US 2873599 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 17, 1959 w. R. BUECHLER BASKET MOUNTING ARRANGEMENT FOR LAUNDRY MACHINE Filed June 7, 1956 Fl6.l
4| 3 f 6 3 5 7. 3 l 5 0 H W 2 DW 8 2 9 8 MN 2 v N I l I I I ll n m n. 2 2 ILW V H v INVENTOR WILLIAM R. BUECHLER "W "W H is ATTORNEY United States Patent O BASKET MOUNTING ARRANGEMENT F LAUNDRY MACHINE William R. Buechler, Louisville, Ky., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Application June 7, 1956, Serial N 0. 590,036
3 Claims. (Cl. 68-24) My invention relates to domestic laundry machines and more particularly to tumbler-type machines in which the clothes basket rotates about a non-vertical axis.
In horizontal and tilted axis washing machines and combination washerryers the clothes tumbling basket is ordinarily mounted by means supported by the walls of the tub. During the high speed centrifugal extraction or spin operation of the machine, vibration of the basket often occurs due to clothes unbalance conditions therein, and since the basket is mounted by the tub the two elements vibrate together as a unit. In order to allow for the vibration of the tub and the basket without causing movement of the machine across the floor, the tub is ordinarily supported from the base of the machine by means of some resilient or other movable mounting system. This resilient mounting of the tub however creates at least two problems. Firstly, it is relatively expensive as compared with rigidly securing the tub to the machine base; and secondly, in machines where the drive motor, the transmission, the drain pump and other components are secured to the tub, it results in those components being shaken more or less violently as the tub vibrates. The mounting of these components on the. tub is, of course, common practice in order to keep belt distances constant during operation and avoid the necessity for a belt take-up device.
The shaking of the. motor and other components as the tub vibrates means that special precautions must be taken to avoid damage to them which would not be necessary if they were attached to the stationary machine base. For example, the drive motor must be more ruggedly built to stand the pounding of the shaft and end bearings which occurs as the tub vibrates, but which does not occur in a motor mounted on a stationary base. Of course, as indicated above, the motor and the other components can be mounted on the base if a belttake-up device is provided to maintain. a positive drive between the motor and the basket drive shaft during vibration. However, a take-up device results in excessive belt wear and does not provide absolute protection against belt slippage during vibration.
In view of these problems created by the vibration of the tub, it is a primary object of my invention to provide a new and improved suspension arrangement for sup porting and driving the clothes basket of a domestic laundry machine whereby the clothes basket is vibration isolated from the outer tub and the basket drive shaft so that they do not vibrate with the basket. Thereby the tub may be rigidly mounted on the machine base providing an inexpensive mounting and a fixed belt distance between the drive pulley and the basket pulley at all times. Also, the tub and the outerappearance cabinet of the machine may be combined into a single shell constfu'ction resulting in a saving of material.
rotating clothes basket ofa horizontal axis laundry ma- 5 2,873,599 Patented Feb. 17, 1959 chine on the end of its drive shaft, whereby the basket may vibrate about the end of the shaft as a fixed node upon the occurrence of unbalanced conditions without causing substantial vibration of the shaft and the outer tub of the machine.
In carrying out my invention, 1 provide a laundry machine having a rotatable clothes basket. The basket is driven from a rotatable shaft which is mounted by suitable bearing means. By my invention the basket is mounted on the shaft by an improved resilient suspension arrangement whereby it may vibrate relative to the shaft upon the occurrence of an unbalance condition Without causing any substantial vibration of the shaft itself. This suspension arrangement includes a flat rigid member secured directly to the end of the shaft and a resilient or .elastomeric shell which encloses the flat rigid member. The elastomeric shell is mounted or otherwise suitably attached to the flat rigid member, and the basket is in turn secured to the outer surface of the shell by suitable means, such as clamping means. With this suspension arrangement the basket is coupled securely to the shaft so that it rotates therewith at shaft speed but due to the intermediate elastomeric shell between the shaft and the basket, the basket may vibrate relative to the shaft. The shell resiliently deforms so as to permit the vibrations without transmitting them to the shaft, and it also provides a damping effect to attenuate the amplitude of the vibrations. Thereby the drive shaft and its mounting means, for example the outer tub of the machine, are not caused to vibrate appreciably and they may be rigidly suported on the machine base to provide both an inexpensive mounting and a fixed belt distance between the drive pulley and the basket pulley.
T he subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. My invention, howeven both as to organization and method of operation together with further objects and advantages thereof, may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of a domestic laundry machine having a clothes basket suspension arrangement embodying my invention, certain surfaces of the view being broken away and in section to show details;
Fig. 2 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the suspension arrangement itself; and
Fig. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of Fig. 2.
