WO2001025824A2 - A scanned modulated laser for processing material surfaces - Google Patents

A scanned modulated laser for processing material surfaces Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001025824A2
WO2001025824A2 PCT/US2000/026726 US0026726W WO0125824A2 WO 2001025824 A2 WO2001025824 A2 WO 2001025824A2 US 0026726 W US0026726 W US 0026726W WO 0125824 A2 WO0125824 A2 WO 0125824A2
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WO
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Prior art keywords
laser
method
pattern
power
effective applied
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PCT/US2000/026726
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French (fr)
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WO2001025824A3 (en )
Inventor
Clarence H. Martin
Darryl J. Costin
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Technolines, Llc
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    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06CFINISHING, DRESSING, TENTERING OR STRETCHING TEXTILE FABRICS
    • D06C23/00Making patterns or designs on fabrics
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06BTREATING TEXTILE MATERIALS BY LIQUIDS, GASES OR VAPOURS
    • D06B11/00Treatment of selected parts of textile materials, e.g. partial dyeing
    • D06B11/0093Treatments carried out during or after a regular application of treating materials, in order to get differentiated effects on the textile material
    • D06B11/0096Treatments carried out during or after a regular application of treating materials, in order to get differentiated effects on the textile material to get a faded look

Abstract

A laser (205) based material surface processing device which permits the development of new formations and/or designs on textile materials. A controller (199) outputs laser (205) control signals via drive lines (198) and excitation unit (200). The laser (205) outputs a beam (208) in response to the excitation signals. The duty cycle of the laser (205) beam (208) is subsequently adjusted using a shutter (210). The beam (208) is then positioned and zoomed onto a material surface platform (230) by a laser moving element (215) and zoom lens asembly (220), respectively.

Description

MATERIAL SURFACE PROCESSING WITH A LASER THAT HAS A SCAN MODULATED EFFECTIVE POWER TO ACHIEVE MULTIPLE WORN LOOKS

Cross Reference To Related Applications

This application claims the benefit of the U.S.

Provisional Application No. 60/157,904, filed on

October 5, 1999.

Background Denim and other material garments have often been

processed to make them look worn. Consumers have shown

a desire to purchase broken-in garments.

Currently available techniques of processing such

garments include mechanical sandblasting with sand or

other abrasive; hand, mechanical, or robotic rubbing,

and others. The effects may include local abrasion

which is a wear pattern from below the waist to below

the knee section. Another effect is global abrasion,

which describes a wear pattern from below the waist to the cuff. "Whiskers" are a term which describes the

wear that occurs along the creases and hem of the

article during wear. Yet another worn look is a

rectangular area marked on the rear pocket of the jean,

which simulates the worn look caused from carrying a

wallet in the back pocket. Yet another worn look is

referred to as "frayed", where the degree of wear is so

severe that the individual threads of the cotton fiber

are exposed. Such a pattern section may even have

holes in the denim fabric. The sandblasting process

for local and global abrasion may use sandblasting

equipment to abrade the denim jeans with sand particles

or other abrasive media. This process blasts sand

particles from a sandblasting device to a pair of

jeans. The random spatial distribution of the sand

creates a special appearance in a treated area that is

referred to as "feathered". The abrasion in the

feathered area varies from light along the perimeter of

the pattern, e.g., the edges and top of the pattern, to

heavy in the center of the pattern. This unique

appearance may simulate the look of denim jeans that have been worn for a considerable time.

However, the sandblast process has a number of

problems and limitations. For example, the process of

blasting sand or other abrasive media presents

environmental and health issues. Typically, a worker

needs to wear protective gear and masks to reduce the

impact of inhaling airborne sand. The job is considered

to be a hazardous job, and may cause high employee

turnover.

The individual skill of the operator may also be

critical in reducing the scrap rate associated with the

sandblast process. This has the additional effect of

increasing certain costs of labor for the sandblast

operator which are typically higher than the labor rate

for other employees in the denim finishing plant, since

their skill may be important. The actual blasting

process may occur in a room which is shielded from

other areas in the manufacturing facility.

Further environmental issues arise with the

cleanup and disposal of the sand.

The sandblasting process is an abrasive process, which causes wear to the sandblasting equipment.

Often, the equipment needs to be replaced on a yearly

basis or even more frequently. This, of course, can

result in added capital, maintenance and installation

expense.

Also, new designs such as shadow effects along the

top or bottom of the whisker are difficult to

impossible to obtain with the conventional sandblasting

processes .

All in all, the sandblasting process may cost in

excess of $1.00 per pair of jeans, due to the cost of

labor, materials, and scrap produced, and environmental

clean up required. It is difficult to duplicate the

exact placement of the sandblast pattern from one

garment to the next due to the variability of the

process itself and the variability from one laborer to

another.

The sandblast process can also adversely affect

the tear and tensile properties of the denim jeans due

to the abrasion of the sand on the denim. It is not

uncommon for the sandblast process to reduce the tear and tensile strength of the denim by as much as 50%.

Further, the tear and tensile strength variation

following sandblasting is high due to the

uncontrollability of the abrasive process. Some

manufacturers even need to test the tear and tensile

properties of the denim at specific locations where the

abrasion is the least to even pass the apparel company

standards for tear and tensile strength.

Other approaches to creating worn looks present

their own problems. In the case of whiskers or frayed

looks, manufacturers may rely upon very labor

intensive, expensive and slow hand rubbing or sanding

processes where the whiskers or frayed looks are

applied to the denim by hand sanding, sometimes with a

rotating drill such as a DREMEL™ tool. In addition to

the labor costs associated with such a process, this

hand sanding operation is often associated with defects

after washing, where the sanding of the individual

whiskers on the denim may be too little or too much

resulting in a low quality product. Some manufacturers

have even tried to use robotic sanding processes to avoid these problems, albeit at considerable capital

investment and limited flexibility.

Despite the above shortcomings, sandblasting and

rubbing processes remain in wide use because the market

desires worn look denim.

The present assignee has disclosed laser

processing of denim, e.g. in US Patent numbers

5,990,444; 6,002,099 and 5,916,961. These techniques

enable using a laser to change the look of a textile

product.

Summary

In recognition of the above, the inventors propose

new laser scribing devices and techniques to simulate

specified worn looks on fabrics and garments.

One aspect includes using a laser to scribe lines

on a garment, where the energy density per unit time of

the laser causes the garment to change color to varying

degrees from indigo blue or black to white or grey.

Both the individual scanned lines and different

sections of a lazed pattern can have varied energy density per unit time. The variation in energy density

per unit time can be controlled by changing the power,

speed, distance, or duty cycle of the laser as the

lines are scribed on the material.

Other aspects are also disclosed.

Brief Description Of The Drawings

These and other aspects will now be described in

detail with respect to the accompanying drawings,

wherein:

Figure 1 shows an overall lasing system;

Figure 2 shows a controllable laser system;

Figure 3 shows a control screen for a specified

worn look;

Figure 4-12 show control screens for different

specified worn looks;

Figure 13 shows a material delivery system with

automatic turnover; and

Figure 14 shows a material delivery system with a

dual sided laser. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The described system and method teaches a system

for producing worn looks on textile materials and/or

garments that are made from these textile materials.

These worn looks can include abrasion effects which

simulate the look of a worn garment, whisker effects,

frayed effects, as well as any other effect which is

produced on a garment or another product made from a

textile material and which makes the textile material

look more like a used textile material. In addition,

entirely new looks are possible from this invention

that cannot be reproduced from the conventional

sandblasting or rubbing process. This is done using a

number of techniques described in detail herein.

A first technique uses a laser. The output of the

laser is caused to move across a textile material. The

applied energy from the laser changes the look of the

textile material without undesirably burning, punching

through or otherwise harming the textile material. The

basic operations of applying energy from a laser are

described in US Patent no. 5,990,444. In the disclosed system, the effective applied energy

of the laser, e.g, the energy density per unit time

("EDPUT") of the laser, is changed while the laser is

scribing a line across the material ("on the fly") .

The line which is scribed can be a straight line or a

waveform of any shape; however, a line is formed by the

laser traversing the textile or garment from one edge

to another.

The present application introduces the concept of

effective applied energy. This includes the amount of

energy that is effectively applied to an area of a

material. That area can be any size or shape. The

"effective applied energy" can include edput, but also

includes changing scan line speed, power level or speed

level or duty cycle level of the laser. It includes

change the distance of the laser to the material, which

can defocus the laser, and thereby change the EDPUT.

