US 2114776 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 19, 1938.
E. DAVIS 2,114,776
DRY CLEANING MACHINE Filed Nov. 18, 1956 8 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR ERNEST DAVIS April 19, 1938. E. DAVIS 2,114,776
DRY CLEANING MACHINE Filed Nov. 18, 1956 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 0 m1. 0 MN 'IIIII/III/lI/IIII/ 11/11/11, /I//I/I IIII/IIII: 111/ 'IIIII 'IIIA'IIIIIIIlIII/A III llllfllllllllllllll IIIQPIII/lllllffll!fill!IfI!III!lIlflI/lI/lllI/I/I/lllfiI'IIIIIIIIVIII'II I I. a 72 III/Ill! INVENTOR 9 ATTORNEYS ERNEST DAVIS BY III/IIIIIIIIIVIIIIII/II/II I m I I w m I I I I E. DAVIS DRY CLEANING MACHINE April 19, 1938.
Filed Nov. 18, 1936 8 Sheets-Sheet 3 P :5m m M .S e o y a M J a e.u+, su 6: M W i w k \W m 0:
Lwwcwuco o INVENTOR E R NEST DAVIS 1' 6 XTTORNEYS April 19, 1938. E. DAVIS DRY CLEANING MACHINE Filed Nov. 18, 1956 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR ERNEST DAVIS BY ATTORNEYS 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 E. DAVIS DRY CLEANING zwcnzam Filed Nov. 18, 1936 A ril 19, 1938.
E. DAVIS DRY CLEANING MACHINE April E9, 193
Filed NOV. 18, 1956 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 nu ow mm nm .EDOEO wz mo 13 PO:
April 19, 1938. E. DAVIS DRY CLEANING MACHINE Filed Nov. 18, 1936 8 SheetsSheet 8 mm 3 pm ow on 6 .EDOEO oz N mOn OmQ m Iwwmm mow INVENTOR ERNEST DAVlS Patented Apr. 19, 1938 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE DRY CLEANING MACHINE Application November 18, 1936, Serial No. 111,478 In Great Britain May 2, 1934 60 Claims.
This invention relates in general to washers and dry cleaners, and more particularly to a new form of dry cleaning machine. The machine or machines herein described are susceptible to either manual, semi-automatic, or full-automatic control.
This application is a continuation in part of my earlier application filed in the United States Patent Omce on October 14, 1935, Serial No. 4%,823, entitled Dry cleaning unit.
My invention is new and useful, among other things, in its unitary and compact form of closed or sealed work-treating chamber, and is new in its solvent-washing and air-drying apparatus housed within said chamber, together with a sealed-solvent system comprising a new recovery and refining apparatus combined with said sealed chamber for reclaiming and clarifying all soiled and used solvent. This characteristic combination possesses a mode of operation which sets a new standard of usefulness and efliciency in dry cleaning machines.
The dry cleaner embodying this invention is adapted to use a non-inflammable volatile detergent or solvent washing liquid which dissolves and removes the grease and foreign matter from the clothing and other work being cleaned. Such a washing liquid rapidly volatilizes and leaves the work air dried by vaporization, as understood in the dry-cleaning art. There are a number of suitable solvents or volatile-washing and drycleaning liquids on the market. A chlorinated hydro-carbon, carbon tetrachloride, perchlorethylene, or some analogous agent may be used in this machine. These dry-cleaning liquids are quite dense and somewhat heavier than water. The cost of such liquid solvent renders expedient its conservation for use over and over again. In the inception of dry cleaning, when this method of washing became known, a variety of petroleum-base and other volatile-washing liquids was and still is used at times as solvent agents, but such liquids are unsuited because of fire hazard and other objections. They are preferably not used in my machine.
It is an object of the present invention to produce a washing machine of the solvent or drycleaning type which is power driven and may be made fully automatic throughout its several operating cycles or steps. the primary ones in my machine being washing, rinsing, extracting, drying, deodorizing which is optional, vaporsolvent recovering, and liquid-solvent refining or clarifying, together with any number of intermediate or repeat operations in addition to this series of seven or eight principal cycles named as an example of one complete dry-cleaning run or operation. The control of my machine, when set for automatic operation, is completely removed from the operator from the time the machine starts a run until it has completed its operation. This removes all inaccuracies arising from manual control, and makes for uniformity in quality as well as increased production of work.
Conducting the cycle operations of this machine may involve some thirty to fifty, more or less, interdependent automatic manipulations of the various controls. This is effected by an automatic pilot or cycle timer by which the operating sequence of the machine is expedited and advanced step by step. My automatic-dry cleaner can be so set and controlled that its operations are timed and follow each other in rapid succession, in accordance with any suitable program for washing or dry cleaning carried out by an automatic-cycle record. This record comprises a schedule selected and made by the attendant or operator of the machine as best suited to his local conditions and the general character of work at hand, and is sometimes called the Formatrol record which is the trade mark for the cycle timer of this machine.
My machine employs any suitable cycle timer, and so in the present description I only briefly refer to same in order that it be understood how my dry cleaner is adapted to automatic control. A cycle timer is preferably used for controlling the period of each operation of the motor means for effecting the several drive motions of the clothes receptacle or washing drum within the sealed work-treating chamber, and also for remotely controlling the opening and closing actions of the various valves in the solvent-flow piping, in the steam lines connected with the air-heating means and with the still, also the valves in the cold-water piping leading to the vapor-solvent recovery condenser and the cooler for the refined solvent as well as the still condenser, and also for controlling the air valves and blower fans in the vapor and air ducts forming the air-drying circuit within the sealed work-treating chamber. Taken all together, these automatic actions comprise the considerable number of operations heretofore mentioned to carryout the step-by-step cycles of washing, extracting, drying, vaporsolvent reclamation effected within the sealed chamber, and the liquid-solvent rectifying or clarifying operations performed by the automatic still and other solvent-handling apparatus included in my invention.
It is a further object of this invention to produce a new form of dry-cleaning machine having its component parts organized and grouped into a compact unit which occupies little space as compared to conventional dry-cleaning plants and machinery, and to provide a new combination and relation of the various receptacles and drying means sealed within the work-treating chamber to insure against loss of the valuable solvent agent.
More particularly, it is an object to produce a dry-cleaning machine, the washing and air-drying apparatus, as well as the related solvent-handling or treating apparatus, both of which are sealed from the outer atmosphere; and wherein all liquid and vapor solvent is extracted from the saturated work or clothes, as well as recovered from the air coming in contact therewith while drying said work, and thereafter this reclaimed solvent is automatically cleaned, purified, and cooled whereupon it is again accumulated in a solvent-storage tank for further use. This simultaneous treating of the work, and treating of the solvent, takes place within my new combination sealed-washing chamber and sealed solvent-handling system.
In connection with the foregoing, it is an object to produce a novel water separating means which removes all water from the solvent immediately after the recovery of the vapor solvent or fumes from the washed and dried work, and to again remove any remaining traces of water after said recovered solvent is clarified by distillation. Consequently, the solvent is purified both before and after the distilling operation takes place, and this makes for efllciency in the solvent-refining cycle.
It is also an object to produce an automaticdry cleaner having a washer means operable within a sealed work-treating chamber and operable in conjunction with the sealed-solvent system aforesaid, but which nevertheless may if desired have its sealed chamber temporarily vented or opened to atmosphere for deodorizing, aerating, or freshening of the work, after all the solvent has been recovered therefrom during the hot-air drying cycle. This object is attained by my new and positively operated block-off valve means which automatically and simultaneously seals off the solvent system from the externally vented dry-cleaning chamber when the latter is temporarily opened to atmosphere. Consequently, all solvent lines and vessels remain sealed from the outer atmosphere while the work is being freshened by deodorizing, i. e., blowing outside air through the washer means within the temporarily-vented work-treating chamber. In this way, the solvent system itself is permanently sealed from contact with the outer atmosphere during all cycles of operation.
Likewise, it is an object to provide a new means and mode of deodorizing or freshening the work, as the final step in the dry-cleaning process, by arranging for fume or vapor recovery through condensation, while the deodorizing cycle is in progress, in the event there remains any traces of solvent in the work after the hot-air drying cycle is completed and when the deodorizing cycle begins. This is in keeping with my principle of not allowing any solvent, whether liquid or vapor, to be lost to atmosphere; and my new arrangement of parts within the closed chamber acts to recover any remaining traces of solvent which ordinarily is carried oif and lost during the deodorizing operation of present day dry-cleaning systems.
