US 3868901 A
An apparatus for improving mechanical contact of a flexible transfer member with an item of ceramic tableware. A transfer surface (preferably silicon rubber) is on the transfer member and is provided with a relatively thick, partly dry skinlike film of a colorant thereon. The colorant film contacts the tableware and thereafter the transfer surface is withdrawn quickly from the colorant film whereby the colorant film is imparted in its entirety intact onto the tableware. An air inflatable, vacuum deflatable balloon biases the transfer member to move the transfer surface into and quickly out of contact with the tableware. An open mesh latex fabric is interposed between the balloon and the transfer member to obviate formation of gas pockets therebetween. A perforated metal plate restrains the balloon when it is moved out of contact with the tableware.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Valiela Mar. 4, 1975 [541 APPARATUS FOR MECHANICAL AM Ch FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS iggg gzgf l f m 1,067,448 10/1959 Germany 101/41 l l Inventor? Jose Vanda, New York, Primary Examiner-Clifford D. Crowder  Assignee; Imerspace Corporation, parsippany Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Charles B. Baxley, Esquire NJ. 22 Filed: Aug. 9, 1973 ABSTRACT [211 App]. N03 387,111 An apparatus for improving mechanical contact of a flexible transfer member with an item of ceramic ta- Related Application Data bleware. A transfer surface (preferably silicon rubber)  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 255,738, May 22, is on the transfer member and is provided with a rela- 1972 Pat. No. 3,756,165. tively thick, partly dry skinlike film of a colorant thereon. The colorant film contacts the tableware and l l Cl 101/379, thereafter the transfer surface is withdrawn quickly 161/401 from the colorant film whereby the colorant film is im-  Int. Cl B4lf 17/00 parted in its entirety intact onto the tableware, An air Field Of Search /1 inflatable, vacuum deflatable balloon biases the trans 161/401, 400, 206; 0 /3 35 fer member to move the transfer surface into and quickly out of contact with the tableware. An open  References C ted mesh latex fabric is interposed between the balloon UNITED STATES PATENTS and the transfer member to obviate formation of gas 2,202,465 5/1940 Pattison 101/41 Pockets therebetween- A Pefforated metal Plate 2358139 9/1944 Sprigg et a] H 161/401 X strains the balloon when 1t is moved out of contact 2.621.591 12/1952 Henderson 101/379 with h a l ar 3,4l8.926 121968 Hako i 101/44 X $554,836 151971 srerneien 101/426 x 7 Clam, Drawmg figures PMENIED 4W5 3.868.901 sum 3 0f 5 Pmzmau 3,868,901 sum 9 5 mm 419?" PATENTED a SHEET 5 BF 5 3,868,901
APPARATUS FOR MECHANICAL CoNTACT IN PRINTING oN CERAM I C TABLEWARE CROSS REFERENCE This is a continuation-in-part application with respect to my copending application Ser. No. 255,738 filed May 22,1972, now US. Pat. No. 3,756,165 which in turn was copending with my application Ser. No. 43,044 filed June 3, 1970 and now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to decorating ceramic tableware and seeks particularly to provide a novel, useful, unobvious and facile apparatus for transfer printing colorants onto such ware.
As taught in my US. Pat. No. 3,756,165 oil based relatively viscous colorants can be applied one at a time to ceramic tableware by silk screen printing each ofthe colorants in a relatively thick layer onto a total release transfer surface (preferably of silicone rubber), allowing the colorant layer to dry partially so as to form a skinlike colorant film which has substantially no adhesion to the transfer surface, but which has considerable intrinsic cohension causing intimate mechanical contact between the colorant film and the tableware and then withdrawing quickly the transfer surface from the colorant film so as to transfer the colorant film in its entirety intact onto the tableware. Successive films of colorants may be applied to the tableware even over previously applied films of colorants and without waiting for the previously applied films of colorants to dry.
By controlling properly formation of the colorants, their drying can be regulated so as to accommodate use of silkscreen printed total release transfer members after about 1 minute or to accommodate preparation of a multiplicity of total release transfer member hours in advance without danger of their drying prematurely to the extent that the colorants would no longer be transferable to the tableware.
The type of total release transfer member here contemplated preferably isan elastic membrane that is biased into Contact with rims or cavity portions of plates, saucers or the like. More particularly the contemplated transfer member preferably comprises a flat metal or plastic ring having a normally relaxed elastic net secured to one face and covering a central opening of the ring. The transfer member also includes a flat area of silicone rubber preferably cast onto an exposed face of the elastic net within the area of the central opening of the ring and preferably coaxial therewith. Displacing means (preferably an inflatable balloon) bias the transfer member into and out ofcontact with the tableware.
