|Publication number||US2959044 A|
|Publication date||Nov 8, 1960|
|Filing date||Mar 23, 1959|
|Priority date||Mar 23, 1959|
|Publication number||US 2959044 A, US 2959044A, US-A-2959044, US2959044 A, US2959044A|
|Inventors||Aidan M Stone|
|Original Assignee||Gen Electric|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (22), Classifications (12)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Nov. 8, 1960 A. M. STONE 2,959,044
LINT FILTER FOR COMBINATION WASHER-DRYER Filed March 23, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 V-Z6 U I I8 RIM" RINSE SPIN FLUH DRAIN DRAIN DRAIN WASH I pay Hc-r INVEN TOR. "22:3; AIDAN M. STONE:
BY DRAIN rmln w P LOWER F'| 3 HIS ATTORNEY Nov. 8, 1960 I A. M. STONE LINT FILTER FOR COMBINATION WASHER-DRYER Filed March 23, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
AIDAN M. $TONE H is ATTORNEY United States Patent LINT FILTER FOR COMBINATION WASHER-DRYER Aidan M. Stone, Louisville, Ky., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporafion of New York Filed Mar. 23, 1959, Ser. No. 801,236
8 Claims. (Cl. 6812) This invention relates to laundry machines of the type which provide a sequence including a washing operation and a subsequent drying operation, and more particularly to such machines wherein the drying-operation includes improved means of trapping lint evolved as a result of the tumbling of the clothes in a stream of warm air.
Domestic laundry machines of the type which firstwash and then dry the clothes, generally known as combination washer-dryers, usually fall into two categories insofar as the method of drying is concerned. In the first category a forced stream of warm air is circulated over the clothes, the air being heated prior to its entry into the basket; this arrangement may provide for either a closed system or a system where the air is pulled into the machine, through the basket, and then expelled from the machine. In the second arrangement the system is always a closed one, with the only air circulation being caused by the movement of the clothes and of the clothes container, that is, no special arrangement is provided for forcing the air into, through and out of the basket. While the first of these two systems generally provides a faster drying action than the second, it inherently creates the problem that a substantial amount of lint is eventually carried out of the basket with the air stream as a result of the forced stream of air contacting the clothes as they are tumbled. If the system is an entirely closed one where the same air is de-humidified and then reused, the lint may create a clogging problem or a problem of lint. Where the system is an open one it is objectionable if large quantities of lint be carried out of the exhaust duct of the machine.
Consequently, in machines which provide a forced stream of warm air over the clothes, some system for trapping and then disposing of the lint is necessary. This problem has generally been met in the past by providing a lint trap consisting of a screen in the path of the air flow after it has passed out of the clothes container so that a major part of the lint is caught on the screen. This in turn requires some means of disposing of the lint caught on the screen, and the only'solution which has so far been provided in commercial machines is manual cleaning of the screen at appropriate intervals, preferably after each drying operation. While this is effective, it represents an additional demand on the operator, and it is highly desirable to provide some solution to the problem wherein the trapping of the lint and the subsequent disposal of the lint are effected automatically as an inherent part of the operation of the machine, without any attention from or additional operation by the operator being required.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved construction in laundry machines, particularly combination washer-dryers, wherein lint evolved as a result of the use of a forced stream of warm air over the clothes being tumbled in a clothes container is separated from the air stream and disposed of by the machine without any attention fromnthe operator.
. A more specific object of the machine is to achieve ice the trapping of the lint in the air by means of a centrifugal extraction device.
A further specific object of the invention is to dispose of the lint thus trapped by suitable operation of the water supply and drain means, already required in the machine for the washing operation, to clean out the lint caught in the trap subsequent to each drying operation as an inherent part of the operation of the combination machine.
In carrying out the invention in one form thereof, I provide a combination clothes washer-dryer which has the usual sequence including a washing operation and a subsequent drying operation. The machine has a clothes container with drain means for removing water from the container so that a suitable washing operation may be effected. In addition I provide duct means which has an inlet and an outlet both communicating with the container in spaced relation to each other. Air is circulated through the duct means and the container by any suitable arrangement such as a blower, and suitable means are provided for heating the air prior to its entry into the container so that the air flowing through the container is warm so as to dry the clothes.