It also includes effective applied power being applied

in multiple sessions or times, by applying multiple

passes, e.g. of fixed power etc. The effect is to

apply more energy to some areas than to others. Another element produces a control sequence that

simulates a statistically random property of particle

distribution such as would be produced by a

sandblasting process. This technique is used with a

user interface program, which enables the designer to

paint the information on an interface screen. The

image on the screen is applied to the material with a

laser. Another aspect of the technique enables use of

a much higher power laser than previous systems of this

type.

As described above, the amount of change that the

laser produces on the textile material is based in part

on the effective applied energy to the material;

previously described in US patent no 5,990,444 as the

energy density per unit time level of the laser

relative to the material. EDPUT depends on power of

the laser, spot size and scan speed of the laser system

relative to the material .

A laser output of the laser is used to scribe

multiple lines across the material. The line can

repeat, i.e. in a zigzag or triangle wave shape. According to the present system, the EDPUT level is

changed while a line is being scanned across the

material. That is, at some point between the ends of

at least one scan line, the EDPUT is different than it

is at either end of the line. The controller system

controls the change of EDPUT level by controlling the

parameters which control EDPUT (power or duty cycle or

speed or distance) .

The EDPUT delivered to the material may be changed

in different ways. A first way is to change the

wattage or power of the laser output in a continuous or

discontinuous fashion. A laser relies on light

bouncing back and forth inside a laser cavity. The

level of excitation of the laser itself may be variable

in certain lasers. Hence excitation unit 200 may

actually be variable to vary the power output of the

laser. Thus, this first way to change the EDPUT level

of the laser directly controls the level of excitation

of the laser in an analog manner.

The other EDPUT controls do not change the actual

laser power output, but instead change the effective amount of energy density per time that arrives on the

material. Another control of EDPUT is via duty cycle

control. The control drive 198 to the excitation unit

200 can be cycled between on, and off, at a relatively

quick rate. The rate of turning on and off must be

fast relative to the movement of the laser. This

technique changes the duty cycle of the output of the

laser 205, effectively controlling the laser to deliver

a different average power level. In any short time,

i.e. in the amount of time it takes the laser to

traverse a distance equal to one or two times the width

of the laser beam, the duty cycle may be adjusted

multiple times. The effective applied energy density

per unit time may therefore be adjusted by this system,

since the root mean square of the power varies with

time just as if the power were changed itself.

The laser can also use an adjustable shutter, as

shown as element 210. This shutter may use a fast

piezoelectric element to open and close an aperture

through which the laser beam 208 passes. The

mechanical shutter can also turn on and off the shutter relatively quickly. Hence, this mechanical shutter

forms an alternate way of changing the duty cycle of

laser application.

The laser beam is applied to the garment and

caused to move relative to the garment by a laser

moving element 215. This laser moving element can

include moving mirrors, or some other way of changing

the laser movement. In this embodiment, the controller

may also produce an output that controls the scanning

speed of the laser. By changing the speed of the

laser, the EDPUT changes along the course of its line,

even if the output power of the laser stays constant.

Yet another way of changing the EDPUT is via

changing the output size of the laser beam. Figure 2

shows a zoom lens assembly 120 which is electrically

controllable. The controller 199 may produce an output

signal that changes the relative position of the lenses

to one another and thereby electrically changes the

spot size.

Alternatively, the platform 230 holding the

material may itself be moved. Placing the garment on a curved surface is yet another way to change the EDPUT

levels by intentionally causing the laser beam to come

out of focus (lowering the EDPUT) at the curved

sections if the center of the section is exactly in

focus .

Yet another way to change the EDPUT is to make

multiple passes or laser scans on different segments of

the pattern. Those sections which have multiple passes

will have higher effective EDPUTs if all other laser

operating parameters are held constant.

This system is used to attempt to mimic naturally-

occurring processes. Worn looks that are obtained from

a conventional laser scribing process may look overly

uniform in some circumstances. This may be referred to

as a contrived or pasted look. The goal, however, is

to produce as natural a look as possible.

U.S. Patent No. 5,916,461 describes using a

probability density function to randomly turn the laser

on and off to simulate "feathering" on the material.

The inventors recognized, however, that

continuously and discontinuously changing the EDPUT level within any laser scan line can even further

improve the effect. By so doing, this system alters

the amount of change or abrasion to the textile

material, as the laser scribes individual lines on the

textile material. This invention provides complete

control of the degree of feathering. The degree of

feathering can be continuously controlled then by

changing the EDPUT levels anywhere in the pattern.

Control of feathering in this way can achieve a worn

looks that appears authentic.

One aspect of this system, therefore, produces a

worn look or other desired look on a textile material

by scanning a laser across a textile, and uses the

laser to change a color of the material, where the

effective power density per unit time of the laser is

changed at least once within a scan line.

According to one aspect, typically sandblasted

garments are examined. This examination reveals

different shapes and wear patterns. These patterns are

basically non-uniform in nature. A high degree of

feathering, or variation of the material (abrasion) , across the edges and top and bottom of a pattern is

observed, either directly by a human examiner, or via

an automated examination process. Different

concentrations of wear along different areas of the

pattern are also observed. The present system stores

information from this observation in the memory 195

that is associated with the controller. This

information includes geometric information about the

wear pattern to be scribed. The information also

includes the look of the actual scanned portion.

This look is then translated into an specified

type of parameter matrix. The matrix can be an EDPUT

matrix, a power matrix, a duty cycle matrix or a speed

matrix, for example. The inventors have found by

experimentation that the amount of energy per unit time

that is applied to any specific area of certain

textiles may change the look in proportion to the

applied amount of energy. This proportion need not be

a linear proportion. The look change may also include

the look after washing. Different patterns can hence be scanned, e.g.

using a scanner or camera. The scanner can evaluate

each of the sections on the garment, here shown as

denim jeans. The system may evaluate, using the total

resolution of the scanner, the color of that section.

A look up table can be established relating the color

of certain materials to the applied EDPUT or power or

duty cycle or speed or distance. In this way, the

EDPUT for each area on the jeans can be established.

This information can be used to form the above-

described matrix, storing any of the above-described

parameters. This matrix can then be used as the

information in the memory 195 which drives the

controller to drive the laser. In this way, different

EDPUT levels can be applied to different sections of

the textile based on the information that is obtained

by observing some other material.

Alternately, the user can examine the wear pattern

and manually enter the changes in EDPUT (power, speed,

duty cycle or distance) that are associated with the

change in abrasion along the pattern geometry. These techniques can replicate any desired look, and can also

produce an entirely new look.

In another aspect, existing looks can be edited.

The look is scanned as noted above to form a matrix.

The matrix can then be edited to keep the desirable

parts, and change other parts.

Examples of the distribution of EDPUT along a

single scanned line may look as shown in Table I.

Table I . EDPUT Calculations for a Scanned Line

Power Spot Area Speed EDPUT (watts) (mm) (mm.2) mm/sec watts-sec/mm3

Scan #1:

Start of Scan 150 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.08 First Section of Scan 190 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.11 First Quarter of Scan 225 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.13 Second Quarter of Scan 250 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.14 Middle of Scan 250 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.14

Third Quarter of Scan 225 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.13 Fourth Quarter of Scan 190 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.11 End of Scan 150 0.30 0.0707 25,000 0.14

Scan #2 :

Start of Scan 50 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.01

First Section of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.14

First Quarter of Scan 800 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.22

Second Quarter of Scan 1000 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.28

Middle of Scan 1000 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.28

Third Quarter of Scan 800 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.22

Fourth Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.14

End of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 50,000 0.08

Scan #3 :

Start of Scan 50 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.07

First Section of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.42

First Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.71

Second Quarter of Scan 1000 0.30 0.0707 10,000 1.41

Middle of Scan 1000 0.30 0.0707 10,000 1.41

Third Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.71

Fourth Quarter of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.42

End of Scan 50 0.30 0.0707 10,000 0.07

This table shows that the EDPUT varies from about 0.08 watts-sec/mm3 to about 0.14 watts-sec/mm3 for the first

scan line which may produce local abrasion patterns.

The EDPUT varies from about 0.01 watts-sec/mm3 to about

0.28 watts-sec/mm3 for the second scan line which may

produce somewhat different local abrasion patterns.