BRIEF STATEMENT OF INVENTION The present advance is to interpose a permeable, flexible member (preferably and open mesh latex fabric) between the displacing means and the transfer member to obviate formation of gas pockets therebetween. Also a rigid permeable member (preferably a perforated metal plate) is positioned to prevent unwanted movement of the displacing means and a recess is provided to facilitate withdrawal of air to an evacuated conduit.
Accordingly one object of this invention is to improve quality of tableware decoration by eliminating gas pockets between the displacing means and the transfer member.
Another object of this invention is to improve speed of tableware decoration.
Still another object of this invention is to extend lives of balloons and transfer members used in this service.
Still another object of this invention is to facilitate positioning and removal of the tableware relative the transfer member.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS With these and other objects, features and advantages in view, the invention will be understood more fully by reference to accompanying drawings, a following detailed description and appended claims.
In the drawings like parts are denoted by the same reference numerals and:
FIG. 1 is a top view of a rectangular elastic membrane transfer member having open net portions and constructed in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 2 is a top view of a round embodiment of an elastic membrane transfer member also constructed in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 3 is a transverse section of a printing station showing the transfer member of FIG. 1 in position relative to an inflatable annular balloon in preparation for transfer of a colorant film to a dish.
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with the annular balloon inflated to effect transfer of the colorant film to the dish.
FIG. 4A is an enlarged detail view with respect to FIG. 4.
FIG. 5 is a transverse section of a printing station showing the transfer member of FIG. 2 in position relative to an inflatable full diaphragm balloon in preparation for transfer of a colorant film to a dish.
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, but with the full diaphragm balloon inflated to effect transfer of the colorant film to the dish.
FIG. 6A is an enlarged detail view with respect to FIG. 6.
FIG. 7 is a transverse section of another embodiment of a printing station showing the transfer member of FIG. 1 in position relative to an inflatable annular balloon in preparation for transfer of a colorant film to a dish.
FIG. 8 is a horizontal section taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 7 and shown partly broken away to expose successively a permeable rigid perforated metal plate, a rubber balloon, a permeable flexible open mesh latex fabric and a layer of silicone rubber.
FIG. 9 is a vertical section taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 7.
FIG. 10 is a broken section illustrating that the rub- I ber balloon would be sucked into the vacuum line if the permeable rigid perforated plate were missing.
FIG. 11 is a plan view of a transfer member similar to FIG. 1 indexed for printing.
FIG. 12 is a transverse section of an embodiment of a printing station comparable to FIG. 7 showing the transfer member of FIG. 2 in position relative to an inflatable full diaphragm balloon in preparation for transfer of a colorant film to a dish.
FIG. 13 is a plan view of a centering ring.
FIG. 14 is a side view of the centering ring of FIG. 13 and shown partly in section.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, it will be seen from FIG. 1 that an elastic membrane transfer member A includes a rigid flat ring 5 that may be formed from any suitable metal or plastic and has a central opening 6 of a diameter compatible with that of a ceramic piece of tableware to be decorated. A mesh net 7, formed from an elastomeric material such as elastic fabric (for example, latex rubber), spans the opening 6 and has its peripheral edge portions secured adhesively to one face of the ring 5. A flat area 8 ofa suitable silicone rubber or the like, such as Silastic A RTV (a trademark), available commerically from Dow Corning Corporation, provides a total release transfer surface and is secured to the net 7 by being molded thereon or by means of a silicone Contact adhesive, such as SR- 5l6"(a trademark) available commerically from General Electric Silicone Products, which bonds the silicone rubber to the net 7 sufficiently to permit multiple transfer operations, yet to permit ready stripping of the silicone rubber area 8 therefrom when the necessity for replacement ultimately arises. As used herein a total release transfer surface is one such as silicone rubber or others covered in US. Pat. No. 3,255,695 to Mr. C. R. Johnson et al. which will accept the colorant by silk screen printing thereon or otherwise, but will tend thereafter to repel the colorant therefrom. It should be noted that there are many elastic fabrics from which the net 7 can be made. Elastic synthetic materials which stretch in all directions are preferred, but the net 7 can be made of any material capable of stretching in the desired manner and of relaxing back to the same size and shape in the ring 5 and capable of accommodating openings sufficient to allow passage of air therethrough. Construction of the flat area 8 of a suitable silicone rubber'(or the like) secured to the net 7 is here regarded to be expedient; however, it should be understood that it is also contemplated that the area 8 and the net 7 may be integral and of single material which is perforated or slitted in areas to which colorant is not to be applied.
