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Publication numberUS3682756 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date8 Aug 1972
Filing date24 Mar 1970
Priority date24 Mar 1970
Also published asUS3681183, US3681184
Publication numberUS 3682756 A, US 3682756A, US-A-3682756, US3682756 A, US3682756A
InventorsKalwaites Frank
Original AssigneeJohnson & Johnson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nonwoven fabric comprising rosebuds bounded by bundles
US 3682756 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

'IZ- 3.1972 F. KALWMTES 3,682,756

NONT'IOVEN FABRIC COMPRISING ROSEBUDS BOUNDED BY BUNDLES Filed March 24, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet l U /3 ATTORNEY 1972 F. KALWAITES 3,682,756

NONWOVEN FABRIC COMPRISING ROSEBUDS BOUNDED BY BUNDLES Filed March 24, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet l C 0 1 A O O O O /0 \i 0 O O O 0000 {G O C C C A /O0 INVENTOR ATTORNEY United States Patent US. Cl. 161-109 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A nonwoven fabric having a plurality of patterns of groups of fiber segments that alternate and extend throughout the fabric. One pattern is disposed in discontinuous portions of the fabric, each of which portions includes at least one pivotal packing of fiber segments protruding out of the plane of the fabric and a plurality of flat, ribbon-like groups of aligned fibers extending outwardly from the pivotal packing. The discontinuous portions of the fabric are bounded or surrounded by yarnlike bundles of fiber segments which lie in continuous portions of the fabric between the discontinuous portions and constitute a second pattern. The ribbon-like groups of fiber segments connect the pivotal packings with each other and with surrounding yarn-like bundles of fiber segments.

The present invention relates to nonwoven fabrics, and more particularly to patterned nonwoven fabrics made from a layer of fibrous material such as a fibrous web wherein the individual fiber elements are capable of movement under the influence of applied fluid forces. The patterns in the fabric are patterns of groups of fiber segments. One pattern comprises pivotal packings of fiber segments or nubs protruding out of the plane of the fabric, each nub having groups of aligned fibers extending outwardly therefrom.

A second pattern comprises yarn-like bundles of fiber segments which surround one or more of the nubs in the first pattern. The fiat, ribbon-like groups of aligned fiber segments interconnect the hubs with each other and with surrounding yarn-like bundles of fiber segments.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION For a number of years, there have been known various types of foraminous or apertured, nonwoven fabrics made by processes involving the rearrangement of fibers in a starting web or a layer of nonwoven fibers. Some of these fabrics and methods of manufacture are illustrated, shown and described in U.S. Pats. 2.862,25l; 3,081,500 and 3,081,515. The fabrics disclosed and claimed in the patents just listed contain apertures or holes or other areas of low fiber density, outlined by interconnected bundles of fibrous elements wherein the fiber segments within the bundle are closely associated and substantially parallel, and have a yarn-like configuration. The term areas of low fiber density is used in this specification and claims to include both areas in which relatively few fibers in comparison to the rest of the fabric are found and apertures (holes) that are substantially or entirely free of fibers. Such fabrics are sometimes referred to as bundled rearranged nonwovcn fabrics.

Another type of apertured nonwoven fabric is shown, illustrated and described in US. Patent 3,033,72l. The fabric disclosed in that patent comprises protuberant pivotal packings of fibers which protrude out of the lane of the fabric and are interconnected by flat, ribbon-like groups of aligned fiber portions which define low fiber density areas therebetween. Such fabrics are generally termed rosebud" nonwovcn fabrics.

3,682,756 Patented Aug. 8, 1972 Bundled rearranged nonwoven fabrics have been made commercially for many years. In most instances, these fabrics have had an overall pattern of holes or other low fiber density areas throughout the fabric.

A method for producing bundled rearranged nonwoven fabrics is to support a loose fibrous web or layer on a permeable backing member and apply sets of opposing fluid forces to the layer while thus supported. The fluid by which such forces are applied passes through the fibrous layer, over the backing member, and then through the backing member to pack various groups of the fiber elements and place these elements into closer proximity and substantial parallelism to form interconnected bundles of fiber segments. In accomplishing this result, the fluid forces usually are applied over the entire surface of the loose fibrous web or layer and uniformly over and through the permeable backing or support member to produce fiber bundles uniformly over the entire fabric. In some instances, patterns can be made in the fabric by not applying fluid forces to predetermined areas of the fibrous layer, thereby preventing rearrangement in these areas.

