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Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING NO-TWIST CENTER-PULL ROVING PACKAGES
United States Patent 3785137
Abstract:
An apparatus and a method for producing a roving package by pretwisting a roving band during winding of the package to produce a one-twist per revolution band layer configuration. A roving band feeding eye is reciprocated with respect to and simultaneously orbited about a mandrel for winding filament containing roving strands thereupon. The winding is accomplished over the end of the mandrel so that a twist is incorporated in each turn of the roving strand for every revolution of the feeding eye. A device is also provided for shifting the winding eye radially outwardly as the diameter of the roving package increases during winding.


Application Number:
05/078723
Publication Date:
01/15/1974
Filing Date:
10/06/1970
Assignee:
Goldsworthy Engineering, Inc. (Torrance, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
57/67, 242/159
International Classes:
B65H54/02; B65H54/28; (IPC1-7): D01H1/04; B65H54/02
Field of Search:
57/67-71,75,156,157R 242
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3449901METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR WINDING YARNJune 1969Mackie
3383851Method of producing rovingMay 1968Hickman
2817948Wire stranding machineDecember 1957Cook
2788632Tension control in twisting machines and the likeApril 1957Dewhirst
2660023Twisting frameNovember 1953Bachofen
1588938Winding apparatusJune 1926Calkins
Primary Examiner:
Petrakes, John
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schaap, Robert J.
Claims:
Having thus described my invention, what I desire to claim and secure by Letters Patent is

1. The method of producing a package formed of a textile fiber strand which incorporates a twist in each turn of the strand in the package; said method comprising orbiting a strand feeding element with respect to a nonshiftable mandrel receiving said strand, rotating said mandrel about its own axis with respect to said orbiting feeding element and in timed relation to the orbiting movement of said feeding element, simultaneously shifting said feeding element back and forth with respect to a portion of the length of said mandrel, and winding said strand from said feeding element about said mandrel over one end thereof to form a strand package on said mandrel and to thereby incorporate a twist in each turn of said strand during each orbiting revolution of said feeding element about said mandrel, holding the speed of rotation of said mandrel with respect to the speed of orbiting movement of said feeding element sufficiently low so that a twist is incorporated in each turn of the strand and just sufficient so that the turns of the strand applied in one shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to said mandrel are applied in juxtaposition to the turns of the strand applied in a preceding shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to the mandrel.

2. The method of claim 1 further characterized in that said feeding element is held at a constant distance from the surface of the package being formed on the mandrel during its orbiting movement thereabout.

3. The method of claim 1 further characterized in that the velocity of said feeding element is regulated to compensate for the diametral size of the package being formed on said mandrel.

4. The method of claim 3 further characterized in that the strand is introduced to the feeding eye in a timed relation to the reciprocative movement of the feeding eye with respect to the mandrel.

5. The method of claim 1 further characterized in that the velocity of the feeding element and the speed at which the strand is applied to the mandrel is reduced as the diametral size of the package being formed on said mandrel increases.

6. The method of claim 1 further characterized in that the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element and the speed at which the strand is applied to the mandrel is reduced as the diametral size of the package being formed on said mandrel increases.

7. An apparatus for producing a strand package with a twist incorporated in each turn of the strand in the package, said apparatus comprising base means, a nonshiftable mandrel operatively mounted on said base means, a strand feeding element orbiting about said mandrel and reciprocatively shifting in the direction of the central axis of said mandrel simultaneously with the orbiting movement thereof, drive means for rotating said mandrel about its own axis with respect to said orbiting feeding element and in timed relation to the orbiting movement of said feeding element, so that strand issued from said feeding element is wound over the end of said mandrel to form a strand package on said mandrel and to thereby incorporate a twist in each turn of said strand during each orbiting revolution of said feeding element about said mandrel, and means operatively associated with said drive means to maintain the speed of rotation of said mandrel sufficiently low relative to the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element so that a twist is incorporated in each turn of the strand and just sufficient so that the turns of the strand applied in one reciprocative shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to the mandrel are not registered with the turns of strand applied in the preceding reciprocative shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to the mandrel.

8. The apparatus for producing strand packages of claim 7 further characterized in that means is provided for feeding a continuous strand formed of textile fiber material to said feeding element.

9. The apparatus for producing strand packages of claim 8 further characterized in that additional drive means is provided for simultaneously orbiting said feeding element about said mandrel and reciprocatively shifting said element with respect to said mandrel.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 further characterized in that means is provided for reducing the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element and the speed at which the strand is applied to the mandrel as the diametral size of the strand package being formed thereon increases.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 further characterized in that a strand supply element is operatively associated with said feeding element and reciprocatively shifts in time related movement to said feeding element to provide strand on a continuous basis to said feeding element.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 further characterized in that an arm is axially spaced from said mandrel and said arm is rotatable about said mandrel, said arm carrying said feeding element, and sensing means operatively associated with said arm to monitor the thickness of the package being formed on said mandrel and adjusting the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element accordingly.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 further characterized in that the sensing means is located proximate to said arm.

14. The apparatus of claim 12 further characterized in that the sensing means is located on the opposite side of said mandrel with respect to said arm.

