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March 2, 1937. A. s. MITCHELL 2,072,602 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURING UPHOLSTERED PANELS Filed July 10', 1935 3 Sheets-Sheet l jzvenzér I March 2, 1937. I A. SQMITCHELL ‘ 2,072,602 METHOD AND APPARATUS _.FOR MANUFACTURING UPHOLSTERED PANELS Filed July 10, 1955 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 .- I". _ 'I IWllllrlllllllllllllll?l llIl||lll“Illllllllllmlllllllllllllllll .g! ii ‘aim: W w :mw m V. .‘ _ Wa. .W,_ w U W .. V Qiii_E._Zm.i Feel 9%, MarchZ, 1937. 2,072,602 A. s. MITCHELL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURING UPHOLSTERED PANELS Filed July 10, 1935 5 Sheets—Sheet 3 8 ‘N =\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\* .lvag>E53:$1, z / 2,072,602 Patented Mar; 2, 1937 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 2,072,602 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANUFAC TURING UPHOLSTERED PANELS Allister S. Mitchell, Detroit, Mich., assignor to National Automotive Fibres, Inc., Detroit, Mich., a corporation of Delaware Application July 10, 1935, Serial No. 30,757 18 Claims. (01. 154-2) This invention relates particularly to upholstery downwardly through the openings in the plates and through the spaces between or surrounding panels adapted to be used as trim-panels in auto the plates and trimmers with which the apparatus mobile bodies, to an improved method of manu facturing such panels, and to improved apparatus is equipped serve to trim off the cotton which is thus drawn downwardly about the edges of the 5 5. adapted to the practice of said method. 10 The primary object is to provide an improved upholstery panel, an economical method of manu plates. facturing the same, and simple apparatus well prising a panel-plate, and a layer of cotton bat ting, or other soft unwoven ?bre adhesively joined to one surface of the panel-plate. It has been 10 found that the padding-layer thus applied is of even thickness and presents a smooth, unru?led outer surface. Moreover, some of the cotton ?bres are drawn downwardly over some of the edges of the panel-plate, thus tending to round 15 adapted to the practice of said method. It is known to provide, for the purpose of up holstering automobiles, trim-panels equipped with snap-fasteners which can be inserted through holes or sockets in the framework of the body of the automobile. 15 , ' It is desirable that such upholstery panels shall be provided, between the foundation-plate of the padding in smooth, even condition upon the cover, with a padding-sheet, giving softness to the panel-plate. Upholstery panels of the character mentioned are of suitable size and contour for the space example, upholstery panels for doors may have 25 portions cut away to conform to the contour of the lower portion of the door, and may have open ings,_as for example for the handle-shaft, the shaft of the window-operating mechanism, or the like. Heretofore, it has been the practice to 30 provide a relatively stiff sheet of material to serve as a foundation-plate, this sheet being cut to suit able contour and provided with necessary open ings; and, where a layer of ?lling material has been interposed between the foundation-plate 35 and the ?nish-fabric, it has been common prac tice to employ a sheet of what is known in the trade as “blue wedding”, the padding being cut or stamped by dies to give it a contour corre sponding with the base-plate and to provide openings corresponding with those in the base plate. In this method of manufacture, consider able di?iculty is encountered in applying the padding to the base-plate and getting it to regis ter properly. . The panel-plate, after the padding has been which they are to occupy; and, where necessary, openings or cut-away portions are provided. For to the edges of the product and aid in, securing the panel and the ?nish-fabric which serves as a upholstery. '20 This method provides an upholstery panel com Such method 'of manufacture in 45 volves undue expense, and, moreover, fails to give a desirably even surface next to the cover fabric. In accordance with the preferred process herein described, foundation-plates having a surface 50 sprayed or coated with adhesive, are fed in suc cession through suitable apparatus, together with a continuous strip of cotton batting which be comes adhesively joined to the successive founda tion-plates; and suction-means with which the 55 apparatus is provided serves to draw the cotton thus applied, has a cover-fabric applied over the padding, the margins of the fabric being com monly lapped over the peripheral edge-portions of the panel-plate and cemented to the under or back surface thereof. The cover-fabric