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Title:
MACHINE FOR CLEANING NEEDLE-CARRYING CYLINDERS FOR TEXTILE MACHINES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/073368
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The machine (1) for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines comprises: - a base frame (2); - a washing tank (3), mounted on the base frame (2); and - dispensing means associated with the base frame (2) inside the washing tank (3) and adapted to dispense a washing liquid under pressure; which comprises means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) a needle-carrying cylinder (7) around an axis of rotation (A) substantially coincident with a central axis (B) of the needle-carrying cylinder (7) which can be located at the washing tank (3), wherein the needle-carrying cylinder (7) comprises: - a cylindrical body (8) provided with two bases (9) opposite to each other, a work surface (10) and a plurality of grooves (46) formed in the work surface (10) and substantially parallel to the central axis (B); and - a plurality of needles (47), housed in a sliding manner in the grooves (46); wherein the dispensing means are oriented towards the means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) and adapted to dispense the washing liquid in the direction of the work surface (10).

Inventors:
GALIOTTO, Marcello (Via G. Pascoli 8, Novi Di Modena - Frazione Rovereto Sul Secchia, 41016, IT)
Application Number:
IB2018/057796
Publication Date:
April 18, 2019
Filing Date:
October 09, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GALIOTTO, Marcello (Via G. Pascoli 8, Novi Di Modena - Frazione Rovereto Sul Secchia, 41016, IT)
International Classes:
D04B37/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013160817A12013-10-31
Foreign References:
EP3168352A12017-05-17
DE9417091U11996-02-22
DE3609440A11987-10-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUPPI, Emanuele (via Scaglia Est 19-31, Modena, 41126, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1) Machine (1) for cleaning needle -carrying cylinders for textile machines comprising: at least one base frame (2);

at least one washing tank (3), mounted on said base frame (2); and

- dispensing means associated with said base frame (2) inside said washing tank (3) and adapted to dispense at least one washing liquid under pressure;

characterized by the fact that it comprises means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) at least one needle-carrying cylinder (7) around an axis of rotation (A) substantially coincident with a central axis (B) of said needle -carrying cylinder (7) which can be located at said washing tank (3), wherein said needle-carrying cylinder (7) comprises:

at least one cylindrical body (8) provided with two bases (9) opposite to each other, at least one work surface (10) and a plurality of grooves (46) formed in said work surface (10) and substantially parallel to said central axis (B); and

a plurality of needles (47), housed in a sliding manner in said grooves (46);

said dispensing means being oriented towards said means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) and adapted to dispense said washing liquid in the direction of said work surface (10).

2) Machine (1) according to claim 1, characterized by the fact that said dispensing means comprise at least one nozzle (11) for dispensing said washing liquid adapted to direct said washing liquid towards said work surface (10).

3) Machine (1) according to claim 2, characterized by the fact that said dispensing means comprise a plurality of said nozzles (11) which can be operated selectively.

4) Machine (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises drying means (12) of said work surface (10) adapted to release air under pressure in the direction of said work surface (10), said drying means (12) being operable substantially after the dispensing of said washing liquid.

5) Machine (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises at least one head (13) moveable in at least one of a first direction of movement (Dl) substantially parallel to said axis of rotation (A) and at least a second direction of movement (D2) substantially perpendicular to said axis of rotation (A), said head (13) being adapted to support at least one of said dispensing means and said drying means (12).

6) Machine (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) comprise:

at least one supporting bedplate (6a) on which said needle-carrying cylinder (7) can be located in a washing configuration in which said cylindrical body (8) is supported onto at least one of said bases (9); and motorized means (16) adapted to set said supporting bedplate (6a) in rotation around said axis of rotation (A) arranged substantially vertical.

7) Machine (1) according to claim 6, characterized by the fact that said means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) comprise centering means (25) of said cylindrical body (8) adapted to keep said needle -carrying cylinder (7) in said washing configuration with said central axis

(B) substantially coincident with said axis of rotation (A).

8) Machine (1) according to claim 6 or 7, characterized by the fact that the means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) comprise cover means (40) for covering the top (41) of said needle-carrying cylinder (7) in said washing configuration adapted to prevent the entry of said washing liquid into said needle -carrying cylinder (7).

9) Machine (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises sensor means (24) adapted to detect the diameter of said needle-carrying cylinder (7) arranged in said washing configuration and operatively connected to at least one automatic control unit adapted to control the movement of said head (13).

10) Machine (1) according to one or more of claims 1 to 5, characterized by the fact that said means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) comprise:

at least two rollers (6b) rotatable around washing axes (C) which are parallel to each other and not vertical, provided with respective lateral support surfaces (32) adapted to receive and support said needle -carrying cylinder (7) in a washing position in which said cylindrical body (8) is supported on said work surface (10); and motorization means (33) adapted to set at least one of said rollers (6b) in rotation around the respective washing axis (C).

