Unicharm's US patent application for 'manufacturing device for absorbent body and manufacturing method therefor' published online

WASHINGTON , February 13, 2014 () – A patent application by the inventor Hoshika, Kazuhiko (Kagawa, JP), filed on January 27, 2012, was made available online on February 6, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Uni-charm Corporation.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Disposable diapers and sanitary napkins are conventionally known as absorbent articles that absorb fluid such as excreted fluids and the like.

"This absorbent article includes an absorbent body 1 that absorbs fluid. The absorbent body 1 is produced by forming liquid absorbent fiber such as pulp fibers 2, as a main material, into a predetermined shape. Generally, this absorbent body 1 has superabsorbent polymer (which is high molecular weight polymer and the like having high fluid retaining performance by swelling and the like due to fluid absorption, and is referred to as SAP hereunder) mixed therein as an example of particles. Such an absorbent body 1 has a longitudinal direction and a width direction orthogonal to each other and a thickness direction as well. Among these, the longitudinal direction and the width direction are parallel to the longitudinal direction and the width direction of disposable diapers and sanitary napkins, respectively.

"Such absorbent body 1 is for example, is manufactured using a rotating drum 120 that rotates about a rotational axis C120 along a CD direction (the direction perpendicular to the plane of the paper in FIG. 1A, as shown in a schematic diagram of FIG. 1A. On the outer circumferential face of this rotating drum 120, a forming die 121 having a shape corresponding to the outer shape of the absorbent body 1 is provided, and multiple air intake holes (not shown) are formed in the forming die 121. Additionally, a duct 131 is arranged facing the predetermined position in the circumferential direction Dc of the rotating drum 120. In this duct 131, pulp fiber 2 flows along the airflow 3. Further, a tip end of a polymer discharge tube 141 is introduced into the duct 131, and SAP is discharged from a discharge hole 141a of the above tip end into the duct 131.

"Therefore, when the above-mentioned forming die 121 passes the location of the duct 131, the pulp fiber 2 and SAP are deposited on the forming die 121 by air intake through the air intake holes of the forming die 121, thereby forming the absorbent body 1 whose longitudinal direction is the circumferential direction Dc of the rotating drum 120.

"Here, the pulp fiber 2 and SAP are required to be deposited in a predetermined distribution state.

"With regard to this point, PTL1 discloses a method of distributing SAP evenly in the width direction (CD direction) of the absorbent body 1. In other words, as shown in an enlarged view of FIG. 1B, PTL1 discloses that a distribution plate 143 is placed on the outer side of the discharge hole 141a of the polymer discharge tube 141, and SAP flowing along the airflow 6 in the above discharge tube 141 is made to collide with the distribution plate 143 to discharge SAP into the duct 131 in a distributed manner."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Technical Problem

"Depending on the types and specifications of absorbent articles, there are cases where it is desired to change SAP distribution in the width direction in accordance with the location of the longitudinal direction of the absorbent body 1. For example, there are cases where it is desired, while a crotch corresponding portion 1c of the absorbent body 1 causes SAP to be collected at the central portion of the width direction, a front body corresponding portion 1e and a back body corresponding portion 1e adjacent longitudinal back and forth thereof causes SAP to be distributed substantially evenly in the width direction (FIG. 5A).

"Further, in the case where the outer shape of the absorbent body 1 is a substantially sandglass shape when viewed from above, the size in the CD direction of the crotch corresponding portion 21c as a central portion 21c of the circumferential direction Dc in the forming die 121 is narrower than the size in the CD direction of the front body corresponding portion 21e and the back body corresponding portion 21e as both end portions 21e, 21e of the above circumferential direction Dc (FIG. 5B). Therefore, it is understood that when the discharge distribution itself of SAP in the CD direction which is discharged from the polymer discharge tube 141 is made to be a substantially uniform distribution along the CD direction in the front body corresponding portion 21e and the back body corresponding portion 21e, but is made to be a distribution collected at the center in the CD direction in the crotch corresponding portion 21c, the amount of SAP that fails to be deposited on the crotch corresponding portion 21c can be reduced and SAP can be certainly deposited on the above crotch corresponding portion 21c.