may be applied in any desired manner. It may, for ex ample, be applied in the manner illustrated in my application Ser. No. 11,527, ?led March 16;,1935. The invention, in a preferred‘ embodiment, is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in Which—- . ' 30 Fig. 1 is a broken side elevational view of- novel mechanism embodying the invention which is adapted to the practice of the improved process; Fig. 2, a plan view of the same; Fig. 3, a vertical sectional view' taken ‘as indicated at line 3 of 35 Fig. 2; Fig. 4, a broken vertical longitudinal sec tional view of the machine, the feed rolls and stripper-rolls being shown in elevation, however; Fig. 5, a fragmentary-view illustrating the man ner in which the trimmer-roll, which is second in order of operation, performs the function of trimming the cotton against the forwardly pre sented edges (the initial end-edge of the panel and the ?nal edges of the perforations); Fig. 6, a broken transverse sectional view taken as indi-' cated at line 6 of Fig. 1; and Fig. 7, a broken sec tional view illustrating my improved trim-panel applied to a frameLmember of an automobile body. ,1' In the drawings illustrating the improved ma chine, A designates a frame which may be of any suitable construction, presenting a‘ bed' A’ over which the work passes; B, B’ and 13”, sets of feed. rolls, the bights of which are located at or just above the bed of the machine; 0, a counter-clock~ 45 2 9,072,602 wise-turning trimmer-roll, with which is associ ated a feed-roll C’; D, a clockwise-turning, trim mer-roll with which is associated a feed-roll D’; E, a suction-box connected with an exhaust con 5 duit E’, the top of the suction-box constituting a portion of the bed of the machine; F, a con veyor which preferably is employed for feeding the materials to the feed-rolls; G, a conveyor serving to convey the cotton-covered panel-boards 10 from the machine; H, an electric motor which drives the trimmer-rolls C and D at a high rate of speed through the medium of a belt or chain H’; I, a speed-reducing gear-set driven from the motor H, as by means of a belt or chain‘ I’, and 15 from which a belt or chain. 1’, operating at re duced speed, serves to drive a wheel or pulley J which is fixedly mounted upon the shaft of the front roller J ' of the conveyor F. The exhaust pipe E’ of ‘the suction-box may 20. have suction applied thereto in any suitable man ner, as by means of a suction fan (not shown) driven by the motor. It will be understood that the trimmer-rolls C and D are driven directly from the motor at a high 25 rate of speed. The shaft of the trimmer-roll C is designated I, and that of the trimmer-roll D is designated 2. As shown in Fig. 1, the rolls are geared together by gears 3, which cause the rolls to rotate in opposite directions. 30 As shown in Fig. 3, the shaft of the roller J’ serves, through the medium of a belt or chain 4, to actuate the feed-rolls. The feed-rolls are connected by a system of belts or chains 5 at one side of the machine and spur-gears 6 at the other side of 'the machine in such manner that mem bers of each set of feed-rolls are rotated in op posite directions and in such a way as to feed the materials through the machine. It will be understood that the feed-rolls C’ and D’ which .40 coact with the trimmer-rolls C and D, rotate at the same speed as the sets of feed-rollers B, B’ and B2. The final conveyor G is actuated from one of the rear feed-rolls B’ by means of a belt or chain ‘I. 45 The surfaces of the sets of feed-rolls B, B’ and B2 may be 01' any suitable material. They may, for example, be of rubber adapted to yield slightly. , The trimmer-rollers C and D preferably are 50 covered with wire-bristle cloth, as indicated at 8, the bristles being set so as to incline rearwardly with respect to the direction of rotation. The surfaces of the coacting feed rolls C’ and D’ may be of any suitable material. Preferably they 55 are covered with wire-bristle cloth, the bristles having a rearward inclination at the bight. The use of wire bristles on the feed-rolls proper tends to give a more positive forward feed of the mate rials while they are being operated upon by the 60 trimmer-rolls. The suction-box E is shown provided with’ cross-members 9 and "I which support rigidly se cured metal plates 9BL and I0“ interposed between the rolls, as shown in Fig. 4. An additional trans 65 verse plate I l forming a part of the bed is shown at the left of the trimmer-roll D in Fig. 4. Be tween the plates and also between the plate 9“ and the front wall l2 of the suction-box are open ings through which air may be drawn downwardly 70 through the suction-box. ' The machine enables panels of various forms to