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Publication numberUS3025793 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 20, 1962
Filing dateMay 7, 1958
Priority dateMay 7, 1958
Publication numberUS 3025793 A, US 3025793A, US-A-3025793, US3025793 A, US3025793A
InventorsGeorge Vischulis
Original AssigneeMiehle Goss Dexter Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for changing inks in printing press fountains
US 3025793 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 20, 1962 G. VISCHULIS METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CHANGING INKS IN PRINTING PRESS FOUNTAINS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May '7, 1958 w n N 9 m H 5 l P x 4 4 5 4 Q M W w 6 WI m K c 41 5 m 3 5 4? {Hum mm Bum nu G R E D NVETNTO Gecv e \fiu'ckuhu- L! I F ag. |b QMQg miMwm/I Cfl-r-roRJOS March 20, 1962 G. VISCHULIS 3,025,793

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CHANGING INKS IN PRINTING PRESS FOUNTAINS Filed May 7, 1958 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 op DETERGENT Georle LJCKUILJ r AT O RMEJY/ 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 G. vlscHuLls PRINTING PRESS FOUNTAINS METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CHANGING INKS IN March 20, 1962 Filed May 7, 1958 CONDFTlON OR OPERAHQM PRESS RUNNING IDEAIN INK.

SHUT OFF REMOVE INK- CONNECT DE-TERGEMT FILL. WITH DETERGENT SHUT-OFF AND VlEaRRTE DRABN DETERGENT SHUT-OFF REMOVE DETERGEPOT- CONNECT "OK SHAFT G. VISCHULIS METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CHANGING INKS IN PRINTING PRESS F OUNTAINS Filed May 7, 1958 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 MvEMTok Gegr e \f ksc flu lid 3,025,793 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CHAN GKNG INKS IN PRINTING PRESS FOUNTAHNS George Vischulis, Berkeley, Ill., assignor to Mireille-Goss- Dexter, Incorporated, Wilmington, DeL, a corporation of Delaware Filed May 7, 1958, Ser. No. 733,694 8 Claims. (Cl. 101-350) This invention has to do with printing presses, and particularly with the changing of inks in press fountains.

In operation of printing presses, particularly, the multicolor newspaper presses which are now coming into wide spread use, it is often necessary to change the color of ink applied to the printed product by the different printing units. This entails the removal of the ink which is present in the ink fountain, and the complete removal of the residual ink film which remains on the inside surfaces of the fountain trough, the valves and conduits which connect the ink into the trough, the ink pick-up roller and the wiping blade. Unless the original ink is completely cleaned from the fountain and its associated parts, it will mix with and discolor the new and different colored ink which is next used.

Such removal of old ink from ink fountains and associated parts has been a laborious, time-consuming hand operation. Scrapers, rags, cans of ink solvent, and energetic handwashing and wiping were the instrumentalities of this operation. Aside from the labor and expense involved, the time delays incurred by manual cleaning and refilling of ink fountains have become intolerable in magazine and newspaper printing where changes in ink colors often must be made between printing runs on editions scheduled with almost no intervening down time. The numbers of printing units required to produce a single newspaper or magazine, and the variety of the different ink colors which may be employed in these different units further increase the periods of delay between successive printing runs when hand cleaning of parts is necessary.

It is the general aim of this invention to reduce greatly the labor and time delays which have heretofore been incurred in the changing of inks, while, nevertheless, ensuring that the first ink does not mix with and discolor the second ink.

Important objects of the invention are to bring about faster draining of a first ink from ink fountains; faster and complete cleaning of all of the first ink from fountains and associated parts, including the fountain roller, level control valve and conduits; and the elimination of hand cleaning and wiping, leaving only simple control functions to the press operating personnel.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent as the following description proceeds, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURES 1, la and 1b, together, are a schematic illustration of exemplary, preferred apparatus for carrying out the method of this invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are schematic illustrations of the operative steps of draining ink from a fountain and filling it with a cleaning solution, respectively, as accomplished by the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are side elevation and plan views, respectively, of a typical ink fountain, illustrating typical locations of electro-mechanical transducers employed for imparting vibrations to the fluid contained by the fountain;

FIG. 6 is a tabular representation of the steps of the method of changing inks, and illustrating a program of control for the apparatus of FIG. 1, which accomplishes those steps; and

3,025,793 Patented Mar. 20, 1962 FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic illustration of another preferred form of apparatus for practicing the instant method of changing inks, especially in a plurality of diflerent fountains in a plural unit press.

While the invention has been shown and will be described in some detail with reference to exemplary procedures and apparatus, there is no intention that it thus be limited to such detail. On the contrary, it is intended here to cover all modifications, alternatives and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Referring to FIGURE 1, a portion of a printing press unit is there illustrated, including an ink trough or fountain 10. Liquid ink present in the fountain is picked up by a rotating fountain roller 11, partly submerged in the body of ink, and the excess is removed by an appropriately spaced wiping blade 12. Closely spaced from the fountain roller 11 is a transfer roller 14, which in turn runs against and applies ink to the surface of a distributing roll 15. This distributing roll 15, in addition to three other similar rolls 1618, turns in contact with an inking drum 19. The distributing rollers 15-48 smooth out the film of ink on the surface of the drum 19, and the uppermost rolls 16, 17 also ride in contact with and transfer ink to a second drum 20. From the second drum 20 ink is picked up by form rollers 21 and 22 and applied to printing plates on a plate cylinder 24. The paper web W to be printed runs between the plate cylinder 24 and an impression cylinder 25. All of these rollers, drums and cylinders are appropriately and rotationally driven from the press mechanism and serve to so spread and distribute ink picked up by the fountain roller 11, that it is applied in a uniform thin film to the raised type on the printing plates.