11) Machine (1) according to claim 9, characterized by the fact that said washing axes (C) are oblique.

12) Machine (1) according to claim 9 or 10, characterized by the fact that said means for setting in rotation (6a, 6b) comprise retaining means comprising at least one wheel (34) revolving around an auxiliary axis (D) substantially perpendicular to said washing axes

(C) and adapted to come into contact with one of said bases (9) by keeping said needle- carrying cylinder (7) in said washing position.

13) Machine (1) according to one or more of claims 9 to 11, characterized by the fact that said head (13) is housed in a space (38) comprised between said rollers (6b) and underlying said needle-carrying cylinder (7) in said washing position.

Description:
MACHINE FOR CLEANING NEEDLE-CARRYING CYLINDERS FOR TEXTILE MACHINES

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a machine for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines.

Background Art

Textile machines of the automated type are known, in particular knitting machines, which are equipped with a plurality of mobile needles adapted to weave the knits of one or more yarns.

The needles are usually mounted on a needle-carrying support, called "needle bed", provided with a series of grooves.

The needles are housed in a sliding way along as many grooves parallel with one another and come out overhanging from one side of the needle-carrying support, which defines the working side along which, in use, the yarns flow.

One or more actuating rods, known as "sub-needles", "sinkers" and "jacks", are also arranged sliding inside the grooves and their job is to move the needles according to the type of knitting operation to be performed on the yarns.

During use of the knitting machines, the needle beds tend to get very dirty, not only because of dust and fine dust but, above all, because of the yarn fibers which, in passing through the needles of the machine, lose a number of filaments.

The needle housing and guide grooves therefore soon tend to fill up with dirt, with the risk of compromising and jeopardizing the normal operation of the knitting machine.

To wash the needle-carrying supports, performing periodic cleaning and manual maintenance operations is known.

Such operations, however, involve the disassembly of the entire needle-carrying support, the extraction of all the needles and all the actuating rods from the grooves, and their manual cleaning, one by one.

It is easy to appreciate, therefore, that these operations involve particularly long performance times, require qualified personnel, and cause the knitting machine to be stopped for a long time.

For all these reasons, the carrying out of traditional cleaning operations has a significant cost in terms of labor and management of the knitting machines, a cost which, inevitably, is passed on to the retail price of the products to customers, with the risk of making them less attractive and appealing to the public.

As an alternative to manual operations, machines are traditionally known for cleaning needles using ultrasound technology. These machines also however usually require the complete removal of the needle beds and, in particular, the extraction of all the needles and all the actuating rods; sometimes, these machines can operate without the needle-carrying supports being totally disassembled but, in these cases, good results in terms of cleaning are not achieved.

Moreover, the operating cycle of traditional ultrasound machines lasts many hours and is not always able to ensure a particularly high level of cleanliness.

Ultrasound machines, therefore, are substantially affected by the same drawbacks mentioned above.

To overcome these problems, reference can be made to the teachings shown in patent documents WO 2013/160817 and IT2011TV0150, which show machines for cleaning needle-carrying supports, in particular plate-shaped supports.

However, textile machines are also used on which cylindrical-shaped needle -carrying supports are mounted, which are used for the production of hosiery, underwear, tubular elements or large fabrics.

Consequently, the machines shown in the above-mentioned patent documents cannot be used to wash "needle-carrying cylinders", which are therefore cleaned using the discussed traditional methods (by hand or ultrasound).

These washing methods do however have some drawbacks.

Both manual washing methods and ultrasound washing machines, in fact, require extremely long times due to the need to disassemble the entire needle-carrying support, with the extraction of all the needles and all the actuating rods from the grooves, and their individual cleaning.

Furthermore, these cleaning methods involve stopping the machine for a fairly long period of time and require qualified personnel able to remove and refit the needles on the relative grooves.

Consequently, the performance of traditional cleaning operations entails considerable costs in terms of labor and management of the textile machines.

Description of the Invention

The main aim of this invention is to provide a machine for cleaning needle -carrying cylinders for textile machines that allows washing the needle-carrying cylinders in a practical, easy and functional manner, in a particularly short time and without requiring long interventions by the personnel.

Another object of this invention is to provide a machine for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines that allows reducing the maintenance and management costs of the needle -carrying cylinders.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a machine for cleaning needle- carrying cylinders for textile machines which allows overcoming the aforementioned drawbacks of the prior art within the scope of a simple, rational, easy, efficient to use and cost-effective solution.

