DISPOSABLE SAFETY GARMENT WITH REDUCED PARTICULATE SHEDDING
A nonwoven disposable safety garment made by cutting at least one sheet of nonwoven material into a safety garment pattern, stitching the at least one sheet to define a garment, and hemming the garment. Cut edges are twice folded and hemmed under to prevent exposure of any cut edges. Stitching is characterized by a stitch density in the range of 10 to 12 stitches per inch.
The present application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/428,728 (“APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR PACKAGING NONWOVEN SAFETY GARMENTS”), filed Jul. 5, 2006, pending; and its parent, U.S. application Ser. No. 10/798,646 (“DISPOSABLE GARMENT WITH REDUCED PARTICULATE SHEDDING”), filed Mar. 11, 2004, now abandoned. Each of these is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.TECHNICAL FIELD
The present invention relates generally to the field of safety apparel, and more specifically to a safety garment having reduced particulate shedding properties.BACKGROUND
Safety garments, such as disposable smocks, jumpsuits, gloves, shoe coverings, and hair coverings, are required apparel for the performance of many jobs. Some of the jobs requiring safety garments are performed in clean room environments, wherein the introduction of foreign matter must be minimized. For example, technicians in certain sensitive medical fields dealing with infectious matter, aerospace researchers assembling interplanetary probes, and material scientists developing and manufacturing ultrapure materials all wear safety garments in clean room environments. The safety garments perform the dual function of protecting the wearer from the potentially hazardous materials he is working with as well as preventing unwanted matter from the wearer's person from contaminating his work product.
Safety garments for use in clean room environments are typically made from nonwoven disposable materials, such as from sheets of spunbond/melt blown/melt blown/spunbond (SMMS) material and the like. Such sheets of material are cut into patterns and stitched together to form desired safety apparel. Typically, as these garments are intended to be disposable and the focus is on their functionality and not aesthetic appeal, little attention is paid to the hemming and stitching. The “as cut” edges are thus exposed. However, in clean room environments where contaminant levels in the parts per million or even parts per billion would be too high, such exposed cut edges present genuine sources of potential particulate contamination.
Moreover, as these garments are intended to be disposable, little effort is made to provide durable stitching. The prevalent attitude is that a garment intended to be worn for just a few hours does not require superior stitching. However, in a clean room situation or a hazardous environment such as asbestos remediation or nuclear demolition and decontamination, seam separation is not only a potential source of particulate evolution in and of itself, but also produces a pathway from the exterior to the interior of the garment through which potentially hazardous material may flow.
There thus remains a need for an improved safety garment that is more durable and less prone to particulate shedding. The present disclosure addresses these needs.SUMMARY
The present disclosure relates to a disposable clean room safety garment, including at least one sheet of nonwoven fabric having at least one cut edge, a plurality of stitches formed in the sheet(s) of nonwoven fabric to define a garment; and hemming formed at cut edges. The nonwoven fabric is preferably formed from spunbond/melt blown material. The stitching is characterized by an optimized stitch density of between ten and twelve stitches per inch.
One object of the present invention is to provide an improved safety garment. Related objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description.
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the disclosure and presenting its currently understood best mode of operation, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, with such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated embodiments and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art.
In practice, the garments 10 and 14 are made by cutting one or more sheets of nonwoven material into a desired safety garment pattern. Simple patterns (e.g., shoe coverings) may require a single sheet; more complex patterns (e.g., smocks, jumpsuits, and the like) may require two or more sheets of varying size. The sheet(s) is/are then stitched together to define a garment 10. The edges of the garment 10 are then hemmed. All cut edges are twice folded and hemmed under to prevent exposure of any cut edges that could increase the likelihood of particulate shedding. All stitching in these illustrative embodiments is characterized by a stitch density in the range of 10 to 12 stitches per inch.
The loops of the embodiments of
While the disclosed technology has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character. It is understood that the embodiments have been shown and described in the foregoing specification in satisfaction of the best mode and enablement requirements. It is understood that one of ordinary skill in the art could readily make a near infinite number of insubstantial changes and modifications to the above-described embodiments, and that it would be impractical to attempt to describe all such variations in the present specification. Accordingly, it is understood that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the disclosed technology are desired to be protected.
1. A nonwoven safety garment, comprising:
- a piece of cut spunbond/melt blown material having a plurality of cut edges; and
- at least one seam connecting at least two of the plurality of cut edges, together defining a garment;
- wherein, at one or more cut edges that are not connected at the at least one seam, the cut edges are double-folded under, then hemmed into place.
2. The garment of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of hemmed loops extending from the garment and positioned to engage a wearer's hands.
3. The garment of claim 2, wherein the hemmed loops are characterized by stitching that has a stitch density between ten and twelve stitches per inch.
4. The garment of claim 1 wherein the garment further includes an elastic band disposed under a hem, and wherein the garment is shaped to form a shoe covering.
5. A disposable clean room safety garment, comprising:
- at least one sheet of nonwoven fabric having at least one cut edge;
- a plurality of stitches formed in the at least one sheet of nonwoven fabric to define a garment with no lining; and
- hems formed at the at least one cut edge;
- wherein the nonwoven fabric is formed from spunbond/melt blown material; and
- the plurality of stitches and the hems are characterized by stitch densities between ten and twelve stitches per inch.
6. The garment of claim 5 wherein:
- the garment further includes an elastic band disposed under a hem, and
- the garment is shaped to form a shoe covering.
7. The garment of claim 5 wherein the hems are folded twice to encapsulate the at least one cut edge.
8. The garment of claim 5, further comprising at least one hand-engaging loop.
9. The garment of claim 8, wherein the at least one hand-engaging loop further comprises an elongated piece of cut nonwoven fabric defining a pair of generally parallel cut edges, and wherein the cut edges are folded under and hemmed into place such that the cut edges are not exposed.
10. A method of making a safety garment, comprising the steps of:
- a) cutting at least one sheet of nonwoven material having at least one cut edge into a safety garment pattern;
- b) stitching the at least one sheet to define a garment;
- c) hemming the garment at the at least one cut edge; and
- d) attaching a hand-engaging loop to the garment;
- wherein all cut edges are twice folded and hemmed under to prevent exposure of any cut edge; and
- wherein all stitching and hemming is characterized by a stitch density in the range of 10 to 12 stitches per inch.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the nonwoven fabric is formed from spunbond/melt blown material.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein the garment has no lining.
13. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
- attaching hemmed loops to the garment that extend from the garment and are positioned to engage a wearer's hands.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the hemmed loops are characterized by stitching that has a stitch density between ten and twelve stitches per inch.
15. The method of claim 10,
- further comprising placing an elastic band under a hem, and
- wherein the garment is shaped to form a shoe covering.