will be clear that when any follower roller in the line is lowered and the advance of cloth is stopped. then the follower rollers following it will be sequentially lowered. However. when the initial roller is returned back upwards and cloth begins to move. the follower rollers thereafter are also returned back upwards successively. and the overall advance of cloth is not interrupted.
The present invention is not to be limited to the illustrated embodiment. For example. the type of information detecting and transmitting device. the number of follower rollers and the like are not restricted to the present embodiment.
ln former steeping machines for treating non endless lengths of cloth. the driving roller of the squeezing rol lers was disposed below and the follower roller thereof was disposed above. The reverse is true in the apparatus according to the present invention: the driving roller is disposed above and the follower roller is disposed below. Moreover. of course. the present lower follower roller is provided as a plurality of independent idler rollers. In earlier devices. the stoppage or advance ofcloth was carried out simultaneously in all baths whereas in the present apparatus. the stoppage or advance of cloth may be carried out for each row by the up-and-down movement of an individual follower roller. Furthermore. in the present apparatus. by applying the information detecting and transmitting device and also combining it with the squeezing rollers. detection of the amount of cloth remaining in each bath. stoppage and advance of cloth. and correction of the unbalanced amount of cloth remaining are performed automatically and smoothly without depending on human power. Formerly, the cloth of a row reduced in amount was pulled down by hand and unnecessary tension was applied to the cloth. but in the present apparatus. before the amount of cloth in a bath chamber is reduced to an extreme. the advance of cloth is stopped automat' ically and the amount of cloth remaining may be increased to normality. and no tension is applied to cloth and the appearance thereof is not impaired. As the amount of cloth remaining in each bath is maintained substantially uniform. treatment will be substantially uniform and not incomplete or imperfect.
The effect of the present apparatus is sufficient that treatment in the apparatus may be smoothly carried out automatically. so that continuous treatment of cloth connecting this apparatus with preceding and following treating processes may be carried out very easily.
The apparatus according to the present invention may be used, for example. for rinsing. fluorescent fin' ishing. softening treatment and the like. of fabric.
What is claimed is:
1. ln apparatus for treating a length of material with liquid comprising: a vessel; a pair of rollers mounted above said vessel for advancing a length of material through the device, said pair of rollers comprising a driven roller and a follower roller; and wall means dividing said vessel into a plurality of bath chambers for sequential liquid treatment of said length of material wherein a non-endless length of material fed to one end of said pair of rollers is advanced spirally through successive bath chambers and discharged from the other end of said pair of rollers; the improvement wherein:
said follower roller comprises a plurality of idler rollers independently mounted below said driven rol' ler and each being independently moveable from a first position in which material passing between the pair of rollers is pressed against said driven roller for advancing said material and a second position in which material passing between the pair of rollers is out of contact with said driven roller for arresting the advance of said material;
means for moving said follower rollers independently between said first and second positions;
means for detecting the amount of material in a particular bath chamber; and
means responsive to said detecting means for actuating said following roller moving means whereby said follower roller is moved from said first to said second position when the amount of material in said bath is less than a first pre-determined amount and said follower roller is moved from said second to said first position when the amount of material in said bath is more than a second pre-determined amount.
2. Improved apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said follower rollers are located below said driven roller.
3. Improved apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said detecting means comprises a pivotably mounted member in each bath chamber having a portion positioned in the path of movement of a length of material passing through the bath chamber to be in engagement therewith whereby the arm pivots in response to the amount of material in the bath chamber in which said member is pivotably mounted.
4. Improved apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said wall means are non-porous.
5. Improved apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said wall means are porous.