Background of the Invention
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for building a laminate
10A and in forming a subassembly 10 for a pneumatic tire from unreinforced tire
Historically, the pneumatic tire has been fabricated as a laminate
structure of generally toroidal shape having beads, a tread, belt reinforcement
and a carcass. The tire is made of rubber, fabric, and steel. The manufacturing
technologies employed for the most part involve assembling the many tire components
from flat strips or sheets of material. Each component is placed on a building
drum and cut to length such that the ends of a component meet or overlap creating
In the first stage of assembly the carcass would include one or more
plies, and a pair of sidewalls, a pair of apexes, an innerliner (for a tubeless
tire), a pair of chafers and perhaps a pair of gum shoulder strips. Annular bead
cores can be added during this first stage of tire building, and the ply or plies
can be turned around the bead cores to form the "ply turnups."
The carcass components (excluding the bead cores) would be either
"butt spliced" or "lap spliced." A butt splice has the component ends joined but
not overlapped, a lap splice has overlapping ends.
This intermediate article of manufacture would be cylindrically formed
at this point in the first stage of assembly. The cylindrical carcass is expanded
into a toroidal shape after completion of the first-stage of tire building. Reinforcing
belts and the tread are added to the intermediate article during a second stage
of tire manufacture, which can occur using the same building drum or work station
or at a separate shaping station.
During the expansion of the carcass, tensile stresses are imposed
on the spliced and uncured components of the tire carcass.
In the case of automobile or light truck tires, lap splices were
preferred because the splice remained intact whereas butt splices would tend to
open or fail. Even with the good adhesion of the lap splice the cords adjacent
the splice tended to be stretched compensating for the overlapped two layers of
cords at the splice. This localized stretching creates a nonuniformity that is
readily visible under x-ray, ultrasonic display or by physically cutting the tire
and visually inspecting it.
The tire designer, in order to prevent the creation of tire uniformity
problems has historically insured that the splices of the various layers of components
were not circumferentially aligned. This non-alignment of splice joints was believed
to improve the carcass overall durability and uniformity, as measured by the amount
of force variation and the balance of the tire. Tire engineers also have believed
that tire uniformity could be improved if these discontinuities were deliberately
circumferentially spaced around the carcass. This meant that each component had
to be applied to the ply at the tire building station where each component was
cut and spliced in a spaced order.
A U.S. patent issued in 1917 taught the use of an apparatus to assemble
strips to form a tire tread subassembly. US-A- 1 353 934 issued in 1917 teaches
in order to create the strips of proper width and location the components were
required to be trimmed at the apparatus. This tread subassembly included a cord
reinforced belt and optionally could include a pair of sidewalls. This method
of assembly required the sidewalls to be turned down upon assembly to a tire casing
which one skilled in the art would readily appreciate is very difficult in that
the unreinforced sidewall cannot conform to the compressive stresses of being
turned radially inward without a high likelihood of localizing buckling. This created
tremendous non-uniformities in the tire and therefore has been heretofore abandoned
as a viable method of tire assembly.
Summary of the Invention
The invention provides an apparatus for building a laminate from
an assembly of unreinforced tire components suitable for use in a pneumatic tire
and a method for building such a laminate as defined in the appended claims.
Brief Description of the Drawings
- Figure 1 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the apparatus
200 made in accordance with the invention, the apparatus 200 illustrates the laminate
10A being formed by applying the formed tire components to the conveyor 207 or
the liner component 50, the liner 50 formed at the apparatus 200 being utilized
or performing the function of the carrier member 20 having the other formed components
affixed thereto. After forming the laminate 10A, a separation liner 11 is attached
and the laminate 10A can then be wound into rolls or spools 210.
- Figure 2A illustrates an alternative use of the apparatus 200 whereby the carrier
member 20 is a fabric or rubber sheet supplied from rolls 211 and all the formed
components being attached to the carrier member 20 forming the laminate 10A which
is wound onto rolls or spools 210.
