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Details for Patent: 5,802,704

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Details for Patent: 5,802,704

Title: Hooping machine
Abstract:A safe, efficient hooping machine preferably driven by pneumatic power comprising an adjustable hoop push plate, an angle head which is for inserting an inner ring into an outer ring and a safety feature which allows hoopers to keep their hands from becoming seriously hurt when a hooping ram is lowered.
Inventor(s): Woody; D. Scott (Midvale, UT)
Assignee:
Filing Date:Sep 26, 1994
Application Number:08/312,510
Claims:1. An apparatus for mechanically combining corresponding male and female hoops as support members, the members maintaining a portion of fabric in a stretched, taut position, the apparatus comprising:

a vertically oriented support frame;

a ram slidably mounted within a ram housing that is attached to the support frame;

means secured to the ram for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position;

a hooping table mounted to the support frame, the hooping table being adapted to receive and maintain a second corresponding hoop in a desired set position; and

low pressure means for extending the ram from said ram housing a certain distance toward said hooping table;

high pressure means for extending said ram further toward said hooping table after said ram has been extended said certain distance, wherein said high pressure means is in fluid communication with said ram only after said ram has been extended said certain distance, and wherein said low pressure means communicates with said ram independently from said high pressure means while extending said ram said certain distance; and

means associated with said low pressure means for activating said high pressure means after said ram has been extended said certain distance, such that resistance preventing said low pressure means from extending said ram said certain distance prevents the fluid communication of said high pressure means with said ram, thereby preventing injury to an operator;

wherein the means secured to the ram for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position comprises

a first plate connected to the ram;

a second plate;

a hinge connecting the first plate to the second plate; and

means on the bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining the first hoop in a desired set position, the first hoop defining a plane, wherein the second hoop defines a plane, and wherein the apparatus further comprises:

spring loading means for initially maintaining the plane of the first hoop at an angle with respect to the plane of the second hoop;

such that upon compression of the spring loading means the plane of the second hoop is maintained in an intersecting relationship with the plane of the first hoop.

2. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein the low pressure means comprises a low pressure valve system and wherein the high pressure means comprises a high pressure valve system.

3. The apparatus as in claim 2, wherein said means for activating said high pressure means comprises:

a two-way valve having a pivotable valve actuation arm attached to said ram housing, and

a cam means attached to said ram for pivoting said valve actuation arm as said ram is extended from said ram housing.

4. An apparatus, as in claim 1, wherein the means secured to the ram for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position comprises a plate, the plate having a means for securing the first hoop to the plate.

5. An apparatus, as in claim 3, wherein the means secured to the ram for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position comprises a plate, the plate having a means for securing the first hoop to the plate, wherein the cam means is attached to the plate and a roller is mounted on said valve actuation arm, such that said cam means contacts said roller and thereby pivots said valve actuation arm when said ram is extended said certain distance.

6. An apparatus, as in claim 4, further comprising at least one guidance means for aligning the plate according to a landmark on the fabric.

7. An apparatus, as in claim 6, wherein the guidance means comprises a laser.

8. The apparatus in claim 1, wherein the hooping table includes proximal and distal ends and has a rounded, beveled protuberance in the distal end which tapers proximally in an asymmetric pattern, substantially simulating the pattern of a head and shoulders.

9. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein the apparatus includes hoop aligning means on the hooping table for maintaining the second hoop in the desired set position for precision alignment with the corresponding first hoop, the second hop having a plane, the hoop aligning means maintaining the second hoop in the desired set position above the hooping table as the first hoop is combined with the second hoop, thereby providing a space between the hooping table and the plane of the second hoop and enabling part of a fabric to extend into the space when the first and second hoops are combined.

10. An apparatus, as in claim 9, wherein the hoop aligning means includes attaching means for holding a backing fabric.

11. An apparatus as in claim 9, wherein the hoop aligning means is multilayered, allowing an individual operating the machine to bring the first hoop and the corresponding second hoop into alignment when thick fabrics are to be hooped.

12. An apparatus, as in claim 1, wherein the push plate is comprised of a transparent plastic.

13. An apparatus as in claim 12, wherein the transparent plastic is an acrylic sheet.

14. An apparatus, as in claim 12, wherein the plate comprises a push plate and wherein the push plate further comprises:

push plate gripping means for securing the first hoop to the push plate; and

a hoop flange holding pin for holding multiple varieties of corresponding hoops.