The aforementioned objects are achieved by the present machine for cleaning needle - carrying cylinders for textile machines according to claim 1.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Other characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become more evident from the description of some preferred, but not exclusive embodiments of a machine for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines, illustrated by way of an indicative, but non-limiting example, in the attached drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a partially cutaway axonometric view of the machine according to the invention in a first embodiment;

Figure 2 is an axonometric view of the machine of Figure 1 from a different angle;

Figure 3 is a partially exploded axonometric view of a detail of the machine of Figure 1 ; Figure 4 is a top view of the detail of Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a bottom view of the detail of Figure 3 ;

Figure 6 is a partially cutaway axonometric view of the machine according to the invention in a second embodiment;

Figure 7 is an axonometric view of a detail of the machine of Figure 6;

Figure 8 is a front view of the detail of Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a partially cutaway axonometric view of the machine according to the invention in a third embodiment;

Figure 10 is an axonometric view of a detail of the needle-carrying plate which can be cleaned by means of the machine of Figure 9;

Figure 11 is an axonometric view, from another angle, of the needle-carrying plate of Figure 10;

Figure 12 is a sectional view of the machine of Figure 9;

Figure 13 is a partially cutaway axonometric view of the machine according to the invention in a fourth embodiment.

Embodiments of the Invention

With particular reference to these illustrations, reference numeral 1 globally indicates a machine for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines.

The machine 1 for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines comprises: at least one base frame 2 to rest on the ground;

- at least one washing tank 3, mounted on the base frame 2; and

dispensing means associated with the base frame 2 inside the washing tank 3 and adapted to dispense at least one washing liquid under pressure.

Preferably, the washing tank 3 is provided with at least one inclined bottom 4 adapted to facilitate the drainage of the washing liquid avoiding any stagnation, and with four containment walls 5.

According to the invention, the machine 1 comprises means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b at least one needle-carrying cylinder 7 around an axis of rotation A substantially coincident with a central axis B of the needle-carrying cylinder itself which can be located at the washing tank 3.

In particular, the needle-carrying cylinder 7 comprises:

- at least one cylindrical body 8 provided with two bases 9 opposite to each other, at least one work surface 10 and a plurality of grooves 46 formed in the work surface 10 and substantially parallel to the central axis B ; and

a plurality of knitting cylinder needles 47, housed in a sliding manner in the grooves 46.

Figure 1 shows an enlargement of a portion of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 in which only one cylinder needle 47 is shown in a purely exemplary manner.

It is possible to provide at least one locking element adapted to keep the cylinder needles 47 inside the relative grooves 46 and to prevent them from escaping during the washing operations.

The locking element, for example, is of the type of an elastic means which can be fitted on the needle-carrying cylinder 7, although the possibility of providing a locking element of a different type cannot be ruled out.

The needle-carrying cylinder 7 and the needles are made of metallic material, although the possibility of using different types of material cannot be ruled out.

Conveniently, the dispensing means are oriented towards the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b and are adapted to dispense the washing liquid in the direction of the work surface 10.

The use of the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b allows the needle-carrying cylinder 7 to be set in rotation substantially continuously during washing, so that it is possible to easily reach the entire work surface 10 with the jet of washing liquid, without the machine 1 having to be stopped and without the need for any operator intervention.

This way, by means of the jet of washing liquid, it is possible to remove the dirt and fibers released by the yarns during processing and which obstruct the grooves.

In particular, using the pressurized washing liquid, it is possible to remove any agglomerates of fibers which might be stuck inside the grooves or between the needles.

The washing liquid used is a liquid mixture specifically designed not to damage or deteriorate the material from which the needle-carrying cylinders 7 and the needles are made, and consists of de-mineralized water and passivating substances, but the use is possible of many other substances or mixtures of substances.

The dispensing means comprise at least one nozzle 11 for dispensing the washing liquid adapted to direct such washing liquid towards the work surface 10.

This way the jet is directed towards the surface to be cleaned, avoiding any waste of washing liquid and optimizing cleaning operations.

Preferably, the dispensing means comprise a plurality of nozzles 11 which can be operated selectively, so that it is possible to operate the different nozzles 11 at different moments of washing depending on the type of needle-carrying cylinders 7.

Advantageously, the machine 1 comprises drying means 12 of the work surface 10 adapted to release air under pressure in the direction of the work surface itself.

In particular, the drying means 12 are operable substantially after the dispensing of the washing liquid, so as to avoid that the needle-carrying cylinder 7 remains wet, making it ready to use once the washing cycle has been completed.

The machine also comprises at least one head 13 moveable in at least one of a first direction of movement Dl substantially parallel to the axis of rotation A and at least a second direction of movement D2 substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation A, (the head 13 being) adapted to support at least one of the dispensing means and the drying means 12.

