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Title:
A METHOD FOR PROVIDING VISUAL EFFECTS TO A DECORATIVE PATTERN, A CONTROL UNIT AND A SYSTEM FOR IN-LINE TREATMENT OF THREAD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/055297
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for providing visual effects to a decorative thread pattern, is provided. The method comprises i) determining an object to be produced as such decorative thread pattern, ii) determining a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein the entire thread arrangement corresponds to said object to be produced, iii) determining at least one visual effect of said object to be produced, said visual effect being associated with a set of thread portions of said thread arrangement and having a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions, and iv) determining a colouring scheme for a specific thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed. A control unit is also provided.

Inventors:
EKLIND MARTIN (SE)
STABERG JOAKIM (SE)
Application Number:
SE2019/050791
Publication Date:
March 19, 2020
Filing Date:
August 27, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COLOREEL GROUP AB (SE)
International Classes:
D05C11/24; D05B19/08; D05B67/00; D06P5/30; D03J1/04
Foreign References:
US6189989B12001-02-20
JPH06304359A1994-11-01
JPH11114258A1999-04-27
JP2002200382A2002-07-16
Other References:
COLOREEL: "Revolutionary thread coloring - Coloreel", YOUTUBE, 13 September 2016 (2016-09-13), XP054980458, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20191108]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STRÖM & GULLIKSSON AB (SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for providing visual effects to a decorative thread pattern, comprising:

determining an object to be produced as such decorative thread pattern, determining a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein the entire thread arrangement corresponds to said object to be produced,

determining at least one visual effect of said object to be produced, said visual effect being associated with a set of thread portions of said thread arrangement and having a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions, and

determining a colouring scheme for a specific thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed.

2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising providing in-line colouring of said thread in accordance with said colouring scheme during production of the decorative thread pattern.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said visual effect is a gradient, stripes, mottling, colour change in respect to absolute thread length, colour change in respect to relative thread length, solid colour, noise,

manipulation, mix, or a combination thereof.

4. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said visual effect is a continuous change in colour, brightness, hue, and/or saturation.

5. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the colouring scheme is determined by associating a first set of thread portions with a first colour, and a second set of thread portions with a second colour.

6. The method according to any of claims 1-4, wherein the colouring scheme is determined by associating an initial thread portion with a first colour, a final thread portion with a second colour, and determining a colour shift from the first colour to the second colour along the thread portions in between the initial thread portion and the final thread portion.

7. The method according to claim 6, wherein the colour shift is continuous such that the visual effect appears to be linear. 8. The method according to claim 6, wherein the continuous colour shift is non-linear.

9. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the decorative thread pattern is an embroidery, the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

10. The method according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the decorative thread pattern is a knitted fabric, the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

11. The method according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the decorative thread pattern is a woven fabric, the thread arrangement is a weave pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive interlacing between a warp and a weft.

12. The method according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the decorative thread pattern is a sewn fabric, the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

13. The method according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the decorative thread pattern is a tufted fabric, the thread arrangement is a tuft pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive tuft piles. 14. A control unit (110) configured to:

receive information of at least one visual effect of an object to be produced as a decorative thread pattern, said decorative thread pattern

comprising a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein said visual effect is associated with a set of thread portions of said thread

arrangement and having a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions,

receive a colouring scheme for a thread, and

control a treatment unit (100) to perform in-line colouring of the thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed.

15. A system (10) for in-line treatment of thread (20) for use with a thread consuming device (15), comprising:

a treatment unit (100) being configured to dispense one or more colouring substances onto the at least one thread (20) when activated; and

a control unit (110) according to claim 14, being configured to transmit a control signal to said treatment unit (100) based on the determined colouring scheme.

Description:
A METHOD FOR PROVIDING VISUAL EFFECTS TO A DECORATIVE PATTERN, A CONTROL UNIT AND A

SYSTEM FOR IN-LINE TREATMENT OF THREAD!

Techincal Field

The present invention relates to a method and a device for providing visual effects to a decorative thread pattern. In particular, the present invention relates to methods and devices for providing colouring shifts of e.g. embroidery.