As ink is taken from the fountain 10, the ink level is maintained automatically by a level control valve 26. The latter may take a variety of known forms, and is here shown as a float-operated valve of the general type disclosed in Patent No. 2,813,538 issued in the name of Andrew Di Genova. As the ink level and the float drop, the control valve 26 is opened, so ink supplied under pressure to the valve is admitted to the fountain. When a desired ink level is restored, the float rises and recloses the valve 26.

For the purpose of supplying ink under pressure to the level control valve 26, a conduit 28 leads through a valve 30 to a common conduit 31 which is connected by a quick-connect coupling 32 to a reservoir tank 34 which contains a reserve supply of the ink. The conduit 31, is, in effect, coupled to a lower opening in the tank 34 because the coupling 32 leads to a pipe 35 which extends almost to the bottom of the tank. The tank 34 is hermetically sealed except for the pipe 35 and a second, short pipe 38 leading to a second quick-connect coupling 36. The pipe 38 extends only slightly beneath the roof of the tank, and leads to a conduit 30 associated with a three-way valve 40.

The valve 40 is arranged to alternatively connect the conduit 39 with a source of pneumatic pressure 41 or a source of vacuum 42. For this purpose, the valve 40 includes a plunger 44 normally centered by springs 45 to cut off communication from both the pressure and vacuum sources 41 and 42 to the conduit 39. When the plunger 44 is shifted to the right, ports are opened to connect the pressure source 41 to the conduit 39. Alternatively, as the plunger 44 is shifted to the left, the vacuum source 42 is connected to the conduit 39.

With the plunger shifted to the right, a relatively high pressure will be created within the tank 34, and this will force ink upwardly through the pipe 35, the coupling 32, the conduit 31, the valve 30, the conduit 28, and the valve 25 until the proper level of ink in the fountain is obtained, after which the valve 26 will automatically close.

The fountain has inclined bottom walls 10a, 1% terminating in an apex. It is preferable that these bottom walls be inclined downwardly from the opposite ends of the fountain so that a drain opening 50 is at the lowermost point. A conduit 53 leads from the drain opening 50 through a normally closed valve 51 to the common conduit 31.

Let it be assumed that the ink existing in the fountain 16 is black, and that it is desired to change to operation of the printing unit with red ink. As a first step in the process of changing inks, the existing black ink is drained from the fountain. To accomplish this in the preferred manner, a vacuum is applied to the drain opening 50 and the ink in the fountain is sucked through that drain opening. In the arrangement illustrated by FIGURE 1, the valve 51 is opened, the valve 3t) closed, and the plunger 44 is shifted to the left, thus connecting the vacuum source 42 to the interior of the tank 34. The reduced pressure within the tank 34 thus causes ink to be sucked through the drain opening 50, the conduit 53, the valve 51 and the coupling 32, completely draining the existing ink from the fountain 10 (FIG. 2).

At this point, a considerable residue of ink will be left on the interior surfaces of the fountain, the valve 26, the blade 12 and the pick-up roller 11. In addition, there will be an ink residue within the valves 30 and 51 and the conduits 28 and 53.

As the next step in the process, a suitable cleaning fluid is admitted into the fountain 10, and in an amount such that it rises above the normally maintained ink level, thus submerging the control valve 26 and the blade 12. The roller 11 will be almost totally submerged.

For this purpose, the tank 34 is removed from its association with the conduits 31 and 3?, and a second tank 55 containing a measured amount of cleaning fluid is substituted by means of the quick-connect couplings 32 and 36. After such connection of the tank 55 in lieu of the tank 34, both the valves 30 and 51 are opened, and the valve 40 is conditioned to connect the pressure source 41 to the conduit 39. Air pressure within the tank 55 will thus force the cleaning fluid upwardly through the valve 30, the conduit 38 and the valve 26, flushing out any residue of ink which may be left within those components. When the level of the cleaning solution within the fountain 10 reaches that point which causes closure of the control valve 26, cleaning fluid continues to be supplied to the fountain through the valve 51 and the drain opening 50 (FIG. 3). Thus, substantially all of the cleaning fluid in the tank 55 is transferred to the fountain 10, the amount being suflicient to substantially submerge the control valve 26, fountain roller 11 and the wiping blade 12. At this point, the three valves 30, 51 and 40 may be restored to their normal conditions.

As a next, and highly important step in the process of changing inks, vibrations of a relatively high or ultrasonic frequency are imparted to the cleaning fluid within the fountain 10. The purpose of these vibrations is to cause cavitation within the cleaning fluid so that it will carry into solution or suspension all of the residual ink which remains on the submerged surfaces of the fountain 10, the valve 26, the roller 11 and the blade 12. It has been found that ultrasonic frequency vibrations imparted to a cleaning fluid will admirably accomplish this purpose, resulting in the complete cleansing or removal of all ink and ink particles from the fountain and its associated parts, such ink and ink particles going into solution or suspension in the fluid itself. Although the roller 11 is not completely submerged in the cleaning fluid, it can be rotated while the vibrations are imparted to the fluid, so that its whole surface is cleaned.

