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Numéro de publicationUS20040154266 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 10/771,038
Date de publication12 août 2004
Date de dépôt3 févr. 2004
Date de priorité25 sept. 2000
Numéro de publication10771038, 771038, US 2004/0154266 A1, US 2004/154266 A1, US 20040154266 A1, US 20040154266A1, US 2004154266 A1, US 2004154266A1, US-A1-20040154266, US-A1-2004154266, US2004/0154266A1, US2004/154266A1, US20040154266 A1, US20040154266A1, US2004154266 A1, US2004154266A1
InventeursDavid Glanzman
Cessionnaire d'origineDavid Glanzman
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Apparatus and method for leak-proofing seams of synthetic fiber fabric items
US 20040154266 A1
Résumé
An apparatus and method for repairing and water-proofing leaking seams of tents, tarps, vehicle covers, etc. when manufactured of synthetic fiber fabrics. The process involves heat welding vinyl tape along seams or damaged areas of such to-be-repaired items.
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Revendications(2)
I claim:
1. A method for repairing a synthetic fiber fabric comprising the steps of:
selecting a hot air welding apparatus comprising:
rolling support means;
a hot air blower mounted to said rolling support means, said hot air blower having attached nozzle means for directing hot air from said hot air blower to a substantially defined area;
vinyl stripping supply means supported on said rolling support means for, upon movement of said rolling support means in an application direction, progressively applying elongate strips of said stripping to a fabric item whereby said hot air from said hot air blower is directed to the progressive line of juxtaposition of said stripping and said fabric item as said welding apparatus is moved across a surface of said fabric item;
surface roller means for progressively applying pressure to juxtaposed said stripping and said fabric item substantially adjacent said progressive line of juxtaposition;
placing that portion of a to-be-repaired said fabric item atop a padding member;
orienting said rolling support means for moving said rolling support means in said application direction relative to said fabric item whereby said stripping, upon actuation of said hot air blower, and is weldingly applied to a desired length of said fabric item; and
actuating said hot air blower.
2. A plastic strip applicator and welder for use in applying plastic stripping to substantially synthetic items comprising:
rolling support means;
a hot air blower mounted to said rolling support means, said hot air blower having attached nozzle means for directing hot air from said hot air blower to a substantially defined area;
vinyl stripping supply means supported on said rolling support means for, upon movement of said rolling support means in an application direction, progressively applying elongate strips of said stripping to a fabric item whereby said hot air from said hot air blower is directed to the progressive line of juxtaposition of said stripping and said fabric item as said welding apparatus is moved across a surface of said fabric item; and
surface roller means for progressively applying pressure to juxtaposed said stripping and said fabric item substantially adjacent said progressive line of juxtaposition.
Description
    CITATION TO PARENT APPLICATION(S)
  • [0001]
    This is a continuation-in-part with respect to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/669,234 from which priority is claimed pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 120.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to apparatus and methods for repairing tents, tarps, and similar fabric weather barrier items.
  • [0004]
    2. Background Information
  • [0005]
    Conventional tents, tarps, and related fabric weather barrier items, once made predominately of canvas, are now predominately made of fabrics made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester.
  • [0006]
    A very serious problem encountered by tents users (the military in particular) relates to leaks along and sewn seams. Unlike natural fibers from which conventional tents were once made, synthetic fibers do not tend to swell when exposed to moisture and thereby “seal” the needle holes of seams. Substantial experimentation and research has gone into trying to solve this problem, but thus far without promising or economically viable results. The same problems are true with respect to tarps, vehicle tops, temporary roofs for field dwellings, etc. as are made from like, synthetic fiber fabrics, but further discussion here with usually, simply refer to “tents” as a collective reference to all such items.
  • [0007]
    It would well serve users of tents and similar weather barrier fabric items, mass users in particular (the military being the prime example) to provide some methodology by which tents made from synthetic fiber fabric can be made not to leak. Better still than making new tents that do not leak, is providing a methodology by which existing tents may be economically and effectively repaired to thereby avoid the very substantial expense of completely replacing existing tent inventories, again, particularly for mass users of tents.
  • [0008]
    The present inventor previously developed certain technology which has greatly advanced the art of tent leak repair, and such is the subject of the co-pending parent application of this continuation-in-part. However, the inventor has very recently completed work and necessary testing on improved methods which build on and substantially improve results in leak repair. The inventor's original method as earlier disclosed still represents a substantial benefit to those who must deal with leaking tents, tarps, etc., but the presently disclosed method represents a further advance in this field.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and unobvious apparatus for repairing leaky tents and similar fabric items made of substantially synthetic fabric.
