Solvent reclaiming dry cleaning apparatus
US 3125106 A
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soLvENT RECLAIMING DRY CLEANING APPARATUS Filed oct. 27, 1961 March 17, 1964 B. l.. BRUCKEN ETAL 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 The/'r Aflomey March 17, 1964 B. L. BRUCKEN ETAL 3,125,105
SGLVENT RECLAIMING DRY CLEANING APPARATUS Filed Oct. 27, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent O 3,125,106 SOLVENT RECLING DRY CLEANING APPARATUS Byron L. Bruclten and Victor A. Williamitis, both of Dayton, (Ehio, assignors to General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Mich., a corporation of Delaware Filed (Ict. 27, 1961, Ser. No. 148,248 1 Claim. (Cl. 134-113) This invention relates to a domestic appliance and more particularly to an improved apparatus for reclaiming solvent from a replaceable filter cartridge in a dry cleaning system.
Solvent usage constitutes a major concern in the operation of dry cleaning apparatus. Various elaborate arrangements have been devised to reclaim the maximum amount of solvent. In a replaceable filter system such as taught in the copending application Serial No. 105,733 filed April 26, 1961, and assigned to the same assignee, it is desirable to rid the filter cartridge completely of its entrained solvent before the cartridge is disposed of.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to eliminate solvent from a throw away-type dry cleaning filter cartridge.
A more specific object of this invention is the provision of a solvent displacement chamber adjacent the dry cleaning apparatus and in communication therewith for retaining a removed filter cartridge in an extracting or displacing solution which is lighter than the solvent being displaced-the stratification of the solvent below the extracting solution thereby preventing evaporation of the solvent during storage thereof.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, wherein a preferred embodiment of the present invention is clearly shown.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective front view of a dry cleaning system provided with the filter cartridge reclaiming apparatus of this invention.
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view of the combined dry cleaning and solvent reclaiming apparatus; and
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along 3--3 in FIGURE 2, partly in elevation to show the removable ilter cartridge arrangement.
In accordance with this invention and with reference to FIGURE l a dry cleaning system is pictorially illustrated. The system includes an outer cabinet 11B for partially enclosing a clothes washer or agitating apparatus 12 and a clothes dryer or drying apparatus 14. Note that the clothes dryer 14 is elevated above the floor to provide for a filter compartment cabinet 16 thereblow. The clothes washer 12 has a top access door 18 which is pivotally openable for inserting and removing fabrics from the washer.
The clothes dryer 14 has a front access opening 24 which faces the washer access opening 18 adjacent one side thereof. This arrangement places the access doors 18 and 24 in the confined area defined by a top wall 26 and a side wall 28 of the dry cleaning cabinet 1lia perforate grill 38 at the rear of the conned space operating to withdraw fumes from the area whenevereither access door 18 or 24 is opened. The outlet or vent grill 30 is connected through a venting system at the rear of the cabinet to the atmosphere as set forth more fully in the commonly assigned copending application Serial No. 105,733 tiled April 26, 1961, and wherein similar components have the same reference characters.
Turning now to FIGURE 2 the washer or agitating aplCe the top wall of which is located the access door 18 hinged along a rear edge thereof. Within the washer cabinet 32 a generally cylindrical imperforate solvent container 34 is disposed which includes a sub-top portion 36 having an access opening 38 in axial alignment with the top access lid 18 of the washer. A bulkhead 40 closes the lower end of the solvent container 34 and includes a drain opening 46 in the lowermost portion therof. A generally cylindrical spin tub 48 is rotatably supported by a resilient inverted cup-like member 50 on the bulkhead 40 and includes a plurality of circumferentially arranged outflow ports 52 around an upper portion thereof. The tub 48 has a top access opening 54 which aligns with the openings 18 and 38 immediately above. Within the spin tub 48 an agitator 56 is adapted for vertical reciprocation. A motor driven agitating and spinning mechanism is shown generally at 58 and is adapted to vertically reciprocate the agitator 56 when operated in one manner and to rotate or spin the tub 48 when rotated in another manner. By way of suggesting one suitable agitating and spinning mechanism such as 58 but not by way of limiting this invention, reference may be had to the patent to Clark 2,366,236 issued January 2, 1945.
