CA2461063C - Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt - Google Patents

Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2461063C
CA2461063C CA002461063A CA2461063A CA2461063C CA 2461063 C CA2461063 C CA 2461063C CA 002461063 A CA002461063 A CA 002461063A CA 2461063 A CA2461063 A CA 2461063A CA 2461063 C CA2461063 C CA 2461063C
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Prior art keywords
web
belt
region
direction
forming
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French (fr)
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CA2461063A1 (en
Inventor
Larry L. Huston
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Procter and Gamble Co
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Procter and Gamble Co
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Priority to US08/858,662 priority Critical patent/US5948210A/en
Priority to US08/858,661 priority patent/US5900122A/en
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Priority to US08/858,662 priority
Application filed by Procter and Gamble Co filed Critical Procter and Gamble Co
Priority to CA 2290494 priority patent/CA2290494C/en
Publication of CA2461063A1 publication Critical patent/CA2461063A1/en
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Publication of CA2461063C publication Critical patent/CA2461063C/en
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Abstract

A papermaking through-air drying belt (10) and a method of making the same, as well as a paper web produced on the belt and the process of making the web are disclosed. The belt (10) comprises a resinous framework (20) having a web side surface (21) defining an X-Y plane, a backside surface (22) opposite the web- side surface, a Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y plane, and a plurality of discrete deflection conduits (30) extending between the web-side surface and the backside surface. Each of the discrete conduits (30) has an axis (33) and walls (35). The axes (33) of at least some of the discrete conduits (30) and the Z-direction form acute angles (Q) therebetween.

Description

CELLULOS1C WEB, METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING THE SAME
USING PAPERMAICING BELT HAVING ANGLED CROSS-SECTIONAL
STRUCTURE, AND METHOD OF MAKING THE BELT
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is related to processes for making strong, soft, absorbent cellulosic webs. More particularly, this invention is concerned with structured cellulosic webs having low density regions.and high density regions, and with papeimaking belts utilized for making such paper webs.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Paper pre~ucts are used for a variety of p~:.rpoaes. Paper towels, facial tissues;
toilet tissues, and the like are in constant use iri modra~n industrialized societies. The large demand for such paper products has created a demand for improved versions of the products. If the paper products such as paper towEas, facial tissues, toilet tissues, and the like are t~ perform their intended tasks and to find wide acceptance, they must possess certain hh;':9cal charactensncs. Among the more important .of these characteristics are stra~o.~i, softness, and absorbency.
Strength is the ability of a papa web to retain its physical integrity during use.
Softness is the pleasing tactile xnsation consumers percave when they ux the papa for its intended pwposes.
Absorbency is the characteristic of the paper that aDows the papa to take up and retain fluids, particularly wata and aqueous solutions and suspensions.
Important not c~n~yr is the absolute quantity of fluid a g'rvcn amount of papa will hold, but also the rate at which the papa will absorb the fluid.
?hrough-air drying papaTnaking belts comprising a reinforcing structure and a resinous frames :.irk are dacnbed in commonly assigned U.S. Patent 4,514,345 .
issued to Johnson ct al. on Apr. 30, 1985; U.S. Patent 4,528,239 issued to ?rokhan on July 9, 1985; U.S. Patent 4,529,480 issued to T~~~chan on July 16, 1985; ~
U.S.
Patent 4,637,859 issued to Trokhan on Jan. 20, 1987; U.S. Patent 5,334,289 issued to Trokhan et al on Aug. 2, 1994.
The paper produced on the belts disclosed in these patents is characterized by having two physically distinct regions: a continuous network region having a relatively high density and a region comprised of a plurality of domes dispersed throughout the whole of the network region. The domes are of relatively low density and relatively low intrinsic strength compared to the network regions.
Such belts have been used to produce commercially successful products such as Bounty paper towels and Charmin Ultra toilet tissue, both produced and sold by the instant assignee.
U.S. Patents 5,245,025 issued to Trokhan et al. on Sep. 14, 1993; and 5,527,428 issued to Trokhan et al. on June 18, 1996, disclose a cellulosic fibrous structure comprising a plurality of regions: an essentially continuous first region of a relatively high basis weight; a second region of a relatively low or zero basis weight and circumscribed by and adjacent the first region; and a third region of an intermediate basis weight and juxtaposed with the second region. A forming belt for producing such a paper comprises a patterned array of discrete protuberances joined to a reinforcing structure. Annuluses between adjacent protuberances provide space into which papermaking fibers may be deflected to form the first region. In addition, each individual protuberance may have an aperture therein. The apertures in the individual protuberances also provide space into which the papermaking fibers may deflect to form the third region.
Still, a search for improved produce ha~ continued.
tt may be desirable in some instar~~ to produce ._ellulosic webs having "angled" cross-sectional patterns, l.c., the webs which -- when viewed in the cross-section -- have the domes extending from an essentially continuous network region such that the domes are not generally perpendicular, but instead are acutely angled, relative to the plane of the network region. Particularly, such "angled" domes may improve the web's softness due to increased collapsibility of the angles domes, compared to the perpendicularly upstanding domes. In addition, it is believed that such angled structures will. possess an ability to direct absorbed fluids in a desired (and predetermined) direction, based on the specific (and also predetermined) orientation of the domes in the web. Such properties may bE very beneficial in a __ variety of disposable products.
Therefore, it is an object of an aspect of the present invention to provide a cellulosic web having at least two regions: an essentially continuous region and a region comprising a patterned array of discrete domes or knuckles extending from the essentially continuous region such that the axes of the domes or knuckles and the general plane of the essentially continuous region form acute angles therebetween.
It is another object of an aspect of the present invention to provide a process of making such cellulosic webs.