Another and one of the more important purposes of my invention is to produce a dry-cleaning machine having a sealed work-treating or washing and drying chamber of integrally walled construction which alone performs a number of functions and hence is new by virtue of its particular walling arrangement. Among these features it is noteworthy that my sealed chamber itself takes the place of conventional framework, not only to support accessory parts of the machine including the washer apparatus by carrying the main bearings for the primary moving part or parts, but also to form the walls of the sealed chamber as well as certain closely arranged internal tank and sub-chamber walls. The sealed chamber also constitutes characteristically shortair and vapor-conducting passages for communicating the washing vat with a new vapor and airheating means, with a vapor-solvent recovery means, a water separator, a sump or dump tank, and air-filter means, all of which are self-formed and self-contained by and within the walling structure of the sealed work-treating chamber in a manner which group the parts in a closely coupled arrangement. The comparatively shortvapor passages reduce skin friction of the vapor and air flow and economize in the consumption of power required to operate the machine, and more particularly economizes in the electric power required to circulate the air and vapor through the sealed work-treating chamber and its closely connected ducts.
The walling arrangement of the foregoing paragraph attains a further object by rendering unnecessary the conventionally spaced solvent tanks and their exposed piping now largely employed in joining the several separated parts of dry-cleaning plants of the prior art in operative communication with each other. By this invention, I have made a new grouping arrangement of the previously scattered members of a conventional drycleaning plant so as to reduce the number of pipe connections, and thus eliminate gaskets and pipe fittings, and also to correct other conditions which have been conducive to leaks and solvent waste in both vapor and liquid form. There results a marked economy in the use of the washing solvent, a reduction in the number of parts and joints in this new combination, and an enhanced appearance.
Another one of the more important objects of my invention is to provide a novel interventing or internal pressure-equalizing means which is sealed from the atmosphere, and by which all liquid-solvent and vapor-solvent circuits inherently maintain a stable and internally self-balanced condition safely operating at about atmospheric pressure. This internal breathing, or what may be called the interventing feature, promotes an easy gravity flow or transfer of the refined solvent from the automatic-still condenser to a solventstorage tank and thence into the washing chamber, and also affords an easy pumping fiow of the dirty solvent from said washing chamber back to the refining still and clarifying apparatus.
A further object and an important mode of operation attained by this invention is the provision of a closed-solvent system as one part, which operates in conjunction with a closed work-treating chamber as another part, wherein each part or assembly functions as an interventing breather or pressure-equalizer means for the other. Such a combination inherently maintains a normally-stable internal-working pressure at about that of atmosphere as before stated. Consequently, there are no factors or conditions in my new combination which cause undue fluctuations of pressure. My dry cleaner, therefore, is free of undue negative or positive internal pressure and it is perfectly safe in its normal use and operation. Internal pressure fluctuation is a condition generally prevalent in dry cleaners in the prior art, the solution of which has been much sought after and heretofore usually attained by continuously venting or breathing,in one way oranother, the dry cleaner outwardly to atmosphere. Such open or vented conventional dry-cleaning plants or machinery of the prior art operate with a considerable loss of solvent by reason of discharging vapor solvent to the atmosphere. The present invention, however, corrects this faulty condition and it is now entirely feasible to use the somewhat expensive solvents in an economical way,
In my invention, it is one of the outstanding purposes to so organize and proportion the sealed apparatus as a whole that the quantity of clarified solvent, which is refined by the still and its condenser, rapidly flows therefrom by gravity into a storage tank and simultaneously displaces or transfers the air from the latter through the interventing lines into some other closed vessel or chambered part of the system. This avoids any tendency for the still to build up pressure in the closed-solvent system and its closely-coupled washing chamber. To the same efiect, the vapor or fume recovery condenser, within the sealed dry-cleaning chamber, is made ample in capacity to condense or reliquefy the fumes or vapor as rapidly as the solvent is released by vaporization and driven or withdrawn from the saturated work by the forced circulation of warm air passing over and through said work. This characteristic of my construction avoids all tendency of an internal pressure build-up within the sealed work-treating chamber and its closely coupled solvent system. The sealed apparatus as a whole, therefore, is self equalizing as to its internalpressure conditions, attaining this new mode of operation by reason of its enclosed interbreathing or interventing system.
In addition to the foregoing provisions inherently maintaining a stable internal-working pressure at about that of atmosphere, it is an object to provide a safety interlock between the steam pipe and cold-water pipe lines connected, respectively, with the still and its condenser. The purpose of this interlock control is to automatically stop the steam-heating function of the still and hence its vaporizing action, in the unlikely event of the cold-water supply to the still condenser being interrupted and thus the cessation of its condensing action. Consequently, there can be no over-run or excess vapor production from the solvent-refining still to create an internal-vapor pressure unduly above that of atmosphere within the sealed system. This is accomplished by providing means for automatically closing a valve in the steam-supply pipe leading to the still in the event the cold-water flow should for any reason stop running through the still condenser.
It is a further object to provide a vapor-solvent condenser means comprising a reclaiming or recovery condenser Within the sealed worktreating chamber, in combination with a still condenser, the joint operation of which provides for maximum efliciency. To this end, I employ a fixed or constant flow of cold water through the cooling coils of not only the recovery condenser but of the still condenser as well, which is to say that the rate of cold-water flow, as required to attain maximum efllciency for a given set of local conditions, is first determined or approximated, whereupon that ascertained rate of cold-water flow is then fixed, so as to remain a constant factor in the machine operation selected for said given conditions. Such an arrangement, therefore, makes it a simple matter to insure against a possible internal-vapor pressure build-up, and this is insured against by controlling the major source of vapor production which is the still. For this purpose; the still and its condenser have been interlocked, as aforesaid, so that they are oil? and on together, one being incapable of functioning without the other.
Finally, there is provided a normally-closed safety or relief valve in communication with the sealed work-treating chamber and the sealedsolvent system to take care of any possible failure of the safety-control interlock between the still and its condenser. This may be a simple form of relief valve which momentarily opens to atmosphere under the influence of an internal-vapor pressure rise, just above that of atmospheric pressure, say at about a three pound pressure, more or less. This safety valve will open readily and relieve any excess internal pressure, inherently provided against as heretofore mentioned, in the unlikely event that the safety interlock should fail; which is to say that wear or other conditions, beyond one's control, might eventually lead to a leaky steam valve which, in time or by long use, might not fully cut off the flow of steam to the refining still in the event of failure or the stoppage of flow of the interlocked supply of cold water running through the still condenser. Save for this normallyclosed safety valve, which is common to both the sealed chamber and solvent system, my new drycleaner apparatus as a whole has no vent to atmosphere which would permit solvent to be lost. This safety or relief valve rarely if ever has been known to open.
It is a further object to produce an automatic dry cleaner in which a single housing or cabinet is so fashioned that it is not only pleasing in appearance but provides the sealed worktreating chamber containing its vapor-solvent recovery means heretofore mentioned, as well as providing a rear compartment containing the motor or motors for driving the washer means within said chamber. This rear compartment also contains certain of the automatic-controlling apparatus which governs the cycle action of the machine throughout its numerous individualstep operations carried out in cleansing a load of soiled work and reconditioning the recovered solvent for the next batch-washing operation.
My dry cleaner, therefore, in addition to its symmetery of design, is not so heavy, occupies less floor space, is externally clean, and can be csthetically fashioned by modernizing its appearance, as shown in my design patents, Des. 100,546 and Des. 100,547. Such a machine has the advantage of being well suited for use in stores and the like where heavy-plant machinery, styled after the prior art, is unsightly and entirely out of place.
The views in the drawings The accompanying drawings illustrate an example of the invention in both schematic and structural form, and it is to be understood that various changes in arrangement, shape and re lationship, and the enclosing and sealing of parts, may be made without departing from the teachings herein. The drawings are arranged to Dortray the principles of the invention, and certain views show the related compactness and unified construction of the machine in one of its preferred commercial forms as now manufactured.
Figure 1 shows a front right-side perspective view of the machine in one of its commercial forms. The forward portion of the machine cabinet comprises the sealed work-treating chamber in which the work is washed and dried. The rear portion of the cabinet comprises an open motor compartment for housing the motor means and the automatic controls. The cycle timer with its automatic record and its optional manualcontrol buttons for controlling the machine is to be seen mounted on the left side and near the front end of the cabinet. The still with its condenser thereabove, comprising part of the solventtreating system, is located outside of the cabinet to the left and rear thereof.
