Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
APPARATUS FOR EVENLY DISTRIBUTING FIBRES ONTO A CONVEYOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/083911
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor, comprising: at least one screw feeder for distributing fibres across the conveyor, the or each screw feeder being disposed in a respective conduit extending transverse to the conveyor and configured for displacing fibres, the or each conduit having a plurality of spaced apart distribution openings in a lower portion thereof for providing fibres into a respective delivery chute associated with each conduit, wherein the delivery chute of each conduit converges into a common chute, and a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of spaced apart rollers having blades formed thereon and disposed between the common chute and the conveyor and configured for mixing fibres falling from the delivery chute toward the conveyor.

Inventors:
ROBERTS, Eric (131/83 Whiteman Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, 3006, AU)
Application Number:
AU2016/051096
Publication Date:
May 26, 2017
Filing Date:
November 16, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EVERBRIGHT INNOVATIONS PTY LTD (Unit 9 Level 1, 57-59 Horne StreetSunbury, Victoria 3429, 3429, AU)
International Classes:
D01G23/02; D04H1/736
Foreign References:
EP0485014B11997-09-03
DE10053622A12001-07-12
DE2416944A11975-01-09
US4734957A1988-04-05
US20070163087A12007-07-19
EP0877105A11998-11-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIES COLLISON CAVE PTY LTD (1 Nicholson Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor, comprising:

at least one screw feeder for distributing fibres across the conveyor, the or each screw feeder being disposed in a respective conduit extending transverse to the conveyor and configured for displacing fibres, the or each conduit having a plurality of spaced apart distribution openings in a lower portion thereof for providing fibres into a respective delivery chute associated with each conduit, wherein the delivery chute of each conduit converges into a common chute, and

a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of spaced apart rollers having blades formed thereon and disposed between the common chute and the conveyor and configured for mixing fibres falling from the delivery chute toward the conveyor.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rollers that are vertically spaced are transversely offset so that blades from each roller can pass beside blades of a corresponding vertically spaced roller.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the rollers from each pair are configured to rotate in opposite directions.

4. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising three pairs of spaced apart rollers.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the spacing of the lowermost pair is less than the spacing of the uppermost pair.

6. An apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the common chute has an upper roller with blades formed thereon in a lower portion thereof for breaking clumps of fibres falling from the common chute.

7. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the common chute constricts toward the - Si - upper roller.

8. An apparatus according to any preceding claim, comprising a pair of parallel screw feeders extending across the conveyor.

9. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the screw feeders are configured to displace fibres in opposite directions.

10. An apparatus according to claim 9, wherein a common end of each conduit is connected on one side of the conveyor to allow fibres to travel across the conveyor in both directions.

11. An apparatus according to claim 10, wherein an end of each conduit that is not connected is in communication with a collection bin so that fibres returning from the conduits are returned to the collection bin where they are mixed with fresh material and returned to the conduits.

12. An apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein a side of each delivery chute is defined by a conveyor extending into the common chute.

13. An apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the size of an opening of each delivery chute can be varied.

14. An apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the distribution openings of each conduit are aligned with the distribution openings of the other conduit.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR EVENLY DISTRIBUTING FIBRES ONTO A CONVEYOR

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor. More particularly, but not exclusively, the invention relates to distributing recycled fibres onto a conveyor and to forming a fibrous web.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various methods and apparatus for distributing fibres onto a conveyor have been previously proposed with each one having advantages and disadvantages and typically working for fibres in a particular size range and/or for fibrous webs having a particular density.

For example, it has previously been proposed to use circulating air to transport fibres, though an enormous amount of air is required to transport a small amount of fibres, thereby making the process of mixing fibres inefficient and energy intensive. Other mechanical distribution means have also been proposed, some including air distribution systems, though these have been generally complicated and/or expensive and provide unsatisfactory results for varying sizes of fibres and/or webs.