15. The apparatus of claim 7 further characterized in that means is provided for automatically adjusting the position of said feeding element to hold the feeding element at a constant distance from the surface of the strand package being formed on the mandrel during orbiting movement of said feeding element about said mandrel.

16. The apparatus of claim 7 further characterized in that means is provided for regulating the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element in response to the diametral size of the strand package being formed on said mandrel.

17. A mechanism for rotating a first element about a rotatable second element and which first and second elements have a substantially common axis of rotation, said mechanism comprising support means concentrically located with respect to said common axis of rotation, a first member operatively connected to said support means and being concentrically disposed about at least a portion of said second element, said first member being rotatable with respect to said support means and with respect to said second element and having an axis of rotation substantially coincident with said common axis of rotation, a second member operatively connected to said support means and extending outwardly therefrom, first drive means operatively connected to said first member causing rotation of same about said common axis of rotation, second drive means operatively connected to said first drive means and said second element for rotating said second element about said common axis of rotation and at a rate of rotation substantially less than the rate of rotation of said first member, a third member operatively connected to said second member and being rotatable therewith about said common axis of rotation, connection means operatively connecting said first element to said third member in such manner that said first element is rotatable therewith and so that said first element is also pivotal with respect to said third member during rotational movement therewith, and means operatively connecting said first drive means and said third member to cause rotation of said second element at a speed of rotation which is at least four times greater than the speed of rotation of said first member and in timed relation to the rotational movement of said first element.

18. The mechanism of claim 17 further characterized in that said third member extends in a direction which is substantially parallel to said axis of rotation.

19. The mechanism of claim 17 further characterized in that said third member comprises a first shaft means maintaining rigidity against longitudinal bending of said third member and a second shaft means enabling torsional bending about the longitudinal axis of said third member to thereby permit said first element to pivot with respect to said third member.

20. The mechanism of claim 17 further characterized in that said third member comprises a first shaft means maintaining rigidity against longitudinal bending of said third member and a second shaft means concentrically disposed within said first shaft means enabling torsional bending about the longitudinal axis of said third member to thereby permit said second element to pivot with respect to said third member.

21. The mechanism of claim 17 further characterized in that reciprocative means is operatively associated with said third drive means and said third member to cause reciprocative movement of said third member and thereby enable reciprocative movement of said first element with respect to said second element simultaneously with rotational movement of said first element and with the rotational movement of said second element.

22. The mechanism of claim 21 further characterized in that said reciprocative means comprises a shaft and a follower movable along said shaft, camming means existing between said shaft and follower to enable reciprocative movement of said follower, and means connecting said reciprocative means to said first element to enable reciprocative movement of said first element.

23. An apparatus for producing a package formed of a textile filber strand with a twist incorporated in each turn of the strand in the package, said apparatus comprising base means, mandrel support means operatively mounted on said base means a nonshiftable mandrel operatively mounted on and carried by said support means, a strand feeding element orbiting about said mandrel and reciprocatively shifting in the direction of the central axis of said mandrel simultaneously with the orbiting movement thereof, a member operatively connected to said support means and extending outwardly therefrom, first drive means operatively connected to said member causing rotation of the same with respect to the central axis of said mandrel, an arm extending substantially parallel to said mandrel operatively connected to said member and being rotatable therewith about said mandrel, second drive means for rotating said mandrel about its own axis with respect to and in timed relationship to said arm, and connection means operatively connecting said feeding element to said arm in such manner that said feeding element is rotatable therewith and in such manner that said feeding element is also pivotal with respect to said arm during rotational movement therewith, so that strand issued from said feeding element is wound over the end of said mandrel to form a strand package on said mandrel and to thereby incorporate a twist in each turn of said strand during each orbiting revolution of said feeding element about said mandrel, and means operatively interposed between said first and second drive means to maintain the speed of rotation of said mandrel sufficiently low relative to the speed of orbiting movement of the feeding element so that a twist is incorporated in each turn of the strand and just sufficient so that the turns of the strand applied in one reciprocative shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to the mandrel are not registered with the turns of strand applied in the preceding reciprocative shifting movement of the feeding element back and forth with respect to the mandrel.

24. An apparatus for producing roving packages with a twist incorporated in each revolution of the roving in the package, said apparatus comprising base means, a nonshiftable mandrel-like member operatively mounted on said base means, an arm axially spaced from said mandrel-like member, a roving feeding element carried by said arm, motive means rotating said arm about said mandrel-like member and simultaneously reciprocatively shifting said feeding element along said arm in the direction of the central axis of said mandrel-like member so that said feeding element orbits about and simultaneously reciprocatively shifts along said mandrel-like member, means for rotating said mandrel-like member about its own axis with respect to said orbiting feeding element and in timed relation to the orbiting and reciprocatable shifting movement of said feeding element, so that roving is wound from said feeding element over the end of said member to form a roving package on said member and to thereby incorporate a twist in said roving for each revolution as said feeding element orbits about said member, and sensing means operatively associated with said arm to monitor the thickness of the roving package being formed on said member and adjusting the motive means accordingly.

