Flow control means for annular passages
US 3125872 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 24, 1964 W. c. UTZEN 3,125,872
FLOW CONTROL MEANS FOR ANNULAR PASSAGES N1 Eug N SQ by Lazo 8: Barry March 24, 1964 w. c. LUTzEN FLOW CONTROL MEANS FOR ANNULAR PAssAGEs Filed Jan. 24, 1965 .108
-Sheet 2 3 Sheeji William C. Lutzen by- Lazo 8 Barry March 24, 1964 w. c. LUTZEN 3,125,872
FLOW CONTROL MEANS FOR ANNULAR PASSAGES Filed Jan. 24, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.
William C. Lufzen FIG lo 2 a Bm" AHomeys United States Patent O 3,125,872 FLOW CONTROL MEANS FOR ANNULAR PASSAGES William C. Lutzen, 1407 N. 123rd St., Wauwatosa, Wis. Filed Jan. 24, 1963, Ser. No. 253,597 21 Claims. (Cl. 68-144) The present invention relates to a valve. One specific aspect of the present invention relates to a valve particularly adapted for employment as `the drain valve of a laundry machine. This application is a continuation-inpart of my copending application Serial No. 32,406, tiled May 27, 1960 now abandoned Without any intention of l-imiting the invention thereto, a specific object of the present invention is to provide a new and different laundry machine drain valve. The mode of accomplishing such speciiic object as well as many of the other objects is well illustrated by the application of the invention `(as well as predecessors thereof) to a speciiic environment in a laundry machine. Laundry machines of the class here considered are characterized by a hollow drum supported to rotate about a horizontal axis. Laundry is placed inside the drum where it is tumbled in contact ywith washing or dry cleaning solutions. More particularly, machines of this class are designed for large commercial operations, the result being that the drum is oftentimes four to eight feet in diameter. A housing or shroud surrounds one end of the drum. That end of the drum ywithin the housing is provided with dra-in means which includes a region having a plurality of ports. Two axially extending concentric rings are fixed to the drum and define an annular space surrounding the region. These rings are commensurate with the size of the drum and likewise run in the -Vicinity of `four to eight feet in diameter.
Such machines have been termed shell-less laundry machines because a major portion of the drum is unhoused. Housings covering bearings, drains, motor and transmission are provided at each end of the drum.
Past practice in the art has treated the two rings as an annular valve seat, hence has provided an annular ring of commensurate size that is supported and connected -for axial movement into and out of sealing engagement with said rings. The mechanical apparatus for supporting such annular ring valve, for moving the same, and the like, has oftentimes proved awkward and susceptible to operating diiiiculties.
The construction set forth above describes a drain valve providing a path that includes in series the ports, the annular space between the two rings, and appropriate drain piping means within the housing. The valve is seated against the valve seat in such a fashion as to prevent liquids from draining out of the machine through the various ports in the region referred to. The valve assembly is maintained shut during the times that liquids are to be placed in and maintained in the machine during the course of laundering operations. Examples of such operations are washing and starching. When it is desired to drain water from the machine, the valve is moved away from engagement with the seat and the water is removed through the ports, annular space and housing drain means.
A specic embodiment of the present invention uses two rings as a valve seat but eliminates the mechanical contrivances for positioning an annular ring to obtain a seal across said seat. The present invention provides an inflatable member in the shape of a toroid, i.e., much like the common and well-known inner tube, such inflatable member being disposed in the annular space deiined by the two rings. The member is inflatable into sealing engagement with both of said rings to thereby block the ow passage through the annular space. Appropriate 3,125,872 Patented Mar. 24, 1964 "Ice means of supplying and removing a fluid such as compessed air and to controllably inflate and deate said member, respectively, are provided.