"However, it is understood that, since the discharge distribution of SAP in the width direction can not be changed in accordance with the travel of the forming die 121 in the circumferential direction Dc with the method using the above-mentioned distribution plate 143, it is difficult to handle these needs.

"The present invention has been made in view of the above conventional problems, and an advantage thereof is to allow the discharge distribution of the particulate matter to be changed in accordance with the travel of the deposit portion, when the absorbent body is produced by depositing liquid absorbent fiber such as pulp fiber flowing in the duct and particulate matter such as SAP, to the deposit portion such as a forming die.

"Solution to Problem

"A principal aspect of the invention for achieving the above advantage is

"a device for manufacturing an absorbent body by depositing on a deposit portion liquid absorbent fiber contained in a first gas flowing through a duct, comprising:

"the deposit portion that travels along a predetermined travel path;

"the duct that distributes the liquid absorbent fiber from a distribution opening placed opposing the travel path;

"a particulate matter discharge tube, a tip end thereof being introduced into the duct, that discharges a second gas having particulate matter mixed therein from a discharge hole of the tip end; and

"an operable throttle portion that throttles a flow path of the particulate matter discharge tube to change discharge distribution of the particulate matter,

"the operable throttle portion being operated in conjunction with the travel of the deposit portion.

"Further,

"a method of manufacturing an absorbent body by depositing on a deposit portion liquid absorbent fiber contained in a first gas flowing through a duct, comprising:

"allowing the deposit portion to travel a predetermined travel path;

"distributing the liquid absorbent fiber from a distribution opening of the duct which is placed opposing the travel path;

"discharging a second gas having particulate matter mixed therein from a discharge hole of a tip end of a particulate matter discharge tube, the tip end being introduced into the duct; and

"allowing an operable throttle portion to be operated in conjunction with the travel of the deposit portion, the operable throttle portion throttling a flow path of the particulate matter discharge tube to change discharge distribution of the particulate matter.

"Other features of the present invention will become apparent from the description in this specification and the attached drawings.

"Effects of the Invention

"According to the invention, when the absorbent body is produced by depositing liquid absorbent fiber such as pulp fiber flowing in the duct and particulate matter such as SAP, on the deposit portion such as a forming die, the discharge distribution of particulate matter can be changed in accordance with the travel of the deposit portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1A is a schematic diagram of a conventional manufacturing device for an absorbent body 1, and FIG. 1B is an enlarged view of a portion proximate the discharge hole 141a of the polymer discharge tube 141.

"FIG. 2A is a schematic plan view of the absorbent body 1, and FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 3A is a schematic vertical cross-sectional view of a manufacturing device 10 for the absorbent body 1 of the first embodiment.

"FIG. 3B is a developed view of an outer circumferential face 20a of a rotating drum 20 included in the above manufacturing device 10.

"FIG. 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the polymer discharge tube 41.

"FIGS. 5A and 5B are explanatory diagrams showing needs to change the discharge distribution in the CD direction of SAP.

"FIG. 6A is an enlarged view of part VI in FIG. 4, FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 6A, and FIG. 6C is a cross-sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 6A in a different state from that of FIG. 6B.

"FIGS. 7A to 7c are diagrams explaining the reasons that the discharge distribution in the CD direction of SAP can be changed by an operable throttle portion 50 provided with a protrusion member 52.

"FIGS. 8A and 8B are cross-sectional views of other examples of the operable throttle portion 50 provided with the protrusion member 52.

"FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a portion proximate the discharge hole 41a of the polymer discharge tube 41.

"FIGS. 10A and 10B are explanatory diagrams of a modified example of an operable throttle portion 50a in the first embodiment.

"FIGS. 11A to 11C are explanatory diagrams of the operable throttle portion 50b in the second embodiment."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Hoshika, Kazuhiko. Manufacturing Device for Absorbent Body and Manufacturing Method Therefor. Filed January 27, 2012 and posted February 6, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5445&p=109&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140130.PD.&OS=PD/20140130&RS=PD/20140130

Keywords for this news article include: Uni-charm Corporation.

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