It follows that, by moving the head 13 it is possible to move, away and closer, both the dispensing means and the drying means 12 so that the jets of the washing liquid and air are always within a fixed range of action, maximizing the effectiveness of the washing operations of the machine 1 even when the size of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 varies. The possibility cannot be ruled out of providing fixed drying means 12, that is, not associated with the moveable head 13, or alternatively of manufacturing the machine 1 without the drying means 12.

As can be seen from the illustrations, the machine 1 also comprises at least a cover panel 14 associated with the base frame 2, which can be closed on the washing tank 3 before the machine 1 is operated and (the cover panel is) adapted to prevent the spillage of washing liquid, but also to work in safe conditions for the operator.

The machine 1 also comprises at least one control unit 15 adapted to receive settings from the operator regarding washing programs and specifications of the loaded piece, to manage the start and stop of the machine itself, etc.

Advantageously, the washing of the needle-carrying cylinders 7 is carried out without the need to disassemble the needles from the grooves, as the jet of washing liquid is sufficiently intense to effectively remove the fiber residues.

In the first embodiment of the invention shown in the figures 1 to 5, the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprise:

at least one supporting bedplate 6a on which the needle-carrying cylinder 7 can be located in a washing configuration in which the cylindrical body 8 is supported onto at least one of the bases 9; and

motorized means 16 adapted to set the supporting bedplate 6a in rotation around the axis of rotation A arranged substantially vertical.

In other words, during operation of the machine 1 , the needle-carrying cylinder 7 is made to rotate by means of the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b and, substantially at the same time, the dispensing means spray the washing liquid towards the work surface 10.

This way, the entire work surface 10 is reached by the washing liquid in order to effectively remove the dirt.

Conveniently, the machine 1 comprises at least one base plate 17 fixed to the base frame 2 by means of brackets 18 and on which rests the supporting bedplate 6a, which is free to rotate around the axis of rotation A.

Preferably, as shown in the figures, the base plate 17 is provided with a plurality of holes 39 adapted to allow the drainage of the washing liquid which entrains the dirt with it, so as to avoid stagnation and to maintain the base plate 17 clean.

The motorized means 16 are associated with at least one belt 19, which allows setting in rotation the supporting bedplate 6a around the axis of rotation A, transferring the motion from the motorized means themselves to at least one pulley 20 associated with the supporting bedplate 6a.

It is possible to provide a plurality of supporting bedplates 6a having different diameters, not shown in the figures, interchangeable on the machine 1 according to the size of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 to be washed.

In this particular embodiment, the head 13 is associated with at least one movement assembly 21, 22 provided with at least one vertical guide 21 for movement in the first direction of movement Dl and at least one horizontal guide 22 for movement in the second direction of movement D2.

In the present embodiment, the second direction of movement D2 is incident to the axis of rotation A and, as can be seen from the illustrations, at least one of the vertical guide 21 and the horizontal guide 22 is associated in a fixed way with the base plate 17.

The movement of the head 13 is particularly useful since the needle-carrying cylinders 7 used can have different diameters and different heights depending on the intended use, so that the displacement in the first direction of movement Dl allows adapting the position of the head 13 to the height of the cylindrical body 8, while the displacement in the second direction of movement D2 allows adaptation to the diameter.

Preferably, the movement of the head 13 is automatically controlled by means of at least a first motorization 23 adapted to move the head 13 along the vertical guide 21 and at least a second motorization, not shown in the illustrations, adapted to move along the horizontal guide 22.

The possibility of manufacturing the machine 1 without the second motorization cannot however be ruled out, whereby the movement and positioning of the head along the second direction of movement D2 are performed manually during the loading phase of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 to be washed.

The possibility also cannot be ruled out of providing a plurality of nozzles 11 , preferably arranged substantially in a vertical row, which are operated in a selective manner according to the height of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 to be washed; it is easy to understand that in this particular case it is not necessary to move the head 13 in the first direction of movement D 1.

Advantageously, in an automation perspective, the machine 1 comprises sensor means 24 adapted to detect the diameter of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 arranged in the washing configuration and (the sensor means) operatively connected to at least one automatic control unit adapted to control the movement of the head 13.

In particular, the automatic control unit is operatively connected to at least the second motorization.

In other words, the sensor means 24 detect the diameter of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 and send a signal to the automatic control unit, which activates the second motorization in order to manage the displacement of the head 13 close to or away from the work surface 10 along the second direction of movement D2 according to the detected diameter.

As regards, instead, the displacement to the first direction of movement Dl, usually the information about the height of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 is provided by the operator during the loading phase of the machine 1 by means of the control unit 15 which controls the first motorization in a manner consistent with the input received.