- Figure 2B illustrates another alternative use of the apparatus 200 wherein
the liner 50 is supplied to the apparatus 200 in sheets of a fixed width WL
from large rolls or spools, the liner 50 previously being formed on a conventional
calender as illustrated in Figure 2C, cut to the width (WL) and wound
onto the rolls 211 with a separation liner 11 attached thereto. The liner 50,
with the separation liner 11 removed, is fed into the apparatus 200 and the tire
components are formed and simultaneously attached directly to the liner 50 the
liner 50 being the carrier member 20.
- Figure 3A illustrates in cross section one half of the laminated preferred
embodiment subassembly 10 prior to being formed cylindrically upon a tire building
drum, the building drum not illustrated. The opposite half of the subassembly 10
not illustrated generally but not necessarily is identical to the illustrated
portion. Figs. 3B-3G show the subassembly in various additional views. Fig. 3H
shows the subassembly 10 forming part of an unvulcanized carcass toroidally shaped
- Figure 4 is a top view of one calender 302, a portion of the calender 302 being
shown in cross-section.
- Figure 5 is a front view of the calender 302 taken along lines 5-5 of Figure
- Figure 6 is an front view of the calender 302 showing the calender roller support
ends 310,312 in an expanded position and the roller 350,352 detached.
- Figure 7 is a perspective view of the calender 302 with rollers 350,352 attached.
- Figure 8 is a perspective view of the calender 302 with rollers 350,352 detached.
- Figure 9 is a perspective view of a roller transfer mechanism 400.
- Figure 10 is second view of the roller transfer mechanism 400 depicting rollers
350,352 being inserted into the apparatus.
- Figure 11 is a third view of the transfer mechanism 400 being moved to a roller
staging area 420.
"Apex" means an elastomeric filler located radially above the bead
and interposed between the plies and the ply turnup.
"Axial" and "axially" means the lines or directions that are parallel
to the axis of rotation of the tire.
"Bead" means that part of the tire comprising an annular tensile
member wrapped by ply cords and shaped, with or without other reinforcement elements
such as flippers, chippers, apexes, toe guards and chafers, to fit the design
"Belt Structure" or "Reinforcing Belts" means at least two annular
layers or plies of parallel cords, woven or unwoven, underlying the tread, unanchored
to the bead, and having both left and right cord angles in the range from 17°
to 27° with respect to the equatorial plane of the tire.
"Carcass" means an unvulcanized laminate of tire ply material and
other tire components cut to length suitable for splicing, or already spliced,
into a cylindrical or toroidal shape. Additional components may be added to the
carcass prior to its being vulcanized to create the molded tire.
"Casing" means the tire carcass and associated tire components excluding
"Chafers" refers to narrow strips of material placed around the outside
of the bead to protect cord plies from the rim, distribute flexing above the rim,
and to seal the tire.
"Circumferential" means lines or directions extending along the perimeter
of the surface of the annular tread perpendicular to the axial direction.
"Cord" means one of the reinforcement strands of which the plies
in the tire are comprised.
"Equatorial Plane (EP)" means the plane perpendicular to the tire's
axis of rotation and passing through the center of its tread.
"Innerliner" means the layer or layers of elastomer or other material
that form the inside surface of a tubeless tire and that contain the inflating
fluid within the tire.
"Insert" means an elastomeric member used as a stiffening member
usually located in the sidewall region of the tire.
"Ply" means a continuous layer of rubber-coated parallel cords.
"Radial" and "radially" mean directions radially toward or away from
the axis of rotation of the tire.
"Radial Ply Tire" means a belted or circumferentially-restricted
pneumatic tire in which the ply cords which extend from bead to bead are laid
at cord angles between 65° and 90° with respect to the equatorial plane of the
"Shoulder" means the upper portion of sidewall just below the tread
"Sidewall" means that portion of a tire between the tread and the
"Subassembly" means an unvulcanized assembly of laminated unreinforced
tire components to which a cord reinforced ply or plies and other components can
be added to form a tire carcass.