A method for producing the rosebud fabrics is to support a loose fibrous web or layer on a perforated backing member and apply fluid over the entire layer while it is thus supported. A vacuum or suction means is placed behind the perforated member to draw the fluid through the layer and out through the perforations. The forces applied by the fluid, pack fiber elements into the perforations in an interconnected helter-skelter arrangement of fiber portions to form a protuberant packing of fiber portions in each perforation. The pivotal packings are connected to one another by flat, ribbon-like groups of fiber elements which extend from perforation to perforation of the backing member over the imperforate portions of the backing member. The exact disposition of these ribbon-like groups will depend upon the fiber orientation in the starting web and the pattern of the perforations in the backing member.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION I have discovered a novel nonwoven fabric which comprises a layer of intermingled fibers w dth the fibers arranged to define a plurality of patterns. The first pattern is one of discontinuous areas. Each of these areas has at least one pivotal packing of fiber segments which protrude out of the plane of the fabric. The pivotal packing comprises fiber segments which are interentangled and in helter-skelter arrangement. Each of the discontinuous areas also includes a plurality of fiat, ribbon-like groups of aligned fibers which extend outwardly from each pivotal packing to define areas of low fiber density within the discontinuous area.

The discontinuous portions of the fabric are surrounded by a second pattern which extends continuously throughout the fabric. The second pattern comprises yarn-like bundles of fiber segments with the fiber segments in each of the bundles closely associated with other fiber segments in the bundle and aligned generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the bundle. Each discontinuous portion of the fabric is bounded around its perimeter by a plurality of the yarn-like bundles of fiber segments which form the second pattern.

Surprisingly, in my new fabric, even though it has a plurality of patterns which alternate through the fabric, and the plurality of patterns involve groups of fiber segments in widely different configurations, the patterns have substantial regularity and aid in providing a fabric having considerable aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, not only does my new fabric have substantial uniformity in its pattern of holes or other areas of low fiber density, but unexpectedly, my new fabric has uniformity in the patterns of yarn-like bundles of fiber segments, pivotal packings of fibers and ribbon-like groups of aligned fibers.

METHOD OF MAKING THE FABRIC OF THIS INVENTION In manufacturing my new nonwoven fabric, a starting layer of fibrous material, the individual fibrous elements of which are capable of movement under the influence of applied fluid forces, is subjected to fluid rearranging forces, preferably liquid, while the layer is supported on a permeable backing member. The backing member has a predetermined topography and has apertures or foraminous areas arranged in a discontinuous pattern over its surface, with imperforate areas comprising the remainder of the backing member. The fluid flows over and through the apertures or foraminous areas and only over the imperforate areas. The fluid is directed against the fibrous layer while it is on the backing member through a member which is apertured, the apertures in the directing member being several times larger than the foraminous areas in the backing member. The fluid flow causes counteracting components of force to act beneath the land areas in the directing member to rearrange fibers into yam-like bundles. The fluid flow also causes other components of force to act on the fibrous layer to pack fiber portions into groups of pivotal packings in accordance with the pattern of the apertures or foraminous areas in the backing member. The fluid flow causes yet other components of force to act on the fibrous layer to form groups of aligned fibers extending from each pivotal packing. The pattern of the groups of aligned fiber segments will depend on the pattern of the apertures or foraminous areas of the backing member.

The basic method and apparatus for making the fabric of this invention are shown and described fully in my US. Pat. No. 2,862,251, issued Dec. 2, 1958. Full particulars of the basic invention as disclosed in that patent are incorporated in this application by reference, although some of those particulars are repeated here. In addition, the specific features peculiar to the method and apparatus for making the fabrics of the present invention are described in detail in this application.

Starting materiaL-The starting material used with the method or apparatus for making the fabrics of this invention may be any of the standard fibrous webs such as oriented card webs, isowebs, air-laid webs, or webs formed by liquid deposition. The webs may be formed in a single layer, or by laminating a plurality of the webs together. The fibers in the web may be arranged in a random manner or may be more or less oriented as in a card web. The individual fibers may be relatively straight or slightly bent. The fibers intersect at various angles to one another such that, generally speaking, the adjacent fibers come into contact only at the points where they cross. The fibers are capable of movement under forces applied by fluids such as water, air, etc.