With the foregoing in mind, it becomes evident that one advantage of the present invention is its suitability (for modifying existing laundry machines of the character described. Other advantages accrue from the present invention in the minimizing of problems inherent in moving mechanical linkages such as those due to vibration, wear, initial tit-up and temperature, for example. Still another advantage is the great reduction in the time required for repairs: for example, some prior art machines with mechanically seated valves commonly required as much as one and one-'half to two days to repair whereas only one to two hours is required for the replacement of the inatable member of the present invention.
Thus it is another and broader object of the invention to provide a laundry machine drain valve of such character as to be applicable to existing machines for the moditication thereof and yet 'with a minimum in the way of actual structural changes in the machine itself. Another object is to provide a laundry machine drain valve of such character as to substantially eliminate mechanical linkages for bringing the valve and valve seat into sealing engagement at the appropriate times. A more specific object of the invention is to provide an inflatable toroidal member disposed between opposed walls in order to deline a valve structure. A further object is to provide a more readily repairable drain valve for a Ilaundry machine.
More broadly, an object of the invention is to provide a valve assembly having an inflatable member as the valve element. In this connection, it is still another object to provide a valve assembly having an inatable member disposed between opposite coniining walls. Further, it is an object of this invention to provide a valve assembly defining an annular passageway through which fluid can flow and having means to block said annular passageway. A further object is to provide a novel method of controlling liow in annular passageways. More narrowly and in connection with the last-stated object, the present invention has a specific object of providing an inflatable means for blocking an annular flow passage.
Another object is to provide a valve that is particularly well suited for mounting upon a moving base. More particularly, it is an object of the invention to provide a valve construction that is suitable `for mounting upon a rotatable base. Still another object of the invention is to provide a va-lve assembly having inflatable means for blocking an annular ilow passage, such valve assembly being arranged upon a rotatable member.
Other objects, advantages and :features will become apparent from the following description when read in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
PIG. 1 is an assembly view of a laundry machine of the class described and taken from the side of the drum to display `the general disposition of elements along the axis of the drum and with a partial section at the drain end of the machine.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a valve assembly as seen in the partial section of -FlG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an end view of the drum as seen from 3-3 of FIG. 1.
FiGS. 4 and 5 are views throughI 4 4 and 5-5 of FIG. 2, respectively.
FIGS. 6 through 8 are schematic cross-sections, generally similar to FIG. 2 and showing other embodiments of the invention.
FIG. 9' is an end View of the drum showing a modified valve assembly.
FIG. 10 is a view in section of the channel member.
Throughout the drawings the same reference numerals refers to the same parts.
In FIG. 1 an assembled laundry machine 1 is shown comprising a hollow cylindrical drum assembly 3 supported with its longitudinal axis generally horizontal and with its ends respectively disposed within the drain housing assembly 5 and the motor housing assembly 7.
The drum 3 comprises a hollow cylindrical wall 9, the ends of which are sealed or closed by end walls 1@ and 11. The end peripheral region of the cylindrical wall 9 that is disposed within the drain housing 5 has a plurality of ports 14 peripherally disposed therearound. Appropriate valve assembly means according to the invention and described in further detail below with reference to FIGS. 2 through 8, serves to connect the peripheral region and the plurality of ports to the inside of the drain housing. The cylindrical wall 9 also supports an access door 16 hingedly secured to the wall by hinges 18. The door is locked in place by a plurality of locking handles 19 that hold the door shut by clamping flanges 21? on the door between the handle and the wall 9. The handles 19 threadedly engage corresponding male or female threaded studs or holes, as the case Vmay be, on the wall 9. When the door is swung open,
access to the inside of the drum 3 is thereby provided, whereupon laundry and other articles to be washed or cleaned can be placed within the drum. Additional access means 21, preferably of similar construction, is also provided.