The duct means includes a substantially vertically positioned closed hollow trap member located downstream of the container air outlet and connected to the outlet by first conduit means which causes the air to enter the trap at the upper portion thereof in a tangential manner so as to effect a swirling or cyclone movement of the air within the trap. This air movement centrifuges the lint out to the side wall of the trap so as to separate the lint from the main air flow. A second conduit extends down into the trap and has an open bottom end which is positioned substantially coaxially with the trap member and slightly above the bottom thereof.
The water supply for the container is first caused to pass into the trap member through a suitable inlet formed therein, and then out to the clothes container through a water outlet conduit leading from the trap. The water outlet conduit is formed so that at all times there is retained in the trap enough water to reach a level slightly below the bottom of the second air conduit. The lint centrifuged out of the air flow moves down the side wall of the trap and is then caught by the water at the bottom of the trap.
Together with the components set forth above, I provide sequence control means for controlling all of these components; during the washing operation the control means causes suitable operation of the water supply means and the drain means so as to provide a conventional washing operation. During the drying operation the control means causes operation of the drain means, of the air heating means, and of the air circulating means so that a suitable drying operation is effected. A third important function of the control means, according to my invention, is to effect operation of the water supply means subsequent to each drying operation or intermittently during each drying operation but prior to the next washing operation so that all the lint caught during the drying operation is flushed from the trap member prior to the next use of the machine. Preferably, the drain means is operative at the same time as the water supply means during the flushing operation so that the lint and water thus removed from the trap is flushed down the drain and so removed without any attention from the operator having been required.
The subject matter which forms this invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. The invention itself, however, both as to organization and method of opera tion together with further objects and advantages may best be understood by reference to the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings,
Figure l is a side elevational view of the improved machine of this invention, partially in section and with certain surfaces broken away to show details;
Figure 2 is a rear view of the machine, with the rear panel removed to illustrate details; and
Figure 3 is a cam chart illustrating the control sequence provided by the control apparatus of my improved combination washer-dryer.
Referring now to Figures 1 and 2, I' have shown a combination washer-dryer wherein the operating elements of the machine are included within an outer cabinet structure including a front panel 1 and side panels 2 and 3. The panels. are supported ona base and toe board assembly 4 and in turn support a top closure 5 provided with an integral backsplash portion 6. Access to the interior of the machine is provided by a door 7 which may be mounted on panel 1 by concealed hinges and opened by suitable means such as latch control 8. The machine is so constructed that when a load of soiled clothes is placed therein, it proceeds through a sequence of operations, first washing the clothes and then drying them. In order to provide completely automatic and flexible operation of the machine, operating controls such as 9 are mounted on the backsplash panel 6, and are connected tocontrol apparatus 10 secured within the backsplash panel. The particular form of the control provided does not form a part of the invention, and it will be understood that any suitable control mechanism, conventionally the type with a timer motor driving one or more cams for programming the opening and closing of appropriate switches, may be provided.
As shown. in Figures 1 and 2, the machine is of the horizontal axis. type with the clothes basket or drum 11 mounted for rotation on a generally horizontal axis within an outer enclosing tub structure 12. The basket as shown comprises a perforated cylindrical shell 13 which is closed at its rear by means of a suitable wall 14 and which has a similar front wall (not shown) generally provided with a suitable loading opening aligned with the door 7 so that clothes may be introduced into the container 11 when the door is open. The basket is rotatably supported by a shaft 15 rotatably mounted within the rear wall 16 of tub 12 which is also provided with an access opening 17 in the front wall thereof aligned with the basket access opening and, door 7. Basket 11 and tub 12 thus form a container for the clothes during the treatment thereof.