25. The apparatus of claim 24 further characterized in that the sensing means is located proximate to said arm.

26. The apparatus of claim 24 further characterized in that the sensing means is located on the opposite side of said mandrel-like member with respect to said arm.

27. The method of producing a package formed of a textile fiber strand which incorporates a twist in each turn of the strand in the package; said method comprising orbiting a strand feeding element with respect to a nonshiftable mandrel receiving said strand, rotating said mandrel about its own axis with respect to said orbiting feeding element and in timed relation to the orbiting movement of said feeding element, holding the speed of rotation of said mandrel with respect to the speed of orbiting movement of said feeding element sufficiently low so that a twist is incorporated in each turn of the strand and at a rate of rotation so that the speed of orbiting movement of said feeding element about said mandrel is substantially greater than four times the speed of rotation of said mandrel, simultaneously shifting said feeding element back and forth with respect to a portion of the length of said mandrel, and winding said strand from said feeding element about said mandrel over one end thereof to form a strand package on said mandrel and to thereby incorporate a twist in each turn of said strand during each orbiting revolution of said feeding element about said mandrel.

Description:
This invention relates in general to certain new and useful improvements in method and apparatus for producing roving packages and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for producing no-twist packages by winding the roving material over the end of a nonshiftable mandrel by means of a feeding element which oribts about and shifts with respect to the mandrel.

In recent years, fiberglass reinforced articles have become more prevalent and as a result thereof, there is a widespread need for spools or so-called "roving packages" of fiberglass filament. In the making of these spools, glass is generally melted and dripped through holes in a viscous condition. To form filaments of fiberglass each of the individual filaments is pulled and then wound upon a drum at a controlled peripheral speed. The speed generally controls the filament diameter and forms a so-called "forming package". Ends from a large number of forming packages are then gathered and combined to form a roving or so-called "end". These rovings are thereafter wound on a second spool to form a roving package. For example, if twenty ends are gathered to form a roving; a conventional wellknown 20-end roving package is produced. These roving packages are then marketed and find employment in a wide variety of applications for the production of filament reinforced articles.

There are basically two ways in which the roving can then be removed from the roving package. The package or spool may be mounted on a spindle where the roving is tangentially pulled from the periphery of the spool. Furthermore, the roving may be pulled from the center of the spool without rotating the package. However, if the roving is pulled tangentially, it is necessarily limited to removal at a slow rate of speed since pulling tangentially from a roving package creates high inertial forces and problems of "backlash". There are devices which will enable the roving to be pulled from the package tangentially without this problem of drag, but these devices are rather complicated, difficult to operate and rather expensive. When the roving is pulled from the center of the package, speed limitations problems are obviated. However, when pulling from the center of the package, a twist is formed in the roving as each revolution of roving is removed from the package.

The creation of a twist is highly undesirable in many applications. If the twist in the filament strand is not eliminated, these twists will appear in the final product as a white scar distributed thinly and somewhat sporadically. These scars are not only decoratively undesirable, but usually interfere with the physical properties of the roving. In the field of filament winding or applying continuous roving to a forming mandrel for later impregnation with a thermosetting resin, or in the application of a preimpregnated roving to a forming mandrel for ultimate thermosetting of the resin to achieve a vessel or similar tubular structure, optimum strength cannot be achieved if the roving as applied to the forming mandrel, is not laid on in the form of a flat, untwisted band. Accordingly, if a twist is incorporated in the roving as it is applied to the forming mandrel, the twist tends to create air voids or resin-rich areas in the ultimate laminate. In addition, the twist also creates a variation in the concentration of fiber per unit of cross sectional area of the laminate, thereby causing a reduction in strength in some discrete areas of the laminate.

In an effort to overcome this problem, some of the users of the standard filament packages have rotated the spindles in order to unwind the rovings in such fashion that a flat ribbon of filament is maintained. However, breaking units, substantially friction free spindles, tension compensating devices, and similar equipment is needed to accomplish the unwinding of such packages. In addition, multi-spindled creels are necessary for this type of operation. Therefore, it can be seen that this procedure not only increases the capital equipment necessary to produce the product, but also substantially increases the production time to produce the product with a concomitant increase in product cost.

Furthermore, in order to obviate this problem, many roving producers provide a package with a built-in twist per revolution of roving. This may be accomplished by re-winding the entire spool in order to build the twist into the roving. However, production of such a package necessitates another operation and the product must be sold as a premium product. One such system is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,311,518 to Stietz et al. In this patent, a system is described where two roving packages are formed. In the first package, the filament is wound on a rotating mandrel to incorporate a first order twist. This roving package is then wound on a second mandrel to incorporate a second order twist. The first order twist is a complement of the second order twist so that the roving can be pulled from the center of the package in a no-twist form. In view of these problems, the users of the roving packages have been reluctantly forced to use the tangential pull-off method in order to achieve a flat ribbon.

It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method for winding filament roving on a mandrel to produce a no-twist center-pull roving package in one winding operation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus of the type stated which has production rates and production reliability at least equivalent to that of machines for producing standard roving packages.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a method for producing no-twist, center pull roving packages which is accomplished by winding the filament over the end of the mandrel to incorporate a twist for every revolution of a filament feeding member.