15. The pneumatic hooping machine, as in claim 1, further comprising:

a horizontal support member for pivotally connecting the ram and ram housing to the vertical support frame.

16. An apparatus, as in claim 15, further comprising a collar slidably mounted on the horizontal support member, the collar securing the ram thereto.

17. An apparatus, as in claim 16, further comprising first locking means mounted on the collar for preventing the ram from sliding during operation.

18. An apparatus as in claim 1, wherein the ram and ram housing are rotatable through 360.degree. about a vertical axis.

19. An apparatus, as in claim 18, further comprising second locking means for preventing the ram from rotating during the operation of the apparatus.

20. An apparatus, as in claim 1, wherein

the low pressure means comprises a low pressure valve system;

the high pressure means comprises a high pressure valve system; and

the means associated with said low pressure means comprises

a valve body having a plurality of valves attached to said ram housing;

a cam connected to said ram, said cam comprising a shaft connected to a flange, the flange actuating the high pressure valve system when the ram is extended by the low pressure valve system; and

means for preventing the actuation of the high pressure valve system when the cam shaft is toggled.

21. An apparatus, as in claim 1, further comprising:

at least one alignment arm detachably mounted on the vertical support frame, the arm comprising:

at least one pivoting joint; and

a plurality of gripping members.

22. An apparatus as in claim 1, wherein the first hoop is a male hoop and the second hoop is a female hoop and wherein the fabric is maintained between the male and female hoops.

23. An apparatus as in claim 1, wherein the ram is selected from the group consisting of a pneumatic ram and a hydraulic ram.

24. An apparatus for mechanically combining corresponding male and female hoops as support members, the members maintaining a portion of fabric in stretched, taut position, the apparatus comprising:

a vertically oriented support frame;

a ram mounted to the support frame;

means for extending the ram;

a first plate connected to the ram;

a second plate;

a hinge connecting the first plate to the second plate;

means on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position, the first hoop defining a plane;

a hooping table mounted to the support frame, the hooping table being adapted to receive and maintain a corresponding second hoop in a desired set position, the second hoop defining a plane; and

spring loading means for initially maintaining the plane of the first hoop at an angle with respect to the plane of the second hoop;

such that upon compression of the spring loading means the plane of the second hoop is maintained in an intersecting and parallel relationship with the first hoop.

25. An apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the means on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position comprises a push plate.

26. An apparatus, as in claim 25, wherein the push plate is comprised of a transparent plastic for receiving and maintaining the corresponding hoop.

27. An apparatus as in claim 26, wherein the transparent plastic is an acrylic sheet.

28. An apparatus, as in claim 26, wherein the push plate further comprises:

push plate gripping means for securing the first hoop to the push plate; and

a hoop flange holding pin for holding multiple varieties of corresponding hoops.

29. An apparatus, as in claim 25, further comprising at least one guidance means for aligning the push plate according to a landmark on the fabric.

30. An apparatus, as in claim 29, wherein the guidance means comprises a laser.

31. An apparatus, as in claim 25, wherein the means for extending and retracting the pneumatic ram is actuated by a foot pedal.

32. The apparatus in claim 24, wherein the hooping table includes proximal and distal ends and has a rounded, beveled protuberance in the distal end which tapers proximally in an asymmetric pattern, substantially simulating the pattern of a head and shoulders.

33. The apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the apparatus includes hoop aligning means on the hooping table for maintaining the second hoop in the desired set position for precision alignment with the corresponding first hoop, the second hoop having a plane, the hoop aligning means maintaining the second hoop in the desired set position above the hooping table as the first hoop is combined with the second hoop, thereby providing a space between the hooping table and the plane of the second hoop and enabling part of a fabric to extend into the space when the first and second hoops are combined.

34. An apparatus, as in claim 33, wherein the hoop aligning means includes attaching means for holding a backing fabric.

35. An apparatus as in claim 33, wherein the hoop aligning means is multilayered, allowing an individual operating the machine to bring the first hoop and the corresponding second hoop into alignment when thick fabrics are to be hooped.

36. The pneumatic hooping machine, as in claim 24, further comprising:

a horizontal support member for pivotally connecting the ram to the vertical support frame.

37. An apparatus, as in claim 36, further comprising a collar slidably mounted on the horizontal support member, the collar securing the ram thereto.

38. An apparatus, as in claim 37, further comprising first locking means mounted on the collar for preventing the ram from sliding during operation.