The EDPUT varies from about 0.07 watts-sec/mm3 to about

1.4 watts-sec/mm3 for the third scan line. These

latter, higher EDPUTs may be associated with more

aggressive abrasion patterns including fraying.

However, it should be seen that within a certain

scanned line, the EDPUT value can vary 40% or so and

yet within another line, the EDPUT may vary by over

1000%. Of course, the EDPUT values can vary as little

as 25% or as much as 2000% to create different worn

looks with different degrees of feathering.

In general, looking at these values, the EDPUT can

increase by any desired amount. Moreover, while this

system shows the EDPUT changing a few times within a

scan, the EDPUT can change any number of times within a

scan line. The EDPUT control is thus infinite and can

vary a few percent to several thousand percent along each scanned line and from one scanned line to another.

The inventors observed that the cycle time to laze

the abraded pattern on denim legs could be reduced to 8

seconds or less at a scan speed of 50,000 mm/sec by

using higher power or duty cycle to maintain the

intensity of the image.

Table II shows the variation in EDPUT along an

individual scanned line for a different pattern. Table II. EDPUT Calculations for Worn Pattern #2

Power Spot Area Speed EDPUT

(watts) (mm) (mm2) mm/sec watts -sec/mm3

Worn Pattern #2 : Start of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .03 First Section of Scan 50 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .07 First Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .71 Second Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .71 Middle of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .71 Third Quarter of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 10000 0, .42 Fourth Quarter of Scan 150 0.30 0.0707 10000 0, .21 End of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 10000 0. .03 Worn Pattern #2 : Start of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.01 First Section of scan 50 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.04 First Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.35 Second Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.35 Middle of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.35 Third Quarter of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.21 Fourth Quarter of Scan 150 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.11 End of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 20000 0.01

Worn Pattern #2 :

Start of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .01

First Section of Scan 50 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .01

First Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .14

Second Quarter of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .14

Middle of Scan 500 0.30 0.0707 50000 0, .14

Third Quarter of Scan 300 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .08

Fourth Quarter of Scan 150 0.30 0.0707 50000 0, .04

End of Scan 20 0.30 0.0707 50000 0. .01

The inventors realized that having the ability to

vary EDPUT or power or duty cycle along each individual

scanned line provides advantages of superior control of

the degree of feathering, and hence, the creation of an almost infinite variety of worn looks. Further, the

EDPUT or power or duty cycle could change both along

each individual scanned line as well as from scanned

line to scanned line. EDPUT distributions such as

shown in Tables III-IV could easily be achieved, along

with almost any other EDPUT distributions that are

specified.

Table III shows a non-uniform pattern with

somewhat symmetrical shape along the center, whereas

Table IV shows a non-uniform pattern with heavier

applications of power in the lower left quadrant of the

pattern. Hence, a greater variety of EDPUT patterns

and thus worn looks can be created with these

techniques .

Table III. EDPUT (watts -sec/mm3) Matrix for Worn Pattern #3

X Position (mm)

10 15 20 25 30

Y Position (mm)

0 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.08 0.02

10 0.1 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.03

20 0.2 0.4 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.1

30 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.1

40 0.4 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.3 0.1

50 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.05

60 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.03

70 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.05 0.05 0.02

80 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.05 0.03 0.01

Table IV. EDPUT (watts -sec/mm3) Matrix for Worn Pattern #4

X Position (mm)

10 15 20 25 30

Y Position (mm)

0 0.01 0.03 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.05

10 0.01 0.03 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.025

20 0.05 0.4 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.09

30 0.05 0.5 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.1

40 0.1 0.7 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.1

50 0.2 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.05

60 0.1 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.5 0.1 0.03

70 0.01 0.05 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.05 0.02

This revolutionary concept changes the "black and

white" characteristic of the laser-scribed image to a

new "grayscale" characteristic. In the conventional

laser marking of materials such as wood, plastic,

metals, etc. the image is created at a constant EDPUT

or power or duty cycle. In the case of laser marking denim, as described in the inventors earlier patents

noted above, the image may be created by using a

constant EDPUT on each line. Thus, one uniform color

was formed after lazing and washing that was between

indigo blue or black (for low EDPUT scribing) and white

or gray (for high EDPUT scribing) . However, the

capability to continuously or discontinuously change

the EDPUT allows the image to assume any shade (after

washing) between indigo blue and white, along any

section of the pattern. The shade is associated with

the degree of abrasion or degree of wear. Hence, the

ability to control the shade also allows control of the

degree of abrasion and feathering.

Further, this new flexibility can thus allow for

the creation of entirely new looks not possible by any

other economic means. Worn looks, images, or entirely

new looks with sections of continuously or

discontinuously different shades between white and

indigo blue can be created. The techniques of

continuously or discontinuously changing the EDPUT

during laser scribing as described herein may have other applications in other material industries where

lasers are used to mark materials such as wood, glass,

plastic, rubber, fabric, steel and others.

As alluded to above, this system has the ability

to more accurately assess worn looks. This is done by

producing a control sequence which replicates the

desired properties; in an on/off manner, continuous

manner, discontinuous manner or in an analog manner.

Any desired amount of control can be provided, limited

only by the amount of EDPUT gradations produced by the

system. The general EDPUT profile can still be

specified graphically, but the precise point during the

scribing of a line at which EDPUT will change can also

be controlled. The EDPUT profile can include a percent

of the highest power or duty cycle required. As an

example, 50% values may be chosen for areas requiring

light abrasion and 100% values can be chosen for areas

requiring heavy abrasion.

A new technique which assists the apparel

designer, is disclosed. This allows the operator to

paint the desired shape or geometry of the pattern desired to be lazed on the denim to obtain the worn

look on the computer screen. In addition, the designer

specifies the degree of feathering or EDPUT or power or

duty cycle profile. Again, this specification can

simply be a percent of the maximum EDPUT, power or duty

cycle .

Each level of effective applied power is

associated with a color. Different sections of the

pattern are painted with different color contents,

where the color contents can be in full power, e.g.,

R,G,B levels or in gray scale levels. In one

embodiment, the colors are associated with different

levels of duty cycle control of the laser. The user

draws on the computer screen, with the mouse, the

desired shape of the pattern. Then the user can select

different colors for different areas. This can use a

point-and-shoot technique or selection from a menu or

by right clicking on an area and selecting from a

context menu. This click associates different sections

of the pattern with different EDPUT/power/duty cycle

levels. The actual power level or duty cycle associated with a given color may be set by a user, and may be

modified for different materials.

A local abrasion effect can be produced using the

user interface screen shown in Figure 3. Figure 3

shows a graphical user interface which permits

formation of a pattern, or a portion of a pattern which

will form the basic design to be scribed on a garment.

The actual pattern 300 is formed of a plurality of

different sections. The outer section 305 defines the

overall outer perimeter of the shape. Also within the

sections are other perimeters shown as 310, 315, 320

and the like. The innermost shapes, such as 325, are

also shown. For shapes of this type, where the

patterns define an oval pattern, many of the sections

are concentric or semi-concentric. The sections can

be defined by perimeters. Spaces between each two

perimeters defines a section. Alternatively, each

section can define a separate layer.

Figure 3 also shows a plurality of operating

parameters which can be set. This includes 330, which

sets the speed in inches per second and 332 which sets the laser scale factor in units per inch. The pattern

scale factor 334 can also be set. The pattern

dimension on the laser can be set. 338 indicates the

drawing direction of the laser. 340 represents the

color change. A boundary length is set in 342. For

some random or psuedo random processes, a random seed

may be necessary. This random seed may be set.

Typical editing controls, such as edit, save, preview,

etc. are also shown.

350 represents the power profile. The colors 352

are on the left side, and the power profile in row 354

is associated with that color.

The system starts with the user selecting a

section, either the outermost section or any of the

more inner sections that are shown. Each of these

sections can be set as having a specified power profile

by associating a color from the color palette 352 with

a section. The power profiles represent different

laser intensities (EDPUT levels) and thus different

degrees of wear. For example, the lighter outer

sections such as 310 and 305 may be associated with a lower power duty cycle level. This creates a more

lightly worn look. The darker sections of the pattern,

such as the section 325, may be associated with higher

power duty cycles and represent a more heavier worn

look. 325 might represent the part of the pattern that

is drawn at the knee section. Different shades of gray

(following washing of the garment) are shown in the

areas between the two extremes. These areas represent

colors of the pattern section that is between indigo

blue and total white after the processing by the laser

and washing of the garment. Each of these changes are

displayed in color. The values can be saved in either

grayscale or in full color and are stored as part of

the pattern file, here shown as left.ppx.