In orderto disclose further the nature of this invention, first it will be assumed by way of example that the cavity border of an unglazed ceramic dish is to be decorated with a ring or circle shaped FIGS. 9a and 9b in two separate colorants arranged alternately around the periphery of the dish. See FIG. 1. In this case two transfer members are prepared, one for each of the two colorants to be applied, and one colorant 9a will preferably be squeegee applied to positions on a silicone rubber area 8 of a first elastic membrane transfer member A; and a second colorant 9b will be applied to the silicone rubber area 8 ofa second elastic membrane transfer member A in proper relation to the positions of the first colorant 9a. The elastic membrane transfer member A is provided with straight sides 10a for indexing. Transfer members B of FIG. 2 are provided with notches 10 to index their rotational offset relationship.
At this stage an article to be decorated, such as dish 11, is secured in a station of any known ceramic printing machine that is modified in accordance with this invention (see FIGS. 3, and 7) to include an air inflated, vacuum deflated annular balloon 12 having a central opening 13 corresponding to a central cavity of dish 11 and having an external surface adapted generally to be congruent with the silicone rubber ring 8. For most effective transfer, contact of the total release transfer surface 8 with the dish 11 should be practically instantaneous, say for from 0.1 to 0.5 seconds, and the total release transfer surface should be removed quickly from contact with the colorant film 9 which thusly is printed on the dish 11.
The first colorant transfer member A is interposed and held securely between the balloon 12 and the dish 11 as shown best in FIG. 3 after which the balloon I2 is inflated quickly by air to the position indicated in FIG. 4 which displaces the net 7 and silicone rubber area 8 so that the colorant film 9a is brought into contact with an adjacent surface of the dish 11. Air within the central cavity of the dish 11 readily passes through the openings of the elastic net 7 and the central opening 13 of the balloon 12 as the ballon l2 inflates, thus avoiding any air pocket adjacent the printed surface of the dish 11 and permitting a total clean impression transfer of the colorant film 9a intact to the surface'of the dish 11. Because a total release of the colorant film 9a from the transfer surface of silicone rubber (or the like) area 8 is desired, it has been found perferable to inflate the balloon 12 via conduits 14 with air under sufficient pressure to create a firm impression of the colorant onto the dish 11 and then to deflate the balloon l2 quickly be vacuum via the conduits 14 in order to permit the elastic net 7 quickly to return to its normal planar configuration and thus quickly withdraw the total release transfer surface of silicone rubber (or the like) area 8 away from the colorant film which thusly is printed on the dish 11. Now the dish 11 is retained in position while the second colorant transfer member A is brought into suitable register and is held in the printing station so that the colorant film 9b on its total release transfer surface 8 similarly may be transferred to the dish 11, thus completing the shown design.
Using an analogous printing method, a light colorant film 16a can be overprinted with a dark colorant film 16b as shown in FIG. 1. Also as shown in FIG. 1, colorant films 15a and 15b can be overprinted to produce color areas 15a, 15b and 15c. For example, the colorant film 15a could be yellow and the colorant film 15b blue so that area would be yellow, 15b blue and 15cgreen.
FIGS. 5 and 6 depict the station of the ceramic printing machine of FIGS. 3 and 4 and further adapted for use with a colorant transfer element such as that shown as B in FIG. 2. The colorant transfer member of FIG. 2 includes a rigid flat ring 5 with a central opening 6 of a diameter compatible with that of the ceramic piece of tableware 11 to be decorated. A mesh net 7 formed from elastomeric material has its peripheral edge portions secured adhesively to one face of the ring 5. A flat area 8 of silicone rubber (or the like) is secured to the net 7 to provide a total release transfer surface which has pin holes 17 in areas which a colorant film design 21 does not cover. The silicone rubber 8 may be on both surfaces of the net 7 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 12. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. a full diaphragm balloon 18 is used with the colorant transfer member B and the station of the ceramic printing machine is provided further with a plug 19 to seal the balloon 18. The colorant transfer member B is held firmly between the balloon 18 and the dish 11 as shown in FIG. 5, after which the balloon 18 is inflated quickly by air entering via the conduits 14 so that the colorant design 21 is brought into contact with the adjacent surface of dish 11 as shown in FIG. 6. Air is then exhausted quickly from the balloon 18 via the conduits 14 to withdraw the elastic net 7 and with it the silicone rubber area 8.
One teaching of the present invention is to interpose a permeable flexible member 22 between the displacing means (shown as the balloons 12, 18) and the transfer members A, B to obviate formation of gas pockets therebetween. This permeable flexible member 22 is preferably a loosely woven latex fabric attached to the balloons, although it could be any of a variety of other permeable flexible materials positioned in various ways. what has been stated herein with respect to the material for the net 7 applies also to the permeable flexible member 22.