be fedv through and have a layer of cotton batting, for example, applied thereto. In Fig. 2, two series of door-panels l3 are shown as being 15 fed through the machine; and, in addition, small panels I4 and I5 (located in the cut-away por tions of the door-panels) are being fed through the machine. The panel-board I3 is shown pro vvided~ with openings I3“. It is noted, also, that the panel-boards are spaced with relation to each C1 other. This, in effect, is the same as perfora tions through the panel-board, since the cotton can be drawn downwardly through the spaces and brought within the range of action of the trim 10 mer-rolls C and D. The cotton preferably isv supplied to the ma chine from a roll K supported on a core K’ which is vertically movable in standards K2 which ?ank the conveyor F. As shown, the strip I6 of cot ton batting is drawn from the roll K by the feed 15 rolls. In turn, the roll of batting operates, in conjunction with the conveyor F, to convey the panel-boards [3, I4 and I5 to the feed-rolls. In the preferred practice of the process, the panel-boards, having their upper surfaces sprayed 20 with adhesive, are placed on the conveyor F, and thereby carried between the roll of batting and the conveyor and thence forwardly to the feed rolls. In passing between the sets of feed-rolls B and B’, the cotton padding is evenly ironed 25 upon the panel-boards as they pass in succes sion through the machine. As the work passes over the suction-box E, the suction is su?icient to rupture the cotton at all points not supported by the panel-boards, and the projecting portions of 30 the cotton are drawn downwardly about the edges of the panel boards into the suction-box. As the downwardly depending portions of the cotton pass the trimmer-roll C, that roll operates to trim away portions of the cotton, these portions then 35 passing through the suction-duct E’ to a suit able collec‘torlnot shown). The trimmer-roll C operates to effectively trim, against any rear wardly presented edges of the panel-boards, the depending portions of cotton. Thus, the trim 40 mer-roll 0 acts particularly with respect to the rearwardly presented front walls of the perfora tions and the rearwardly presented rear edges of the panel-boards to trim‘ the cotton with re spect to said edges. As the work progresses through the machine, the trimmer-roll D operates particularly to trim the depending cotton against the forwardly pre sented edges of the panel-boards, that is, the front edges of the panel boards and the forwardly presented rear Walls of the openings in the panel boards. ' The first trimmer-r011 C operates to remove most of the cotton which depends over the lat eral edges of the panel-boards; and this action 55 is supplemented by the action of the second trim mer-roll B as the work progresses through the machine. ‘ In Fig. 5, the action of the second trimmer-r011 (the trimmer-roll D) is illustrated, trimming the 60 cotton against the forwardly presented edge 'of the opening 13“ in the panel-board. It will bev understood that before the work reached this point, the cotton had already been trimmed with respect to the front. half of the opening l3“ by 65 the roller C’ acting against the rearwardly pre sented edge of the opening. It'will be noted that the cotton fibres are drawn downwardly about the wall of the opening, as indicated at I6“. Thus, in effect, the cotton ?bres form a lining 70 for the wall of the opening. A similar result is secured wherever the trimmer-rolls act in oppo sition to the forwardly presented edges or the rearwardly presented edges, as'the case may be, of the panel-boards. In Fig. 2, the cut-away por 75 3 2,072,602 tion of the panel I3 is indicated at I3"). When the panel is passed through the machine in the direction indicated, the wall of the cut-away por tion is, in e?ect, presented rearwardly, acting like the rearwardly presented front wall of a per foration. Both trimmers act upon the downward ly drawn cotton at the lateral edges of the panel board, the trimmer-roll D serving to remove any bits of cotton which have not been removed by 10 the trimmer-roll C. At the lateral edges, some of the ?bres are left drawn downwardly and in e?ect wrapped about the lateral edges. tending to hold the margins of the cotton in position and. produce a certain amount of binding of the ?bres about the lateral edges of the panel-board. If desired, the mechanism may be varied to pro vide trimmers which will operate with respect to the lateral edges of the panel-boards very much as the trimmer-rolls C and D operate with respect to the forwardly and rearwardly pre sented edge-walls of the panel-boards and the portions downwardly about the edges of the panel