The pattern file represents the power profile

information for the specified pattern which is

displayed and editable via the user interface.

Additional processing features are also used to

give the pattern a more realistic look. A tool set,

shown as 360, can be selected to carry out these

functions. A first tool which is described herein is the blend function. Blend can be carried out either

pixel by pixel, or area by area. The specific area

which is blended may be selectable. A blend computes

an average color for each pixel or area by forming a

weighted average of the color of the pixel or area and

the color of neighboring pixels or areas, e.g. eight

neighboring pixels or areas. The number of pixels

forming the weights can be varied to achieve various

outcomes .

Another tool, shown herein as the whisker tool,

may aid in whisker generation. Users may set the length

and angle of the whisker, and then automatically

produce a whisker pattern which can be later edited by

the user.

A "grain" tool is shown as part of 360 which

produces a "grainy" look. The process for the grainy

look gives each pixel, and its neighboring pixels, a

color vote. The weight for each vote depends on how

long the pixel has maintained the specified color. The

terminology of "long" can refer to number of units of

image in an area, for example. Again, while this system refers to colors, it should be understood that

gray scales can also be used to view the separated

sections. The sections can also be marked with other

area delimiters, such as hatching, stipling or the

like.

Another tool developed as part of this invention

is a -"blaster" tool. In a manner similar to that used

by the "spray can" tool supplied with many computer

drawing programs to "spray" a specific color, the

blaster tool sprays "incremental intensity" onto the

pattern. To continue with the analogy, every time a

"droplet" from the spray can hits the drawing surface,

the pixel or area that is hit adopts the color being

sprayed. With the blaster tool, a pixel hit by a

droplet of incremental intensity has its color level

incremented to the next higher level. The effect of

the tool produces an effect whose impact is dependent

on an amount of time spent "blasting" a given region.

A longer period of blasting causes more pixels to be

colored with the effect and hence causes a greater

impact . The blaster tool can also be used in an intensity-

removing mode. In this mode, pixels that are hit have

their color level changed to the next lower intensity

level .

Any pattern that is formed by natural wear can be

accurately simulated through the use of the blaster

tool. Furthermore, this tool can be automated to draw

certain common features automatically, for example, a

curved line simulating a whisker, a pocket wear pattern

and the ladder pattern that appears along the seams of

worn jeans.

An "undo" function allows one or many functions to

be reversed if the user does not like the effect. This

can, for example, allow trying different sprays or

other effects to test if a good result is obtained. If

not, the operation is reversed.

This system can produce a number of different

effects. Communication of pattern parameters from the

design computer to the laser control computer may be

used to develop an efficient system. Many formats have

been developed for computer viewing, generation and transmission of graphic images. The format for these

files may allow for a higher degree of image complexity

(e.g., color) than required for the present purpose and

therefore tend to provide more information and details

than is needed for the present purposes.

A new file format has been developed called TBF

(TechnoBlast Format) which communicates precisely those

parameters required for converting the desired image

into laser control commands.

The file in the "TBF" format may be a bit-mapped

format of a matrix. Each value represents power

level/duty cycle/EDPUT for each pixel in the image as

well as other control values. This file format

therefore includes an edput value, or at least a value

indicative of the amount of effective energy to be

applied to a pixel associated with each pixel or group

of pixels that is handled as a unit.

Since the information can be stored on a pixel by

pixel level, the writing laser can write in either the

horizontal or the vertical direction, or in any other

direction for that matter, based on the same information. The direction of writing can be selected

by the drawing direction 38. Assuming the writing is

in the horizontal direction, the image is sliced into

pixel-wide fragments. The slice 370 shows, in

exaggerated form, one of these pixel wide fragments.

It should be understood, however, that these pixels are

not drawn to scale, and that in fact a real pixel could

be of any desired size. Note that each pixel such as

372, 374 may have a different EDPUT level associated

with it. The EDPUT level is changed as the laser is

scanning from pixel to pixel.

Many different kinds of looks can be produced

using this system. The following describes only

examples of these looks. It should be understood that

other effects could easily be produced. Any of these

looks can be obtained in any of the ways described

herein, i.e., by authoring a special image intended for

use in changing the color of textile fabric, or by

scanning a real garment and using the results of the

scan to form information to use in changing the color. Figure 4 shows a localized worn look which extends

from somewhat below the waistband to the somewhat below

the knee on each denim leg. The color of the worn look

(after washing) varies from white or gray in the

intense areas of the knee shown as 402 to black or blue

indigo (less intense areas) along the top, bottom and

side portions of the knee shown as 404.

Figure 5 shows an alternative look which is

intended for use in the rear portion of the denim, e.g.

in the seat area. Again, this portion is substantially

oval shaped, but has some worn portions in the center

502 and less worn portions towards the edge 504.

Figure 6 shows a global worn look from the

waistband to the end of the leg section where the color

of the worn look (after washing) ranges from white or

gray in the intense areas along the center and length

of the pattern to indigo blue or black along the top,

bottom and edges of the pattern.

Figure 6 also shows the global worn look from the

rear waistband to the end of the leg section, where the

color of the worn look changes from white or gray in the intense areas of the pattern to indigo blue or

black along the top, bottom and edges of the pattern.

Figures 7 and 8 show a whisker worn look with

multiple lines from about 1/8 inch to about 2 inches in

width by 1 to 14 inches in length. The color of the

pattern changes from white or gray in the center of the

pattern to indigo blue or black along the edges of the

pattern. The whisker worn look can be along any area

of the front and back of the denim jeans and may

contain one or several rectangular sections.

A frayed look in the knee, rear seating area,

along the bottom of the front and back leg section or

any other area of the denim jean is shown in Figures 9-

10. The EDPUT is of sufficient magnitude to fray the

denim so that individual threads are exposed or actual

holes are provided in the denim.

This goes against the teaching in the above 44

patent, which teaches that punch through of the

material is undesired. The specific "fraying" effect, provides enough EDPUT to intentionally cause damage to

the material, however in a controllable and desired

fashion.

A rectangular worn pattern of about 2 inches by 4

inches along the rear pocket of the denim is used to

simulate the wear from a wallet in the back pocket,

where the color of the pattern is white or gray along

the periphery of the rectangle and indigo, blue or

black in the center. Figure 11 shows the TechnoBlast

pattern image created for this type of look.

Any or all of these looks may be combined into a

single image. The composite image may then be used to

laze denim jeans. This may represent an additional

benefit of this system. In previous systems, different

processes were used to obtain different effects. For

example, conventional sandblasting is used to produce

local abrasion on front and back denim leg sections.

Whiskers are made using a hand sanding operation where

individual laborers produced the various whisker

patterns. Frayed looks use hand sanding drills and the

like. In this system, however, multiple effects can all be included within the same file. For example,

Figure 12 shows a composite file including a plurality

of the effects shown above. An additional effect, in

which the whiskers are shadowed, is shown as 1202 in

Figure 12. Just above or below the whisker, a section

is colored white. This indicates no lazing in that

section such that after washing the area is denim blue.

The whisker itself can be different colors to produce

different feathering effects. This technique produces

a shadowed effect for the whiskers considered quite

desirable .

Previous systems of this type have used relatively

low power lasers, e.g. from 25 to 100 watts, of the

type intended for marking materials. Marking lasers

have been used to form graphic images and text on

plastic, wood, steel and glass. Another kind of laser,

called the laser cutter, typically produces much higher

powers, e.g. 250 to 2500 watts. One problem noted by

the inventors is the cycle time for applying the worn pattern. When the low power lasers have been used, the

cycle time may be on the order of minutes for each

application.

The present application describes the use of a

much higher power laser, e.g. a laser having a power

level of 250 watts or higher, even more preferably 500

watts or higher, and most preferably 1000 watts or

higher. For example, a cycle time for abrading denim

jeans can be minutes with a 50 watt laser that is

typically used for marking. A 500 watt laser can

produce the same pattern in a few seconds. This 500

watt laser has typically only been used for cutting

operations, however. The expectation is that these

higher power lasers would unintentionally damage the

material. However, by adjusting the EDPUT, higher

power lasers can safely be used.