To produce a fabric having the characteristic hand and drape of a textile fabric, the layer of starting material used with the method or apparatus of this invention may comprise natural fibers such as cotton, flax, etc.; mineral fibers such as glass; artificial fibers such as viscose rayon, cellulose acetate, etc.', or synthetic fibers such as the polyamides, the polyesters, the acrylics, the polyolefins, etc., alone or in combination with one another. The fibers used are those commonly considered textile fibers; that is generally having a length from about inch to about 2 to 2% inches. Satisfactory products may be produced in accordance with this invention from starting webs weighing between 80 grains per square yard to 2000 grains per square yard or higher.

Apertured forming means.--The apertured forming means used with the method and apparatus for the making of fabrics of this invention has forming apertures disposed longitudinally and transversely across its area, with land areas lying between the apertures. The forming apertures may have any desired shape, i.e., round, square,

diamond, oblong, free form, etc., and may be arranged in any desired pattern over the surface of the forming means.

The land areas of the apertured forming means that lie between and interconnect the forming apertures may be either narrow or broad in comparison to the forming apertures, as desired. Generally speaking, the narrower the land areas are, the more tightly compacted will be the yarn-like bundles of closely associated and substantially parallel fiber segments that are formed beneath those land areas. To produce yam-like bundles of substantial Weight, the width of each land area of the apertured forming means is equal to at least about ten times the average diameter of the fibers of the fibrous starting material.

To provide room for the positioning of the nubs of tightly packed, randomly oriented fiber segments of the first pattern within the second pattern of yarn-like bundles of fiber segments, the area of each permeable portion of the backing means is less than about one-half, and preferably only about one-quarter or less, of the area of each aperture of the apertured forming means. To put it another way, the area of each forming aperture is at least about two times, and preferably about four or more times, the area of one of the permeable portions of the backing means.

The maximum size of each aperture of the apertured forming means is limited only by esthetic requirements.

Backing means having discontinuous permeable portions-As already indicated, the fibrous starting layer is supported on backing means having permeable portions arranged in a discontinuous pattern and continuous imperforate portions that lie between and interconnect the discontinuous permeable portions to provide a barrier zone against the passage of rearranging fluid out of the layer of fibrous starting material.

The bridging of the imperforate portions of the backing means by aligned fiber segments referred to above is brought about by three factors: (1) good drainage of the rearranging fluid from the fiber rearranging zone with no uncontrolled washing away of fibers, (2) the accumulation and retention of groups of fiber segments to form nubs at spaced points across the backing means, and (3) the pulling taut of other fiber segments that extend between such nubs and are anchored by the nubs at a plurality of points along each fiber segment.

Good drainage is achieved by avoiding the use of too much rearranging fluid and by employing in the backing means discontinuous permeable portions of sufficient size and not too widely spaced. These permeable portions are large enough and closely enough spaced to each other that they occupy together at least two percent, and preferably five percent or more, of the total area of the backing means.

Accumulation and retention of fiber segments to form nubs at spaced points across the backing means takes place when each permeable portion of the backing means is large enough that a group of fiber segments can be positioned there in tightly compacted, helter-skelter fashion. Thus, the width of each permeable portion of the backing means at its narrowest part is equal to at least about 25 times, and preferably 50 or more times, the average diameter of the fibers in the fibrous starting material.

The pulling taut of fiber segments between adjacent groups in which they are anchored is achieved by limiting both the minimum and the maximum spacing of the permeable portions of the backing means. Thus, the spacing between a given pair of adjacent permeable portions of the backing means is large enough that a stream of rearranging fluid passing through a third permeable portion of the backing means that lies to one side of the axis between the given pair can get suflicient purchase" on the intervening portion of a fiber extending between the two given permeable portions to bend that intervening fiber segment, and move it so that it extends between the two permeable portions by way of the third permeable portion. In addition, the spacing described is large enough that when a fiber is bent by fluid rearranging forces into a zigzag configuration that passes over a series of permeable portions of the backing means, the straight fiber segments oriented in successively different directions in that zigzag pattern are long enough for the eye of the viewer to be able to visually resolve the pattern of the fabric. To achieve these two purposes, immediately adjacent permeable portions of the backing means are spaced from each other by a distance equal to at least about 25 times, and preferably about 50 times, the average diameter of the fibers of the fibrous starting material.

