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Title:
A FULLY AUTOMATED TEXTILE WASTE PROCESSING SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR THE PURPOSE OF OPENING, CLEANING, AND BIT ELIMINATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/031096
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention generally relates to a method and apparatus for recycling raw material and fibers (e.g. used clothing, non-woven, and other textile waste) to produce clean and open fibers that may be used in new textile products. The present invention produces fibers that may be used for re-spinning into yarn or into non-woven products. More specifically, the present invention comprises a fully automated textile waste processing line for the purpose of opening (C), cleaning (D), and bit elimination (E). The system may also include a computerized weigh technology, a secondary fiber feed and/or fluid additions.

Inventors:
DELL ORCO SERGIO (IT)
LEVY FRANK (US)
THANNHEISER AXEL (DE)
Application Number:
PCT/US2000/029446
Publication Date:
May 03, 2001
Filing Date:
October 26, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
STELLAMCOR GMBH (DE)
DELL ORCO SERGIO (IT)
LEVY FRANK (US)
THANNHEISER AXEL (DE)
International Classes:
D01G11/04; (IPC1-7): D01B3/04
Foreign References:
US5695130A1997-12-09
US5704104A1998-01-06
US5722603A1998-03-03
US5926918A1999-07-27
US6029916A2000-02-29
US6061876A2000-05-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schindler, Barry J. (NY, US)
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Claims:
What is claimed is:
1. A textile waste processing system that opens, cleans and eliminates bits from a raw material comprising: (a) at least one steam chamber; (b) at least one opening cylinder; (c) at least one willow/cleaner; (d) at least one bit opening cylinder; (e) at least one fine opening cylinder; (f) at least one material application mechanism; and (g) at least one press.
2. A textile waste processing system that opens, cleans and eliminates from a raw material comprising; (a) at least one steam chamber; (b) at least one opening cylinder; (c) at least one bit opening cylinder; and (d) at least one fine opening cylinder.
3. The system of claim 1 wherein the raw material is selected from the group consisting of : fiber and yarn from fiber manufacturing facilities; spinning waste, carding waste, weaving waste, knitting waste, tailoring waste, used clothing, nonwoven waste and carpet waste.
4. The system of claim 2 wherein the raw material is selected from the group consisting of : fiber and yarn from fiber manufacturing facilities; spinning waste, carding waste, weaving waste, knitting waste, tailoring waste, used clothing, nonwoven waste and carpet waste.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein the system further comprises at least two bit opening cylinders and wherein the bit opening cylinders are incorporated in parallel feed lines.
6. The system of claim 2 wherein the system further comprises at least two bit opening cylinders and wherein the bit opening cylinders are incorporated in parallel feed lines that are downstream from the bit opening cylinders.
7. The system of claim 5 wherein the system further comprises at least two willows/cleaners and wherein the willows/cleaners are incorporated in two parallel lines that are downstream from the bit opening cylinders.
8. The system of claim 6 wherein the system further comprises at least two willows/cleaners and wherein the willows/cleaners are incorporated in two parallel lines.
9. The system of claim 5 wherein the material application mechanism applies a feed material selected from the group consisting of antistatic fluid, antibiocides and fine retardent liquids.
10. The system of claim 7 wherein the material application mechanism applies a feed material selected from the group consisting of antistatic fluid, antibiocides and fine retardent liquids.
11. A textile waste proceeding method that opens, cleans and eliminates bits from a raw material comprising the steps of : (a) steaming the raw material; (b) opening the raw material fed from the steaming operation; (c) splitting the discharge stream from step (b) and feeding a portion to a willow/cleaner and a remaining portion to at least one bit opening cylinder and a willow/cleaner; (d) collecting the two streams of raw materials from step (c) and feeding the stream to at least one fine opening cylinder; (e) feeding the discharge from step (d) to at least one willow/cleaner; (f) adding material from the discharge of step (e); and (g) pressing the raw material to form recyclable fibers.
12. The textile waste processing method of claim 11 wherein the material of step (f) is selected from the group consisting of antistatic fluid, antibiocides and fire retardent fluids.
13. The textile waste processing method of claim 11 comprising the additional steps of : (h) cutting the raw material prior to step (a) of claim 11 ; and (i) blending the raw material from step (h).
14. The textile waste processing system of claim 5 wherein the system further comprises at least one cyclone at the discharge of the fine opening cylinder and at the opening cylinder.
Description:
A FULLY AUTOMATED TEXTILE WASTE PROCESSING SYSTEM AND METHODFOR THE PURPOSE OF OPENING, CLEANING, AND BIT ELIMINATION FIELD OF INVENTION The present invention generally relates to a method and apparatus for recycling raw materials and fibers (e. g. used clothing, non-woven, and other textile waste) to produce clean and open fibers that may be used in new textile products. The present invention produces fibers that may be used for re-spinning into yarn or into non-woven products. More specifically, the present invention comprises a fully automated textile waste processing line for the purpose of opening, cleaning, and bit elimination. The system may also include a computerized weigh technology, a secondary fiber feed and/or fluid additions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS Figures 1 through 4 are illustrations of various embodiments of the present invention showing block flow diagrams of the apparatus and method.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF PRESENT INVENTION Suitable fibers that may be used in the present invention include, but are not limited to: A. all natural fibers such as cotton, wool, linen and flax; B. all man made fibers such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, polypropylene and rayon; and C. any blends of the above.