As a specific example, the inventors were able to

use the 500 watt lasers to laze abrasion patterns on

the front and rear sections in 15 seconds as compared

with two minutes for the sand blasting process. Using

2500 watt lasers for the application area is also contemplated, which will decrese the cycle time even

further.

Additional developments were made during initial

trials with high-powered lasers. One noted problem is

that the desired level of power or duty cycle at the

beginning of the scribing of a line can be higher than

requested, here called an overshoot. The physical

nature of the laser process requires that when changing

from a lower level of power or duty cycle to a higher

level of power or duty cycle, "inertia" of the power

may cause the power or duty cycle to initially

overshoot the desired higher power or duty cycle. This

may cause an initial excess visible impact on the denim

target. This effect may be strongest when the laser is

actually turned from off (zero power) to on. The

effect on denim becomes much more evident when higher

power lasers are used, e.g. 500 watts or higher.

To overcome this problem, a boundary solution is

used. The desired pattern is given a "boundary" area.

The laser power is set to a level x that is as high as

possible without causing any visible effect on the denim or other garment material. The laser output is

brought to a position outside the boundary. Since the

laser is at the power level x, this causes no visible

change. When the laser beam enters the region of

desired visible impact, the effective power level is

increased. The effective power level is increased less

at that time, since the increase is from x to the

desired level, rather than from 0 to the desired level.

Overshoot from initial turn on may be reduced in this

way.

Another important feature noted by the present

application is based on the interference based on the

pattern/lines that are scribed by the laser, and the

direction of the materials stitch lines. Certain

undesirable "interference patterns" may be produced by

the interaction between the laser writing properties,

the frequency of the laser and the directional

properties of the material. These directional

properties can include any aspect of the material that

is asymmetric - and specifically can include cut, fill

and twill of the denim fabric. A rotation of the fabric or the scribing direction may change this

effect. Orienting the material such that the scan line

makes a 90 degree angle with the cut, fill or twill

minimizes the effect, when it is desired to minimize

that effect. However, some of the interference

patterns themselves produced quite interesting looks

for denim jeans, and may be desirable. Hence, one

aspect of this system includes taking into account the

effects of the interaction between the laser scanning

and the directional properties of the material.

Hence, another parameter of this system requires

the directional pattern of the material to be placed in

a specified orientation. This can also be controlled

by changing the drawing direction using control 338.

One other aspect uses a camera vision system pointed to

face the material and to automatically detect the

directional properties of the material. Those

properties are then input into the computer, and used

as one parameter of operation. As mentioned previously, it is highly desirable to

avoid an artificial or contrived look when attempting to simulate natural wear. It is therefore useful to

minimize the opportunity for the human eye to perceive

any regularity in the pattern produced by the laser.

One approach to achieving this is to allow the user to

specify the power levels in the design, but to cause

the precise point at which power changes between two

adjacent levels to be determined at random. This

feature may not always be desirable. Hence,

randomization of power level change is a user

selectable option.

The higher power lasers can operate faster, and

therefore benefit from more automated processes. The

conveyer system shown in Figure 1 provides the denim

jeans 100 over some form 102. The denim jeans are

introduced to the laser in a horizontal direction. The

laser then scribes the worn look, after which a second

pair of jeans shown as 110 are maintained behind it and

also introduced for subsequent processing. After

processing a batch of jeans in this manner, they can be

removed from the form and reversed to either the same or different laser to scribe the worn look on the rear.

Figure 1 also shows an in-line material processing

system, including an inline laundry device 120, e.g, a

system that applies shampoo with a brush, and a removal

system, such as a wet vac 130. This can use components

from commercially available rug cleaning systems, e.g.

a rug doctor™ or similar shampoo/vacuum combination can

produce a desired effect with an in line system.

Figure 1 shows a straight path conveyer system.

However, a carousel type conveyor is contemplated.

An alternative system is shown in Figure 13. The

jeans 1300 are located on a form shown as 1302. The

form holds the jeans in some way e.g. using clips on

the inside shown as 1304, 1306. These clips hold the

denim jeans in place on the form. Each of the forms

also include a rotation rod 1308 connected to a rotator

1310. The jeans are conveyed along the conveyer 1312,

which includes at least two of these rotators, the

second one being shown as 1315. At a first location,

the jeans come into contact with a first laser 1320.

This laser produces the worn look on the front of the jeans shown as side 1. After so doing, the rotator

1308 is lifted up and causes the jeans to be flipped to

side 2. Subsequently, side 2 comes into contact with

the second laser 1330 which scribes the rear worn look.

The jeans are removed from the form after processing,

and a new pair of unprocessed jeans applied to the

form. While this system describes using two lasers, it

should be understood that a single laser could be used,

i.e. by scribing the front side of one or multiple pair

of jeans, and later flipping all the jeans and scribing

the other side. An automated system can detect whether

the front or back is being presented, e.g. by imaging

the garment to look for the label or bar code on the

jeans. A camera vision system can key in on a specific

area of the jean such as the waistband each time and

simply adjust the laser scan to insure proper placement

of the image on the denim each time.

Figure 14 shows yet another system. The jeans are

held from their sides by clipping on a clip area to a

specified location, e.g. the inside of the pocket where

minimal denim processing will take place. Other clip areas are also possible. The materials processing

system carries the denim by the clip areas, e.g. by a

wire which is constantly moving.

Alternately, a form of the type shown in Figure 13

can be used as free standing conveyer system. In this

embodiment, dual lasers are used, with one on the top

scribing the worn look on the top surface 1400 of the

jeans and the other laser 1420 on the bottom, scribing

the worn look on the bottom surface of the jeans 1405.

Any free standing conveyer system can be used for this.

For example, this may also be done with the garment

suspended on a hanging system in the vertical

direction. Different form shapes are also possible.

Different type of worn looks may be obtained

depending upon the type of form that is used. For

example, typical metal forms such as used in the dry

cleaning industry produce a worn look that is similar

to that obtained from sandblasting, since the garment

is relatively flat as the laser scribes the worn look

on the garment. However, using an inflatable balloon

type form, such as used in some denim finishing plants, produces a somewhat different worn look. The balloon

is inflated inside the denim pant leg, causing the

fibers to be spread. The jean wraps around the form in

a concave fashion during scribing.

The inventors noted that this invention produced

benefits in the production of denim jeans with whisker

patterns to simulate the creases along the thigh and

knee section. Denim manufacturers have tried numerous

methods to create the desired whisker patterns. Many

have noted that only the hand sanding process was

really acceptable to create the authentic worn look for

the whiskers. This process may be labor intensive and

the quality of the whisker pattern is a function of the

skill of the laborer who sands the whiskers on the

denim. Considerable variability exists from one

laborer to another, as would be expected. Some

laborers apply too much pressure and some too little

pressure such that the quality of the end product is

quite variable.

However, the inventors noted that using the new

technique of changing the EDPUT along the individual scribed lines, any desired whisker pattern could be

exactly replicated. Further, a typical whisker pattern

could be applied to the denim jeans with this invention

in a few seconds, compared to several minutes with the

hand sanding operation. The quality of the whisker

pattern produced from this system is consistent from

one denim jean to the other because of the consistency

of the laser scribing process. Hence, the yield would

be expected to be significantly greater with this

invention compared with the hand sanding operation.

