US 3883935 A
This invention is directed to a spreader for preparing circular knit fabric tubes for direct introduction into an opposed twin belt type of compressive shrinking machine and includes a frame having a pair of spaced frame members, each having pairs of idler wheels at the front and rear and an intermediate set of oppositely driven tapered rolls for externally advancing face portions of the tube in cooperation with opposed idler wheels of complementary shape. A rearwardly extending tucker blade carried by the frame introduces the spread and flattened fabric tube into the compressive shrinking machine.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Catallo et al.
1 SPREADER FOR USE WITH COMPRESSIVE SHRINKING MACHINES FOR TUBULAR KNIT FABRICS  Inventors: Frank Catallo, 84 Wheatly Rd., Old
Westbury, N.Y. 11568; Donald Foreman, 160 Puritan Dr., Scarsdale, NY. 10583  Filed: Feb. 11, I974  Appl. No.: 441,478
 US. Cl. 26/55 R; 26/l8.6  Int. Cl. D06c 5/00  Field of Search 26/55 R, 55 C, 56, 18.6
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,339,151 1/1944 Cohn et al. 26/55 R 2,623,264 12/1952 Dungler 26/55 R 3,078,541 2/1963 Beard 26/55 R [451 May 20, 1975 Wehrmann 26/55 R X 26/55 R 7/1965 1 H1969 Catallo Primary E.raminer--Robert R. Mackey Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Thomas E. Tate  ABSTRACT This invention is directed to a spreader for preparing circular knit fabric tubes for direct introduction into an opposed twin belt type of compressive shrinking machine and includes a frame having a pair of spaced frame members, each having pairs of idler wheels at the front and rear and an intermediate set of oppositely driven tapered rolls for externally advancing face portions of the tube in cooperation with opposed idler wheels of complementary shape. A rearwardly extending tucker blade carried by the frame introduces the spread and flattened fabric tube into the compressive shrinking machine.
4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures SHEET 10F 2 F/Gl FIGZ
SPREADER FOR USE WITH COMPRESSIVE SHRINKING MACHINES FOR TUBULAR KNIT FABRICS THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to new and useful improvements in textile processing equipment and particularly seeks to provide a novel spreader for tubular knit fabrics that are to become subjected to mechanical compressive shrinking.
After a tubular knit fabric has been produced on a circular knitting machine it must undergo further processing to put it into condition for cutting into garments. Such processing, whether wet or dry, almost always requires expanding the knit tube to the desired width and delivering the expanded tube in flattened form under controlled conditions to a subsequent processing operation, such as that effected by compressive shrinking, in order to impart at least linear dimensional stability to the finished goods.
Insofar as compressive shrinking of tubular knit fabrics is concerned, the problems are different from those involved in the compressive shrinking of single thickness woven fabrics since, in tubular knit fabrics there are two relatively movable fabric layers, of which the concatenated stitches in one layer may or may not coincide with the corresponding stitches in the other layer, thus creating irregular combined heights or thicknesses of the two layers, or in which the concatenated stitches may become irregularly tightened or loosened due to variable tensions imposed during handling.
It is believed that, currently, adequate compressive shrinking per se may be imparted to tubular knit fabrics by equipment, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,007,223 and 3,l95,2l3 in which a flattened tube of knitted fabric is compressively shrunk between a pair of opposed, constantly advancing, twin belts, with the compressive shrinking being separately imparted to each layer of the tube as the tube advances over a blade interposed between the belts at the entrance ends thereof.
Even with this type of equipment, however, the degree or uniformity of the compressive shrinking is only as good as that permitted by the immediately preceding physical conditioning of the fabric tube. Thus, if the fabric tube is not properly spread laterally to its predetermined desired width or if either or both face layers or the tube edges are subjected to uneven feeds or tensions, the fabric geometry will be disrupted or distorted to the degree that uniform compressive shrinking across the full width and along the full length of the fabric tube cannot be properly effected.
Accordingly, it is necessary to provide immediately in advance of any compressive shrinking machine, a spreader so constructed and operated that the fabric tube is flattened and spread to its predetermined desired width and fed into the compressive shrinking machine without distortion.
The need for solution of this problem will be more apparent if it is understood that, if the fabric is being linearly stretched before introduction into the compressive shrinking machine, the degree of that prestretch would have to be overcome before any true compressive shrinking could occur. Furthermore, if the fabric crossline or the stitches thereacross are not all reasonably uniform, compressive shrinking will take place in some areas and possibly not at all in others. For example, if the edges alone are stretched relative to the center as the entire tube is advanced, the center will become compressively shrunk while the edges will not.