The possibility of providing additional sensor means cannot however be ruled out which allow detecting the height of the needle-carrying cylinder 7 and of providing the relevant information to the automatic control unit.

In this particular case, the automatic control unit is operatively connected also to the first motorization 23.

Advantageously, the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprise cover means 40 for covering the top 41 of the needle -carrying cylinder 7 in the washing configuration, (the cover means being) adapted to prevent the entry of the washing liquid into the needle- carrying cylinder itself.

It should be noted that by top 41 is meant the extremity of the cylindrical body 8 opposite the one resting on the supporting bedplate 6a in the washing configuration.

During washing, in fact, part of the washing liquid could penetrate inside the needle- carrying cylinder 7 through the top 41, dragging the dirt which would tend to stick to the inside of the cylinder itself.

Conveniently, the cover means 40 comprise at least one non-rotating shaft 42 associated with the base plate 17 and a cover element 43 provided with an insertion seat 45 substantially complementary to the shaft itself.

In particular, the cover element 43 is arranged to cover the top 41, being fitted over the shaft 42 and abutting on the base 9 opposite the one resting on the supporting bedplate 6a. Preferably, the cover element 43 has a substantially disc shape, but the possibility of manufacturing the cover element having a different conformation cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprise centering means 25 of the cylindrical body 8 adapted to keep the needle -carrying cylinder 7 in the washing configuration with the central axis B substantially coincident with the axis of rotation A. Conveniently, in the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 5, the centering means 25 comprise at least one conical element insertable on the shaft 42, which enables the needle - carrying cylinder 7 to be kept in the washing configuration.

In particular, the conical element is screwable on or fittable over the shaft 42, depending on whether it is threaded or not, and is insertable inside the needle-carrying cylinder 7 through the top 41.

Possibly, as illustrated in the particular embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 5, the centering means 25 and the cover means 40 coincide with each other.

In this case, the cover element 43 is provided with a lower portion 44 having a substantially conical or truncated-cone shape, fittable in use over the shaft 42 so as to prevent the entry of the washing liquid into the needle-carrying cylinder 7 and keep it in the washing configuration.

The possibility of providing a cover element 43 shaped in such a way as to be separated from the centering means 25 cannot however be ruled out.

The washing liquid sprayed on the work surface 10 removes dirt and fiber residues and drags them towards the bottom 4 of the washing tank 3, which as previously seen is inclined, so as to avoid stagnation of washing liquid and any dirt deposits on the bottom itself.

Advantageously, the machine 1 comprises at least one washing liquid recovery circuit adapted to recover the drained washing liquid and make it available again for washing the needle-carrying cylinder 7.

The washing liquid, as described above, contains additives with high added value, so its recovery is useful both from the economic point of view, as it avoids having to add them to the mixture at each washing cycle, and from an environmental point of view, inasmuch as soaps and degreasing additives are harmful to the environment and must be properly disposed of, with a considerable increase in costs.

Conveniently, the recovery circuit comprises at least one of a filtering unit 26 adapted to filter the waste washing liquid for the removal of the residues, a heated tank 27 adapted to contain the filtered washing liquid and a supply pump 28 adapted to put the washing liquid under pressure and convey it to the nozzle 11.

Preferably, the filtering unit 26 is of the type of a mesh filter adapted to retain dirt and fiber residues, although the possibility cannot be ruled out of providing a filtering unit 26 of a different type.

As regards, on the other hand, the heated tank 27, this is provided with heating means 29 which allow the washing liquid to be brought to a sufficiently high set temperature, making it more effective in removing the dirt from the work surface 10.

As shown in the figures, the heating means 29 are of the type of an electrical resistor, although the possibility of providing different heating means 29 cannot be ruled out.

Conveniently, the heated tank 27 is also provided with a temperature sensor which is adapted to detect the temperature of the washing liquid.

Furthermore, the recovery circuit comprises at least one auxiliary pump 30, preferably with a low head, adapted to convey the washing liquid under pressure to the filtering unit, in order to improve its performance.

The recovery circuit also comprises a plurality of pipes 31 for the flow of the washing liquid.

Conveniently, the bottom 4 of the washing tank 3 comprises at least one drainage opening to drain off the washing liquid to which the recovery circuit is connected.

In particular, the drained washing liquid conveyed through the drainage opening flows through a first pipe 31 and is conveyed to the auxiliary pump 30, which gives a boost to the washing liquid to flow through the filtering unit 26, which it reaches through a second pipe 31 , in order to effectively remove the residues, obtaining a clean washing liquid.

Through a third pipe 31, the clean washing liquid is conveyed to the heated tank 27, where it is collected and brought up to the right temperature for washing.