"Tread" means a rubber component which when bonded to a tire carcass
includes that portion of the tire that come into contact with the road when the
tire is normally inflated and under normal load.
"Tread Width" means the arc length of the tread surface in the axial
direction, that is, in a plane parallel to the axis of rotation of the tire.
Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment
Referring the Figs. 1, 2A and 2B there are illustrated three exemplary
uses of the apparatus 200 for building a laminate 10A from an assembly of tire
components suitable for use in a pneumatic tire. The apparatus 200 and the alternative
methods of using it are disclosed after a discussion of the laminate 10A.
The preferred embodiment of the invention is a laminate 10A as illustrated
in Fig. 3A,3B,3C,3D,3E and 3F which is formed as a substantially flat composite
structure having many tire components attached and adhered to each other thus
forming a laminate or tire subassembly, the laminate and the subassembly being
referenced by numeral 10A and 10 respectively. It is understood that in all cases
the laminate 10A and the tire subassembly 10 are identical in construction except
in the case where a carrier member is used and the carrier member 20 is not to
be part of the subassembly 10. In that case, the carrier member 20 is removed
prior to cutting the laminate 10A and is no longer part of the subassembly 10 used
to build a tire. Thus, for simplicity in describing the invention the subassembly
and the laminate are similarly identified by the reference numerals 10 and 10A
As shown all of the components are either sheets or strips of material
of substantially the same length. Each component shown is precisely located laterally
relative to one another. This laminate 10A is described in co-pending patent application
Serial Number 08/573,341 (attorney docket number 95188A) entitled "AN UNVULCANIZED
NONCORD REINFORCED SUBASSEMBLY FOR INCORPORATION IN A TIRE CASING" which is incorporated
herein by reference.
Fig. 3A depicts a carrier member 20, the carrier can be a fabric
or a vulcanized rubber sheet, more preferably the carrier member 20 can be substituted
for or eliminated by the liner component 50 formed on the apparatus 200 as shown
in Fig. 1 or supplied in rolls 211 to the apparatus 200 as in Fig. 2B. The carrier
20 is not specifically identified in Figs. 3B through 3G; it can be assumed that
the carrier member has been removed or is replaced by the liner component 50.
As shown in Fig. 3A, the member 20 has a first outer and second inner surface 21,23
and a pair of lateral edge portions 26 located at the lateral extremes 29 of the
member 20 all the subassembly tire components being located inward of the lateral
When the liner 50 is employed as or replaces the carrier member 20
as shown in Figs. 1 and 2B, components such as shoulder gum strips 40 can be attached
to the second surface or side 52 of the liner component either by forming the shoulder
gum strip 40 first and affixing them to the conveyor 207 then forming the liner
50 and simultaneously applying the liner to the strips overlaying the strips 40,
each component being precisely located on the conveyor 207 such that the shoulder
gum strips 40 are precisely laterally positioned relative to the liner edges 55,
as shown in Fig. 3A, alternatively, the liner 50 can be inverted and the shoulder
gum strips 40 attached to the second surface 52 just prior to being wound onto
large spools 210 as shown in Fig. 2B.
The alternative method of construction shown in Fig. 2A involves
the use of a carrier member 20 which can be a fabric or vulcanized rubber sheet
or any type of reinforced or unreinforced sheet stock which need not actually
be part of the finished tire but simply facilitates the assembly of the tire casing
subassembly 10. In such a case the width (Wc) of the carrier member
is preferably greater than the overall width (W) of the laminate 10A.
