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Publication numberUS3123994 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 10, 1964
Filing dateJun 5, 1961
Publication numberUS 3123994 A, US 3123994A, US-A-3123994, US3123994 A, US3123994A
InventorsA. G. Brown
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Washing apparatus
US 3123994 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

A. G. BROWN ETAL 3,123,994

WASHING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 ARTHUR G. BROWN PAUL H. WENDT a a d I t Y VN I i L E umull II. m

INVENTORS.

ATTORNEY JwzE JOKFZOO March 10, 1964 Filed June 5. 1961 March 10, 1964 A. 6. BROWN ETAL 3,123,994

WASHING APPARATUS v 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 5. 1951 on mm 00 v0 hm mu N GE AUTHUR G. BROWN PAUL H. WENDT INVENTORS.

ATTORNEY Mam}! 1964 A. G. BROWN ETAL 3,123,994

WASHING APPARATUS Filed June 5, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 50, I00 FTI/MIN.

O I I0, FTI/MIN.

ITO- 1 I60- DATA FOR F.

O Q Q Q r 1 O 240 480 TZQ 960 I200 I440 v (IN/SEC.) JET VELOCITY ARTHUR G. BROWN PAUL H. WENDT INVENTORS.

BYWWW ATTORNEY March 10, 1964 A. e. BROWN ETAL 3,123,994

WASHING APPARATUS Filed June 5. 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 '80 o l o 50,70, so, I00 FlZ/MIN.

20 FT./ mm.

X ID FTJMIN,

DATA FOR I90E o 12'0250 4'80 720 960 I209 I440 van/sec.) JET VELOCITY FIG 4 ARTHUR 6. BROWN PAUL-'H. WE NDT INVENTORS.

YWM W ATTORNEY United States Patent M 3,123,994 WASHING APPARATUS Arthur G. Brown, Menlo Park, and haul H. Wendt, Ar-

cadia, Caliil, assignors, by mesne assignments, to Jet StreamProducts, inc, Reno, Nev., a corporation of Nevada Filed June-5, 1%1, Ser. No. 1143M 5 Claims. (Cl. 68-Ztl5) This invention' relates generally to the washing of articles andmaterials and, more particularly, to apparatus useful in washing clothes, yarn, textiles and other pieces of fabric and like materials.

It is anticipated that the. invention will be most widely applied in connection with cleaning or laundering operations wherein relatively high speed washing of textile materials and other fabrics is desired. However, it is understood'that the .invention is of general application and may also find wide application in other operations.

From time immemorial, clothes and like fabrics have been cleaned by subjecting them tomechanical agitation in water, preferably by agitation in the presence of heated water containing a cleaning agent, such as a soap or detergent, or other assists. Although many different methods have been employed for carrying out such operations, they have. commonly involved arrangements wherein energy is applied in the washing operation at a relatively slow rate and'in an essentially random manner.

A variety of proposals have been made prior hereto for speeding up the washing process. Many of these have never resulted in practical machines because of excessive power, water or chemical requirements, or because the auxiliary mechanical devices required for scrubbing or" agitating the cloth would lead to excessive wear. These and other problems commonly encountered have pointed up the need for improved methods and apparatus, particularly for use in the high speed washing of light weight or delicate fabrics and-of clothingand other materials requiring relatively frequent cleaning.

We have discovered that high speed washing of the foregoingand other types of materials may be accomplished by utilizing hydrodynamic forces, without the necessity of employing auxiliary mechanical means for scrubbing or agitating the fabric. We have found that, under certain conditions, the energy and washing fluid requirements can be reduced to very low values and the washing can be accomplished in remarkably short periods.

of time. For instance, in both home and commercial washing of clothes, it has been quite common to wash the clothes in agitation devices from time periods ranging from it) or minutes to 35 minutes or even longer. By contrast, in accordance with our discoveries, clothes can be cleansed effectively under conditions wherein any small portion ofthe fabric is exposed to the hydrodynamic action of the wash solution for periods of time rangingfrom about 1 to about 5 milliseconds, or even less. Thus, it is possible under these conditions for a full-size bed sheet to be thoroughly cleaned in about 4 seconds or less.

We have described and claimed our improved method of washing fabric materials in our co-pending United States patent application Serial No. 114,898, filed June 5, 1961, which is a continuation of our prior application,

Serial No. 789,327, filedlanuary 27, 1959, now aban- 3,1233% Patented Mar. 10, 1964 2 cloned. The present application is a continuation-inpart of said application Serial No. 789,327 and is particularly concerned with improved Washing apparatus useful in carrying out our improved method.

In accordance with the method we have discovered, the washing of a piece or sheet of fabric material, for example, is accomplished by subjecting successive portions thereof to a stream of washing fluid in the form of one or more high velocity jets. The velocity of each jet is'preferably higher than about 360 inches per second. The material is moved across or through the path of the stream which may have a relatively Wide dimension in one direction, such as generally cross-wise of the direction of movement of the material with respect to the stream. However, the stream emanates from one or more jet openings having at least one relatively narrow dimension, preferably less than about 0.05 inch, such as generally parallel to the direction of movement of the material with respect. to the stream or jet openings.