J
It is still another object of an aspect of the present invention to provide a papermaking belt for producing such cellulosic webs.
It is a further object of an aspect of the present invention to provide a process of making such papermaking belt.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A macroscopically monoplanar papermaking belt of the present invention may be used in a pa f,ermaking machine as a forming belt and/or as a through-air drvirQ belt.
The through-air drying belt comprises a resinous framework having a web-side surface which defines an X-Y plane, a backside surface opposite the web-side surface, a Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y plane, and a plurality of discrete deflection conduits extending between the web-side surface and the backside surface. Preferably, the plurality of conduits comprises a non-random repeating patterned array. Each of the discrete conduits has an axis and walls. The axes of at least some of the discrete conduits and the Z-direction form acute angles therebetween. Preferably, the through-air drying belt further comprises an air-permeable reinforcing structure positioned between the web-side surface and the backside surface of the resinous framework. The reinforcing structure has a web-facing side and a machine-facing side opposite the web-facing side.
In the through-air dn~ing belt, the web-side surface of the framework has an essentially continuous web-side network formed therein, and the backside surface of the framework has a backside network formed therein. The web-side network defines web-side openings, and the backside network defines backside openings of the discrete conduits. The web-side openings are off set relative to the corresponding backside openings within the X-Y plane in at least one direction perpendicular to the Z-direction. 'I?te discrete conduits may be tapered, preferably negatively tapered, relative to their respective axes in at least one direction perF_.tdicular to the Z-direction.
The forming belt of the present invention comprises an air-permeable reinforcing structure and a resinous framework joined to the reinforcing s:rscture.
The reinforcing structure has a web-facing side defining an X-Y plane, a machine-facing side opposite the web-facing side, and a Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y
plane. The resinous framework is comprised of a plurality of discrete protuberances joined to and extending from the reinforcing structure. Each of the protuberances has an axis, a top surface, a base surface opposite the top surface, and walls spacing apart and interconnecting the top surface and the base surface. Preferably, the discrete protuberances are circumscribed by and adjacent to an area of essentially continuous deflection conduits. A plurality of the top surfaces defines a web-side surface, and a plurality of the base surfaces defines a backside surface of the resinous framework.
In the forming belt of the present invention, the axes of at least some of the protuberances and the Z-direction form an acute angles therebetween. The top surfaces of at least some of the protuberances are off set relative to the corresponding base surfaces of the same protuberances within the X-Y plane in at least one direction perpendicular to the Z-direction. The web-facing side of the reinforcing structure has preferably an essentially continuous web-facing network formed therein, which web-facing network is defined by the area of essentially continuous deflection conduits. The walls of at least some of the protuberances may be tapered relative the axes of these protuberances. Preferably, the plurality of protuberances comprises a non-random repeating patterned array in the X-Y
plane.
In one embodiment, the plurality of discrete protuberances has a plurality of discrete deflection conduits extending from the web-side surface to the back surface of the resinous framework. Preferably, each of the plurality of discrete protuberances has at least one discrete deflection conduit therein. In both the through-air drying belt and the forming belt, the backside surface may optionally be textured.
A method of making the belt of the present invention comprises the steps of:
(a) providing an apparatus for generating curing radiation in a first direction;
(b) providing a liquid photosensitive resin;
(c) providing a forming unit having a working surface and capable of receiving the liquid photosensitive resin;
(d) providing an air-permeable reinforcing structure to be joined to the cured photosensitive resin, the reinforcing structure having a web-facing side and a machine-facing side opposite said web-facing side;
(e) disposing said reinforcing structure in said forming unit;
(f) disposing the liquid photosensitive resin in said forming unit thereby forming a coating of the liquid photosensitive resin, the coating having a first surface and a second surface opposite the first surface, and a pre-selected thickness defined by these first and second surfaces;
(g) disposing the forming unit containing the coating of liquid photosensitive resin in the first direction such that the first surface of the coating and the first direction form an acute angle therebetween;
(h) providing a mask having opaque regions and transparent regions defining a pre-selected pattern;
(i) positioning the mask between the first surface of the coating and the apparatus for generating curing radiation such that the mask is in adjacent relation with the first surface, the opaque regions of the mask shielding a portion of the coating from the curing radiation of the apparatus, and the transparent regions leaving other portions of the coating unshielded for the curing radiation of the apparatus;
(j) curing said unshielded portions of the coating, and leaving the shielded portions of the coating uncured by exposing the coating to radiation having an activating wavelength from the apparatus for generating curing radiation through the mask to form a partially-formed belt;
(k) removing substantially all uncured liquid photosensitive resin from the partially-formed belt to leave a hardened resinous structure which forms a framework having a web-side surface formed by the first surface being cured and a backside surface formed by the second surface being cured. Depending on a particular predetermined design of the desired framework (continuous framework for the through-air drying belt, or the framework comprising the plurality of protuberances for the forming belt), the belt will have either a plurality of discrete conduits in the regions which were shielded from the curing radiation by the opaque regions of the mask, or a plurality of discrete protuberances extending from the reinforcing structure in the regions which were not shielded and therefore became cured.
The steps (d) and (e) are the necessary steps for making the forming belt, and the highly preferred steps for making the through-air drying belt.
According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a paper web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, the web comprising:
a macroscopically rnonoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region forming a network plane and having a relatively high density, and a domes region having a relatively low density, the domes region Sa comprising discrete domes extending from the network plane in at least one direction such that the at least one direction and the network plane form an acute angle therebetween.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a paper web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, the web comprising:
a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region forming a network plane, and a domes region comprising discrete domes extending from the network plane in at least one direction such that the at least one direction and the network plane form an acute angle therebetween.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a process for producing a cellulosic fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random repeating pattern, the process comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspended in a liquid carver, providing a forming belt;
depositing the plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspended in a liquid Garner on the forming belt;
draining the liquid carrier through the forming belt thereby forming an embryonic web of the papermaking fibers on the forming belt;
providing a macroscopically monoplanar through-air drying belt comprising a resinous framework having a web-side surface defining an X-Y plane, a backside surface opposite the web-side surface, a Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y
plane, and a plurality of discrete deflection conduits extending between the web-side surface and the backside surface, each of the conduits having an axis and walls, the axes of at least some of the conduits and the Z-direction forming an acute angles therebetween;
depositing the embryonic web to the web-side surface of the resinous framework of the papermaking belt;
applying a fluid pressure differential to the embryonic web to deflect at least a portion of the papermaking fibers into the discrete deflection conduits and to remove water from the embryonic web into the discrete deflection conduits Sb thereby forming an intermediate web, the intermediate web comprising a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region, and a domes region comprising a plurality of discrete domes protruding from, circumscribed by, and adjacent to the network region, each of the domes having an axis, the axes of at least some of the domes and the Z-direction forming acute angles therebetween.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, the web comprising:
a macroscopically planar and patterned first region comprising an essentially continuous network forming a network plane, the first region having a relatively high basis weight; and a second region having a relatively low basis weight and comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckles circumscribed by and adjacent to the first region, the knuckles extending from the first region in at least one direction, the at least one direction and the network plane forming an acute angle therebetween.
According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a process for producing a cellulosic fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random repeating pattern, the process comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of cellulosic fibers suspended in a liquid carrier;
providing a macroscopically monoplanar papermaking belt comprising an air permeable reinforcing structure having a web-facing side defining an X-Y
plane, a machine-facing side opposite the web-facing side, and a Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y plane, the papermaking belt further comprising a resinous framework comprised of a plurality of discrete protuberances joined to and extending from the reinforcing structure, each of the protuberances having an axis, a base surface, a top surface, and walls spacing apart and interconnecting the base surface and the top surface, the axes of at least some of the protuberances and the Z-direction forming acute angles therebetween, a plurality of the top surfaces defining a web-side surface of the resinous framework, and a plurality of base surfaces defining a backside surface of the resinous framework;
depositing the cellulosic fibers and the carrier onto the papermaking belt;
draining the liquid carrier through the papermaking belt, thereby forming a C
macroscopically planar and patterned first region disposed in the X-Y plane and comprising an essentially continuous network, and a second region comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckles, the knuckles being circumscribed by, adjacent to and extending from the first region in at least one direction, the at least one direction and the Z-axis forming an acute angle therebetween.
A cellulosic web made by using the through-air drying belt having an essentially continuous framework will have at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern: a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region forming a network plane and preferably having relatively high density, and a domes region preferably having relatively low density. The domes region comprises discrete domes extending from the network plane in at least one direction such that this at least one direction and the network plane form an acute angle therebetween.
The cellulosic web formed on the forming belt having the framework comprised of the plurality of discrete protuberances will have at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern: a macroscopically planar and patterned first region defining an X-Y plane and preferably having a relatively high basis weight, and a second region preferably having a relatively low basis weight and circumscribed by and adjacent to the first region. The first region comprises an essentially continuous network formed over the area of essentially continuous conduits of the forming belt's framework. The second region is comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckles formed over the discrete protuberances of the forming belt's framework. The protuberances extend from the first region in at least one "angled" direction such that this at least one direction and the X-Y plane form an acute angle therebetween. The av;:b formed on the forming belt having the discrete deflection conduits through the protuberances may also have a third region having an intermediate basis weight relative to the basis weight of the first region and the basis weight of the second region, the third region being juxtaposed with the second region.
In its through-air drying aspect, a process for producing a cellulosic fibrous web comprises the steps of:
(a) providing a plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspended in ~a liquid carver;
(b) providing a forming belt;
(c) depositing the plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspender: ii, a liquid carriers o:~ the forming belt;
(d) draining the liquid carrier through the forming belt thereby forming an embryonic web of the papcrmaking fibers on the forming belt;
(e) providing a macroscopically monopiana.~ though-air drying belt comprising a resi: ~~.5 IaWllewG~w having a web-side surface jea'ning an X-Y plane, a backside surface opposite the web-side surface, a Z-directs.,.. perpendicular to the X-Y plane, and a plurality of discrete deflection conduits extending between the web-side surface and the backside surface, each of the conduits having an axis and walls, the axes of at least some of the conduits and the Z-direction forming an acute angles thercbetween;
(f) depositing the embryonic web to the web-side surface of the resinous framework of the through-air drying belt;
(g) applying a fluid pressiue differential to the embryonic web to deflect at least a portion of the papenmaking fibers into the discrete deflection conduits and to remove water fro~n the embryonic web into the d~ ~:.-ete deflection conduits thereby forming an intermediate web which comprises a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region, and a domes region comprising a plurah;~ of discrete domes protruding from, circumscribed by, and adjacent to the network region, each of the domes having an axis, the axes of at least some of the domes and the Z-direction forming acute angles thcrebetween.
A process for producing the embryonic cellulosic fibrous web on the forming belt of the present invention comprises the steps of-.
(a) providing a plurality of cellulosic fibers suspended in a liquid carrier;

(b) providing a macroscopically monoplanar forming belt comprising an air-permeable reinforcing structure having a web-facing side defining an X-Y
plane, a machine-facing side opposite said web-facing side, and a Z-direction perpendicular to said X-Y plane, the forming beU further comprising a resinous frar,~ework comprised of a plurality of discrete protuberances joined to and extending from the reinforcing structure, each of the protuberances having a base surface, a top surface, walls spacing apart and interconnecting the base surface and the top surface, and an axis, the axes of at least some of the protuberances and the Z-directiu~
forming acute angles therebetween, a plurality of the tog surfaces defining a web-side surface of the resinous framework, and a plurality of the base surfaces defining a backside surface of the resinous framework;
(c) depositing the celiulosic fibers and the carrier onto the forming belt;
(d) draining the liquid carrier through the forming belt, thereby forming a -racro~:~opically planar and patterned first region disposed in the X-Y plane, the first egioi. .;omprising an essentially continuous r.~twork and preferably having a relatively high basis weight; and a second region comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckle, circumscribed 1.~ and adjacent to the first region and preferably having a relatively low basis weight, the knuckles extending from the first region in at least one direction, this at least one direction and th,: 4-direction cn~-_.ing an acute angle therebetween.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. I is a schematic top plan view of a papenmaking belt of the present invention having an essentially continuous web-side network and discrete deflection conduits.
FIG. 1 A is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of the papermaking belt taken along lines 1 A-1 A of FIG. 1, and showing the discrete deflection conduits which are angled relative to the Z-direction.
FIG. 1 B is a schematic fragmentary cross-se:~ional view of the papermaking belt taken along lines 1 B-1 B of FIG. t .
r.IG. 1C is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of the papermaking bctt of the present invention having angled and negatively tapered conduits.
F1G. 2 is a schematic top plan view of the papcrmaking belt of the present invention comprising a resinous framework formed by discrete protuberances encompassed by an essentially continuous area of deflection conduits.