It is an additional object of the present invention to provide an apparatus of the type stated which is rugged in its construction, simple in its operation and rather economical to manufacture.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a filament wound article which is the product of being formed of a substantially continuous multifilament length of said filaments, any given length of which is characterized by a substantially parallel, nontwisted relationship.

It is another salient object of the present invention to provide a method of the type stated which requires only a small amount of manual attention in the production of such roving packages.

With the above and other objects in view, my invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, arrangement and combination of parts presently described and pointed out in the claims.

In the accompanying drawings: (8 sheets)

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus for producing roving packages which is constructed in accordance with and embodies the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view partially broken away and looking down on the top portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a vertical fragmentary sectional view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a vertical fragmentary sectional view taken along line 6--6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 7--7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an end elevational view looking toward the right hand end of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with a sectional portion shown through the outrigger on the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 9--9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view showing a portion of the outrigger forming part of the apparatus of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic view illustrating the pattern formed by the application of roving strands to a mandrel in accordance with the present invention.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Generally speaking, the apparatus of the present invention is designed to produce no-twist, center-pull roving packages of filamental materials. A "center-pull" package is referred to in the art as a package of roving having a central bore and a roving end so that it is capable of being unwound from the center of the package. In this art, a no-twist package is referred to as a package of roving where the roving can be pulled from the package and used without incorporating a twist in the roving as it is pulled from the package.

Typically, filament type roving spools or so-called "roving balls" presently available are generally formed of a series of overlapped, helical windings. Accordingly, it is quite difficult under present practice to remove the roving from a stationary nonrotating ball without imparting a twist thereto. By analogy, if a ribbon of paper is wrapped around one stump, the outside end of the ribbon being held firmly after winding has been completed and the winding is pulled in either direction from the center of the cylinder thus formed, a twist is imparted to the ribbon. Essentially the same phenomenon occurs to the roving in a roving ball.

The apparatus of the present invention generally comprises a nonshiftable mandrel and a winding frame which rotates about the mandrel. The mandrel also rotates with respect to the winding frame but at a substantially different rate of speed. The winding frame carries a feeding head which is reciprocatable with respect to the mandrel and feeds roving thereon at a continuous rate. The feeding head contains a feeding eye which receives the roving from a point which is located outwardly from the end of the mandrel so that during the winding process, the roving is wound over the end of the mandrel. The feeding eye is in effect orbited about the mandrel during its reciprocable movement, and during the winding thereof, the roving is wound over the end of the mandrel so that a twist is incorporated in the roving for each revolution of the feeding eye about the mandrel. As the filament diameter of the formed package increases, the feeding eye will be shifted radially outward from the mandrel.

In my copending application Ser. No. 59,261, filed July 29, 1970, and in my copending application Ser. No. 75,524, filed Sept. 25, 1970, there are described various embodiments of an apparatus for producing no-twist centerpull roving packages. Each of these apparatus also operates on the principle that a feeding eye is orbited about a nonrotatable, nonshiftable mandrel and is reciprocatively shifted axially along the mandrel in order to apply roving strands to the mandrel. Furthermore, the strands of roving are wound over the end of the mandrel to incorporate a first order twist for each revolution of the feeding eye about the mandrel. However, in each of these aforesaid apparatus, the mandrel does not rotate at all and a large carriage-like element or winding frame which carries the feeding eye, revolves about this fixed mandrel.

In the present invention as well as in the apparatus of the aforesaid copending applications, this carriage-like element provides for proper positioning of the feeding eye with respect to the mandrel support shaft as the diameter of the roving spool being formed increases. However, in the present apparatus the mandrel does rotate with respect to the carriage structure and in addition to the rotation of the carriage-like structure. However, the rate of rotation of the mandrel is substantially less than the rate of rotation of the carriage-like structure. The sensing of the thickness of the roving package being formed on the mandrel is performed electronically, the speed of the feeding eye and its relative position is adjusted with respect to the mandrel electronically.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now in more detail and by reference characters to the drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the present invention, A designates an apparatus for producing a no-twist center-pull roving package or so-called "spool" and generally comprises an outer housing 1 which is illustrated in FIG. 1. The outer housing 1 is generally rectangular in both horizontal and vertical cross-section and includes an outrigger 2 substantially as illustrated in FIG. 1. Furthermore, FIG. 1 illustrates the apparatus A as being conventionally mounted on a rectangular support stand D.

The outer housing 1 is generally formed by a front wall 3, a back wall 4, and a pair of opposed end walls 5,6. Mounted on the front wall 3 is a control panel 7 including the major controls for operation of the winding apparatus A.

Extending between the front wall 3 and the rear wall 4 is an upstanding transversely located support plate 8 and extending between the support plate 8 and the end wall 6 and being secured thereto is a longitudinally extending divider 9 which separates the housing 1 into a power chamber 10 and a winding chamber 11. Also extending between the divider 9 and the front wall 3 is an intermediate support plate 12.

