US 3925863 A
An apparatus for the continuous crumpling of web-shaped and flexible flat material, in order to make this flat material pliable or to loosen grain. The web material is fed, in the outspread condition, to a treatment zone wherein it is gathered repeatedly in its length and width, so that arbitrary creases are formed in the web. Thereafter, the web is again stretched, spread out and further transported in this condition.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Meyer Dec. 16, 1975 [5 APPARATUS FOR THE CONTINUOUS 1,844,697 2/1932 Smith 264/287 WRINKLING 0 W -S FLAT 2,197,147 4/1940 Hadley 26/1 8.5 2,915,109 12/1959 Walton 264/282 X MATERIALS 2,960,145 11/1960 Ruegenberg... 264/286  Inventor: Arnfried Meyer, 3,188,372 6/1965 Roos 264/287 Neckargartacherstrasse 3,466,358 9/1969 MUliCl' 264/287 Frankenbach, Germany 3,713,219 1/1973 Fleissner 26/l8.5 22 Filed; 4 9 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS pp No 207 898 1,325,861 3/1963 France 264/286 Primary Examiner-Robert R. Mackey  Foreign Application Priority Data Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Craig & Antonelli Dec. 14, 1970 Austria 11219/70 57 ABSTRACT  US. Cl. 26/1; 162/271; 223/28; 1
264/282 An apparatus for the contmnous crumplmg of Weh-  Int Cl 2 006C 19/00 shaped and flexible flat material, in order to make this  Fieid 62/1 1 1 197 flat material pliable or to loosen grain. The web mate- 162/270 223/28 rial is fed, in the outspread condition, to a treatment zone wherein it is gathered repeatedly in its length and  References Cited width, so that arbitrary creases are formed in the web. Thereafter, the web is again stretched, spread out and UNITED STATES PATENTS further transported in this condition. 1,196,888 9/1916 Scherf 162/197 X 1,457,664 6/1923 Ford 264/287 16 Clams, l2 Drawlng f g US. Patent Dec. 16,1975 Sheet10f4 3,925,863
U.S. Patent Dec.16,1975 Sheet20f4 925,863
5 G I F US. Patent Dec. 16, 1975 Sheet3of4 3,925,863
US. Patent Dec. 16, 1975 Sheet40f4 3,925,863
APPARATUS FOR THE CONTINUOUS WRINKLING OF WEB SHAPED FLAT MATERIALS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a process for the continuous crumpling of web-shaped and flexible flat material, for example for the graining of artificial leather webs, and to an apparatus for conducting this process.
It is known to grain webs of artificial leather in a drum machine. For this purpose, the artifical leather web is cut, depending on the size of the drum, into correspondingly long sections and introduced into the drum. By the rotation of the drum, the artificial leather web is continuously placed into arbitrary (random) positions, wherein, due to the thus-occurring compressive forces, an irregular crumpling action takes place and, concomitantly, a like bending and notching of the artificial leather. If necessary, heat and optionally steam are additionally applied during this treatment. After this processing, the artificial leather web is removed from the drum, disentangled, and wound up again. This procedure produces satisfactory results per se, but has the disadvantage that the artificial leather web can only be processed periodically and piecemeal. This means a considerable interruption in the treatment following the continuously executed coating procedure for this material. Furthermore, the material is discharged from the drum in irregular layers, partially entangled, if not knotted. The disentanglement of the web of artificial leather, which is relatively long in spite of the limited length of the web, represents additional problems to be met by the personnel, even though special appliances are utilized for this purpose. Heretofore, the graining of such artificial leather webs not only undesirably interrupted the treatment process which up to this step took place continuously, but required complicated working steps and thus was expensive.
In the prior art the embossing of web-shaped material is known, for example with the aid of rolls pressed against each other with a high compressive force. This process produces a quite specific, continuously repeated pattern. It is not possible, however, to obtain a natural appearance, as is particularly required with respect to artificial leather webs. Thus, an embossing process, being an entirely different method yielding dissimilar results, cannot be compared with crumpling procedures of the prior art or the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION guished, in a further development of this invention, by'
the fact that the guide elements for gathering the web are fashioned as forks swinging toward one another, between which the web is passed and periodically compressed laterally.