At the same time, the spacing of adjacent permeable portions cannot be so wide as to prevent reliable anchoring of each fiber segment at two or more points along its length. To establish two reliable anchor points for each individual fiber segment, the permeable portions of the backing means should be spaced from other such portions immediately adjacent thereto by no more than about A the average length of the fibers being rearranged, and preferably no more than about /s or /6 the length of the fibers. In general, this means that with 1 /2" staple length fibers, each pair of foraminous portions of the backing means should be spaced, at their closest points, no more than about V2" apart, and preferably no more than about A" apart.

The maximum limit on the area of each permeable portion of the backing means is limited automatically by the requirement mentioned above that the area of each permeable portion of the backing means is less than about one-half and preferably less than about one-quarter, of the area of each aperture of the apertured forming means.

In plan view, the discontinuous permeable portions of the backing means may have any shape desired, i.e., circular, oval, diamond, square, etc. In addition they may be arranged in any desired pattern over the surface of the backing means.

Each permeable portion of the backing means may be a single opening separate from every other such opening, or each permeable portion may be a foraminous area comprised of a plurality of foramina. The continuous imperforate portions of the backing means lie above the foraminous portions by about 52" or ,4 or in other words the foraminous portions are depressed below the imperforate portions by that distance.

Generally speaking, with a foraminous portion at a lower elevation or with the permeable portion a single hole, the larger the area of that portion, the more pronounced will be the three-dimensional effect in the resulting fabric. The three-dimensional effect also increases with increased flexibility in the fibers being rearranged, since the more flexible a fiber is, the more easily it can conform to the lower elevation of the foraminous portions of the backing means or to the full opening of the single holes in the backing means.

During use of the method or apparatus for making the fabrics of this invention, the apertured forming means and the backing means are spaced from each other to provide a fiber rearranging zone in which fiber movement in directions parallel to the backing means is permitted in response to applied fluid forces.

Rearranging fluid-The rearranging fluid for use with this invention is preferably water or a similar liquid, but it may be other fluids such as a gas, as described in my Patent No. 2,862,251.

Even though some of the rearranging forces applied to the loose fibrous web in making my fabric are considerably different in magnitude than other forces applied to the loose fibrous web, these rearranging forces of disparate magnitude do not conflict or compete with each other but cooperate with and complement each other to produce uniformity and regularity in the pivotal packings of fiber segments, the yarn-like bundles and the aligned fiber groups which define areas of low fiber density. My new nonwoven fabrics can be made with patterns which simulate fancy woven and knitted fabrics and which even simulate lace, crocheted fabrics and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a photograph of a fabric of the present invention, the original photograph showing the fabric at actual size.

FIG. 2 is a photomicrograph of the fabric shown in FIG. 1 at an original enlargement of 5 times.

FIG. 3 is a photomicrograph of a cross-sectional view of a portion of the fabric of FIG. 2 at an original enlargement of 10 times.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic showing in elevation of one type of apparatus for carrying out methods for producing the fabrics of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the apertured forming means used in the apparatus of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged diagrammatic view of an apertured backing means which can be used in the apparatus of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION Referring to the photograph in FIG. 1 and the photomicrograph of FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown a nonwoven fabric 10 of the present invention. The fabric comprises a regular or predetermined pattern of areas in discontinuous portions 11 of the fabric. As more clearly seen in FIG. 2, each area 11 comprises a plurality of pivotal packings of fiber segments 12. As seen in FIG. 3, these pivotal packings protrude out of the plane of the fabric. The fiber segments in these pivotal packings are in interentangled and helter-skelter arrangement. The pivotal packings are attached one to another by groups of aligned fibers 13 which extend outwardly from these pivotal packings. The groups of aligned fibers 13 along with the pivotal packings 12, define areas of low fiber density 14 between them. Each discontinuous portion of the fabric is bounded around its perimeter by a pattern of yarn-like bundles of fiber segments 15. The fiber segments in these bundles are closely associated with other fiber segments in the bundle and lie generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the bundle. The disposition of these bundles is such that they form a second continuous pattern in the fabric as is more clearly seen in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF MACHINE AND METHOD FOR MAKING FABRICS OF MY INVENTION Referring to FIG. 4 in the drawings, there is shown one form of apparatus for carrying out methods to produce products in accordance with the present invention. Full particulars of this apparatus except for the details of the combination of the novel backing or supporting member and apertured forming means used in the rearrangement of fibers in accordance with the present invention, including method of mounting, rotation, etc., are fully described in US. Pat. 2,862,251 issued Dec. 2, 1958 and are incorporated in the present application by reference and thus need not be described in complete detail herein. In view of this reference, the apparatus of FIG. 4 will be described in general terms insofar as its essential elements are the same as in the patent just mentioned, and the novel feature of this apparatus, i.e., the backing or supporting member and its relationship to the apertured forming means, will be described in more detail.