Although only a few embodiments are disclosed,

other modifications are possible and are intended to be

encompassed within the following claims. For example,

other marking elements, that is other marking elements

besides a laser, are contemplated.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A method comprising:
defining a pattern to be formed on a textile
material, which pattern represents different degrees of
change of said textile material at different locations,
said different degrees of change including at least a
plurality of different levels of change; and
producing a viewable display representing said
pattern.
2. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern
includes effective applied power density information
which enables said change to be carried out with a
laser.
3. A method as in claim 2 wherein said applied
power density levels are individually associated with
different portions of said pattern, and include
information which changes an energy density per unit
time applied by the laser.
4. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
using a laser to scan lines defining said pattern onto
a garment, by controlling said laser according to said
pattern to apply energy across different lines which
are produced across the pattern, at least one of said
lines including plurality of different effective
applied energy on a single line.
5. A method as in claim 1 wherein said viewable
display includes a plurality of different sections, and
further comprising accepting commands on a user
interface that enable each of said sections to be
separately controllable on said viewable display, to
produce a different degree of viewed change on said
viewable display.
6. A method as in claim 5 further comprising
converting said sections to scan lines in a desired
direction, and using a laser to produce a desired
effective applied energy based on said pattern, to
produce a desired output along said scan lines, at
least one of said scan lines having a different
effective applied energy at a central portion as
compared with at either end portion thereof.
7. A method as in claim 6 wherein said scan line
is a horizontal scan line.
8. A method as in claim 6 wherein said scan line
is a vertical scan line or any angled scan line.
9. A method as in claim 6 wherein said using a
laser comprises changing an effective power output of
the laser while scanning a line.
10. A method as in claim 9 wherein said changing
effective power comprises control of the power level
via duty cycle control.
11. A method as in claim 10 wherein said duty
cycle control turns on and off the laser at a specified
rate in a pulsed manner.
12. A method as in claim 10 wherein said duty
cycle controls blocks and unblocks the output of the
laser at a specified rate.
13. A method as in claim 9 wherein said changing
comprises changing a spot size of the beam.
14. A method as in claim 1 wherein said defining
comprises
examining an existing garment to determine a
pattern of abrasion, and
forming said pattern based on said examining.
15. A method as in claim 14 wherein said forming
comprises automatically forming said pattern.
16. A method as in claim 14 wherein said examining
comprises using a scanner to determine color contents
of a section of material, and automatically translating
said color contents into an a value indicative of
effective applied energy.
17. A method as in claim 16 wherein said
translating comprises using a look up table to change
said color contents into said value indicative of
effective applied energy.
18. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
using said pattern to control a laser having a total
power of 500 watts or greater; and using said laser to
form said pattern on a garment.
19. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
using said pattern to control a laser having a total
power of 1000 watts or greater; and using said laser to
form said pattern on a garment.
20. A method as in claim 4 wherein said power of
the laser changes by a factor of at least 25% during a
single scan line of said laser.
21. A method as in claim 4 wherein said effective
applied energy changes by at least 25% during a single
scan line of said laser.
22. A method as in claim 1 wherein said defining
comprises determining a desired shape for a pattern
portion, and painting color contents on said shape
being displayed.
23. A method as in claim 22 wherein said color
contents represent a degree of abrasion to a specified
area on said garment.
24. A method as in claim 22 further comprising
defining a plurality of parameters to be associated
with a portion of said pattern, and defining a section
between any two parameters, each said section being
separately changeable.
25. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
defining effects for portions of the pattern.
26. A method as in claim 25 wherein said effect is
a blend function which computes an average color for
pixels based on colors of a pixel and colors of a
neighboring pixel.
27. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern is
a pattern of a whisker pattern.
28. A method as in claim 25 wherein said effect is
a grain look which allows different colors to have
different votes.
29. A method as in claim 25 wherein said effect is
a spray look.
30. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern is
a pattern is a pattern on a garment, only on a
specified portion of the garment, in a location from
below the waist to below the knee on the garment.
31. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern is
the pattern of a worn seat look on a garment.
32. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern is
oval shaped with a plurality of concentric portions.
33. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pattern
includes a pattern of frayed areas in which actual
holes or exposed fibers will be formed by a laser
scribing using said specified parameters.
34. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
forming a plurality of power levels for a plurality of
scan lines to form said pattern, each said power levels
represented by a percent of a maximum power that can be
applied.
35. A method as in claim 34 wherein at least one
of said scan lines includes an overshoot protection.
36. A method as in claim 35 wherein said overshoot
protection includes, at an area outside the desired
area of changing the image, which is set to a specified
effective applied power level which is low enough to
prevent change to a material to which the laser is
being applied, and application of the specified
effective applied power level until reaching an area of
desired change, and increasing the power at said area
of desired change to a level at which change to the
material will be formed.
37. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
defining an orientation of a weave line of the material
as part of said display.
38. A method as in claim 1 further comprising
passing a garment along a conveyer; and using a laser
to lase an effect thereon based on information in said
pattern.
39. A method as in claim 38 further comprising
lasing a first pattern on a first side of the material
on the conveyer, automatically changing the material to
a expose a second side to a laser and then
automatically lasing another pattern, different than
the first pattern, on the second side of the material.
40. A method as in claim 34 wherein at least a
portion of the lasing is carried out at a level of
effective applied power which does not undesirably
damage the material.
41 . A method comprising :
storing information about effective applied power
levels for a plurality of scan lines of a laser
element, at least a plurality of said scan lines having
levels of effective applied power which change within a
single scan line; and
using a laser to process the material by
controlling scan lines of the laser to have a
controlled energy density per unit time which depends
on said effective applied power levels.
42. A method as in claim 41 wherein at least a
plurality of said effective applied power levels are
values which do not undesirably damage the material.
43. A method as in claim 42 wherein at least a
plurality of said effective applied power levels are
values which intentionally cause a hole in the material
to cause fraying.
44. A method as in claim 41 wherein said file is
indicative of a simulated abrasion effect to create a
worn look.
45. A method as in claim 41 wherein said
information is indicative of simulated whisker effect.
46. A method as in claim 41 wherein at least part
of said information is indicative of a simulated
fraying effect.
47. A method as in claim 41 wherein said garment
is a denim garment.
48. A method as in claim 41 wherein said laser has
an output power of 500 watts or greater.
49. A method as in claim 41 wherein said laser is
one which has an output power of 1000 watts or greater.
50. A method as in claim 41 wherein said pattern
is an oval shaped pattern.
51. A method as in claim 41 wherein said control
of effective applied power levels is carried out by
control of duty cycle of said laser thereby controlling
an effect of amount of power delivered by the laser in
a pulsed manner.
52. A method as in claim 51 wherein said control
of duty cycle comprises turning a laser on and off at
specified rate.
53. A method as in claim 52 wherein said specified
rate is fast relative to the movement of the laser.
54. A method as in claim 51 wherein said control
of duty cycle comprises selectively blocking and
unblocking an output of the laser to thereby control an
effective amount of power delivered by the laser.
55. A method as in claim 41 further comprising
changing the EDPUT by changing a speed of movement of
the laser.
56. A method as in claim 41 wherein said change of
effective applied power levels comprises changing an
output size of a laser beam that is output from the
laser.
57. A method as in claim 41 further comprising
feathering an edge of the pattern by changing a power
level of the image at said edge to form a more gradual
change of effect at said edge.
58. A method as in claim 41, wherein said
information is in a specified format, which includes an
indication of an area and an indication of an effective
applied power level to be applied to said area.
59. An apparatus, comprising:
a computer controlled laser, having an output
which impinges on a surface to be modified by said
laser and which is controlled according to a computer
file, said computer controlled laser producing said
output beam having a controlled effective applied power
level of application to the area, according to said
computer file, wherein said computer file includes at
least a plurality of scan lines in which said effective
applied power level changes within a single scan line
at least three times to at least three different
values .
60. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said laser
has a power output of 500 watts or greater.
61. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said laser
has a power output of 1000 watts or greater.
62. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
effective applied power level is selected for a
specific textile material to be lazed, and at least one
of said effective applied power levels in said computer
file changes the look of the textile material without
undesirably burning, punching through or otherwise
harming the textile material.
63. An apparatus as in claim 62 where at least one
of the effective applied power levels in said computer
file does cause burn through of the material to expose
fibers in the material.
64. An apparatus as in claim 62 further comprising
an in-line shampooing element, which provides a
shampooing operation and a shampoo removal operation to
a garment which has been lased by the laser.
65. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein an
effective applied power level of the laser is changed