FIG. 2A is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of the papermaking belt taken along lines 2A-2A of FIG. 2, and showing the discrete protuberances which are angled relative to the Z-direction and positively tapered.
FIG. 3 is a schematic top plan view of a papc:rraaking belt similar to that shown in FIG. ~, and comprising a resinous framework formed by a plurality of discrete protuberances having a plwality of discrete deflection conduits therein.
FIG. 3A is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of the papermaking belt taken along lines 3A-3A of FIG. 3, and showing positively tapered protuberances having negatively tapered discrete conduits therein.
FIG. 4 is a schematic top plan view of a paper web produced on the papermaking belt of the present invention shown in FIGs. 1-1C, the paper web having three zones of knuckles, the knuckles of each zone having a specific orientation different from the orientations of the knuckles of the other two canes.
FIG. 4A is a xhematic fragmentary cross-sectional view' of the paper web taken along lines 4A-4A of FI(,~. 4.
FIG. 4B is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of the paper web taken along lines 4B-48 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 4C is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view c.r .he paper web taken along lincs 4C-4C of ~'ly. ~.
FIG. ~~,~ is a schematic fragmentary cross-sectional view of a pt~raetic web produccd on the papcrmaking belt of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A.
FIG. 5 is a xhcmatic perspective view of an apparatus for generating curing radiation which can be utilized for curing a photosensitive resin to form a resinous framcwork comprising the papermaking belt of the present invention.
FIG. 5A is a xhematic cross-sectional vices of the apparatus shown in FIG.
5.
FIG. 5B is a xhetnatic cross-sectional view of the apparatus of controlled radiation directing curing radiation in more than one pre-determined radiating direction.
FIG. SC is a xhematic cross-scctional view of another embodiment of the apparatus of controlled radiation.
FIG. 6 is a xhcmatic side elevational view of one embodiment of a continuous papermaking proccss utilized in the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring to FIG. 6, the preferred embodiment of the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention is an endless belt. However, the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention may be incorporated into numerous other forms that include, for example, stationary plates for use in making handsheets or other batch processes, or rotating drums for use with other continuous processes. As used herein, the term "papermaking belt 10," or simply "belt 10" is a generic term which includes both a forming belt 10a and a through-air drying belt 10b, both shown in FIG. 6. The forming belt IOa travels in the direction indicated by a directional arrow "A," and the through-air drying belt lOb travels in the direction indicated by a directional arrow "B." Because both the forming belt 10a and the through-air drying belt l Ob possess certain common characteristics, it is convenient in relevant parts of the Specification to rrfer to both the forming belt 10a and the through-air drying belt lOb as simply "the belt 10." However, when distinguishing between the forming belt 10a and the through-air drying belt lOb is necessary or helpful for understanding the present invention, the reference will be made to "the forming belt 10a," or to "the through-air dying belt l Ob.". ~°.garrl~.ss of the physical form of the papetmaking belt 10 and its function in the pnperma:::ag process, the belt 10 of the present invewion has the characteristics described below.
As shown in FIGs. 1-.4l a.ld 6, the belt : ~~ of the present invention has a web-.- contacting side 11 and a backside 12 opposite the web-contacting side 11.
As should be clear from the definition, the web-contacting side 11 cont;.:.~~, ar,d therel~~~
uppons a web 60 on the belt 10. The >;acl.side 12 contacts the machinery employed in the pape:rmaking process. such as a vacuum pick-up shoe 17a and a multislot vacuum box 17b and various rolls, etc. For clarity, as used herein, the web 60 is refrrrnced by the same reference numeral 60, regardless of a particular stage of its processing. The distinction between the various stages of the web's processing, although significant, does not require the use of different reference numerals for the purposes of describing the present invention. An adjective immediately preceding the term "web" will clearly and definitely indicate a particular stage of the web's processing, for example: "embryonic web 60," "intermediate web 60," "imprinted web 60," "predried web 60," "dried web 60." and a final product -- "paper ;veb 60."
FIGS. 1-3C show various embodiments of the belt 10 ~f the present invention.
FIGs. 1-lC illustrate the pa~~rmaking belt 10 which may preferably be utilized as the through-air drying belt 10b; and FIGs. 2-3A show embodiments of the belt which can preferably be utilized as the forming belt 10a. The belt 10 comprises a resinous framework 20 and a reinforcing swcture SO joined to the resinous framework 20. It should be pointed out that the reinforcing structure 50 is necessary for the forming belt 1 Oa and highly preferred for the through-air drying belt l Ob.

The resinous framework, or simply framework, 20 has a web-side surface 21, a backside surface 22 opposite the web-side surface 21, and a plurality of deflection conduits 30 extending between the web-side surface 21 and the backside surface 22.
If desired, the backside surface 22 may be textured according to the commonly assigned and incorporated herein by reference U.S. Patents: 5,275,700 issued Jan. 4, 1994 to Trokhan; 5.334,289 issued Aug. 2, 1994 to Trokhan et al.; 5,364,504 issued Nov. 15, 1994 to Smurkoski et al. The reinforcing structure 50 is preferably, positioned between the web-side surface 21 and the backside surface 22 of the framework 20. The reinforcing svucture 50 is substantially liquid-pervious, and may comprise a for~aminous element, such as a woven screen or other apertured structures. The reinforcing structure 50 has a web-facing side 5'1 and a machine-facing side 52 opposite to the web-Facing side 51. The web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure 50 corresponds to the web-side surface 21 of the framework 20, anti the rna~:hine-facing side 52 of the reinforcing structure 50 corresponds to the backside surface 22 of the framework 20.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-1 C, the framework 20 comprises an, essentially a~rtinuous paper.., and the plurality of deflection conduits 30 comprises a plurality of discrete orifices, or holes, extending from the web-side surface 21 to the backside surface 22 of the framework 20. Prefeaably, the ;iisc;ete conduits 30 are arranged in' a prr-selected paneri: in the fryamework 20. More preferably, the pattern of the arrangement of the conduits 30 is non-random and repeating. The papermaking belt 10 having a continuous framework 24 and discrete deflection conduits 30 may preferably be utilized as the through-air drying belt 10b. The panermaking belt 10 having a continuous framework 20 and discrete deflection conduits 30 is primarily disclosed in the commonly assigned U.S. Patents 4,528,239 issued Jul. 9, 1985 to Trokhan; 4,529,480 issued Jul. 16, 1985 to Trokhan;
4,637,859 issued Jan. 20, 1987 to Trokhan; 5,098,522 issued Mar. 24, 1992 to Trokhan et al.;
5,275,700 issued Jan. 4, 1994 to Trokhan; 5,334,289 issued Aug. 2, 1994 to Trokhan;
and 5,364,504 issued Nov. 15, 1985 to Smurkoski et al.
In another embodiment of the belt 10 shown in FIGS. 2-3C, the framework 20 comprises a plurality of discrete protuberances 40 extending from the reinforcing structure 50 and adjacent to an area of essentially continuous deflection conduits 70.
The discrete protuberances 40 are preferably circumscribed by the area of essentially continuous deflection conduits 70. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2-3C, the region of essentially continuous deflection conduits 70 preferably defines an essentially continuous web-facing network 51 * formed in the web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing swcture ~0.
The term "essentially continuous" indicates that interruptions in absolute gec:n~etrical continuity may be tolerable, while ~r~e -not preferred, as long as these interruptions do not adversely affect the performance of the belt 10 of the present invention. It should also be carefully noted that embodiments (not shown) are possible in which interruptions in the absolute continuity of the framework 20 (in the through-air drying belt 10b) or interruptions in the absolute continuity of the conduits 70 (in the forming belt 10a) are intended as a part of the overall design of the belt 10. These embodiments are not illustrated but can easily be visualized by combining the framework's pattern of the through-air drying belt lOb with the framework's pattern of the forming belt 10a in such a way that some of the areas of the "combined" belt comprise the pattern of the through-air drying belt 10b, while the other pats of the same "combined" belt comprae the~attern of the forming belt 10a. ~ ' As show- ~ in FIGs. 3-3C, the individual protuberances 40 may also have the discrete deflection conduits 30 disposed therein anal extending fron< :he web-side surface 21 to th-° t-.ackside swface 22 of the framework 20. The papermaking belt 10 having the frayeworic ?0 comprising the discrete protuberances 40 may preferably be' utilized as the,fo~mifig belt 10a. The papermaking belt 10 hav;rtg the framework 20 comprising the discrete protuberances 40 is primarily disclosed in the commonly assigned U.S. Patent 4,245,025 issued Sep. 14, 1993 to Trokhan et al. and U.S.
Patent 5,527,428 issued Jun. 18, 1996 to Trokhan et al. Also, the papermaking belt 10 having the discrete protuberances raised above the plane of the fabric may be made according to the European Patent Application 95105513.6, Publication No.: 0 677 612 A2, filed 12.04.95, inventor Wendt et al.
The belt 10 is preferably air-permeable and liquid-pervious in at least one direction, particularly the direction from the web-contacting side 11 to the backside 12.
As used herein, the term "liquid-pervious" refers to the condition where a liquid earner of a fibrous slurry may be transmitted through the belt 10 without significant obstruction. It is not, however, necessary, or even desired, that the entire surface area of the belt 10 be liquid-pervious. It is only necessary that the liquid carrier be easily removed from the slurry leaving on the web-contacting side 11 of the belt 10 an embryonic web of the papermaking fibers.
The web-side surface 21 of the framework 20 defines the web-contacting side 11 of the papermaking belt 10; and the machine-facing surface 22 of the framework defines the backside 12 of the papermaking belt 10. Therefore, it also could be said that the discrete deflection conduits 30 and the essentially continuous deflection conduits 70 extend intermediate the web-contacting side 11 of the belt 10 and the backside 12 of the belt 10. The discrete deflection conduits 30 (or simply "conduits 30") and the essentially continuous conduits 70 (or simply "conduits 70") channel water from the web 60 which rests on the web-side surface 21 of the framework to the backside surface 22 of the framework 20 and provide areas into which the fibers of the web 60 can be deflected and rearranged to form dome areas --comprising either discrete domes 65 (FIG. 4) or "continuous domes" forming a first region 64* (FIG. 4D) in the web 60. As used herein, the term "domes" indicates elements of the web 60 formed by the fibers deflected into the deflection conduits 30, 70. The domes 65 generally correspond in geometry and -- during the papermaking process -- in position to the deflection conduits 30, 70 during the papermaking process. By conforming to the deflection conduits 30, 70 during the papermaking process, the regions of the web 60 comprising the domes 65 are 1 deflected such that the domes 65 protrude outwardly and extend from the general plan of the web 60, thereby increasing a thickness. or caliper, of the web 60 in a Z-direction. As used herein, the Z-~diection is orthogonal to the general plane of the web 60 and the belt 10, as illustrated in several Figures of the present Application.
C ' ,bourse, if the papetmaking belt 10 having an~ rea of essentially cc' nt:nuous c~,lauits 70 is used, the domes 65 ofwthe Fw~ r web 60 wii: comprise an essentially continuous dome region 65.
Now referring to FIGS. 1-IC, the web-side surface 21 of the essentially continuous resinous framework 20 defines the general plane of the belt 10, or an X-Y plane. Because the web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing swcture 50 is generally parallel to the web-side surface 21, the web-facing side S 1 may also be viewed as defining the X-Y plane. The Z-direction defined hereinabovc is therefore the direction perpendicular to the X-Y plane. The web-side surface 21 .of the framework 20 has a web-side network 21' formed therein. Likewise, the backside surface 22 of the framework 20 has a backside network 22* formed therein Because the ciscretc conduits 30 extend between the web-side surface 21 and the backside surface 22 of the framework 20, each of the ,:~screte conduits 30 has a pair of openings: a web-sidc opening 31 and a backside opening 32. The web-side network 21 * formed in the web-side surface 21 defines the web-side openings 3'1 of the conduits 30;
and the backside network 22~ formed in the backside surface 22 defines the backside openings of the conduits 30.
Each discrete conduit 30 has walls 35 extending between the web-side surface 1 (or the web-side network 21 *) and the backside surface 22 (or the backside network 22*). As will be shown below, the walls 35 of the same conduit 30 may form different angles relative to the Z-direction. Each discrete conduit 30 has an axis 33. As used herein, the "axis 33" of the conduit 30 is an imaginary straight line connecting the center C 1 of the web-side opening 31 and the center C2 of the backside op~rrng 32. The center C 1 of the web-side opening 3I is a center of an X-Y area of the opening 31, i.e., a point of an X-Y plane of the opening 3I, which point coincides with the center of mass of a thin uniform distribution of matter over this X-Y plane o.' 'he opening 31. Analogously, the center C2 of the backside opening 32 is the center of an X-Y area of the opening 32. One skilled in the art will readily recognize that if the opening 31 comprises a figure that is bilaterally symmetrical relative to an axis parallel to at least one of the X-Y
directions, then in a Z-directional (i.e., vertical) cross-section perpendicular to that at least one of the X-Y directions, the center C 1 of the web-side opening 31 will be positioned in the middle of a web-side cross-sectiora..l dimension "d" of the web-ssde r~:ning ~GIGs. I A and I C). Likewise, if the opening 32 comprises a figure ai~at i::
'~ilaterally 5j mmetrical relative to an axis parall ~~ to at least one of the X-Y
directions, then in a Z-directional cross-section perpendicular to that at least one of the X-Y
d:e:~tions, the center C2 of the backside opening 32 will be positioned in the middle of a ,. ackside cross-~,eciional dimension "e" of .'.:P backside opening 32 (FIGS.
1 A and 1 C ). For example, in the embodiment she u~~n in FIGs. I -1 B, the web-side opening 31 of the conduit 30 comprises a diamond-shape figure bilaterally symmetrical relative to an axis "md" parallel to the machine direction MD. In the Z-directional cross-section perpendicular to MD (or, in other words, in the "vertical CD
cross-scction" ) the center C 1 of the web-side opening 31 is positioned in the middle of the web-side CD cross-sectional dimension "d," as best shown in FIG. l A. The backside opening 32 also comprise a diamond-like figure bilaterally symmetrical relative to an axis (not shown) parallel to MD. In the Z-directional cross-section perpendicular to MD (or, in the "vertical CD cross-section"), the center C2 of the barksidc opening 32 is positioned i,l chc middle of the backside CD cross-sectional dimension "e," as t:.st shown in FI(;. l B. The diamond-like openings 3 i and 32 of the conduits shown in FIGs. I-IC are also bilaterally symmetrical relative ,,~
an axes "cd" parallel to the cross-machine direction CD. Therefore, analogously to the "d"
and "e" discussed hercabove, in the Z-directional cross-section perpendicular to CD
(or in the "vertical MD cross-section"), the centers C 1 and C2 of the openings 31 and 32, respectively, are positioned in the middle of their respective MD
cross-sectional dimensions "d I " and "e 1 ", as illustrated in FIG. I B. h should be carefully noted that the web-side openings 31 need not be identical to the corresponding backside openings 32, nor the web-side openings 3I need have the same general shape (for example, circle, or diamond-like shape) as the backside opening 32.
According to the present invention, the web-side openings 31 are off set relative lo the backside openings 32 within the X-Y plane and in at least one direction which is perpendicular to the Z-direction. One skilled in the art will readily recognize that there are infinite directions perpendicular to the Z-direction (or "X-Y directions"), all of which are included in the scope of the present invention.
However, for clarity and convenience of illustrating the present invention, the present invention is discussed primarily in the context of the mutually perpendicular machine direction MD and cross-machine direction CD.
In papermaking, the machine direction MD indicates that direction which is parallel to the flow of the web 60 (and therefore the belt 10) through the papermaking equipment. The cross-machine direction CD is perpendicular to the machine direction MD and parallel to the geoeratl p~ar~e of the belt 10. Both the ~
machine direction MD and the cross-machine direction CD can be viewed as parallel to the X-Y plane. Consequently, the Z-direction is perpendicular to both the MD
and the CD.
FIGS. 1 A and '. C show that the web-side openings 3I are off set relative to the corresponding backside r~renings 32 in the cross-machine direction CD. In FIGS.
1 A and 1 C a dimension ,.~ an off set is indicated by the symi~ol " . " As used herr:;n, the "off set" in the context of the conduit 30 or a protuberance means the distance between the center C 1 of the web-side opening 31 and the center C2 of the backside opening 32 measured in, or geometrically projected to, the X-Y plane. If the web-side opening 31 is off set relative to the backside opening 32 in a direction other than either the MD or the CD, it still may be convenient to define the off set in the MD and the CL',~as mutually perpendicular projections of a real dimension of the off set to the corresponding MD cross-section and CD cross-section, respectively.
Therefore, as used herein, the "MD off set" indicates a projection of the actual off yet to the MD. I.i~-wise, the "CD off set" indicates a projection of the actual off set to the C D.
FIGs. 1-1 B and 1 C schematically show v,:.ious embodiments of the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention, comprising the framework 20 which has the discrete conduits 30 therein. 1n FIGS. 1-IB, the web-side openings 31 are off set relative to the backside openings 32 in the cross-machine direction CD
(FIGs.
1 and IA). The dimension T and an angle Q formed between the axis 33 and the Z-direction define the CD off set of the web-side opening 31 relative to the backside opening 32 of the conduit 30.