39. An apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the ram is mounted so as to be rotatable through 360.degree..

40. An apparatus, as in claim 39, further comprising second locking means for preventing the ram from rotating during the operation of the machine.

41. An apparatus, as in claim 24, further comprising:

an alignment arm detachably mounted on the vertical support frame, the arm comprising:

at least one pivoting joint; and

a plurality of gripping members.

42. An apparatus, as in claim 24, the ram further comprising safety means for preventing injury to the operator.

43. An apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the first hoop is a male hoop and the second hoop is a female hoop and wherein the fabric is maintained between the male and female hoops.

44. An apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the means on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position comprises a means for securing the first hoop to the second plate.

45. An apparatus as in claim 24, wherein the ram is selected from the group consisting of a pneumatic ram and a hydraulic ram.

46. An apparatus for mechanically combining corresponding male and female hoops as support members, the members maintaining a portion of fabric in a stretched, taut position between the members, the apparatus comprising:

a vertically oriented support frame;

a ram mounted to the support frame;

means for extending the ram;

a first plate connected to the ram;

a second plate;

a hinge connecting the first plate to the second plate;

means on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining a first hoop in a desired set position, the first hoop defining a plane;

a hooping table mounted to the support frame, the hooping table having a horizontal axis, the hooping table being adapted to receive and maintain a corresponding second hoop in a desired set position, the second hoop defining a plane; and

spring loading means disposed between the first and second plates for initially maintaining the plane of the first hoop at an angle with respect to the horizontal axis of the hooping table.

47. An apparatus as in claim 46, wherein the second plate is selectively operable in: (i) an angled position wherein the plane of the first hoop is at an angle with respect to the plane of the second hoop; and (ii) a horizontal position wherein the plane of the first hoop is parallel to the plane of the second hoop.

48. An apparatus as in claim 47, wherein the second plate is in the angled position when the first hoop initially contacts the second hoop and wherein the second plate is compressed toward the first plate as the first hoop is combined with the second hoop.

49. An apparatus as in claim 46, wherein the spring loading means is comprised of a spring disposed between the first and second plates.

50. An apparatus as in claim 49, wherein the first plate further comprises a spring tower and wherein the spring is disposed at one end of the spring within the spring tower.

51. An apparatus as in claim 50, wherein the spring is compressed within the spring tower when the plane of the first hoop is in an intersecting relationship with the plane of the second hoop.

52. An apparatus as in claim 46, wherein the first hoop is a male hoop and the second hoop is a female hoop.

53. An apparatus as in claim 46, wherein the ram is selected from the group consisting of a pneumatic ram and a hydraulic ram.

54. An apparatus for mechanically combining corresponding male and female hoops as support members, the members maintaining a portion of fabric in a stretched, taut position between the members, the apparatus comprising:

a vertically oriented support frame;

a ram mounted to the support frame;

means for extending the ram;

means for coupling a first hoop to the ram, the first hoop defining a plane; and

a hooping table mounted to the support frame, the hooping table being adapted to receive and maintain a second hoop in a desired set position, the second hoop defining a plane; wherein the means for coupling the first hoop to the ram comprised of means for maintaining the plane of the first hoop at an angle with respect to the plane of the second hoop prior to the extension of the ram and for maintaining the plane of the first hoop in an intersecting and parallel relationship with the second hoop following the extension of the ram.

55. An apparatus as in claim 54, wherein the means for coupling the first hoop to the ram, comprises

means for initially lowering a portion of the first hoop into a portion of the second hoop and for thereafter lowering a remainder of the first hoop into a remainder of the second hoop, following the contours of the second hoop.

56. An apparatus as in claim 54, wherein the means for coupling the first hoop to the ram comprises

an angle head having a first plate, a second plate, a hinge connecting the first plate to the second plate, and a spring disposed between the first and second plates, the angle head being selectively operable in an angled position and a horizontal position.

57. An apparatus as in claim 56, wherein the means for coupling the first hoop to the ram, further comprises hoop securing means on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining the first hoop in a desired set position.

58. An apparatus as in claim 56, wherein the means for coupling the first hoop to the ram, further comprises a push plate on a bottom surface of the second plate for receiving and maintaining the first hoop in a desired set position.

59. An apparatus as in claim 54, wherein the first hoop is a male hoop and the second hoop is a female hoop.

60. An apparatus as in claim 54, wherein the ram is selected from the group consisting of a pneumatic ram and a hydraulic ram.
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