During machine operation, basket 11 is rotatably driven from an electric motor 18. The drive from the motor to the basket includes a pulley 19 which is secured to the motor shaft so as to rotate therewith, and over which passes a belt 20. Belt 20 drives an adjustable sheave assembly 21 of the type which is well known for use in achieving variable output speeds from a constant input speed source. The adjustable sheave assembly in turn operates belt 22 to cause rotation of pulleys 23 and 24. The rotation of pulley 24 is passed on to a pulley 25, which is rigidly secured on basket shaft 15, through a belt 26. In this manner the motor 18 may be driven at a constant speed and, through the adjustable sheave assembly 21, the speed imparted to pulley 25 and basket 11 may be varied so as to provide an appropriate range of speeds for the basket. For instance, for tumbling purposes during the cleansing and rinsing operation, and also during the heat drying operation, a speed of approximately 47 rpm. may be provided to a basket of approximately 26 inches in diameter, and a centrifuging speed of several hundred r.p.m. may be provided to the basket for effecting centrifugal extraction of liquid from the clothes prior to a heat drying operation or removal of clothes from the container.
The operation of thevariable speed drive briefly described above does not form any part of the present invention and is set forth merely to provide a substantially complete description of an operative machine. A complete and detailed description of such a drive is provided, for instance, in application Serial No. 731,362, filed on April 28, 1958, by John Bochan and assigned to the General Electric Company, assignee of .the present invention.
The means whereby water is supplied to and discharged from tub 12 during operation of the machine includes connections 27 and 28 through which hot and cold water is supplied to the machine for the washing operation. A valve controlled. by a, solenoid 29 admits hot water to the machine and valve controlled by an opposed solenoid 30 admits cold water to the machine. The hot and cold water valves under the control of the solenoids 29 and 3t) discharge through a common outlet conduit 31, through a, suitable. air gap, and into a funnel 32 which leads to a conduit 33. Conduit 33. has an. outlet 34 which enters the side wall 341: of a, vertically positioned trap member 35 approximately at the. mid-portion thereof and substantially tangentially thereto. Trap member 35 may preferably. as shown, he in. the form of an inverted frustrum of a cone. Adjacent. the bottom 36 of trap member 35 an outlet conduit 37 communicates with the trap member, also preferably tangentially, but joining the trap member removed from the position which would be required to receive a stream of water spiraling down the wall of. trap member 35 from outlet 34, through opening 38. At its other end 39 conduit 37 is connected to the interior of tub 12. Conduit 37 is formed with a. slight rise 40 therein so that the lowest portion 41 of the rise determines the level 42 of the water which will be retained in the trap member 35. It will be understood that, once rise 40 is provided inconduit 37, it may communicate with tub 12 at any suitable point. For .instance, it could be made to communicate with the tub at the bottom thereof, i.e.,. at the sump 45, in the manner that wash water is supplied to the tub in the machine now produced commercially by the assignee of this invention.
In this manner the water flows from the valve morn bers through conduit 31 and conduit 33, through the trap member 35 in a, swirling motion, and then out through conduit 37 into tub 12. Upon entering the tub 12, the water, then flows down the side of the tub to fill the tub. A pressure actuated sensing device or water level control 42 controls both solenoids 29 and 30 to provide' the proper water level in the machine during the washing operation. Sensing-device 42 is connected to the interior of the tub 12 by a suitable line 43 which conmeets with the tub almost at the bottom thereof at 44 as shown.
Water in the tub is discharged from the machine at appropriate times through the sump 45 mounted at the bottom of the, tub. A suitable discharge hose 46 leads from. the; sump to a pump 47 which may, as shown in Figure l, be driven, directly from motor 18 and which discharges, through, a conduit 48 to a drain valve 49 controlledby a solenoid 50. When, solenoid 50 is ener gized it pulls down a lever. member 51 pivoted at point 52 to closethe valve. When solenoid 50 is de-energized valve 49: is opened. permitting the continually operating pump 47 to pass liquid through conduit 48 and valve 49 to a drain conduitv53.
