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Title:
HORIZONTAL FORMER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/250139
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Described is a horizontal former (1) for forming mattresses or panels comprising a loading station (2), a processing station (3), a first pressing station (4) positioned downstream of said processing station (3), a second pressing station (5) positioned downstream of said first pressing station (4) for completing said step of pressing the mattress or panel being formed.

Inventors:
BRACALI CLAUDIO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/055439
Publication Date:
December 17, 2020
Filing Date:
June 10, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BRACALI CLAUDIO (IT)
International Classes:
B68G7/04; B27N3/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BUSSU, Christian (IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A horizontal former (1) for the formation of mattresses or panels comprising

- a loading station (2) having one inlet (22) and one outlet (23) of a non solid material,

- a processing station (3) operationally connected to said outlet (23) of said loading station (2) and comprising at least a first processing cylinder (31) acting in conjunction with at least a second processing cylinder (32),

- a first pressing station (4) positioned downstream of said processing station (3) and comprising two first conveyor belts (41, 42) counter rotating along a feed direction (A) with a first speed of rotation (v), said two first conveyor belts (41, 42) being movable in reciprocal forward movement to press said mattress or panel being formed, characterised in that it also comprises a suction station (6) having two suction portions (61, 62) each positioned at one of said first conveyor belts (41, 42) and at least one emission portion (64) of a jet of air positioned at said second processing cylinder (32) for striking said processing cylinder (32) and contributing to detaching from it said fibres of non-solid material, said jet of air being directed towards said first pressing station (4) along a feed direction (A) in a portion interposed between said first conveyor belts (41, 42).

2. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 1, further comprising a second pressing station (5) positioned downstream of said first pressing station (4) and comprising two second conveyor belts (51, 52) counter-rotating along the feed direction (A) with a second speed of rotation (z), said two second conveyor belts (51, 52) being movable in reciprocal forward movement to conclude said pressing step of said mattress or panel being formed. 3. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 1, wherein said first conveyor belts (41, 42) are perforated and configured to be permeable to air.

4. The horizontal former (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the air sucked by said suction device (65) is picked up by said first pressing station (4) through said suction portions (61, 62) and is blown in said intermediate portion by said first conveyor belts (41, 42).

5. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 1, wherein said suction portions (61, 62) are positioned one facing the other and configured for orienting said fibres of non-solid material substantially perpendicular to said feed direction (A), to obtain a greater order in the arrangement of said fibres and a greater density of said mattress or panel being formed.

6. The horizontal former (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said first rotation speed (v) of said first conveyor belts (41, 42) is different from said second rotation speed (z) of said second conveyor belts (51, 52) for varying the density of said mattress or panel being formed along said feed direction (A).

7. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 6, wherein said second speed (z) of said second conveyor belts (51, 52) is less than said first speed (v) of said first conveyor belts (41, 42) to increase the compaction along said feed direction (A) of the mattress or panel being formed.

8. The horizontal former (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, also comprising a movement device (7) for moving towards each other at least said second conveyor belts (51, 52). 9. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 8, wherein said movement device (7) is configured for moving the upper belt (41) of said first conveyor belts (41, 42) and the upper belt (51) of said second conveyor belts (51, 52) towards and away from the lower belt (42) of said first conveyor belts (41, 42) and the lower belt (52) of said second conveyor belts (51, 52).

10. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 8, wherein said movement device (7) comprises electro-actuated means (71) driven by an electric motor (72).

11. The horizontal former (1) according to claim 1, wherein said loading station (2) has a longitudinal extension inclined by an angle of between 25° and 75° relative to said feed direction (A).

Description:
DESCRIPTION

HORIZONTAL FORMER

Technical field

This invention relates to a horizontal former.

The term "former" is used to mean a machine for the formation of a mattress or panel with a variable density consisting of a large part of non-solid material in a fibrous state or in tufts and a minimum part of adhesive material designed to make the fibrous material or tufts cohesive unless the non-solid material is processed using mechanical devices such as to interlace and cross the fibres together (for example by needle punching) without the need for any adhesive material.

Background art

Currently, there are prior art formers comprising a first station for loading the material to be compacted in the form of a mattress, a second processing station, for example comprising cylinders and lastly a pressing station for imparting a preset density and a predetermined final thickness to the mattress at the outlet. The density of the mattress at the outlet, as well as the thickness, are selected by the user of the machine as a function of the final application of the mattress. Merely by way of an example, if the final product to be obtained must have filling characteristics the density will be minimum and the thickness will be high, on the contrary, if the final mattress must have minimum mechanical structural characteristics, the density will be maximum and the thickness low.

The pressing station generally comprises a lower feed belt and an upper opposite cylinder.

Both the lower belt and the upper cylinder are perforated and connected to respective suction units.

Moreover, the lower belt and the upper cylinder are configured for counter rotating in order to move forward the mattress being formed, keeping it pressed. The prior art formers, whilst allowing mattresses to be obtained with non-solid materials with good final densities, they do not allow high final thicknesses of the mattress associated with high density to be obtained.