Figures 2 and 3 are views of one commercial form, and show sectional details of the front portion of the machine cabinet, i. e., the sealed washing and drying (work-treating) chamber per se. My new dump valve, in combination with its pneumatic-operating means and button trap, is shown in elevation carried on the left side of said chamber. Figure 2 shows the left side of the chamber in elevation, although the upper part is sectioned along the line 2-2 of Figure 3, with a fragment of the motor compartment portion of said machine cabinet at the left, i. e., in the rear of the sealed chamber; and a solvent storage tank is mounted within the upper part of said motor compartment. Figure 3 is a front vertical section taken on the line 3-3 of Figure 2.
Figure 4 shows the solvent and vapor flow circuits with pressure interventing lines. This is the liquid solvent piping and vessels with the interventing or interbreather lines sealed from atmosphere, constituting the combined liquid and vapor-solvent system; and the sealed worktreating chamber is connected in series therewith. The heavy lines and the heavy single-headed arrows in this view show the liquid-solvent flow pipes and vessels. The light lines and the light double-headed arrows show the solvent vapor circulating and pressure-equalizing intervent communications between the several liquid-solvent pipes and vessels. The heavy dotted arrows represent water separation. This Figure 4 is also presented as a modified form, by showing the use of my dry cleaner without the deodorizingvalve means.
Figure 5 is a schematic view of all liquid and vapor flow circuits. This view of the general combination shows a development from Figure 4, and it is a diagram of the complete apparatus including a steam-supply pipe with its branch lines, a cold-water supply pipe with its branch lines, and an air-pressure supply pipe with its branch lines, all of which are in addition to the solvent and vapor flow circuit with pressure-interventing lines in the previous view. The light arrows show the fiow of steam and vaporized solvent, the heavy arrows show the flow of liquid solvent and cooling water, and the heavy dotted arrows indicate water separation from liquid solvent taking place.
Figure 6 shows a front section through the sealed work-treating chamber taken on a vertical plane through the axis of the washer drum and looking toward the front of the machine. The air circulating fans and ducts, as well as the solvent pump, are spread out in schematic form to better illustrate this phase of the invention. The direction arrows show the flow of the air and vapor. At the upper part of this view the open mouth or front end of my new vapor filters are shown in front elevation. There is also shown a solvent drain from the main bearing or bearings of the washing-drum shaft forming a solvent return back to the interior of the sealed chamber.
Figure '7 is a perspective view of one of the vapor filters or screens detached from its retaining plate or frame in the sealed work-treating chamber. This view shows the principle of the vapor filters and one form of bag-like construction thereof. Six of these air filters are shown in the other views as an example of my invention, although the size and number of filters may vary somewhat so long as an adequate filtering area is provided in the air and vapor duct within the rear of the sealed chamber.
Figures 8 and 9 show horizontal cross sections through the lower portion of the sealed worktreating chamber to illustrate the fume or vapor solvent-recovery condenser chamber located between two air-heater chambers.
Figure 8 is made on the line 8-8 of Figures 10 and 11, and the arrows on the pipes show the direction of the cold water flow and the steam flow through the pipe coils in the solvent-recovery condenser chamber and the two air-heater chambers, respectively.
Figure 9 is a view taken on the line 8-9 of Figure 11. The direction arrows in the chambers, crossing the pipe coils, indicate said vapor and air flow. Figure 9 is to be read with Figures 10 and 11.
Figures 10 and 11 are read together and in conjunction with Figure 9. These three views, with direction arrows in the flow passages, show the hot air drying circuit within the sealed worktreating chamber by which the solvent is vaporized and driven by heated air from the clothes to dry them in the washing drum, and to recover tom of the machine and discharges it at the top left side as shown by the spray of direction arrows at those two locations, but the solvent system is not vented. While deodorizing, the fume or vapor-recovery condenser chamber is shut or blocked-off so that the solvent-handling or treating system. as a whole remains positively sealed from atmosphere. The fresh cool air, therefore, cannot blow through the recovery condenser or otherwise come in contact with the solvent system. The steam circulation through the two airheater coils is also assumed to be discontinued so the air is not heated during this fresh-air finishing cycle. These Figures 12 and 13 are developed on the vertical section lines 12 and I3, respectively.
In the foregoing Figures 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13, it is noted that some of the vapor-flow direction arrows are dotted, or that they are partially dotted. Such method of illustration is resorted to in showing the air and vapor flow behind the tarious walls in the compartmented washing and rying chamber,
M 11 related copending drive case One branch of invention, as embodiedin this automatic dry cleaner as a whole, relates to the motor means or power drive for imparting to the Washing drumherein the several required motions during a complete dry-cleaning operation or run of the work. One type of automatic-motor means or power drive, well adapted for, use in combination with and for driving and controlling the dry cleaner herein, is represented by my companion invention which is independently disclosed and claimed in my copending application entitled Automatic drive and washer heretofore filed in the United States Patent Oflice on October 12, 1935 under Serial Number 44,653, now Patent 2,056,833, issued October 6, 1936.
Said copending application 44,653 more particularly claims the new combination in a washer generally, with an automatic-motor means and a cycle control therefor comprising one divisible branch; or what I sometimes call my drive case. The instant case, however, claims my sealed work-treating chamber with its automatically-controlled hot and cold air-blowing circuits, and thus comprises another divisible branch; or what I sometimes call my "cabinet" or machine case.
For clarity, in introducing the description of the present invention, the same reference characters will now be used, as were employed in said previously-filed copending application 44,653, insofar as said part numbers are in common in the two cases. In addition thereto, I will first describe such parts and features of the instant invention as are also shown in the previous case. The ensuing description, therefore, is made sufficiently complete as to render unnecessary a study of said cope-nding application for an understanding of the claimed subject matter herein.
The work-treating chamber and the drive means in general Referring now to the drawings appended hereto, the sealed washing and drying chamber at the front of the machine cabinet is herein designated generally by the reference character 2, and the motor compartment at the rear is designated I. This motor compartment I may be formed of the same side plates or walling structure as that of the sealed chamber 2, but these two cabinet sections l and 2 are usually constructed in separate assemblies, then the two are placed in juxtaposition and bolted or otherwise anchored together to form a single cabinet I, 2 of well proportioned and pleasing appearance, as shown in Figure 1. A fragmentary part of the separate motor compartment I is also to be seen in other views, but it is not of direct importance here.
Although the sealed work-treating chamber 2 may be constructed of any suitable material and manufactured by any appropriate method, a description will now be given of this chamber produced in a way found practical and satisfactory in its commercial use.
The sealed dry-cleaning or work-treating chamber is in part formed by the two vertically spaced side walls 2 closed at the rear by a vertical wall I40 integral with the sides 2. Thus in effect, the wall I40 forms the front wall of the motor compartment I. A bottom wall 2 and a top wall 2 integrally join the rear wall and the two side walls 2. A front cabinet wall comprises a central upper portion in the form of a sector arched forwardly of a vertical and flat lower wall 5' A front upper wall 5 slants rearwardly and joins the top wall 2'' and also joins the arched central wall 5 to complete the sealed work-treating chamber designated as a whole at 2 for convenient reference herein. Hence, the work chamber 2 is generally of rectangular form.
The six principal enclosure walls thus named have their meeting edges integrally joined as by welding into one unitary chambered structure 2 rectangular in cross section. This produces a fully-closed chamber within which the washing, the air drying, and the vapor-solvent recovery or reclaiming operations are carried out; and by temporarily opening this chamber 2 to atmosphere, with a simultaneous blocking-off of the solvent system, the deodorizing cycle, if used, is effected in the chamber in a new and improved way.
This six-sided walling structure forming the chamber 2 is fabricated from sheet stock, say boiler plate. The side plates 2 in particular'may be of somewhat heavier or thicker plate stock than the other walls so as to carry the bearings for the washing drum, also support other apparatus, and more particularly render framework unnecessary. Since this work-treating chamber 2 is a fabricated weld construction, I preferably use a heavy plate stock which retains its flat shape and avoids warping under the high temperature employed during the welding and the galvanized-plating processes employed in manufacturing the washing chamber 2. In order to eliminate galvanizing or internal plating of the sealed work-treating chamber 2, a nickel-clad or other resistant-surfaced plate stock may be used for integrally fabricating the chamber 2.