The clothes dryer 14 is a conventional single pass circulating air dryer substantially like that taught in the patent to Whyte, 2,843,945, issued Iuly 22, 1958. The dryer includes a horizontally rotatable tumbling drum 60 having a perforate rear wall 62 and a front access opening 64 in alignment with the dryer door 24. A drying heater 66 is disposed adjacent the perforate rear wall 62 of the tumbling drum and adapted to be energized for drying clothes within the tumbling drum. During operation of the heater 66 and rotation of the tumbling drum 68, air is circulated by a fan shown generally at 68 driven by a motor 76 which may also be connected through a conventional pulley system for rotating the tumbling drum 60, The fan 68 is connected with the access opening 64 by way of a front duct 72, said front duct being exhausted by a fan through an exhaust duct 74 connected behind the dry cleaning cabinet to the outside vent system. The dryer includes a push button 76 (FIGURE 1) for initiating a predetermined drying cycle only after a wash cycle has been concluded-an interlock arrangement decribed more fully in the copending application Serial No. 105,733 serving to prevent the operation of the dryer unless there has first been a washing cycle.
The circulating system for a dry cleaning fluid or solvent, such as perchlorethylene (-a somewhat toxic fluid) or Valclene (a non-toxic dry cleaning fluid which is `essentially Freon 113 and is made by the Du Pont Corporation) will now be described with reference to FIG- URES 2 and 3. The main components of the circulating system include a sump 80 having a top Wall 82 with an air vent and spill-over return 83. Resting on the sump top wall 82 is a pump 84 which has its inlet 86 connected through a dip tube 88 to the bottom of the sump 86. A pressure Valve 90 on the opposite side of the pump 84 indicates pressures in the system. A filter 92 is adapted to receive the output of the pump through a sloped conduit 94 which connects to the inlet 96 of the filter. The filter 92 is positioned angularly in the filter compartment 16 such that an air bleed and gravity drain 98 extending through the sump wall 82 will substantially drain the filter of solvent when the dry cleaning system is shut down. At one end of the filter an outlet fitting 100 connects by way of a conduit 182 and a three-way valve 103 to the tub paratus 12 is shown comprised of an outer cabinet 32 in access opening-a terminal portion 104 of the conduit 102 overlying the top of the spin tub 48. Completing the circulating system is a conduit 106 which connects to the drain outlet 46 of the solvent container 34. This conduit 106 enters the sump 80 by Way of a button trap 168,
access to which is gained through a removable lid 110 for cleaning this trap device as well as for adding additional solvent to the system. A sight glass 112 or other suitable means may be used for providing a visual indication of the dry cleaning fluid level 115 in the sump 30.
The fluid circulating system operates as follows. The pump 84 draws dry cleaning fluid or solvent from the sump 80 through the dip tube 83. This dry cleaning uid, cleaned of large objects by the trap 108, is forced through the conduit 94 to the filter 92. The filter is effective to filter small solids, solubles and carbon from the dry cleaning fluid. After an initial period in which the three-way valve 103 returns the solvent to the sump by way of a conduit or sump return line 109, the valve is reversed and the filtered dry cleaning fiuid is then discharged from the filter by way of a conduit 102 and its end nozzle 104 into the spin tub 48. When the level of the dry cleaning fluid within the tub reaches the outflow ports S2, the dry cleaning fluid will overflow into the solvent container 34 and will return by gravity through the conduit 106 to the sump 80-the button trap 10S intercepting its iiow to remove large objects from the fluid.
The construction of the filter 92 is generally seen in FIGURE 3 wherein a filter casing 116 is adapted to contain a removable throw away porous filter element or cartridge 130 substantially equivalent to the filter cartridge shown in FIGURE of the copending application to which reference may be had for additional filter detail. This throw away element 130 is retained in the filter casing 116 by a removable door or cover 123 which is securely fastened to the casing in any suitable manner. The filter cartridge is thereby positioned within the casing in a manner to intercept and filter all fluids passing between the filter casing inlet 96 and the outlet 100.
This invention is directed to a device for extracting the solvent from the pores of the filter cartridge 130 and to the combination of this device with the aforementioned and described dry cleaning apparatus.