As a preferred manner of imparting such vibrations to the cleaning fluid, the walls 10a, 10b of the fountain 10 are made relatively thin and flexible, Mounted on these walls are a plurality of electro-mechanical transducers 58 which when excited with electric signals in the sonic-ultrasonic frequency range, impart a vibratory movement to the walls, such movements being transmitted through those walls of the body of the cleaning fluid. It has been found that the Walls 10a and 19b of the ink fountain it) may advantageously be made of relatively thin (e.g., A; inch) stainless steel which is sufficiently flexible and has such a relatively low hysteresis loss that it transmits with high efliciency the ultrasonic frequency vibrations produced by the transducers 58.

For best efficiency, a relatively large number of transducers 58 are employed, being spaced along the outer surfaces of the bottom or side walls of the fountain 10.- The transducers may take any of a variety of well-known forms. One satisfactory type of transducers includes a stack of magnetostrictive materials associated with exciting coils as illustrated and described in Patent No. 2,8l5,l93, issued in the name of G. G. Brown.

To excite the transducers 58, a suitable generator 59 of ultrasonic frequency electric signals is employed, and this may take the well-known form of an electronic oscillator 60 Working into a suitable power amplifier 61, as illustrated in FIGURE 1. Preferably, relay or switch contacts 62 are interposed between the amplifier 61 and the several transducers 58 connected in parallel. Closure of the contacts 62, therefore, results in excitation of the transducers 58 and the application of ultrasonic frequency vibrations through the walls of the fountain 10 to the body of the cleaning fluid therein.

It is particularly noteworthy to observe at this point that by the ultrasonic frequency vibrations in the body of the cleaning fluid, every remote corner and crevice within the fountain 10 is cleaned of the ink which previ ously adhered to its surface. Those vibrations are transmitted through the body of cleaning fluid, and the residue of ink which was left within the fountain is physically acted upon until it goes into solution or suspension in the cleaning fluid.

The particular frequency of the ultrasonic vibrations is not critical. Twenty kilocycles per second is usually imposed as a lower limit simply in order to avoid audible sounds which are objectionable and disturbing to operat ing personnel. An upper limit of about sixty kilocycles per second is artificially imposed simply because the efficiency of generation and transmission of vibration at frequencies above that value becomes objectionably low. in some instances, it may be desired to supply several different frequency signals simultaneously to the transducers 58. In most instances, however, the frequency or frequencies employed will be chosen with regard to the natural period of vibration of the transducers and the metal walls to which they are fixed.

The length of time that the cleaning fluid is left in the fountain 1t! and subjected to ultrasonic frequency vibrations is not particularly critical. Merely by inspecting the fountain 10 to determine when all of the residual ink has gone into solution or suspension, the vibrations may be terminated as soon as the desired cleaning action is effected. Once experience has shown the approximate period required for the application of ultrasonic frequency vibrations, it will no longer be necessary to observe when the ink particles have been removed from the fountain surfaces. Vibrations applied over a period of about one minute are in most cases sufiicient.

The particular cleaning fluid which is employed in this process may take any of a variety of suitable forms. For example, that fluid may be a chemical solvent, such as naphtha or kerosene, if that solvent has the capability of dissolving the ink which was previously in the fountain. As a preferred practice, however, the cleaning fluid. is simply a water solution of a soluble detergent. A deter-- gent solution is much less expensive than most chemical solvents. It eliminates the hazards of fire or explosions as well as disposal problems. Many well-known detergents are particularly efiective in maintaining small particles in suspension, and since the effect of the ultrasonic frequency vibrations is to break down residual ink into minute particles and suspend them in the detergent solution, this practice has shown itself to be quite effective. As typical examples of satisfactory detergents, solutions of sodium metasilicate, or di-sodium phosphate have been found to be entirely satisfactory.

As the next step in the process of changing inks, the cleaning fluid which has been subjected to ultrasonic frequency vibrations, and which now carries residual ink from the fountain and its associated parts in solution or suspension, is drained from the ink fountain, carrying all of that residual ink with it. To effect this, the valve 51 may be opened, and the valve 40 conditioned to connect the vacuum source 42 with the conduit 39 (FIGURE 1). The reduced pressure created within the tank 55 will thus suck the cleaning fluid through the drain 50 and the valve 51 back into the tank 55. It will be observed that because cleaning fluid was passed initially partly through the valve 30, the conduit 28 and the valve 26 into the fountain 10, the interior surfaces of those components were flushed out and cleansed of residual ink. As the cleaning fluid is thereafter drained through the conduit 53, the valve 51, the common conduit 31 and the coupling 32, those parts are likewise flushed and cleaned of residual ink.

The final step in the process is to refill the fountain 1G with ink of a different color. For this purpose, in the preferred arrangement illustrated, a third tank 65, identical to the tanks 34 and '55 except containing, say, red ink is substituted for the tank 55 by connection to the quick-couplings 32 and 36. After this substitution of tanks is completed, the valve 30 is opened, the valve 31 is closed, and the valve 40 is conditioned to connect the pressure source 41 to the conduit 39, so that air pressure is created in the upper portion of the tank 65. Thus, the ink within the tank 65 is forced under pressure upwardly through the conduit 31, the valve 30, the conduit 23, and the control valve 26. The fountain will, therefore, be filled with the new ink to a level at which the control valve 26 automatically closes. After the several transfer and distributing rollers and drums 14-22 have been wiped clean of the original ink, the press may again be put into operation.