In a typical application of the method, the washing of cloth fabric is accomplished by utilizing a stream including one or more narrow jets of wash solution impinging on the cloth at high velocity, the jet or jets being so disposed that a thin highvelocity stream of washing fluid extends across the cloth from one side edge to the other, with the stream sweeping from one end of the fabric to the other as the fabric moves or is advanced through the equipment in a direction generally parallel to the narrow dimension of the jet stream. It will be seen that, under these conditions, each successive portion of the fabric is subjected to amore or less controlled amount of kinetic energy, resulting from the jet action, during a period of time determined by the speed'of the cloth, and without random and unnecessary duplication of application of energy. If the velocity of the liquid in the jet stream is maintained above a certain minimun value; as aforesaid, and the thickness or smallest dimension'of the jet opening is within a certain range, as aforesaid, it is possible for thorough cleaning of the fabric to be achieved with a relatively low usage'of'washi solution and expenditure of energy.

It will be understood that, in order to handle situations involving a wide variation in degree of soiling from one piece of clothing or fabric to the next, it may be advantageous in many instances toemploy more than one of An arrangement may be used whereby.

the jet streams. an operator may subject the fabric in some instances to several Washing actions, at his discretion. If desired,

the usage of the additional streams may be determined.

by photoelectric or other automatic devices employed for monitoring the degree of soiling, either as initially present or as remaining after each washing action.

The method we have discovered, therefore, lends itself accomplished in less than one minute, with the actual cleaning or soil removal operation requiring only a very small fraction of this tirneandwith other washing operations, such-as rinsing and bleaching, being likewise accomplished very quickly due to the employment of jet streams of high velocity.

A general object of the present invention is to provide improved apparatus useful in washing operations of the type described.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide improved washing apparatus suited for use in high speed washing operations involving use of the improved Washing method we have discovered.

Another specific object of the invention is to provide improved washing apparatus useful in high speed washing operations performed in connection with the cleaning or laundering of textile and other fabric materials.

Another specific object of the invention is to provide improved washing apparatus useful in high speed washing operations performed to remove dirt and other foreign or undesired particles from textile and other fabric materials, the arrangement being such that relatively frequent washing operations may be performed without unduly decreasing the useful life of the materials.

A further object of the invention is to provide improved laundering apparatus or machinery having provision for subjecting fabric and like materials to a plurality of laundry operations, such as a main washing operation using a washing fluid containing a cleaning agent, followed by one or more additional washing operations, such as a rinsing operation using a rinsing fluid, with wringing, bleaching, drying and other operations being also included, if desired.

In accordance with the invention, the foregoing and additional objects and advantages are attained by providing a laundry machine which includes one or more jet stream forming means and which also includes movable supporting means for use in subjecting fabric and like materials to the jet stream action. In a preferred arrangement, the supporting means is adapted to move the fabric cross the path of one or more jet streams and the jet stream forming means includes a nozzle extending generally cross-wise of the direction of movement of the fabric, with at least one jet opening in the nozzle extending a distance not greater than about 0.05 inch in a direction generally parallel to the direction of movement of the fabric.

If desired, the laundry machine may also include suitable means for removing a substantial portion of the washing fluid remaining in the material after passage through the jet stream. Also, additional washing means may be included, if desired, for use in rinsing, bleaching or other operations which may be performed as part of a general laundering or cleaning operation. Some or all of these additional washing means may, if desired, include jet stream forming means, as aforesaid. Moreover, the laundry machine may also include means for artificially or rapidly drying the fabric, such as after the final rinsing operation, and also may include or be used in conjunction with suitable ironing means or means for otherwise smoothing the fabric after or during the performance of the drying operation.

The foregoing and additional objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will be more apparent from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein similar reference characters designate similar parts and wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic representation showing, mainly in cross-section, a laundry machine having the invention incorporated therein;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged plan view of a portion of the machine of FIGURE 1, taken along the line 22 thereof; and

FIGURES 3 and 4 are graphs based on data obtained in laboratory tests performed relative to the invention.

Referring to the drawing in greater detail, and first to FIGURE 1 thereof, the invention is there shown, by way of example, as being applied to a laundry machine it) which is operable to perform a complete series of laundry l operations. As will appear more fully hereinafter, the operation of the machine 10 involves several Washing operations, including rinsing and bleaching, as well as a drying operation. If desired, an ironing operation may be included, such as in connection with or subsequent to the drying operation.

As illustrated, the machine 10 includes a housing 11 having an end wall 12 and an opposite end wall 13. The end wall 12 has an inlet or entrance opening 14 for receiving clothes or other fabrics to be laundered. The opposite end wall 13 has an outlet or discharge opening 16 through which each laundered fabric is removed after passing through the machine 16.

Within the housing 11, and below the openings 14 and 16, there is a transverse wall or shelf partition 17. The portion of the housing 11 above the partition 17 is somewhat divide-d into five general areas of operation by spacedapart vertical walls or paritions iii, 19, 2t) and 21, which are shown disposed in the order named, with partition 18 being nearest the entrance opening 14.

As will appear more fully hereinafter, the general area between housing end wall 12 and partition 18, designated A, is the zone where the main washing or cleaning operation is performed. The general area between partitions 18 and 19, designated B, is the zone where the first rinsing operation is performed. The general area between partitions 19 and 25?, designated C, is the zone where the bleaching operation is performed. The general area between partitions 20 and 21, designated D, is the zone where the second rinsing operation is performed. The general area between partition 21 and housing end wall 13, designated E, is the zone where the drying operation is performed.