In an earlier patent application applicants disclosed the use of
unvulcanized ply stock to perform the function of a carrier member 20. In that
application Serial Number 08/369,026 entitled "A PNEUMATIC TIRE AND AN UNVULCANIZED
CARCASS AS AN INTERMEDIATE ARTICLE IN ITS MANUFACTURE," the reinforced ply member
did become part of the tire. This was made feasible by employing a unique cutting
method. In this application a unique cutting method disclosed in patent application
Serial No. 08/279,943 entitled "A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CUTTING OF ELASTOMERIC
MATERIALS" is preferably employed to achieve the tire uniformity benefits, however,
many of the manufacturing efficiencies can be achieved regardless of the cutting
The reader is directed to the following description of the laminate
10A bearing in mind that the liner component 50 can be substituted as the carrier
member 20 accordingly, it being understood that when doing so, the liner 50 is
performing the function of the carrier member 20.
With reference now to Fig. 3A, axially inward of the lateral edge
portions 26 and attached to an outer surface 21 of the member 20 is a pair of shoulder
gum strips 40. The shoulder gum strip acts as a rubber reinforcement in the shoulder
portion 27 of the tire casing subassembly 10.
A liner component 50 is attached to the member 20 and over the shoulder
gum strips 40. The liner 50 creates an air impervious barrier for the radially
inner air chamber of the tubeless type tire. These liners are generally made of
Halobutyl rubber. The liner 50 has an axial width WL equal to or narrower
than the width WC of the carrier member 20. The liner width WL
is sufficient to traverse axially outward of the beads when the tire is formed
thus forming an air tight chamber between the tire and the wheel upon assembly.
The liner has a first surface 51 and a second surface 52.
A chafer component 60 is shown at each lateral end 55 of the liner
50. The chafer 60 is attached to the liner 50, and to the outer surface 21 of the
carrier member 20 and is slightly overlapped by a sidewall component 70 which
is added after the chafer 60. The chafer 60 is positioned axially to provide a
tough rubber reinforcement between the tire 100 and the rim flange of the wheel
and is accordingly located in the bead region of the finished tire.
A sidewall component 70 is shown attached to the carrier member 20
and slightly overlapping the chafers 60 and extends laterally outward of the lateral
ends 55 of the liner 50.
Optionally, to build an outlined white letter tire or a whitewall
tire, a whitewall strip 80 and a cover strip 90 may be added to the laminate 10A
as shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2A. Additionally, inserts 31 may be added in the sidewall
region of the subassembly. This is particularly useful in run-flat tire construction
and is shown in Fig. 2B.
The above description of the laminate 10A includes most of the unreinforced
elastomeric components required to build a tubeless tire and it is considered
to be the best mode of practicing the invention because it is a most efficient
method to produce such a subassembly 10.
Additionally, it is considered within the scope of the invention
that the laminate 10A may be built to include one carrier member 20 and at least
any two of the unreinforced components selected from the groups of components
used in the manufacture of tires. Preferably all the laminated components when
cut to length form an individual subassembly 10 having the unique common splice
feature as achieved in co-pending patent application Serial Number 08/299,943 entitled
"A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CUTTING OF ELASTOMERIC MATERIALS" which is incorporated
herein by reference.
Prior to cutting the laminate 10A, the carrier member 20 when not
part of the tire construction is removed and rewound onto spools 211. When the
liner 50 is employed as the carrier member the entire laminate 10A is cut. The
following describes the preferred method of cutting and splicing the subassembly
10 as further illustrated in Figs. 3B through 3G.
Figs. 3C and 3D depict the first end 12 and second end 14 respectively
of the tire casing subassembly 10, As illustrated, both ends 12,14 are cut along
an axial or lateral extending substantially straight line path substantially parallel
to the width (W) of the laminate 10A yielding a shortest possible cut. Alternatively,
the cut ends 12,14 can be obliquely cut relative to the width (W) of the laminate
creating a straight line cut on a bias angle. These straight line cuts create a
first end or surface area 12 and a second surface area 14. As shown in Figs. 3E
and 3F the surface areas 12 and 14 are lying in a substantially flat plane (P)
and are inclined at an angle &thetas; less than 90° relative to a normal plane
(NP), the normal plane (NP) being perpendicular to the laminate 10A. In this application
the preferred embodiment has the angle &thetas; being about 80°. This high angle
of inclination provides a large surface area of adhesion when the two ends 12,14
are spliced at the building drum 5 as shown in Fig. 3G.
