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Title:
APPARATUS FOR IRONING SHOES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/110722
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Apparatus (1 ) for ironing parts of shoes (100) of a type comprising at least one moving ironing head (7; 107) provided with at least one pressing element (10a, 10b; 110) and at least one hand grip (8a, 8b; 108a, 108b) for manually moving the latter, at least one corresponding support last (3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6; 103a, 103b, 104) for a shoe, movable relative to said ironing head, as well as means (1 17) for moving the support last and manual controls (11a, 11b; 111a, 111b) for controlling said moving means. The apparatus is characterised in that the manual controls for controlling said moving means are placed on the moving ironing head.

Inventors:
NESE DAVIDE (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2007/000676
Publication Date:
October 04, 2007
Filing Date:
March 16, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ELETTROTECNICA B C S P A (IT)
NESE DAVIDE (IT)
International Classes:
A43D95/02
Foreign References:
EP0895730A21999-02-10
US3170257A1965-02-23
GB426400A1935-04-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARIETTI, Andrea (Gislon e Trupiano S.r.l.Via Larg, 16 Milan, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An apparatus (1) for ironing parts of shoes (100) of a type comprising at least one moving ironing head (7; 107) provided with at least one pressing element (10a, 10b; 110) and at least one hand grip (8a, 8b; 108a, 108b) for manually displacing said at least one pressing element, at least one corresponding support last (3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6; 103a, 103b, 104) for a shoe, movable relative to said ironing head, as well as means (117) for moving said at least one support last and manual controls (1 Ia, lib; Ilia, 111b) for controlling said moving means, characterized in that said manual controls (11a, lib; Ilia, 111b) are placed on said at least one moving ironing head.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that said moving means for said support last comprise a controlled device (117) for the rotation of said last about at least one axis.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, characterized in that said manual controls (lla, lib; Ilia, 111b) command the clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation of said controlled device for rotation. 4. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein said at least one ironing head is translatably movable relative to said support last.

5. The apparatus according to claim 2 or 3 in combination with claim 4, characterized in that said ironing head is translatably movable along an axis parallel to said at least one axis of rotation of said support last.

6. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, characterized in that said means (117) for moving said at least one support last comprise at least one electric motor.

7. The apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said at least one electric motor is a stepping motor.

8. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, characterized in that it comprises at least one actuator (1 16) for displacing shaped portions (3a, 3b; 5a, 5b; 103a, 103b) of said support last relative to the shoe being worked, and at least one manually-operated control (1 13) for operating said at least one actuator, said manually-operated control being arranged on said at least one moving ironing head. 9. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, characterized in that it comprises means (1 14) for generating steam and/or dry air and/or humidified air, a controller (1 15) for one or more operating parameters of said means for generating steam and/or dry air and/or humidified air, and one or more manual controls (1 12) for said controller.

10. The apparatus according to claim 9, characterized in that said one or more controls for the controller of said means for generating steam and/or dry air/and or humidified air are arranged on said at least one moving ironing head. 1 1. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, characterized in that said at least one pressing element is a roll (10a, 10b; 1 10).

12. The apparatus according to claim 1 1 , characterized in that said roll is motor-driven, the manual controls for regulating said motor-driven roll being arranged on said moving ironing head.

13. The apparatus according to any preceding claim, characterized in that it comprises means for heating said at least one pressing element. 14. The apparatus according to any preceding claim,

characterized in that said support last is a bootleg for supporting boots, or parts thereof.

Description:

"Apparatus for ironing shoes"

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for ironing the leather of at least one part of a shoe, of the type in which an ironing head, comprising at least one pressing element and a handgrip thereof, is manually operated at least in a translator/ manner relative to the shoe to be ironed, the latter being suitably arranged on a corresponding supporting last. It should be noted that, herein and below, by the term "ironing" is meant any operation, mainly mechanical, but also thermo-chemical, suitable to smooth over any surface irregularity, such as folds, creases, wrinkles o roughness of the leather of a shoe, or a part thereof. Furthermore, by "leather" is generally meant herein not only a material of animal origin, but also any other (also synthetic) material, which substitutes this material of animal origin. BACKGROUND ART