Whenever it is desired to change the ink from red to another color, the foregoing process may be repeated.

While it is entirely feasible to manually operate the valves 30, 51 and 40, as well as the switch contacts 62-, in carrying out the steps of the above-described process, the present invention contemplates facilitating the performance of the steps in the desired order by providing apparatus which controls those valves according to a predetermined program. As shown in FIGURE 1, the normally closed valve is of the type which is adapted to be opened in response to energization of an associated solenoid 30a. In like manner, the valve 51 may be opened by energization of an associated solenoid 51a, while the valve may be conditioned to connect the pressure source 41 or the vacuum source 42 to the conduit 39 in response to energization of solenoids 46 or 48, respectively. These four solenoids 30a, 51a, 46 and 48 are, respectively, connected across a suitable voltage source 70 in series with corresponding switches A, B, C and D. The contacts 62 are arranged to be closed in response to energization of an associated relay coil 62a which is connected across the voltage source 70 in series with a switch E.

To actuate the several solenoids 30a, 51a, 46 and 48 and the relay coil 62a in the proper combination during each successive step of the process described above, a plurality of cams A1, B1, C1, D1, and E1 mounted on a suitable common shaft 71 are associated with the respective switches A-E. The shaft 71 carries a detent knob 72 for the purpose of successively setting the shaft in seven angular positions. The several cams Al-El are so shaped as to engage and open the associated switches A-E when the shaft 71 is in that angular position corresponding to a process step which requires that those switches and their associated solenoids be actuated.

FIG. 6 will make clear the necessary shapes given to the several cams. As shown in FIG. 6, the shaft 71 is set to its first angular position when the press is running and ink is being supplied from the tank 34 to the fountain 10, as illustrated in FIG. 1. Under this condition, the switches A and C are closed by their cams A1 and C1 so that the solenoids 30a and 46 are energized, causing the application of pneumatic pressure to the interior of the first ink tank 34, and the passage of ink under pressure through the valve 36a to the fountain 10 under the control of the valve 26. When it is desired to initiate the process of changing inks, the shaft 71 is indexed to its No. 2 position, and the cams B1 and D1 permit the switches B and D to close while opening contacts A and C. This results in the'energization of the solenoids 51a and 43, and de-energization of solenoids 30a and 46, so that the vacuum source 42 is connected to the interior of the tank 34, and the existing ink within the fountain 10 is sucked through the drain opening 50 and the valve 51 to the ink tank (FIG. 2).

While substituting the detergent solution tank 55 for the ink tank 34, the shaft 71 is set to its No. 3 position. The cams A1-E1 cause all of the switches A-E to be opened. This closes the valves 30, 51 and 44) so that the substitution of tanks can be accomplished.

After the detergent solution tank 55 is connected in place, the shaft 7 1 is indexed to its No. 4 position, and the cams A1, B1 and C1 close their corresponding switches, thus energizing the solenoids 30a, 51a and 46. With this, the valves 30 and 51 are opened, and the pressure source 41 is placed in communication with the interior of the tank 55. Thus, the cleaning fluid or detergent solution is forced through both the valves 30 and 51 into the fountain 10 (FIG. 3). The detergent solution rises above that level normally maintained by the control valve 26, but does not overflow the edges of the fountain 10 because the tank 55 holds a measured amount of the detergent solution.

After the detergent solution has been placed in the fountain 10, the shaft 71 is indexed to its No. 5 position. This causes the cam E1 to close the switch E and energize the relay coil 62a. Accordingly, the contacts 62 close and the several transducers 58 are energized with ultrasonic frequency signals from the signal generator 59. When the residual ink within the fountain 10 has been dissolved or suspended in the cleaning fluid, the shaft 71 is indexed to its No. 6 position. This causes the cams B1 and D1 to close switches B and D, thereby energizing the solenoids 51a and 48. Accordingly, the vacuum source 42 is connected to the interior of the tank 55, and the cleaning fluid is sucked from the fountain 10 through the drain opening 50 and the valve 51.

Following that, the shaft 71 is indexed to its No. 7 position so that the cams open all of the switches A-E. The cleaning fluid tank 55 may now be removed from the couplings 32 and 36, and the second ink tank 65 connected in its place. After this, the shaft 71 is returned to its No. 1 position so that the switches A and C are closed to energize the solenoids 30a and 46. Under these circumstances, the fountain will be filled with new ink from the tank 65, and the press may be restarted in operation. When it is desired to change inks again the foregoing process may be repeated simply by successively indexing the shaft 71 to its several rotational stations and substituting tanks of detergent and a different color of ink, as described.