Background

Typically, decorative thread patterns such as embroidery extend over a specified, or predetermined surface. The thread pattern may in the case of embroidery be formed by various stitching techniques, such as straight stitches, satin stitches, or different kinds of fill stitches. In order to provide a change in colour of the thread pattern, threads of different colours may be used. As one thread, having a first specified colour, is used for some stitches while another thread, having a second specified colour, is used for other stitches it is possible to provide a thread pattern having colour shifts.

In order to eliminate the obvious drawbacks of the requirement of multiple threads of different colours, the present applicant has filed several patent applications on the technique of in-line colouring of thread, such as

WO2016204687 and WO2016204686. Although the proposed solutions provide improvements in terms of colour quality and also reduces the complexity of the associated thread consuming device, it would be advantageous if the general principle of in-line colouring of thread could be modified to also provide improved colouring shifts in the embroidered pattern.

Summary

An object of the present invention is therefore to provide a solution overcoming the disadvantages of prior art. Especially, an object of the present invention is to improve the quality and versatility of graphical, decorative thread patterns. Existing thread consuming devices, such as embroidery machines, knitting machines, etc. all require threads of different pre-defmed colours to create a multi-colour object. These objects are very often trying to resemble images or image-like patterns; due to the limitation in thread colours, the final result is often poor. Therefore, there is a great desire to use instant coloured threads for representing graphical images.

According to a first aspect, a method for providing visual effects to a decorative thread pattern is provided. The method comprises i) determining an object to be produced as such decorative thread pattern, ii) determining a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein the entire thread arrangement corresponds to said object to be produced, iii) determining at least one visual effect of said object to be produced, said visual effect being associated with a set of thread portions of said thread arrangement and having a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions, and iv) determining a colouring scheme for a specific thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed.

Normally, the set of thread portions are aligned in a single direction (or at least as a group they can be considered to have a general direction), and the direction of the visual effect is different from this general direction.

In an embodiment, the method further comprises a step of providing in line colouring of the thread in accordance with the colouring scheme during production of the decorative thread pattern. This is advantageous in that the entire method may be performed in-line with a running thread consuming device.

The visual effect may e.g. be a gradient, stripes, mottling, or a

combination thereof. Other visual effects are also possible within the scope of this specification.

In an embodiment, the visual effect is a continuous change in colour, brightness, and/or saturation, or a combination thereof.

The colouring scheme may be determined by associating a first set of thread portions with a first colour, and a second set of thread portions with a second colour. In an embodiment, the colouring scheme is determined by associating an initial thread portion with a first colour, a final thread portion with a second colour, and determining a colour shift from the first colour to the second colour along the thread portions in between the initial thread portion and the final thread portion.

The colour shift may be continuous such that the visual effect appears to be linear.

The colour shift may in other embodiments be continuous, but in a manner such that the visual effect appears to be non-linear.

The decorative thread pattern may be an embroidery; for such

embodiment the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

The decorative thread pattern may be a knitted fabric; for such embodiment the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

The decorative thread pattern may be a woven fabric; for such

embodiment the thread arrangement is a weave pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive interlacing between a warp and a weft.

The decorative thread pattern may be a sewn fabric; for such

embodiment the thread arrangement is a stitch pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive stitches.

The decorative thread pattern may be a tufted fabric; for such

embodiment the thread arrangement is a tuft pattern, and the plurality of consecutive thread portions is a plurality of consecutive tuft piles.

According to a second aspect, a control unit is provided. The control unit is configured to receive information of at least one visual effect of an object to be produced as a decorative thread pattern. The decorative thread pattern comprises a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein the visual effect is associated with a set of thread portions of said thread

arrangement and having a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions. The control unit is further configured to receive a colouring scheme for a thread, and to control a treatment unit to perform in-line colouring of the thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed.

According to a third aspect, a system for in-line treatment of thread for use with a thread consuming device is provided. The system comprises a treatment unit being configured to dispense one or more colouring substances onto the at least one thread when activated; and a control unit according to the second aspect, being configured to transmit a control signal to the treatment unit based on the determined colouring scheme.

