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Title:
FLUID-DRIVEN APPARATUS FOR FEEDING A FABRIC IN A PROCESS TUMBLER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/151492
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fluid-driven apparatus for feeding a fabric (7), in open-width form and continuously, the apparatus being associated in combination with a tumbler processing the fabric (7), comprises a tubular duct (2), with substantially rectangular transversal cross section, having boundary walls which delimit an internal cavity (12) inside the duct (2); a manifold (14) for supplying flows (3,4) of gaseous fluid into the duct (2) through at least one opening (13) formed in the top or bottom wall (11a, 11b) of the duct (2); ports (9,10) for the passage of the fluid in a direction longitudinal to the duct (2), into and out of the cavity (12). The manifold (14) is abutted against the opening (13), at a position such as to divide the duct (2) into two distinct stretches (15a, 15b) delimited by the manifold (14) and by one and the other of the ports (9,10), and is equipped with diverting means (8) for selectively directing the fluid (3,4) towards one or the other of the stretches (15a, 15b) of the duct (2). At least one portion of at least one of the stretches (15a; 15b) of the duct (2) is divergent in shape, with a transversal cross section which increases in size from the manifold (14) to the respective end port (9; 10).

Inventors:
BIANCALANI, Massimo
RAVAGLI, Riccardo
Application Number:
IB2016/051621
Publication Date:
September 29, 2016
Filing Date:
March 22, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BIANCALANI S.R.L. (Via Menichetti 28, Prato, 59100, IT)
International Classes:
D06B3/28; D06C19/00; F26B13/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006021978A12006-03-02
WO2009141841A12009-11-26
Foreign References:
EP0877114A21998-11-11
US5746072A1998-05-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARTINI, Riccardo (Via De' Magalotti 6, Firenze, 50122, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fluid-driven apparatus for feeding a fabric (7) in open-width form and continuously, the apparatus being associated in combination with a tumbler processing the fabric (7), comprising:

- a tubular duct (2), with substantially rectangular transversal cross section, having boundary walls which delimit an internal cavity (12) inside the duct (2);

- a manifold (14) for supplying flows (3,4) of gaseous fluid into the duct (2) through at least one opening (13) formed in the top or bottom wall (1 la, 1 lb) of the duct (2);

- ports (9,10) for the passage of the fluid in a direction longitudinal to the duct (2), into and out of the cavity (12);

the manifold (14) being abutted against the at least one opening (13), at a position such as to divide the duct (2) into two distinct stretches (15a, 15b) delimited by the manifold (14) and by one and the other of the ports (9,10), respectively;

the manifold being equipped with diverting means (8) for selectively directing the fluid (3,4) towards one or the other of the stretches (15a, 15b) of the duct (2);

the apparatus (1) being characterized in that at least one portion of at least one of the stretches (15a; 15b) of the duct (2) is divergent in shape, with a transversal cross section which increases in size from the manifold (14) to the respective end port (9; 10).

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the divergence of said portion of at least one of the stretches (15a; 15b) is obtained by inclining only the top wall (11a) relative to the bottom wall (1 lb).

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that at least one of the stretches (15a; 15b) is entirely divergent in shape, with increasing transversal cross section.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, characterized in that both the stretches (15a; 15b) are entirely divergent in shape, with increasing transversal cross section.

5. The apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the divergent shape has an angle of divergence (16) not greater than three sexagesimal degrees.

6. The apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the fluid (3;4) is thermally conditioned.

Description:
FLUID-DRIVEN APPARATUS FOR FEEDING A FABRIC IN A PROCESS

TUMBLER DESCRIPTION

Technical field

This invention relates to a fluid driven apparatus for feeding a fabric in a process tumbler.