Subsequently, by means of the supply pump 28, the heated washing liquid is drawn flowing through a fourth pipe 31 and conveyed under pressure to the nozzle 11 , through pipes not shown in the illustrations.

Advantageously, the machine also comprises at least one compressor, not shown in the illustrations, adapted to compress air, which through a pipe not shown, is conveyed to the drying means 12.

In the second embodiment of the invention shown in figures 6 to 8, the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprise:

at least two rollers 6b rotatable around washing axes C which are parallel to each other and not vertical, provided with respective lateral support surfaces 32 adapted to receive and support the needle -carrying cylinder 7 in a washing position in which the cylindrical body 8 is supported on the work surface 10; and

motorization means 33 adapted to set at least one of the rollers 6b in rotation around the respective washing axis C.

In other words, in the washing position, the central axis B of the cylindrical body 8 is arranged in a non-vertical position, substantially parallel to the axes of rotation A.

The possibility of providing means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprising more than two rollers 6b cannot be ruled out.

In the context of the present discussion, the term "non-vertical" means that the washing axes C are horizontal or oblique.

Advantageously, the washing axes C are oblique, so that the washing liquid can flow on the cylindrical body 8 and remove the dirt more easily, without the risk of any stagnation, thus guaranteeing the correct washing and drainage.

Preferably, both the rollers 6b are motorized, although the possibility of providing only one of the rollers of the motorized type cannot be ruled out, while the second one consists of an idle roller, that is free to rotate and which is driven in rotation in use by contact with the work surface 10.

Conveniently, the rollers 6b and the motorization means 33 are associated with at least one support bar 36 fixed to the base frame 2 by means of brackets 18.

As can be seen in the figures, the motorization means 33 are associated with at least one belt 19 which allows the motion to be transferred to the rollers, setting them in rotation around the axis of rotation A.

In particular, the belt 19 is associated with at least one pulley 20 of at least one of the two rollers 6b, through which the motion is transferred.

Conveniently, the means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b comprise retaining means comprising at least one wheel 34 revolving around an auxiliary axis D substantially perpendicular to the washing axes C and (the retaining means being) adapted to come into contact with one of the bases 9 by keeping the needle-carrying cylinder 7 in the washing position.

This way, the needle-carrying cylinder 7 can be kept in the washing position, without the risk of the sliding thereof on the lateral support surfaces 32 of the rollers 6b during operation.

Advantageously, the wheel 34 is of the idle type, i.e., driven in rotation by the cylindrical body 8 with which it comes into contact and it is free to rotate around the auxiliary axis D, so as not to affect the setting in rotation of the needle-carrying cylinder 7.

The fact that the auxiliary axis D is perpendicular with respect to the washing axes C results in the wheel 34 being in a substantially orthogonal position with respect to the base 9 and that there is no friction due to particular angles with respect to the base itself.

As shown in the illustrations, the head 13 is associated with at least one oblique guide 35 for its movement along the first direction of movement Dl, parallel to the axes of rotation A.

The movement of the head 13 is carried out by means of at least one motor 37 adapted to control the sliding of the head itself on the oblique guide 35 and, therefore, it can only be moved along the first direction of movement Dl.

This way, the movement of the head 13 is made easier and involves a limited number of parts and movements.

In particular, the presence of only the oblique guide 35 and the lack of approach or away movement of the head 13 along the second direction of movement D2 involves a reduction in both the cost of construction of the machine 1, but also the advantageous reduction in the incidence of failures compared to the solution shown in the first embodiment.

Conveniently, in the second embodiment, the head 13 is housed in a space 38 comprised between the rollers 6b and underlying the needle-carrying cylinder 7 in the washing position.

This space 38 is defined between the work surface 10 and the bottom 4 of the washing tank 3 and is laterally delimited by two substantially vertical positioning surfaces P and tangent the work surface 10.

Specifically, it should be noted that the head 13 can be placed in any position within the space 38 between the work surface 10 and the bottom 4 of the washing tank 3.

As already mentioned, in the washing position, the needle-carrying cylinder 7 rests on the lateral support surfaces 32; since the distance between the rollers 6b is fixed, as the diameter of the cylindrical body 8 varies, the distance between the work surface 10 and the head 13 can vary.

In particular, in the case of a small needle-carrying cylinder 7, this tends to penetrate more between the two rollers 6b, being closer to the head 13; if, on the other hand, the needle- carrying cylinder 7 is large, the distance between the work surface 10 and the head 13 is greater.

In both cases, however, the distance between the work surface 10 and the head 13 varies within an acceptable range, so that the greater or lesser distance can be possibly offset by varying the flow rate of washing liquid dispensed by the nozzle 11.