Another teaching of the present invention is to provide recesses 23 at entrances to the conduits 14 (as seen in FIG. 7, 9 and 12) as well as to position rigid permeable members shown as perforated metal plates 24 directly above the balloons 12, 18 (seen best in FIGS. 7, 8, 9 and 12). Plates 24 can be for example one thirty inches stainless steel having about 50of its surface open. When vacuum is applied via the conduits 14 to the balloon 12 of FIG. 7 and the balloon 18 of FIG. 12, the recesses 23 improve access of air to the conduits 14 and the perforated plates 24 retain the balloons 12,8 from being drawn into the conduits 14. FIG. shows how, without the plate 24, the balloon 12 would be drawn into the conduit 14 causing sealing with consequent trapping of air in pockets 26. In other respects the balloon 12 of FIG. 7 operates like the balloon 12 of FIGS. 3 and 4. Also the balloon 18 of FIG. 12 in other respects operates like the balloon 18 of FIGS. 5 and 6.
Still another teaching of the present invention is to incorporate centering ring 27 with lip 28 made of a resilient material (such as foam rubber) so that centering of the dish 11 in the printing station is faciliated.
It will be understood further that colorants used with this apparatus must be of a special nature because (1) they cannot contain any solvents which will attack or react with the silicone rubber (or the like) total release surface; (2) they must have sufficient adhesion affinity for the silicone rubber that they will remain in place when initially printed thereon; (3) they must have a sufficiently great adhesive affinity for the tableware to be decorated so that they will not delaminate therefrom by contact with the bare areas of silicone rubber of successively applied transfer members used to complete the design without waiting for any previously applied colorant films to dry; (4) they must be deposited as a thick layer on-the tableware; (5) they must strip cleanly from the silocone rubber (or the like) areas without leaving a mark thereon when the transfer steps take place; and (6) they must have a suitable viscosity to make a clear and well defined print. This latter requirement also will vary with the mesh of the silk screen or other printing methods used. For example, a 380 mesh nylon screen will require a lower viscosity colorant than will a 160 mesh screen. Typical examples of colorant formulations are set forth in my US. Pat. No. 3,756,165.
After application of the colorant to the tableware, the tableware may have a glaze applied to it and thereafter the tableware is fired. Underglaze decorated tableware is fired at from 2,000 to 2,050 F. for a vitreous hotel tableware and porcelain and from l,850 to 1,900F. for domestic nonvitreous tableware. Overglaze decorated tableware is fired at from l,375 to 1,400F. precious metals and from l,425 to l,475 F. for ordinary overglaze colors. For hard overglaze colors a firing temperature of l,550 is usually employed. Generally speaking the practical range for firing of tableware is from l,200 to 2,200 F.
It is to be understood that variations in arrangements and proportions of parts and ingredients of this disclosure may be made within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In an apparatus for applying a decorative colorant to an item of ceramic tableware; wherein the apparatus comprises in combination: a rigid planar ring defining a central opening, an elastic open mesh net secured to the ring and covering the opening, the net provided with a solid area having a total release transfer surface thereon within the area of the opening, the colorant printed on at least one area of the transfer surface, the net being resiliently displaceable out of the plane of the ring whereby to permit the colorant on the transfer surface to be engaged into contact with the tableware so that it is printed thereon, a gas inflatable and vacuum deflatable balloon operable against the net for biasing same in a direction to move the transfer surface into a quickly out of contact with the tableware; an improvement comprising a permeable flexible fabric interposed between the balloon and the solid area to obviate formation of gas pockets therebetween.
2. The combination set forth in claim 1 with the permeable flexible fabric being open mesh latex.
3. The combination set forth in claim 2 with the permeable flexible latex fabric being connected to the balloon.
4. The combination set forth in claim 3 and the balloon provided with conduit means in flow communication with a source of the vaccum, a rigid permeable member interposed between the balloon and the conduit means.
5. The combination set forth in claim 4 and a housing defining the conduit means, the housing defining also an enlarged recess between the rigid permeable member and the conduit means.
6. The combination set forth in claim 5 and the rigid permeable member a perforated plate.
7. The combination set forth in claim 4 and the rigid permeable member a perforated plate.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. Dated March 4, 1975 Inventor(s) Jose Valiela It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Title of Invention: Should be corrected to read APPARATUS FOR llziPROvED MECHANICAL CONTACT IN PRINTING ON CERAMIC TABLEWARE Assignee Correct the name of the corporation to read Interpace Corporation Column 1, line 26, "cohension" should be corrected to read cohesion Column 1, line 57, change "and" to an.
Column 5, lines 22-23, change "one thirty inches to read 1152 inches.
Column 5, line 23, change "50" to 50% Column 6, line 35, after "surface into" change "a" to and.
sicned and sealed this 1st d y of y 1975' "fittest:
C ZLKRSI-L-ALL ANN PUT" C '3 I Commissioner of Patents L A Q a L; i-" w attesting Officer and lracemarns