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Publication numberUS3917253 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1975
Filing dateAug 23, 1973
Priority dateSep 5, 1972
Also published asDE2243594B1, DE2243594C2
Publication numberUS 3917253 A, US 3917253A, US-A-3917253, US3917253 A, US3917253A
InventorsConrad Arbter
Original AssigneeArbter C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Folding machine for soft goods
US 3917253 A
Abstract
A folding apparatus for the multiple folding of soft goods comprising a pair of upper folding plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other in a horizontal plane and a plane transverse to the horizontal plane, a pair of transverse folding arms arranged below the pair of upper plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other, a pair of longitudinal side folding arms arranged at a different plane with respect to each other between the folding plate members and the transverse folding arms and being operated in a direction opposite to each other, a transverse folding plate arranged in the region lying between the transverse folding arms and being operated to be insertable into the space between the pair of transverse folding arms pressing the transverse folding plates are pressed onto a bearing surface, the longitudinal side folding arms, the upper folding plate members are arranged to form a first folding group while the transverse folding plates and said transverse folding arms are arranged for forming a second folding group, and an auxiliary fold supporting plate movable in a predetermined cycle between an operating and a rest position for supporting an article prefolded by the first group and transferring it to the second group.
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United States Patent [191 Arbter Nov. 4-, 11975 FOLDING MACHINE FOR SOFT GOODS [76] Inventor: Conrad Arbter, Mittelweg 1 1/10,

Saal an der Saale, Germany [22] Filed: Aug. 23, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 391,168

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Sept. 5, 1972 Germany 2243594 52 us. (:1. 270/84 [51] Int. (11. B651! 45/18 [58] Field of Search 270/62, 66, 67, 83, 84-85; 223/37-38, 29, 30-32, 33

Primary ExaminerRobert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-A. Heinz Attorney, Agent, or FirmErnest F. Marmorek [57] ABSTRACT A folding apparatus for the multiple folding of soft goods comprising a pair of upper folding plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other in a horizontal plane and a plane transverse to the horizontal plane, a pair of transverse folding arms arranged below the pair of upper plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other, a pair of longitudinal side folding arms arranged at a different plane with respect to each other between the folding plate members and the transverse folding arms and being operated in a direction opposite to each other, a transverse folding plate arranged in the region lying between the transverse folding arms and being operated to be insertable into the space between the pair of transverse folding arms pressing the transverse folding plates are pressed onto a bearing surface, the longitudinal side folding arms, the upper folding plate members are arranged to form a first folding group while the transverse folding plates and said transverse folding arms are arranged for forming a second folding group, and an auxiliary fold supporting plate movable in a predetermined cycle between an operating and a rest position for supporting an article prefolded by the first group and transferring it to the second group.

1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 1 of 3 3,917,253

U.S. Patant NOV.4, 1975 Sheet3 0f3 3,917,253

FOLDING MACHINE FOR SOFT GOODS FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates in general to folding machines for soft goods, and more particularly it relates to a folding machine capable of performing a plurality of folding operations on soft textile goods and which is provided with a plurality of folding members which are arranged one after the other and operating in a predetermined operating cycle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION For the folding of underwear there are several folding apparatus known in which the article undergoing the folding operation remains stationary during the entire folding operation. This means that the machine performs only pure folding movements. In such machines, the article undergoing the folding is placed on a supporting surface and by folding over the two end or front edges and the two longitudinal side edges, it is brought to its final folded shape. Such folding apparatus are provided with so-called folding flaps, each of which performs a pivoting movement about an axis lying parallel with respect to the fold which is to be performed. The second folding flap which becomes operative after the first folding flap, can start its operating movement only when the first folding flap has been returned into its inoperative or initial position. The operating cycle of such folding apparatus is, consequently, relatively large and, it is practically represented by the sum of the individual operating times of the individual folding steps. In