As one example of my manufacturing practice, I have made the vertical side walls 2 of plate stock or steel about three-eighths of an inch thick, and have made the other walls about threesixteenths. The use of these gages of plate stock of rather substantial construction is a direct result of one preferred manufacturing practice based on economy as regards selection of materials and the practical welding and galvanized plating requirements when the chamber 2 is constructed that Way.
The closed chamber 2 is inherently further strengthened by reason of its internal walling and partitions, all of which are integrally fabricated. Hence, the work-treating chamber 2 is sufficiently strong to withstand internal pressure or vacuum conditions if they arise. That they do not arise is due to my characteristic design and mode of sealed operation, by which is attained an internal-working pressure normally about equal to that of atmosphere, as previously mentioned. This desirable condition is naturally conducive to solvent economy since it minimizes the tendency of vapor to escape from or air to enter into the sealed chamber 2, which is to say that there is no tendency for said chamber to breathe in and out during normal operation at about atmospheric pressure.
A cylindrical washing vat or tub 6 is mounted horizontally within the sealed chamber 2 and has its ends integrally joined with the two spaced side plates or heavy walls 2. One of the flat sides 2 closes one of the ends of the washing vat 5. The other side plate 2 is formed open in a circular cut-out, as shown at 6 in Figure 3. This circular-end opening 6 is closed by a removable circular cap or plate 6 bolted down by cap screws or otherwise anchored over said open end 6 of the vat 6, with a gasket therebetween to make a liquid and vapor-tight fit, which completely seals said vat ends within the fabricated chamber 2.
A rotary clothes receptacle in the form of a washing drum I, sometimes called the washing wheel or cylinder, ls peripherally perforated throughout its length as indicated at 1'. It is conventional practice to radially partition it into about three work-receiving pockets and provide a slide door for each pocket as shown. The drum is fixed on and carried by a drive shaft 8 journalled within the washing vat 6. The drum or washing cylinder 1 is oscillated, i. e., reversibly rotated at slow speed for washing, rinsing, and dry tumbling the work therein, but it is whirled at high speed in one direction to extract the solvent by centrifugal action after each washing and rinsing cycle. For extracting, the washing drum 1 preferably is whirled counterclockwise, or turns to the left, as observed in Figure 5.
A door 9 has its upper margin fixed by bracket means I2 to a horizontal rock shaft to on the front of the chamber 2. A handle H is provided for swinging the door down to close it, and up to open it. The door 9 affords access to the washing vat 6 and to the clothes drum 1. Camming handles H'- (Figure 1) seal the door 9 down and closed against fluid-tight gasket means.
A door locking device DL (Figure 1) is operatively connected thru an arm fixed on one end of the door shaft Hi to positively lock the door 9 closed during the high-speed rotation of the washing drum 1 while extracting the solvent from the saturated work, although said locking device is adapted to permit the door to be opened during the slow-reverse (oscillating) movement of said drum when the latter is tumbling the work. A door-switch arm I4 is fixed on the other or left end of the shaft l0 and coacts with an electrical switch within a switch box IE and is adapted to automatically stop the machine in the event the operator should open the door 9 while the drum 1 is oscillating.
The motor means for driving the washing drum 8 is merely indicated by dotted lines (Figure 1) herein, since it is obvious that any suitable driving apparatus may be used. A motor shaft 20 projects through the side wall of the motor compartment I inside of which is housed an electric motor means not shown. A drive pulley 2| is fixed on the shaft 20. Likewise, a driven pulley 23 is fixed on the washing drum shaft 8. A belt 22 encircles the two pulleys and drives the drum shaft 8 from the change-speed reversible motor shaft 20. A belt cover 22 may well be provided to enclose the driving transmission referred to. The automatic operation of the motor shaft 20 and transmission 22 selectively runs at high speed at one time to whirl the drum I for extracting solvent from the work, and at reversing-slow speed at another time to oscillate or tumble the work.
It is also to be noted that automatic switches, within the boxes 24 and 23, and other cycle control apparatus, govern the action of the motor means not shown herein, but which is adapted for operating the drive shaft 20. These automatic features are the subject of my companion invention claimed in the earlier-filed "drive case heretofore mentioned.
Internal construction and accessory parts of the sealed work-treating chamber 2 A horizontally disposed rectangular plate Ill has its four marginal edges welded into the four upright walls 2, 2, 5 and H0, forming the sealed cabinet work-treating chamber 2 in which the complete dry-cleaning operation is performed. This plate III is placed just above the bottom 2, and it makes a partition in the form of a cover for a sub-chamber or compartment called the sump or dump tank DT of a capacity suitable to receive all the wash liquid or dirty solvent dumped and quickly drained by gravity into said tank from the washing vat 6. This plate I may be a little lower at one edge, say its rear edge (Figure 2), than at its front, and may also be pitched (Figure 3) toward its center so as to drain rearwardly the solvent which condenses and collects on the upper central surface thereof during the operation of a vapor-solvent recovery condenser to be described.
A second horizontal partition 26 of flat and level form is welded into the sealed chamber 2 above the cover I of the dump tank DT. A pair of vertical partitions 21 (Figure 8) are set in between the two horizontally spaced partition plates 26 and Ill. This arrangement provides two spaced sub-chamber or air-heater boxes HIB, together with a fume or vapor-solvent recovery condenser RC in the form of a chamber between said heater boxes. The two heater box partitions 2'! extend from a vertical line just short of the lower front wall 5" (Figures 8 and 9) to the rear vertical wall I40. These two vertical partitions 21 have their rear ends joined to the rear cabinet wall 0, while their front ends join an upright rectangular closure plate 2| constituting the front wall of the recovery condenser RC. This plate 28 has a large outlet port forming a block-off valve seat 29 which opens outwardly from the recovery condenser RC. This valve port 29 is adapted to be closed to block off the recovery-condenser chamber RC from other parts of the machine, thus sealing said chamber and its associated solvent system from communication with the outer atmosphere in the event the deodorizing cycle is employed, as later explained.
The spread of the upper horizontal plate 26 forms a top which completely covers the two air- .heater boxes HB and substantially covers the centrally located fume or solvent-recovery condenser chamber RC. The plate 26 can be made in one or more sections, but for simplicity it is shown here in one piece and divides off the upper portion of the work chamber 2 from the lower part thereof, leaving only a rear opening 30 leading downwardly into the recovery condenser BC. This rectangular hole 30 opens between the two vertical partitions 21, as seen in plan in Figure 8. Said opening 30 is the lower terminus of a passage labeled air and vapor duct" (Figure 4) at the rear of the vat 6. The opening 30, therefore, communicates the upper part of the sealed chamber 2 with the rear of the recovery condenser RC located in the lower part of the sealed chamber 2.
From the foregoing, it is to be seen that a flow of air and solvent vapor can pass downwardly along and inside the wall I40, through the rectangular opening 30, into the rear of the recovery condenser chamber RC, thence out through the discharge port 29 located at the front of said condenser, which port is midway between the two air-heater boxes HB open at their front ends. The plate 28 and front wall 5 are vertically arranged and spaced apart, and consequently provide a lateral air passage 5, 28 leading from the central block-off valve port 2! to both heater boxes HB. Thus, the vapor-free air blowing from said port 23 divides and blows laterally in both directions (Figure 9) into the front open ends of both heater boxes I-IB.
In some forms of construction, it is well to set in a vertical fume passage plate 3I to cut out the dead-air space not used under the washing vat 6 so as to reduce the skin friction of the air and vapor by eliminating eddy currents, and to better concentrate a straight and even down blow of said air and vapor to and through'the opening 30 into the upper rear part of the recovery-condenser RC. This inside plate or wall 3| has its top edge joined to the rear of the vat 6, with its bottom edge welded to the horizontal partition 26, and it is shown (Figure 8) extending from side to side of the sealed worktreating chamber 2. The plate 3I, spaced from the rear cabinet wall I40, in part forms the straight down "air and vapor duct 3I, I40 behind the vat 0 and through the rectangular opening 30 into the recovery-condenser chamber RC. It is now observed that this opening 30 is bounded by the two vertical partitions 21 and the two spaced walls I40 and 3I. Also it will be seen that there is provided in the rear of the large work-treating chamber 2 the vertical vapor duct 3I, I40 down which a vapor solvent and air mixture flows to give up its solvent in the recovery chamber RC, as later shown; while at the front of the machine there is provided the lateral air duct 5", 28 through which the vapor-free air fiows from the recovery-condenser BC to the two heater boxes HE.
