The transmission belt is driven transversely to the movement of the bricks array for imparting the texturing force of the slapping elements to the underlying bricks along upstanding edge portions thereof. A series of three transmission belts are preferably used above a staggered pattern of two plate rows for treating the longitudinal sides of all bricks within an array. In this manner, an improved rough, used brick appearance may be imparted to individual brick elements while disposed in a common fabrication array.
The fabrication of brick from materials such as clay is an ancient art. Conventional fabrication techniques have improved both the speed at which such product can be produced as well as the structural and aesthetic characteristics. Innovationsin material preparation, cutting, handling, and curing have allowed brick manufactures to produce the bricks in mass arrays. Treatment of the faces of the brick for aesthetic purposes is likewise afforded by conventional texturing systems which treat anarray of brick simultaneously during manufacture.
Numerous prior art systems are conventionally available for texturing the surface of a brick array. Many of these systems incorporate rollers, brushes, and belts to impart rough, pitted, and chipped features to the brick. These features imparta used appearance to the goods which is deemed highly desirable in certain construction applications. Brick fabrication technology has been effective for many years, and older bricks are generally structurally sound. For this reason the use of secondhand bricks, of the type removed from previous structures, has become feasible and a contemporary building design consideration. The cost of actual used bricks is, however, prohibitive in many instances. For obvious reasons, the availability of such'used' product is limited. The application of texturing systems for new brick has thus found a wide range of acceptance. Moreover, technology for producing a more realistic used look in brick has found large demand. One prior art approach to thetexturing of the face and side edges of brick is set forth and shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,778,086 to Wilcox. The Wilcox patent shows a system for texturing a column of clay as it issues from extrusion apparatus. The textural lines are formed by brushescarried on an endless belt which engages the clay ribbon. The material is thus scored in such a way as to impart certain desirable characteristics. An earlier version of this method is set forth and shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,580,154 to Neher. TheNeher patent teaches the use of scoring pins which engage the face of the brick ribbon. The scored surface is then rolled to impart the desirable aesthetic quality.
Other prior art approaches utilize rotating brushes such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,193,871 to Butterworth. This 1916 reference teaches the treatment of a clay-ribbon into a roughened configuration without having predominating linesextending in any one direction. The system incorporates a series of rotatable brushes having resilient bristles of steel or the like for pitting the surface of the brick ribbon rather than scoring it. The brushes are so mounted that their engagementwith the ribbon is controlled by resilient means for presenting the pitted configuration. This prior art approach illustrates the desirability of the non-uniform, non-directional pattern which has been found desirable in brick texturing systems.
It may be seen in these prior art references that the brick texturing systems engage and treat the planar surfaces of the brick ribbon. While an aesthetically pleasing texture may be imparted to this flat surface, the edges of the individualbricks are themselves left unaffected due to the planar configuration of the brick array in the ribbon state. Actual used brick has an appearance which is multi-dimensional and extends beyond the planar surface of the brick itself. Generally, suchbricks are chipped, dented, and/or deformed along the edge portions as a result of normal environmental wear or their removal. Therefore, the treatment of just the generally flat exposed surface of the brick is in and of itself an incomplete texturingoperation. Prior art methods and apparatus for texturing brick ribbons do not affect such edge surfaces due to the co-planar relationship of the brick edges with the clay ribbon. Another consideration is the configuration of the texturing device itselfrelative to the ribbon. When such edge deformation is needed, the bricks are sometimes individually handled to impart the requisite aesthetic characteristics. Manual brick handling operations are obviously not conducive to high production fabricationand are inherently expensive.
It would be an advantage, therefore, to provide a brick texturing system for treating the edges of the individual bricks while the bricks remain in the production array. The methods and apparatus of the present invention provide such a systemwherein the individual bricks of a production array are exposed to an edge texturing unit. Deformation of the edge of the brick is effected by positioning the issuing brick ribbon over an array of staggered lifting plates which underlie the brickspassing thereacross. A plurality of oppositely directed slapping members then engage the exposed edges of the respective bricks passing therethrough. In this manner, a rough, used brick appearance is imparted to the individual brick elements whichremain in the production array.
The present invention relates to a texturing system for brick fabrication comprising means for deforming the edges of bricks disposed within an array. More particularly, one aspect of the invention includes an improved system for the texturingof bricks of the type wherein the surface of the brick is deformed while disposed within an array issuing from a forming mold. The improvement comprises a frame secured above the array of bricks issuing from the forming mold. Means disposed beneath theframe lift individual ones of the bricks upwardly for exposing edge portions thereof toward the frame. Means mounted to the frame then engage and deform the exposed edges of the bricks positioned thereunder.
In another aspect, the invention includes the aforesaid texturing apparatus wherein the deforming means comprises at least one endless belt having a plurality of slapping elements mounted thereto and extending therefrom. The elements arepositioned for engagement of the exposed edge portions of the brick passing relative thereto. The frame further includes means for driving the belt continuously over the bricks issuing thereunder. The lifting means comprises a plurality of platessecured in a staggered array beneath the frame for underlying select ones of the bricks in the array for producing a staggered array of bricks with edges of each exposed to the deforming means mounted to the frame.
In another aspect, the invention includes the aforesaid texturing apparatus wherein the means for deforming the edges of the bricks comprises at least one conveyor belt having a plurality of slapping elements extending therefrom for engaging theexposed edges of the bricks passing thereunder. The lifting means comprises a plurality of plates secured in a staggered array beneath the slapping elements. The plates lift opposite ones of a staggered array of the bricks into engagement with theslapping elements for deforming the edge portions thereof while the brick array passes therethrough.
In yet another aspect, the invention includes an improved method of texturing brick machine of the type wherein a ribbon of clay is extruded from a mold, cut into a plurality of brick elements, and the surface of the brick elements deformed into atextured configuration. The method is effected while the bricks are disposed within a production array. The improvement comprises providing means for lifting adjacent ones of the bricks forming the array to expose the edge portion thereof. Means areprovided then for engaging and deforming the exposed sections of the brick array in the lifted configurations. The lifting means and the deforming means are positioned about a section of the issuing clay ribbon for engagement therewith. The ribbon ofclay comprising the brick array issues over the lifting means while the exposed edges of the bricks upstanding from the lifting means are deformed.