In the shoe manufacturing field, it is known to subject parts of the shoe, such as the upper, to one or more ironing operations on the leather, in which the latter is not only subjected to a mechanical pressing treatment between a pressing element, usually heated up, and a support thereof, but frequently also to a thermo-chemical softening treatment, consisting in the delivery of steam and/or hot, and possibly humidified, air. Mainly during the final steps, i.e. finishing, of shoe manufacturing, it may be required to smooth some surface irregularities of a shoe leather, such as creases or folds or the like, which are likely to originate during the preceding working operations. Particularly, this ironing operation is particularly delicate and critical when carried out on boots or other shoes provided with long leather

portions protruding from the sole. In this case, even the small irregularities of the upper leather result in an unacceptable aesthetic defect of the finished shoe, and accordingly, one or more ironing operations are required for these shoes during the working process. A number of ironing apparatuses for shoe leather is known to comprise a manually-operated ironing head provided with a pressing element, heating means and possibly one or more nozzles for delivering steam or hot, usually humidified, air being arranged therein. The ironing head is normally placed in correspondence to a last, or other support element for the shoe being worked, and the operator manually moves the ironing head relative to the support last by means of suitable hand grips.

The Patent Application EP-A-O 895 730 in the name of the Applicant, describes an ironing head for a shoe leather comprising a particular steam-delivery nozzle, which is fluidically connected to a respective boiler. The ironing head can, in this case, comprise a manual control to operate or prevent said delivery of steam on the shoe, such that the operator, during the ironing operation can determine, time after time, whether the shoe leather requires to be sprayed with the steam. The US Patent US 3,170,257, in the name of DZIADULONIS, relates to a shoe leather ironing apparatus of a type being provided with a manually-operated ironing head, having a plurality of delivery holes for a jet of humidified air. The apparatus also comprises means for generating the jet of humidified air, directed to said delivery holes of the ironing head, and a pedal control for the operator to drive these means for generating the jet of humidified air.

The British Patent GB 426,400 in the name of UNITED SHOE MACCHINERY CO., relates to a support last for shoes, particularly for boots, which is suitable to be used during any cleaning and ironing

operations on this shoe. This support last has portions moving relative to each other, such as to allow both a high adaptability to the various types of shoes to be supported, and a considerable stability of the support last itself relative to any tools working on the shoe being supported thereon. Furthermore, the embodiment described in GB 426,400 can be also rotated relative to an axis, such as to allow the operator to manipulate the shoe being worked in an easier manner. Apparatus for ironing shoe portions of a type in which a last, such as that described in GB 426,400 pivots, sometimes in a motor-driven manner, about an axis and is also coupled to a manually movable ironing head, such as that described in EP-A-O 895 730 or other roller heads, is well known in the art. Particularly, it is known to provide the pivoting last supporting the shoe and the ironing head such that the latter is placed at the support last and can be translatably operated by the operator relative to this support last, whereas the latter can be rotated relative to this ironing head about an axis substantially parallel to the direction of translation of the ironing head. In this known apparatuses, however, the controls for rotatably operating the shoe support last, when provided, are either manual or, when this support last is motor-driven, pedal-operated and thus inevitably force the operator to have a break during the activity or ironing the upper leather in order to allow the last to rotate relative to the ironing head in order to subject to the latter the various portions of the shoe to be ironed. When the operator is then forced to, due to ironing requirements, rotate the support last in the one direction, and in rapid succession, in the opposite direction, the break required to perform these rotations, mainly when a considerable precision is required in order to position the last angularly relative to the ironing head, results to be

considerably long.

This break, besides sensibly reducing the productivity of the ironing apparatus, can further result damaging to the shoe leather, which can be subjected to undue cooling, and thus not result ironed in an optimum manner at the end of the processing.

Furthermore, the ironing apparatus described above also results not user-friendly, as the operator must identify, and then operate, the various controls for operating the apparatus, which are placed in various locations on the apparatus itself . Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for ironing parts of shoes, which does not suffer from the drawbacks stated above, and which exhibits a high productivity while allowing an easy ironing of the shoe. Another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for ironing parts of shoes, which is simple and rapid to use by the operator.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other objects are achieved by the apparatus for ironing parts of shoes according to the first independent claim and the subsequent claims depending thereon.