by turning on and off the laser at a specified duty
cycle .
66. An apparatus as in claim 59 further comprising
an adjustable shutter which modulates an output of the
laser, and a control element which turns on and off
said shutter, based on said computer file, to adjust
said effective applied power level.
67. An apparatus as in claim 66 wherein said
shutter is a piezoelectric element.
68. An apparatus as in claim 66 wherein said
shutter is a mechanical shutter.
69. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
effective applied power level changes to at least five
different values in at least a plurality of scan lines
of said laser.
70. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
effective applied power level changes between a lowest
value and a highest value, wherein said highest value
is at least 125% of said lowest value.
71. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
effective applied power level changes between a lowest
value and a highest value, wherein said highest value
is at least twice said lowest value.
72. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
pattern includes a feathering portion at an edge of the
pattern where a change in effective applied power level
is made gradual to gradually change an effect thereof.
73. An apparatus as in claim 59 further comprising
a control console, having a user interface, said user
interface graphically showing a pattern which is to be
lased, said pattern including differently highlighted
areas for different effective applied power levels.
74. An apparatus as in claim 73 wherein said
differently highlighted areas comprise different
colors .
75. An apparatus as in claim 59, wherein said
computer file includes a plurality of information
parts, each information part associated with a specific
area on an image representing a garment to be altered,
and each information part including information
indicating effective applied power level information
for a laser.
76. An apparatus as in claim 73 wherein said
differently highlighted areas comprise different gray
scales.
77. An apparatus as in claim 74 further comprising
a look up table which stores a relationship between an
effect to a material, and a duty cycle of operation of
the laser to provide said effect.
78. An apparatus as in claim 74 further comprising
an editing tool which enables editing said pattern.
79. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
memory stores a pattern of a simulated worn pattern.
80. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
pattern stores a simulated whisker pattern.
81. An apparatus as in claim 59 wherein said
pattern stores a pattern with a hole through the denim
of a type which exposes fibers of the denim.
82 . An apparatus comprising :
a controllable laser, which is controllable by a
computer file, to produce an output on a desired area,
said laser having a maximum output power which is 500
watts or greater; and
said computer file storing control information
which adjusts a duty cycle of an output of said laser
to control an effective applied energy applied to said
area to a desired amount and providing said information
for a desired energy density per unit time to said
controllable laser for said area.
83. An apparatus as in claim 82 wherein said laser
is controlled to scan in lines, and wherein a plurality
of said lines have different effective applied area at
one area than in another area.
84. An apparatus as in claim 83 wherein said
effective applied energy changes to at least three
different values within a single scan line.
85. An apparatus as in claim 82 wherein at least
some of said effective applied energies is set to a
specific value relative to a material in said area,
which changes the abrasion or color of said material
without undesirably damaging the material.
86. An apparatus as in claim 82 where at least
part of said effective applied energies provides a
desired punch through effect in said material.
87. An apparatus as in claim 82 further comprising
a terminal, which provides an image of the simulated
pattern to be applied to the material, said image
having differently indiciaed areas to represent
different effective applied energies.
88. An apparatus as in claim 87 wherein said
indiciaed areas comprise differently colored areas.
89. An apparatus as in claim 87 wherein said
indiciaed areas comprise different grayscales.
90. An apparatus as in claim 82 further comprising
a duty cycle controller comprising and on off control
for the laser.
91. An apparatus as in claim 82 further comprising
a duty cycle controller comprising a shutter,
selectively opened and closed at an output of the
laser.
92. An apparatus as in claim 87 wherein the stored
pattern has a plurality of concentric oval areas.
93. A method of processing a garment, comprising:
obtaining a first garment which has a desired look
to be replicated;
using an electronic device to capture color levels
of different areas of said first garment;
automatically determining, from said color levels,
an amount of effective applied energy of laser energy
which will need to be applied to said each of said area
to replicate said color level; and
forming a computer file representing said amount
of laser power which needs to be applied to each of
said areas to replicate said different areas of said
first garment.
94. A method as in claim 93 further comprising
using said computer file to control a laser to mark a
second garment in a way that replicates a pattern of
the colors on the first garment.
95. A method as in claim 94 wherein said laser
marks said second garment by scribing a plurality of
lines on said second garment using said computer file.
96. An apparatus as in claim 95 wherein at least a
plurality of said lines define an effective applied
energy which varies within each of a plurality of
single scanned lines.
97. An apparatus as in claim 96 wherein said
effective applied energy varies to at least three
different values within said plurality of lines.
98. A method as in claim 94 wherein said
translating comprises using a look up table which
stores a correspondence between a specified color and a
specified effective applied energy, to determine said
power levels.
99. A method as in claim 94 further comprising
storing information in a look up table, and using said
information to determine said effective applied energy
for each of said areas.
100. A method as in claim 94 wherein said using a
laser comprises adjusting said effective applied energy
by adjusting a duty cycle of an output of said laser at
a speed which is fast relative to a speed of movement
of said laser, and in a way which adjusts an effective
power output of said laser within a single scan line.
101. A method as in claim 100 wherein said duty
cycle control comprises turning the laser on and off at
a specified rate.
102. A method as in claim 100 wherein said duty
cycle control comprises selectively blocking and
unblocking an output of the laser.
103. A method as in claim in 94 wherein said laser
has an output power of 500 watts or greater.
104. A method as in claim 93 further comprising
displaying a graphical image indicative of said
computer file to a user and allowing said user to edit
said graphical image to thereby edit said computer
file.
105. A method as in claim 104 wherein different
areas of said computer file have different indicia
indicative of different amounts of power to be applied
to said area.
106. A method as in claim 95 further comprising
allowing setting a direction of line scribing by said
laser.
107 . A method comprising :
determining information indicative of a desired
abrasion pattern to be formed on a garment;
storing, in a memory, a relationship between each
of a plurality of desired areas of abrasion and an
effective applied power to be used with a specified
laser to create said level of abrasion;
accessing said relationship, using said
information indicative of said desired abrasion
pattern, to determine said effective applied power; and
forming a computer file using said effective
applied power and said desired pattern, said computer
file including an indication of an area, and an
indication of information which will cause said
specified laser to apply said effective, .applied power
in said area.
108. A method as in claim 107 wherein said
effective applied power is an indication of a duty
cycle of an output of said laser.
109. A method as in claim 107 further comprising
displaying a graphical representation of said computer
file to a user, where different indicias in different
areas of said image represent different amounts of
abrasion; and enabling said user to edit said graphical
representation.
110. A method as in claim 109 wherein said
indicias comprise different colors, each color
associated with a specified power level and associated
with a specified degree of abrasion.
111. A method as in claim 107 further comprising
using a laser to apply said desired effective applied
power level to a desired garment.
112. A method as in claim 111 wherein said using
comprises defining lines that the laser will follow in
scanning the image, and wherein at least a plurality of
said lines have a varying effective applied power
within the specified line.
113. A method as in claim 112 wherein at least a
plurality of the lines have an effective applied power
that varies at least three values within the scanning
of the line.
114. A method as in claim 112 wherein said using
comprises adjusting a duty cycle of the laser to change
an amount of effective applied power that is applied.
115. A method, comprising:
defining a desired pattern of color alterations to
be formed to a garment by selecting a plurality of
areas on a display, defining a color that is associated
with each of a plurality of abrasion levels, selecting
a color to associate with each of the plurality of
areas to thereby associate a level of abrasion with
each of the plurality of areas; and
storing a computer file indicative of said
selecting.
116. A method as in claim 115 further comprising
enabling said display to be edited, to change color and
or shape.
117. A method as in claim 116 wherein said computer
file specifies information for use in forming control
data for a laser to scribe lines on a desired garment,
wherein at least a plurality of said lines specify an
energy density per unit time which changes within a
single scan line.
118. A method as in claim 117 wherein at least a
plurality of lines have an energy density per unit time
which has at least three values within the specified
line .
119. A method as in claim 118 wherein a highest of
said three values is at least 1.25 times as high as a
lowest of said three values.
120. A method as in claim 116 wherein said editing
comprises applying an abrasion using a spray tool.
121. A method as in claim 116 wherein said editing
comprises decreasing a resolution of said image.
122. A method as in claim 115 further comprising
storing, in a memory, a relationship between each color
and an amount of effective applied energy representing
the color.
123. A method as in claim 116 wherein said using a
laser comprises controlling the laser to control an
effective applied power applied to an area by
controlling a duty cycle of the laser.
124. A method as in claim 123 wherein said duty
cycle is controlled by selectively blocking and
unblocking an output of said laser.
125. A method as in claim 123 wherein said duty
cycle is controlled by turning on and off the laser.
126. A method, comprising:
defining an image of a whisker part which
represents an image of a color change to a material
caused by creasing of the material; and
using a laser to simulate the look of said whisker
part on the material.
127. A method as in claim 126 wherein said whisker
part comprises a plurality of lines that represent the
creases .
128. A method as in claim 127 wherein each of the
whiskers are between l/8th of an inch and 2 inches in
width and between one and ten inches in length.