Referring now to Fig. l, I have shown therein a combination clothes washing and drying machine 1 having a. clothes basket 2 which is rotatable about a generally horizontal axis. The basket 2 is mounted within and enclosed by an imperforate tub structure 3 which includes a rear wall 4 and a front wall 5. The tub 3 is itself enclosed within an outer appearance cabinet 6. Both the tub 3 and the appearance cabinet 6 are supported from and rigidly attached to the base '7 of the machine.
In order to provide for loading and unloading the machine, the clothes basket 2 is provided with a hinged door 8. This door 8 is so arranged that the machine may be loaded and unloaded from the top, and specifically is mounted by means of a hinge structure 9 so that it swings inwardly when pushed by the operator. The door can not spring outwardly from its illustrated closed position even during operation of the machine because the free edge 10 thereof overlaps thefront wall of the basket, and it is prevented from swinging inwardly, except when actuated by the operator, by means of a spring clip 11. To provide access to the basket door 8 the outer cabinet structure 6 is provided with an L- shaped door 12. This door 12 is suitably hinged as shown at 13 so that it may be manually lifted by the operator. Thus, to obtain access to the interior of the basket, the cabinet door 12 is first raised upwardly about its hinges 13 and then the door 8 ispressed inwardly swinging about its hinges 9. Any suitable manually operated or automatic means may be used to align the door 8 with the door 12 for the loading and unloading processes.
Since the clothes basket 2 is of this top loading construction, it may be rotatably supported at both the front and rear thereof. In the illustrated embodiment the basket is supported by a drive shaft 14 at its rear end and by an idler shaft 15 at its front end. The rear wall of the basket is connected to the drive shaft 14 by a new and improved suspension arrangement, as explained hereinafter, whereby the basket may vibrate relative to the shaft 14 during the operation of the machine without transmitting appreciable vibrations to the shaft. The idler shaft 15 is directly connected to the front wall of the basket by means of a plate 16 but it is resiliently supported so that even though it vibrates with the basket, the vibrations are not transmitted to the rest of the machine. The idler shaft may for example be rotatably assembled in a bearing and seal assembly 17 which is supported from a fixed frame (not shown) of the machine 1 by means of a plurality of coil springs 18. Mounted in this manner the vibrations of the idler shaft are taken up by the springs 18 without there being appreciable vibration transmitted to the spring mounting members and the rest of the machine. The idler shaft 15 as shown extends through an aperture 19 in the front wall 5 of the tub and in order to seal the aperture 19 a flexible seal or boot 20 is secured between the bearing assembly 17 and the flanged edge of the aperture.
The drive shaft 14 unlike the idler shaft 15 is not mounted in a resiliently supported bearing. Rather it is mounted in an elongated bearing 21 which is fixedly secured to the stationary rear wall 4 of the outer tub I 3. A suitable shaft seal (not shown) is included within the bearing 21 in order to prevent leakage out of the tub through the bearing. During the operation of the machine the drive shaft 14 is driven by an electric motor 22 through a transmission assembly 23. The drive motor 22 is directly connected to the transmission 23 by a shaft 24 and the transmission is in turn connected to the drive shaft by a belt 25. The belt 25 specifically is connected between the output pulley 26 of the transmission and a basket drive pulley 27 which is mounted on the drive shaft. The purpose of the transmission 23 is to provide two different speeds of rotation of the pulley 26 and thus of the drive shaft and the basket. When the transmission 23 is set at its one ratio, the basket is driven at a suitable speed for tumbling the clothes both for washing and fluff drying; and when the transmission is set at its second or higher ratio, the basket is driven at a suitable higher speed for centrifugally extracting water from the clothes. In other words the transmission by its two ratios provides for a tumble action and a spin action. No particular arrangement of the transmission has been shown herein since it will be understood that any suitable transmission may be used.
In order to connect the drive shaft 14 to the rear wall 7 which is secured directly to the end of the drive shaft and an elastomeric shell or envelope element 29 which surrounds the disc. The disc 28 is preferably formed as an integral part of the shaft 14 and the elastomeric shell 29 is preferably molded around the disc and the outer end of the shaft. The shell may be formed of rubber or other suitable elastomeric material. The molding of the shell around the disc provides a bonding effect therebetween whereby the shell will rotate with the disc. However, to provide even better bonding and a positive mechanical drive the disc is preferably provided with a plurality of apertures 30 arranged in a ring around the end of the shaft 14 (see Figs. 2 and 3). Thus when the elastomeric shell is molded around the disc, cross pieces 31 are formed in the shell which extend between the opposite sides thereof through the apertures 30. These cross pieces 31 of the shell extending through the disc positively prevent any slipping of the shell relative to the disc.
To complete the suspension arrangement the rear wall of the basket 2 is attached to the outer surface of the rubber shell 29. Preferably this is done by means of a clamping member 32. Both the rear wall of the basket and the clamp 32 are provided with central recesses, and when the basket and the clamp are assembled together, the shell fits within these recesses. The outer or annular edge of the plate 32 is then attached to the back wall of the basket by any suitable means as by bolting. When the clamp is drawn down tight against the rear wall of the basket, a positive drive is thereby provided between the elastomeric shell and the basket.