board. Accordingly, the use of pneumatic pres sure, however applied, for accomplishing this re sult is to be regarded as an equivalent and With in the scope of appended claims. The foregoing detailed description has been given for clearness of understanding only, and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, but the appended claims should be construed as broadly 'as permissible in view of 10 the prior art. What I regard as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is: 1. A method of producing an upholstery panel which comprises applying pneumatic action to a panel-plate and an associated layer of ?brous pad ding material to force projecting portions of the padding material about the edges of the panel plate, and removing marginal portions of the pad ding material. 2. A method of producing upholstery panels Preferably, as stated, the trimmer-rolls C and D are equipped with wire bristles which scratch or tear the padding material bit by bit from the which comprises passing a series of panel-plates and an overlying continuous strip of padding ma terial within the range of a pneumatic device and drawing portions of the padding material down~ 25 unwoven sheet. Thus, said rolls actto brush trim the projecting margins of the padding ma wardly about the edges of the panel-plates, and trimming'away the projecting portions of the terial at the edges of the panel~board. padding material. openings therein. . ‘ Fig. 7 illustrates one of the improved trim 3. A method of producing upholstery panels panels applied to a frame-member ll! of an au which comprises adhesively joining a series of 30 tomobile body. Between the layer of cotton l6 panel plates and a layer of padding material, sub and the panel-board I3 is a coating of adhesive . jecting them to suction to rupture the padding designated l8. Applied over the padding it is material and draw portions of the padding ma a cover 19 of suitable ?nish-fabric. The fabric terial about the edges of the panel-plates, and ill has ‘its margins turned about the margins of the padded panel-board and cemented to the rear surface'of the panel-board by adhesive id“. The panel-board is shown provided near its edges with snap-fasteners 20 “which may be of any suit 40 able form and which may be secured to the trim panel in any desired manner. In the illustra tion given, the spring-prongs 20a in the fastener extend through‘ a perforation illa of the frame member llL, It will be noted that the ?bres of 45 the cotton it are drawn downwardly about the edge of the panel-board l3,,as indicated at it", corresponding, in thisrespect, with the e?ect shown at the perforation m in Fig. 5. The improved method enables production to be 50 speeded up enormously, and provides an improved product, in which the layer of padding material is very smoothly applied to the panel-board and very effectively secured thereto. In a measure, the edges of the panel-board are moderately pad 55 ded and rounded. That very great economy is effected will be evident to those skilled in the art when it is remarked that it becomes unneces sary, because of the improved process, to manu facture blue wadding and dye-cut the same into pre~formed pads for application to the panel boards; As mentioned above, di?culty is ex perienced in the old method, in obtaining per fect registration of the pre~cut padding sheet and the panel-board. Not only is the expense of 65 the old method far greater, but the same uni formity in thickness and. unruilied smoothness of surface adjacent the inner surface of the cover ing cannot be attained. The panel-plates which are to be upholstered 70 may be of any suitable material, such as ?bre board, ply-board, or the like. Sheet metal may be employed, but is less desirable. In a broad sense, the use of suction in the im proved process utilizes pneumatic pressure for 75 rupturing the cotton and forcing the marginal removing the projecting portions of the padding 35 material. 4. In the manufacture of upholstery panels, a method which comprises: passing over a suction device a series of panel-plates and an overlying continuous sheet of unwoven padding material, 40 and by means of suction rupturing the padding material and drawing portions of the padding ma terial about the edges of the panel-plates, and trimming away projecting portions of the pad 45 ding material. 5. A method of producing upholstered panels which comprises feeding a series of adhesive coated panel-plates and an overlying continu ous sheet of padding material through compress ing means ‘and then over a suction-device; apply ing suction to rupture the padding material and draw portions thereof downwardly about the edges of the panel-plates; and trimming away projecting portions of the padding material. 