Title:
KNIT FABRIC GLOVES AND OTHER KNIT ARTICLES WITH IMPROVED GRIP/PROTECTIVE SURFACES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Knit articles of clothing having grip/protective members and process of manufacturing same. One embodiment comprises depositing an adhesive onto a backside of a sheet of grip/protective material, and fusing the adhesive to the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material using a first heat/pressure procedure. The first heat/pressure procedure forms a film of fused adhesive on at least a portion of the backside of the sheet. The process can continue by cutting the sheet of grip/protective material into a plurality of grip/protective members sized and shaped for the article of clothing, and attaching at least one grip/protective member to a knitted material that defines at least a portion of the article of clothing. The grip/protective member is attached to the knitted material using a second heat/pressure procedure that re-activates the film of fused adhesive and causes a portion of the re-activated fused adhesive to penetrate into the knitted material.



Inventors:
Williams, Cole (Binbridge Island, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/502989
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/14/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/163, 2/167, 2/169, 66/174
International Classes:
A41D19/00; D04B39/00
View Patent Images:
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20040172734Travel garmentSeptember, 2004Hartbrodt
20090100571APPAREL WITH ATTACHED HAND PUPPETSApril, 2009Soto
20040123376Headgear with transformable peak structureJuly, 2004Wang
20080130272Hands-Free Lighting DevicesJune, 2008Waters



Primary Examiner:
CAILLOUET, CHRISTOPHER C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PERKINS COIE LLP - SEA General (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A process for manufacturing an article of clothing having grip/protective members, comprising: depositing an adhesive onto a backside of a sheet of grip/protective material; fusing the adhesive to the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material using a first heat/pressure procedure thereby forming a film of fused adhesive on at least a portion of the backside of the sheet; cutting the sheet of grip/protective material into a plurality of grip/protective members sized and shaped for the article of clothing; and attaching at least one grip/protective member to a knitted material that defines at least a portion of the article of clothing using a second heat/pressure procedure that re-activates the film of fused adhesive thereby causing a portion of the re-activated fused adhesive to penetrate into the knitted material.

2. The process of claim 1, wherein: the sheet of grip/protective material comprises a leather piece of an animal hide, and the front side of the leather piece comprises an epidermal side of the animal hide and the backside of the leather piece comprises a side opposite the epidermal side of the animal hide; depositing an adhesive onto the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises dispersing a layer of powdered or web adhesive onto at least a portion of the backside of the leather piece; fusing the adhesive to the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises pressing a first platen heated to a temperature of about 230 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit against the layer of powder adhesive with a force of about 4 to 50 pounds per square inch for 20-60 seconds; and attaching the grip/protective member to the knitted material comprises pressing a second platen heated to a temperature of about 250 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit against the front side of the grip/protective member with a force of about 10 to 250 pounds per square inch for 20-90 seconds.

3. The process of claim 1, wherein the sheet of protective material comprises a front side having a first surface texture and a backside having a second surface texture, wherein the first surface texture is smoother than the second surface texture.

4. The process of claim 3, wherein the sheet of protective material comprises an animal hide.

5. The process of claim 3, wherein the sheet of protective material comprises a synthetic material.

6. The process of claim 1, wherein: the knitted material comprises a knitted glove having finger portions, a thumb portion and a palm; and attaching the grip/protective member to the knitted material comprises attaching a plurality of grip/protective members to finger portions, at least one grip/protective member to the thumb portion, and at least one grip/protective member to the palm.

7. The process of claim 1, wherein depositing the adhesive onto the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises dispensing a powder adhesive over the entire backside of the sheet of grip/protective material.

8. The process of claim 1, wherein depositing the adhesive onto the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises dispensing a powder adhesive in a pattern having discrete areas of adhesive that are spaced apart from each other on the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material.