When an unbalance condition occurs in the clothes basket during spin, the elastomeric material allows the basket to vibrate relative to the shaft 14. In other words the resilient material deforms to allow the basket to vibrate or gyrate relative to its true axis defined by shaft 14. The basket specifically vibrates or gyrates around the end of the shaft 14 as a fixed node with the spring mounting of the idler shaft 15 permitting the vibration of the other end of the basket. It will be noted that the clamp 32 includes a central aperture 33 in the rear wall thereof providing clearance for movement of the clamp with the basket relative to the shaft 14.
As a result of the action of the elastomeric shell 29 very little of the basket vibration is transmitted to the drive shaft 14. Rather the deformation of the elastorneric shell allows the basket to vibrate without causing the shaft 14 to vibrate appreciably. Further the shell provides a damping effect to attenuate the vibrations. At the front end of the basket the springs 18 allow for vibration of the basket and the idler shaft without shaking the machine. The end result of this overall system, that is, the suspension of the basket from the drive shaft 14 by means of the disc 28 and the elastomeric shell 29 and the suspension of the idler shaft 15 by means of the springs 18, is that very little vibration is transmitted to the tub 4 and the rest of the machine. Thereby the tub may be rigidly secured to the base of the machine and may be used as the means for fixedly mountingthe bearing 21 of the drive shaft.
It will be noted that since the basket vibrates relative to the drive shaft without causing vibration of the drive shaft itself, there is thus no change in the distance between the pulleys 26 and 27 during basket gyration. Ratherthe pulleys always remain a fixed distance apart. This minimizes belt wear as well as providing a positive drive at all times to rotate the basket at the desired speed.
It will be understood however that even with this new and improved suspension system, that the basket may sometimes vibrate excessively if there is a particularly serious condition of clothes unbalance as the machine proceeds into a spin operation. In order to assure that serious vibration of the basket does not occur, suitable vibration sensing means are provided in the machine 1 to return the basket to tumble speed Whenever it approaches a serious vibration condition. The machine then remains at tumble speed for a sufficient time for the clothes to re-orient themselves within the basket at which time the spin operation is again attempted. In the illustrated machine the vibration sensing means include an electrical switch 34 and means for actuating the switch including an axially movable member 35 slidably fitted into the end of the idler shaft 15 and a cupshaped positioning device 36 cooperating with the axially movable member 35. This vibration sensing means is described in detail and claimed in the copending appli cation of Aidan M. Stone, S. N. 471,465 filed November 26, 1954 and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention, now Patent Number 2,782,655 dated Feb. 26, 1957. Since the vibration sensing device forms no part of the present invention, no further description will be given herein.
From the above it will be seen that I have provided a new and improved suspension for mounting the clothes basket of a domestic laundry machine. By means of this suspension arrangement the clothes basket may vibrate without causing vibration of the drive shaft or of the outer tub of the machine. As a result the outer tub may be rigidly secured to the base of the machine providing an inexpensive mounting and a fixed belt distance between the drive pulley and the basket pulley at all times.
While in accordance with the patent statutes I have described what at present is considered to be the preferred embodiment of my invention it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from my invention, and it is therefore aimed in the appended claims to cover all such equivalent variations as fall in the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. In a laundry machine, a rigid cabinet and base assembly; a substantially cylindrical clothes basket within said assembly having two opposed end walls; an imperforate tub positioned about said clothes basket and rigidly secured to said cabinet and base assembly; driving means for said clothes basket comprising a drive motor, a transmission assembly operated by said motor, and a drive shaft coaxial with said basket and rotatable about a generally horizontal axis by said transmission assembly, said driving means being secured in rigid relationship to said cabinet and base assembly; means securing the end of said drive shaft to a first end wall of said basket comprising a rigid member secured to the end of said drive shaft, a relatively thick elastomeric shell surrounding said rigid member and connected thereto, and clamping means attaching said first end wall of said basket directly to the outer surface of said elastomeric shell whereby said basket is driven from said drive shaft through said rigid member and said shell; and means flexibly and rotably connecting the second of said basket end walls to said cabinet and base assembly.
2. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said rigid member secured to the end of said drive shaft is substantially in the form of a disk.
3. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said rigid member is substantially in the form of a disk having apertures extending therethrough, and wherein said elastorneric shell includes portions extending through said apertures and joining the remainder of said shell at each end of said apertures.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,864,080 Madge June 21, 1932 2,399,319 Bowen Apr. 30, 1946 2,439,751 Olsen Apr. 13, 1948 2,461,643 Hemmeter Feb. 15, 1949 2,492,029 Beier Dec. 20, 1949 2,542,154 Mesirow Feb. 20, 1951