IS
if the web-side cross-sectional dimension "d" is equal to the backside cross-sectional dimension "e" in a Z-directional (vertical) cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y directions, the opposing wails 35 of the conduit 30 are mutually parallel in that X-Y direction, and the conduit 30 is sai<: to be non-tapered in that X-Y
direction. Conversely, if the web-side cross-sectional dimension "d" is not equal to the backside cross-sectional dimension "e" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y directions, the opposing walls 35 are not mutually parallel in that X-Y direction, and the conduit 30 is said to ~ tapered relative to the axis 33 in that X-Y direction. If the web-side cross-sectional dimension "d" is greater than the backside cross-sectional dimension "e" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y directions, the conduit 30 is negatively tapered in that X-Y-direction.
Conversely, if the backside cross-sectional dimension "e" is greater than the web-side cross-sectional dimension "d" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y directions, the conduit 30 is positively tapered in shat X-Y
direction. For example, assuming tha~ v~ FIG. IA, the web-side CD cross-sectional dimension "d"
is greater than the backside CD cross-sectional dimension "e,' the conduit 34 shown an FIG. IA is negatively tapered in CD. Analogously, the same conduit 30 shown in FIG. I B is negatively tapered in the MD if dl>d2.
While it is nc, necessary, y ~s preferred that the discrete. .conduits 30 be nrgativP~y tapered in both the machine direction MD and t ~~ cross-machine direction CD. It should be carefully noted that while the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-1 C comprises the framework 20 having the discrete conduits 30 which are tapered in both the mutually perpendicular MD.and CD, an embodiment is possible, in which the discrete conduits 30 arc tapered only in one of the MD or CD.
This embodiment can easily be visualized by one skilled in the art by assuming that the dimensions "d" and "c" in FIG. 1 A are equal, and the dim ~usions "d 1 " and "e 1 " in FIG. l B are not equal (l. e., d=e, and d 1 >e 1 ). Then, the discrete conduits 30 will be tapered in the MD (FIG. 1 B) and non-tapered in the CD (FIG. 1 A). An embodiment (not shown) is also pos.~~ble, while not preferred, in wt»h the conduits 30 are negatively .,:pored in one of the X-Y directions, and are ~;rsitively tapered in the other of the X-Y directions.
Another way of defining the tapered conduits 30 is illustrated in FIG. 1 C. In FIG. 1 C, the Z-direction and the axis 33 of the conduit 30 form the angle Q
therebetween. The web-side CD cmss-sectional dimension "d" is greater than the backside CD cross-sectional dimension "e." Therefore, an angle Q1 formed in the CD cross-section between the Z-direction and a wall 35a of the conduit 30 is greater than an angle Q2 formed in the CD cross-section between the Z-direction and a wall 35b of the conduit 30, opposite to the wall 35a in the cross-section.
FIGS. ?-3C illustrate other embodiments of the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention. In the c~~bodiments shown in FIGs. 2-3C, the resinous framework 20 of the belt 10 comprises a plurality of discrete protuberances 40, preferably forming a patterned array. The plurality of protuberances 40 is joined to the reinforcing structure 50 and preferably comprises individual protuberances joined to and extending outwardly from the web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure 50. In the embodiments illustrated in FIGs. 2-3C, the Web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure defines the X-Y plane. Each protuberance 40 has a top surface 41, a base surface 42 opposite the top surface 41, and walls 45 spacing apart and interconnecting the top surface 41 and the base surface 42. The plurality of the top surfaces 41 define the web-side surface 2 l of the framework 20; and the plurality of the base surfaces 42 define the backsitie surface 22 of the framework 1~.~.
.~~ s illustrated in FIGS. ? and 2A, the t lurality of protuberances 40 are arranged such that the protuberances 40 are preferably encompassed by and adjacent to the area of essentially continuous conduits 70 which extends from the top surfaces ~,' of the protuberances a~ to the wcb-facing side ~ l of the reinforcing structure S0. As use ; '~etein, the ' yea of essentially continuous ~ :~r: suits 70" defines an area between the adjacent protuberances 40 into which the fibers of the web 60 can deflect during the psprrmaking process according to the present invention. The area of essentially continuous conduits 70 has a defined flow resistance which is dependent primarily upon the pattern, size. and spacing of the individual protuberances and of the reinforcing sttvcttue 50. In the preferred embodiment. each protuberance 40 is substantially equally spaced from the adjacent protuberance 40, providing an rsscntially continuous conduit 70 prel;.rably having substantially uniform flow rcsistancc characteristics. If desired, the protuberances 40 may be clustered together so that one or more protuberances 40 is unequally spaced from an adjacent protub ~~ance 40.
The web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure 50 has an essentially continuous web-facing network 51' formed therein and defined by the ama of essentially continuous conduits 70. Preferably, the protuberances 40 are distributed in a non-random rcpcating pattern so that the fibers deposited onto the essentially continuous web-facing network 51 * around and between the protuberances 40 are distributed more uniformly throughout the web-facing network 51'. More preferably, the protuberances 40 are bilaterally staggered in an array.

