US 2430668 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
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Patented Nov. 1l,L 1947 WASHING MACHINE AND AUTOMATIC CONTROL MECHANISM THEREFOR John W. Chamberlin, East Moline, Illl., assignor to American Machine and Metals, Inc., East Moline, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Original application June 16, 1941, Serial No.
Divided and this application April 15, 1942, Serial No. 438,984
65 claims. 1
This invention relates to a new and improved laundry machine and control mechanism, which is capable of automatically controlling various washing, bleaching, rinsing, bluing and souring treatments as may be desired, to the end of producing an improved washing result.
This application is a division of applicant's co-pending application Serial No. 398,244, led June 16, 1941, in which is disclosed and claimed a new and improved process and various speciilc embodiments thereof.
The control mechanism of this invention is particularly adapted to perform a washing operation in which the washing liquid employed, or a characteristic portion thereof, is scientifically analyzed one or more times after the clothes and washing liquid has been brought together and, by such analysis, detecting a property of the analyzed liquid which according to predetermined standards is representative of the quantity or the quantity and character of the soil to be removed by and held in the washing liquid, and, further, automatically utilizing the detected property as a basis for or as the governing factor which automatically causes the selection, establishment or creation of a particular washing procedure or formula which is lthat preferred on the basis of predetermined standards to be the best adapted for the removal of the quantity or the quantity and character of the soll'found to be present in each particular case.
By the use of this invention, each particular batch of clothes undergoing treatment may be analyzed or measured for soil content and thereafter subjected to a particular washing procedure which, according to certain predetermined standards, based on the soil analysis, is preferred for the need at hand, or is considered to be best adapted for the satisfactory removal of the amount of soil found to be present in each particular case.
This invention takes into account the fact that different or somewhat modified washing procedures should be employed for the best results when diiferent batches of clothes containing different amounts or types of soil are being washed, and the further fact that the particular washing procedure employed should be selected, established or created on a scientific basis and should bear a close relationship to the quantity or quantity and character of the soil found to be present. Furthermore in providing a satisfactory Washing procedure, the nature of thetextiles and the dyestuis on the textiles must be taken into account, so that the selected procedure must provide for protection of'the materials washed as well as the removal of the soil therefrom.
Accordingly, the use of this invention involves as one step thereof an analysis of the washing liquid by which the amount or the amount and character of the soil present in any particular batch of clothes is made a guiding or controlling factor, and further involves the step of selecting, establishing or creating a washing procedure or formula which, according to certain predetermined standards, is best adapted for the production of the desired results. This invention also involves the further step or steps of completely washing the clothes by the particular procedure or formula thus selected, established or created.
Although this invention is not to be so limited, it will have special usefulness in the commercial laundry field where a relatively wide variation is found in the amount of soil existing in the clothes to be treated and where, according to present practice it is recognized that different procedures should be employed with different batches of clothes, depending upon the soil condition in each particular case.
It is known that the quantity of soil found in clothes to be laundered varies in amount and also that different batches of clothes containing different amounts of soil present different washing problems. This is especially true in the case of commercial laundries, and on this account lit has been the practice in the past for laundries to classify the clothes to be 'washed into several categories according to the appearance of the soil therein, each of which would be referred to by characteristic designations, such as, for instance, light soil, medium soil, heavy soil, and extra heavy soil. It has also been the practice to subject the clothes of each class to a washing `treatment which, according to the judgment of variations and errors have inevitably been involved on account of the differences which exist in the judgment of operators, characteristics of eyesight, light conditions, and many similar factors which are necessarily involved and are bound to seriously alect a visual classification method.
In addition, it has not been practicable in most cases for laundry operators to establish more than four or at most six categories for soiled clothes and consequently a wide range of variation has naturally existed in the amount of soil that may be present in similar loads of the same class. As all loads of the same class generally received the same treatment, it is apparent that the formula used in any particular case is rarely, if ever, correctly adjusted to the washing problem at hand.
Furthermore, this undesirable result has been increased by the fact that the classification of clothes is now largely a matter of guess work and as a result many items of clothing are not properly classified. This is particularly true in those instances where the soil content is such that the appearance thereof is close to the border line between two established classes. In addition to the foregoing, the very nature of the articles making up a batch of soiled clothes is such that the amount of soil present evades accurate detection when mere inspection is relied upon.
