VF has been granted a patent for a fabric separator that includes a drum with a gas intake that creates a low pressure zone on the drum’s surface. The separator also features a sensor and clamp that transition between engaged and disengaged modes based on a signal from the sensor. GlobalData’s report on VF gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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VF's grant share as of September 2023 was 53%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A fabric separator with a rotating drum and low pressure zone

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: VF Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11738957B2) describes a fabric separator that utilizes gas flow to create a low-pressure zone along the surface of a rotating drum. The fabric separator includes a body and a drum with an outer surface that is coupled with the body. The drum is rotatable about an axis, and a cavity is defined by the walls of the body and the drum, partially enclosing the cavity.

The fabric separator also features a gas intake that receives external gas and directs it into the cavity in the rotational direction of the drum. This gas flow causes the drum to rotate, amplifying the effect of the gas flow and creating a low-pressure zone along the surface of the drum that is opposite the cavity. This low-pressure zone is positioned between the drum and a stack of fabric plies.

The gas intake has an outer opening located outside the body and an inner opening near the drum, with the outer opening having a larger diameter than the inner opening. Additionally, the gas intake has a frustoconical shape, which helps to optimize the gas flow.

The fabric separator also includes a flagging sensor that is coupled with the body, as well as a clamp that is in communication with the flagging sensor and coupled with the body. The clamp has an engaged mode, where it is pressed against a portion of the drum, and a disengaged mode, where it is not pressed against the drum. The clamp transitions between these modes based on a signal from the flagging sensor. The clamp can be operated by a linear actuator, and it comprises two members that extend away from the body in the disengaged mode and articulate toward the surface of the drum in the engaged mode.

The flagging sensor in the fabric separator is an infrared sensor, which helps in detecting and signaling the need for the clamp to transition between the engaged and disengaged modes.

Overall, this fabric separator patent presents a novel design that utilizes gas flow and drum rotation to create a low-pressure zone for separating fabric plies. The inclusion of a flagging sensor and clamp mechanism adds automation and control to the fabric separation process.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.