It is of course recognized that in general spreaders for tubular knit fabrics are broadly old, as for example in U.S. Pat. No. 2,228,001 in which only edge drives are used to drag a fabric tube over a spreader how, or in this inventors own prior U.S. Pat. No. 3,479,706 in which substantially the entire circumference of the spread fabric tube is kept under control. However, none of the prior known devices are believed to be capable of spreading and properly controlling a knit fabric tube as an incident to its immediate introduction into a twin belt type of compressive shrinking machine. Furthermore, guiding apparatus of the type disclosed in the above mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,195,213 does not and cannot properly function as a spreader because of the drag and consequent distortion of the edges relative to the center of the fabric tube as the tube is being pulled into the compressive shrinker only by the opposed belts.
Therefore, an object of this invention is to provide a novel spreader for tubular knit fabrics that immediately are to be subjected to compressive shrinking upon completion of spreading.
Another object of this invention is to provide a spreader of the character stated in which the fabric advancing devices engage opposed planar upper and lower face portions of the advancing tube at locations immediately ahead of the transverse line of introduction into the compressive shrinking machine.
Another object of this invention is to provide a spreader of the character stated in which the discharge or delivery end thereof includes a flat blade for receiving the spread and geometrically conditioned fabric tube and introducing the tube into the receiving end of a compressive shrinking machine.
A further object of this invention is to provide a spreader of the character stated that includes idler rollers adjacent the edges of the introducing blade for reducing edge drag of the fabric tube with respect thereto.
A further object of this invention is to provide a spreader of the character stated that is simple in design, rugged in construction and economical to manufacture.
With these and other objects, the nature of which will become apparent, the invention will be more fully understood by reference to the drawings, the accompanying detailed description and the appended claims.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a fabric spreader constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a transverse vertical section taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation of the delivery end of the spreader in the zone 3-3 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a detail longitudinal vertical section taken along line 44, of FIG. 1.
Referring to the drawings in detail the invention, as illustrated, is embodied in a spreader for tubular knit fabrics that are to be subjected to compressive shrinking immediately upon completion of spreading and includes a frame comprising a pair of horizontal frame members or plates 5, 5 having spaced parallel inner edges 6, 6 and having their forward outer edge portions tapered as at 7 and their rearward outer edge portions tapered as at 8 in order to reduce the areas of contact with the fabric tube to be laterally expanded and flattened. The upper and lower faces of the frame plates are uniformly tapered from the inner edges to the outer edges thereof which are rounded as at 9 (see FIG. 2) to permit smooth passage of the fabric tube therealong.
The front ends of the frame plates 5 are maintained in adjustable spaced parallel relationship by a telescopic spacer 10 and the rear ends thereof are maintained in each such spaced setting by a transverse delivery or tucker blade as will be hereinafter more fully described.
A generally U-shaped heavy gauge wire guide 11 has its ends removably secured to the front ends of the frame plates 5 and normally is sufficiently flexible to adapt to changes in spacing therebetween within the limits of adjustment of the spacer 10.
The front end of each frame plate 5 carries a pair of relatively large diameter, smooth surfaced and smooth edged upper and lower idler wheels 12 rotatable about a vertical spindle 13.
Tube face, rather than tube edge, driving means are employed to advance the spread and flattened tube over the spreader and are disposed transversely across the frame plates 5 at the widest portions thereof and relatively close to the delivery end of the spreader so that the proper geometric configuration of the fabric tube may be established and maintained through the zone of introduction into an associated compressive shrinking machine.
For this purpose the upper and lower faces of each frame plate 5 are provided with a pair of outwardly opening recesses 14, 14 above and below a median web 15 which rotatably supports a pair of generally frustoconical idler wheels 16, 16 mounted on a common vertical shaft or spindle l7 and having portions of their peripheries extending beyond the outer edges of the frame plates. The exposed conical faces of the wheels 16 are at an angle corresponding to that of the face planes of the frame plates 5 and may be either coplanar therewith or lie in a plane slightly therebeyond for contact by portions of the inner faces of the fabric tube as the tube advances, thus reducing drag against the frame plates.
The idler wheels 16, 16 cooperate with opposed pairs of rubber covered feed rolls 18, 18 mounted on a pair of spaced parallel oppositely rotating drive shafts 19, 19 operably connected to any suitable variable speed drive unit (not shown). Each pair of feed rolls 18 is tapered generally to conform to the lateral taper of the associated frame plate 5 and the conical faces of the idler wheels 16. One or the other of the pairs of feed rolls 18 should be axially adjustable along the shafts 19 in order to adapt to any changes in the spacing that may be made between the frame plates 5.