this respect reference should be had to German DAS After recognizing the above disadvantages, there became proposed a folding machine capable of performing multi-folding steps on soft folded articles which has a plurality of longitudinal and transverse folding pushers or members and which are operated in a predetermined operating cycle and cooperating with each other. More specifically, such proposed apparatus for soft goods comprises a pair of upper folding plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other in a horizontal plane and a plane transverse to the horizontal plane, a pair of transverse folding arms arranged below the pair of upper plate members operated in a direction opposite to each other, a pair of longitudinal side folding arms arranged at a different plane with respect to each other between the folding plate members and the transverse folding arms and being operated in a direction opposite to each other, a transverse folding plate arranged in the region lying between the transverse folding arms and being operated to be insertable into the space between the pair of transverse folding arms pressing the transverse folding plates are pressed onto a bearing surface, the longitudinal side folding arms, the upper folding plate members are arranged to form a first folding group while the transverse folding plates and said transverse folding arms are arranged for forming a second folding group.

Reference should be had to my co-pending earlier applications Ser. No. 318,241 filed Dec. 26, 1972, now US. Pat. No. 3,796,171 issued Mar. 12, 1974 and Ser. No. 368,942 filed June 1 l 1973, the latter having been abandoned in favor of a continuation application filed Oct. 15, 1974 under Ser. No. 514,374.

With such a proposed arrangement of the longitudinal sides and transverse fold pusher or members, as

well as their associated folding plate members and transverse folding plates, it has been attained that the longitudinal side folding pusher or member operating on the two longitudinal sides of the article under folding as well as the transverse fold members operating on the two end or front sides of the article can be operated simultaneously. However, the folding performance of such a proposed apparatus despite the fact that a high precision folding operation can be attained thereby, and approximately doubles the output of older machines, still falls behind an optimum performance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a folding machine capable of performing a multi-folding operation which has a plurality of folding members arranged one after another and operated in a predetermined operation cycle, in which the article undergoing the folding operation will perform only pure folding movements, and in which the possibility is provided that the individual folding members can perform a folding operation simultaneously on articles which follow each other.

According to the present invention there is provided between the first group of folding members performing the longitudinal folding operation and the second group of folding members performing the transverse folding operation, an auxiliary fold supporting plate which can be operated in a predetermined cycle into and out of an operating position.

By the provision of the controllably operated auxiliary fold supporting plate, the article under folding can be placed in its fully extended shape onto a stationary cover means arranged above the longitudinal fold performing member, which when the auxiliary fold supporting plate is in its operating position and lying under an opening in the cover means, can support the article. Such auxiliary fold supporting plate becomes, at the end of the folding process performed by the first folding group, shortly returned into its inoperative position so that the middle region of the prefolded article can be moved by a slight amount downward by the transverse folding plate of the second folding group which moves downwardly at that instant. As soon as the transverse folding plate of the second group of the folding members lies with its entire length on the prefolded article, the second group of the folding members commences its folding process and the auxiliary fold supporting plate can be moved again into its operative position in order to receive the next-following article and, thereby, to make the insertion time and part of the operating time of the first group of thefolding members on the next-following article overlap or extend into the operating interval of the second group of folding members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will become more readily apparent from the follwing description of a preferred embodiment thereof shown by way of example, in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view onto a schematic illustration of a folding apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along 11-" in FIG. 1 and in which the folding members of the first folding group and the auxiliary fold supporting plate are illustrated in their operating position; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines III-III in FIG. 1 and in which the folding members of the second folding group and the auxiliary fold support plate are illustrated in their operating position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGS. 13 illustrate an embodiment of the folding apparatus according to the present invention and, more particularly, the dashed line in FIG. 1 illustrates the material 1 to be folded which will undergo a folding process parallel with respect to its both longitudinal sides 2 and parallel with respect to its both front or smaller sides 3. The folding apparatus according to the present invention itself includes a stand 4 on which a pair of longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 are guided for movement transversely over each other and are displaced in height with respect to each other. The movement of the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 is effected by means of a pneumatic cylinder arrangement which is not illustrated in the drawing to avoid a crowding of the essential parts of the invention. Above the two longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 there is arranged a cover means 7 which is illustrated by the dashed lines in FIG. 1 which serves as the bearing table or supporting table for the folding article 1 in its spread out state, that is, before folding. The cover 7 extends over the entire width and length of the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 and is provided with a recessed region 7 the length of which is larger by a certain amount than the length of the longitudinal folding arms 5 and 6 and the width of which larger by a certain amount than the distance between the two longitudinal folding arms 5 and 6. In orderto aid the insertion of the folding article 1 onto the cover means 7, there is provideda boss in the form of a guide strip 8 which is arranged with a certain distance with respect to one of the longitudinal edges of the recessed region 7 With the two longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 an upper folding plate 9 cooperates and is sub-divided into two folding plate members 10 and 11 the maximum frontal distance between which substantially corresponds to the length of the two longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6. The two folding plate members 10 and 11 of the upper folding plate 9 are joumalled in the stand 4 at a certain height and in a longitudinally slideable fashion and, in addition to their longitudinal movement they are adapted additionally to perform a vertically directed movement during or after their longitudinal movement for a purpose hereinafter described. Their drive is also accomplished by means of a pneumatic cylinder which is not shown in the drawing.