9. The process of claim 1, wherein the knitted material includes an elastane fiber.

10. A process of manufacturing a glove, comprising: knitting a one-piece, seamless glove including an elastane fiber, wherein the glove has finger portions, a thumb portion and a palm portion; providing a plurality of grip/protective members that each have a grip/protective material and a fused adhesive layer, wherein the fused adhesive layer comprises a powder or web adhesive that has been fused with a backside of the grip/protective material by pressing a heated platen against the powder or web adhesive; and attaching the grip/protective members to the finger portions, the thumb portion and the palm portion of the glove by placing the fused adhesive layer of the grip/protective members against corresponding portions of the glove, pressing the glove between a heated platen and a bolster plate, and heating the heated platen such that the fused adhesive reflows into interstitial spaces of the knitted glove.

11. The process of claim 10, wherein: providing the plurality of grip/protective members comprises (a) providing a sheet of grip/protective material having a leather piece of an animal hide with a front side defined by an epidermal side of the animal hide and a backside defined by a side opposite the epidermal side of the animal hide, (b) dispensing a powder or web adhesive onto at least a portion of the backside of the leather piece, and (c) fusing the adhesive to the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material by pressing a first platen heated to a temperature of about 230 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit against the layer of powder adhesive with a force of about 4 to 50 pounds per square inch for 20-60 seconds; and attaching the grip/protective member to a knitted material comprises pressing a second platen heated to a temperature of about 250 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit against the front side of the grip/protective member with a force of abut 10 to 250 pounds per square inch for 20-90.

12. The process of claim 11, wherein dispensing the powder adhesive onto the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises coating the entire backside of the sheet of grip/protective material with the powder adhesive.

13. The process of claim 11, wherein dispensing the powder adhesive onto the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material comprises coating discrete areas of the grip/protective material with the powder adhesive to form a pattern of adhesive area spaced apart from each other on the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material.

14. The process of claim 10, wherein the protective material comprises a front side having a first surface texture and a backside having a second surface texture, wherein the first surface texture is smoother than the second surface texture.

15. The process of claim 14, wherein the sheet of protective material comprises an animal hide.

16. The process of claim 14, wherein the sheet of protective material comprises a synthetic material.

17. An article of clothing, comprising: a knitted mat comprising an elastane fiber; and a grip/protective member having a front side with a first surface texture, a backside with a second surface texture, and layer of adhesive fused with the backside of the grip/protective member under pressure and an elevated temperature, wherein the first surface texture is smoother than the second surface texture, and wherein the fused adhesive layer is bonded to the knitted mat such that a portion of the fused adhesive layer penetrates into interstitial spaces of the knitted mat.

18. The article of clothing of claim 17, wherein the knitted mat comprises a one-piece, seamless glove having finger portions, a thumb portion, and a palm portion, and the grip/protective member comprises a finger pad attached to one of the finger portions.

19. The article of clothing of claim 17, further comprising a plurality of grip/protective portions attached to the glove at the finger portions, the thumb portion and the palm portion.

20. The article of clothing of claim 17, wherein the knitted mat comprises a sleeve.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to knit articles, such as knit gloves, with leather or other types of grip/protective members.

BACKGROUND

Many gloves are made by cutting sheets of fabric into a number of parts per a predetermined pattern and then sewing these parts together, thereby completing a glove assembly. This production/assembly method is sometimes referred to as a cut-and-sewn glove. These gloves frequently incorporate leather, such as tanned and dyed goat skin or sheep skin, on the surfaces on the palm side. Usually the leather components are attached to the glove by stitching with threads. Sometimes, instead of using leather, a fabric that has been coated with a synthetic or man-made leather surface is incorporated in the glove assembly.

Although cut-and-sewn gloves are quite common, they also have several problems. For example, the stitched seams often split open, and cut-and-sewn gloves can also be uncomfortable because the seams may rub against the user. Cut-and-sewn gloves may also not have the desired degree of flexibility because the seams tend to bind or otherwise restrict movement at the finger joints.