A vapor filter frame 33 (Figures 2 and 3), with openings at 34, is set into the upper portion of the sealed work-treating chamber 2 and extends the length of the vat 3. It is shown in this example of the invention in a vertical position joining the top wall '2 and vat 6. Its lower edge is just to the rear of a series of slots or perforations 35 through the top of the vat. This series of closely spaced perforations 35 extend throughout the length of the vat 6. In width said perforations spread between two parallel baffle plates 30 extending into the vat and also spread between the filter frame 33 and the upper front chamber wall 5. Otherwise, the vat 6 is itself sealed within the walling of the closed chamber 2. Consequently, the vat 0 has its interior in communication only through the vat perforations 35 and the filter frame openings 34 with the rear air and vapor duct 3I, I40 and the front lateral-air passage 5, 23, as well as with other parts of the sealed chamber 2. In other words, the filter frame 33 extends from one side wall 2 of the machine to the other side wall 2 thereof and in effect forms part of the down-draft air and vapor duct 3I, I40 at the rear of the work-treating chamber 2, because the two inside forward plates 3| and 33 are both joined with the rear circle of the vat 6 and with the latter constitute the front inside wall 0, 3I, 33 of said duct, while the spaced cabinet wall I40 defines the rear wall thereof.
A number of vapor filters or screening delinters 31 are nested in the frame 33 by securing said filters within the frame openings 34. One of the filters is shown detached from the machine and is detailed in Figure '1. Each filter preferably consists of the porous fabric bag 31 tautly drawn over a spreader, say a suitably shaped wire frame 30, with the open mouth of the bag secured to an end ring 39 on which the front end of the spreader frame 33 is carried. Each assembled filter 31 is mounted through an opening 34, and the end or mounting ring 39, as a base for the filter device, is then appropriately secured to the frame plate 33. Thus the air and vapor filter bags 31 project horizontally to the rear and into the upper part of the down-draft air and vapor duct, following the rear wall I40, so that the filtered vapor coming through the cloth bags 31 can blow down said rear duct and into the condenser chamber RC.
0n the other hand, the open mouths of the filters 31 are forward of their retaining frame 33 and above the rows of vat perforations 35. The filters receive the solvent vapor with entrained lint as it blows upwardly from the perforated washing drum 1 and out through said vat perforations 35 into the open mouths of said filters. The wet lint collects on the inside surfaces of the filter bags 31, while the clear air or vapor (depending upon the cycle' in progress) escapes through these mesh bags into the passage behind the filter frame 33.
The nest of filters 31 is accessible at the front of the dry-cleaning machine through a rectangular opening 40 formed in the slanting upper front wall 5'. A removable cover plate 4| is anchored down by any suitable means, say hand screws 42 (Figure 1), thus sealing the opening 40 after the vapor filters 31 have been delinted, cleaned, and remounted in their retaining frame 33. Any suitable vapor filter means can be placed in the upper portion of the work-treating chamber 2 between the vat perforations 35 and the rear vapor passage adjacent the back wall I40. It will be understood, therefore, that the filters and other parts are shown as an example of one satisfactory form of construction.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that a closely coupled and unified internal worktreating chamber 2 has been produced. By inside walls and partitions, welded in place as described, a unitary and sealed chamber is formed, one which requires no frame work to support its parts. The several inside compartments or sub-chambers are grouped around the cylindrical washing vat 6. For example, the vapor-filtering chamber for the nest of vapor filters 31 is above the vat 0 and is part of the air and vapor duct, while below the vat there is closely grouped on the same level the single recovery-condenser chamber RC, the two air-heater chambers HB, with the solvent-dump tank DT therebelow. Behind the vat is the down-draft duct 3I, I40, and at the front there is the lateral air duct 5 28. These several sub-chambers and their connecting passages are compactly grouped within the walling arrangement forming the work-treating chamber 2 in general and constitute a unitary part thereof.
It is noteworthy that my design and construction includes a minimum number of walls and partitions due to the fact that this invention makes common one wall or partition to two or more sub-chambers and their connecting passages. All internal compartments or sub-chambers, with their related vessels for handling the solvent, will be shown to be positively sealed against communication with the outer atmosphere, but all these members are internally vented to one another by means later described as my special interventing system, by which I am able to produce a wholly sealed dry cleaner and operate it at about atmospheric pressure.
Referring back to the block-off valve port 20 at the front of the recovery-condenser RC, a description of the parts accessory thereto will now be given. It is noted that a similar valve port 44 is made in the lower front wall 5 of the sealed work-treating chamber 2. It opens from the outside of the machine into the lateral-air passage 5, 28 leading to both air-heater boxes HB. This valve port 44 is ordinarily referred to as the deodorizing-inlet valve because it admits fresh air from the outside into the machine at the end of the dry-cleaning operation to aerate and freshen the work, should that be required. This deodorizing-inlet valve port 44 is in axial alignment with the. block-off valve port 29 of the condenser chamber RC. These two valve ports 44 and 29 have their seats spaced apart sufliciently to accommodate a large volume of air flow therebetween and have a single valve head 45 operative in common to both ports. This valve 45 may be pneumatically operated to automatically close first one port 29 and then the other port 44 in accordance with the later-described cycle operation of the machine.
A valve stem 46 (Figure 5) carries the valve head 45 and is reciprocably guided in a pneumatic diaphragm housing 41. This housing is shown in two separate convex halves with a flexible diaphragm 48 peripherally sealed therebetween. A spring is preferably provided under compression on the valve stem 46 between a shoulder thereon and the housing 41, so as to normally seat the valve 45 on the deodorizing-inlet port 44, by deflecting the diaphragm 48 to the left, when there is no air pressure in the housing. An air-pressure tube 49 is connected with the outside member of the diaphragm housing 41. This pressure tube 49 is adapted to be connected with a source of air pressure (not shown) to deliver a shot of air against the flexible diaphragm 48 to deflect it to the right, thereby reversing the setting of the valve head 45. This action closes the condenserchamber block-off valve port 29 and opens the deodorizing-inlet port 44 (Figures 12 and 13), thus admitting fresh air from the outside of the machine into the lateral passage 5 28.
The combination deodorizing-inlet and recovery-condenser block-off valve 45, with its pneumatic operating means 41, is merely one example of several forms of my valve, and it is shown diagrammatically to explain the principles of this invention. In my commercial form of construction (Figure 1), this pneumatic actuator 41, 48 is set flush into the front wall 5 of the sealed chamber 2. The air tube 49, with others later named, is adapted to be under the control of an automatic pilot or cycle timer CT for controlling the pneumatic actuator 41, 48 and hence the action of the valve 45, and also for performing other cycle actions of this machine.
The cycle timer CT is shown (Figure 1) mounted on the left side of the machine and is known by its trade-mark FormatroP which is suggestive of its function, this being particularly true of such device when it is used on waterwashing machines adapted to automatically control the proportions of the washing-liquid formula to attain the proper percentages of the several ingredients constituting said washing mixture. It is only alluded to herein, since the cycle timer per se is not the subject of the present invention, although well adapted to control the cycle actions of this dry cleaner. Just briefly, this automatic pilot has a slowly rotating cycle-timer record CTR in the form of an insulator-disc record perforated with time-contact slots, through which perforations a number of contact flngers are adapted to automatically eifect electrical make-and-break contacts with a metallic disc under said record for opening and closing the valve 45, as well as numerous other valves later described. This automatic pilot also has an optional control in the form of a bank of cycle-timer push buttons CTB which are adapted to be manually depressed to control the same valve 45 and said others, when the operator does not wish to use the automatic record CTR for that purpose.
The fresh cool air, drawn into the lower part of the sealed dry-cleaning chamber 2 through the large open deodorizing-inlet port 44, divides when it impinges the valve head 45 (Figures 12 and 13) and flows laterally in both directions to the open front ends of the two chambers HB, which are not heated at the time. Thence, the air will be shown to blow through the washing drum 1, and from the latter it blows through the air and vapor delinting filters 31, and then discharges from the closed chamber 2 back to atmosphere through a deodorizing-outlet valve 50, located at the upper part of the machine, the means for which will now be more fully described.