Shafts 31 and 32 are secured to the respective end walls 1t), 11 at positions such as to be coaxial with the axis of the cylindrical member at 9. These shafts are of such a nature as to enable rotatably supporting the drum assembly 3 from appropriate bearing means within the housings 5 and 7. In the preferred embodiment, the shafts 31 and 32 are hollow so that fluids such as water, steam, cleaning solvents or liquid soap solutions or the like can be admitted from the shafts through coaxial holes in the drum end walls and to the interior of the drum during a cycle of washing operations. Shaft 31 also carries inflating iluid, as described below. An annular splash ring 34 extends radially from the drain end of the drum, being affixed to the latter in a position to cooperate with the drain housing S whereby liquids and the like will not splash out of the housing.
The drain housing 5 of the shell-less machine includes a base member 39 appropriately secured to the foundation 41. A shroud member 43 rises upwardly from and is fixedly secured to the base member 39. The walls of the shroud define a large circular port 45. The walls of the shroud around the port cooperate with the ring 34 to provide the above-mentioned seal.
One wall of the shroud has a structural plate having aiiixed thereto a bracket assembly 47 which is turn supports a pillow block and bearing assembly designated as 4S. The latter supports the shaft 31 of the drum, and is coaxial with the drum. A drain door 49 is located in the lower end of the shroud 43, and is sloped gently toward and in full communication with the drain pipe 51 which latter, as shown, is enclosed within the drain housing assembly 5. All the moving parts within the housing assembly 5 are preferably enclosed by a sheet metal housing comprising wall such as 53.
An appropriate port means 55 is provided as an opening in the exterior of the shroud 43, whereby an extension of the shaft 31 may protrude out of the housing in order that the hollow portion thereof may communicate with sources of fluids to be supplied in a manner hereinafter described. If desired, wall means such as 57 can be provided to surround the pillow block 48 in order Vto protect the latter from moisture and vapors within the drain housing. Also, a ring 58 may be provi-ded on the shaft 31 in order to cooperate with the wall of 57 by dening a labyrinth seal rather similar to that defined by the annular radial ring 34 in cooperation with the wall of the shroud 43. An access hold for clean-out purposes is provided by a plate 59 secured removably to the shroud by appropriate means such as the bolts 60.
The motor housing assembly 7 is disposed at the other end of the cylinder and generally encloses the prime mover such as electric motor 63, the power transmission means such as the belts 65 and gear reduction drive 67, as well as the pillow block and bearing 69 which engages and rotatably supports the shaft 32. Appropriate structure such as motor base 64 and housing assembly 7 is enclosed principally for safety purposes to avoid having moving machine parts such as the transmission system in the end of the drum located in a position where personnel could be injured thereby. An aperture in the extreme right end wall of the assembly 7 is provided whereby an extension of the shaft 32 passes out of the end wall into a rotary seal 71. The rotary seal permits the feeding of steam, water and liquid soap in the manner described above. The details of construction of a suitable rotary seal are found in Bulletins No. 274C and 272D published by the Johnson Corporation, Three Rivers, Michigan, on or about September, 1957 and October, 1958, respectively.
Such seals comprise a sealed valve body or flow chamber secured to the fixed piping. Revolvably mounted within the ow chamber is a short pipe or nipple coaxial and rotatable with the hollow shaft. The nipple communicates with the fixed piping by appropriate ports and passages within the housing. The nipple is secured to the hollow shaft and is sealably connected to the surrounding non-rotatable flow chamber by a flange slidably mounted on, and extending radially out from, the nipple. At least one and preferably both the annular faces of the ange engage(s) an annular graphite bearing slidably mounted around the nipple inside the housing. Spring means bias the bearing and ange into a thrust bearing relationship, the bearing also being biased against an inside wall of the flow chamber. Where plural fluids are separately introduced into one hollow shaft, a corresponding plurality of concentric pipes are mounted in both the hollow shaft and revolvably mounted in the flow chamber. The flow passages between corresponding nipples and fixed pipes each include a path between two slidable ange-graphite bearing (or seal ring) assemblies, the flanges of each such assembly being respectively mounted on one of the two concentrically adjacent rotatable nipples. Fixed piping includes the line or conduit 122, described below.