Another existing method of making gloves is knitting a seamless, one-piece glove. Knit gloves are made using specialty knitting machines that have spools of yarns which feed into knitting needle beds. Computer-aided controls with present knitting programs automate the knitting process. When the knitting machine completes a glove, it releases the glove from the knitting bed. The resulting knit glove is a complete glove made seamlessly and in one piece. Unlike cut-and-sewn gloves, knit gloves are made by directly converting yarns into a complete glove such that no sheets of fabric are required.

Many knitted gloves have grip surfaces that are generally applied using screen printing processes. The grip surfaces are often “dots” or “lines” made from a cured “ink,” such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU) or other suitable synthetic materials. These inks are usually applied directly to the knit glove fabric in liquid form using a stencil printing process to form a predetermined pattern of dots, lines, and/or other features. The applied pattern of liquid (or paste) ink is then exposed to a heat source to convert the liquid ink into solid rubber-like grip surfaces. The grip surfaces co-mingle and bond with the fibers of the knit glove fabric.

Although knit gloves with grip surfaces are very useful, there are also some challenges to manufacturing and providing sufficient grip/protective surfaces with knit gloves. For example, in many applications it would be desirable to attach a leather or other non-stretch grip/protective pad to a knit glove to provide more robust protection or a stronger grip. Such separate grip/protective pads, however, may become detached from the knit fabric. Manufacturing knit gloves with bonded leather grip/protective patches is particularly challenging because the leather patches do not adhere well to the knit fabric.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a plan view of a palm of a knit glove with grip/protective surfaces in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIG. 1B is a plan view of a back of the knit glove of FIG. 1A.

FIGS. 2A-2H are cross-sectional views illustrating stages of a method for manufacturing knit gloves with grip/protective surfaces in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a finger portion of a knit glove with grip/protective surfaces in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a process for forming an article of clothing in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart of a process for manufacturing a glove in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIG. 6 is a cross-section of an implementation of a knit glove with grip/protective surfaces in accordance with an embodiment of the technology.

FIGS. 7A-7E are plan views of knit gloves with grip/protective surfaces in accordance with several alternative embodiments of the technology.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Several embodiments of the technology are directed to knit clothing articles, such as gloves, with grip/protective members attached to the knit articles such that the articles are flexible, expandable and durable. For example, in the case of gloves, the grip/protective members can be leather and/or synthetic pieces (e.g., pads) that are bonded to selected areas of the knitted material at the palms, fingers, knuckles and/or other areas to provide improved protection, gripping and wear resistance. The gloves can be knit of any of a variety of yarns, such as yarns that incorporate an elastane fiber (e.g., Lycra® spandex made by Invista, Inc). Knit fabric gloves that include an elastane fiber exhibit good stretch and return characteristics (e.g., elasticity) which provides good form fitting (e.g., close fitting to the human hand). Also, a single sized glove can fit a variety of hand sizes because the elasticity allows small gloves to expand and comfortably fit large hands. Knit gloves can be manufactured using knitting machines that are computer controlled to automatically produce a one-piece, seamless-glove to which the grip/protective members can be attached. Suitable computer controlled glove knitting machines for producing basic knit fabric gloves without the grip/protective members are well known in the trade, such as the computer controlled knitting machines made by Shima Seiki Mfg. Ltd. of Wakayama, Japan.

One specific yarn that may be knit into a suitable glove is a spun yarn of Nomex®, an aramid fiber, made by the DuPont Company, Wilmington, Del. The yarn is core spun incorporating a Lycra® spandex fiber that is elastic and provides the stretch and return characteristics. A suitable material for the grip/protective members is leather, such as tanned and dyed goat skin approximately 1 mm thick. As explained in more detail below, leather grip/protective members can be bonded to portions of the knit fabric using a powdered heat activated adhesive or a web adhesive, which is a hot melt (synonymous with heat activated) adhesive made in the form of a non-woven fabric form. A suitable powdered adhesive, for example, is made by EMS-Chemie (North America) Inc., Sumter, S.C. A suitable web form of adhesive is made by Bostik, Inc., Middleton, Mass.