The apparatus includes a rotatable perforated drum 30 suitably mounted on flanged guide wheels 31 and 32. The drum has apertures 33 uniformly spaced over its entire surface. The guide wheels are mounted for rotation on shafts 34 and 35. Inside the drum there is stationarily mounted along the full width of the drum, a manifold 36 7 to which a fluid is supplied through conduit 37. On one side of the manifold is a series of nozzles 38 for directing the fluid against the inside surface of the drum.

FIG. is a perspective view of a portion of the apertured forming means 30 of the apparatus of FIG. 4. Nozzles 38 are mounted inside the rotatable drum so that the streams of rearranging liquid are directed first against the inside of the drum. The drum constitutes apertured forming means 30, which as seen in FIG. 5, comprises hexagonal shaped apertures 53 defined by land areas 54.

A novel backing or supporting member 40 is arranged to travel with rotatable drum 30 as will be described below. (The term backing member and support member are used interchangeably throughout this description.) Support member 40, as shown in FIG. 6, has a continuous pattern of imperforate portions 100 and a discontinuous pattern of apertures 101. In FIG. 6 the apertures are round and arranged in a square pattern over the surface of the support member, the remainder of the member being imperforate.

The support member passes about drum 30 and separates from the drum at the guide roll 41 which rotates on a shaft 42. The support member passes downwardly around guide roll 43 rotating on shaft 44 and then rearwardly over a vertically adjustable tensioning the tracking guide roll 45 rotating on a shaft 46 and then around guide roll 47 on a shaft 48. The member passes upwardly and around guide roll 49 rotating on shaft 50 to be returned about the periphery of the drum.

The drum and supporting belt provide a rearranging zone between them through which a fibrous starting material may move, to be rearranged under the influence of applied fluid forces into a nonwoven fabric having a plurality of patterns throughout its area. Tension on the support member is controlled and adjusted by the tensioning and tracking guide roll. The guide rolls are positioned in slideable brackets which are adjustable to assist in the maintenance of the proper tension of the support member. The tension required will depend upon the weight of the fibrous web being treated and the amount of rearrangement and patterning desired in the final product.

Apertured drum 30 rotates in the direction of the arrow shown, and support member 40 moves in the same direction and at the same peripheral linear speed as the drum, and within the indicated guide channels, so that both longitudinal and lateral translatory motion of the backing means, the apertured forming means, and the fibrous layer with respect to each other are avoided. The fibrous material 60 to be rearranged is fed between the drum and support member at point A, passes through the fiber rearranging zone where fluid rearranging forces are applied to it, and is removed in its new, rearranged form as nonwoven fabric 61 between the support member and apertured drum at point B.

As fibrous material 60 passes through the fiber rearranging zone, a liquid such as water is directed against the inner surfaces of rotating apertured drum 30 through nozzles 38 mounted inside the drum. The liquid passes through drum apertures 33 and through the fibrous Web and thence through the backing means, thereby effecting rearrangement of the fibers of the web Vacuum assist box 64 is located against the outside surface of backing means 40. Vacuum box 64 has a slotted surface located closely adjacent the outer surface of belt 40, and through which suction is caused to act upon the web. Suction thus applied assists in the rearrangement of the fibers as the web material passes through the rearranging zone. In addition, it serves to help de-water the web and prevent flooding during fiber rearrangement. Vacuum box 59 located below drum 30 also helps dewater the web after it is rearranged.

The directions the streams of rearranging fluid projected through the apertures of the apertured drum 30 take as they move into and through the fibrous web, determine the type of forces applied to the fibers and, in turn, the

extent of rearrangement of the fibers. Since the directions the streams of rearranging fluid take after they pass through the apertures 33 are determined by apertures 101 and imperforate portions of support member or backing means 40, it follows that it is the patterns of these areas that at least in part determine the patterns of groups of fiber segments in the resulting web.