A pair of air and vapor conduits 52 (Figure 6) connect the rear of each heater box HB with the perforated washing drum 1 near the axis of the latter. These conduits are mounted on the side walls 2 of the machine, a blower fan 53 being included in each conduit. An electric motor 54 drives each blower in a direction to draw the air from the rear of both heater boxes HB and propel it upwardly, as indicated by the direction arrows. Figure 1 shows one electric motor 54 mounted on the drive shaft of one blower 53 connected in communication with anair conduit 52 to propel the air upwardly therethrough, the entire assembly of which in this instance is compactly placed on the outside wall 2 of the work-treating chamber. The other side of the machine in Figure 1 of course carries a duplicate motor and blower assembly, as will be appreciated from the several views of the drawings. In Figures 2 and 3, for convenience the same reference characten 52 points to the holes in the side walls 2 of the machine adapted to receive the upper and lower ends of the pair of air ducts 52.
The upper end of each air conduit 52 opens into the inner circle of a stationary air-distributing flange or ring 55, one of which is secured on the inside of each end wall of the vat 6 within the sealed dry-cleaning. chamber 2. These two flanges 55 are concentric with the washing drum axis 8. Each head or end of the washing drum 1 is swaged or dished inwardly at its central portion to form a rotating air-receiving pocket 56 flanged over the ring 55 at each end of the drum. Perforations 5'! are punched through each dished pocket 56 and open into the drum 1. The two flanges 55 and 56 are concentric and telescoped, the outer one revolving in close relation to the inner fixed ring. The two nested flange means 55, 56 provide an effective transfer of the air flow from the conduits 52 at each side of the machine into the rotating drum or washing receptacle 1. Thus the two motor-driven blower units 54, 53 deliver a blast of air into each end of the rotating drum 1, the purpose of which is to first recover the saturated solvent from the work, thereafter dry out said work by rapid vaporization, and finally deodorize the work (an optional step) by sucking fresh air in through the deodorizing-inlet valve 44.
The blast of air (hot or cold, depending on the cycle) enters each end of the drum I and passes through the work being tumbled and agitated chi-into therein, and menescapes upwardly throughthe drum. perforations. If, out through the vat perforations 35, thencethrough the vapor..;orair, filters 31, and into the rearupper portion of the sealed dry-cleaning chamber behind the filter frame 33. At this point it is to, besaid that, if the deodorlzing-inlet valve at the lower. part of the machineis open (Figures 12 and '13)," 1ikewise the deodorizing-outlet valve 58 atthe upper part of the machine is also open, and the fresh air then passes from the filters 3] out of the chamber 2 through said'outlet valve 58. But if both deodorizing valves and 58 are closed (Figures 10 and 11'), the air..bl ows,through the filters 31 and down the rear vapor duct along the.
wall I48 into the condenser chamber RC.
With further reference to the. deodorizingoutlet valve 58, it is to be'understood that it is illustrated diagrammatically. It isfshown as a flap or swing valve 58 and is pivotally mounted within a housing 58having a large-dischargeport 68 comparable in size to the previously described inlet-valve port 44. The fiap valve 58 is pneumatically operated and is adapted to automatically open and close its port 59 simultaneously and in step with the opening and closing of the previously explained deodorizing-inlet port 44 by the'valve head 45. The valve housingf58 is set over a large discharge opening 68 ,cutthrough the left side wall 2 of the machine adjacent and behind the left end of the nest of air filters 31. For clarity in illustration, I have shown (Figure the deodorizing outlet valve 50, 58 mounted on top of the sealed chamber 2 with the lower reference-leader line 68 indicating the hole in the side wall 2, and the upper leader line 60 pointing to a duct (in dotted lines outside the machine) extending up to and opening into the valve housing 58. On the other hand, a suitable mounting for this deodorizing-outlet valve housing 58 is on the left side wall 2 of the machine, as shown in Figure 6 and other views.
The pneumatically controlled deodorizing-outlet valve 58, 58 in actual practice of course can be made in a compact unit of different form than here shown, but the function and principle of this element of my general combination is clearly shown (Figure 5) where the valve flap 60 is fixed on a shaft 6| journalled to turn freely within the valve housing 58. This operating shaft 6| may be packed with a stufling box where it projects through the wall of the housing 58 and its outer end is fixed to an arm 62. Any suitable actuator is connected with the arm 62 for automatically opening and closing the swing valve 58. In this instance, an air cylinder 63, supported on the valve housing 58, with a suitable piston and connecting rod, is operatively connected with the valve arm 62. A coil spring is shown in dotted lines under compression in the cylinder 83 and is adapted to normally maintain the piston to the left, and hence .the valve 58' is held tightly seated over the deodorizingoutlet port 58. I
An air-pressure supply tube 64 connects with the left end of the cylinder 63, and a pneumaticrelay valve 65 is included in this air tube. When the relay valve 65 opens, by reason of its adapv tion to the remote control from the cycle timer CT, a shot of air from the tube 68 energizes the servo-motor unit 63, pushes its piston to the right-hand end, and further compresses its actuating spring inside the cylinde a rThis opens and'holds open the valve flap 58 against, the compressed spring (dotted in cylinder 63) so long 9 as'jt r ay. v lve. 1 55 remains. .open ttoeapp v static-air pressure to the piston inthe little cyl.-, inder, 65. .The, relay valve65 sho,wn,-;.is--merely schematic; to illustrate .my, .principle and 5 mode of operation 'Ijhisrelay valve 65, like others employed on my machine, may be eitheradapted to be, pneumatically, or magnetically operated, butis shown here, as a small pneumatic witha' piston actuated cut-off foot or plug valve (in: dotted lines) to open and close the main air-supply. tube 64 through the agency of a relay-air tube 66, onehendof which is suitably connected with thesmall cylinder 65 and 'theotherend broken off but in-practice isconnected with an electro-pneumatic valve unit (not shown) under the control of the-cycle timer CT.- a
It is t0,be noted that-the dotted"T' (Figure 5), representing the unit pistonand' foot valve 65, is shown in, down position thus stopping the air flow in tube at said valve 65, so that the servo-unit 63is notenergized and the deodo'rizing-outlet valve 50 remains closed. This type of remote-control pneumatic relay-actuated valve 65. is shown atother. points (FiguresB and 9) in my drawings, by way of example only, and isadapted to be'elther under the automatic program control of the cycle-timer record CTR if the machine is set for full-automatic operation, or under the control of the cycle-timer buttons CTB if set for manual or semis-automatic operation.
Next, a description is made of the improved solvent-dump valve 68 and its strainer 68, the latter being known as a button trap. These members are shown in Figures 2 and 3 in one of their preferredcommercial forms, while in the other views (Figures 4 and 5) this unit 68, 69 is illustrated diagrammatically is connection with the solvent system to be described. This dump valve and button trap assembly 68, 69 places the washing vat 6 in drain communication with the solvent-dump tank D'I'. After a washing or rinsing operation in the vat. 6, the dump valve 68 is pneumatically opened, and then the dirty solvent drains from the vat 6 by gravity and strains through the elongated button trap 68 into the underneath sump or soiled solvent-receiving tank DT, whereupon the washing drum 1 is immediately ready for its high speed extracting cycle. The solvent flow is rapid down through this button-trap dump valve due to the passages therethrough being large, hence the quick-flow or dumping function thereof.
Preferably, a solvent-drain channel 18 is made longitudinally in the bottom of the washing vat 6. This channel is pitched (Figures 2 and 3) to rapidly drain the soiled solvent toward the left side of the machine, where the solvent enters the dump valve housing 68 but is held against flow by a normally-closed swing valve ll fixed on a vertical pivot shaft 12 journaled in the dump-valve housing 68. The shaft 12 is fixed in a hub on the outer end of a rocker arm 13 projecting from a slotted or open side pneumatic cylinder 14 adapted to rock the shaft to open and close the dump-valve flap ll mounted a servo motor to actuate the dump valve H;
In fact, the previously described servo-motor 63 and-its deodorizing outlet.valve 58 are preferably manufactured as aunit in thesame compact form as this servo-motor unit 1'4 now being de-- .scribed. This cylinder 14 contains a piston adapted to be driven in one direction by air pressure to open and hold open the swing valve H long enough to permit all the solvent to drain from the vat 6. 'I'hereupon the cylinder 14 is vented to atmosphere and a compressed spring therein returns the piston and the dump valve II to their normal positions to shut the latter and close the drain channel 10 at its lower end where it enters the dump-valve housing 68. The air tube connection and its relay control from the cycle timer CT are not shown here, but are similar in arrangement to one or more servo actuators heretofore explained, for example like the pneumatics 41 and 63 shown in Figure 5.