The laminate 10A when manufactured as shown in Figs. 1, 2A or 2B
can be made into continuous rolls 210. The laminated material 10A is then, in its
preassembled state, stored in large rolls 210 which when sent to a tire building
station is cut into sections of a precise length (L) by the unique cutting apparatus.
The cut to length subassembly 10 is formed into a cylindrical shape as shown in
Fig. 3G to which, at least one ply 22, a pair of apexes 30 and bead cores 120
are attached. After forming the turnups, by rolling the ply turnup, sidewalls and
the chafers axially inward over the beads the tire carcass is toroidally shaped
as shown in Fig. 3H effectively stretching the sidewalls radially outwardly creating
an unvulcanized tire carcass.
Having described the laminate 10A, the readers attention is referred
back to Figs. 1, 2A and 2B for a description of the unique apparatus 200 used to
form the laminate 10A. The apparatus 200 of Fig. 1 is substantially the same as
the apparatus 200 of Figs. 2A and 2B with the exceptions that the apparatus 200
of Figs. 1 and 2B uses either freshly formed liner 50 or rolls of unvulcanized
liner 50 as the conveying carrier member 20. The apparatus 200 includes a calender
assembly station 300 to apply a pair of elastomeric shoulder strips 40 to one side
23 of the conveyed carrier member 20. The shoulder strips are attached to a second
side 52 of the liner 50 opposite to other tire components which are adhered to
the first side 51 therefore the conveyed laminate 10A can be reversed in orientation
to facilitate applying the formed shoulder strips 40 as shown in Fig. 2B or alternatively
formed first and affixed to the conveyor 207 prior to forming the liner 50 and
overlaying the liner 50 onto the conveyor 207 and shoulder strips 40 as shown
in Fig. 1. The result in either method is that the shoulder gum strips 40 are attached
to the liner 50 on a side 52 opposite the other components.
In the method of practicing the invention as shown in Fig. 2B the
roll 211 of carrier material 20 is the liner 50 which is formed by conventional
calendering means 202 illustrated in Fig. 2C and then cut to width. The cut liner
stock 50 is spliced together forming lengths of material which are placed onto
the roll 211, as shown in Fig. 2B. These full rolls of liner 211 are placed at
one end of the apparatus 200. The rolled liner material 50 may have a woven separation
liner 11 attached to one side 52 of the liner. The operator attaches the separation
liner 11 to a motor 209 driven windup spool 212 and he stitches the liner material
50 to a conveyor means 204 after feeding the liner material 50 through a pair of
lateral position sensors 214 which monitor the alignment and position of the lateral
edges 55 of the liner material 50. The conveyor means 204 has two large rotating
drums 205 attached to a rigid frame 180. Wrapped over the drums is a conveying
belt 207. The endless conveying belt 207 is preferably inextensible and made of
stainless steel material. The output end of the apparatus 200 has the rotation
drum 205 driven by a variable speed motor 205A.
A means 330 for stitching the liner 50 to the conveyor 207 is shown.
The means 330 for stitching as shown is a pair of rollers 330A,330B. Alternatively,
the mean for stitching may be any device that applies pressure to the liner material
50 affixing it to the belt 207, such devices can include individually spring loaded
roller bearings aligned in multiple rows.
The conveyed liner material 50, with the width (WL) oriented
at an angle perpendicular relative to the direction of conveyance, stitched to
a conveying belt 207, is moved at a predetermined speed past a plurality of means
300 for forming one or more continuous strips of elastomeric tire components, the
strips of tire components each having a predetermined cross section formed by
a component forming depression machined into one of the colander rollers 350,352.