Under the above-described upper or first group of folding means including the folding means 5, 6, 9 the folding means of a second folding group are arranged. Such lower or second folding group includes a transverse folding plate 12 which is arranged for movement under the longitudinal side folding arm 6 and parallel to the direction of movement thereof. The transverse folding plate 12 in addition to its movement in a horizontal plane is arranged also to perform a vertical movement and, accordingly, at the end of its shoving movement which is its operating position, it performs a movement downwardly and vertically directed for a purpose which will be described in more detail hereinafter. With the transverse plate 12 a pair of lower transverse folding arms 13 and 14 are in cooperation, the transverse folding arms 13 and 14 being arranged vertically displaced with respect to each other and, as it can be seen especially in FIG. 1 they are arranged between the longitudinal side folding arms 5, 6 when they are in" their rest position, and also the transverse folding arms 13 and 14 are joumalled on the stand 4 in a slideable fashion. The lower transverse folding arms 13 and 14, which are arranged at a level under the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 and also under the folding plate members 10 and 11, are arranged for movement transversely with respect to their associated lower; transverse folding plate 12 and are operated by a pneu- 0 matic cylinder arrangement not illustrated in the drawing.

Under the operating level or plane of the folding plate members 10, 11, however, above the plane of the transverse folding arms 13 and 14, an auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 is arranged which extends-over the entire lengthof the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 and which is arranged for movement in a plane parallel to the plane of movement of the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6. The auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 in its operating position covers the region of i the good 1 which lies below the recessed region 7' of the cover 7 and covers thereby also both of the transverse folding arms 13 and 14. The auxiliary fold suparms 5 and 6 and the length of which corresponds to.

the transverse folding length parameter E of the fold and the width which corresponds to the length of the longitudinal fold parameter E of the readily folded article 1', there is provided a bearing surface 16 for the goods on which the foldingoperation has been completed which, in the illustrated embodiment, includes a plurality of closely arranged conveyor bands 17. Such conveyor bands 17, as it can be seen in FIG. 2, are guided by a pair of guide rollers 18, 19 mounted in the stand 4, and their purpose is to bring the readily folded articles 1' into the region of a stacking station 20. The a stacking station 20 is provided with a stacking arm 21 which brings the folded goods on the stack from below and up by means of carrying arms 22 which are pivotably joumalled on rods 23. To select out the rejects there is provided a shute 24 behind the guide roller 19. The operation of the folding apparatus is as follows: It is assumed that all the folding means of the folding apparatus are in their initial or rest position and that the article 1 to be folded is laid on the folding apparatus. The article 1 is on the cover means 7 and lined up along the guide strip 8. As it can be seen in FIG. 1 both longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 are in their rest position under the cover means 7, while the oppositely lying front edges of both folding plate members 10 and 11 are displaced at a distance with respect to each other which corresponds to the largest length L of the good 1 to be folded. Both folding plate members 10 and 11 the width of which correspond to the fold pa-v rameter E are in their initial position, that is, somewhat sideways of the two frontal sides 3 of the good 1 to be folded, and below the plane of the cover means 7.