Insofar as it is known, no one, prior to this invention, has provided laundry machine control mechanism by the use of which the amount of soil in clothes could be detected, measured or determined on a. scientific basis and, hence, it is thought that it has not been possible in the past to select or employ a particular washing procedure which was soientliically adjusted to and adapted for the removal of the particular amount of soil present in any given batch of clothes.
As distinguished from all prior art devices, the use of the invention here disclosed will supplement the classication method and will provide a soil analysis procedure by which the amount of soil present is detected according to reliable scientific principles and will further make available the results of such analysis for use as a guiding or controlling factor in the selection, establish` mentor creation of the washing procedure to be employed. In consequence, the washing procedure utilized will always be scientically adjusted to the problem of removing the particular quantity and character of soil found in the clothes in .each particular case.
Furthermore, the use of this invention will provide a new and corrective procedure which will make up for the errors which are now made by laundry operators in the original classification of clothes and will result in the employment of washing procedures or formulas which are properly adjusted to the requirements in each particular case. The total soil content as well as the` character thereof in certain instances will determine the formula to be employed and in this way a correct and eilicient washing operation is always realized.
For a full appreciation of this invention, it should be understood that soil which is to be removed from clothes by a satisfactory washing operation is made up of diiferent types of substances which have different properties and characteristics, and which require different chemical activities for their satisfactory removal from the fabrics and their elimination with the washing liquid. The substances constituting the soil in the clothes may be roughly divided into three classes, which are:
l. Solids, which include all relatively inert materials such as carbon, silica and similar particles.
2. Adhesives or binding substances which include saponiiiable oils, unsaponiable oils, fatty acids, albumin, and various water soluble materials of which salts and sugars are examples. In addition, when hard waters are used, calcium and magnesium are present, usually in the form of stearates, which may be regarded as soil as they must also be removed from the clothes and held in and discarded with the washing liquid.
3. Dyes and stains of various types, such as rust, medicine, blood, etc.
It has been found as a result of experimentation that on the average the relationship between the quantity of adhesive or binding substances and the quantity of solids which make up the soil does not vary widely in different batches of clothes, and that this is generally true even though the adhesives and solid materials present were not originally deposited in the same ratio. 'Ihis is probably explained by the fact that the binder or adhesive substances exhibit an aliinity for solids, whereby the presence of a binder, upon continued exposure, will attract and pick up an additional quantity of solid material, with the result that in most instances the binder and the solids are found in the soiled clothes in somewhat the same ratio in the average batch which is presented to the laundry.
The-quantity of dyes present in the soil will naturally vary, and it is found that these substances form tightly adhering molecular lms which closely surround the iibers of the cloth. Certain dyes are removed with the aid of a bleach in the washing processl Whereas others present a special removal problem, but as a rule these are present in such small relative quantities that their removal is not considered as a part of the main washing problem. Their removal, if effected at all, must be accomplished by the use of special spotters which will be selected according to the particular kind of dyes found in the clothes.
Adhesive agents of the soil, if they existed alone, would not be particularly difficult to remove,
. nor would it be particularly ditlicult to work out and remove the solid material alone. However, it is found that complete removal of both together is much more difficult, particularly after the soil has been allowed to stand for a suicient period, in the presence of air, to permit oxidation to take place.
The removal or washing methods involve both chemical and mechanical treatments and, in practice, it is necessary to obtain penetration in order that the reagents in the washing liquid are brought into contact with the constituents of the soil and also to physically dislodge and free the solids and binding materials from the fibers of the clothes and hold them either in solution or in suspension in the Washing liquid. The maintenance of the suspension is a further chemical problem which requires accurate and detailed control if redeposition of the soil is to be avoided. Insofar as the chemical reactions are concerned, the acids must be neutralized, the saponiiiable materials must be saponilied with alkali, all water soluble materials must be dissolved, and all unsaponiflable oils and greases must be emulsied. In addition, a colloidal suspension of all solid particles must be created through the action of the detergent, whereby the substances constituting the soil when once removed from the clothes are firmly and permanently held in the washing liquid and are thus prevented from being rede-