129. A method as in claim 126 wherein each of the
lines is a different color in the center then along the
top, bottom and towards its edges.
130. A method as in claim 126 wherein said forming
comprises allowing a user to form a desired view of the
whisker on a user interface; and
converting the image on the user interface to a
computer file used to control the laser.
131. A method as in claim 126 wherein said forming
the whisker comprises using a laser having a maximum
output power of 500 watts or greater to form a pattern.
132. A method as in claim 131 wherein said pattern
is formed in a way which does not undesirably damage
the material.
133. A method of processing a garment, comprising:
defining a desired pattern to be formed on the
garment and producing a computer file indicative
thereof;
using said computer file with a laser having a
maximum output power of 500 watts or greater, to scribe
the desired pattern on said garment; and
using said laser for thirty seconds or less to
form said entire pattern.
134. A method as in claim 133 further comprising
controlling an effective output power of said laser by
controlling a duty cycle of operation thereof.
135. A method of forming a pattern on a garment
comprising:
determining a pattern to be formed on a garment;
determining an effect that a directional
characteristic of the material will have on the pattern
to be formed; and
specifying both said pattern and said directional
characteristic.
136. A method as in claim 135, wherein said
specifying includes forming a computer file
indicative of areas, and effective power output
levels associated with each said area.
137. A method as in claim 136, further comprising
using said computer file to control a controllable
laser, to form an effect on a material.
138. A method of processing a garment,
comprising:
obtaining a first garment which has a desired look
to be replicated;
determining color levels of different areas of a
plurality of different areas of said first garment;
determining, from said color levels, an amount of
effective applied energy of laser energy which will
need to be applied to said each of said area to
replicate said color level; and
forming a computer file which has a plurality of
area representations, each area representation
associated with a power representation representing
said amount of laser power which needs to be applied to
each of said areas to replicate said different areas of
said first garment.
139. A method as in claim 138 further comprising
using said computer file to control a laser to mark a
second garment in a way that replicates a pattern of
the colors on the first garment.
140. A method as in claim 138 wherein said laser
marks said second garment by scribing a plurality of
lines on said second garment using said computer file.
141. An apparatus as in claim 140 wherein at least
a plurality of said lines define an effective applied
energy which varies within each of a plurality of
single scanned lines.
142. A method as in claim 138 further comprising
storing information in a look up table, and using said
information to determine said effective applied energy
for each of said areas.
143. A method as in claim 138 further comprising
displaying a graphical image indicative of said
computer file to a user and allowing said user to edit
said graphical image to thereby edit said computer
file.
144. A method, comprising:
defining an image of a whisker part which
represents an image of a color change to a material
caused by creasing of the material; and
forming a computer file which indicates said
whisker part, and which which represents at least a
plurality of areas, and laser information for said
areas, said laser information for said areas being
information which will cause said laser to form a
specified color change of material in said areas.
145. A method as in claim 144, further comprising
applying said computer file to a laser to simulate the
look of said whisker part on the material.
146. A method as in claim 144 wherein said whisker
part comprises a plurality of lines that represent the
creases, each of the lines are between l/8th of an inch
and 2 inches in width and between one and ten inches in
length.
147. A method as in claim 144 wherein each of the
lines is a different color in the center then along the
top, bottom and towards its edges.
148. A method comprising:
defining a pattern to be formed on a textile
material, which pattern represents different degrees of
abrasion of said textile material at different
locations, and which represents at least first areas
which have no abrasion, and producing a computer
readable file indicative of said pattern; and
controlling a laser to form said pattern by first
controlling said laser according to said file to
produce an effective output power in said first areas
which is greater than zero, but is less than a
threshold beyond which a visible change will be made to
said textile material, and to increase the effective
output power at a boundary between said first areas,
and other areas outside said first areas.
149. A method comprising:
defining a pattern to be formed on a textile
material, which pattern represents a plurality of
sections, each section having a separately controllable
amount of degree of change, said different degrees of
change including at least a plurality of different
levels of change;
randomizing a precise point at which the degree of
change actually is bounded between two adjacent levels;
and
forming a computer-readable file indicating said
pattern and information about said degree of change,
including the randomized boundary.
150. A method as in claim 149, wherein said
degree of change information is information about an
effective applied power level for a laser, and said
file includes said information associated with location
information.
151. A method as in claim 150, further comprising
using a laser to apply said effective applied power
levels at specified locations represented by said
location information.
152. A method comprising:
defining a pattern to be formed on a textile
material, which pattern has different colors
representing different degrees of change of said
textile material at different locations, said different
degrees of change including at least a plurality of
different levels of change, each different level of
change associated with an effective applied energy to
be applied to said location;
defining a tool which allows a spray of
incremental intensity onto the pattern, by defining a
droplet size and trajectory, determining a location
that is hit by a droplet; adjusting a color level of
said location based on said hit so that said effective
applied energy is adjusted by said hitting.
153. A method as in claim 152, wherein said
colors are one of full colors or gray scales.
154. A method as in claim 152, wherein said
locations are pixels.
155. A method as in claim 152, wherein said
adjusting comprises incrementing a color level of said
location to a next higher color level.
156. A method as in claim 152, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, a duty cycle of an output of a laser, a
speed of movement of a laser, a distance of a laser or
a number of passes of a laser.
157. A method as in claim 152, wherein said
adjusting comprises incrementing a color level of said
location to a next lower color level.
158. A method of providing a variable effect to a
material, comprising:
changing an effective applied power from a laser
to a material by making multiple passes of laser scans
along specific segments of the pattern, each of said
passes being carried out at constant power, speed and
laser distance, but the combination of said multiple
scans providing a varied effective applied power at
said material.
159. A method as in claim 158, wherein said
changing comprises defining a file having different
levels of effective applied energy, and using said file
to control a number of said passes which are carried
out in each of a plurality of areas.
160. A method as in claim 159, wherein said areas
are pixels.
161. A method as in claim 2, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, a duty cycle of an output of a laser, a
speed of movement of a laser, or a distance of a laser,
162. A method as in claim 41, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
163. A method as in claim 93, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
164. A method as in claim 107, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
165. A method as in claim 150, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
166. An apparatus as in claim 59, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
167. An apparatus as in claim 82, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
168. A file format, comprising:
a representation of a matrix of values, each value
representing an amount of effective applied power to be
applied to each area defined by each element of the
matrix.
169. A format as in claim 168, wherein each
element of said matrix is bit-mapped.
170. A format as in claim 168, wherein each
value represents at least one of power level, duty
cycle and or energy density per unit time for each of
said areas.
171. A format as in claim 168, wherein each said
area is a pixel.
172. A format as in claim 168, wherein said
format also includes a value from which a direction of
scanning by a laser should be carried out.
173. A file format, comprising:
a representation of a matrix of values, each value
representing an amount of power to be applied by a
laser to each area defined by each element of the
matrix; and
a control value for said laser, indicating a
direction of laser scanning.
174. A format as in claim 173, wherein said
direction is one of horizontal or vertical scanning.
175. A method comprising:
authoring a special image intended for use in
changing the color of textile fabric, which has
differently colored areas representing different levels
of change of color to said textile fabric; and
using said image to form a file that controls a
laser to carry out said changing of color of said
textile fabric.
176. A method as in claim 175, wherein said file
includes levels of effective applied energy associated
with said levels of change of color.
177. A method as in claim 176, wherein said
effective applied energy is one of an energy density
per unit time, power level of a laser, a duty cycle of
an output of a laser, a speed of movement of a laser,
or a distance of a laser.
178. A method as in claim 175, wherein said file
includes a separate effective applied energy value for
each pixel of the image.
179. A file format, comprising:
a matrix of values, each value associated with an
area and having a value which indicates an amount of
lasing to be carried out by a laser, which matrix of
values collectively forms information which can be used
to use said laser to form a whisker on a material, said
whisker representing a color change to a material
caused by creasing of the material.
PCT/US2000/026726 1999-10-05 2000-09-28 A scanned modulated laser for processing material surfaces WO2001025824A3 (en)

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JP2001528731A JP2003511242A (en) 1999-10-05 2000-09-28 Method and apparatus for treating the surface of the fibrous material using a laser in order to obtain the wear appearance
EP20000967049 EP1242962A2 (en) 1999-10-05 2000-09-28 Material surface processing with a laser that has a scan modulated effective power to achieve multiple worn looks
CA 2386786 CA2386786A1 (en) 1999-10-05 2000-09-28 A scanned modulated laser for processing material surfaces

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
WO2001025824A3 (en) 2001-10-25 application
EP1242962A2 (en) 2002-09-25 application
CA2386786A1 (en) 2001-04-12 application
CN1408098A (en) 2003-04-02 application
JP2003511242A (en) 2003-03-25 application
CN1271554C (en) 2006-08-23 grant

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