The transverse folding plate 12, the width of which corresponds to the fold parameter E is in its initial posi- 5 tion and is below the longitudinal side folding arm 6. The two transverse folding arms 13 and 14 which cooperate with the transverse folding plate 12 are in their initial position in which the distance between their frontal edges is somewhat larger than the transverse fold parameter E They are at a position under the level of the transverse folding plate 12. i

The auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 will not under these conditions assume its inoperative position illustrated in FIG. 1 in which it is located underneath the longitudinal side folding member 5, but it is rather in its operating position in which it covers a surface area formed by the two transverse fold members 13, 14 and also by the folding parameters E and E From such initial position of the folding members, it follows that the article under folding 1, will lie on the cover means 7 with the regions of its longitudinal side 2. The middle region of the article 1, the width of which substantially corresponds to the folding dimension E lies above the opening 7 of the cover means 7 and, as a result, it sags down by a slight amount. This region ofthe article 1 lies on the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15.

Next both folding plate members and 11 of the upper folding plate 9 perform a movement toward each other and also downwardly thereafter. They are moving through the recessed region 7 of the cover means 7, and at the end of their movement they come to rest on the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15. As a result, the region of the good 1 to be folded which is lying above the recessed region 7 will be pressed onto the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15. The folding plate members 10 and 11 which, as the result of the above operation, lie on the good 1 to be folded will assume their operating position in which their side edges running parallel with the longitudinal side folding arms 5 6 and form a folding edge for the longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6.

These will execute one after the other their operational movement directed toward each other and, as a result, will perform the folding of both edge regions of the longitudinal sides 2 of the good 1 to be folded about the folding plate members 10, 11 which are now inserted into the good 1. The upper folding plate 9 and both longitudinal side folding arms 5 and 6 assume at the end of the abovedescribed folding process the position illustrated in FIG. 2, in which the longitudinal side folding arm 5 and both folding plate members 10 and 11 of the upper folding plate 9 are within the initially folded good 1 while the longitudinal side folding arm 6 lies on the upper side of the good 1. The folding good 1 is folded up to now to the parameter E and lies with its entire length on the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15.

Now both of the longitudinal side folding members 5 and 6 are returned into their inoperative initial position and also the auxiliary fold supporting plate is returned into its inoperative position. The article 1, as a result, will lie on the transverse folding members 13 and 14 whereby its surface area defined by the width of the opening 7' of the cover means 7 and the distance between the front edges of the transverse folding members l3 and 14, will not be supported. The transverse folding plate 12 performs a movement parallel to the direction of movement of the longitudinal side folding members 5 and 6 and enters the region of the article 1 and lies upon it in the region thereof lying between the front edges of the transverse folding members 13 and 14. In the further portion of its operating cycle, the transverse folding plate 12 lies on the article 1 and moves downwardly. As a result, the region of the article 1 which lies between the front edges of the transverse folding members 13 and 14, which are still in their rest position, becomes pressed downwardly and will come 6 to lie on the supporting surface 16 located beneath the plane of the transverse folding members 13 and 14.

Now, the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 will be returned again into its operating position in which it covers the prefolded article 1 in a region lying above the two transverse folding members 13 and 14. Both transverse folding arms 13 and 14 perform one after the other their operating movement directed transversely with respect to'the direction of movement of the lower transverse folding plate 12 and also toward each other and, as a result, they shove the region of the two frontal sides 3 of the good 1 over the folding edges of the lower transverse folding plate 12. Simultaneously, the folding plate members 10 and 11 of the upper folding plate 9 become pulled out of the foldinggood 1 in a direction against their horizontal operating movement and are returned in their initial position. At the end of the operating movement of the transverse folding arms 13 and 14 the now finally folded good 1' will have a fold parameter E wherein the transverse folding arms 13 and 14 will assume the position illustrated in FIG. 3 in which the lower transverse folding plate 12 and the transverse folding arm 14 are within the folded good 1 and the transverse folding arm 13 lies upon it.