The solvent-dump valve H has assumed its open position in the views (Figures 2 and 3) under consideration, where the direction arrows show the soiled solvent draining from the dumpvalve housing 68 into the top of the button-trap housing 69. The soiled washing liquid is flowing down through a screen or perforated metal strainer 15, and through a bottom clean-out connection 16 leading into the dump tank DT. A hand screw-anchored cap or lid 11 covers the large open top end of the button trap 69. This cover 11 is easily removed, whereupon the strainer 15 is withdrawn, and the debris is emptied therefrom. The waste matter usually consists of buttons, pins, buckles and what-not which falls from clothing during the dry cleaning process carried out in the washing and dry-tumbling cylinder 1. Hence, the button trap 69, I5 is lo cated in an accessible position and is easily cleaned out from time to time, which prevents foreign matter from returning back into the machine to clog the solvent pipe lines.
At this point in my description, it is well to note that the cover 11 is also removable from the upright cylindrical button-trap housing 69 for the purpose of initially introducing the required amount of solvent into the machine. The fresh solvent is strained as it flows directly into the dump tank DT. whence it eventually is transmitted by pumping means (later described) to the sealed storage tank ST located somewhat inaccessibly inside the cabinet part I and is without the usual fill cap opening.
From the foregoing, it is noted that my improved dump valve and strainer unit 68, 69 (Figures 2 and 3) comprises a compact assembly of three housings, to wit, the upright strainer or button-trap housing 69, with the dump-valve casing 68 attached to the upper end thereof and opening into the side thereof, and the pneumaticservo motor 14 enclosing its actuating parts and mounted upon the dump-valve housing 68. These three elements are assembled as a. unit and mounted on the side of the machine. Note that the bottom connection 16 of any suitable form, with the top-flanged connection at the rear of the dump valve housing 88, constitute the two mounting points which make the entire assembly easily detachable from the machine and accessible for cleaning and adjustment. The same reference characters heretofore used, are also applied to the dump-valve button trap 68, 89 and actuator 14 assembly shown diagrammatically in Figures 4 and 5, to which views I am now about to refer as I come to a description of the sealed solvent-handling and refining system connected in series with the sealed dry-cleaning chamber 2.
While in Figures 2 and 3 I have illustrated the washing vat drain channel pitched to the left because the dump valve 68 is there shown on the outer left side of the machine more like the commercial apparatus, said channel 10 in the several other views is accommodated to a diagrammatic showing necessitated by reason of Figures 4 and 5 comprising flow sheets showing in one plane all major parts of the combination solventflow system and sealed dry-cleaner chamber 2. In view of this latter arrangement, as an expedient in illustrating my invention, I have shown a pipe 18 (Figures 4, 5 etc.) leading from the bottom center of the washing vat 6, hence from a level-drain channel 10 in these views, to the dump valve 68 located to the rear of the drycleaning chamber 2. In these views, the same reference 16 (as used in Figures 2 and 3) points to the bottom pipe connection leading from the button trap 89 into the dump tank DT. Thus, in Figures 4 and 5 the soiled-liquid solventfiows from the vat 6 through pipe 18, through the dump valve and strainer 68, 69, and through the bottom connection 76 into the dump tank DT.
The foregoing discussion of the closed worktreating chamber with its related parts shows that I have provided a compact construction, wherein all inner or sub-compartments and passages are closely placed, thereby eliminating conventional pipe connections and joints, the advantages of which are obvious in avoiding solvent leakage and waste and in reducing the size of the machine. Also, the air and vapor flow in the chamber 2 will be shown to have a short course of travel, thus minimizing skin friction and air drag which makes for power economy in the electrical apparatus for circulating the air and vapor incident to drying the work and recovering the solvent.
The solvent system in general While in the foregoing, solne features of the solvent-handling system have been explained, I now come to a more complete disclosure thereof, by which my new combination as a whole will be understood.
Reference is first made to Figure 4 inasmuch as this view is devoted to a showing of the solvent and vapor flow circuits with the pressure interventing lines, comprising the solvent-recovery and refining apparatus in series with the work-treating chamber 2. This brings me in time to a description of Figure 5, as I come to a consideration of all liquid and vapor flow circuits, comprising the steam and the cold-water lines employed for heating the air used in drying the work, for cooling various condensing coils, and also for separating water from the refined solvent to purify it.
Having filled the dump tank DT through the button trap 69 by removing its cover I1 (Figures 2 and 3) as heretofore explained, the batch of fresh solvent is transferred to its place of first use through a force-feed pipe 80 having a junction with a still pipe 8| and a by-pass storagetank pipe 82. The piping 80, 8| connects the dump tank DT with the upper end of a still S for distilling the solvent, while the piping 88, 82 can be used to by-pass or cut out the still S and deliver the liquid batch to a solvent-storage tank ST carried in the upper part of the motor compartment I of the cabinet behind the closedwashing chamber 2.
The force-feed pipe 80 includes a solvent pump 84 to either deliver the liquid through the still pipe 8| to rotating spray nozzle 19 within the top of the still S, or to the storage tank ST above the vat 8, depending upon the setting of valve means provided in the two pipe lines 8| and 82. The tank ST is closed and sealed from atmosphere and ordinarily does not have a fill opening. An
electric motor and transmission (Figures 6, 8'
and 9) drives the solvent pump 84 through a belt as shown or other suitable -transmission means. The solvent-pump and motor unit 84, 85 are not shown in detail, since any suitable pumping means may be employed. This motor and transmission means 85 is preferably under the control of the cycle timer CT so as to be automatically operated by its record CTR in step with the cycle action of the machine, or under the optional manual control of one of the cycle-timer buttons CTB.
A valve 86 is placed in the still-feed pipe BI, and a valve 81 is in the storage-tank feed pipe 82. Preferably, these two valves 86 and 81 are pneumatically remote-control relay-operated by the cycle timer CT. A two-way valve can of course be placed at the junction where the pipe 88 connects with the still branch 8| and with the tank branch 82. However, by closing the still-branch valve 88 and opening the storage-branch valve 81, it is seen that the pump 84 transfers the solvent directly from the dump tank DT into the storage tank ST by forcing the liquid through a filter 88 placed in the line 82 beyond the valve 81. Thus, new solvent is preferably delivered directly to the storage tank ST where it is ready for use in the washing vat 6. A glass-sight gage 83 (Figure 1) of well known form connects with the top and bottom of the storage tank ST and is mounted on the side wall 2 of the machine to show at a glance the solvent level and hence the quantity in said tank.
Under certain conditions, used solvent is clarified in the by-pass filter 88 by pumping it through this filter instead of refining it in the still S. A batch of solvent, in the dump tank DT, comparatively free of water but contaminated with dirt or lint, can be pumped through the filter 88 to strain out this solid matter, whereupon the filter core is removed, cleaned and replaced. The condition of the solvent and the work to be dry cleaned, and the personal equation or desire of a particular operator, are factors which govern the alternate or optional use of the still S and the filter 88. The solvent pump 84 is common to both. The pump and filter pipe line 88, 82 can also be used to flush out the washing vat 6, the dump tank DT, their pipes and passages, thus washing out the sediment from time to time by collecting it in the filter 88.
The storage tank ST is located above the washing level WL (Figure 5) in the vat 8. Hence, the stored solvent flows by gravity through a solventinlet valve housing 98, having a large flap or swing valve 9|, opening from the bottom of the storage tank ST, and through a pipe or neck 98, into the side of the washing vat 6, as shown. A pneumatic actuator 92 has its piston operatively connected with the pivot on which the valve 9| is carried. The pneumatic actuator 92 may be designed along the lines of the valve actuators heretofore described, or a solenoid actuator may be employed instead. Its function is to automatically open and hold open this inlet-dump valve 9| long enough to fill the vat 6 either with new or recuperated solvent to a predetermined washing level WL. Then the valve 9| is snapped closed by a spring forming part of the servo unit 92 and also by the weight of solvent bearing down on the valve when the servo unit is deenergized.