The belt 10 of the present invention is essentially macroscopically monoplanar. As used herein, the requirement that the belt 10 is "essentially macroscopically monoplanar" refers to the overall geometry of the belt 10 when it is placed in a two-dimensional configuration and has, as a whole, only...~inor and tolerable deviations from the absolute planarity, which deviations do not adversely affect the belt's performance. The possible pre-determined differences in height among the protuberances 40 are considered minor relative to the overall dimensions of the belt 10 and do not affect the belt 10 being macroscopically .nvnoplanar.
Each protuberance 40 has an axis 43. Analogously to the axis 33 of the discrete conduit 30 defined in great detail above, the axis 43 of the individual protuberance 40 is an imaginary straight line connecting a center PI of the top surface 41 and a center P2 of the base surface 42 (FIG. 2A). The center P1 of the top surface 41 is a center of the top surface 41, i.e., a point of the top surface 41, whi~~ point would coincide with the center of mass of a thin uniform distribution c~i ma:w.:r over this top surface 41. Analogously, t!~~ center P2 of the base surface 42 is a center of the base surface 42. By analogy wiui the discrete conduits 30, if the toh surface -'-I comprises t figure that is bilaterally symmetrical relative to an axis (not shogun) parallel to at least one of the X-Y directions, then in a Z-directional (i.e., vertical) cross-section perpendicular to that '':-'direction. ~t;a top surface center P1 will be pc~sition:v:d ~n the middle of a cross-sectional dimension "f' of the area of the top surface 41, as shown in FIG. 2. Likewise, if the base surface 42 comprises a figure that is bilatecally symmetrical relative to an axis (not shown) parallel to at least one of the X-Y directions. in a Z-directional cross-section perpendicular to that X-Y direction, the base surface center P2 will be positioned in the middle of a cross-sectional dimension "g" of the arrea of the base surface 42.
In accordance with the present invention, the Z-direction and the axes 43 of .
i least some of the protuberances 40 form an acute angle S therebetween, as shown in FIG 2A. The top surfaces 41 of at least some of the protuberances are off set relative to the corresponding base surfaces 42 of ~he same protuberances within th°-X-Y plane and in at (east one direct:-~n which is perpendicular to th;, Z-direction.
in FIGs. 2 and 2A, the top surfaces 41 arc off set relative to the base surfaces 42 in the cross-machine direction CD. An X-Y distance "V" between the top surface center P I and the base surface center P2, and an angle S formed between the axis 43 and the Z-direction define the off set of the top surface 41 relative to the base surface 42.
If the top surface cross-sectional dimension "f" is equal to the base surface cross-sectional dimension "g" in a Z-directional (vertical) cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y directions, the opposing walls 45 are mutually parallel, and the protuberance 40 is non-capered in that X-Y direction. Conversely, if the top surface cross-sectional dimension "f' is not equal to the base surface cross-sectional dimension "g" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel r~ one of the X-Y
directions, the opposing walls 4~ are not mutually parallel in that X-Y direction. and the protuberance 40 is tapered relative to the axis 43 in that X-Y direction. If the top surface cross-sectional dimension "f' is smaller than the base surface cross-sectional dimension "g" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y
directions, the protuberance 40 is positively tapered in that X-Y direction. If the top surface cross-sectional dimension "f is greater than the base surface cross-sectional dimension "g" in a Z-directional cross-section parallel to one of the X-Y
directions, the protuberance 40 is negatively tapered in that X-Y direction. For example, assuming that in FIG. ''A, the top surface cross-sectional CD dimension "f is smaller than the base surface cross-sectional CD dimension "g,' the protuberances -i0 shown in F1G. 2A are positively tapered in CD.
While it is not necessary, it is preferred that if the framework '?0 comprising the tapered discrete protuberances 40 is to be utilized the discrete protuberances 40 be positively tapered in both the machine direction MD and t~.: cross-machine direction CD. Howeve- he embou..~ent is possible, in which l'... ' discrete protubcrancr~ 40 arc tapered only in one of the MD and CD.
Referring now to Fits. 3 and 3A, the plurality of discrete protuberances 40 may have a plurality of discrete deflection conduits 30 therein. The discrete deflection conduits 30 extend firom the web-side surface 2 l to the backside surface ~~ of the framework 20, or, in other words, from the top surfaces 41 to the base surfaces 42 of the protuberances 40, because, as has been explained hereinabove, the plurality of top surfaces 41 form the web-side surface ~1 of the resinous framework 20, and the plurality of base surfaces 42 form the backside surface 22 of the framework 20. Preferably, each individual protuberance 40 has one discrete conduit 30 exter.~'ng from the t~~p surface 41 to the base surface ~~'.
As has been described hereinabove, each discrete conduit 30 has the web-side opening 31 and the backside opening 32. The web-side openings 31 are preferably off set relative to the corresponding backside openings 32 in one of the X-Y
direction. In the belt 10 of the present invention, having the framework 20 comprising the discrete protuberances 40 which have the discrete conduits 30 therein, the off sets of the protuberances 40 are preferably, while not necessarily, coincidental with the off sets of the conduits 30 disposed in the corresponding protuberances 44. As shown in FIG. 3A, the axes 33 of the discrete conduits 30 are preferably coincidental with the axes 43 of the protuberances 40, and the angles Q
formed by the axes 33 and the Z-direction are preferably equal to the corresponding angles. S formed by the axes 43 and the Z-direction. In FIG. 3A, the protuberances 40 are positively tapered, and the discrete conduits 30 disposed in the protuberances 40 are negatively tapered.
An embodiment (not shown) is possible. although not preferred, in which the axis 33 of the discrete conduit 30 is not coincidental with the axis 43 of the protuberance 40, and the angle Q formed by the axis 33 and the Z-direction is not equal to the angle S formed by the axis 43 and the Z-direction. The respective off sets of the protuberance 40 and the discrete conduit 30 may not be equal in the latter case.
The flow resistance of the discrete conduits 30 through the protuberance 40 is different from, and typically greater than, the flow resistance of the essentially continuous conduits 7th berri-°en adjacent protuberances 40. Therefore, when the belt 10 having both tl~e dis~:;ete conduits 30 and the essentially contim::.~:~s conduits 70 is utilized as a forming belt 10a, typically more of the liquid carrier will drain through the continuous conou~ s 70 than ttu~vgh the discrete conduits 30, and consequently. relatively more fibers will be deposited onto the areas of the -einforcing structure 50 which arc subjacent to the continuous cond~.itw 70 (i.e.. tl~~
web-facing network 51 * ) than onto the .~i :as of the re;:~forcing structure SO which are subjacent to the discrete conduits 30.
The essentially continuous conduits 70 and the discrete conduits 30, respectively, define high flow rate and low flow rate zones in the belt 10.
The initial mass flow rate of the liquid carrier through the continuous conduits 70 is preferably greater than the initial mass flow rate of the liquid carrier through the discrete conduits 30.
It should be recognized that no liquid carrier will flow through the protuberances 40, because the protuberances 40 are impervious to the liquid carrier.
However, depending upon the elevation of the top surface 41 of the pre:
tberances 40 relative to the web-facing side S l of the reinforcing struc:ure 50 and the length of the cellulosic fibers, cellulostc fibers may be deposited on the top surfaces 41 of the protuberances 40.
As used herein, the "initial mass flow rate" refers to the flow rate of the liquid carrier when the liquid carrier is first introduced to and deposited upon the forming belt 10a. Of course, it will be recognized that both flow rate zones will decrease in mass flow rate as a function of time as the discrete conduits 30 or the essentially continuous conduits 70 become obturated with cellulosic fibers suspended in the liquid carrier and retained by the belt 10a. The difference in flow resistance between the discrete conduits 30 and the continuous conduits 70 provides a means for retaining different basis weights of cellulosic fibers in a pattern in the different zones of the belt 1 Oa.
This difference in flow rates through the zones is referred to as "staged draining," in recognition that a step discontinuity exists between the initial flow rate of'the liquid carrier through the high flow rate zones and the low flow rate zones.
The more detailed description of the staged draining and its benefits may be found in the commonly assigned U.S. Patent 5,245,025 referenced above.
The papermaking belt 10 of the present invention maybe made according to the method comprising the following steps.
First, an apparatus for generating curing radiation should be.provided. One err~t;odi.rc~nt of the apparatus for generating curing radiation is an apparatus 80 for generating curing Tadiation R in at least a first radi:,tlr.g direction U 1.
The apparatus 80 schematically shown in FIG. 5 comprises two primary elements: an elongate reflector g? and an elonga:e source of radiation 85. Several embodiments of the apparatus 80 for generating curing radiation R are disclosed sn the commonly assigned co-pending Application entitled "Apparatus for Generating Controlled Radiation for Curing Photosensitive Resin" filed in the name of Trokhan on the same date as the present application.
Then, a liquid photosensitive resin should be provided. The suitable photosensitive resin is disclosed in the commonly assigned U.S. Patent 5,514,523, issued on Dec. 20, 1993 to P.D. Trokhan et al.
The next step is providing a forming unit 87 having a working surface 88.
The forming unit 87 should be capable of receiving the liquid photosensitive resin.
The next step is providing the air-permeable reinforcing structure 50 described hereinabove. If the preferred papermaking belt 10 is to be manufactured in the form of endless belt, the reinforcing structure 50 should also be an endless belt.
It should be noted that the step of providing the reinforcing structure 50 is necessary for the belt 10 having the framework 20 which is comprised of the plurality of discrete protuberances 40. In the case of manufacturing the belt 10 comprising the essentially continuous framework 20, the reinforcing structure 50 is not necessary, although highly preferred.