A solvent reclaim compartment shown generally at 120 is comprised of a box-like casing 122 having a top opening closed by an access door 124. Within the casing 122 there is disposed a displacing fluid chamber or open top tank 126 having a sight glass 128 along one side thereof to show the level of displacing fluid within the chamber, a suitable panel being provided in the outer casing 122 adjacent the sight glass 12S to make this indicator visible from the outside of the casing. A return conduit 131 is connected to the bottom of the chamber 126 and operates through a valve 132 to return selectively displaced solvent to the sump 80. A perforated cartridge support stand 134 rests on the bottom wall of the chamber 126 for supporting the filter cartridge 130 while the solvent is being displaced therefrom.
After removal the used filter element 130 is submerged in a liquid displacing agent, such as a dilute solution of alkali or acid. No more than a one percent sodium hydroxide or similar base solution is recommended. The use of either alkali or acid will depend upon the particular detergent used in the dry cleaning solvent being reclaimed. The cartridge 130 remains below the surface 136 of this dilute displacing solution until the solvent such as perchlorethylene is displaced and settles to the bottom of the tank to form a line or plane of separation or stratification 138 beneath the bottom of the cartridge. For this action the density of the displacing solution must be less than the density of the solvent being displaced. The time to displace the solvent from the pores of the cartridge will depend upon the size and density of the cartridge. The displaced solvent may then be drawn off the bottom of the tank 126 through the valved conduit 131 or it may be left stored in the tank. The stratification of the solvent below the extracting solution prevents the evaporation of the solvent while it is stored in the displacement chamber. This is a desirable result since the solvent is very volatile and also very expensive.
Although many displacing agents may be used in the tank 126 a preferred solution for displacing normal dry cleaning solvents from the cartridge 130 is made of dilute solution of alcohols or glycols in water. Another effective displacing agent is comprised of ten to fifteen percent isopropyl alcohol in water.
In operation, after a number of dry cleaning cycles the cartridge 130 is clogged and must then be removed from the filter casing 116. This cartridge is placed within the reclaim tank 126 until the displacing solution 136 substantially displaces the solvent from the cartridge. It should be understood that the tank 126 and the casing 122 could be made large enough to accommodate several cartridges 130 in order to allow additional time for the displacement of the solvent.
While the embodiment of the invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted.
What is claimed is as follows:
For use with a dry cleaner solvent circulation system including a disposable, porous filter cartridge interposed therein for conditioning a dry cleaning solvent fiowing therethrough, a solvent reclaimer comprising a box-like outer casing having a top opening and an access door for closing said top opening, a solvent displacing chamber in said outer casing having an open top in alignment with said top opening in said outer casing and adapted to contain a solvent displacing liquid therein having a lesser density than the solvent retainable in the pores of said filter cartridge, said chamber having a sight glass in conimunication therewith at the bottom thereof and extending upwardly between the sides of said chamber and said outer casing to a point above the highest level of said solvent displacing liquid in said chamber, said outer casing being adapted adjacent the sight glass for visual observation of same as a means for ascertaining the highest level of solvent displacing liquid in said chamber, said access door being openable and adapted for inserting a solvent soaked filter cartridge into said chamber before the filter cartridge is disposed of, a perforated support stand in said chamber adapted to support an inserted filter cartridge in a submerged condition totally within said solvent displacing liquid whereby the displacing liquid in said chamber will enter the pores of the filter cartridge to displace the solvent retained therein solely due to the lesser density thereof, said solvent then settling to the bottom of said chamber solely due to the greater density thereof to form a plane of stratification dividing the displacing liquid above from the solvent below, said support stand being spaced sufciently above the said plane of stratification and below the highest level of said solvent displacing liquid to position a filter cartridge supported thereon totally within said displacing liquid, conduit means having one end connected to the bottom of said chamber below the said plane of stratification and its other end extending through the outer casing below'the said one end of said conduit means and adapted for connection to a solvent circulation system, and valve means in said conduit means openable for removing reclaimed solvent from said chamber.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,130,430 Potterf Mar. 2, 1915 1,385,724 Smith July 26, 1921 1,492,957 Bots May 6, 1924 1,775,554 Dehle Sept. 9, 1930 2,330,655 Zucker Sept. 28, 1943 2,527,666 Winter Oct. 31, 1950 2,643,661 Shanahan June 30, 1953 2,919,704 Butler Jan. 5, 1960 3,049,905 Freire Aug. 21, 1962