While the transverse folding members 13 and 14 of the second group of the folding members perform their operating movement and the folding plate members 10 and 11 of the first group of the folding means are returned into their initial position, the next-following article 1 can be placed onto the cover means 7, that is, onto the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 and smoothed out against the abutting or line-up railing 8.

It can be seen that the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 forms, by virtue of its arrangement, a separating, intermediate position between the individual groups of folding means and that the plate 15 at the end of the folding process as performed by the first group of the folding means becomes returned for a short time into its inoperative position in order to enable the transverse folding plate 12 of the second folding group to transfer the article from the first to the second group of folding members and, thereby, to insure that the insertion time and a portion of the folding time of the first folding process of the first group overlaps with the operating interval of the two transverse folding members 13 and 14 of the second group of folding means.

After the transverse folding plate 12 and the two transverse folding members 13 and 14 are withdrawn from the readily folded article 1', the drive of the conveyor band 17 is turned on which will then deliver the article 1 to a stacking position 20. Here, the article 1' will be placed in its stacked position by a stacking member 21 carried by a carrying or supporting arm 20 which, in order to perform this stacking position by a stacking member 21, can be pivoted about a horizontal axle upwardly and returned again into its initial position. In the meantime, the next-following article 1 is folded by the first group of the folding means into a prefolded state and after returning the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 into its inoperative position, the article will be transferred by the transverse folding plate 12, in a manner described above, into the region of the second group of folding members. After the auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 become returned again into its operating position, and while the second folding process is still in progress on the first article 1, the next-following article l' can be inserted and prefolded.

In the above, the operation of the auxiliary fold supporting plate has been described in connection with two groups of folding means in a folding apparatuslt can be seen from the above, however, that even if there are several groups of folding means, for example, three groups present, then between the first and the second folding groups and also between the second and third folding groups an auxiliary fold supporting plate 15 can be provided and controlled accordingly as has been described in connection with the auxiliary plate 15 being provied between the two groups of folding means.

I wish it to be understood that I do not desire to be limited to the exact details of construction shown and described, for obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art.

Having thus described the invention, what I claim as new and desire to be secured by Letters Patent, is as follows:

1. A folding apparatus for the folding of soft goods comprising a pair of upper folding plate members, means for driving said folding plate members to move in a direction opposite to each other in a horizontal plane and a plane transverse to said horizontal plane, a pair of transverse folding arms vertically spaced below said pair of upper folding plate members and having opposed folding edges, means for driving said transverse folding arms to move in a direction opposite to each other in a horizontal plane,,a pair of longitudinal, side folding arms horizontally movable in different,

planes with respect to each other and vertically spaced between said folding plate members and said transverse folding arms, means for driving said longitudinal side folding arms to move in a direction opposite to each other, a transverse folding plate arranged in a region lying between said folding edges of the transverse folding arms, means for inserting said transverse folding plate into said region between said pair of transverse folding arms and means for pressing said transverse folding plate onto a bearing surface, said longitudinal side folding arms and said upper folding plate members being arranged to form a first group of folding means while said transverse folding plate and said transverse folding arms are arranged to form a second group of folding means, an auxiliary fold supporting plate, and means for moving said folding support plate in a predetermined cycle between an operating position vertically spaced above a surface area formed by said transverse I folding arms, and a rest position vertically spaced below said longitudinal side folding arms thereby sup porting a prefolded good after completion of the folding operation by said first group of folding means and for transferring said good to said second group of fold-,

ing means.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US970424 *Dec 11, 1908Sep 13, 1910Robert CunninghamMachine for folding handkerchiefs and like articles.
US2699936 *Jan 9, 1951Jan 18, 1955Southern Handkerchief Mfg CompMachine for folding flexible sheets
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4553370 *Aug 10, 1983Nov 19, 1985Mobil Oil CorporationBag folder, transporter and carton loader having improved loading and stomper mechanism
Classifications
U.S. Classification493/457, 493/937
International ClassificationD06J1/12, B65H45/14, D06F89/00
Cooperative ClassificationY10S493/937, D06F89/00
European ClassificationD06F89/00