Prior art

Currently used in the textile industry are process apparatuses, called "tumblers", in which fabrics of various kinds are subjected to treatment, for example mechanical and/or heat treatment, to create characteristic and distinctive effects for different types of fabric. The fabric is fed - for example in open-width form and continuously - according to a method known in the industry, by means of an apparatus of this kind, which is equipped with a tubular duct whose transversal cross section is substantially rectangular and whose length is typically at least three times its width.

The duct comprises boundary walls which delimit an internal cavity inside the duct itself, ports for the passage of a gaseous fluid in a direction longitudinal to the duct into and out of the internal cavity and at least one lateral opening for the passage of the fluid in a transversal direction towards the internal cavity and made on the top and/or bottom wall of the duct.

A supply manifold for directing the fluid towards the tubular duct is abutted against the top and/or bottom opening of the duct, dividing it into two distinct stretches respectively downstream and upstream of its position.

Diverters associated with the supply manifold allow diverting the flow of gaseous fluid to one or the other of the two stretches of the duct which, depending on the direction fluid flow, operatively become delivery or suction duct stretches.

By effect of movement of the fluid supplied by the supply manifold, diverted and flowing along the duct cavity towards the outlet afforded by one of the two ports, the fabric, at the other port at the opposite end of the duct, is sucked into the duct cavity together with the air and is forced to move along the cavity from one end to the other under the action of, and in the same direction as, the air flow.

In the prior art, the tubular duct has walls which are equidistant from each other. That means the cross section of the duct through which the fluid flows is the same at all points of the duct.

Although these feed apparatuses are widely used in this industry, they are not free of disadvantages and, depending on the type of fabric processed, can lead to critical conditions which are anything but negligible.

In effect, when processing, for example, very stiff, coated fabrics, imitation leather or other material having a high surface friction coefficient, the fabric tends to stick to the duct very easily. Moreover, if the process also involves the use of hot air, the problem becomes even worse.

As a result of the difficulty of moving along the duct, the fabric downstream of the manifold which blows air into the duct tends to curl up on itself, to increase its overall dimensions and to gradually reduce the size of the passage through which the air in the duct can flow.

The residual flow passing through the duct becomes more and more turbulent, thus dissipating drive power and, as it loses carrying capacity, rapidly becomes unable to support and carry the fabric which eventually stops moving and occludes the duct.

Disclosure of the invention

The aim of this invention is to overcome the above mentioned disadvantages.

According to the invention, this aim is achieved by a fluid-driven apparatus for feeding a fabric and whose technical features are defined in the appended claims.

Further advantages of the invention will become apparent from the detailed description of a non-limiting example embodiment of such an apparatus, illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

Brief description of the drawings

In the drawings:

- Figure 1 is a schematic longitudinal cross section of a fabric feed apparatus known to operators in the industry;

- Figure 2 schematically represents the typical operation of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

- Figure 3 is a schematic longitudinal cross section of an apparatus made according to this invention;

- Figure 4 schematically represents the typical operation of the apparatus of Figure 3 in a scaled-up longitudinal cross section.

Embodiments of the invention

With reference to the accompanying drawings, Figures 1 and 2 illustrate a prior art pneumatic apparatus for feeding a fabric in a tumbler - not illustrated - which processes fabrics in open-width form and continuously.

Figure 3 shows a fluid-driven apparatus 1 of the kind shown in Figures 1 and 2, for feeding a fabric 7 and which essentially comprises: a tubular duct 2; a manifold 14 for supplying flows 3,4 of gaseous fluid into the tubular duct 2; and flow diverting means, embodied in this case by two flap valves 8 associated with the manifold 14 and contained therein.

More specifically, the duct 2 has a tubular profile with a substantially rectangular cross section and is provided with boundary walls at the top and bottom (11a, l ib) and sides (not illustrated) delimiting an internal cavity 12 inside the duct.

At opposite open ends of it, the duct is also provided with ports 9 and 10 for the passage of the fluid in the form of flows 5,6 directed longitudinally, one into and the other out of the duct 2. Half way along it, the tubular duct 2 is provided with four further openings 13 formed in opposite pairs, passing through the top and bottom walls 1 la,l lb, of the duct 2.