Journaled in the support plate 8 and the intermediate support plate 12 through bearings 12' and 12" and extending longitudinally within the winding chamber 11 is a mandrel shaft 13 which is adapted for rotatable movement therein. At its forward end, the mandrel shaft 13 carries an expandable mandrel 14 which is actuable by means of a manually operable handle 15. Thus, when the handle 15 is rotated in one direction, a series of camming members (not shown) inside of the mandrel 14 will cause an expansion thereof. In like manner, when the handle 15 is rotated in the reverse direction, the camming members will cause a contraction of the overall diametral size of the mandrel 14. The mandrel 14 is of the type more fully described in copending application Ser. No. 846,789, filed Aug. 1, 1969 (now U.S. Pat. No. 3,645,466, dated Feb. 29, 1972, and is, therefore, neither illustrated nor described in any further detail herein. However, it should be recognized that other types of expandable mandrels such as a pneumatically expandable mandrel could be employed as well.

Concentrically disposed about the mandrel shaft 13 and being rotatable with respect thereto is a worm shaft 16. The worm shaft 16 is provided with a diametrally enlarged extension 17 and is journaled in bearings 18 on the mandrel shaft 13 in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 2.

A carriage 19 is rotatably supported on both the mandrel shaft 13 and the worm shaft 16 in a cantilever position, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The carriage 19 includes a back plate 20, a forward support ring 21, and an intermediate support plate 22 and each of which are connected by means of longitudinally extending radially spaced shaft assemblies 23,24. The back plate 20 and the intermediate plate 22 are secured to a sleeve 25 which is concentrically disposed about the worm shaft 16 and is rotatable with respect thereto by means of bearings 26 and 27, in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 2. Thus, it can be seen that the carriage 19 is rotatable through the sleeve 25 with respect to the worm shaft 16. The carriage 19 is also rotatable with respect to the mandrel shaft 13 and the mandrel 14. In like manner, the worm shaft 16 and mandrel shaft 13 are also rotatable with respect to each other and with respect to the carriage 19.

A mounting plate 28 is secured to the partition 9 in the power chamber 10 and holds a series of components (to be hereinafter described in detail) for driving the carriage 19, the mandrel shaft 14 and the worm shaft 16 in the winding chamber 11. Secured to the mounting plate 28 in a conventional D.C. electric motor 29 which rotates a main drive shaft 30 through a coupling 31. Secured to the shaft 30 is a pulley 32. A pulley 33 is integrally formed on an extension 33' secured between the plate 20 and the sleeve 25 forming part of the carriage 19 and cooperates with the pulley 32, through a drive belt 34 that extends around the pulleys 32,33 for powering the carriage 19. The main drive shaft 30 also drives a drive pulley 35 through a gear reducer 36. The pulley 35 cooperates with a second pulley 37 mounted on a stub shaft 37'. Secured to the end of the stub shaft 37' is a pulley 38 which cooperates with a drive wheel 38' operatively connected to the end of the worm shaft 16 through a drive belt 39.

Mounted on the outer end of the stub shaft 38 is a relatively small diameter pulley 40', which cooperates with a relatively large diameter pulley 41 mounted on the outer end of the mandrel shaft 13 through a drive belt 41, thus providing rotation to the mandrel shaft 13. It can be seen by reference to FIG. 2 of the drawings that the carriage 19 will rotate at a substantially higher speed of rotation than either the worm shaft 16 or the mandrel shaft 13. The worm shaft 16 is designed to rotate so that the speed of rotation of the carriage 19 is approximately at least four times greater than the speed of rotation of the worm shaft 16. In like manner, by virtue of the relative diametral sizes of the pulleys 40,40', it can be seen that the mandrel shaft rotates at a much lower rate of speed than the worm shaft 16.

By further reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, it can be seen that access is provided to the interior of the winding chamber 11 through an aperture 42 formed in the right end wall 6. Furthermore, roving strands may be wound upon the mandrel 14 (in a manner to be hereinafter described in more detail) into the form of a roving package or so-called "spool" and conveniently removed from the expandable mandrel 14. As indicated previously, diametral expansion and retraction of the mandrel 14 occurs through rotation of the handle 15. Furthermore, the handle 15 is pivotable so that it can be shifted into axial alignment with the mandrel 14 thereby affording convenient removal of a roving package formed on the mandrel 14.

While the apparatus of the present invention has been designed for the forming of fiberglass roving packages, it should be recognized that the device could be used to form packages of other filamental and nonfilamental materials. For example, packages of boron strands could be formed in the same manner. Fiberglass tapes and other reinforcing material tapes could be formed into no-twist center-pull packages in the same manner. In addition, the apparatus and method of the present invention can be used in the forming of balls of wire and the like.

The structure involving the mandrel shaft 13, the worm shaft 16, and the associated members is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 3-5. It can be seen that the mandrel shaft 13 is preferably a hollow member, but with sufficient overall thickness to support its weight in a cantilever position. The worm shaft 16, which is also tubular in construction, is concentrically disposed about the mandrel shaft 13 and is slightly spaced therefrom so as to be rotatable with respect to the mandrel shaft 13.