The illustrated machineis-of the type which uses an open forced air system during the drying cycle for drying the clothes. Specifically, an outlet 54 is provided at the top of tub.12-' which leads to an air circulating device in the form of blower member 55; the blower receives the air from the outlet 54 and forces it through a conduit 56 which terminates: in an inlet 57 entering trap member 35 tangentially adjacent to the top portion 58 thereof so as to cause the air passing from blower 55 to swirl aroundthe sidewalls of trap 35 in a swirling or cyclone type of action. A conduit 59 enters traps 35 through the top portion 58 thereof and extends downwardly so as to terminate in an open bottom portion 60 which is positioned substantially coaxially with the generally vertical trap 35; conduit 59 constitutes an outlet for the air which enters the trap from the conduit 56. Conduit 59, after leaving the trap, then extends generally horizontally to the rear of the machine and communicates with atmosphere as shown at 61. e
An air inlet 62 to the tub, in which are provided sheathed electrically insulated heating elements 63, is connected by a conduit 64 to a louvered opening 65 in front panel 1. Opening 65 is located, substantially higher than the maximum liquid level possible in the machine. Energization of the heating elements 63 causes air entering through opening 65 to be heated prior to its entry into the tub 12 and basket 11. It will thus be seen that conduit 64, conduit 59 and trap 35 form duct means for causing a flow of warm air to be drawn from inlet 62 through the perforations in basket 11 so as to contact the tumbling clothes therein; the air is then pulled by blower 55 out of the basket, through outlet 54, and sent through conduit 56 to trap 35.
Referring now particularly to Figure 3, the operation of the improved combination washer-dryer of my invention will be described. It is to be understood that Figure 3 is in effect a development of the peripheries of the Operating means (not otherwise shown) of the control mechanism as provided in combination with suitable control circuit means of the conventional type. The heavy lines show the cam'rises, when the devices controlled by the cams are caused to operate.
Let it be assumed for the purposes of explanation that the control knob 9 is set to provide a standard washing and drying operation wherein it is intended that hot water he provided for the washer, and that a drying operation follow the washing operation. To initiate the action, the control is manually advanced to a position just beyond the on line in Figure 3. As the selected cycle is started, it can be seen that the hot water supply, the timer (not otherwise shown) and the drain valve are energized. This energizes the solenoid 29 to open its associated valve and permit hot water to flow into the tub 11 through the conduit 31, funnel 32, conduit 33, trap 35, and conduit 37 so as to fill the tub to an appropriate level. When an appropriate amount of Water has been provided, pressure sensitive switch 42 causes the flow to stop and the washing action is then provided by the continued tumbling of basket 11 which, by causing motor 18 to operate coextensively with the timer, is rotated during the entire operation from start to finish.
At the end of a predetermined amount of washing time, as determined by the timer, the drain valve is de-energized long enough to permit the pump to drain the water out of the tub 11. Clean water (preferably cold) is then introduced to provide a first rinsing action which continues for a predetermined amount of time, and then the drain valve is again de-energized to drain off the rinse water.
It will be observed at this point that each time water is introduced into the tub through trap 35 it causes the water to swirl around the trap, thereby providing a cleansing action, and that the shape of outlet conduit 37 causes water to remain in the trap to level 42.
Rinse water which may, as shown, he provided warm by energizing both the hot and cold valve solenoids may then be provided for a second rinse and then, at the end of this last rinse, the drain valve is again de-energizcd to drain the water out of the machine. Then the appropriate control mechanism (not otherwise shown) is energized to cause the speed transmission to provide a high speed rotation of the basket to cause a centrifugal liquid extraction operation. Efiective removal of liquid by the pump by de-energization of the drain valve is normally 6 continued during the spin operation to remove the water collected in the sump from the centrifugal extraction.
At the end of the spin an appropriate drying cycle is commenced with the heater and the air circulating means being in operation. This action causes air to be drawn through conduit 64 into the container, after being heated by heater 63, and then to be forced by the blower from the container to the trap 35. In the trap the air swirls around the wall of the trap thereby effecting a centrifuging action on the lint picked up from the clothes by the air'so that the lint travels to the outside and passes down the walls of the trap into the water at the bottom of the trap. The air continues to swirl around until it reaches the bottom of the trap at which time it passes through outlet 60 into conduit 59. At this point, substantially all the lint has been removed from the air and is held in the water at the bottom of the trap. The air then passes out through conduit 59 to the exterior of the machine.