Consequently, the displacement of the head 13 along the oblique guide 35 is useful for reaching the entire work surface 10 as the height of the cylindrical body 8 varies.

Also in this case the possibility of providing the head 13 with a plurality of nozzles 11 arranged aligned with each other and selectively operable according to the height of the cylindrical body 8 cannot be ruled out.

The displacement of the head 13 along the oblique guide 35 is controlled by means of the information supplied by the operator through the control unit 15, which is operatively connected to the motor 37, but the possibility cannot be ruled out of providing, similarly to the first embodiment, auxiliary sensor means to detect the diameter of the needle-carrying cylinder 7, which are operatively connected to an automatic control unit which controls the motor itself.

In the second embodiment, the machine 1 comprises a recovery circuit and a compressor substantially identical to that described for the first embodiment.

In the third embodiment of the invention shown in figures 9 to 12, the machine 1 comprises a first apparatus 48 for cleaning the needle-carrying cylinders 7 and a second apparatus 49 for cleaning the needle-carrying plates 50.

The first apparatus 48 comprises means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b, dispensing means, drying means and related movement components substantially identical to those described and illustrated with reference to the first embodiment (Figures 1-5), to the detailed description reference is made in full.

With reference to the second apparatus 49, instead, it must first of all be pointed out that needle-carrying plate 50 means an assembly comprising:

at least one rectangular plate-shaped body 51 provided with a substantially rectilinear working side 52, and with a plurality of slots 53 substantially transverse to the working side 52; and

a plurality of knitting plate needles 54, housed sliding in the slots 53 and provided with at least a working extremity 55 which comes out overhanging from the working side 52.

More in detail, the plate-shaped body 51 has a first main face 56 and a second main face which are mutually opposite.

The slots 53 are obtained on the first main face 56, are all orthogonal to the working side 52 and extend substantially over the entire width of the plate-shaped body 51 , from the working side 52 to its opposite side.

The second apparatus 49 comprises:

a support device 57, located inside the washing tank 3 and adapted to support, in a pre-established washing position, at least one needle-carrying plate 50;

distribution means 58 associated with the base frame 2 and adapted to dispense the washing liquid under pressure towards the needle-carrying plate 50, located in the pre-established washing position.

Advantageously, the support device 57 is shaped so that, in the pre-established washing position, the needle -carrying plate 50 is substantially inclined with respect to the horizontal plane, with the first main face 56 facing upwards and the working side 52 facing downwards.

This arrangement is important in order to ensure a complete washing of the needle- carrying plate 50 and, above all, a correct drainage of the washing liquid and of the dirt through the slots 53 and the subsequent outflow of these through the working side 52.

Conveniently, the support device 57 comprises primary backing means 59 and secondary backing means 60, arranged transversely to the primary backing means 59.

The backing means 59, 60 are conveniently adapted to form a reticular structure defining an inclined resting surface on which the needle-carrying plate 50 rests in the pre- established washing position.

Conveniently, to prevent the needle-carrying plate 50 from slipping away from the inclined surface, the use is envisaged of a series of "L" shaped brackets 68, associable with the second main face of the needle-carrying plate 50.

For this purpose, the second main face is provided with suitable attachment holes 68a to be coupled with the screws 68b.

An abutment element 61 is associated with the support device 57.

Conveniently the abutment element 61 is arranged at a pre-established distance from the working side 52 and the working extremities 55 are arranged in contact against it to prevent the plate needles 54 from completely coming out of the slots 53.

The abutment element 61, for example, is defined by a first side panel which extends horizontally along the entire length of the inclined surface.

In the pre-established washing position, the working side 52 of the needle -carrying plate 50 is arranged substantially facing and parallel to the first side panel.

Sectioning the second apparatus 49 along a vertical plane orthogonal to the working side 52 (figure 12), it can be noted that the abutment element 61 has a surface substantially orthogonal to the inclined surface and that it receives in support the working extremities 55 of the plate needles 54.

The second apparatus 49 also comprises a protection element 69, which can be placed substantially between the distribution means 58 and the working extremities 55 of the plate needles 54 in the pre-established washing position and which is adapted to protect the working extremities 55 from the washing liquid.

In this regard it is emphasized that, depending on the type of needle-carrying plate 50 and the type of plate needles 54, the working extremities 55 may be more or less thin and brittle; to prevent the washing liquid pressure from damaging the working extremities 55, the protection element 69 is arranged so as to divert the jet of the washing liquid.

Advantageously, the protection element 69 is defined by a second side panel which extends horizontally along the entire length of the inclined surface and which is arranged substantially in the proximity of the abutment element 61.

Sectioning the second apparatus 49 by a vertical plane orthogonal to the working side 52 (figure 12), it is noted that the protection element 69 has an inclined cross section so as to be parallel to the inclined surface.