The rearranged webs or fabrics of this invention may be treated with an adhesive, dye or other impregnating, printing, or coating material in a conventional manner. For example, to strengthen the rearranged web, any suitable adhesive bonding materials or binders may be included in an aqueous or non-aqueous medium employed as the rearranging fluid. Or an adhesive binder may, if desired, be printed on the rearranged web to provide the necessary fabric strength. Thermoplastic binders may, if desired, be applied to the fibrous web in powder form before, during or after rearrangement, and then fused to bond the fibers.

The optimum binder content for a given fabric according to this invention depends upon a number of factors, including the nature of the binder material, the size and shape of the binder members and their arrangement in the fabric, the nature and length of the fibers, total fiber weight, and the like. In some instances, because of the strength of the fibers used or the tightness of their interentanglement in the rearranged web or fabric, or both, no binder at all need be employed to provide a usable fabric.

Further details and descriptions of methods and apparatus which may be used to produce the novel nonwoven fabrics of the present invention are given in my commonly assigned patent application entitled Method and Apparatus for Producing Nonwoven Fabrics Having a Plurality of Patterns, Ser. No. 22,321 filed Mar. 24, 1970, now abandoned.

The following is an illustrative example of the use of the method and apparatus of this invention to produce a patterned nonwoven fabric:

EXA MPLE In apparatus basically similar to that illustrated in FIG. 4, a web 60 of loosely assembled fibers, such as may be obtained by carding, is fed between an apertured forming drum having a construction such as illustrated in FIG. 5 above, and a backing belt. The web weight is about 400 grains per square yard, and its fiber orientation ratio approximately 7 to 1 in the direction of travel. The web contains viscose rayon fibers approximately 1%," long, of 1% denier.

The metal apertured forming drum has hexagonal apertures each measuring, on the side of the drum adjacent the fiber rearranging zone, approximately H between opposite parallel sides. The hexagonal apertures are defined by strips of metal approximately 3& thick and approximately 1" deep, arranged to form a rigid cylindrical drum with six sided openings disposed throughout its surface.

The backing belt comprises a perforated plastic belt having approximately 74 holes or permeable portions per square inch/Each hole has a diameter of approximately 0.068". The holes are arranged in a diamond pattern, with the distance between them at their points of closest spacing being about 4 The width of each 0.068" of the backing belt is equal to average diameter of the 1% denier fibers of the fibrous starting material. The area of each hexagonal aperture of the apertured forming means is approximately 0.100 square inch, or about 30 times the area of the permeable portions of the backing belt, each of which permeable portions has an area of about 0.0033 square inch.

Water is projected from nozzles within the rotating drum through the apertures in the apertured forming 1glrlum, and thence through the fibrous web and the backing hole or permeable portion about 45 times the 0.0015" After a given portion of fibrous web passes through the rearranging zone, in which streams of water are directed against it as just described, the rotation of the sandwich comprised of the apertured drum, the rearranged nonwoven fabric, and the backing belt brings the rearranged fabric over a vacuum drying means, which helps to remove the water remaining in the fabric. The rearranged fabric is then carried forward to the takeoff zone, where it leaves the apparatus.

With the conditions indicated, good fiber rearrangement and bundling are obtained, and an excellent nonwoven fabric such as shown in the photograph of FIG. 1, which has a plurality of patterns that alternate and extend throughout the fabric, is produced. FIG. 2 is a photomicrograph of the same fabric showing a small portion thereof at an original enlargement of five times, and FIG. 3 gives a cross-sectional view of the same fabric at an original enlargement of ten times.

Nonwoven fabric of FIGS. 1 through 3 contains a first pattern of nubs of tightly packed, randomly oriented fiber segments 12, each of which nubs overlies a discontinuous permeable portion of the backing belt. The fabric also contains a second pattern of yarn-like bundles of closely associated and substantially parallel fiber segments 15, arranged in a pattern complementary to the hexagonal apertures of the forming drum. Finally, nonwoven fabric 10 contains a third pattern of flat, ribbon-like groups of substantially aligned fiber segments 13. These latter groups of fiber segments interconnect nubs of fiber segments 12 with each other, as well as interconnecting some of them with yarn-like bundles 15.

The nonwoven fabric of this example has excellent properties, and the plurality of patterns of groups of fiber segments that alternate and extend throughout the area of the fabric contribute substantially to the aesthetic appearance of the product.