if the reinforcing structure 50 is to be utilized, the next steps are bringing at least a portion of the machine-facing side 52 of the reinforcing structure 50 into contact with the working surface 88 of the forming unit 80, and applying a coating o' i'te liquid photosensitive resin to at least the web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure 50. The coating has a pre-selected thickness, and after the coating is applied to the reinforcing structure 50, the coating forms a first surface ~
25 and a second surface 27 opposite the first surface' 25. After the process of curing is complete, the first surface 25 will form the web-side surface 21 of the framework 20, and the second surface ?7 will form the backside surface 22 of the framework 20.
The steps of bringing a ponion of the machine-facing side 52 of the reinforcing structure 50 into contact with the working surface 88 and applying a coating of the resin to the web-facing side 51 of the reinforcing structure 50 are described in greater detail in the above-mentioned patent 5,514,523.
if the.reinforcing swcture 50 is nr;; to be i:~ilized, the liquid photosensitive resin may simply be disposed in the forming unit o I thereby forming a coating of the resin of a pr,-selected thickness, the coating having the first surface 25 and the second surface 27 opposite the first surface 25.
After th~~ r oaring of the liquid photosensitive resin has been formed (with or without the reinfor;:ir:g structwe 50), the next step is disposing the forming unit .87 containing the co,~ti-:g of the liquid photosensitive resin. in the first r~~.,'iating direction U 1 such that the first surface 25 of the coating and the first radiating direction U 1 form an acute angle W therebetween. This step may be accomplished by positioning the coating of the resin as schematically shown in FIG. 5A. If desired, the angle of incidence of the curing radiation may be parallel to the axis through the collimator 90 (FIGs. 5 and SA).
The c:~:ical point is that the resin coating is maintained in acute angular relationship with the direction of the radiation during the curing process.
The angular relationship may be accomplished by adjusting either the position of the resin or the ~firection of the radiation, so that perpendicularity is avoided and arr acute angle ootained.
Alternatively or additionally, this step may be accomplished by utilizing an apparatus of controlled radiation 80* schematically shown in FIG. 5B.
The apparatus of controlled radiation 80* schematically shown in FIG. 5B
comprises three sections 82: 82a, 82b, 82c. The section 82b is movably connected to the section 82a, and the section 82c is movably connected to the section 82b. Each section 82 (82a, 82b, 82c) comprises a plurality of reflective facets ~ 83 (83a, 83b, 83c, respectively). Each individual reflective facet 83 is independently adjustable in the cross-section. The source of radiation 85 is movable in the cross-section.
The combination of independent adjustability of the individual reflective facets 83 and the independent adjustability of the individual sections 82 combined with the movability of the source of radiation 85 allows to direct the curing radiation generated by the apparatus 80* in at least one pre-determined radiating direction in the cross-section. In FIG. 5B, the apparatus 80* directs the curing radiation in the first radiating direction Ul, a second radiating direction U2, and a third radiating direction U3.
F1G. SC shows another embodiment of the apparatus of controlled radiation 8U*. The apparatus 89 snow;: xn FIG. SC comprises several sources of radiation, preferably bulbs, 85. Each bulb 85 has its longitudinal direction ~s: entially perpendicular to the machine direction MD. Each bulb 85 has its own collimating element 90 disposed between thu ~,rlb 85 and the photosensitive resin being cured.
The collimating elements 90 are disposed such that the curing radiation emitted by ev::;: bulb has its own predetermined direction (U1, U2, U3, as schemat:wa~iy shown inn r 1G. SC). Subtractive walls 89 arc p.-°F~~.rably ~provien d to restrict the mutual interference between the portions of the curing radiation having different directions U1. U'_. U~.
The embodiments of the apparatus 80* shown in FIGS. 5B and SC
prophetically produce the belts 10 having sophisticated three-dimensional designs of the resinous framework 20. In FIGS. 5B and SC, for example, the resin being cured by the apparatus 80* will form the framework 20 having three zones H 1, H2, and H3 distinguished by relative "angled" orientations of the discrete conduits 30 (or the discrete protuberances 40 in the case of the forming belt 10a).
The next sttp is providing a mask 96 having opa;,:~e regions 'mesa and transparent regions 96b. The purpose of the mask is to shield certain areas of the liquid photosensitive resin fro~:~ exposure to the curing radiation R so that these shielded areas will not be cured, i.e., will remain fluid, and will be removed after curing is completed. The unshielded areas of the liquid photosensitive resin will be exposed to the curing radiation R to form the hardened framework 20. The opaque regions 96a and the transparent regions 96b define a pre-selected pattern corresponding to a specific desired design of the resinous framework 20. If, for example, the belt 10 having a substantially continuous resinous framework 20 is to be produced, the transparent regions 96b must form a continuous area generally corresponding to the X-Y plane of the desired web-side network 21 * of the framework 20.
The next step is positioning the mask 96 between the first surface 25 of the resin coating and the apparatus 80 such that the mask 96 is preferably in adjacent relation with the first surface 25. The opaque regions 96a of the mask shield a portion of the coating from the curing radiation R, and the transparent regions 96b leave the other port»ns of the coating unshielded for the curing radiation R.
The next step is curing of the unshielded portions of the coating by exposing the coating to the curing radiation R having an activating wavelength from the apparatus 80 through the mask 96 to form a partially-formed belt, and leaving the shielded portions of the coating uncured.
The final step is removing substantially all uncured liquid photosensitive resin from the partially-formed belt to leave a hardened resinous structurF . This '-.3rdened r~: ~s nous structure forms a framework 20 having a web-side surface . l fon:.~d by the first surface 25 being cured. and a bac=aide surface 22 formed by the second surface '_'7 being cured.
In the case of the belt 10 comprising a continuous framework 20, the n unework ~_~1 '-as a plurality of discrete r.,,.~duits 30 in the regions which were shielded from the curing radiation R by the ~sr°~.lue regions 96a of the mask 96. The discrete conduits 30 extend between the web-side surface 22 (or the cured first surface '_'S) and the backside surface 27 (or the cured second surface 27), each of the conduits 30 having the axis 33 and the walls 35, the axes of at least some of the conduits and the Z-direction forming an acute angles therebetween, as has been described in gt-eater detail above.
!n the case of the belt 10 hay il~g the framework 20 comprising the plurality of discrete protuberances 40, the plurality of discrete protuberances 40 extends from the reinforcing structure 50, each of the protuberances having the axis 43, the base sur~':ece 42, the top surface 41, and thr ~ galls 45 spacing apart and interconnecting the base surface 41 and .he top surface ~:::. The plurality of the top surfaces 41 define the web-side surface 21 of the resinous framework 20, and the pluralit a of base surfaces 42 define the backside surface 22 of the resinous framework 20. The axes 43 of at least some of the protuberances 40 and the Z-direction fotTrt acute angles therebetwecn, as has been described in greater detail above.
The papetmaking process which utilizes the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention is dexribed below, although it is contemplated that other processes utilizing the belt 10 may also be used. By way of background it should be appreciated that the belt 10 comprising the resinous framework 20 which is substantially continuous is primarily utilized as a through-air drying bell l Ob, while the belt 10 comprising the framework 20 in the form of the plurality of discrete protube.Ances 40 is primarily utilized as a forming wire 10a, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 6. It does not exclude, however, the alternative uses, i.
e., that the belt 10 comprising the substantially continuous resinous framework 20 may be used as a forming belt 10a, and the belt 10 comprising the resinous framework 20 in the term of the plurality of discrete protuberances 40 may be used as a through-air drying belt l Ob. ' The overall papermaking process which uses the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention comprises a number of steps or operations which occur in the general sequence as noted below. It is to be understood, however, that the steps described below are intended to assist a reader in understanding the process of the present invention, and that the invention is not imiied to processes with only a certain number or u-rangement of steps. In This regard, it is noted that it is possible to combine at least some of the following steps so that they are performed concurrently. Likewise, it is possible to separate at least some of the following steps -into two or more steh~ without departing from the scope of this invention.
, FIG. 6 is a simpiifla.~d. schematic representation of one embodiment of a continuous papermaking machine useful in the practice of the pap~Trraaking proeess of the present invention. As has been defined above, the papermaking belt 10 of the present invention includes the forming belt 10a and the through-air drying belt 10b, both shown in the preferred form of endless belts in FIG. 6.
The first step is to provide a plurality of cellulosic fibers entrained in a liquid carrier, or, in other words, an aqueous dispersion of papermaking fibers. The cellulosic fibers azc not dissolved in the liquid carrier, but merely suspended therein.
The equipment for preparing the aqueous dispersion of papermaking fibers is well-known in the papermaking art and is therefore not shown in FIG. 6. The aqueous d'~spersioa of pap~nnaking fibers is provided to a headbox 15. A single headbox is shown in FIG. 6. However, it is to be understood that there may be multiple hcadboxes in alternative arrangements of the papermaicing process of the present , invention. The headbox(es) and the equipment for preparing the aqueous dispersion of papermaking fibers arc preferably of the type disclosed in U.S. Patent No.
3,994,771, issued to Morgan and Rich on November 30, 1976. The preparation of the aqueous dispersion and the characteristics of the aqueous dispersion are described in greater detail in U.S. Patent 4,529,480 issued to Trokhan on July 16, 1985.
The aqueous dispersion of papermaking fibers supplied by the headbox 15 is delivered to a forming belt. such as the forming belt '.0a of the;gresent invention, for carrying out i:fie second step of the papermaking process. The forming belt IOa is supponed by a breast roll 18a and a plurality of return rolls designated as 18b and 18c. The forming wire 10a is propelled in the direction indicated by the directional arrow A by a conventional drive means v~ell known to one skilled in the art and therefore not shown in FIG 6. There may also be associated with the papermaking machine shown in FIG. 6 optional auxiliary units and.devices which are commonly associated with papetmaking machines and with forming belts, including:
forming boards, hydrofoils, vacuum boxes, tension rolls, support rolls, wire cleaning showers, and the like, which are conventional and well-known in the papermaking art . and therefore also not shown in F1G. 6.
--T; ~ ;
The preferred forn-~_ng belt 10a is the macroscopically monoplanar belt comprising the air-permeable reinforcing structure 50 and the resinous Cramework ~~ joined to the reinforcing structure 50. As has been described above, the ,,, reinforcing sweture 50 has the web-facing side 51 and the ma~civ.ine-facing side 53 opposite the machine-fac~.~g side S 1. T !;e web-facing side 51 def nes he X-Y
plane of the for~-ring belt 10, this X-Y plane being _perpendicular to the Z -d:;ection. The framework 20 is comprised of the plurality of discrete protuberances 40 joined to and extending from the reinforcing structure 50. Each of the protuberances 40 has the top surface 41, the base surface 42, the walls 45 spacing apart and interconnecting the top surface 41 and the base surface 42, and the axis 43 connecting the center of the top surface 41 and the center of the base surface 42.
The plurality of top surfaces 42 define the web-side surface ?'., and the plurality of base surfaces 42 define the backside surface 22 of the framework 20. In accordance with the present invention, the axes 43 of at least some of the protuberances 40 and the Z-direction form acute angles S therebetween.
If the fuming belt 10a has the area of essentially contt~~~ous conduits 70 and the plurality of discrete deflection conduits 30 disposed in the protuberances 40, the belt 10a has high flow rate liquid pervious zones and low flow rate liquid pervious zones respectively defined by the essentially continuous deflection conduits 70 and the discrete conduits 30. The liquid carrier and entrained cellulosic fibers are deposited onto the forming belt 10a illustrated in Figure 6. The liquid carrier is drained through the forming belt 10a in two simultaneous stages, a high flow rate stage and a low flow rate stage. 1n the high flow rate stage, the liquid carrier drains through the liquid pervious high flow rate zones at a given initial flow rate until obturation occurs (or the, liquid carrier is no longer introduced to this portion of the forming-belt 10). In the low flow rate stage, the liquid carrier drains through low flow rate zones of the forming b~.lt l0a at a given initial flow rate which is less than the initial flow rate through the high flow rate zones.
As has been noted above, the high flow rate liquid pervious zones and the low flow rate liquid pervious zones in the belt l0a decrease as a function of time, due to expected obturation of uoth zones. It is believed that the low flow rate zones may obturate before the high flow rate zones obturate.
Without being bound by theory, the Applicant believes that the first occurring zone obturation may be due to the lesser hydraulic radius and greater flow resistance of such zones, based upon factors such as the flow area, wetted perimeter, shape and distribution of the tow flow rate zones, or may be due to a greater flow rate through such zone accompanied by a greater depiction of fibers. The low fl~ ~ N ratf z. ones may, t~~r example, comprise discrete conduits 30 through the protuberances 40, which discrete conduits 30 have a greater flow resistance than the essentially continuous conduits 70 between adjacent protuberances 40. It is important tha' the ratio of the flow resistances between the ;'iscrete conduits 30 and the essentially continuous conduits 70 be properly proportioned. The flow resistance of the discrete conduits 30 and the essentially continuous cond~iis~70 may be determined by using the hydraulic radius, as described in the commonly assigned U.S. Patent 5,527,428 referenced above.
The next steps arc depositing the plurality of cellulosic papemnaking fibers suspended in a liquid carrier on the fomling belt l0a and draining the liquid carrier through the forming belt thereby forming an embryonic web 60 of the papermaking fibers on the forming belt 10a. As used herein, the "embryonic web" is the web of fibers which is subjected to rearrangement on the forming belt, and, preferably the forming heft l0a of the present invention, during the course of the papermaking proccs;_ The charactc~stics of the en,t,~yonic web 60 and the various possible _ techniques for forming the embryonic web 60 are described in the commonly assigned U.S. Patent 4,529,480. In the process shown in FIG. 6, the embryonic web 60 is formed from the cellulosic fibers suspended in a liquid earner between breast roll 18a and return roll 18b by depositing the cellulosic fibers suspended in a liquid carrier onto the forming wire 1 Oa and removing a portion of the liquid carrier through the belt 10a. Conventional vacuum boxes, forming boards, hydrofoils, and the like which are not shown in FIG. 6 are useful in effecting the removal of liquid carrier.