During this vat-filling operation from the tank ST, the vat outlet or dump valve 68, 1|, previously explained, is of course closed against solvent flow to the dump-tank DT. It is also understood that the deodorizing-inlet and outlet-valve ports II and 59 are likewise closed, in preparation for the beginning of a run of work, after a batch of soiled clothes has been placed into the washing drum 1 through the machine door 9 which is now also closed.
It will be seen that a reverse setting of the two solvent-control valves 86 and 81 is made for the purpose of conveying to the still S the soiled solvent containing water and grease accumulated during any dry-cleaning operation in the chamber 2. Thus, by closing the tank-branch valve 81 and opening the still-branch valve 88, the mo tor-driven pump 84 forces the dirty solvent from the dump tank DT to the still S where it is reing it to the storage tank ST, the recuperated solvent is further purified by separating the water therefrom. This refining cycle, and other operating steps in their sequence, will be described later on, since at this time I wish to continue with a description of the general construction and relation of parts constituting the closed-solvent system in series combination with the closed-washing chamber 2.
Any suitable refining still S can be employed in this solvent system. The one shown as an example includes the vaporizing inner still receptacle S with a steam jacket 93 and an outer shell 94 as an insulating cover. A bottom clean-out plug 95 is provided in the usual way to remove the silt, grease, lint and foreign matter FM which accumulates in the bottom of the still receptacle as a result of repeated distilling operations. A steam-supply pipe 96 is adapted to be connected with a steam boiler or source of steam (not shown) to furnish an adequate supply of steam for my dry cleaner system, i. e., for the still S as well as the heater boxes HB heretofore mentioned. A still-branch steam pipe 91 leads from the supply pipe 96, through an interlockvalve housing 98 (Figure 5), and thence into the steam jacket 93. The steam circulates through the jacketed still, heats the vaporizing receptacle S, and returns to the boiler or to a steam trap or otherwise is discharged through an outlet pipe 99 leading from the jacket bottom.
The flow of the steam through the pipe 91 to the still S is controlled by the hydraulic and spring pressure-actuated interlock valve 98 (Figure 5) before mentioned. This valve is shown open and the steam piping 98, 91 is feeding steam to the still jacket 93. The cylindrical housing 98 has a valve stem I88 carrying a piston on one end movable in the cylinder as shown, and a valve head is fixed on the other or lower end of said piston rod or valve stem and is adapted to seat upon and close a steam port shown con-. necting the two pipes forming the steam branch 91 in which this interlock valve 98 is included. A spring I8I seats against one end of the housing 98 and pushes against the valve head and stem I88, thereby urging said valve closed to shut off the steam fiow in pipe 91 leading to the still S.
A water line I82 has one end opening directly into the upper end of the interlock-valve cylinder 98 above the piston and valve stem I88, and so long as the water pressure in line I82 is statically maintained it follows that the piston and valve rod I88 overcomes the upward force of the valve spring IN and keeps said valve stem I88 down with its valve open as shown. Hence, the normal static water-pressure existing in the cylinder of the valve housing 90 serves to keep the steam line 91 open to heat the still S. However, should the water pressure in the line I02 drop oil? for any reason (as later discussed) it is clear that the valve spring IIII will push the valve stem I upwardly, instantly closing the valve 96 and shutting the steam branch 91, with the result that the vaporizing function of the still will be safely and positively stopped. The other end of the hydraulic line I02 is connected with a stillcondenser cold-water pipe I06 later described, and it will be shown how said water line I02, with its hydraulic valve 98, constitutes a safety interlock between the still S and its still condenser SC about to be described.
The still S has a vapor fiue I04 leading upwardly to a still condenser SC. Ballle plates as shown are usually set into the flue to retard the up-draft of the heavier or liquid particles of solvent carried by the vapor rising from the steamheated still and to' drain these heavier ends back into the still for revaporization, while the lighter ends escape upwardly. The flue I04 opens into the still-condenser chamber SC under a set of cooling-condenser coils I mounted in heat-exchange relation within this chamber. The coils I05 are usually finned or grilled to increase their contact area. A cold-water pipe I06 delivers cold water through the still-condenser coils I05, the water entering the lower bank of coils adjacent the vapor flue I04 and discharging through a pipe I01 to the sewer or a storage tank for further use.
The water pipe I 06 is a branch leading from a main water-supply pipe I00 connected with the city water main, or other adequate source, to furnish cold water not only to the cold-radiating coils I05 in the still condenser SC, but also to the recovery condenser R C, as later explained. A valve I09 is placed in the cold-water branch I06 adjacent the main-supply cold-water pipe I08. It is an automatic remote-control relayoperated valve and it is adapted to govern the cycle action of the still condenser SC, as later explained, under the control of the cycle timer CT.
It was hereinbefore explained that the hydraulic pipe I02 is interconnected between the still-condenser cold-water branch I06 and the cylinder in the interlock-valve housing 98. Thus, it is seen that so long as the cold-water valve I09 is open, cold water flows upwardly through the branch pipe I06, circulates through the still-condenser coils I05 and enters the pipe I02. This action applies hydraulic pressure on the piston and valve rod I00 in the valve housing 98 to hold open the steam pipe 91 to the still S. This arrangement interlocks the steam pipe 91 for heating the still with the cold-water pipe I06 for cooling the still condenser coils I05, so that any failure or misoperation of the cold-water flow to said coils I05 acts to drop the hydraulic pressure in the interlock pipe I02 which instantly stops the flow of steam to the still S.
Accordingly, the still S and its condenser SC are interlocked for joint operation. They are off and on together, under the initial control of the cold-water flow through the piping I06, I01, which flow maintains a static pressure in the interlock pipe I02. This keeps the combination piston-rod valve-stem I00 in downward position to maintain a constant flow of steam through the pipe 91 into the steam-heating chamber 99 of the still, so that the still S cannot distill unless its condenser SC is simultaneously con- I densing. The still S, therefore, cannot generate an internal vapor pressure in the system.
The still condenser SC and its water separator WSI The refined solvent condensed by the still condenser coils I05 collects in the bottom of the chamber SC and is still warm when it drains by gravity down a solvent-flow pipe IIO into the upper end of a vertically-disposed solvent cooler, sometimes called the i'ntercooler, the major function of which is to cool and separate water from the distilled solvent and thus finally purify it. I have given this element in my new combination the suggestive reference character WSI since it is the first water separator to be described. I will later describe a second water-separating means WS2 which operates in conjunction with the recovery condenser RC.
A solvent-flow pipe III conducts the cool and purified water-free solvent from the bottom of this vessel WSI into the upper part of the storage tank ST. Inasmuch as the still condenser SC is located several inches (say six to nine inches) higher than the top of the storage tank ST, as indicated by the solvent gravity-flow tilted line FL (Figure 4), it follows that the solvent flows by gravity through the piping I I0, I II and the cooling vessel WSI into the top of the vessel or tank-ST. This storage tank is of ample size to take the full output of solvent refined by the still S and its condenser SC and de-watered through the agency of the vessel WSI. The still S may be kept in operation until all the soiled solvent is pumped from the dump-tank vessel DT, then refined, purified, and conveyed by natural gravity fiow to the tank ST and there held ready for use in the washing vat and drum 6, 1.
It is understood by those conversant with the art why the soiled or used solvent in the dump tank DT at times contains a large percentage of water. This is due to the moisture in the clothes being dry cleaned and moisture in the atmosphere which enters the closed chamber 2 when the door 9 is opened. Clothes and other work to be dry cleaned sometimes contain as much as 12% moisture by weight. The distilling operation in the still S serves to remove from the solvent the dirt and grease therein. This foreign matter FM accumulates in the bottom of the still S (Figure 5) and is removed from time to time through the clean-out plug 95 to maintain the efficiency of the still. However, the boiling and vaporizing of the solvent in the still 5 simply means that the water content rises as steam through the vapor flue I04 with the solvent vapor into the still condenser SC.
The cold-water coils I05 cool and condense the mixed water and solvent vapor, both flowing down the pipe IIO into the water separator WSI which is also chilled in furtherance of its waterseparating function. A cold-water coil H2 is mounted in heat-exchange relation within this vessel WSI and is in series with the cold-water branch I06 leading from the main-supply coldwater line I08 to the cold-radiating coils I06 in the still-condenser chamber SC. The intercooler water-separator coils II2 first receive the cold water which gives it maximum efflciency, and the water then flows through the still-condenser coils I05. The result is that the coldradiating coils II2 rapidly cool the refined condensed solvent and water solution flowing down