This drying action continues for a suitable period, as shown in Figure 3, with the lint continually being caught in the trap and collected by the water at the bottom of the trap. At the end of the drying operation, the heater shuts 01f, but the clothes continue to tumble in the basket with the blower continuing to operate in order to effect a cooling of the clothes prior to their removal. At the end of the cooling period the blower shuts off.
According to my improved construction, either the hot water solenoid, the cold water solenoid, or both, are then energized to provide a substantial amount of flow through conduit 33into the trap 35. This flow of water will, as has previously been described, cause the water already in the trap to be flushed out through conduit 37 and flow down the side wall of tub 12 into sump 45. In this manner all the lint collected in trap 35 during the drying operation is flushed down into the sump 45. Provided, as is deemed preferable, the pump also becomes effective to remove liquid at this time due to the deenergization of the drain valve solenoid 50, this linty water is then drained out of the machine so that the lint is completely disposed of. It will be recognized that the point of importance is that one or the other or both of the solenoids 29 and 30 be energized subsequent to the drying operation but prior to the next washing operation so that the linty water is removed before the start of each washing operation. Thus, while in the preferred construction this occurs at the very end of a cycle, it is conceivable that it might also be provided at other times, such as at the very beginning of the next cycle or intermittently during the dry cycle so as to avoid large lumps of lint being flushed out at any one time.
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 the invention, and I therefore aim in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within 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:
l. A combination clothes washer-dryer having a sequence including a washing operation and a subsequent drying operation comprising a clothes container; drain means for said container; duct means having an inlet and an outlet communicating with said container in spaced relation to each other; means for circulating air through said duct means and said container; means for heating air prior to its entry into said container; said duct means including a substantially vertically positioned closed hollow trap member downstream of said outlet; said duct means including first conduit means connecting said outlet to the upper portion of said trap member, and second conduit means extending down into said trap member and having an open bottom and terminating substantially coaxially with said trap member and in spaced relation to means, said drain means, said air heating means and said air circulating means, said control means effecting operation of said water supply means and said drain means during said washing operation, said control means effecting operation of said air heating means and said air circulating means during said drying operation, said control means further effecting operation of said water supply means subsequent to at least a part of the drying operation and prior to the next washing operation.
2. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein, said control means eifects operation of said drain means at the same time as said water supply means subsequent to at least a part of the drying operation and prior to the next washing operation.
3. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said first conduit means communicates substantially tangentially with said trap member.
4. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said second conduit means extends vertically down into said trap member and is positioned substantially coaxially with said trap member therewithin.
5. The apparatus defined in claim 3 wherein said water supply means inlet to said trap member is formed. substantially tangentially to the side wall of said trap member.
6. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said first conduit means, said water supply means inlet to said trap,
connecting said inletand said outlet to atmosphere; means,
for circulating air through said duct means and said container; means adjacent said inlet conduit for heating air prior to its entry into said container; said duct means further including a substantially vertically positioned closed hollow trap member in said outlet conduit means downstream ofsaid outlet; said outlet conduit means including a first conduit connecting said outlet to the upper portion of said trap member, said first conduit communicating substantially tangentially with said trap member; said outlet conduit means including a second conduit extending down'into'said trap member and having an open bottom end terminating substantially coaxially with said trap member and in spaced relation to the bottom thereof,
said second conduit means having its other end communicating with atmosphere; water supply means having an inlet to said trap member; a water outlet conduit communicating with said trap member adjacent the bottomthereof, the bottom of said trap member being positioned above the bottom of said container; said' water outlet trol means efiecting operation ofsaid air heating means and said air circulating means during said drying operation, said control means eifecting operation of said water supply means and said drain means subsequent to at least a part of the drying operation and prior to the next washing operation;
' 8. The-apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein both said water supply means and said drain means are operated by said control means subsequent to the drying operation" in the same sequence therewith.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,530,073 Cutter Mar. 17, 1925' 1,637,166 Ullin July 26, 1927' 2,758,461 Tann Aug. 14, 1956'
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|U.S. Classification||68/12.15, 68/19.2, 34/79, 68/207, 68/12.13, 34/596|
|International Classification||D06F23/02, D06F58/22|
|Cooperative Classification||D06F23/02, D06F58/22|
|European Classification||D06F23/02, D06F58/22|