The worm shaft 16 is provided with reverse helical grooves 43 which merge with a pair of circumferential grooves 44 located at the transverse ends of the worm shaft 16. By reference to FIG. 3, it can be seen that the sleeve 25 is not completely circular in vertical cross section and is provided with a relatively flat plate 45 secured to opposed longitudinal margins of the sleeve 25 by means of screws 46. Furthermore, the plate 45 is provided with a longitudinally extending slot 47 defined by the opposed longitudinal margins which permits an actuator 48 to shift reciprocatively in a longitudinal direction within the slot 47. The actuator 48 is provided with a shoe-pin 49 rotatably retained within an internal press-fitted bushing 50, the latter being secured in position in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4. A roller 51 is retained on the bushing 50 and rotatable with respect thereto, and is designed to move within the various grooves 43,44 on the worm shaft 16. Secured to the shoe-pin 49 and being movable therewith is an arcuately shaped cam follower 52 or so-called "shoe" which is designed to carry the roller 51 across the intersection of two intersecting grooves 43. By reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, it can be seen that as the carriage 19 rotates, the cam roller 51 will ride within the helical grooves 43 and will cause a shifting movement of the actuator 48 toward one transverse end of the worm shaft 16. As the roller 51 rides in the circumferential groove 44 located at that transverse end, the direction of movement of the actuator 48 will be reversed so that the actuator 48 will then begin to shift toward the opposite end position. Accordingly, rotation of the carriage 19 enables a continuous reciprocative movement of the actuator 48 from one transverse end of the worm shaft 16 to the opposite transverse end thereof.

Secured to the bushing 50 by means of the screws 52' is a radially extending arm 53, the latter being secured to the tube assembly 24 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 2-4.

The shaft assembly 24 generally comprises an aluminum tube 54 which is concentrically disposed within a reciprocating Teflon tube 55. Finally, the Teflon tube 55 is concentrically disposed within an outer steel tube 56 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. The Teflon tube 55 is designed to provide a twisting action resulting from torsional forces and the aluminum tube 55 is designed to restrain any buckling of the Teflon tube 55. The arm 53 is secured to a shiftable retaining block 57 by means of a series of bolts 58 which extend through the Teflon tube 55 and the aluminum tube 54 and into an aluminum plug 59, the latter being disposed within the aluminum tube 54 for purposes of rigid securement. By further reference to FIGS. 2-4, it can be seen that the retaining block 57 is shiftable with respect to the outer tube 56 in an elongated slot 60 formed within the tube 56. Furthermore, since the retaining block 57 is secured to both the arm 53 and the aluminum tube 54, as well as the Teflon tube 55, the tubes 54, 55 are reciprocated with the retaining block 57. Thus, as the arm 53 reciprocates longitudinally with the actuator 48, resulting from rotation of the carriage 19 about the worm shaft 16, the tube assembly consisting of the tubes 54,55 will also reciprocate longitudinally. By further reference to FIG. 3, it can be seen that the Teflon tube 55 is provided with a longitudinal slot 61 for reasons which will presently more fully appear. It should be observed by reference to FIGS. 3 and 4 that the left transverse end of the tubes 54,55 are located a sufficient distance with respect to the left transverse end of the steel tube 56 so that reciprocative movement of the tube assembly 54,55 is enabled with the actuator 48.

By reference to FIG. 6, it can be seen that the mandrel 14 is comprised of a retaining ring 61', which is engageable by a camming member 62, the latter of which causes expansion and contraction of an open-ended sleeve 63. Thus, when the camming member 62 is caused to expand, the sleeve 63 which is provided with overhanging longitudinal margins 64 is also permitted to expand in diametral size. This action is created by rotation of the handle 15 as previously indicated.

The forwardmost end of the steel tube 56 is secured to the support ring 21 through a bushing 65 and is retained therein by means of a screw and washer assembly. However, by reference to FIG. 7, it can be seen that the assembly of the shiftable tubes, namely the aluminum tube 54 and the Teflon tube 55 terminates rearwardly of the support ring 21 and is provided at its forwardmost end with a slidable retaining block 67. It can be seen by further reference to FIG. 6 that the block 67 is in the form of a cylindrical plug inserted within the aluminum tube 54 and is retained therein by a series of three longitudinally aligned bolts 68. The bolts 68 project outwardly through the elongated slot 60 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. Furthermore, these bolts 68 rigidly hold the retaining block 67, the aluminum tube 54, and the Teflon tube 55 in a rigid structure. Thus, it can be seen that the retaining block 67 will shift longitudinally with the aluminum tube 54 and the Teflon tube 55 within the steel tube 56.

Also operatively secured to the retaining block 67 through the bolts 68 is a pivotal roving feed arm 70 which is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. Secured to the outer end of the roving feed arm 70 is a finger 71 in the form of a relatively thin flat plate which is shiftable within a longitudinally extending U-shaped guide 72, the latter being secured to and extending outwardly from the steel tube 56 by means of a plurality of support flanges 73. Thus, it can be seen that as the retaining block 67 shifts longitudinally within the steel tube 56, the roving feed arm 70 will be carried therewith. Furthermore, the position of the roving arm 70 will be maintained by means of the finger 71 which is slidable on the U-shaped guide 72.