In the lower portion of washing zone A, between housing end wall 12 and partition 18, a wash solution tank 22 is provided. Below the shelf partition 17 is a Wash solution pump 23, which is connected by suitable conduit or pipe sections (indicated by dashed or broken lines) between the Wash solution tank 22 and a wash solution filter 24. The filter 24 is shown also located below the shelf partition 17 and is connected by suitable conduit or pipe sections to a first wash nozzle 26 and a second wash nozzle 27. The nozzles 26 and 27 are mounted in the washing zone A above the tank 22, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

In the lower portion of first rinsing zone B, between partitions 18 and 19, a first rinse water tank 28 is provided. Below the shelf partition 17 is a first rinse water pump 29, which is connected by suitable conduit or pipe sections between the tank 28 and a first rinse nozzle 30. The nozzle 3 is mounted in the first rinsing zone B above the tank 28, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

In the lower portion of bleaching zone C, between partitions 19 and 20, a bleach solution tank 31 is provided. Below the shelf partition '17 is a bleach solution pump 32, which is connected by suitable conduit or pipe sections between the tank 31 and a bleach nozzle 33. The nozzle 33 is mounted in the bleaching zone C above the tank 31, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

In the lower portion of second rinsing zone D, between partitions 20 and 21, a second rinse water tank 34 is provided. Below the shelf partition 17 is a second rinse water pump 36, which is connected by suitable conduit or pipe sections between the tank 34 and a second rinse nozzle 37. The nozzle 37 is mounted in the second rinsing zone D above the tank 34, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

In the lower portion of drying zone E, between partition 21 and housing end wall 13, a relatively short divider wall 38 is shown extending upwardly from the shelf partition 17. A heater 39 is shown mounted beneath the partition 17 below zone B. The heater 3Q may be of the forced air type and is shown provided with an air inlet opening 4i and an air outlet opening 41. It will be noted that the heater inlet opening 43 extends through that portion of the shelf partition 17 which is between the'short divider wall SS-and the vertical partition 21, while theheater outlet opening 41 extends through that portion of partition 17 which is between the divider wall 38 and the housing end wall E3.

The heater 39 is preferably equipped with a dehumidifier and, it will be noted, acharnber 42 is shown provided in the bottomportion of the heater 39 for collecting'mois ture removed by the dehumidifier from the air which is circulated through the drying zone E due to operation of the heater fan or blower.

In order that fabrics and lilce'materials to be. laundered maybe passed through the machine ltland may be subjected to the washing, rinsing and other actions or operations occurring in the housing 11, there is providednnow able supporting means which is operable to move the fabric or material along a path extending fromthe housing. ens trance opening 14 through each of the zones A, B, C, .D and E to the housing discharge opening =16.

in the arrangement shown, the movable supporting means includes three pairs of endless belts and a number of rollers which direct and control the belts. As will appear more fully hereinafter, the first pair of belts includes an upper belt 43 and a lower belt 44 usedmainly to move fabric through-the washing zoneA. The second pair of belts includes an upper belt 46 and a-lower belt 4'7- used mainly to rnovefabric through the first rinsing zone B, the bleaching zone C and the second rinsing zone D. The third pair of belt-s includes an upper 'belt 48 and a lower belt 49 used mainly to move fabric through the drying zone B.

As shown best in FIGURE 2, the belts may each include a multiplicity of generally parallel, spaced-apart wires, which may be made of stainless steel or other metal or suitably strong material. The rollers extend generally cross-wise of the belts and are mounted on shafts 50 forrotation with respect to the housing 11. The rollers are provided with circumferential'grooves 51 into which-the belt wires extend, the grooves 51 being arranged to assist in holding the beltwires in spaced-apart relation to each other. As will appear more fully hereinafter, certain of the rollers function in other ways; such as where an upper roller and at lower roller are mounted relatively close together to provide a set of wringing rollers between which the fabric. is moved. As also will appear more fully hereinafter, it is not necessary that all of the-rollers have the. same number of grooves 51 and, if desired, someof the rollers may be smooth orungrooved.

Referring. again to. FIGURE 1, it will be noted that the upper belt 43 of the first pair extends about a roller 52, which is shownmounted in washing zone A near the upper wallof the housing 11. The belt 43 also extends about spaced-apart rollers 53 and 54, which are shown mounted in zone A at aboutthe same or equal elevations, with the roller 53 being disposed below the previously mentioned roller 52.

The lower belt 44 of the first pair extends about spacedapart rollers 56 and 57, which are shown mounted in zone A directly below the aforesaid spaced-apart rollers 53-and 54 about which the upper belt 43 extends. The arrangement is such that rollers 53. and 56 together provide a first set of rollers, and rollers 54'and 57 together'provide' a second set of rollers, with each set including an upper roller and a lower roller between which fabric is moved in passing through wasliingzone A, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

The lower belt 44 also extends about a roller 59, which is shown mounted in zone A below the firstset of upper Furthermore, the belt 44 extends entrance opening14 of the housing 11: Also, a belt opening 61 is suitably provided-in housing end wall 12 to permitfree'movement ofthe belt 44 between the outside rollerotband the roller 59 located inside the housing 11.

Giving now further considerationto thesecond pair of belts, it'will be'noted thatthe upper belt 46 of this pair, as well as the upperbelt 43 of the first pair, extends about the roller'54, which is the upper roller of the second set.

Also, the lower belt'47 of the second pair, as. well asthe lower belt 44 of the first pair, extends about the roller 57, which is the lower roller ofthe second set. Thus, rollers 54 and 57 are common to both the first and second pairs of belts.

