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United States Patent Application 20180010272
Kind Code A1
Zombori; Gabor ;   et al. January 11, 2018

FILLING MATERIAL AND PROCESS FOR MAKING SAME

Abstract

The filling material includes down with synthetic fibers having particles present on the surface of the fibers. The particles are characterized by a configuration which allows attachment of the down to the fibers. The associated method of manufacturing the filling material includes steps of obtaining a quantity of down and a quantity of synthetic fibers having particles on the surface thereof, wherein the particles allow attachment of the down to the fibers. The down and fibers are blended together to produce the filling material.


Inventors: Zombori; Gabor; (Streamwood, IL) ; Rodrguez; Carmen; (Chicago, IL) ; Miller; Tracy Laskowski; (Naperville, IL) ; Crawford; Joseph; (Mukilteo, WA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Pacific Coast Feather Company

Seattle

WA

US
Family ID: 1000002208195
Appl. No.: 15/207255
Filed: July 11, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: D04H 1/72 20130101; A41D 31/0033 20130101; A47G 9/08 20130101; A47G 9/0223 20130101; A47G 9/10 20130101
International Class: D04H 1/72 20120101 D04H001/72; A47G 9/08 20060101 A47G009/08; A47G 9/02 20060101 A47G009/02; A47G 9/10 20060101 A47G009/10; A41D 31/00 20060101 A41D031/00

Claims



1. A filling material, comprising: down; and synthetic fibers having particles present in or on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers and results in a blended filling material which remains blended during use in a bedding or clothing or other filled article.

2. The filling material of claim 1, wherein the attachment is mechanical.

3. The filling material of claim 1, wherein the particles are a mineral.

4. The filling material of claim 3, wherein the particles are one or more of the following: carbon, volcanic sands, titanium, silver and copper.

5. The filling material of claim 1, wherein the down is 50-90% and the fibers are 50-10% of the filling material.

6. The filling material of claim 1, wherein the particles are porous.

7. A filled bedding article, comprising: a blend of down and fibers wherein the fibers have particles present in or on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and a bedding article filled with the blend of down and fibers.

8. The bedding article of claim 7, wherein the bedding article is a pillow, comforter or blanket.

9. A filled clothing article, comprising: a blend of down and fibers wherein the fibers have particles present in or on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and a clothing article filled with the blend of down and fibers.

10. The clothing article of claim 9, wherein the clothing article is a jacket.

11. A filled sleeping bag, comprising: a blend of down and fibers, wherein the fibers have particles present in or on the surface thereof, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and the fibers; and a sleeping bag product filled with the blend of down and fibers.

12. A method of manufacturing a filling material, comprising the steps of: obtaining a quantity of down; obtaining a quantity of synthetic fibers having particles on the surfaces thereof, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and blending the down and fibers together.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the down comprises 50-90% of the filling material and the fiber comprises 50-10% of the filling material.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the method steps are predetermined.

15. The method of claim 12, including the step of opening the fibers, and adding down to the opened fibers.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the blending step is dry.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the down is cleaned and rinsed enough times to produce a clean down and then dried.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention generally relates to a combination of down and a selected synthetic fiber to produce a blended filling material which remains blended during use, and also relates to a process for blending the down and fibers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Down is a well-known waterfowl or land fowl material, such as from geese or duck, located close to the body of the animal, generally beneath the feathers. Down is a soft material that typically traps the natural warmth of the body. Feathers can also have this characteristic. Down provides warmth and comfort generally superior to other natural and synthetic fibers and has good moisture management characteristics. Although down is known to have a natural ability to shed water, this ability can be compromised. Various improvements to the characteristics of down are desirable, including, for instance, that the down material dry faster after a filled article, such as a comforter or clothing, is laundered or becomes wet in use.

[0003] Down is known to compress and lose its effective fill power over time; however, fill power can often be restored through laundering. Fill power is defined herein as cubic inches displaced by one ounce of filling material.