Examples of the invention seek to solve, or at least ameliorate, one or more disadvantages of previous method and apparatus for distributing fibres onto a conveyor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor, comprising: at least one screw feeder for distributing fibres across the conveyor, the or each screw feeder being disposed in a respective conduit extending transverse to the conveyor and configured for displacing fibres, the or each conduit having a plurality of spaced apart distribution openings in a lower portion thereof for providing fibres into a respective delivery chute associated with each conduit, wherein the delivery chute of each conduit converges into a common chute, and

a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of spaced apart rollers having blades formed thereon and disposed between the common chute and the conveyor and configured for mixing fibres falling from the delivery chute toward the conveyor.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rollers that are vertically spaced are transversely offset so that blades from each roller can pass beside blades of a corresponding vertically spaced roller. Preferably, the rollers from each pair are configured to rotate in opposite directions.

Preferably, the apparatus comprises three pairs of spaced apart rollers. Preferably, the spacing of the lowermost pair is less than the spacing of the uppermost pair.

The common chute can have an upper roller with blades formed thereon in a lower portion thereof for breaking clumps of fibres falling from the common chute. Preferably, the common chute constricts toward the upper roller.

The apparatus can include a pair of parallel screw feeders extending across the conveyor. The screw feeders may be configured to displace fibres in opposite directions. Preferably, a common end of each conduit is connected on one side of the conveyor to allow fibres to travel across the conveyor in both directions. Preferably, an end of each conduit that is not connected is in communication with a collection bin so that fibres returning from the conduits are returned to the collection bin where they are mixed with fresh material and returned to the conduits. In preferred embodiments, a side of each delivery chute is defined by a conveyor extending into the common chute. Preferably, the size of an opening of each delivery chute can be varied. The distribution openings of each conduit can be aligned with the distribution openings of the other conduit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Preferred embodiments of the invention will be further described, by way of non-limiting example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is an end view of an upper portion of an apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor of one embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 is plan view of the apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a schematic sectional side view of the apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a schematic side view of the apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 5 is a close end view of the apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 6 is a close side view of the apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 7 is a schematic side view of a complete apparatus for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor of one embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 8 is a schematic sectional side view of a lower portion of the apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION With reference to Figure 1, there is shown an upper portion 10a of an apparatus 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The apparatus 10 is configured for evenly distributing fibres onto a conveyor. The upper portion 10a is in the form of a feeder for a mixing head and is configured to be used with a mixing head 10b illustrated in Figures 7 and 8 and forming a lower portion of the apparatus 10.

According to preferred embodiments, the apparatus 10 comprises at least one screw feeder, though in the illustrated embodiment the apparatus 10 includes a pair of screw feeders 12, 14, each driven by a respective motor 16, 18 and configured for distributing fibres across the conveyor. Each screw feeder is disposed in a respective conduit 20, 22 extending transverse to the conveyor and configured for displacing fibres in opposite directions. As illustrated in Figure 2, screw feeder 12 is configured for displacing fibres in direction X toward the left of the page and screw feeder 14 is configured for displacing fibres in direction Y to the right of the page.

In other forms, the screw feeders 12, 14 may be configured to distribute fibres in the same direction. It will also be appreciated that the operating speed of screw feeders 12 and 14 may be varied in accordance with the type of fibre being distributed and the size of web to be formed.

Each conduit 20, 22 has a plurality of spaced apart distribution openings, schematically illustrated as arrow 24 in Figure 1, formed in a lower portion of the conduit 20, 22 for providing fibres into a respective delivery chute 26, 28 (refer Figure 3) associated with each conduit 20, 22. The delivery chute 26, 28 of each conduit 20, 22 converges into a common chute 32, in which a roller 34 having blades formed thereon is disposed for mixing and breaking up fibres falling from the common chute 32 toward the conveyor. The roller 34 is configured for breaking clumps of fibres falling from the common chute 32 so as to prevent fibres sticking together in clumps. So as to direct the falling fibres onto the roller 34, the common chute 32 constricts toward the roller 34.

An outer side of each delivery chute 26, 28 is defined by a respective conveyor 36, 38 extending into the common chute 32 for encouraging fibres to fall toward the roller 34. Each conveyor preferably has a rough surface to assist in the mixing and break up of the fibres, as well as urging the fibres in a downward direction.

An inner side of each delivery chute 26, 28 is defined by an expandable deflector 30, which is operable to expand a distance Z into the delivery chutes 26, 28 so that the size of an opening of each delivery chute 26, 28 can be varied by varying the size of the deflector 30. By varying the size of the deflector 30 and each delivery chute 26, 28, the amount of fibres passing through each distribution opening can be controlled so as to vary the height of the fibrous web being formed. The deflector 30 can also be used to prevent long fibres passing toward the conveyor.