In this connection, it-will be noted in FIGURE 2 that the wires of the upper belt 43' of the first pairare not disposed directly opposite but, rather, are arranged so as to'intermesh with the wires-of the upper belt46 of the second pair. Similar arrangements are used for otherbeltswhichhave a common roller, with the result that the common rollers need twice as many grooves 51 to accommodate the wires of'both belts extending therepast.

For example, the number of grooves 51 shown provided on the common roller 54 is twice as many as are shown providedon either the. roller 52 or the roller. 60, neither of which last named rollers is common to two of thebelts.

If. desired, the upper and lower belts of each pair may also have their respective wires arranged so as not to be disposed directly opposite each other when extending alongv parallel paths, such aswhen extending together between a set of upper and lower rollers. For example, each of the wires of upperbelt 43 is shown in FIGURE 2 disposed opposite one of the spaces provided between or adjacent the wires of the lower belt 44 of the same pair.

lELeferring again to the arrangement of FIGURE 1, and to the path of the second pair of belts, it will be noted that the upper belt 46 of this pair also extends about spaced-apart rollers 62, 63 and 64, which are shown mounted in the order named at about the same elevation as the aforesaid upper rollers of the first and second'sets of rollers. The arrangement is such that the roller 62' is the upper roller of a third set which also includes a lower roller 66 about which extends the lower belt 47 of the second pair of belts. Similarly, roller 63' is-the upper roller of afourth set which also includes a lower roller 67'about which extends the lower belt 47. Likewise, roller 64 is the upper roller of a fifth set which also includes a lower roller as about'which extends. the lower belt 47.

In additionto extendingabout the upper rollers of the second, third, fourth and fifth sets, as aforesaid, the upper belt 46 of'the. second pair. passes over a relatively large upper drum 69'and under a similar lower drum 76', which drums ofiand 7 it are shown mounted'in the bleaching zone C of the housing 11. The'lower belt 47 0f thispair also passes over the upper drum 69 and under. the lower drum 7t). The arrangement is such that'the belts 46'and 47 extend together for a considerable distance. along. and betweenthe peripheral surfaces of the drums 69 andi'iil,

with the result that a relatively long and. circuitous path isprovidedfor fabric. carried through bleaching zone C between the second pair ofbelts.

it will be notedthat the upper belt 46 of the second pair also extends about spaced-apart rollers7l' and 72, which are-shown mounted in the housing 11 at locations considerably. above the aforesaid sets of upper and'lower rollers. Also, it will be noted that the lower belt 47 extends about.spaced-apart rollers 73 and 74, which are shown mounted in the housingll at. locations considerably below the sets of rollers.

As shown best in FIGURE 2, the upper roller 62 of thethird set of rollers is provided with an ungrooved or smooth'peripheral surface 76 past which extend the wires of the belts 46 and 47. Due to the direction of the circuitous belt path through bleaching zone C, as aforesaid, the surface 76 of roller 62 is not required to hold or support any of the belt wires. This permits the surface 76 to be smooth, with the result that the wringing action which occurs as fabric passes between rollers 62 and 66 is made more etficient.

Referring again to the arrangement of FIGURE 1, and giving further consideration now to the third pair of belts, it will be noted that the upper belt 48 of this pair, as well as the upper belt 46 of the second pair, extends about the upper roller 64 of the fifth set of rollers. Also, the lower belt 49 of the third pair, as well as the lower belt 47 of the second pair, extends about the lower roller 68 of the fifth set of rollers. Thus, rollers 64 and 68 are common to both the second and third pairs of belts.

The upper belt 48 of the third pair also extends about a roller 77, which is shown mounted near the exit or discharge opening 16 at about the same elevation as t e upper rollers of the sets of rollers previously described. The arrangement is such that roller 77 is the upper roller of a sixth set which also includes a lower roller 7% about which extends the lower belt 49 of the third pair of belts.

In addition to extending about the upper rollers of the fifth and sixth sets, as aforesaid, the upper belt 48 passes over a relatively large upper drum 79 and under a similar but even larger lower drum 8t, which drums 79 and 80 are shown mounted in the drying zone E of the housing 11. The lower belt 49 of the third pair also passes over the upper drum 79 and under the lower drum 80. The arrangement is such that the belts 43 and 4-9 extend together for a considerable distance along and between the peripheral surfaces of the drums 79 and 89, with the result that a relatively long and circuitous path is provided for fabric carried through drying zone E between the third pair of belts.

It will be noted that the upper belt 43 of the third pair also extends about spaced-apart rollers 81 and 82, which are shown mounted in the housing 11 at locations considerably above the aforesaid sets of upper and lower rollers. Also, it will be noted that the lower belt 49 extends about a roller 83, which is shown mounted in the housing 11 at an elevation considerably below the afore said sets of rollers. Additionally, the lower belt 49 extends about the roller '74, about which the lower belt 47 of the second pair also extends, as previously mentioned. Thus, roller 74 is common to the lower belts of the second and third pairs.

In drying zone B, angularly spaced roller 84, 86 and 87 are shown mounted at locations near the peripheral surface of the upper drum 79. These rollers are not required to hold or support the wires of the belts 48 and 49 extending therepast and, similarly to roller 62 previously described, may be smooth or ungrooved rollers which assist in smoothing the fabric as it passes through the drying zone B.

In order to permit or facilitate mounting the various rollers in the housing 11, and to permit free movement of the belts along the desired paths through the zones A, B, C, D and E, suitable openings are shown provided in the vertical partitions 18, 19, 2t) and 21, and also in the short divider wall 38.