Thus far, the excitation of the transducers 58 has been described as occurring only when the ink fountain 10 contains the cleaning fluid or detergent solution. As an important ancillary feature of the invention, however, it has been found particularly advantageous to excite the transducers 58 during that period when the original ink is being drained from the fountain. This imparts ultrasonic frequency vibrations to the body of existing ink as it is flowing through the drain 50, the conduit 53 and the valve 51 back to its reservoir tank. Because this ink has a relatively high viscosity, the ultrasonic frequency vibration thereof greatly facilitates the draining operation by breaking down surface tension, speeding that operation up considerably and decreasing the residual ink which is left on the inner surfaces of the fountain. More importantly, the amount of ink and ink particles which must be picked up either by solution or suspension in the cleaning fluid is materially reduced because of the volume of ink which is left clinging to the inner surfaces of the fountain is materially reduced. Thus, it is considered to be an important feature of the invention of the present process that ultrasonic frequency vibrations be imparted to ink within the fountain during the time that it is being drained therefrom. This is illustrated in the program chart of FIG. 6 which shows the cam E1 (FIGURE 1) so shaped as to close the switch E when the program shaft is in its No. 2 position. Thus, when ink is being drained from the fountain, the relay coil 62a will be energized to close the contacts 62 so that ultrasonic frequency signals are supplied from the generator 59 to the several transducers 58. As a result, faster drainage of the existing ink occurs, and less residual ink is left within the fountain 10.

It is also contemplated within the scope of the invention that ultrasonic frequency vibrations be imparted to the cleaning fluid while the latter is being drained from the fountain. This, to a smaller extent that in the case of the ink, speeds the drainage and results in more complete removal of the detergent solution.

While the method of changing inks has been described with reference to valves, electrical components, and other apparatus for facilitating its practice, it will be apparent that the method may be carried out almost entirely by manual operations, if that is desired. Ink or cleaning fluid in the fountain can be removed by the use of a hand dipper or by siphoning, instead of sucking through a drain opening. The cleaning fluid and ink can both be manually poured into the open mouth of the fountain, instead of being forced under pressure through conduits from the tanks. And the ultrasonic frequency vibrations can be imparted to the ink and cleaning fluid in the fountain by a variety of means other than the specific apparatus illustrated. The transducers and the ultrasonic frequency signal generator described above are standard, commercially available components which may be used for a variety of other purposes than to cause the solution or suspension of ink particles into cleaning fluid.

Although the method here disclosed and claimed is quite independent of the apparatus employed, FIG. 7 illustrates still another arrangement for carrying out the method. This arrangement is especially advantageous in changing inks in a plurality of fountains with a minimum of apparatus. It is also characterized by a substantial reduction in the need to control different valves.

Referring to FIG. 7, the arrangement there shown is to be used in changing the inks in a plurality (here, three) of ink fountains 80a, 80b, 80c, associated with fountain rollers 81a81c, level control valves SZa-c, and drain openings 84a-c. Each fountain is also equipped with a plurality of transducers 85ac which may be energized from a source 86 of ultrasonic frequency signals upon closure of the respective switches 88a-88c.

Associated with each of the respective ink fountains are first common conduits 890- which preferably are flexible and which terminate in quick-connect couplings 90a-c. Connected between the upper filling openings of each fountain (which terminate in the level control valve) by means of conduits 91ac are first check valves 9211-0 which are oriented to permit fluid flow only in a direction from the conduits 89a-c through the valves 82a-c into the fountains. Connected between the drain openings Sea-c and the common conduits 89a-c are drain conduits 94a-c and second check valves 95a-c. The latter are disposed to permit fluid flow from the drain openings to the conduits 89ac, but not fluid flow in the opposite direction. The check valves 92ac and 9501-0 are of conventional construction, and will open to permit fluid flow therethrough if the pressure differential thereacross in a forward direction exceeds a very slight amount such as two or three pounds of pressure. Connected in parallel with the check valves 95ac, and reversely oriented, are biased check valves 96ac. The term biased check valve as here used denotes a valve which will permit fluid flow in the forward direction only if the pressure differential thereacross exceeds a predetermined bias value, for example, 60 pounds pressure.

For supplying ink to the three fountains a-c, three ink tanks 98a-c are employed, these tanks being constructed as previously described and being place in communication with the conduits 8ac by means of the quick couplings 0ac. For creating either air pressure or a vacuum within the three tanks, each is adapted by means of quick couplings 9a-c for connection to three-way valves ltlila-c which may be constructed like the valve 4% shown in FIG. 1. The valves 1011ac may be closed, or set to connect the couplings 99ac either to a vacuum source 101 or to a source of relatively low air pressure represented by the conduit 102. The pressure in the conduit 102 may be, for example, 30 p.s.i. derived from a pressure reducer 194 supplied with higher air pressure, e.g. 9O p.s.i., from a pressure source or compressor 105. The reduced pressure on the order of 30 pounds per square inch within the conduit 102 is insufficient to open and cause fluid flow through the biased check valves 9611-0 when the valves iitta-c are set to establish communication from the conduit 192 to the interiors of the tanks 98ac. The full pressure on the order of pounds per square inch of the source 105 is, however, sufficiently high to overcome the 60 pound bias of the biased check valves 9661-6.

Associated with each of the ink fountains 8(la-c are second conduits ac which are adapted at their upper ends for alternative connection to the common conduits 89a-c by means of the quick-connect couplings 9t)a-c. These second conduits communicate through respective three-way valves 111a-c either to a common cleaning fluid supply conduit 112 or to a common cleaning fluid sump conduit 113. The supply conduit 112 is connected through three valves 115, 116 and 117 to three pipes extending to successively greater depths in a reservoir tank 118 containing cleaning fluid or detergent solution. A relatively high pressure is created within the detergent solution tank 118 by means of an air line 119 leading from the pressure source 105. A predetermined, meas ured amount of detergent solution can be forced successively from the tank 118 by successively opening the three valves 115, 116 and 117, providing that one of the valves 111a-c is opened in each instance.