The means 300 for forming the tire components preferably has a plurality
of calender assemblies 302.
While forming the tire components the apparatus 200 includes a plurality
of means 502 for applying the formed components directly onto at least one side
21 or 23 of the conveying carrier material 20 or to one side 51,52 of the liner
member 50 when functioning as the carrier member 20 as shown in Fig. 9. The means
502 for applying the tire component is a roller commonly referred to as a pinch
roller mechanism. One roller 502 is placed under the conveyor 207 and applies
pressure between the conveying material 20 and the formed component at each calender
thus insuring the component transfers to the conveying laminate 10A. Under the
belt is a means 600 for laterally positioning and guiding the belt 207. The belt
207 has a pair of guide rails 601 adhered to the underside. One rail 601 at each
of the lateral edges of the conveyor belt 207. The guide rails 601 are precisely
located laterally by the conveyor drums 205. The guide means 600 are fixed laterally
by the pairs of rollers 205. One roller 205 being at each end of the conveyor.
The continuous guide rails 601 closely pass between the pinch rollers 502 also
preventing the conveyor 207 from wandering laterally and further insuring the
lateral location of the belt 207 relative to component forming depressions 356.
Thus insuring positive and accurate placement of the formed component. The formed
laminate 10A with all tire components assembled can then be cut to a length suitable
for building a tire subassembly 10 or as illustrated in Fig. 1 the laminate 10A
can have a separation liner 11 attached to one side of the laminate 10A and be
wound onto a large roll 210 or spool. The large roll 210 as shown is driven by
a motor 209 to facilitate winding the laminate 10A onto roll 210. As illustrated
each roll 210,211 or spool 212 is placed on a pair of rollers. Alternatively,
each roller may have an axle which is supported and may be motor driven to accomplish
what is shown in Fig. 1. When a sufficient amount or a predetermined length of
the laminate 10A is wound onto a roll, the laminate 10A is cut preferably parallel
to the width (W).
During the procedure of cutting the roll 210 of laminate 10A it is
recommended that a duplicate laminate back up station or roll 210 be provided so
that the apparatus 200 can either continue forming the laminate 10A or at least
to minimize the stoppage of the machine for carrier member roll 211 and laminate
roll 210 changing.
Similarly, as illustrated in Figs. 2A and 2B the supply of rolls
211 of material are best handled by having aligned rolls 211 of stock available
to keep the apparatus 200 in a constant supply of material.
This may require the employment of a conventional overhead conveyor
positioned between the apparatus and the first roller 210 or 211 to facilitate
roller changeover, the overhead conveyor not illustrated.
Once a laminate roll 210 is full it can be transported to a storage
area or directly to a tire building work station. Once at the tire building station
the subassembly 10 can be cut into sections of a predetermined length and applied
to the tire building drum 5 as shown in Fig. 3G.
With reference to Fig. 4, a detailed view of a calender assembly
302 is shown. In the preferred embodiments of the invention the apparatus includes
a plurality of calender assemblies 302. Each calender assembly 302 is fundamentally
the same as the next or adjacent one with the exception of the pair of calender
Each calender assembly 302 represents a means for forming an elastomeric
strip or strips of tire components. Preferably each calender 302 includes a means
360 for delivering processed elastomeric material 25 to the nip 354 of the two
calender rollers 350,352, the nip 354 being between the two calender rollers.
The means 360 for delivering processed elastomer material 25 as shown is an extruder,
preferably each apparatus 200 includes at least one such extruder 360, more preferably
each calender assembly 300 includes one extruder 360.
The calender assembly 302 has a means 320 for laterally positioning
the processed elastomeric material 25 at a predetermined lateral location above
the calender rollers 350,352. The means 320 for positioning as shown in Figs.