Conveniently, the first side panel defining the abutment element 61 and the second side panel defining the protection element 69 make a profile section having an L-shaped cross section, in which one side of the "L" defines the first side panel while the other side of the "L" defines the second side panel.

The distribution means 58 comprise at least one dispensing element 62 (nozzle) adapted to direct the jet of the washing liquid towards the needle-carrying plate 50.

In the embodiment shown in Figures 9 to 12, the dispensing element 62 is one only and is mounted in a moveable manner to serve the needle -carrying plate 50 along its entire length and width and to clean all the slots 53.

The dispensing element 62, in particular, is mounted on first movement means 63 adapted to displace the dispensing element 62 along a first direction of sliding LI which, when the needle-carrying plate 50 is placed in the pre-established washing position, is substantially parallel to the working side 52.

The first movement means 63, for example, comprise one or more horizontal guides 63a, which define the first direction of sliding LI and on which a first slide 63b is actuated sliding while supporting the dispensing element 62.

Further, the dispensing element 62 is mounted on second movement means 64 adapted to displace the dispensing element 62 along a second direction of sliding L2 which, when the needle-carrying plate 50 is placed in the pre-established washing position, is substantially parallel to the slots 53.

The second movement means 64, for example, comprise one or more inclined guides 64a which are mounted on the first slide 63b, which define the second direction of sliding L2 and on which a second slide 64b is actuated sliding while supporting the dispensing element 62.

The dispensing element 62, finally, is mounted on third movement means 65 adapted to rotate the dispensing element 62 around a rotational axis Z which, when the needle- carrying plate 50 is placed in a pre-established washing position, is substantially parallel to the working side 52.

Alternative embodiments cannot however be ruled out in which multiple dispensing elements 62 are provided which are fixed or moved in a different manner.

In a possible alternative embodiment, for example, the second apparatus 49 is provided only with fixed dispensing elements 62, distributed so as to cover the entire extension of the needle-carrying plate 50.

In another alternative embodiment, on the other hand, the second apparatus 49 is provided with a reduced set of dispensing elements 62 fixed to the first slide 63b, which are moveable along the first direction of sliding LI but are not moveable along the second direction of sliding L2 or around the rotational axis Z.

In a further alternative embodiment, instead, the second apparatus 49 is provided with only one dispensing element 62 fixed to the second slide 64b, which is therefore able to move along the first direction of sliding LI and the second direction of sliding L2, but not around the rotational axis Z.

Finally in another alternative embodiment, the second apparatus 49 is provided with just one dispensing element 62 mounted on the third movement means 65 which, in turn, is fixed to the first slide 63b; in this case, therefore, the dispensing element 62 is able to move along the first direction of sliding LI and around the rotational axis Z, but not along the second direction of sliding L2.

In the embodiment shown in Figures 9 to 12, the machine 1 comprises a recovery circuit substantially identical to that described in the previous embodiments, with the sole difference that the supply pump 28 is also used to supply the washing liquid to the dispensing element 62.

Similarly, the third embodiment can be equipped with a compressor which besides supplying air to the drying means 12 of the first apparatus 48 for drying the needle- carrying cylinder 7, can also supply air to similar drying means for the drying of the needle-carrying plate 50.

In the fourth embodiment of the invention shown in Figure 13, the machine 1 comprises a third apparatus 66 for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders 7 and a fourth apparatus 67 for cleaning needle -carrying plates 50. The third apparatus 66 comprises means for setting in rotation 6a, 6b, dispensing means, drying means and related movement components substantially identical to those described and illustrated with reference to the second embodiment (Figures 6-8), to the detailed description of which reference is made in full.

The fourth apparatus 67, on the other hand, is substantially identical to the second apparatus 49 shown in Figures 9 to 12.

Finally, also in the embodiment shown in Figure 13, a recovery circuit and a compressor for washing and drying both the needle-carrying cylinder 7 and the needle-carrying plate 50 can be provided.

It has in practice been found that the described invention achieves the intended objects.

In this regard, the fact is underlined that the particular solution of providing a machine for cleaning needle-carrying cylinders for textile machines permits carrying out considerably effective washing operations in a practical and easy way, with relatively short operation times.

Furthermore, the particular solution of providing means of setting the needle-carrying cylinder in rotation makes it possible to considerably reduce intervention by personnel, with a consequent reduction in required labor.

Again, the particular solution of providing dispensing means and drying means permits reducing textile machine downtimes, so at the end of the washing cycles the needle- carrying cylinders are immediately available for use.

In addition, the particular solution of providing a head moveable in an automatic way permits considerably simplifying cleaning operations, with a reduction in the use of skilled labor.