The embryonic web 60 formed on the forming belt l0a of the present invention and shown in FIG. 4D has a first side 61 * and a second side 62*
opposite the first side 61 *. The first side 61 * is that side which is associated with the web-contacting surface I 1 of the belt 10a. When the belt 10 of the present it ~~:ntion is utilized as the forming belt 10a, the embryonic web 60 shown in FIG. 4D
comprises a macroscopically planar and patterned first region 64* (corresponding to the area of essentially continuous conduits 70) preferably having a relatively high basis weight, and a second region 65* (corresponding to the area of discrete ~rotuber~artces 40) preferably having a relatively low basis weight. The first region 64*
comprises an~
essentially continuous network; and the second region 65* comprises a plurality of discrete "angled" knuckles 65* extending from the first region 64* in at least one direction. This at least one direction (defined by an imaginary axis 63* of a knuckle of the second region 65) and the Z-direction form an acute angle L
therebetween ~corr:~t~onding to the acute angles S formed between the Z-direction and the axes 4"
of t~:_ conduits 40). The second region 65* is ~i-cumscribed by and adjacent to the first region 64*. The second region 65* compnsing the discrete angled knuckles having. a low basis w a ght preferably occur in a non-random repeating pattern corresponding to the pattern of the plurality of discrete protuberances 40 of the forming belt 10a.
1 f the fo~ ~~: ig belt I Oa has the essentially continuous conduits 70 and the ~iiscrrtr conduits 30, the embryonic web 60 may comprise a third region 66*
pret~rably having an intermediate basis weight relative to the basis weight of the first region 64* and the basis weight of the second region 65*. The third region 66*
cx:curs in a preferred non-random repeating pattern substantially corresponding to the low flow rate cones, i. e., the zones of the discrete conduits 30. The third region 66* is juxtaposed with, and preferably circumscribed by, the second region 65*.
After the embryonic web 60 is formed, the embryonic web 60 travels with the foaming wire l0a in the direction indicated by the directional arrow A
(FIG. 6) to be brought into the proximity of the through-air drying belt lOb. The preferred through-air belt lOb is described in great detail hercinabove. Tht through-air belt IOb as a macroscopically monoplanar papermaking belt comprising the resinous framework 20 having the web-side surface 21 defining the X-Y plane, the backside surface 22 opposite the web-side surface 21, the Z-direction perpendicular to the X-Y plane, and the plurality of discrete deflection conduits 30 extending between the web-side surface 21 and the backside surface 22. Each of the conduits 30 has the axis 33 and the walls 35. In accordance with the present invention, the axes 33 of at least some of the conduits 30 and the Z-direction form the acute angles Q
therebetween.
The next steps are depositing the embryonic web 60 to the web-side surface 21 of the resinous framework 20 of the through-air dryin~ tell l Ob and applying a fluid pressure differential to the embryonic web 60 to deflect at least a portion of the papermaking fibers into the discrete deflection conduits 30 and to remove water from the embryonic web 60 into the discrete deflection conduits 30 thereby forming an intermediate web 60.
In the embodiment illustrated in F1G. 6, the through-air drying belt l Ob of the present invention travels in the direction indicated by. directional arrow B.
The belt l Ob passes around the return rolls 19c, 19d, impression nip roll 19e, return rolls 19a, and 19b. An emulsion distributing roll 19f distributes an emulsion onto the through-air drying belt lOb from an emulsion bath. The loop around which the through-air drying belt l Ob of the present invention travels also includes a means for applying a fluid pressure differential to ti:e web 60. which means in the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises vacuum pick-up shoe 17a and n vacuum box 17b.
The :.pop may also include a pre-dryer (not shown). In addition, water showers (not shown) may preferably be utilized in the papermaking process of the present invention to clean the thrc ~y~;-ar dryinb ' -it l Ob of any paper fibers, a t.n. lives, and ,he like, wh'th may remain attached to the through-air drying belt 1 G: ..rter it has fravcled through the final step of the papermaking process. Associated with the through-air drying belt lOb of the present invention, and also not shown in FIG. 6, are various additional support rolls, return rolls, cleaning means. drive means, and the like commonly used in papcrmaking machines and all well known to those skilled in the art.
When the through-air drying belt lOb of the present invention is utilized in the papcrmaking process, the intermediate web 60 shown in FIGs. 4-4C comprises a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region 64 preferably h~~~ing rclativ~.i ~ high density and a domes n.a;:on 65 preferably having relatively low density. The domes region 65 comprises a plurality of discrete domes 65, or 65a, 65b, 65c, protruding from, circumscribed by, and adjacent to the network region 63. Each of the domes 65 has an axis 63. The axes 63 of at least some of the domes 65 and the Z-direction form acute angles K (FIG. 4B) and acute angles M 1 and M3 (FIG. 4C) therebetween.
The papermaking process of the present invention may also include an optional step of pre-drying the intermediate web 60 to form a pre-dried web 60. Any convenient means conventionally known in the papermaking art can be used to dry the intermediate web 60. For example, flow-through dryers, non-thermal, capillary dewatering devices, and Yankee dryers, alone and in combination, are satisfactory.
The next step in the papertnaking process is impressing the web-side network 1 * of the resinous framework 20 into the pre-dried web 60 by interposing the predried web 60 between the belt 10 and an impression surface to form an imprinted web 60 of papermaking fibers. If the intermediate web 60 is not subjected to the optional pre-drying step, this step is performed on the intermediate web 60.
The step of impressing is carried out in the machine illustrated in FIG. 6 when the pre-dried (or intermediate) web 60 passes through the nip formed between the impression nip roll 19e and the Yankee drier drum 14. As the predried web 60 passes through this nip, the network pattern formed on the web-side network 21 * of the framework 20 is impressed into the pre-dried web 60 to form an imprinted web 60.
The next step n~ u'ie prparmaking process is drying the imprinted web 60. As the imprinted web 6U separates from the belt 10, it is adhered to tf:~ surface of ~'anl:ee dryer drum 14 where it is dried to a consistency of at least about 95% to form a dried web 60.
The next step in the papermaking process is an optional, and highly preferred, . tep of foreshortening the dried web 60. As used herein, foreshorten; ng ;eaars to t1 .;.duction in length of a dry paper web 60 which occur.: when energy is applied to the dry web 60 in such a way that the length of the web 60 is reduced and the fibers in the web 60 are rearranged with an accompanying disruption of fiber-fiber bonds.
Foreshortening can be accomplished in any of several well-known ways. The most common, and preferred, method is creping schematically shown in F1G. 6. In the crcping operation, the dried web 60 is adhered to a surface and then removed from that surface with a doctor blade. As shown in FIG. 6, the surface to which the web 60 is usually adhered also functions as a drying surface, typically the surface of the Yankee dryer drum 14. Generally, only the non-deflected portions of the web 60 which have been associated with web-side network 21 * on the web-contwvting side 11 of the paperrnaking belt 10 are directly adhered to the surface of Yankee dryer drum 14. The pattern of the ~~ eb-side network 21 * and its orientation relative to the doctor blade will in major part dictate the extent and the character of the creping imparted to the web. If desired, the dried web 60 may not be creped.
The general physical characteristics of the paper web 60 which is made. by the process of the prrsent invention utilizing the through-air drying belt 10a having an essentially continuous framework 20 are described in the aforementioned U.S.