At its inner end, the roving feed arm 70 is provided with a wiper shoe 74 which has an arcuate surface 75 disposed with respect to the surface of the mandrel 14 and is designed to bear against the surface of the mandrel 14 (or a roving package being formed thereon). The roving feed arm 70 also carries an arcuately shaped roving guide 76, which is designed to receive a strand of roving S from a source to be more fully described in detail hereinafter. By further reference to FIG. 7, it can be seen that the roving is trained through an eyelet 77 formed in a plate 78 secured to the outer end of the steel tube 56 through the locking nut 66. Furthermore, the roving strand S is also trained through a pair of eyelets 79,80 mounted on the roving feed arm 70 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. The eyelet 80 actually constitutes a feeding eye since the roving strand S is fed directly from the eyelet 80 directly to the mandrel 14.

By further reference to FIGS. 2-7, it can be seen that energization of the motor 29 will cause the carriage 19 to rotate about the worm shaft 16 through the various drive mechanisms previously described. As this occurs, the cam follower 52' will ride within the various grooves 43,44 so that the cam follower 52' reciprocatively shifts longitudinally with respect to the worm shaft 16. As previously described, the roller 51 will ride in the helical grooves 43 until it contacts one circumferential groove 44 at which time the direction of the actuator 48 will be reversed.

Referring again to FIG. 2, it can be seen that as the actuator 48 shifts longitudinally in a reciprocative manner, it will cause the combination of the Teflon tube 55 and the aluminum tube 54 to also reciprocate longitudinally within the steel tube 56. It should also be observed that the length of movement of the actuator 48 and the various tubes 54,55 is equivalent to the overall length of the mandrel 14. Finally, the block 67 carried at the outer end of the tubes 54,55 will cause the roving feed arm 70 to reciprocate longitudinally. Moreover, it can be observed that during its reciprocative movement the roving feed arm 70 is also rotating about the mandrel 14 inasmuch as the roving feed arm 70 is carried by the carriage 19. Accordingly, the wiper shoe 74, with the feeding eye 80 thereon, actually orbits about the mandrel 14 and simultaneously reciprocates longitudinally with respect to the central axis of the mandrel 14.

The roving strands S can be applied to the mandrel 14 after being trained through the eyelet 77, the guide tube 76 and the eyelet 79 and the feeding eye 80. Inasmuch as the strand S is fed to the mandrel 14 from a point which is located beyond the end of the mandrel 14, the winding, in essence, occurs over the end of the mandrel 14. This action is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 7. Inasmuch as the roving is wound over the end of the mandrel, a first order twist is incorporated in the roving for each revolution of the roving arm 70 about the mandrel 14.

The speed of rotation of the worm shaft 16 is regulated with regard to the speed of rotation of the carriage in order to determine the roving path as it is applied to the mandrel 14. Thus, if the worm shaft 16 rotated approximately one-fourth turn for each complete revolution of the carriage 19, approximately four 360° lengths of strands would be applied to the mandrel 14. This roving path is more fully illustrated in FIG. 11. The roving path is illustrated as being applied to a cylindrical member such as a mandrel.

Finally, the speed of rotation of the mandrel shaft 13 is regulated in order to provide a continuous roving pattern on the mandrel 14. Thus, the rotation of the mandrel shaft 13 is regulated in order to provide a fine adjustment so that a forward wind or afterwind may be accomplished in the roving pattern. In other words, it is possible to regulate the spacing between each strand as it is applied to the mandrel shaft 13. Typically, it is desired to have the strands applied to the mandrel so that the strands lay in juxtaposition with respect to each other.

As the roving package on the mandrel 14 is being formed, the increased diameter thereof will cause the wiper shoe 74 to extend radially from the surface of the mandrel 14. It can be seen that the elongated slot 60 is substantially wider than the bolts 69 (FIGS. 6 and 7) so that the retaining block 67 is capable of being pivoted within the steel tube 56. The degree of pivoting movement or rotation of the retaining block 67 within the steel tube 56 is essentially equivalent to the overall thickness of a roving package to be formed on the mandrel 14. Thus, it is only necessary for the roving feed arm 70 to pivot about the central axis of the retaining block 67 a sufficient amount to permit the windings of strand S on the mandrel to form a roving package of the desired thickness.

As previously indicated, the retaining block is secured to the aluminum tube 54 and the Teflon tube 55 through the bolts 69. In like manner, the assembly of tubes 54,55 is secured to the actuator 48 through the retaining block 59. However, the Teflon tube 55 is provided with a longitudinal slot 61 in order to permit a torsional type of bending so that the tubes 54,55 can be twisted to a limited degree. This twisting enables the roving feed arm 70 to be pivoted outwardly with respect to the central axis of the mandrel 14; and yet to maintain a rigid connection to the actuator 48 for longitudinal shifting of the roving feed arm 70.

Thus, it can be seen that the feeding eye 80 will orbit about the mandrel 14 and will simultaneously shift longitudinally back and forth with respect to the mandrel 14. The roving strand S applied to the mandrel 14 will be wound over the end of the mandrel 14 to form a roving package or spool. Furthermore, it can be observed that since the roving feed arm 70 is capable of pivoting with respect to the steel tube 56, the wiper shoe 74 and the feeding eye 80 will always remain a fixed distance with respect to the surface of the spool being formed on the mandrel 14.