In several embodiments of the technology, the grip/protective members are made from an animal hide having a front side or hair side (i.e., the smoother epidermal side of the hide from which the fur or wool has been removed) and a backside (i.e., the opposite side of the hide that was next to the flesh of the animal). The animal hide or a sheet of suitable synthetic grip/protective member material can be prepared for making the grip/protective members by depositing a suitable amount of powdered heat activated adhesive or a sheet of web heat activated adhesive onto the backside of the hide/sheet and then heating the hide/sheet to activate the adhesive. For example, the hide/sheet with the adhesive can be heated by infrared radiation or by direct contact conduction heating to fuse the adhesive to the backside of the hide/sheet. As described in more detail below, direct contact conduction heating with pressure may provide certain benefits compared to non-contact infrared radiation heating.

After the adhesive has cooled and is secured to the backside of the hide/sheet, the desired shapes of grip/protective members are cut from the adhesive coated hide/sheet by any of several instruments. One suitable instrument, for example, is a steel rule die and a die press that cuts the adhesive coated hide/sheet.

The grip/protective members are bonded to the knit portion by placing the fabric glove on the lower platen of a suitable platen press and then driving a heated top platen against the grip/protective members. Suitable heated platen presses are commonly available and may be operated by compressed air or by a hydraulic system. In operation, the upper platen is heated and the press lowers the upper platen and forces the grip/protective members against the fabric glove. Heat from the heated upper platen penetrates through the grip/protective members and activates the adhesive to effect a bond between the grip/protective members and the fabric glove.

FIGS. 1A and 1B are palm and backside views, respectively, of a glove 100 in accordance with the embodiment of the technology. In this embodiment, the fingertips are coated with a vinyl emulsion and cured in the pattern of a series of small dots 101 to provide a gripping surface with excellent dexterity at the fingertips. The glove 100 can include a seamless knitted mat 110 with palm, finger and thumb portions. The glove 100 can also include grip/protective members 120a-d, 122 and 124a-b in the form of pads or patches bonded to the fingers, thumb, palm and/or backside portions of the knitted mat 110. For example, the grip/protective members 120a-d can be leather finger pads, the grip/protective member 122 can be a leather thumb pad, and the grip/protective members 124a-b can be leather palm pads. The thumb pad 122 can be a wrap-around patch as shown in FIG. 1B that protects the thumb area of the hand and also adds strength to the thumb crotch. This optional feature is advantageous because the thumb crotch is a high wear area of gloves and can benefit from added protection. The grip/protective members can also include a knuckle pad 126 on the backside of the knitted mat 110 as shown in FIG. 1B.

The finger pads 120a-d cover only a portion of the circumference of the finger portions. This improves the comfort of the glove compared to pads that encircle the finger portions because the areas of fabric around the finger portions not bonded to leather are the only portions of the knitted mat that can stretch to accommodate the shapes and various sizes of different hands or the changing shape and size of a hand as it is articulated. Each finger pad 120a-d and the other grip/protective members can be strategically sized and located to provide protection and wear resistance to selected areas of the glove 100. For example, the pads 120a-d, 122, 124a-b and 126 can be configured for the places of the gloves most likely to be abused or abraded, or areas that are used to grip items or protect a person's hand. The rest of the stretch fabric of the glove provides a secure, comfortable fit and stability to the areas covered by the grip/protective members.

FIGS. 2A-2H illustrate stages of an embodiment of manufacturing a glove 100 in accordance with the technology. FIGS. 2A-2F, more specifically, illustrate stages of manufacturing a grip/protective member for bonding to a knitted mat. For purposes of illustration, the grip/protective member described with respect to FIGS. 2A-2H is made from leather. In other embodiments, however, the grip/protective member can be made from synthetic materials.