The apparatus for ironing parts of shoes according to the present invention comprises at least one moving ironing head, which is provided with at least one pressing element and at least one hand grip for the manual displacement of the said pressing element, a corresponding support last for a shoe, which is movable relative to the ironing head, as well as means for moving this support last, and then manual controls for adjusting said moving means. Advantageously, the manual controls for the moving means of the support last are placed on the moving ironing head.

The provision of manual controls for moving, preferably rotatably, the support last directly on the moving ironing head, for example on the hand grip or proximate thereto, allows the operator to provide the ironing head with different portions of the shoe being worked without having to stop the ironing activity, with consequent advantages in terms of higher productivity and better performance in this activity of leather ironing.

It should be observed that herein and below, in brief, by "shoe" is not only meant a shoe in the final stage thereof, but also a shoe in any manufacturing stage, such as before finishing or prior to the application of the sole, etc. in a preferred embodiment of the ironing apparatus according to the present invention, the ironing head is movable, manually translatably operated substantially along an axis parallel to the axis about which the rotation movement of the support last is provided. Furthermore, in this preferred embodiment of the invention, the support last can be moved by electric step by step motors, such as to improve the precision and rapidity of rotation of the last. Thereby, the controlled rotation of the support last relative to the ironing head allows the operator to easily and precisely arrange the various leather portions of the shoe to be worked at the ironing head, which is, in turn, simply induced to translate, substantially only along a straight line by the operator. This arrangement of the parts of the apparatus according to the present invention is particularly advantageous in the case where the ironing apparatus is used for ironing uppers of boots.

According to a preferred aspect of the present invention, the ironing apparatus also comprises controlled means for generating steam and/or a dry air stream and/or a humidified air stream, which are

operated by manual controls, such as push-buttons or hand grips, which are also placed on said ironing head of the apparatus. According to another aspect of the present invention, the pressing element can be a roll, that can be motor-driven and rotatably controlled by the operator, which can also be provided with means for being heated, such as electric resistances, known per se in the art. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Several embodiments of the present invention will be now described only by way of non-limiting examples, with reference to the annexed figures, in which:

Fig. 1 is a three-dimensional partial schematic view of an apparatus for ironing parts of a shoe, according to a particular aspect of the present invention; Fig. 2 is a detailed schematic view of a detail of the ironing apparatus in Fig. 1 ; and

Fig. 3 is a operating diagram of an ironing apparatus for parts of a shoe, according to another aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Referring first to Fig. 1 and 2, the apparatus 1 for ironing parts of a shoe 100, according to a particular aspect of the present invention, comprises at least one moving ironing head 7, provided with one or more pressing elements 10a, 10b for a shoe 100 and with hand grips 8a, 8b for manually operating the moving head 7, as well as one corresponding support last 3a, 3b, 4 for the shoe 100, which is provided with means for being moved relative to said ironing head 7. The apparatus 1 further comprises one or more manual controls 1 1 a, l i b, for controlling the moving means of the last 3a, 3b, 4, that are

advantageously integrated on the ironing head 7. More particularly, in the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 1 and 2, the ironing head 7 of the apparatus 1 comprises a central body provided with said controls 1 1 a, 1 1 b for moving the last 3a, 3b, 4, two co-axial hand grips 8a, 8b, laterally projecting from said central body and being arranged to allow the operator to displace the ironing head 7 relative to the last 3a, 3b, A 1 as well as two pressing elements T Oa, 10b, for example consisting of two rolls with parallel axes, which are mounted below said central body. Preferably, the apparatus 1 comprises a second support last 5a, 5b, 6, protruding relative to the body of the apparatus 1 , beside the first support last 3a, 3b, 4, and arranged to hold a second shoe (not shown) to be subjected to the ironing operation. In this case, the apparatus 1 can have an individual ironing head 7, which can be, however, manually arranged at the one or the other of the support lasts 5a, 5b, 6, such as to allow the alternate ironing of the shoes 100 being worked on said support lasts 5a, 5b, 6; 3a, 3b, 4 of the apparatus 1. The support lasts 5a, 5b, 6 and 3a, 3b, 4 of the apparatus 1 shown in Fig. 1 and 2, particularly, can be preferably rotatably moved relative to the axes thereof, due to suitable actuators, such as brushless (or "stepper") electric motors, or other electric stepping (i.e. step by step) motors driven by the manual controls 1 1 a, l i b placed on the head 7. In this case, the manual controls 1 1a, l i b can command the rotation of either the one or the other last 5a, 5b, 6 and 3a, 3b, 4, respectively, or preferably they can command the clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation of each of the lasts 5a, 5b, 6; 3a, 3b, 4 relative to the body of the apparatus 1. This allows the operator to rotatably operate the shoes 100, for