In one form, the distribution openings 24 of each conduit can be aligned with the distribution openings of the other conduit, though in other forms they may be offset. The spacing and location of the distribution openings 24 is selected so as to provide an even distribution of fibres across the conveyor.

As can be seen in Figure 2, a common end of each conduit 20, 22 is connected on one side of the conveyor by conduit 40 to allow fibres to travel across the conveyor in each direction. In use, fibres will travel in direction X, with some escaping the conduit 20 through the distribution openings 24, and return along direction Y with further fibres escaping conduit 22 through the distribution openings 24 as they return, thereby resulting in an even distribution of fibres across the conveyor. In embodiments having a single screw feeder, each end of the conduit may be connected to a source of fibres. In other embodiments having a pair of conduits 20, 22, each may act independently and the end of each conduit may be separately connected to a source of fibres and the fibres may travel in either direction across the conveyor.

As illustrated in Figures 4 to 6, an end of each conduit 20, 22 that is not connected via conduit 40 is in communication with a collection bin 42 so that fibres returning from the conduits 20, 22 are returned to the collection bin 42 where they are mixed with fresh material and returned to the conduits 20, 22. Collection bin 42 is in communication with supply conduit 46 for supplying fibres to conduit 22 for distribution by feed screw 12, and in communication with return conduit 44 for returning fibres from conduit 22, thereby providing a distribution circuit for fibres. Figures 7 and 8 illustrate apparatus 10 fitted with a distribution head 10b including a plurality of vertically spaced pairs 52, 54, 56 of spaced apart rollers 52a, 52b, 54a, 54b, 56a, 56b having blades formed thereon and disposed between the common chute 32 and the conveyor and configured for mixing fibres falling from the common 32 chute toward the conveyor. Although illustrated as having three pairs of spaced apart rollers, 512, 54, 56, it will be appreciated that only 2 pairs or more than 3 pairs may also be used, depending on the particular application, the type of fibres and the size of web to be formed.

The rollers that are vertically spaced, 52a/54a/56a and 52b/54b/56b are transversely offset (i.e. across the width of the conveyor) so that blades from each roller can pass beside blades of the spaced roller. In one example, the blades taper towards a tip and have an aspect ratio in the order of 18 to 20: 1 from the base to the tip. In one example, rollers are offset so that the spacing between adjacent is approximately 5mm. Advantageously, larger fibre particles cannot pass without breaking up.

So as to facilitate mixing of the fibres, the rollers from each pair 52, 54, 56 are configured to rotate in opposite directions. In this regard, rollers 52a, 54a, 56a are illustrated in Figure 8 as rotating counter clockwise while rollers 52b, 54b, 56b rotate clockwise. Advantageously, as the fibres fall they are engaged by blades of the rollers and lifted into the air, further mixing the fibres and breaking up any clumps.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the blades of the rollers may take many forms and that each roller may be differently configured. In one example, the blades of the rollers are 270mm long and 5mm thick. Furthermore, conduits 20, 22 may take forms other than circular and may be an open trough for example.

Rollers 52, 54, 56 may be driven by variable speed motors, such as variable speed drives, that their operation can be independently controlled as required, so that apparatus 10 can be used across a range of different fibres and webs.

The rollers can also be driven in various combinations of rotation and speed. In one preferred embodiment roller 52a rotates clockwise and roller 52b rotates anti-clockwise, and roller 56a rotates anti-clockwise while roller 56b rotates clockwise. Regarding roller pair 54, roller 54a rotates anti-clockwise and roller 54b rotates clockwise, with this roller pair 54 running at between 20% and 80% faster than pairs 52 and 56. This creates a turbulence zone which further facilitates the fibre mixing and distribution.

The apparatus 10 allows for improved mixing of fibres, approaching a normal distribution of fibre size and length, and provides a more even distribution of fibres across a conveyor, thereby allowing the apparatus to be used with many different types of fibres, in particular recycled fibres. Specific examples fibres that can be used include carbon fibres, cottons and synthetics.

The embodiments have been described by way of example only and modifications are possible within the scope of the invention disclosed.