The above detailed description has been given for clearness of understanding only. No unnecessary limitations are to be understood therefrom, as modifications will be obvious to those skilled in the art.

What is claimed is:

1. A nonwoven fabric with a plurality of patterns of groups of fiber segments that alternate and extend throughout said fabric, which comprises: groups of fiber segments in discontinuous portions of the fabric, said discontinuous portions forming a first pattern, each of said groups including at least one nub of fiber segments protruding out of the plane of the fabric, said nub comprising fiber segments in interentangled, helter-ske1ter arrangement, each of said nubs having a plurality of fiat, ribbon-like groups of aligned fibers extending outwardly therefrom to define areas of low fiber density within each of said discontinuous portions of the fabric, each of said discontinuous portions being bounded around its perimeter by a plurality of yarn-like bundles of fiber segments lying parallel to said perimeter, the fiber segments in each of said bundles being closely associated with other fiber segments in the bundle and lying generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the bundle, said yarn-like bundles being located in continuous portions of the fabric that form a second pattern in the fabric.

2. The nonwoven fabric of claim 1, in which each of said first discontinuous portions of the fabric includes a plurality of said nubs of fiber segments.

3. The nonwoven fabric of claim 1, in which said areas of low fiber density are apertures substantially free of fibers.

4. The nonwoven fabric of claim 1, in which said yarn-like bundles of fiber segments are of a heavier weight than the groups of aligned fibers extending outwardly from said nubs.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,485,706 12/1969 Evans 161-169 X 3,081,515 3/1963 Griswold et al 28-78 3,033,721 5/1962 Kalwaites 161-150 3,486,168 12/1969 Evans et a1. 161-169 2,862,251 12/1958 Kalwaites 19-161 3,353,225 11/1967 Dodson et al. 19-161 3,403,862 10/1968 *Dworjanyn 239-566 3,434,168 3/ 1969 Summers 28-722 3,485,708 12/1969 Ballou et a]. 161-72 3,494,821 2/1970 Evans 161-169 3,498,874 3/ 1970 Evans et al. 161-169 X ROBERT F. BURNETT, Primary Examiner R. L. MAY, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3969561 *17 Sep 197413 Jul 1976The Kendall CompanyBiaxially oriented nonwoven fabrics and method of making same
US4010988 *7 Mar 19758 Mar 1977Schwartz James WTowel apparatus
US4042740 *20 Sep 197416 Aug 1977Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyReinforced pillowed microfiber webs
US4054628 *22 Dec 197518 Oct 1977The Kendall CompanyMethod of making biaxially oriented nonwoven fabrics
US4091819 *28 Mar 197730 May 1978International Playtex, Inc.Padded brassieres
US4095007 *12 Jul 197613 Jun 1978The Kendall CompanyBiaxially oriented nonwoven fabrics and method of making same
US4297404 *9 Jan 198027 Oct 1981Johnson & JohnsonNon-woven fabric comprising buds and bundles connected by highly entangled fibrous areas and methods of manufacturing the same
US4413030 *26 May 19811 Nov 1983Breveteam S.A.Fiber aggregate
US4841958 *5 May 198727 Jun 1989Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyNonwoven orthopedic casting materials with apertures
US4856502 *22 May 198715 Aug 1989Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyCurable resin coated sheets having reduced tack
US5026587 *13 Oct 198925 Jun 1991The James River CorporationWiping fabric
US5144729 *8 Apr 19918 Sep 1992Fiberweb North America, Inc.Wiping fabric and method of manufacture
US5632072 *5 Jan 199527 May 1997International Paper CompanyMethod for hydropatterning napped fabric
US5670234 *22 Dec 199423 Sep 1997Mcneil-Ppc, Inc.Tricot nonwoven fabric
US5737813 *24 Feb 199714 Apr 1998International Paper CompanyMethod and apparatus for striped patterning of dyed fabric by hydrojet treatment
US5895623 *14 Aug 199620 Apr 1999The Procter & Gamble CompanyMethod of producing apertured fabric using fluid streams
USRE4036214 Apr 198910 Jun 2008Polymer Group, Inc.Apparatus and method for hydroenhancing fabric
Classifications
U.S. Classification428/131, 428/359, 28/105, 428/212, 428/156, 28/109, 428/195.1
International ClassificationD04H1/70
Cooperative ClassificationD04H1/70
European ClassificationD04H1/70