For creating a vacuum in the common sump conduit 113 the latter leads through a conduit 129 to a sump tank 121, that tank being connected to the vacuum source 101 by means of a valve 122. When the valve 122 is closed, detergent fluid which has been drained into the sump tank 121 may be passed to a Waste drain by opening a valve 124.

The process of changing inks in the ink fountains 80a-c by utilizing the apparatus of FIG. 7 may now be described. When the press is running, the three-way valves 100ac are all conditioned so that a positive pressure on the order of 30 pounds per square inch is supplied from the conduit 102 to the interiors of the ink tanks 98ac. Accordingly, ink will be forced upwardly through the common conduits 89ac, through the first check valves 92a-c and hence through the level control valves 82a-c. As long as the ink within the three fountains is at the desired level, the valves 82a-c will be closed. it is to be noted that under these conditions ink cannot be pushed upwardly through the drain openings 84ac because the check valves 95ac oppose fluid flow in that direction, and because the check valves 96a-c, having a bias on the order of 60 pounds per square inch, cannot open under the force of the reduced pressure of approximately 30 pounds per square inch.

When it is desired to drain the existing inks in the fountains SOa-c, the three-way valves 100ac are shifted to connect the vacuum source 101 with the interiors of the three ink tanks 98a-c. Accordingly, a vacuum will be created in the upper portions of these tanks and will result in flow of ink from the three fountains downwardly through the drain openings seaand the check valves 95a-c. Substantially all of the ink will thus be removed from the fountains and returned to the ink tanks 98a-c.

During this draining of the ink, the three switches 88a-c will be closed so as to excite the transducers 85ac and impart physical vibrations of ultrasonic frequency to the ink within the fountains. This vibration of the ink causes it to drain faster and more completely, so that very little residual ink is left in the fountains at the end of the draining operation.

To fill the fountains with detergent solution from the tank 118, the valves 100a-c are first set to their neutral or closed conditions, and the common conduits 89ac are reconnect d to the conduits 110a-c by means of the quick couplings. One of the valves 111ac, say the valve 111a, is conditioned to connect the supply conduit 112 to the conduit. 110a. Then the valve 115 is opened. The relatively high pressure of 90 pounds per square inch applied to the detergent tank 118 by the pressure source 105 forces a measured amount of detergent solution upwardly through the valve 115, the valve 111a, thence through the line 110a to the conduit 89a.

At first, this cleaning solution passes through the check valve 921;, the conduit 91a and the level control valve 82a, thoroughly flushing and cleaning the interiors of these components while admitting detergent solution to the fountain 80a. However, as soon as the solution reaches the level normally maintained by the control valve 82a, the latter will close and thereafter the cleaning solution under a pressure of about 90 pounds per square inch will open and pass through the biased check valve 96a. Accordingly, additional cleaning fluid is supplied through the drain opening 84a so that it rises above the normal ink level within the fountain 80a. This solution will not spill out of the fountain, however, because the short pipe within the tank 118 connected to the valve 119 can only permit a certain, measured amount of cleaning solution to be forced from the tank 118.

Next, the valve 111a and 115 are closed, while the valve 111b is conditioned to connect the conduits 112 and 1101). The valve 116 is opened. Detergent solution will then be forced from the tank 118 into the fountain 80b, passing first through the check valve 92b and the level control valve 82b, and, after the latter closes, through the biased check valve 96b and the drain opening 34b. Finally, the valves 111k and 116 are closed, while the valves 111c and 117 are opened. With this, detergent solution at a pressure of about 90 pounds per square inch is forced from the tank 118 upwardly through the conduit 89c, passing first through the check valve 920 and level control valve 82c until it closes, and thereafter through the biased check valve 960 into the drain opening 840. A measured amount of detergent solution, which rises above the normally maintained ink level in the fountain 80c is thus supplied into the fountain 800. The valve 1110 may then be set to its neutral or closed position and the valve 117 closed, the three ink fountains having been filled with cleaning solution.

As a next step in the operation, the three switches 88ac are closed so as to excite the transducers 85a-c and thereby impart ultrasonic frequency vibrations to the detergent solution contained Within the three fountains 80ac. These ultrasonic frequency vibrations are 10 transmitted throughout the detergent solutions resulting in cavitation of the fluid. Physical dislodgment and either solution or suspension of the residual ink which has remained on the inner surface of the fountains and the associated parts occurs. The switches 88a-c are opened when all the ink has been removed from the parts.

To drain the detergent solution and the residual ink suspended therein from the three fountains a-c, the three valves Illa-c are conditioned to connect the conduits 110a-c with the common sump line 113. The valve 122 is opened to connect the vacuum source 101 with the interior of the sump tank 121. Under these conditions, the detergent solution within the three fountains will be sucked out of the fountains through the drain openings 84ac and through the check valves 95a-c. All of the detergent solution is thus removed from the fountains and transferred to the sump tank 121. And because this detergent solution passes through the check valves 95a-c and their associated conduits which previously carried ink being drained from the fountains, the residual ink which remains within the check valves 95a-c is flushed out of them. If desired, the transducers 85a-c' may be excited during the draining operation by closing the switches 88a-c.