Therefore, in order to obtain mattresses having structural characteristics, that is to say, with a high density associated with large thicknesses, for example greater than 70 mm, it is necessary to make sandwiches with a plurality of small thickness mattresses glued to each other or to prepare specific machines for high thicknesses only.

These drawbacks are particularly significant since they do not allow the user of the former to have a single machine to obtain the various thicknesses and densities required by the market, forcing the user to purchase and use specific formers as a function of the various products required by the market (in particular relative to the various thicknesses and densities of the finished mattress).

Aim of the invention

The aim of the invention is to provide a horizontal former which allows mattresses to be obtained having a large density variability and at the same time high final thicknesses.

More specifically, the aim of the invention is to provide a horizontal former which allows a single machine to obtain mattresses or panels having different thicknesses and different density, even very high.

The aims described above are achieved by a horizontal former which comprises the technical features described in one or more of the appended claims.

Brief description of the drawings

Further features and advantages of this invention are more apparent in the detailed description below, with reference to preferred, non-limiting embodiments of a horizontal former, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Figure 1 is a cross section of a horizontal former according to the invention in a first operating configuration; and - Figure 2 is a cross section of a horizontal former according to the invention in a second operating configuration.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

A horizontal former according to the invention is described with reference to Figures 1 and 2.

The reference numeral 1 denotes in its entirety a horizontal former, that is to say, a machine configured for forming (or making) a mattress or panel from a plurality of non-solid materials.

In order to obtain a large mattress or panel it is necessary that a predetermined percentage of additive materials be added to the plurality of non-solid materials which perform the function of tacking together the non-solid materials and connecting them to each other.

It is also possible to make the non-solid materials solid by providing a mechanical processing such as, for example, needle punching.

The additive materials may be, for example, two-part components, powders or liquids which can be activated at ambient temperature or at higher temperatures. In this regard, a horizontal former 1 advantageously comprises in addition to the various stations which will be described below also a station for heating the mattress or panel being formed.

Purely by way of an example, this heating station is of the hot air, steam or electrical resistors type.

It will be understood that the heating station may also be located downstream of the entire horizontal former according to the invention.

The horizontal former 1 for forming mattresses or panels according to the invention comprises a loading station 2 having an inlet 22 and an outlet 23 for a non-solid material.

The term "non-solid material" means, for example, fibres derived from the recycling of fabrics, non-woven fabrics, paper, plastic or in any case fibres or waste of any material which can, by means of a shredding step, be reduced to fibres or pieces with dimensions of from 1 mm to 100 mm.

Advantageously, the loading station 2 extends longitudinally between the inlet portion 22 and the outlet portion 23 at an angle of between 25° and 75° relative to the feed and forming direction (A).

Advantageously, the angle of inclination is between 45 and 60 degrees.

This angle makes it possible to obtain an optimised feed of the non-solid material being processed on the former 1.

The former 1 also comprises a processing station 3 operatively connected to the outlet portion 23 of the loading station 2 and comprises at least a first processing cylinder 31 operating in conjunction with at least a second processing cylinder 32. Depending on the type of non-solid material being processed, the first processing cylinder 31 comprises a pair of counter-rotating rollers configured to transport in an optimised fashion the material arriving from the outlet portion 23 to the second processing cylinder 32.

The second processing cylinder 32, that is to say, the cylinder which performs the main processing function determined as a function of the material being processed, advantageously comprises a cylinder fitted with rigid seals, slats with cylindrical tips or with segments.

The function of the processing station 3 is to mix and suitably intertwine in an adequate manner the fibres of the non-solid material which will form the mattress or panel.

The former 1 also comprises a first pressing station 4 positioned downstream of the processing station 3.

The first pressing station 4 comprises two first conveyor belts 41 and 42, one upper 41 and one lower 42, counter-rotating relative to each other in such a way that the frown movement corresponds to the feed direction (A).

The two first conveyor belts 41, 42 rotate with a first speed of rotation (v), for example driven by respective electric motors.

The two first conveyor belts 41, 42 are movable towards each other for pressing the mattress or panel being formed.

As shown in Figure 2, the two first belts 41, 42 can be positioned relative to each other in such a way as to form between them a portion with a cone cross-section having the tip downstream relative to the feed direction (A).

In this way it is possible to obtain an increasing pressing in a uniform manner on the mattress or panel being formed.

In the preferred embodiment illustrated in the accompanying drawings, the upper belt 41 is movable towards and away from the lower belt 42, which, on the other hand, is fixed.

The first conveyor belts 41 and 42 are advantageously perforated and, therefore, permeable to the passage of air.

Downstream of the first pressing station 4, the horizontal former 1 according to the invention comprises a second pressing station 5.

The second pressing station 5 is designed to end the pressing of the mattress or panel being formed to reach the thickness and the final density required during the design step.

The second pressing station 5 in turn comprises two second conveyor belts 51 and 52 counter-rotating along the feed direction (A) with a second speed (z).

More specifically, the second pressing station 5 comprises an upper conveyor belt 51 and a lower conveyor belt 52.

The two second conveyor belts 51 and 52 are movable towards each other to complete the step of pressing the mattress or panel being formed.