example boots, arranged on the lasts 5a, 5b, 6; 3a, 3b, 4, relative to the ironing head 7, and thus changing the portion of shoe 100 subjected to the pressing rolls 10a, 10b, without removing his/her hands from the hand grips 8a, 8b. Thereby, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the continuity of the ironing operation, and consequently a high productivity, can be ensured for the apparatus 1 , as well as a considerable comfort of use.

It should be also observed that the use of electric stepping motors, with the respective controls 1 1 a, l i b for clockwise and counter- clockwise operation, allows the user to position the portion of upper of the shoe 100 to be worked in a very accurate and rapid manner below the ironing head 7, even when, due to processing requirements, the angle of rotation of the support last 3a, 3b, 4 or 5a, 5b, 6 is required to be sequentially changed in the one direction and then in the other. In fact, as the manual controls 1 1a, l i b can be easily operated during the ironing operation, without the operator being required to release the hand grip on the hand grips 8a, 8b, allows the electric stepping motor to carry out a rapid and precise rotation, in the selected direction, of the support last 3a, 3b, 4 or 5a, 5b, 6 subjected to processing below the ironing head 7.

Furthermore, in the apparatus 1 as illustrated herein, the ironing head 7 can be manually translatably operated by the operator along an axis substantially parallel to the axes that are, in turn, parallel to each other, about which the support lasts 3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6 are rotated thereby allowing the ironing of substantially rectilinear portions of the leather of the upper of the shoe 100 being worked. The progressive rotary movement of the support lasts 3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6 relative to the ironing head 7 thus allows ironing subsequent rectilinear portions, which are each time arranged at the pressing rolls 10a, 10b, of the

leather of shoe 100, in a simple and rapid manner. It should be observed that, however, ironing apparatus provided with any number of ironing heads and support lasts for shoes, which can be however translatably and/or rotatably operated relative to each other, provided that they are equipped with controls for moving the support lasts integrated on the ironing head, fall within the inventive concept of the present invention.

According to a preferred aspect of the present invention, the ironing head 7 of the apparatus 1 shown herein also comprises a duct 9, with a respective nozzle, to deliver a jet of steam or dry air or humidified air to the last 3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6 on which the shoe 100 being worked is placed, possibly through the pressing rollers 10a, 10b. The duct 9 is fluidically connected to known means for generating a stream of steam and/or dry air and/or humid air (as may be seen also with reference to the operating diagram in Fig. 3), which can be operated by means of a further manual control 12, also integrated on the ironing head 7.

As both the moving controls of lasts 3a, 3b, 4; 5a, 5b, 6, and the control 12 for delivering a fluid, such as with an emollient function for the leather of shoe 100 are integrated on the head 7, the apparatus 1 is provided with a particular comfort of use.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the apparatus 1 illustrated in Fig. 1 and 2 is also provided with support lasts for shoes 100 of a type known per se, in which two couplable elements 5a and 5b (or 3a and 3b) are cantilevered mounted on a rotation disk 6 (or 4), such as to be not only integrally rotated, but also moved close to and away from each other, in order to allow the shoe 100 to be easily mounted and then held on the support last. Furthermore, in an embodiment of the present invention, not illustrated