  • [0010]
    It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and unobvious method for repairing leaky tents and similar fabric items made of substantially synthetic fabric.
  • [0011]
    In satisfaction of these and related objectives, Applicant's present invention provides a novel and unobvious apparatus and method for repairing (or initially completing at manufacture) items made from synthetic fiber fabrics and which, therefore, are not water impervious along sewn seams. Modern tents, tarpaulins (“tarps”), awnings and some vehicle tops are items which are made from synthetic fiber fabrics and, therefore, are prone to leakage along seams.
  • [0012]
    The present apparatus and method have been tested and proven to provide effective, highly economical repairs of existing tents, and to thereby provide an avenue for avoiding the substantial expense of replacing existing inventories of tents, tarps, etc.
  • [0013]
    The present apparatus and method solves a long-felt, but unsatisfied need which is evidenced by the enthusiastic endorsement of military officials in wanting to move forward with governmental adopting of the herein described process. This, in turn, arises, not only from the effectiveness of the process, but its cost savings over the only present alternative to dealing with leaking tents—to replace them. The military in particular has repeatedly investigated the problem with leaking tents in particular, and, until the present method was presented for consideration, was without any viable suggestion for dealing with existing inventories.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of the preferred embodiment.
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of only the nozzle, roller and stripping portions of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown atop a to-be-leak-proofed fabric item (path of stripping application demarcated by dotted lines).
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of only the nozzle, roller and stripping portions of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown atop a to-be-repaired fabric item (tear shown in this drawing).
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the nozzle portion of the above apparatus, showing orientation of the nozzle for effecting hot air flow which is juxtaposed and substantially parallel to the surface of a to-be-treated fabric item.
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the nozzle of the preferred apparatus, showing the orifice thereof.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0019]
    The present apparatus used in, and the method for “leak-proofing” seams of principally synthetic fabric tents, tarps, vehicle roofs, awnings, and similar fabric shelter and enclosure items, or for repairing rips and worn areas thereof, involves “welding” strips of reinforced vinyl to the damaged or leaking item. An example of suitable vinyl material is described as 2¾ vinyl laminate tape, mil spec C-43006, Type 2, Class 2.
  • [0020]
    The previously-referenced and earlier-disclosed method of the present inventor involved the same essential process as that described here, but certain details disclosed hereafter yield substantially better and more long-lasting results.
  • [0021]
    Referring to FIGS. 1-6, the present method is best performed, and yields the best time efficiency when undertaken with a tent welding apparatus, which in FIGS. 1 and 2 is identified generally by the reference number 10.
  • [0022]
    Apparatus 10 simply rolls atop the surface of a to-be-repaired (or to-be-improved) fabric item A. Apparatus 10 applies and welds the vinyl stripping 20 as the user moves apparatus 10 across the surface of item A.
  • [0023]
    Of course, inventor's process, at its most basic level, can be carried out by-hand, in such instances as the repair of small items, or very small areas of an item, however properly orienting a suitable hot air stream, applying and applying suitable pressure to the vinyl stripping 20, etc. is often more than one person can carry out alone, or any combination of persons can carry out effectively, even in concert.
  • [0024]
    Apparatus 10 includes as its elemental components a rolling cart 11, a hot air blower assembly 12 mounted on cart 11, a hot air manifold 24 for receiving air flow from hot air blower assembly 12, a welder nozzle 14 which receives and appropriately focuses hot air from blower assembly 12 as channeled via hot air manifold 24, a vinyl strip roll carrier assembly 16, and a surface roller 18.
  • [0025]
    A hot air blower assembly 12 is, in the present context, simply an apparatus which produces a super-heated jet of air.
  • [0026]
    While alternative hot air blower assemblies 12 may be substituted, the presently preferred unit is the WEG 18PR model from Wegener North America, Inc. of Burr Ridge, Ill. Substituting a different hot air welder will require some calibration of heat and “creep speed” of cart 11, but the settings which will accomplish the required thermal welding between fabric and vinyl tape will be apparent with little practice or effort.
  • [0027]
    When using the WEB 18PR model welder, one sets the heat setting to between “6” and “7” and sets the speed setting to between “4½” and “5.” When using a 2¾ vinyl laminate tape satisfying mil spec C-43006, Type 2, Class 2, these settings will result in an optimum heat weld to effect an ideally sealed seam when repairing, for example, a standard weight, polyester fiber fabric military tent or vehicle cover (Mil C-44103 and C-20696 respectively).