FIG. 2A shows a large leather piece 130 having a front side 132 and a backside 134. The front side 132 is typically the epidural, smoother side that is the outer layer of the animal hide (e.g., the “hair side”), and the backside 134 is the back of the hide that was next to the flesh of the animal (e.g., “flesh side”). The backside 134 generally has a rougher surface than the front side 132. For example, the backside 134 can have small strands 137. The leather piece 130 is generally several square feet at this stage in the process, and the thickness of the leather piece depends upon the type of leather and the flex, grip and wear requirements of the glove or other clothing article. As described above, the leather piece 130 can be dyed goat skin about 1 mm thick, but in other embodiments the leather piece 130 can be other materials and/or other thicknesses. Referring to FIG. 2B, the leather piece 130 is placed such that the front side 132 is positioned on a plate and the backside 134 faces upwardly toward an adhesive dispenser.

FIG. 2C illustrates a subsequent stage in which an adhesive 140 is deposited onto the backside 134 of the leather piece 130. The adhesive 140 can be a powdered adhesive that is sprinkled or otherwise dispensed onto the backside 134. For example, as described above, one suitable adhesive is a powder adhesive made by EMS-Chemie (North America) Inc., Sumter, S.C. Other adhesives can include Bostik, Inc, web adhesive (a hot melt adhesive) made in the form of a non-woven fabric form. In general, polyamide polymers, copolyamide polymers, polyester and copolyesters, EVA copolymers, both in powder and web forms, are suitable adhesives. The adhesive can be deposited onto the backside 134 of the leather piece using a scatter head powder applicator or other machines known in the art. In other embodiments, other suitable adhesives can be deposited on the backside 134 of the leather piece 130. The adhesive 140 can have a distribution rate of approximately 10 grams to 150 grams per square yard at this stage of the process. In one embodiment, the adhesive is deposited generally uniformly across the backside 134 of the leather piece 130, or in other embodiments the adhesive 140 can be deposited in a pattern having discrete areas of adhesive separated from each other by regions of the knitted material that are not covered by the adhesive (e.g., interrupted adhesive patterning).

FIG. 2D illustrates a subsequent stage in which a heated platen is pressed against the powdered adhesive 140 to heat and pressure treat the adhesive. This stage of the process melts the adhesive and presses it into the backside 134 of the leather piece 130 to form a fused adhesive layer 142 bonded to the backside 134. The fused layer 142, for example, can fuse into and/or among the strands 137 at the backside 134 of the leather piece 130. The amount of heat and pressure depend upon the type and thickness of the adhesive 140 deposited onto the backside 134 of the leather piece 130. In one embodiment, the leather piece 130 with the adhesive 140 is placed on a cold bolster 136, and a platen 138 heated to a temperature of about 230-400° F. is pressed against the leather piece 130 under a force F of about 4-250 psi. The heated platen 138 continues to exert the force F against the leather piece 130 for a period of time. In one example, the heated platen 138 presses against the adhesive 140 at a temperature of 260 degrees Fahrenheit under a force F of 12 pounds per square inch for a time period of 20-90 seconds.

FIGS. 2E and 2F illustrate stages for cutting the specific finger, thumb, palm, and/or knuckle pads from the leather piece 130. As shown in FIG. 2E, a movable cutting platen 150 having a die base 152 and die-cut knives 154 is aligned with the leather piece 130. The platen 150 is moved toward a bolster 160 such that the die-cut knives 154 cut the leather piece 130 into pads 170 (FIG. 2F) corresponding to the desired size and shape of the grip/protective members. As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the pads 170 can be sized and shaped to be any of the finger pads 120a-d, thumb pad 122, palm pads 124 or knuckle pad 126.