Giving further consideration now to the construction and arrangement of the nozzles 26, 27, 30, 33 and 37, it will be noted (see FIGURE 2) that each extends generally cross-wise of the housing 11 and of the direction of movement of fabric carried by the movable supporting means through the zones A, B, C and D where the nozzles are mounted. The nozzles may be of similar construction and each is shown provided with openings suitably arranged so as to emanate a stream of fluid extending generally cross-wise of the housing 11. As will appear more fully hereinafter, the various nozzles are preferably positioned or suitably oriented to permit an efficient utilization of the energy of the fluid streams in carrying out each of the operations occurring in zones A, B, C and D.

In this connection, it will be noted that the movable supporting means is provided with suitable openings, such as in the spaces between the parallel wires of the various belts, to permit passage of fluid therethrough and into contact with fabric or other material carried past the openings of the various nozzles. In fact, as will appear more fully hereinafter, the arrangement shown permits fluid to be directed against both the upper and lower surfaces of fabric or the like carried by the movable supporting means.

In accordance with the present invention, the movable supporting means is adapted to move the fabric or other material to be laundered across the path of one or more high velocity jet streams, whereby successive portions of the material are subjected to the jet action of the streams as the material moves through the machine 10. In the arrangement shown, provision is included for subjecting the material to jet action, as aforesaid, as it moves through the washing zone A and also as it moves through the first rising zone B, the bleaching zone C and the second rinsing zone D. It is understood, however, that satisfactory results may be obtained in certain instances even if the fluid streams to which the material is subjected in certain of the zones are not high velocity jet streams. As one example, it is believed that the bleaching operation, where included, may oftentimes be performed efiiciently even if the fluid stream of bleach solution emanating from openings in the bleach nozzle 33 is not in the form of a high velocity jet stream.

Where a high velocity jet stream is employed, as aforesaid, it is preferred that the jet or jets forming the stream be obtained from one or more nozzles having thin slots or other openings extending a distance of from about 5 to about 50 mils (thousandths of an inch) in the dimension thereof which is generally parallel to the direction of movement of the fabric or material with respect to the nozzle structure when the material is passing across the path of the jet stream. The narrower openings are preferable in that conditions for etlicient cleansing are more readily achieved, but the openings are limited in minimum thickness by practical considerations, such as the hazard of plugging from lint or other particles which commonly accumulate in the wash solution.

Giving further consideration now to the arrangement in washing zone A of the machine it it will be noted that first nozzle 26 is shown mounted above the belt path provided by the movable supporting means for fabric moving between the first and second sets of upper and lower rollers, while the second nozzle 27 is shown mounted below such belt path.

As previously indicated, the nozzles 26 and 27 may be of similar construction. Thus, the upper or first nozzle 26 is shown provided with angularly spaced jet openings 88 and 89, while the lower or second nozzle 27 is shown provided with similar jet openings 96 and 91. As shown best in FIGURES 1 and 2 together, each of the jet openings 88, 39, 9t) and 91 extends generally lengthwise of the nozzle structure in which it is provided.

It will be noted that the upper nozzle 26 is suitably positioned so that its jet openings 88 and 89 face in a generally downward direction, while the lower nozzle 27 is suitably positioned so that its jet openings 90 and 9]. face in a generally upward direction.

The arrangement is such that each of the downwardly facing openings 88 and 89 in the upper nozzle 26 may be considered as being the source of a separate jet stream. The streams diverge to some extent but are directed sufficiently downwardly to impinge against the top surface of any fabric carried therepast between the moving belts 43 and 44.

Similarly, each of the upwardly facing openings 9'0 and 91 in the lower nozzle 27 may be considered as being the source of a separate jet stream which is directed sufiiciently upwardly to impinge against the bottom surface of any fabric carried therepast between the moving belts 43 and 44.

As previously indicated, each of the jet openings 88, 89, 9th and 91 is shown to be in the form of a long narrow slot set at about right angles to the path of travel of the fabric or material through washing zone A. Although each of these openings is thus adapted to provide a single thin jet stream impinging on the fabric or material, such as cloth, from one side edge to the other and sweeping along the length of the cloth as it passes near the opening, it will be recognized that equivalent or otherwise suitable jet action may also be obtained using any of various other arrangements. For example, it may be advantageous in some instances for each jet stream, in order to achieve mechanical strength and simplicity in the nozzle structure, to be provided by a staggered series of fiat jet openings located alternately forward and backward of the center line of the nozzle structure. As another alternative, each stream may be provided by a series of circular jet openings extending generally lengthwise of the nozzle structure.

The distance between the nozzles 26 and 27 and the fabric or material being washed is preferably small and may be 1 /2 inches or smaller in some instances. It is important that the nozzle structure be placed close enough to the material being washed so that the jet stream particles do not break up into relatively slow moving droplets before striking the cloth being washed, i.e., it is important to have a continuous jet action against the cloth; otherwise, some of the energy of the jet stream is lost and the overall eificiency of the operation is thereby decreased. Experiments have shown that a jet stream velocity higher than about 360 inches per second can be maintained with nozzle-to-fabric distances ranging from less than 1%. inches upwardly, with considerable success being obtained at distances of about 7 inches, using readily available conventional pumping equipment to develop pressure in the nozzle structure.