The roving strand S is received through the eyelet 77 from a surge compensator 81 which is mounted on the outer end of the outrigger 2 and which is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 1, 8, and 9. The outrigger 2 generally includes an outer housing 82 having an extended portion 83 which contains the surge compensator 81. The surge compensator 81 is powered by an outrigger shaft 84 which is in turn powered from the main drive shaft 30 through a belt-drive 85. The outer end of the outrigger shaft 84 is journaled in a transversely extending support wall 86 formed in the outrigger housing 82.

Also mounted in the outrigger housing 82 and extending longitudinally in the extended portion 83 is a worm shaft 87 which is journaled for rotational movement in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 9. The worm shaft 87 and the outrigger shaft 84 is each provided with aligned sprockets 88,89 for accommodating a conventional sprocket drive belt 90. In this manner, the worm shaft 87 is capable of being powered and rotated by means of the outrigger shaft 84.

The worm shaft 87 is provided with reverse helical grooves 91 which merge with a pair of circumferential grooves 92 located at each of the transverse ends of the worm shaft 87. By further reference to FIG. 9, it can be seen that a shiftable block 93 is longitudinally and reciprocatively shiftable in an elongated slot 94 formed within the extended portion 83 of the outrigger 2. The block 93 is provided with a camming shoe or so-called "follower shoe" 95 which rides within the reverse helical grooves 91 and the circumferential grooves 92. It can be seen that as the worm shaft 87 rotates, the follower shoe 95 will ride within the helical grooves 91 and will cause a shifting movement of the block 93 toward one transverse end of the worm shaft 87. As the shoe 95 rides in the circumferential groove 92 located at that transverse end, the direction of movement of the block 93 will be reversed so that the block 93 will then begin to shift toward the opposite end position. Accordingly, rotation of the shaft 87 enables a continuous reciprocative movement of the block 93 from one transverse end of the worm shaft 87 to the opposite transverse end thereof. Also secured to the block 93 and extending outwardly therefrom is a roving supply eye 96 which cooperates with a fixed eyelet 97 mounted on the extended section 83 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 8, and 9.

Thus, it can be seen that roving will be trained through the supply eye 96 and the fixed eyelet 97 before being trained through the eyelet 77. The supply eye 96 will reciprocate longitudinally and reciprocatively with the feeding eye 80. Both the feeding eye 80 and the roving supply eye 96 will simultaneously shift in the same direction for the same distance and at the same rate of speed. In this manner, the roving strand S is supplied to the roving feed arm 70 and the feeding eye 80, free of any surges.

Secured to the intermediate plate 22 is a forwardly presented retroreflective plate 98 which receives light rays from a bank of retroreflective photocell units 99 located in a mounting plate 100 and which is secured to the outrigger 2. The retroreflective photocell units are conventional in their construction and are designed to emit light beams which will reflect from the retroreflective plate 98 and impinge upon the retroreflective cell from which the light was emitted. It can be seen that the plate 100 is mounted on the outrigger 2 so that the retroreflective photocell units 99 extend radially with respect to the mandrel 14. In essence, the innermost photocell unit 99 is located so the beam from the unit impinges upon the plate 98 in an area proximate to the peripheral surface of the mandrel 14. In like manner, the outermost photocell unit 99 is located so that the light beam therefrom will impinge close to the peripheral margin of the retroreflective plate 98.

Thus, when no roving package is formed on the mandrel 14, the light from each of the photocell units will be rereflected back to the photocell unit. However, as a roving package is being formed on the mandrel 14, the light from successive ones of the photocell units 99 will not be re-reflected. The motor 29 is electrically connected to a suitable feedback control circuit (not shown) and to the bank of retroreflective photocell units so that as increased portions of the retroreflective plate 98 is covered by the roving package being formed on the mandrel 14, light from successive ones of the radially located photocell units will not be re-reflected and the speed of the motor 29 reduced proportionally.

Accordingly, it can be seen that the rotational speed of the roving feed arm 70 and the feeding eye 80 will be adjusted to compensate for the increased diametrical size of the roving package being formed. Furthermore, it can be observed that through the pivotal action of the roving feed arm 70, the feeding eye 80 will always be maintained at the same distance with respect to the surface of the roving spool being formed on the mandrel 14. The package thus formed on the mandrel 14 can be conveniently removed by rotating the handle 15 to reduce the overall diametral size of the mandrel 14 and thereby enable easy removal of the roving package formed thereon.

When it is desired to remove a strand from the roving package, the strand may be pulled from either the peripheral surface of the package or the center of the package. Inasmuch as the strands have been wound over the end of the mandrel 14 through an orbiting eye 80, each revolution of the eye 80 about the mandrel 14 will cause the incorporation of a first order twist in the strands S. Therefore, when the strand S is moved from the package thus formed, this incorporated twist will be removed for each 360° length of strand in the roving package.

It should be understood that changes and modifications in the form, construction, arrangement, and combination of parts presently described and pointed out may be made and substituted for those herein shown without departing from the nature and principle of my invention.