1, 2A and 2B are called plows 320. At least one pair of plows 320 is laterally
positioned at a predetermined location radially above the pair of calender rollers
350,352. Each plow 320 has two rigid members 324 contoured to precisely fit above
and between the two rollers. Preferably each plow rigid member 324 is placed laterally
adjacent to a lateral end 354 of a component forming depression 356 located on
one or both of the calender rollers 350,352. This positioning of the plows 320
secures and provides lateral support while preventing an overflow of calendered
material from forming and adhering to the conveying carrier material 20.
The lateral position of the component forming depressions 356 are
precisely located relative to the conveyor belt 207 of the apparatus 200. This
insures that each component as it is formed is aligned and affixed to the conveying
carrier member 20 or the liner 50 and the previously formed and attached components
at a precise lateral location relative to the components to which it is being attached.
The precise lateral positioning insures that each component is properly located
and enables minimal material variation to be achieved while also reducing the
relative size of each component due to tolerance variations that occurred in the
prior art method of assembly.
The extruder 360 feeding processed material 25 to a pair of calender
rollers 350,352 can be provided with a single feed source to produce one component
such as the liner 50. However, when two similar components such as the gum shoulder
strips 40, or the sidewalls 70, or the chafers 60 are being formed, the extrudate
can be split into two flow paths. One flow path feeding each component forming
depression 356 as shown in Figs. 1 and 2A.
In order for the apparatus to function automatically, a means 362
for sensing and metering the flow of extrudate to the calenders must be provided.
The means can simply be a sensor used in combination with the valving of the flow
or the speed of the extruder or both. Nevertheless, it is believed preferable
that the extruded material delivered to the calenders be monitored and controlled.
As shown in Figs. 1 and 2A a sensor can be provided in each calender
assembly station, the sensors connected to a control panel 240 which can automatically
adjust the flow of extrudate at a given station 300. The sensors 362 can be individual
video cameras which send a picture back to a monitoring computer at the control
panel 240. As shown, the sensor is a video camera and the plows 324 are transparent
for viewing through. Alternatively, the video sensor could be relocated if the
plows were not transparent. Alternatively, the fencers 362 can be strain gauges
or pressure transducers located in or on the plows 324 which relay information
to the controller, which in turn regulates the material flow to the nip of the
respective calender rollers by adjusting either the speed of the extruder or by
diverting the material flow.
As shown in Figs. 4 through 8 each calender assembly 302 has two
calender rollers 350,352, one roller being the transfer roller, the other being
the follower roller 352. Each roller 350,352 is a hollow generally cylindrical
structure opened or tapered at each end 357,358 and having an axis of rotation
The calender assembly 302 has a means 304 for supporting the two
calender rollers. The means for supporting the rollers has a first end 310 and
a second end 312. The first end 310 and the second end 312 each have a pair of
rotatable hubs 314,316, one hub 314,316 fitting into each end 357,358 of the roller
350,352. The pair of hubs 314,316 for fitting into a roller have an axis of rotation
RH coincident with the axis of rotation R of the roller. Each hub 314,316
is conically tapered at an angle α of about 6°. The cylindrical rollers 350,352
are similarly tapered so that upon assembly the fitment is secure so that no slippage
occurs that might create a nonuniformity in the formed component. Additionally,
slippage prevention can be achieved by using a pin and a slot to fix the rollers.
As further illustrated in Fig. 4 each calender assembly 302 has at
least one, preferably two motors 340,342, a drive shaft or coupling 344 powered
by each motor, the drive shaft being connected to a rotatable hub 314, the hub
314 providing rotational movement of one of the calender rollers 350 or 352.
Although one motor 340 is sufficient to drive one roller 350 it is
believed preferable to have two variable speed motors 340,342, one motor driving
each roller 350,352. The first motor 340 being connected to a roller 350 called
the transfer roller 350 is synchronized to match the linear conveyor belt 207
speed so that the formed tire component can be applied to the conveying ply material
20 at about the same rate of speed at which the component is being formed, or
possibly at a slightly different speed.