In the embodiment illustrated in the accompanying drawings, the upper belt 51 is movable towards and away from the lower belt 52, which, on the other hand, is fixed.

Advantageously, the horizontal former 1 according to the invention also comprises a suction station 6 which has two suction portions 61, 62 each of which is positioned at a respective pair of conveyor belts 41, 42, and 51, 52.

The horizontal former 1 also comprises a portion 64 for emitting a jet of air positioned at the second processing cylinder 32.

The jet of air emitted by the suction station 6 faces towards the first pressing station 4 along the feed direction A in a portion interposed between the first conveyor belts 41, 42 and is designed to optimise and facilitate the feeding of the mattress being formed along the pressing station 4.

The jet of air is also able to detach any fibres of non-solid material which could remain attached to the processing cylinder 32 during the processing.

The term "jet of air" means an emission of air having a high kinetic energy which is able to move the fibres of non-solid material and remove them from the processing cylinder 32.

Advantageously, the suction portions 61, 62 are positioned one facing the other and at the two first conveyor belts 41, 42.

The opposite suction allows the fibres to be oriented substantially perpendicular to the feed direction (A) in such a way as to obtain a greater order in the arrangement of the fibres and therefore a greater density of the mattress.

Advantageously, moreover, the suction station 6 is configured for working in a closed loop; in effect, the air sucked by the suction device 65 is drawn from the first pressing station 4 by the portions 61 and 62 and the air is blown into the intermediate portion of the two first conveyor belts 41, 42.

In this way it is clear that air consumption is reduced to a minimum, if not completely set to zero.

In order to vary in a predetermined manner the density and the thickness to be obtained in the mattress or panel being formed, it is also possible to impart an adequate pressing in the longitudinal direction, that is, parallel to the feed direction A.

To obtain the longitudinal pressing it is possible to vary the speed (v) and (z) of feeding the two pairs of conveyor belts 41, 42 and 51, 52, in particular by slowing down the pair of conveyor belts 51, 52 relative to the pair 41, 42 a compression of the material arriving from the first pressing station relative to that slowed down still inside the second pressing station is obtained.

Therefore, in a horizontal former 1 according to this invention it is possible to differentiate the speed of rotation (v) and (z) respectively of the first 41, 42 and the second 51, 52 conveyor belts in such a way as to also vary the compaction, that is, density, in the mattress or panel being formed along a direction parallel to the feed direction (A).

For example, if the speed of rotation (z) of the second conveyor belts 51, 52 is less than that (v) of the first conveyor belts 41, 42 it is intended to create an increase in the longitudinal density (parallel to the feed direction (A) since the mattress or panel being formed is pushed by the first pressing station 4 towards the second pressing station 5 which, however, rotating or advancing at a lower speed creates a sort of obstacle to the feeding of the mattress or panel, thus increasing the overall longitudinal density.

According to a preferred embodiment, a horizontal former 1 according to the invention also comprises a movement device 7 for moving towards each other at least the second conveyor belts 51, 52 of the second pressing station 5 and therefore performing a vertical pressing operation, that is, substantially perpendicular to the feed direction (A).

Advantageously, moreover, the movement device 7 is operatively connected also to the first pressing station 5 and, therefore, configured for moving the upper belt 41 towards and away from the lower web 42 and therefore performing a vertical pressing operation, that is, substantially perpendicular to the feed direction (A). Advantageously, the movement device 7 comprises electro-actuated means 71, for example a pneumatic or hydraulic actuator which is actuated under command by, for example, a respective electric motor 72.

In short, therefore, the movement device 7 allowing the movement of the upper belts 41, 51 towards the lower belts 42, 52 makes it possible to obtain a pressing, that is to say, corresponding to an increase in density, of the mattress or panel being formed. Advantageously, moreover, the movement device 7 is configured for moving at least the upper belt 41 of the first pressing station 4 in such a way that it does not maintain a position parallel to the lower belt 42, that is to say, forming an intermediate portion for passage of the mattress or panel being formed in the form of a cone, with the tip of the cone facing towards the second pressing station 5.

The invention brings important advantages, overcoming the limitations and drawbacks of the prior art.

A first important advantage consists in the fact that by means of a horizontal former 1 according to the invention it is possible to obtain mattresses or panels having a very large plurality of densities and thicknesses, in fact making the former 1 a machine which is very adaptable to the most diverse market requirements. More specifically, the horizontal former 1 according to the invention makes it possible to obtain panels having large thicknesses (for example approximately 500 mm) and at the same time significant densities (for example, 1,500 kg per cubic metre).

Moreover, another important advantage consists in the fact that by using a horizontal former 1 according to the invention it is possible to obtain large thicknesses and high densities in such a way as to not have to make couplings between different panels to obtain significant thicknesses.

A further advantage achieved by a horizontal former 1 according to the invention consists in the fact that between the loading station 2 and the final portion of the last pressing station there are no stretches of forming path having angles of less than 135°, the presence of which would adversely affect the consistency of the mattress or panel being formed.

This avoids the risk of breakages or tears of the braids formed by means of the processing station.