FIGS. 2G and 2H illustrate subsequent stages of bonding the individual grip/protective members to the knitted mat 110 of the glove 100. More specifically, FIG. 2G illustrates the finger portions of the knitted mat 110 and the respective finger pads 120a-d placed on the finger portions. The finger pads 120a-d are placed such that the fused adhesive layer 142 of each pad contacts the knitted mat of the finger portions. Referring to FIG. 2H, the finger pads 120a-d and knitted mat 110 are then pressed between a heated platen 150 and a bolster plate 152 to re-activate the fused adhesive layers 142. As the fused adhesive 142 is heated, it reflows into the interstitial spaces of the knitted mat 110 and commingles with the fabric. In one example, the heated platen 150 is heated to a temperature of 240 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and presses against the finger pads 120a-d with a down force of 40 pounds per square inch.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section of one finger portion of the glove 110 taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1A after re-activating the fused adhesive layer 142. As shown in this embodiment, the finger pad 120d is attached to the knitted mat 110 such that the front side 132 faces outward and the backside 134 is bonded to the knitted mat 110. The fused adhesive layer 142 enhances the bond between the grip/protective member 120d and the knitted mat 110 because the two separate heat and pressure processes first fuse the powdered adhesive 140 to the backside 134 of the pad 120d to form the fused adhesive layer 142 (FIG. 2D) and second reactivate the fused adhesive 142 so that it reflows and commingles with the fabric of the knitted mat 110. This two-step procedure increases the bond strength between the adhesive and the grip/protective member 120d such that the grip/protective member 120d can be subsequently bonded to knitted mat 110.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart of a method 400 in accordance with one embodiment of the methods described above with respect to FIGS. 2A-2H. In this embodiment, the method 400 includes depositing an adhesive onto a backside of a sheet of grip/protective material (block 410) and fusing the adhesive to the backside of the sheet of grip/protective material using a first heat and pressure procedure that forms a film of fused adhesive on at least a portion of the backside of the sheet (block 420). The method 400 further includes cutting the sheet of grip/protective material into a plurality of grip/protective members sized and shaped for the article of clothing (block 430). For example, the sheet of grip/protective material can be cut into grip/protective members that are sized and shaped for a glove, sleeve (e.g., elbow pads), or leg (e.g., knee pads). The method 400 further includes attaching at least one grip/protective member to a knitted material that defines at least a portion of the article of clothing using a second heat and pressure procedure that re-activates the film of fused adhesive to thereby cause a portion of the re-activated fused adhesive to penetrate into the interstitial spaces of the knitted material (block 440).

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a method 500 for forming a glove in accordance with an embodiment of the technology. In this embodiment, the method 500 includes knitting a one-piece seamless glove including an elastane fiber (block 510). The glove has finger portions, a thumb portion and a palm portion. The method 500 further includes providing a plurality of grip/protective members that each have a grip/protective material and a fused adhesive layer (block 520). The fused adhesive layer comprises a powder adhesive that has been fused with a backside of the grip/protective material by pressing a heated platen against the powder adhesive. The method 500 further includes attaching the grip/protective members to the finger portions, the thumb portion and a palm portion of the glove (block 530). For example, the grip/protective members can be attached to the glove by placing the fused adhesive layer of the grip/protective members on corresponding portions of the glove, pressing the glove between a heated platen and a bolster plate, and reflowing the fused adhesive so that it penetrates into the interstitial spaces of the fabric of the knitted glove (block 530).

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-section of an implementation of the finger portion of the glove 100. In this implementation, a finger F of a user stretches the knitted mat 110. More specifically, a first section 110a of the knitted mat 110 bonded to the finger pad 120d does not stretch because the finger pad 120d restrains this section of the knitted mat 110. A second section 110b of the knitted mat 110, however, stretches a significant amount to compensate for the finger of the user. The strategic size and placement of the finger pad 120d enables a knit glove to be used instead of a cut-and-sewn glove. More specifically, a sufficient section of the knitted mat 110 around a circumferential region is not adhered to a leather grip/protective pad to enable the knitted mat to adequately expand.

FIGS. 7A-7E illustrate several embodiments of knit gloves 700a-700e with grip/protective pads in various configurations. The individual configurations of the grip/protective pads shown in FIGS. 7A-7E are configured to provide different stretch properties to the knitted mat. For example, the glove 700d has a plurality of cured ink grip surfaces 730 in addition to the plurality of grip/protective members 720c attached to the knit glove as explained above.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.