Lace Braiding Machine

 

The practice of weaving, braiding, and knitting yarns and/or threads has a long history. The basic concept of interlacing fibers, typically at right angles, has origins in pre-recorded history. Through the centuries, fiber weaving, braiding, and knitting machines and methods have developed and continue to develop wherein, the practices and techniques employed in the production of apparel and countless other products have become varied and refined in order to produce specialty goods and products to fulfill specific functions and appearances, for use in a endless variety of applications and products.

Definitions of weaving and braiding: Weaving and braiding are generally described as the practice of interlacing strands or fibers together into a singular, unified plexus of filaments. The braiding process may be defined as the interlacement of filaments around a radial axis, whereas weaving is generally defined as the interlacement of filaments along two perpendicular angles. Both weaving and braiding interlace fibers by repetitively having fibers traveling in one axial direction, pass both above and below fibers; traveling in another opposed axial direction. Both weaving and braiding can also include filaments traveling in a third axial direction. This third axial direction generally lies in the center, between the two opposed axial directions, thus, filaments traveling in either opposed axial direction, will cross the paths, by intersecting or bisecting the filaments traveling in the third axial direction; at generally the same relative angle. Both weaving and braiding can produce the same fundamental patterns with filaments and yarns. The primary difference between the two practices can be expressed by how one or the other is produced, or upon what type of machine is producing the pattern to which the fibers follow. Weaving, or weaving machines typically utilize an opposed biaxial filament arrangement, which extends primarily flat; along the zero and ninety degree axis of a plane: Historically this process of interlacing fibers along these two axes is what would define weaving; although other fibers or elements may be introduced along other axes, to produce a tri-axial weave, or other type of specially woven material. Variations in weaving techniques start with how many yarns a particular yarn crosses before it changes, from traveling on top of other yarns, to below other yarns. Braiding, in comparison, has historically been accomplished by interweaving yarns around a central or “polar” axis. Although the end product may be fundamentally the same as a weave, the means of achieving those ends are quite different. While weaving intertwines yarns along the zero and ninety degree axes, within a generally planer area of space; the space unto which a typical braiding machine braids fibers is fundamentally cylindrical, insomuch that braided yarns are interlaced along a circular path, thus the ability for braiding machines to create tubular plexuses of material.

A Lace Braiding Machine; which is best defined as a programmable braiding machine, fundamentally functions the same way as a standard, automated braiding machine, insomuch as with both machines, carriers are directed to travel in undulating circular paths around the surface of the machine, and the spools of yarn held by the carriers pass by one another as they travel in opposite directions around the planer surface of a machine. The undulations in the paths to which braiding machine's carriers direct spools of yarn to travel, is what allows the spools of yarn to cross paths, insomuch that the paths of the undulations for the carriers, set in one direction, is offset from the paths to which the carriers follow traveling in the opposite direction. Therefore, when a carrier traveling in one direction is at its low point within its circular undulating path, the carrier traveling in the other direction is at its high point within its undulating path, and the spools of yarns are able to pass in front of or behind the other spools of yarn, relative to the center of the circular path in which they ostensibly travel. Unlike a standard braiding machine wherein all the carriers must follow a set path around the surface of the machine, a lace braiding machine's carriers are programmable to follow an undulating path around a radial axis of a machine, not to travel at all, or just to travel in circles, ostensibly remaining in one place while other carriers travel past or around it. This ability, which sets a lace braiding machine apart from a standard braiding machine, is what allows for an infinite number of patterned networks of fibers to be produce upon a programmable, or “lace braiding machine.”