  • [0028]
    Surface roller 18 includes a heat-tolerant, slightly resilient outer surface, for effecting the most complete juxtaposition of stripping 20 to the surface of fabric item A.
  • [0029]
    Vinyl stripping 20 is advanced from carrier assembly 16 to a position for surface roller 18 to roll atop lengths of stripping 20 as it is lain atop the to-be-repaired fabric item A. Welder nozzle 14 is positioned for focusing hot air from blower assembly 12 very nearly to the point of juxtaposition between stripping 20 and fabric surface item A.
  • [0030]
    As depicted particularly in FIGS. 3-6, nozzle 14 is configured for directing effluent hot air flow from its orifice 28 substantially juxtaposed, and in a direction which is substantially parallel to the surface of item A. Because blower assembly 20 cannot, as a practical matter, lie on the surface of item A, this involves a reorientation of nozzle tip 22 relative to the long axis of manifold 24.
  • [0031]
    A recently developed improvement of the present method, which substantially improves performance and results of the inventor's methodology, involves placing padding material 26 underneath fabric item A during repair. The preferred padding material 26 is ¼″, medium density silicone foam padding. Use of this padding material 26 achieves at least two benefits: (1) it allows surface roller 18 to conform stripping 20 to every irregularity of fabric item A (much as a rubber stamp produces the best, most complete image when some form of padding underlies the stamped paper, rather than merely a hard desk surface); and (2) it serves as an insulator which retains heat in the immediate area of the welding action, rather than allowing it to heat sink into a cold surface underneath the fabric item A which, in turn, can dramatically affect the quality of the weld and resulting over-all repair. During recent testing (Summer of 2003), the addition of use of padding material 26 has substantially improved the present inventor's over-all quality of repairs.
  • [0032]
    As with the present inventor's original methodology, it is quite important to adequately clean fabric item A before attempting the welding process. Simply wiping the to-be-repaired area of fabric item A with laquer thinner will suffice. Such wiping should clearly continue until any visible dirt, grease, etc. is removed, but, even if none is present, the process must still be undertaken, albeit for little more than a few wipes over the affected area. Once the surfaces have been prepared, apparatus 10 is used as described above.
  • [0033]
    As is apparent from any logical interpretation of the drawings, use of apparatus 10 will involve moving apparatus 10 in an “application direction” whereby stripping 20 is progressively lain atop fabric item A, with hot air flow from orifice 28 of nozzle 14 being directed to the progressing line of juxtaposition between stripping 20 as it is applied to the surface of fabric item A. As apparatus 10 rolls atop fabric item A, roller 18 applies pressure rearward of the progressing line of juxtaposition (to the already-juxtaposed stripping 20 and fabric item A) to press the just-melted materials together and thereby effect the weld.
  • [0034]
    A user of the present method must be alert to charring of tape or fabric on the one hand, and inadequate welding on the other. Minor adjustments to heat and/or speed of movement of apparatus 10 may be required as ambient temperature or other conditions may slightly adversely affect otherwise appropriate settings and methods. Minimal experience with the present method will be required to recognize and correct such problems. Clearly, apparatus 10 should never be left in one position on fabric item 10, while blower assembly 12 is operative.
  • [0035]
    In addition to heat settings, and speed of movement of apparatus 10, it is also important to insure that the to-be-repaired fabric item A is lain flat on a flat working surface. Otherwise, ripples in the fabric or vinyl tape will result in the materials coming closer or farther away from orifice 28 of nozzle 14 than is necessary to achieve an optimum weld.
  • [0036]
    Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon the reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.
Citations de brevets
Brevet cité Date de dépôt Date de publication Déposant Titre
US2473552 *12 mars 194721 juin 1949Morris StawDevice for heat sealing seams
US3047050 *19 juin 195931 juil. 1962Sourber Earl JacobHot air welding apparatus
US3853669 *28 août 197210 déc. 1974P WerstleinWelding tip for plastic welding gun
US6013586 *9 oct. 199711 janv. 2000Dimension Polyant Sailcloth, Inc.Tent material product and method of making tent material product
Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis52/741.1, 52/749.1
Classification internationaleE04H15/32
Classification coopérativeB29C66/71, B29C66/81821, B29C66/7392, B29C66/8122, B29C66/81241, B29C66/729, B29C65/103, B29K2995/0069, B29C66/4722, E04D15/04, B29C66/1122, B29C66/8362, B29C65/10, B29C66/43, E04H15/32
Classification européenneB29C66/4722, B29C65/10, B29C66/43, B29C66/1122, B29C66/8362, E04H15/32