The second motor 342 is connected to the roller 352 called the follower
roller 352 and it provides rotational movement at a speed of about 95% that of
the first motor 340. This differential speed of the rollers 350,352 insures that
the calendered component always adheres to the conveying member 20 as opposed
to attaching itself onto the following roller 352.
As shown in Figs. 5 through 11 each calender assembly 302 is adapted
for quick roller changeover. This feature is accomplished in part by the method
of attaching the roller cylinder 350,352 to a pair of tapered hubs 314,316 and
by providing a means 322 for slidably expanding and retracting relative to one
another the first and second ends 310,312 of the means 304 for supporting the
calender rollers . As shown in Fig. 6 the second end 312 is slidably attached to
the frame 180 of the apparatus 200 and upon actuation of a hydraulic cylinder
322 the second end 312 can slidably expand or retract thus permitting quick removal
of the calender roller 350,352.
Figs. 9 through 11 illustrate how pairs of these quick change rollers
350,352 can be conveyed by an overhead transfer mechanism 400 to initially add
the roller pairs to the apparatus 200. The mechanism 400 is lowered into position
where the end of the support means 312 is closed to secure the calender rollers
350,352 into position as in Fig. 10. The overhead mechanism is then moved back
to a roller staging area 420 awaiting the next set of roller pairs 350,352 to
build a different size or style tire 100.
The apparatus 200 as illustrated has the conveying material 20 supported
on a stainless endless belt 207. At each calender assembly station 300 a means
500 is provided for applying the plurality of continuous strips of elastomeric
tire components to at least one side 21,23 of the conveying material 20 while
the member 20 is being conveyed to form a laminate 10A. The means 500 for applying
as shown is a pinch roller 502 located below the stainless belt 207. The pinch
roller 502 applies localized pressure between the belt 207 and conveying member
20 and the transfer roller 350 which is carrying the formed tire component. This
applied pressure adheres the component to the member and thereby released the
component from the transfer roller.
With regard to Fig. 2A it can be seen that when adding a shoulder
strip to the liner 50, when the liner 50 is the conveying member 20 supplied in
rolls 211, it is desirable to reorient the material 20 such that the second side
52 of the liner material 50 is available to receive the tire component. This is
believed best accomplished by transferring the laminate 10A to a second conveyor
215 and then forming and applying the component as previously described and then
to pull the laminate 10A off the second conveyor 215 over a series of rollers 216
and then either wind the material onto a roll 210 or cut it to the desired subassembly
length for immediate assembly into a cylindrical subassembly 10 at one or more
tire building stations.
The above method of forming and applying the tire components to the
conveying subassembly not only provides a more precise method of manufacture, it
also increases the overall adhesion of the various components. By being formed
and laminated to the conveying components while still hot these strips of components
have adhesion characteristics that are far superior to the prior art methods.
By winding the laminate 10A onto rolls 210 or by immediately building
the cylindrical tire casing subassembly 10 the hot components are prevented from
creating a differential shrinkage relative to the individual tire components or
the carrier material 20 which can be generally cool upon assembly. Alternatively,
although not required the carrier material 20 can be heated to approximate the
temperature of the components. By using the liner component 50 formed at the apparatus
in place of the carrier member 20 further avoids temperature related shrinkage
differentials. In one embodiment the calender assembly 302 includes a means for
heating 333 or a means for cooling 334 the calender rollers 350,352. The means
for heating 333 has a heating element 335 and the means for cooling 334 has a
cooling element 336. The means 333,334 enter through an opening 337 in the hubs
314 or 316 as shown in Fig. 8. Each means 333, or 334 generates heating or cooling
to the internal surfaces of the rollers 350,352 and are employed when the material
being processed can be more efficiently applied using such a feature.
It is believed that the method and apparatus 200 described and claimed
is a significant advancement in the state of tire building technology. Tires built
according to the description of this and the related applications have yielded
excellent burst strength while achieving superior building uniformity characteristics.