Following this draining of the detergent solution, the valve 122 may be closed and the valve 124 opened to transfer the detergent solution and the suspended ink therein to a waste drain.

In order to refill the fountains 80ac with a different ink, e.g. an ink of different color, the original tanks 98a-c are removed and replaced by tanks 130a-c which contain the different color of ink. This substitution of ink tanks is readily accomplished by means of the coupling-s 90ac and 99a-c. After the new ink tanks are connected in place, the three-way valves a-c are conditioned to connect the conduit 102 with the interiors of the tanks ac, so that a pressure of approximately 30 pounds per square inch is created in these tanks. This causes the new ink to be forced upwardly through the conduits 89a-c, the check valves 92a-c, and the level control valves 82a-c. These latter valves automatically close when the ink has reached a predetermined level, and will automatically maintain the ink at that level. The press may thus be started and run with the fountains supplying the desired ink to the printing units.

It will be observed that the arrangement described will permit the ink in any one of the several fountains to be changed, while the original ink is left in the other two fountains, if that is desired. The draining, filling, and cleaning of any one or more fountains may proceed simultaneously by appropriate control of the valves, it being necessary only to fill one fountain at a time with detergent solution to make certain that each receives a measured amount.

The arrangement illustrated in FIG. 7 requires no special control of valves associated with the three fountains 80a-c. The check valves 92a-c, 95a-c and 96a-c are completely automatic in their operations. Yet, they asssure that all of the conduits and valves which carry ink either during filling or draining of the fountains will be flushed with the detergent solution as an incident to filling or draining of that solution from the fountains. Thus, not only does this arrangement provide for cleaning of the interior of the ink fountains but it also makes certain that residual ink which might be left wtihin the check valves or the associated conduits is also removed as an incident to filling and draining the detergent solution. Another special advantage of the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 7 is that it requires but a single vacuum source 101 and a single pressure source 105. Moreover, the detergent solution is held in a single reservoir or tank 118, and a common sump 121 serves to drain cleaning solution from any or all three of the printing fountains.

In a multiple unit printing press, this arrangement will thus permit the changing of inks in a large number of fountains with a minimum of apparatus and with a maximum of speed and convenience.

I claim as my invention:

1. The method of changing inks in a printing press fountain which comprises draining the existing ink from the fountain, imparting vibrations of ultrasonic frequency to the ink while it is being drained, admitting cleaning fluid into the fountain, imparting vibrations of ultrasonic frequency to the cleaning fluid, draining the fluid from the fountain, and refilling the fountain with another ink.

2. The method of claim 1 further characterized in that the vibrations are transmitted through the walls of the fountain while the cleaning solution is being drained.

3. The method of changing inks in a printing press fountain having a roller, a Wiping blade, a level control valve and a drain opening, said method comprising the steps of draining the existing ink from the fountain through the drain opening back into a first tank connected to the fountain, connecting a second tank containing a cleaning fluid to the fountain in lieu of the first tank, filling the fountain to a level above the blade and control valve by passing cleaning fluid from said second tank through both the drain opening and level control valve, imparting vibrations of ultrasonic frequency to the cleaning fluid in the fountain, draining the cleaning fluid back into the second tank, connecting a third tank containing a different ink to the fountain in lieu of the second tank, and filling the fountain with the ink from the third tank through the level control valve.

4. Apparatus for changing inks in a printing press fountain having an upper filling conduit leading through a level control valve and a bottom drain conduit, said apparatus comprising the combination of means for simultaneously opening the bottom conduit and sucking the existing ink out of the fountain through that conduit, means for filling the fountain above the previous ink level with a cleaning solution passed at least partly through the upper conduit and partly through the drain conduit, means for vibrating the cleaning solution in the fountain at an ultrasonic frequency, means for simultaneously opening the bottom conduit and sucking the cleaning solution out of the fountain through that conduit, and means for closing the bottom conduit and filling the fountain with another ink through the upper conduit.

5. In a printing press, the combination comprising an ink fountain having flexible, vibration-transmitting Walls, and a bottom drain opening, an upper level control valve opening into said fountain, a plurality of electro-mechanicm transducers fixed to the outer surface of the flexible fountain walls, a common conduit, first and second valve means connecting one end of said conduit to said control valve and said drain opening, respectively, a quick-connect coupling on the other end of said conduit, a vacuum source and a pneumatic pressure source, first and second reservoir tanks for first and second inks, a third reservoir tank for detergent solution, means including said quickconnect coupling for successively connecting said first, third and second tanks to said conduit, means including said first and second valve means and said pressure source for supplying ink from either said first or second tank into said fountain only through said level control valve, means including said second valve means and said vacuum source for sucking ink from said fountain through said drain opening back into said first or second tank, means including said first and second valve means and said pressure source for supplying detergent solution from said third tank through both said drain opening and said control valve into said fountain, means for energizing said transducers after said last-named means have filled said fountain with detergent solution, and means including said second valve means and said vacuum source for sucking 12 the detergent solution from said fountain through said drain opening, thereby removing residual ink driven into solution or suspension with said detergent solution by vibrations from said transducers.