[0004] There are fibers, including polyester fibers, which have desirable characteristics not present in down, such as better moisture management, better resistance to matting and compression, anti-microbial capability and lower cost, but they do not possess the light-weight warmth and comfort of natural down. Heretofore, blending or mixing of natural down with polyester fibers to provide improvements in characteristics such as moisture management and fill power has not previously been successful because the down, particularly over time, will not remain blended or otherwise secured to the polyester fibers, resulting in a decrease in performance, i.e. loss of fill power, and a loss of loft. A combination of a natural down and polyester fibers which would improve moisture management and/or other performance features and which would remain blended during use, such as in a bedding article or clothing, and during laundering, would be advantageous, and also could be a blend of polyester fibers and down which would not significantly reduce the fill power of down.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Accordingly, in one aspect of the invention, the filling material comprises down and synthetic fibers having particles present on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristics which allows attachment of the down and fibers and results in a blended filling material which remains blended during use in a bedding or clothing or other filled article.

[0006] Another aspect of the invention is a bedding article comprising a blend of down and synthetic fibers wherein the fibers have particles present on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and a bedding article filled with the blend of down and fibers.

[0007] Another aspect of the invention is a clothing article comprising a blend of down and synthetic fibers wherein the fibers have particles present on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and a clothing article filled with the blend of down and fibers.

[0008] Another aspect of the invention is a sleeping bag comprising a blend of down and synthetic fibers wherein the fibers have particles present on the surface of the fibers, the particles characterized by a configuration or other structural or spatial characteristic which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and a sleeping bag filled with the blend of down and fibers.

[0009] Another aspect of the invention is a method of manufacturing a filling material, comprising the steps of obtaining a quantity of down; obtaining a quantity of fibers having particles on the surface thereof, the particles characterized by a configuration which allows attachment of the down and fibers; and blending the down and fibers together.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a schematic view of natural down fibers.

[0011] FIG. 2 is a magnified view of a particular polyester fiber, namely a single yarn filament of a fiber known as 37.5 manufactured by Cocona.

[0012] FIG. 3 shows a magnified bundle of the filaments of FIG. 2.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a significantly magnified view of a filament showing an active particle and the 37.5 filament.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0014] The filling material of the invention described herein is a combination of natural down or feathers and the 37.5.RTM. fiber manufactured by Cocona, or a synthetic fiber having similar characteristics, as herein described and simply referred to hereinafter as a blending fiber. As indicated above, natural down is waterfowl or land fowl fiber material that used in many products/articles to provide warmth and comfort. Among them are numerous bedding items, such as comforters, pillows and blankets, as well as certain clothing items, such as jackets, and also sleeping bags, as well as other filled items. The filling material is prepared by blending the natural down with the blending fiber. The 37.5 fiber shown is a polyester (synthetic) fiber with active carbon particles or other mineral particles attached thereto. The particles have an irregular and/or complex surface, which includes configuration or other structural or spatial characteristics. A single filament of the fiber is shown in FIG. 2, with the filament at 12, and active particles at 14. In the embodiment shown, a typical filament of the 37.5 fiber or other blending fiber will vary in length and thickness from approximately 1/2-3 inches long, and a size of 0.9-10 denier. In one particular embodiment, the fiber length is 38 mm, with a denier of 1-4. In the arrangement shown, the individual filaments of the blending fiber have the activated carbon particles or other mineral particles, such as volcanic sand, silver, copper or titanium, among others, present on the surface thereof. The particles are typically embedded in the surface of the filaments. In the embodiment shown, the diameter of the individual particles is within the range of 100 nm-50 microns. The density of the individual particles in the surface of the fibers is within the range of 5-10%. The percentage of surface exposure of the individual particles is within the range of 5-15%. The particles are porous, with a porosity which varies in accordance with the particular particle.