As previously indicated, the first rinse nozzle 30 mounted in zone B, the bleach nozzle 33 mounted in zone C and the second rinse nozzle 37 mounted in zone D may each be constructed similarly to the wash nozzles 26 and 27 described hereinabove.

In first rinsing zone B, it will be noted that rinse nozzle 30 is shown mounted above the belt path provided by the movable supporting means for fabric moving between the second and third sets of upper and lower rollers. The nozzle 3% is positioned so that its jet openings face in a generally downward direction. The arrangement is such that the jet streams emanating from the openings in the nozzle 34 are directed suificiently downwardly to impinge against the top surface of any fabric carried therepast between the moving belts 46 and 47.

It will be noted that the vertical partition 19 between zones B and C has a forwardly and upwardly extending lip portion 92 which is positioned in relatively close but spaced relation to the lower peripheral surface of the roller 66, which is the lower roller of the third set. As previously indicated, the upper roller 62 and the lower roller 66 of this third set function as wringing rollers which remove fluid from fabric passing therebetween. The lip portion 92 functions to direct or return fluid tins removed toward the rinse water tank 23 located in zone B. At the same time, the lip portion 92 tends to prevent this removed fluid from contaminating the bleach solution in tank 31 located in zone C.

It will be understood that the other sets or upper and lower rollers may also function to at least some extent as wringing rollers. If desired, the unsprung weight of the rollers themselves or suitable springs or other means may be employed for normally urging or biasing the upper and lower rollers of these sets toward each other. For example, in the arrangement shown, arrows indicate the direction of forces tending to move the upper and lower rollers of each of the second, third, fourth and fifth sets closer together.

In bleaching zone C, it will be noted that bleach nozzle iii 33 is shown mounted near and below the aforesaid lip portion 92 of the partition 19 which separates zones B and C. The nozzle 33 is shown positioned so that its jet openings face in a generally forward direction. arrangement is such that the streams of fluid emanating from the openings in the nozzle 33 are directed suificiently forwardly to impinge against any fabric carried therepast between the moving belts 46 and 47, which extend in a more or less vertical direction in this portion of zone C. That is, the fabric which passes by nozzle 33 is moving downwardly along the beginning portion of the relatively long and circuitous path which it follows in bleaching zone C. As a result, the bleach solution from nozzle 33 is caused to contact the fabric in ample time to permit the bleach to react prior to the fabric entering the second rinsing zone D.

In rinsing zone I), it will be noted that rinse nozzle 37 is shown mounted above the belt path provided by the movable supporting means for fabric moving between the fourth and fifth sets of upper and lower rollers. The nozzle 37 is positioned so that its jet openings face in a generally downward direction. The arrangement is similar to that employed in first rinsing zone B.

In drying zone B, it will be noted that a deflection plate 93 is shown mounted in the space between the lower drum 8% and the housing end wall 13. The plate 93 extends upwardly and rearwardly so as to direct the upwardly moving heated air toward the drum 8% and any fabric carried thereabout between the moving belts 43 and 49.

It is believed that the general operation of the machine it will be apparent from the foregoing description. However, in order to make the disclosure complete, a typical laundering operation using the machine it) will now be described.

The operation is commenced by starting the motor or other driving means (not shown) used to apply force to rotate as many of the various rollers as is required or desired to move the three pairs of endless belts along their respective paths. The switch for the motor and other controls may be located on a control panel 94 shown mounted outside the housing ill on end wall 13.

After or prior to setting the belts in motion, as aforesaid, the various pumps 23, 2?, 32 and 36 are started, whereupon fluid is pumped from each of the tanks 22, 28, 31 and 34- into the respective nozzle or nozzles associated therewith. As previously indicated, the wash solution in tank 22 passes through the filter 24 prior to reaching wash nozzles 26 and 27.

It will be noted that the tanks 22, 28, 31 and 34 are each positioned so as to catch excess or used fluid emanating from the respective nozzle or nozzles associated therewith, thus reducing wastage which might otherwise occur. Also, it will be understood that means (not shown) ma}. be provided for replenishing or maintaining the level of the fluid in each of the tanks, if desired.

After the belts and pumps have been placed in operation, a piece of fabric or other material is introduced into the housing 11 through the entrance opening 14, this being done by placing the material on the outside portion of the lower belt 44 of the first pair of belts. A platform 95 is shown extending outside the housing 11 along the end wall .12 below the opening 14 to facilitate the introduction of the material into the machine and to support pieces or portions of material prior to their introduction.

The direction of movement of the various upper rollers, as shown by the arrows appearing thereon, is such that the upper belts 43, 46 and 48 each move in a generally counterclockwise direction. On the other hand, the movement of the various lower rollers, as shown by the arrows appearing thereon, is such that the lower belts 44, 4'7 and 4? each move in a generally clockwise direction.

Accordingly, the fabric or material placed on the lower belt 44 of the first pair is carried between the belts 43 and 44- in a direction extending generally from left to The 1. 1 right, as viewed in FIGURE 1, passing between the first set of upper and lower rollers 53 and 55 and entering washing zone A.

The rate of movement of the belts 43 and 44 is preferably controlled so that each successive portion of the fabric or material entering washing zone A is moved at a more or less constant and con rolled rate across the path of the jet streams emanating from the wash nozzles 26 and 27. This permits a more efficient utilization of the hydrodynamic forces applied to the fabric or material due to the jet action, such as by causing each successive portion to be subjected to a more or less constant or controlled amount of kinetic energy. In general, belt speeds greater than about 25 feet per minute are desired, as will appear more fully hereinafter.