Definitions

Thread consuming device is in this context any apparatus, which in use consumes thread. It may e.g. be an embroidery machine, weaving machine, sewing machine, knitting machine, a tufting machine, a thread winding machine or any other thread consuming apparatus, which may benefit from in-line colouring of an associated thread.

Thread is in this context a flexible elongate member or substrate, being thin in width and height direction, and having a longitudinal extension being significantly greater than the longitudinal extension of any parts of the system described herein, as well as than its width and height dimensions. Typically, a thread may consist of a plurality of plies being bundled or twisted together. The term thread thus includes a yarn, wire, strand, filament, etc. made of various different materials such as glass fibre, wool, cotton, synthetic materials such as polymers, metals, or e.g. a mixture of wool, cotton, polymer, or metal.

Within this specification, all references to upstream and/or downstream should be interpreted as relative positions during normal operation of the thread consuming device, i.e. when the device is operating to treat an elongated substrate, such as a thread, continuously moving through the device in a normal operating direction. Hence, an upstream component is arranged such that a specific part of the thread passes it before it passes a downstream component. Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiments of the invention will be described in the following description of the present invention; reference being made to the appended drawings which illustrate non-limiting examples of how the inventive concept can be reduced into practice.

Fig. la is a schematic view of a system for in-line treatment of thread according to an embodiment;

Fig. lb is a perspective view of a system having a thread consuming device and a treatment unit according to an embodiment;

Fig. 2 is a schematic view of a substrate to be used with the system according to Figs. la-b.

Fig. 3a is a schematic view of an example of a decorative thread pattern,

Fig. 3b is a schematic view of another example of a decorative thread pattern, and

Fig. 4 is a schematic view of a method according to an embodiment.

Detailed Description

Starting in Fig. la a schematic view of system 10 for in-line colouring of a thread is shown. The system 10 comprises a treatment unit, i.e. a colouring unit 100 for dispensing one or more colouring substances onto at least one thread.

The system 10 further comprises a control unit 110, for use with at least one thread consuming device 15, which may e.g. be in the form of an embroidery machine, a weaving machine, a sewing machine, a knitting machine, or a tufting machine. As will be further explained in the following, the thread consuming device 15 is capable of producing a decorative thread pattern.

Now turning to Fig. lb the thread consuming device 15 is exemplified as an embroidery machine, here illustrated as a single-head embroidery machine, being equipped with a treatment unit 100 and a control unit 110. The embroidery machine comprises a moveable stage 2b carrying the fabric or substrate to be embroidered. During operation the moveable stage 2b is controlled to rapidly change its position in the X and Y direction (i.e. the horizontal plane). The treatment unit 100 allows the embroidery machine 15 to operate without the provision of uniquely pre-coloured threads, as is required for conventional embroidery machines. Instead, the treatment unit 100 provides in line colouring of a thread 20 in accordance with predetermined colouring patterns, such that a coloured embroidery can be produced. The treatment unit 100 thus replaces individual thread reels as is present in prior art systems.

The thread consuming device 15 is preferably arranged to provide a thread arrangement 22 into a substrate 30. This is schematically shown in Fig. 2, where the thread 20 is applied to the substrate 30 by a plurality of consecutive thread portions 24. The thread arrangement 22 corresponds to a decorative thread pattern to be produced, such as an embroidered object. Depending on particular details of the thread consuming device 15, the thread arrangement 22 may be a stitch pattern (such as in the case of an embroidery machine, a knitting machine, or a sewing machine), a weave pattern (such as in the case of a weaving machine), or a tuft pattern (such as in the case of a tufting machine).

A plurality of thread portions 24 forms an object 26 as a decorative thread pattern onto the substrate 30. The object 26 may be a specific pattern, figure, shape, text, emblem, symbol, or the like. The object 26 may e.g. be an embroidered logotype or a company name.