6. In a printing press having an ink fountain with a bottom opening therein and a level control valve, a common conduit, first and second valves connecting said control valve and said bottom opening respectively to said common conduit, means for closing said second valve and opening said first valve while supplying a first ink under pressure to said conduit so that the fountain is fiiled to a level determined by said control valve, a plu rality of electro-mechanical transducers fixed to the outer surface of said fountain, means for opening said second valve while applying a vacuum to said common conduit to suck the first ink from the fountain, means for opening said first and second valves and supplying cleaning fluid under pressure to said common conduit to fill the fountain with cleaning fluid above the level maintained by said control valve, means for opening said second valve and applying a vacuum to said conduit to suck the cleaning fluid from the fountain, means for opening said first valve and closing said second valve while supplying a second ink under pressure to said conduit so that the fountain is filled to a level determined by said control valve, and means for energizing said transducers with ultrasonic frequency signals while the first ink is being sucked from the fountain and while the cleaning fluid is in the fountain.

7. Apparatus for changing inks in a printing press comprising, in combination, an ink fountain having flexible, vibration-transmitting walls and a bottom drain opening; an upper level control valve opening into said fountain; a first common conduit; first and second normally closed 7 valves having first and second operating solenoids connected from said control valve and said drain opening, respectively, to one end of said first conduit; a second conduit; a three-way valve having third and fourth operating solenoids and adapted for connection between sources of pneumatic pressure and vacuum, and said second conduit; a plurality of closed tanks each having pipes opening thereinto at lower and upper levels; means for connecting the lower and upper level pipes of each tank in succession to said first and second conduits, respectively; a plurality of electro-mechanical transducers fixed to the outer surfaces of said flexible fountain walls; a Source of ultrasonic electric signals; and a relay having a coil and normally open contacts for connecting said signal source to said transducers, five switches respectively connected to control the energization of said four solenoids and said relay coil; and cam means for actuating said switches in seven combinations according to a program for energizing (1) said first solenoid, (2) said second and fourth solenoids and said relay coil, (3) no solenoids or relay coil, (4) said first, second and third solenoids, (5) only said relay coil, (6) said second and fourth solenoids, and (7) no Solenoids or relay coil.

8. Apparatus for changing inks in a printing press comprising, in combination, an ink fountain having flexible, vibration-transmitting walls and a bottom drain opening, an upper level control valve opening into said fountain, a first common conduit, a first check valve connected and disposed to let fluid flow only from the conduit to said level control valve, a second check valve connected and disposed to let fluid flow only from said drain opening to said first conduit, a biased check valve reversely connected in parallel with said second check valve, an ink tank and means for removably connecting it to the other end of said first common conduit, a second conduit and means for removabl-y connecting it to said other end of said first conduit, a detergent solution tank, means for creating a first positive pressure in aid ink tank when said first conduit is connected therewith to fill said fountain with ink passed through the first check valve, said first pressure being insutficient to open said biased check valve, means for creating a vacuum in said ink tank to drain the fountain by ink passage through said second check valve, means including a valve for creating a second positive pressure in said detergent solution tank and connecting the latter to said second conduit when it is in communication with said first conduit, said second pressure being higher than the first and suflicient to open said biased check valve, means for creating a vacuum in said second conduit to drain detergent solution from the fountain through said second check valve, a plurality of electro-rnechanical transducers fixed to said flexible fountain walls, and means for exciting said transducers with signals of ultrasonic frequency at least While (a') ink is being drained from the fountain and (b) detergent solution is in the fountain.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Weiss Sept. 22, 1936 Thomas June 13, 1944 Taylor Nov. 28, 1944 Taylor et a1 Jan. 30, 1945 Bourgeaux Nov. 4, 1952 Massa Mar. 13, 1956 Di Genova Nov. 19, 1957 Murdoch Sept. 30, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS Great Britain Feb. 5, 1958

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3631800 *Jul 30, 1968Jan 4, 1972Addressograph MultigraphInk system for printing machines
US3730089 *Jun 16, 1971May 1, 1973Itek CorpInk monitoring apparatus
US3780651 *Mar 20, 1972Dec 25, 1973Black JScreen printer ink supply with quick coupling and level sensing
US3848529 *Oct 24, 1972Nov 19, 1974Baldwin Gegenheimer CorpInk level control system
US3873071 *Aug 1, 1973Mar 25, 1975Tatebe Seishudo KkUltrasonic wave cleaning apparatus
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US5367982 *Feb 25, 1993Nov 29, 1994Howard W. DeMooreAutomatic coating circulation and wash-up system for printing presses
US5866089 *Aug 5, 1997Feb 2, 1999Gas Research InstituteUltrasound-assisted liquid redox absorber
US5876677 *Apr 25, 1996Mar 2, 1999Mensinger; Michael C.Ultrasound-assisted liquid redox absorber
US5915302 *Sep 16, 1997Jun 29, 1999Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki KaishaPrinter ink exchange apparatus
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EP0739729A2 *Mar 26, 1996Oct 30, 1996Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki KaishaPrinter ink exchange apparatus
EP0739729A3 *Mar 26, 1996Mar 11, 1998Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki KaishaPrinter ink exchange apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification101/350.1, 366/108, 137/434, 101/325, 134/1
International ClassificationB41F31/08
Cooperative ClassificationB41F31/08
European ClassificationB41F31/08