Another apparatus for conducting the process exhibits several shafts'in the feed direction, each shaft carrying, as the guide elements for gathering the web, disks disposed at axial distances therealong which engage into the gaps between the axially spaced disks of the adjacent shaft(s). The web is passed in an undulating manner through spaces provided axially between the disks as well as radially between the disks of one shaft and the adjacent shaft(s).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other features, advantages and objects of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the invention and the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 shows the lateral view of an apparatus according to the invention for crumpling webs of material employing fork-like guide elements effective laterally against one another;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the apparatus according to FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a lateral view of an apparatus according to the invention for crumpling webs of material, with rotating disk-like guide elements;
FIG. 4 is a top-.view of the apparatus according to FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view of a triangular guide element of an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view of an oval guide element of the invention;
FIG. 7 is a'lateral view of a further apparatus in accordance with the invention having rotating guide elements;
FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of the drive unit for the guide elements of FIG. 7;
FIGS. 9 and 10 show the crumpling procedure of the invention schematically;
FIG. 11 is an elevational view similar to FIG. 6 and illustrating an oval guide element which is angularly offset; and
FIG. 12 illustrates means for varying distance between rotating disk-like guide elements in accordance with one embodiment of the inventive apparatus.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the apparatus for crumpling vwebmaterial according to FIGS. 1 and 2, feed drum 1, receiving unfinished web 2, is disposed in front of treatmentmachine 3. Unfinished web 2 is conveniently fed from above to crumpling unit 5 by means of driven pairs of feed rolls 4. The crumplin g unit consists of forks 6 which serve as guide elements and are disposed in pairs one below the other as shown. These forks are attached to rocking levers 7 which, in turn, are connected, via intermediate levers 8, with crank 9. When crank 9 is rotated, rocking levers 7 execute a swinging motion directed against one another, wherein, in the external dead-center position, approximately the passage width for the spread-out web material 2 is attained, whereas the internal dead-center position, a crumpling position 10 is produced wherein web 2 is compressed approximately into the shape of a skein or cord. The degree of compression in the internal dead-center position depends on the material to be processed and can be made to be adjustable, also so that it is overlapping. Crank 9 is driven by motor 11 which is preferably of the infinitely variable type.
It can be seen that web 2, during the continuous passage through treatment zone 12 is periodically laterally compressed between forks 6 and continuously assumes random positions during this step, wherein correspond ingly arranged, irregular gatherings and folds are produced. Thus, web 2 is gathered in a wave-like fashion repeatedly in perpendicularly disposed planes, i.e., crumpled, whereby, for example, in case of artificial leather webs, a naturally appearing grain is attained. The thus-crumpled material 2 can now be discharged toward the bottom and fed to windup drum mechanism via spreading device 13 and additional pairs of rolls 14. However, it is also possible to deflect web 2 in the proximity of lowermost fork 6 and remove the web between forks 6 again at the top, as indicated in dot-dash lines in FIG. 1. Thus, the treatment time is doubled, and, in particular in the deflecting zone, an increased random distribution of the crumpling is attained.
The crumpling step is distinguished by an arbitrary buckling of the material, as shown schematically in FIGS. 9 and 10. Web 2 is gathered by the guide elements, namely in the longitudinal as well as transverse directions, wherein these gathering steps take place simultaneously in the treatment zone. Thus, the important point is to form wave shape 52, for example in the longitudinal extension of web 2 and then again to lay these waves into waves 53. Thus, two superimposing wave formations are provided disposed approximately at right angles to each other. Thereby, crumpling zones 54 are produced, especially in the region of small bending radii, wherein web 2 is laid into random folds (pleats, creases, etc.), since the material cannot contract elastically.
The crumpling device according to FIGS. 3 and 4 exhibits, in place of forked guide elements 6 of the embodiment according to FIGS. 1 and 2, disks 17 effective as the guide elements and disposed on shafts 16 arranged in series in the feed direction. The disks on each shaft 16 are attached at fixed axial spacings and engage the gaps between the disks disposed on the adjacent shaft 16. Shafts 16 are oppositely driven, for example by means of chain 18, the latter being set into rotation by a motor 19, which is preferably of the infinitely variable type.
In order to obtain the aforementioned undulation in the longitudinal extension of web 2, web 2 can be laterally gathered prior to entering the treatment zone 12. For this purpose, a feed mechanism 20 is provided which similarly consists of disks 22 arranged on shafts 21, disks 22 of one shaft 21 engaging the gaps between disks 22 of a vertically offset shaft 21, in order to obtain, in cross section, a loop-like or wave-shaped, slottype passage opening and thereby producing a lateral gathering of web 2 to the desired operating width. This effect can be produced by increasing the engagement depth in the feed direction, as indicated in FIG. 3. The number of the disks 22 can also be increased in a wedge-shaped manner in the feed direction, as shown in FIG. 4. Thus, starting with the center and continuing toward both sides, a contraction of the web of material 2 which progresses toward the outside is obtained thereby avoiding local tensile stresses during the subsequent treatment.