As the washed fabric or material leaves washing zone A, it passes between the second set of upper and lower rollers 54- and 57, where a wringing action occurs which removes part of the wash solution introduced in washing zone A.

Due to the rollers 54 and 57 being common to both the first and second pairs of belts, as hereinbefore pointed out, there is an interlocking belt arrangement which causes the fabric or material upon passing between such rollers 54 and 57 to continue along a path which lies between belts 4-6 and 47, the upper and lower belts of the second pair.

The fabric or material is carried by the belts 46 and 47 through the first rinsing zone B, crossing the paths of the jet streams emanating from the rinse nozzle 3%, and then passing between the wringing rollers 62 and 66 prior to entering bleaching zone C.

As previously indicated, the belt path through bleaching zone C extends downwardly past the bleach nozzle 33, from the openings of which emanates the bleach solution applied to the fabric or material. The belt path continues about the lower portion of the lower drum 70 and then in a rearwardly and upwardly direction between the two drums 69 and '70, whereupon the path extends over the upper drum 69 and then between the wringing rollers 63 and 67 prior to entering the second rinsing zone D.

The fabric or material is then carried through the zone D, crossing the paths of the jet streams emanating from the second rinse nozzle 37, and then passing between the wringing rollers 64 and 6% prior to entering the drying zone E.

Due to rollers 64 and 68 being common to both the second and third pairs of belts, as hereinbefore pointed out, there is an interlocking belt arrangement which causes the fabric or material upon passing between such rollers 64 and 68 to continue aiong a path which lies between belts 48 and 49, the upper and lower belts of the third pair.

In the drying zone E, the fabric or material is carried by the belts 4'3 and 49 downwardly and under the lower drum 8%, then in a rearwardly and upwardly direction between the two drums 79 and 80, whereupon the path extends over the upper drum 79 and then between the rollers 77 and 73 mounted near the discharge opening 16.

As previously indicated, the heated air from the heater 39 is blown or forced upwardly from the heater outlet opening 41, passing first into that portion of the drying zone E which is forward of the lower drum 80 and the divider wall 38. The heated air is deflected to some extent by plate 93 and other structure, passing into close contact with and through any pores or other openings in the fabric or material then being carried along the belt path in zone E. The air path for the heater 39 is generally shown by arrows in FIGURE 1. As previously indicated, the air returned through the heater inlet opening 40 is preferably dehumidified in the heater 39 prior to being recirculated in the drying zone E.

It will be noted that a platform 96 is shown mounted outside the housing 11 along the end wall 13. The up- 3.2 per portion of the platform 96 extends somewhat through the housing discharge opening 16 and is shown suitably positioned to receive fabric or material passing between the rollers 77 and 78.

From the foregoing description, it can be seen that fabric or material introduced in a dirty or soiled condition into the machine 10 through its entrance opening 14 is discharged a short time later through the discharge opening 16 into a laundered and dry condition, having been washed, rinsed, bleached, rinsed again and, finally, smoothed and dried, all in a single machine.

If desired, an ironing machine may be arranged to receive the fabric or material discharged from the machine if or, indeed, the ironing machine may be incorporated with the machine 10 into a single unitary piece of equipment.

Laboratory tests have been conducted for the purpose of obtaining data relative to the present invention.

In order to evaluate various washing methods and detergents, standard fabrics which have been soiled in accordance with a prescribed formula are commonly employed. One such formula is that contained in US. Bureau of Ships Specification 51S47 (INT), Soil Cloth No. 26 wherein white cotton cloth is soiled with lamp black, in a mixture of fats, oils and various hydrophilic colloid substances and baked in an oven, giving a percent rellectance of 261-2. Such soiled fabrics are extremely difficult to clean and serve as a severe test of washing operations. When such a fabric is subjected to commercial laundry operations wherein it is washed in a conventional rotating drum for a period of 25 minutes, a final reflectance of S0 is the best ordinarily obtainable. A reflectance of 50 indicates that the cotton cloth, with residual soil, reflects 50% as much white light as a magnesium oxide standard when measured in a standard reflectoineter.

In order to demonstrate the drastically different result which is obtained when the process of the present invention is used, as compared with prior art processes, standard dirty samples of cloth were washed in a machine in which a high velocity jet stream of hot wash solution impinged upon the cloth at various jet velocities and for various contact times. The solution was maintained at a temperature of F. and consisted of 0.03% of a high titer soap and 0.006% alkali (anhydrous orthosilicate). A high pressure pump was employed to drive the washing solution against and through the cloth as the cloth was moved under the jet stream. By varying pressure of the jet stream, the speed at which the cloth is moved, and the number of passes of the cloth (number of jet streams) one can arrive at the amount of washing required to secure a given cleaning effect or reflectance. For the purpose of the present study, a reflectance value of 50 was selected as being typical of present commercial laundering practice. From experiments in which the jet stream velocity and the contact time were varied the conditions required to give a reflectance reading of 50 could be determined. One can then calculate the amount of energy which was applied to each unit area of cloth to secure the desired cleaning effect, and also the amount of solution employed. When samples of standard dirty cloth were washed under various conditions, the data in Tables I and II were obtained.

In these tables, the headings indicate:

v]et stream velocity in inches per second. h-Jet stream thickness in mils (thousandths of an inch). V-Cloth velocity in feet per minute. EEnergy applied in joules per square inch. T-Contact time in milliseconds.