Suitable raw materials that may be used in the present invention include, but are not limited to: A. fiber and yarn from fiber manufacturing facilities; B. textile processing waste, such as spinning waste, carding waste, weaving waste and knitting waste; C. tailoring waste; D. used clothing; E. non-woven waste; F. carpet waste; and G. any blends of the above.

The present invention reclaims the fibers and yarns from the raw material, discussed above. The present invention produces long and clean fibers that may be reprocessed into a new textile product, either for re-spinning into yarn or into non-woven products. In another embodiment, the process also includes the addition of a material onto the fibers. Suitable material include, but are not limited to, fiber, anti-static fluid, anti-biocides (e. g. antibacterial, antifungal) and fire retardant liquids.

Among those benefits and improvements that have been disclosed, other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments of the present invention and illustrate various objects and features thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale, some features may be exaggerated to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

The present invention comprises the following apparatus: (a) at least one steam chamber; (b) at least one opening cylinder; (c) a parallel line comprising at least one bit opening cylinder; (d) at least one willow cleaner; (e) at least one fine opening cylinder; and (f) at least one press. In a further embodiment, additional apparatus may be included in the system and process of the present invention including: (a) a mechanism that applies an additional material to the downstream fibers prior to or after the press.

In one embodiment, a steam chamber may be employed to soften and relax the fabric clips and yarns resulting in ease of opening the fibers and longer fibers. The steam chamber may include a super heater that produces high temperature steam (e. g. in the range of about 150-250°C, more particularly about 200°C), resulting in substantially dry, super-heated steam. In yet another embodiment, steam quantity and quality may be controlled by a modulating valve, which allows more or less steam into the chamber corresponding to the quantity of the raw material flow. The fibers may be conveyed through the steam chamber by any appropriate mechanical conveying mechanism (e. g. belt conveyor, screw conveyor).

At least one bit opening cylinder with a corresponding hopper feeder operate adjacent to the existing opening line (i. e. a"parallel line"). This parallel line reprocesses and opens only the bits (e. g. unopened, small pieces of fiber or yarns that are rejected by the main line). One purpose of this parallel line is to increase the efficiency and the amount of opening fibers, cleaning fibers, and further opportunities of removing waste by being able to precisely control the opening of the bits back into fiber. The fibers which have been processed by the bit opener may be reintroduced into the main line at any desired point. In one embodiment, the fibers, which have been processed by the bit opener (s) in the parallel line, may be reintroduced into the main line before the first cylinder, after the first cylinder, or prior to the last cylinder via a chute feed or a hopper feed.

In another embodiment, one or more additional cylinders may be located after the opening line, standing separately with an electronic apron scale, weighing the fiber web which is formed via the chute feed or a hopper feed. In another embodiment, a controlling computer analyzes the readout from the electronic apron weigh scale and instructs the material application unit to dispense the exact amount of material onto the fibers before pressing. As such, the weight of the fiber web will determine the amount of material that may be applied to the fiber. Suitable methods of applying the material include spraying, coating and immersing. Suitable material include anti-flame, deodorizer, anti-bacteria, anti-mildew, anti-fine, etc.

In yet another embodiment, the last cylinder may be supplied with an air balancing damper so as to reject any remaining possible bits, which may still be in the system, in order to process a clean fiber blend.

In one embodiment, one or more additional bale openers are employed with an electronic apron scale and a fine opener in parallel to the additional cylinder to blend a second fiber into the fiber stream. With the central computer, a complete controlled blend of additional fibers may be controlled into the main fiber stream. For example, a low melt fiber or another fiber depending on specifications of the final blend may be blended in accurate proportions.