As mentioned earlier, a control unit 110 is in connection with the thread consuming device 15 as well as to the treatment unit 100. In order to allow for visual effects of the decorative thread pattern to be produced, the control unit 110 is configured to initially determine an object to be produced as a decorative thread pattern. Visual effects may e.g. include a gradient, stripes, mottling, etc. More specifically, typical effects which are used with the present invention include i) colour change in respect to absolute thread length (such as 3 cm red,

23 cm green), ii) colour change in respect to relative thread length (such as 30 % red, 70 % green), iii) solid colour, iv) gradient, v) noise, vi) manipulation (such as change in hue, tone, brightness, contrast, etc.), vii) mix (i.e. merging of different swatches). Each one of these effects can be repeated for a number of times within the area of the certain effect. Within this context, the term“noise” relates to one or more colours to which some kind of manipulation is added, e.g. saturation or brightness, where the manipulation is a fractal, Gaussian, or other. The term“swatch” relates to a setting that will generate a specific dispensing pattern, of the coating substance, for a certain design segment. The design segment may be a part of a pattern, figure, shape, text, emblem, symbol, colour gradient, or the like. A swatch may e.g. be a solid, a gradient, or a transformation from a solid which after a certain length transforms to a gradient between two colours.

From this object, which e.g. may be a graphical representation of an item, an image, a logotype, etc., the control unit 110 is further configured to determine a thread arrangement comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions, each thread portion having a thread portion direction, wherein the entire thread arrangement corresponds to said object to be produced. Importantly, the control unit 110 may not be capable of determining such thread arrangement by its own structure and configuration, but the control unit 110 may in some embodiments receive thread arrangement data from another control unit. For example, the thread consuming device 15 may be provided by a first supplier, while the treatment unit 100 is provided by a second supplier. In such case the control unit 110 may be provided with the treatment unit 100, while being configured to receive thread arrangement data from a control unit of the thread consuming device 15.

The purpose of the control unit 110 is to control in-line colouring of the thread such that the visual effect appears on the object to be produced. During normal operation, the control unit receives information, or data, representing at least one visual effect of said object to be produced. The visual effect may in one example be a colour gradient, or any other colour effect as mentioned above. The visual effect is preferably associated with a set of thread portions of the thread arrangement. In a preferred embodiment, the visual effect has a direction being different from at least one thread portion direction of the set of thread portions. The control unit 110 is further configured to determine a colouring scheme for a thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using said thread according to said thread arrangement, is performed. Determining of the colouring scheme may be performed remote from the control unit 110, such that the control unit 110 receives the desired colouring scheme. In such case, the control unit 110 is configured to convert the received colouring scheme to a control signal for the treatment unit 100. However, since there are usually several different control units involved with in-line colouring during thread consumption (i.e. one control unit 110 to control the treatment unit 100, one control unit to control the thread consuming device, one control unit to convert image data to stitch pattern, etc.), the exact distribution of tasks between these control units is not important.

Further details of the technical concept will now be described with reference to Figs. 3a-b. Starting in Fig. 3a, a decorative thread pattern is intended to be produced by means of a thread arrangement 22. The thread arrangement 22 comprises a plurality of consecutive thread portions 24, each thread portion 24 being represented by an embroidery stitch. The stitches 24 are made in sequence, and each stitch has a specific direction; in the shown example, where embroidery is performed from left to right, the first stitch 24a has a direction Dl essentially upwards, while the last stitch 24b has a direction D2 essentially downwards. The shown example may in some specific application be intended to change colour; starting with a black area 25a at the far left, to a white area 25b at the far right, via a smooth colour change area 25c in the center portion of the thread arrangement 22. The colour gradient is thereby occurring in the direction D3, as indicated by the arrow.

Instead of splitting the thread arrangement 22 into separate rows of a unique colour, and thereby achieve a resulting colour change from black to white via discrete grey intermediates, a set of thread portions 24, or stitches, is determined which will cover the visual effect part 25c of the thread arrangement 22. In the shown example, the set of stitches is covering the stitches from 24c to 24d.