herein, the apparatus 1 can be provided with means for heating one or both pressing elements 10a, 10b, for example consisting of an electric resistance, which can be adjusted by the operator. In another embodiment of the present invention, furthermore, when the pressing elements consist of rolls 10a, 10b pivoting relative to the direction of translation of the ironing head 7, such as in the apparatus 1 shown in Fig. 1 and 2, these rolls 10a, 10b can be motor-driven, such that their rotation relative to the leather of shoe 100 results to be mechanically assisted, and thus can be defined by the operator as a function of the ironing requirements of each shoe being processed. In this case, the manual controls determining, for example, the operation of the motors for rotating the rolls, the rotational speed and the direction of rotation of the latter, can be also integrated on the body, or on the hand grips 8a, 8b, of the ironing head 7. The diagram in Fig. 3 relates to an apparatus for ironing shoe portions which is much similar to that described with reference to Fig. 1 and 2, but provided with servo-controls to govern parts of the support last of the shoe being worked, in order to allow the shoe to be fitted on the last and held thereto during ironing. In greater detail, the apparatus to which the diagram in Fig. 3 is referred comprises a support last 103a, 103b, 104 for a shoe and a moving ironing head 107, of the type provided with a pressing element consisting of an idle roll 1 10 and two hand grips 108a, 108b. The hand grips 108a, 108b are co-axially arranged on the sides of a central body of the ironing head 107, which carries the idle roll 1 10 that is pivotally mounted about an axis substantially parallel to the axis of the two hand grips 108a, 108b and thus orthogonal to the preset direction of translation of the ironing head 107. The ironing head 107 also comprises a nozzle 109 for delivering a jet of

steam directed to the roll 1 10 and, when the head 107 is in the operating position thereof, above the support last 103a, 103b, 104, to the support last 103a, 103b, 104 and thus to the shoe being held thereby. The nozzle 109 is fluidically connected by means of a suitable hydraulic line to a boiler 1 14, for example controllably heated by an electrical resistance or other Joule-effect electrical devices, by means of the interposition of a solenoid valve 1 15, which can be regulatably actuated by the operator. Particularly, the solenoid valve 1 15, which determines the outflow of steam from the boiler 1 14 and possibly the flow rate of the steam, can be controlled by means of a manual control 1 12 (for example, a switch or rotary potentiometer) which is advantageously placed on the middle body of the ironing head 107. The solenoid valve 1 15, possibly along with a device (not shown) for adjusting the thermo-dynamic conditions of the boiler 1 14, is a controller of the operation of the steam-generating means illustrated herein.

The support last 103a, 103b, 104 is of the type in which at least two shaped portions 103a and 103b, are movable relative to each other (for example, according to what is indicated by the arrow B) and allow, by moving close to and away from each other, the insertion of the shoe prior to working, for example in a position where they move close to each other, and the firm hold of the shoe, for example in a position where they move away from each other, during ironing (and the rotation of the support last 103a, 103b, 104).

In the particular embodiment shown in Fig. 3, the shaped parts 103a, 103b are cantilevered-mounted on a disk 104, arranged for placing these parts 103a, 103b in integral rotation (arrow A), and are also moved relative to each other (arrow B) due to actuators 1 16, of the

type comprising at least one electric motor M2, for example of the brushless (or stepper) type, of which the angle of rotation can be accurately determined by the operator. The operation of the actuators 1 16 can be subjected to a manual command 1 13, which is advantageously integrated within the ironing head 107 of the apparatus described herein.

The rotating disk 104 is further placed in rotation due to a device 1 17 for the controlled rotation of the support last 103a, 103b, 104 about the axis thereof, of the type comprising, for example, a brushless electric motor (or a stepper motor), or other stepping motor, of which the angle and direction of rotation can be accurately adjusted by the operator by means of manual controls I l i a, 1 1 1 b which are also placed on the central body, or possibly on the hand grips 108a, 108b, of the ironing head 107. As described above, the use of electric stepping motors in order to move, preferably in rotation, the support last 103a, 103b, 104 of the shoe to be ironed, along with the arrangement of the respective manual controls on the ironing head 107, allows the operator to move the support last 103a, 103b, 104 relative to the head 107 in any direction, with rapidity and effectiveness, without being forced to release the hand grip of the ironing head 107 in order to perform this operation.

The fact that all manual controls I l i a, 1 1 1 b, 1 12, 1 13, or most of them, for operating the ironing apparatus have been arranged on the ironing head 107, as will be appreciated by anyone skilled in the art, entails considerable advantages for the use of the ironing apparatus, thus increasing the productivity and making the latter more comfortable to use by the operator.