Disks 17 of treatment zone 12 and/or also the disks 22 of the feed unit 20 can be circular, oval, or also polygonal, the latter being effected preferably with rounded edges, and they can also be supported concentrically or eccentrically. The important factor is that the web 2 be guided through the treatment zone 12 essentially free of tensile stresses, so that the web 2 can be arbitrarily placed into as high a number of different crumpling positions as possible and thus to buckle the web. For this reason, it is possible to arrange additional disks 22 and/or guide elements 17 in an axially offset manner in the feed direction from shaft to shaft. In FIGS.- 5, 6 and 11, triangular guide element 17 and oval guide element 17 are illustrated, respectively. The latter consists of an ovally bent round material attached to shaft 16, wherein additionally an angularly offset position of the guide elements 17 can be provided in the axial direction.
The length of treatment zone 12, as well as that of feeding unit 20 depends on the material of web 2 and the required degree of crumpling. For the same reason, the degree of engagement of guide elements 17 and the operating speed thereof are variable, preferably in an infinite fashion.
In a further development of the present invention, shafts 16 with guide elements 17 can also be severally mounted rotatably at crosses 23 disposed in pairs, as illustrated in FIG. 7. The crosses 23 are supported to be rotatable in such a manner that, during rotation, one shaft 16 of one cross engages into the interspace between two adjacent shafts 16 of the other cross 23. In a manner already described above, guide elements 17 of one shaft 16 mesh with the gaps between guide elements 17 of the two other shafts 16. In the illustrated embodiment, web 2 is guided from feed drum 1 via guide rolls 24 through wetting chamber 25 wherein web 2 is moistened with a spray of a gaseous or gas-like medium exiting from nozzles 26, such as gases, vapors, fogs, suspended substances, and similar materials, In adjoining heating chamber 27, web 2 is heated to a presettable temperature. For this purpose, heating bars 28, or also hot air, can be provided. In this prepared condition, web 2 passes, via feeding mechanism 20 for precreasing the web, into treatment zone '12 with two crosses 23 which rotate in opposition to each other. The crumpling step is executed in the manner already set forth above. Thereafter, web 2, after passing through a pair of rolls 29 corresponding to feeding mechanism 20, travels through a further chamber 30. Fresh air is taken in through blower 31 into this chamber and again blown off to the outside, or conversely, in order to cool the still hot web 2, so that it can be wound up onto windup drum 15 in the cold state.
The traveling speed of web 2 and thus the processing intensity can be selectively adjusted by an infinitely variable, independent drive of crosses 23 and shafts 16. The drive for this purpose is illustrated in FIG. 8. Crosses 23 are fixedly disposed on parallel shafts 32 provided with drive gear wheels 33. Chain 34 travels over these gear wheels, in such a manner that shafts 32 are driven synchronously in opposite directions. For driving chain 34, infinitely variable motor 35 or a corresponding transmission is provided. Additionally, motor 36, likewise being infinitely variable or provided with an infinitely variable gear, drives shafts 16 carrying guide elements 17. Chain 37, set into rotation by motor 36, runs over two gear wheels 38 and 39. Of these gear wheels, wheel 38 is seated on shaft 32 of one pair of crosses 23 in a freely rotatable manner, and is fixedly connected to a further gear wheel 41 for rotation therewith by means of quill shaft 40. Chain 42, inserted into the teeth of this gear wheel 41, is guided via corresponding gear wheels 43 at shafts 16 of this pair of crosses 23. Therotation 'of the gear wheel 42accord inglyeffects a similar and synchronous rotation of shafts'16 and thus guide -elements 17. The other gear wheel 39 is fixedly connected with gear wheel45 for rotation theiiewithby means of shaft-.44, gearwheel 45 being disposed at the other end of shafts '16. Chain 46 connects gear wheel 45 with gear wheel 47 on shaft 32 of the other pair of crosses 23. The latter is rotatably connected with gear wheel 49 in the manner described.
above by means of quill shaft 48, and gear wheel 49, which in turn, is in driving connection with gear wheels 51 seated on shafts 16 of this pair of crosses 23, by means of chain 50. Thus, these shafts 16 with guide elements 17 disposed thereon are brought into synchronous rotation in the opposite direction. It can be seen that, depending on the number of revolutions of crosses 23 and the speed of guide elements 17, a selectively adjustable traveling speed of the web is achieved, wherein the processing intensity is correspondingly more or less strong. By reversing the direction of rotation, the material can also be allowed to travel forward and backward. Of course, it is likewise possible to dispose several pairs of crosses 23 one behind the other.