Connected to the openings 13 of the duct 2 is the manifold 14 which, thanks to its position - substantially half way along the duct 2 - divides the latter into two component stretches 15a, 15b of equal length, one of which is delimited by the manifold 14 and the port 9 and the other by the manifold 14 and the port 10.

According to the invention, at least one of the two stretches 15 a, 15b - or preferably both of them - is divergent in shape, with a transversal cross section which increases in size from the manifold 14 to the port 9 or 10 associated with the stretch 15a or 15b of the duct 2.

Small angles of divergence 16 have been found to be surprisingly optimal. Angles not greater than three sexagesimal degrees are preferable.

In Figures 3 and 4, the divergence of the stretches 15 a, 15b of the duct 2 is advantageously obtained by inclining only the top wall 11a relative to the bottom wall l ib. This solution has proved surprisingly more effective than the solution in which the divergence is obtained by inclining the bottom wall l ib and keeping the top wall 11a horizontal or by inclining both of the walls 1 la,l lb at an angle to the horizontal.

In a further embodiment, each of the two stretches 15 a, 15b of the duct 2 has a constant cross section in a first portion of it adjacent to the manifold 14 and a divergent shape with increasing cross section in the second portion of it.

In use, the operation of the apparatus 1 may be described with reference to Figure 4. As may be inferred from Figure 4, the two air flows 3 and 4 - if necessary, thermally conditioned and coming from a central preparation plant - come through the manifold 14 from different directions normal to the duct 2. Inside the manifold 14, the two air flows 5 and 6 are intercepted by the flap valves 8 and are diverted into the cavity 12 of the duct 2, one above the fabric 7 and the other below it, so as to flow through one of the two stretches in the same direction: in the case illustrated, the stretch 15b of the duct 2. By effect of the two flows 6, the fabric 7 downstream of the manifold 14 is pushed by the two fluid flows 6. The pushing action causes the fabric 7 to be curled and creased, whilst upstream of the manifold 14 in the stretch 15a, it is pulled and sucked into the cavity 12 together with the gaseous fluid - outside the duct 2 - through the port 9 associated with the other stretch 15a of the duct 2.

It should be noted that the divergence of the stretches 15a and 15b, although only slight, produces a plurality of highly synergic, useful effects which allow the fabric 7 to be pneumatically supported and fed along the duct 2.

In effect, as is clear from Figure 4, the fabric 7 just downstream of the manifold 14, although it starts curling, does not obstruct the flows 6 of gaseous fluid needed to move it. On the contrary, a virtuous circle is created in this zone of the apparatus 1, because: thanks to the divergence, the air flow 6 is kept relatively constant and able to support the fabric 7; consequently, the fabric becomes less curled and moves more rapidly than it does in conventional apparatuses, where the stretches of duct are provided with equidistant walls. Reduced curling has the further advantage of leaving a wider and more useful gap between the fabric 7 and the walls 1 la, 1 lb. This wider useful gap has a twofold benefit. On the one hand, it gives the flow of gaseous fluid a greater capacity to support and carry the fabric; and on the other, by coming between the fabric 7 and the walls 11 a, l ib, it prevents the fabric 7 from coming into contact therewith, thus limiting friction and allowing it to move forward with much less resistance.

In other words, therefore, the divergence of the duct 2 - all other conditions being equal - allows the fabric 7 to be fed much more effectively and under much more favourable conditions of resistance which are particularly useful with coated fabrics or resin- impregnated fabrics with high surface adhesiveness.

From Figures 3 and 4, it may be noted that the apparatus 1 is perfectly reversible, which means that what has been said in relation to the stretch 15b of the duct 2 applies also to the other stretch 15 a, obviously if the operation of the process tumbler, that is, if the direction of movement of the fabric 7 therein, is reversed.