6. A method as speci?ed in claim 4, character 60 55 ized by performing the trimming action'by rotary trimmers acting against opposed edges of the panel-rplates. - 7. A method of producing panels which com; prises feeding a series of adhesive-coated panel liil plates and a continuous strip of batting between compression-rolls, the batting being taken from a roll and acting inconjunction with a conveyor to feed the panel-plates to the compression-rolls; 65 passing the work over a suction bed and applying suction to rupture the batting and draw portions thereof downwardly about the edges of the panel plates; and trimming the depending portions of the batting and conveying the trimmed portions 70 away by suction. 8. Apparatus for the purpose set forth, com prising a suction device; trimmers associated therewith; and means for feeding a series of panel-plates and an associated layer of batting 2,072,602 4 across the suction-device and within the range of said trimmers. 9. Apparatus for the purpose set forth, com prising a suction-bed; trimmers therein; and 5 means for feeding a continuous sheet of batting and an underlying series of panel-plates to and across said bed, said means comprising a con veyor for advancing the panel-plates and a su perposed source of supply for the continuous sheet 10 of batting. l 10. Apparatus'for the purpose set'forth, com prising a suction-bed; means for applying suc tion thereto; trimmers associated with said suc tion-bed; compression feed-rolls between which 15 the materials pass on their way to the trimmers; a conveyor for feeding adhesive-coated panel plates; and a source of supply from which the layer of batting is placed upon the panel-plates as they are forwarded in succession by said con 20 veyor to said compression-rolls. 11. Apparatus for the purpose set forth, com prising a bed equipped with a suction-device; bristle-equipped trimmers mounted in said suc tion-device below said bed; and means for feeding 25 over the suction-device and trimmers a series of panel-plates and an overlying continuous sheet of padding material, 12. Apparatus for the manufacture of uphol~ stery-panels comprising: a suction-device; trim mer-rolls associated with the mouth of said suc tion-device and equipped with means for actuat ing them at relatively high speed; feed-rolls, in cluding rolls opposed to said trimmer~rolls, said feed-rolls operating at slower speed; and means 35 for supplying a continuous sheet of batting to the feed-rolls. 13. Apparatus for the manufacture of uphol stery-panels comprising: a bed equipped with feed-rolls and with trimming-rolls; means for 40 supplying a continuous sheet of batting and a series of panel-boards to said feed-rolls with said panel-boards at the side of said sheet which is to wards the trimming-rolls; and means for forcing cotton from said sheet downwardly about the edges of the panel-boards to bring said cotton within the action of said trimming-rolls. 14. In apparatus for use in producing uphol stered panels comprising a panel-plate and bat ting applied to a surface thereof: a power-driven permanent conveyor serving to support a plu rality of pre-formed panel-plates in series and advance said plates; and means for supplying a continuous sheet of batting, such as cotton bat ting, over and compressing the same upon the ad 10 vancing panel-plates. 15. Apparatus as specified in claim 14, in which said conveyor is an endless conveyor having a panel-loading end-portion disposed back of the 15 zone of application of the batting to the advanc ing panel-plates. ' ' 16. Apparatus as speci?ed in claim 14, in which said conveyor is an endless conveyor having a panel-loading end-portion disposed back of the 20 zone of application of the batting to the advanc ing panel-plates, and in which the compressing means includes compression-rolls receiving the batting and underlying panels from said endless 25 conveyor. 17. In the manufacture of upholstery panels, the steps which comprise: feeding a continuous sheet of unwoven ?brous padding material; ad hesively applying a series of pre-formed panel plates thereto; and, afterwards rupturing said 30 sheet of padding material between adjacent edges of said panel-plates and brush-trimming the pad ding material at the edges of said panel-plates. 18. In the manufacture of upholstered panels, the steps which comprise: feeding a continuous 35 sheet of unwoven fibrous padding material; ap plying a series of pre-formed panel-plates there to; and then rupturing said sheet of padding material between the panel-plates and brush trimming projecting portions of said padding material at the edges of said panel-plates. ALLIS'IER S. MITCHELL.