--Volume solution in gallons per square inch times one hundred. EG-Efiiciency factor (E X G).

Table I Sample factor E G obtained? by multiplying together the numbers shownv for these quantities in Table I.

FIG.

Table II 3 shows a summary of these data, together with additional data from a large number of experiments, plotted .FIG. 4 shows the same on the washing is carried out unt used for washtinuous process, an upper limit quipment tion with our proc- Where Water is used as the washing medium, the temperatures can be those which are readily available in commercial laundries, e.g., from 140 F. to 180 F., or higher. Conventional detergents or soaps and washing assists may be employed as in present laundry practice. It will be recognized that, although particular reference has been made to the cleaning of fabrics or clothes with aqueous wash solutions, the invention is not limited to such systems and may also be applied to the cleaning of other more or less porous or even solid materials. Also, the invention may make use of other cleansing fluids, such as hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons and the like, with or without soaps or other assists, as in dry cleaning or other processes.

While the invention has been described herein with particular reference to certain embodiments thereof, it is understood that these are by way of example and that the scope of the invention is best defined in the appended claims.

We claim:

1. Washing apparatus comprising movable supporting means for the material to be Washed, jet stream forming means adapted to provide a jet stream of washing fluid at a velocity of at least 360 inches per second, said jet stream forming means having at least one jet opening extending a distance not greater than about 0.05 inch in a direction generally parallel to the direction of movement of said material, and means for moving said supporting means across the path of said jet stream at a speed of at least 50 feet per minute whereby the material to be Washed is subjected to the hydrodynamic action of said jet stream for a period of time not exceeding ten milliseconds.

2. Washing apparatus comprising movable supporting means for the material to be washed, jet stream forming means adapted to provide a high velocity jet stream of washing fluid, means for moving said movable supporting means across the path of said jet stream at a speed of at least 50 feet per minute, said jet stream forming means including a nozzle extending generally cross-wise of the direction of movement of said material, said nozzle having at least one jet opening extending a distance not greater than about 0.05 inch in a direction generally parallel to the direction of movement of said material, and said jet stream forming means being adapted to provide a jet stream having a velocity of at least 360 inches per second, the material to be washed being subjected to the hydrodynamic action of the jet stream for a period of time not exceeding ten milliseconds.

3. Washing machine comprising a housing having 'entrance and discharge openings for material to be washed, movable supporting means for supporting the material to be washed including at least one foraminous belt movable along a path extending in said housing between said entrance and discharge openings, jet stream forming means adapted to provide a jet stream of washing fluid at a velocity of at least 360 inches per second, said jet stream forming means including at least one nozzle extending generally cross-wise of the direction of the path of movement of said belt, and said nozzle having at least one jet opening extending a distance not greater than about 0.05 inch in a direction generally parallel to the direction of movement of said belt therepast, and means for moving said supporting means at a speed of at least 50 feet per minute across the path of said jet stream forming means, whereby each portion of the material to be washed is subjected to the hydrodynamic action of said jet stream for a period not exceeding ten milliseconds.

4. A washing machine as claimed in claim 3 wherein said jet stream forming means includes nozzles mounted above and below the path of movement of said belt, with each nozzle having at least one jet opening facing in a direction generally toward said belt path.

5. A laundry machine comprising a housing having entrance and discharge openings for materials to be laundered, movable supporting means for supporting the material to be laundered including at least one foraminous belt movable along a path extending in said housing between said entrance and discharge openings, jet stream forming means adapted to provide a jet stream of washing fluid containing a cleaning agent and a jet stream of rinsing fluid at velocities of at least 360 inches per second, said jet stream forming means including a plurality of nozzles each extending generally cross-wise of the path of movement of said belt, each of said nozzles having at least one jet opening facing in a direction generally toward said belt path, and each of said jet openings extending a distance not greater than about 0.05 inch in a direction generally parallel to the direction of movement of said belt therepast, and means for moving said movable supporting means continuously past said jet stream forming means at a speed of at least 50 feet per minute whereby the material to be laundered is subjected to the hydrodynamic action of each of said jet streams for a period of time not exceeding ten milliseconds.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 338,096 Meikle Mar. 16, 1886 899,339 Shuman Sept. 22, 1908 1,764,631 Hubinger June 17, 1930 1,808,701 Wigglesworth June 2, 1931 2,366,136 Waldstein Dec. 26, 1944 2,532,471 Wedler Dec. 5, 1950 2,736,632 Blau Feb. 28, 1956 2,773,375 Cox Dec. 11, 1956 2,817,227 Eriksson Dec. 24, 1957 2,900,901 Arnold Aug. 25, 1959

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3431753 *May 18, 1964Mar 11, 1969Jet Stream Products IncApparatus for cleaning soiled materials
US3677038 *Jul 6, 1970Jul 18, 1972Worthington Foods IncFiber washing apparatus
US3720080 *Oct 19, 1970Mar 13, 1973Grantham PContinuous laundering
US4453386 *May 21, 1982Jun 12, 1984Wilkins Ronald WHigh capacity mat cleaning machine
US5802648 *Jul 6, 1995Sep 8, 1998Thermo Fibertek Inc.Apparatus and method of fabric cleaning
EP0095119A2 *May 16, 1983Nov 30, 1983Ronald W. WilkinsHigh capacity mat cleaning machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification68/205.00R, 68/13.00R, 68/44, 68/20
International ClassificationD06F31/00
Cooperative ClassificationD06F31/00
European ClassificationD06F31/00