The control unit 110 is capable of transmitting a control signal to the treatment unit 100, such that the desired colouring of the thread is performed. Typically, such control signal may be configured in either one of two ways. In a first option, the control unit 110 receives or determines a specific colour for each stitch between the start and end stitches 24c-d, such that the transition from black to white occurs in the desired manner. Using such control strategy, it is required to know details of the amount of thread used for each stitch.

Instead, as a second option, the control unit 110 determines only the start colour at the start stitch 24c and the final colour at the end stitch 24d, and controls the thread colouring such that the transition from black to white occurs in the desired manner. Using such control strategy, it is not required to know details of the amount of thread used for each stitch but instead the colour change is“floating”. For such embodiment the total length of the thread is determined, i.e. the length of the thread required to perform the thread portions of the visual effect. In one preferred embodiment, the colouring is performed for a thread portion exceeding the determined total length; the last stitches are then performed such that they will not be visible.

The second alternative can be modified to further improve the visual effects of a decorative thread pattern to be produced. In the example shown in Fig. 3b, a visual effect in the form of a colour gradient is desired. The visual effect should be a colour shift from red (at the bottom) to white (at the top) via a gradient in the direction D4. In the shown example, production of the thread pattern starts at the bottom (the red colour) and proceeds upwards.

The control unit 110 may in this embodiment be configured to determine the amount of thread that will be used for each row of the thread arrangement 22; as the required thread amount is decreasing as the thread arrangement grows upwards, a linear colour change of the thread will not likely provide a desired result. Instead, the control unit 110 may be capable of compensating the colour change rate based on the required thread amount of each row, such that the colour change is initially slower over the length of the thread. Thereby a linear colour change of the thread arrangement 22 is obtained in the direction D4.

Now turning to Fig. 4 a schematic view of a method 200 is shown. The method 200 is performed in order to provide one or more visual effects to a decorative thread pattern, such as knitted fabric, embroidery, etc. as has already been described in the foregoing. Starting with an initial step 202, an object to be produced as such decorative thread pattern is determined. In practice, such step 202 may be performed by loading an image or other graphical representation into a memory of a control unit, such as the control unit 110 as described herein or another control unit of a remote device, such as a computer having a program for loading images and to produce a stitch file from such images. In a following step 204 a thread arrangement is determined, comprising a plurality of consecutive thread portions. This step 204 may e.g. correspond to creating a stitch file,

corresponding to the embroidery to be produced. In the thread arrangement, each thread portion has a thread portion direction, and typically the entire thread arrangement corresponds to the decorative thread pattern to be produced.

The method 200 proceeds by performing a step 206 of determining one or more visual effects of the object to be produced, and associating the visual effect with a set of thread portions, or stitches. Preferably, the direction of the visual effect is different, such as perpendicular, to the direction of the associated stitches.

Within this step 206, the method 200 preferably performs a step 208 of setting a start position for the visual effect, i.e. a start stitch, as well as a step 210 of setting an end position for the visual effect, i.e. an end stitch. Once the visual effect has been determined in terms of its start and end position, the method 200 performs a step 212 of determining a colouring scheme for a thread such that the visual effect is obtained when production of the decorative thread pattern, using the thread according to the thread arrangement, is performed.

This step 212 is performed by determining a suitable colouring of the thread as the thread passes the treatment unit 100 on its way to forming part of the thread arrangement. In a final step 214, the method 200 performs actual production of the visual effect by performing in-line colouring of the thread during operation of the thread consuming device 15 such that the coloured thread is handled in the desired manner, i.e. such that the decorative thread pattern, with its visual effect, is obtained. Although the present invention has been described above with reference to specific embodiments, it is not intended to be limited to the specific form set forth herein. Rather, the invention is limited only by the accompanying claims.

In the claims, the term“comprises/comprising” does not exclude the presence of other elements or steps. Additionally, although individual features may be included in different claims, these may possibly advantageously be combined, and the inclusion in different claims does not imply that a

combination of features is not feasible and/or advantageous. In addition, singular references do not exclude a plurality. The terms“a”,“an”,“first”,“second” etc do not preclude a plurality. Reference signs in the claims are provided merely as a clarifying example and shall not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims in any way.