The assembly shown in FIG. 12 can be utilized to mount respective shafts 32. In this assembly, lower shaft 32 is rotatably mounted on a bushing 61 which is fixed in place between walls 62 and 64 of the apparatus. The upper shaft 32 is rotatably mounted on bushing 63 which is adapted to vertically move in thespace defined between walls 62 and 64. A threaded spindle 66 is rotatably mounted on its bottom on bushing 61 and passes through upper bushing 63. Upper bushing 63 and spindle 66 are provided with cooperating threads so that rotation of spindle 66 will cause vertical displacement of bushing 63 and hence upper shaft 32.
The advantages attained by the present invention reside particularly in that the web of material is continuously processed, independently of its length. The entire treatment procedure, such as introduction, gathering, crumpling, spreading, and removal, takes place in a purely mechanical manner requiring only monitoring functions. The process and the apparatus therefor is suitable for all web-shaped and flexible flat materials which are subjected to a crumpling procedure to render them pliable or to loosen or grain same, etc. As compared to previous methods, the process of this invention affords a considerable simplification and acceleration of the crumpling process. The present invention offers, for the first time, the opportunity to couple a crumpling device directly with a coating plant for artificial leather, so that a common manufacturing train is provided yielding, as the final product, grained artificial leather.
It is understood that the embodiments disclosed herein are susceptible to numerous changes and modifications, as will be apparent to a person skilled in the art. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the details shown and described herein but intended to cover any such changes and modifications within the scope of the invention.
1. An apparatus for the continuous crumpling of a flexible, flat web to form random creases therein comprising: treatment means forrning a treatment zone for continuously and alternately gathering said web simultaneously in its longitudinal and transverse directions, said treatment means comprising a plurality of guide elements for gathering said web in said zone, said guide 6 elements arranged in succeeding rows in-the feeding direction of said 'web, the guide'elements in each row intermeshing with guide elements in adjacent rows in the direction of travel of the webthrough said zone, the 7 web being guided through said treating zone in a wavelike manner simultaneously in longitudinal and transverse dire,ctions,,,said treatment means further including'drive means for rotating said guide elements for advancing said web through said treatment means; feedingmeans for continuously supplying said web in its flat, outstretched state to said treatment means; means for continuously removing said web from said treatmet means; and means for continuously stretching and spreading out said web to yield the flexible, flat web having random creases therein; said treatment means further comprising at least two parallel rotatable axles, a multi-pronged member disposed on each axle, shafts rotatably mounted on the prongs of each of said members and containing said guide elements thereon such that said guide elements are radially offset from said axles, and drive means for synchronously rotating said axles and hence said multi-pronged members in opposite directions whereby said guide elements mesh in a cogwheel manner.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said guide elements are disks.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said disks are eccentrically arranged on said shafts.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said drive means is adapted to variably rotate said guide elements.
5. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said shafts are arranged in parallel.
6. An apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said treatment means further comprises means for varying the radial distance between said multi-pronged members.
7. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said 1 ,drive means includes means to drive said multi-pronged members and said shafts associated therewith synchronously and independently.
8. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said drive means includes means to rotate said multipronged members and said shafts associated therewith in an infinitely variable manner.
9. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the drive means includes a central gear wheel independently and rotatably mounted on at least one of the ,axles and having means associated therewith for driving the shafts mounted on the multi-pronged member associated therewith in the same direction and synchronously.
10. An apparatus for the continuous crumpling of a flexible, flat web to form random creases therein comprising at least two multi-pronged members mounted for rotation about respective parallel axes, a plurality of parallel shafts mounted on the prongs of said multipronged members, a plurality of guide elements mounted on each shaft, said multi-pronged members, shafts and guide elements mounted so that the guide elements on the shaft of one multi-pronged member intermesh in a cogwheel manner with the guide elements on the shafts of the other multipronged member, and
, first drive means for synchronously rotating said multi- 65- second drive means for rotating said guide elements.
15. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein saidmultipronged members are mounted on at least two parallel rotatable axles.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein each shaft is supported by at least two coaxial multi-pronged members.