Patent 4,529,480 entitled "Tissue Paper", which issued to Trokhan on July 16, 1985.
The plurality of domes 65 in the paper web 60 of the present invention, however, will prophetically form an "angled" pattern, due to the "angled"
posi~il~n of the conduits 30 of the through-air drying belt 10 of the present invention. It should be understood that the steps of imprinting, drying, and -- especially --creping may interfere with the "angled" position of the domes 65. That is to say, the processing of the web 60 after it is separated from the through-air drying belt l Ob ~.~ay affect the overall configuration of the domes 65 as well as the acute angles K (FIG. 4B) and M1, M3 (F1G. 4C) formed between the Z-direction and the axes of the domes 65 in such a way that these acute angles may not be equal to the corresponding angles Q
betv~-een the Z-direction and the axes 33 of the conduits 30. It is believed, however, that the paper web 60 according to the present invention will have the cross-sectional " jnc~ led" a astern of the domes 65 generally following the cross-sectional angled pattern of the conduits 30 of the resinous framewor'.; ~.%Ø
FIGS. 4aC show one prophetic embodiment of the paper web 60 according to the presen' v. mention. Pret~rably, the domes 65 are disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern which corresponds to the pattern of the discrete conduits 30 of the resinous framework ?0 of the belt 10. While r:~t ae:ng intes:~.:,,d to be bound by theory, the AFplicar.' ~--:lieves that tn_ paper 60 having the acutely angled domes 65 is softer than the comparable paprr having domes generally perpendicular relative to thr plane of the network region 64, because the acutely angled domes 65 are believed to be more easily collapsible than the generally perpendicularly upstanding domes. Moreover, it is believed that the angled domes 65 having a specific pre-determined directional orientation may provide a benefit of facilitating a distribution of liquids in a desired direction. This property may prove to be very beneficial if the paper 60 is used in such disposable products as diapers, sanitary napkins, wipes, and the like.
For example, the paper web 60 r:.~wn in F1G~~. 4 and 4C has three Zones of relative orientation: a first zone H 1, the second zone H2, and a third zone H3. As best shoH.r in FIGS. 4 and 4C, the first zone H1 has the domes 65a oriented in a first direction hl, the second zone H2 has the domes 65b oriented in a second direction h~, and the third zone H3 has the domes 65c oriented in a third direction h3.
V iewed in plane, the first direction h 1 and the second direction h2 are directed towards each other, and the third direction h3 is perpendicular to the first and second directions h 1, h2.

Claims (6)

WE CLAIM:
1. A paper web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, said web comprising:
a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region forming a network plane and having a relatively high density, and a domes region having a relatively low density, said domes region comprising discrete domes extending from said network plane in at least one direction such that said at least one direction and said network plane form an acute angle therebetween.
2. A paper web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, said web comprising:
a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region forming a network plane, and a domes region comprising discrete domes extending from said network plane in at least one direction such that said at least one direction and said network plane form an acute angle therebetween.
3. A process for producing a cellulosic fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random repeating pattern, the process comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspended in a liquid carrier;
providing a forming belt;
depositing said plurality of cellulosic papermaking fibers suspended in said liquid carrier on said forming belt;
draining said liquid carrier through said forming belt thereby forming an embryonic web of said papermaking fibers on said forming belt;

providing a macroscopically monoplanar through-air drying belt comprising a resinous framework having a web-side surface defining an X-Y plane, a backside surface opposite said web-side surface, a Z-direction perpendicular to said X-Y plane, and a plurality of discrete deflection conduits extending between said webside surface and said backside surface, each of said conduits having an axis and walls, said axes of at least some of said conduits and said Z-direction forming acute angles therebetween:
depositing said embryonic web to said web-side surface of said resinous framework of said papermaking belt;
applying a fluid pressure differential to said embryonic web to deflect at least a portion of said papermaking fibers into said discrete deflection conduits and to remove water from said embryonic web into said discrete deflection conduits thereby forming an intermediate web, said intermediate web comprising a macroscopically monoplanar, patterned, and essentially continuous network region, and a domes region comprising a plurality of discrete domes protruding from, circumscribed by, and adjacent to said network region, each of said domes having an axis, the axes of at least some of said domes and said Z-direction forming acute angles therebetween.
4. A fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random and repeating pattern, said web comprising:
a macroscopically planar and patterned first region comprising an essentially continuous network forming a network plane, said first region having a relatively high basis weight; and a second region having a relatively low basis weight and comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckles circumscribed by and adjacent to said first region, said knuckles extending from said first region in at least one direction, said at least one direction and said network plane forming an acute angle therebetween.
5. The fibrous web according to Claim 4, further comprising a third region having an intermediate basis weight relative to the basis weight of said first region and the basis weight of said second region, said third region being juxtaposed with said second region.
6. A process for producing a cellulosic fibrous web having at least two regions disposed in a non-random repeating pattern, the process comprising the steps of providing a plurality of cellulosic fibers suspended in a liquid carrier;
providing a macroscopically monoplanar papermaking belt comprising an air permeable reinforcing structure having a web-facing side defining an X-Y
plane, a machine-facing side opposite said web-facing side, and a Z-direction perpendicular to said X-Y plane, said papermaking belt further comprising a resinous framework comprised of a plurality of discrete protuberances joined to and extending from said reinforcing structure, each of said protuberances having an axis, a base surface, a top surface, and walls spacing apart and interconnecting said base surface and said top surface, said axes of at least some of said protuberances and said Z-direction forming acute angles therebetween, a plurality of said top surfaces defining a webside surface of said resinous framework, and a plurality of base surfaces defining a backside surface of said resinous framework;
depositing said cellulosic fibers and said carrier onto the papermaking belt;
draining said liquid carrier through said papermaking belt, thereby forming a macroscopically planar and patterned first region disposed in said X-Y plane and comprising an essentially continuous network, and a second region comprised of a plurality of discrete knuckles, said knuckles being circumscribed by, adjacent to and extending from said first region in at least one direction, said at least one direction and said Z-axis forming an acute angle therebetween.
CA002461063A 1997-05-19 1998-05-18 Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt Expired - Lifetime CA2461063C (en)

Priority Applications (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US08/858,662 US5948210A (en) 1997-05-19 1997-05-19 Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt
US08/858,661 US5900122A (en) 1997-05-19 1997-05-19 Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt
US08/858,661 1997-05-19
US08/858,662 1997-05-19
CA 2290494 CA2290494C (en) 1997-05-19 1998-05-18 Cellulosic web, method and apparatus for making the same using papermaking belt having angled cross-sectional structure, and method of making the belt

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