In one embodiment, material flow is controlled by an electronic apron weighing device. In another embodiment, the raw material entering the steam chamber is continuously measured and processed via a computer to control the amount of steam to be injected into the raw material passing through the steam chamber. As such, the complete fiber flow through the system is automatically regulated. In addition, a centralized computer control system may control one or more of the following: power consumption; pounds of production; pounds of waste; efficiency; and maintenance schedule. Consequently, the present invention is completely controlled by computer and variable speed motors, which are controlled via computer.

In another embodiment, one or more apparatus are elevated above the floor (e. g. 1, 1.5,2,2.5 feet) for easy cleaning underneath. In yet another embodiment, humidification and air conditioning may be added to the machine as a result of the elevated height. In a further embodiment, feed rolls are driven from both sides of the cylinders are employed. In yet a further embodiment, each cylinder processing the fiber blend is equipped with lags and pins. The lags used could be of a plastic preformed mass with sawed or round pins embedded within.

Figures 1 through 4 illustrate various embodiments of the present invention. It is understood that these Figures are not meant to limit the invention to only these disclosed methods of recycling fibers. Figure 1 shows hopper/chute A gravity feeding the raw material to steam chamber (B) located prior to the opening cylinder (C). In another embodiment, the steam chamber (B) may be located downstream of one or more of the opening cylinders (C). In a further embodiment, two or more steam chambers are employed. In one embodiment, the steam chamber may consist of a stainless steel insulated chamber with a conveyor belt and steam nozzles (controlled by a valve).

The raw material then is fed to at least one opening cylinder C. From the opening cylinder C, part or all of the raw material is fed to willow/cleaner D. As illustrated in Figure 1, a portion of the raw material may then be fed to a parallel line comprising hopper/chute A, bit opening cylinder E and willow/cleaner D. For example, a portion of the raw material, which may be about 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% to about 50% of the total feed, may be diverted to the parallel line rather than feeding willow/cleaner D. It is understood that the hopper/chute is designed so the apparatus is uniformly fed and thus, suitable alternatives may be substituted for the hopper/chute to accomplish the same function. From either the direct line or the parallel line, the raw material is then fed to hopper/chute A that feeds fine opening cylinder F. Alternatively, part or all of the parallel line discharged fibers may be recycled to the initial part of the process for further steaming and willow/cleaning. The fibers are subsequently fed to willow/cleaner. Then, the fibers are subjected to material application G and, finally, fed to a press. In addition, as shown in Figure 1, additional fiber may be fed into the system through fine opening cylinder F.

Figure 2 illustrates another embodiment relating to a process and system similar to Figure 1 except Figure 2 illustrates additional recyling and bypass loops. For example, a portion of the discharged fibers of fine opening cylinder F may be fed into hopper/chute A of the parallel line. Alternatively, all or part of the discharged fibers from fine opening cylinder F may be fed directly into press H.

Figure 3 illustrates a further embodiment relating to the process and system similar to Figure 1. In this embodiment, the discharged fibers from fine opening cylinder F bypass willow/cleaner D. In addition, material application F may apply material in press H.

Figure 4 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. Figure 4 incorporates the use of at least one cutter I, a blending system J and at least one cyclone K to collect the fine particles that are created by opening cylinder C and fine opening cylinder F. The raw materials are fed to cutter I that then feeds blending system J. The fibers then follow a flow similar to those illustrated in Figures 1 through 3 and described above. Figure 4 also illustrates an embodiment where the discharged fibers from opening cylinder C bypasses cyclone K and willow/cleaner D and is fed into hopper/chute A that feeds fine opening cylinder F.

Figures 1 through 4 also show one bit opening section (E). In another embodiment, the bit opening section (E) may be located either upstream or downstream of the opening cylinder (C). The bit opening section may consist of a hopper feed or chute feed, and one or more opening cylinders with cleaners and cyclones to clean the fiber mix. Figures 1 through 4 further shows a material application (G). In another embodiment, the material application includes a device for spraying a controlled amount of liquid while the raw material is conveyed through the apparatus. In yet another embodiment, the raw material is weighed to control a precise amount of the liquid pumped into the fiber mix. In one embodiment, a variable speed pump is computer controlled.

As previously stated, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various forms. It will be appreciated that many modifications and other variations that will be appreciated by those skilled in the art are within the intended scope of this invention as claimed below without departing from the teachings, spirit and intended scope of the invention.