Downstream of the feed rolls 18 and immediately adjacent their rear ends, the upper and lower faces of each frame plate 5 are provided with a pair of outwardly opening recesses 20, 20 above and below a median web 21 which rotatably supports a pair of smooth faced smooth edged idler wheels 22, 22 mounted on a common vertical shaft or spindle 23. The outer edge portions of the wheels 22 project slightly beyond the associated edges of the frame plates 5 for engagement by the inner lateral edges of the fabric tube to further reduce frictional drag.
As mentioned above, the delivery or discharge end of the spreader is arranged to directly introduce the properly spread and flattened fabric tube into the receiving end of an opposed twin belt type of compressive shrinking machine. 1
For this purpose (see FIGS. 1, 3 and 4), the rear ends of the frame plates 5 are spanned by a tucker blade generally indicated at 24, of rectangular shape in plan, and having a relatively thick forward edge portion 25 extending rearwardly into a medianly disposed thin blade 26 via a convexo-concavo neckdown, the concave portions 27 of which have a radius of curvature generally corresponding to that of the outer faces of the twin belts at the entrance of the associated compressive shrinking machine as indicated in dotted lines at the right of FIG. 3 of the drawings.
The tucker blade 24 is removably attached to the frame plates 5 (see FIG. 4) as by pins or studs 28 carried by the tucker blade and insertable into registering bores in the frame plates where they are secured by set screws 29. This enables any tucker blade to be replaced by another of greater or lesser width to correspond to a correspondingly greater or lesser setting of the spacing between the frame plates 5 whenever a fabric tube of a correspondingly different width is to be operated upon.
In operation, the free end of a rope of a continuously knitted fabric tube is drawn over the guide wire 1 1 and the idler wheels 12 at the front of the spreader, then is passed between the nips of the idler wheels 16 and the feed rolls 18, then over the rear idler wheels 22 and the tucker blade 24 for operative delivery into the receiving end of the associated compressive shrinking machine. The guide wire 1 1, the front idler wheels 12, the widest portions of the frame plates 5, and the rear idler wheels 22 collectively function to properly spread and flatten the fabric tube while the feed rolls 18 in conjunction with the idler wheels 16 engage sufficient face areas of the fabric tube to properly control the geometry of the tube during its advance over the spreader. The final advance of the properly spread and flattened fabric tube directly into the compressive shrinking machine and the maintenance of its spread condition is as sisted by the twin belts thereof in the zone occupied by the median blade 26 of the tucker blade 24 as the tube passes thereover while undergoing the initial phase of compressive shrinking.
It is of course to be understood that variations in arrangements and proportions of parts may be made within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In a spreader for preparing a circular knit fabric tube for direct introduction into the receiving end of an associated opposed twin belt type of compressive shrinking machine; a frame comprising a pair of frame members arranged in spaced parallel relation and having outer edge portions symmetrically tapered; a horizontal guide attached to and extending forwardly from said frame for initiating the spreading and flattening of said fabric tube; two sets of laterally spaced upper and lower idler wheels mounted adjacent the front of said frame and freely rotatable about vertical axes, portions of the peripheries of said idler wheels extending laterally beyond the associated edges of said frame; two sets of oppositely driven, symmetrically opposed, upper and lower tapered rolls located intermediate the front and rear ends of said frame for advancing said fabric tube by engagement with face portions thereof adjacent the lateral edges thereof; two sets of laterally spaced upper and lower idler wheels of symmetrically opposed frusto-conical configuration mounted on said frame members in opposition to said tapered rolls and freely rotatable about vertical axes whereby to define fabricreceiving nips between the opposed surfaces of said tapered rolls and said frusto-conical idler wheels; and a horizontal tucker blade spanning the rear of said frame and attached to the rear ends of said frame members for introducing said spread and flattened fabric tube into the receiving end of said associated compressive shrinking machine.
2. The spreader of claim 1 in which portions of the peripheries of said frusto-conical idler wheels extend laterally beyond the associated edges of said frame.
3. The spreader of claim 2 additionally including two sets of laterally spaced upper and lower idler wheels mounted adjacent the rear of said frame and freely rotatable about vertical axes, portions of the peripheries of said rear-mounted idler wheels extending laterally beyond the associated edges of said frame.
4. The spreader of claim 2 additionally including means for adjusting the spacing between said parallel frame members, the spacing between said sets of tapered rolls being adjustable to conform to any change of spacing between said parallel frame members; and means for releasably attaching said tucker blade to said frame members.