[0015] In making the filling material, down is first separated or sorted from other materials, such as normal residue, and in some cases feathers, as well as other fibers. Generally, down which is imported from foreign countries has already been satisfactorily sorted, cleaned and dried. That process for imported down as well as processing the down locally is accomplished by first using any of various sorting techniques. The down is then thoroughly washed to remove any dirt or other impurities. This is done with conventional washing machines and techniques. In one embodiment, the down is processed in 275-350 lb batches. The down is washed in water at a temperature of 50-56.degree. C. Washing and rinsing occurs until the desired cleansing is achieved. The down is then transferred to a drier and dried at a temperature of approximately 110.degree. C. The down is now ready for blending.

[0016] The down is then blended with the blending fiber as follows: generally, the process begins with baled fiber and fully-washed down. They are then loaded into two separate hoppers for measurement and transfer into the processing machinery. The processing machinery includes typical raw-fiber opening equipment common to the bedding industry. The opened fiber is then sent to a mixing chamber. The mixing chamber is a conventional down/feather-mixing chamber common in the industry. In the embodiment shown, the blending is done in 55 lb batches, but this could vary. In the mixing chamber, down is added to the blending fiber to achieve the desired ratio of opened fiber and washed down. The fiber is then mixed thoroughly with the down. This mixing typically takes about 8 minutes with an 80% down, 20% fiber ratio. The mixture is then discharged and packaged for storage and shipment. The present filling comprises a blend of 80% natural down and 20% blending fiber. More generally, the range can be 60-90% for natural down and 40-10% for fiber. It should be understood that the blend can be adjusted by weight for different compositions and for different applications.

[0017] The above filling has advantages over either natural down or the blending fiber alone. While the fiber is polyester, the combination disclosed herein provides the comfort and feel of down with improvements upon the natural characteristics of down, including moisture management. The improvement in moisture management is associated with both usage, i.e. reduction and/or removal of moisture from perspiration associated with actual use and product care, i.e. faster drying when laundering or recovery from rain or snow.

[0018] The characteristics of the selected fiber, with the porosity of the particles, results in a continuing attachment of the down with the fibers. The particles also provide a rough surface for the fiber, regardless of the porosity. The filaments with particles are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. FIG. 3 includes a plurality of filaments 20, with particles 22, while FIG. 4 shows a high magnification of a single filament 26 and a porous particle 28. The down has natural surface node-like characteristics, which results in maintaining the blending, e.g. attachment of the natural down with the blending fibers. The physical characteristics of the down mate with the particles on the fibers to maintain blending. Porous particles are helpful for attachment, but the particles themselves also rough the surface of the fiber, which also helps to maintain the down attachment. The combination of the natural down with the synthetic blending fibers, having the configuration or structural or spatial characteristics discussed above, results in a filling material which remains blended during use and following washing. The resulting filling blend has advantages in addition to moisture management. These include improvements in radiant insulation as well as antimicrobial capability, order management and cost reduction.

[0019] The blended filling maintains its mix during use. Typical blends separate as smooth synthetic fibers slip through the down due to gravity and agitation.

[0020] The fill power of the present blend does not decrease during use so the performance of the blended filling is maintained as the down and synthetic fibers with the particles remain attached. As discussed above, fill power is typically defined as cubic inches displaced by one ounce of filling material. A lattice-like structure results, offsetting the decrease in fill power caused by blending synthetic fibers with down. The loft of the filled articles is maintained, which is important.

[0021] Clumping of the blended filling is reduced or eliminated. This is ordinarily a result of the down and the fibers separating. Clumping interferes with efficient production of the finished product, as well as the performance and the appearance of the finished product.

[0022] Accordingly, a filling material and associated process for making the filling has been described which combines natural down and in some cases feathers with a fiber having particular structural physical characteristics, namely, the use of porous particles embedded in the surface of the fibers, of which the 37.5 fiber produced by Cocona is but one example.

[0023] Although a preferred embodiment has been disclosed for purposes of illustration, it should be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions may be incorporated in the preferred embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined by the claims which follow:

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