A drain valve, according to the present invention, is located at the left end of the drum as viewed in FIG. l. Details of construction of such drain valve are best understood by referring to FIG. 2, keeping in mind that the elements are supported on the drum as generally shown in FIG. l. FG. 2 shows the end wall 10 xedly secured to the cylindrical wall member 9, and the perforate region with the plurality of ports 14 therein. An annular radially extending seal ring 81 is ixedly and sealably secured to the cylindrical wall 9 as by Welds 82 or the like. The ring 81 is located in a position such that the perforate region, containing all of the openings 14, is disposed between it and the end wall 10 of the drum. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 5, a plurality of spacer plates 84 are welded to the cylindrical member 9 and are arcuately spaced at various places around the periphery thereof, so as not to coincide with or interfere with the passageway through the openings 14. The plates extend from the end of the drum and back toward the wall S1. It is desired that they abut ring 81 so that strings, strands of foreign matter and the like will not collect upon them.
An outer circular, axially extending ring 86 is secured as by welding or the like to the plates 84 and the radial ring 811. In the preferred embodiment, the ring 86 is concentric with the cylindrical member 9 and extends to the left (as seen in FIG. 2) a predetermined distance past the end of the drum as defined by the wall lt). The radial seal ring 34 is welded to this outer ring.
An inner, similarly concentric, circular, axially extending wall SS is secured as by welds 90 to the end wall lil. The ring 38 is of less diameter than the ring 86, but it extends axially out from the wall l0 the same distance as does ring 86. Thus, both rings 86 and 83 terminate at locations that lie in a common plane that is perpendicular to the shaft 3l.
The radial space between the rings 86 and 86 is termed an annular space, which is located in communication with the perforate region having ports 14. The opposed inner faces lot rings `86 and S8y denne a valve seat means sealably enga-geable by the hereinafter described elastomeric i-natable member. It is within the annular space that the hollow inflatable toroidal elastomeric member 92, which resembles a common inner tube, is located. lnilatable member 92 is preferably of polymerized chloroprene such as neop-rane, in order to achieve heat resistance While remaining flexible. The inliatable member 92 comprises a valve member .and is of such a size and shape that it can be iniiated into sealing engagement with the opposed Walls of the rings (valve seat means) 86 and 88 which respectively tace inwardly of the .annular space.
ln order to prevent leakage out of .the annular space and out of the peripheral drain means such as 14 in the drum, the various Welds connecting the inner and outer rings to the drum and to other support members are all continuous and huid-tight. O-f course, if bolted assembly is used, then appropriate gaskets or other sealing means must be provided A `valve-stem 9d is molded into the hollow elastomeric member 92, and, when assembled into the -laundry machine, has a portion Ithereof extending up through a slot 96 that is formed at one place in the inner ring 88. The slot 96 is adapted to receive and pass the uprising part .ot .the stem 9d therethrough toward the shaft 31, whereby air can be supplied to the internal portion of ythe inilatable member. Air is supplied by a conduit 9rd that is connected by means of a coupling ltltl to the valve stem. rllhe coupling is of such a nature as to enable employing `a. portion of the coupling as a tightening nut to secure the inflatable member to the inner ring 83. Alternatively, stem 94 can comprise a nipple and a nut lill? can secure the tube to the ring, in which case it may be desired to employ a conventional union or la nut-and-nipple tubing connector to join stem M to the hollow shaft.
The inilatable member 912i is held in place within the annular space against the force of water or other liquid traveling from 1d past the plates 84 and into the annular space by means of the annular radially extending retainer ring 1192. vAs seen in FGS. 2, 3, and 4, the retainer ring MP2 is essentially a flat member assembled from a plurality of individual elements, denoted as arcuate segments lhZa, 1021:, and 192C in FlG. 3. As seen in FIG. 3, each of these elements llla, lii'Zb, and lill/2c generally denne an arc of a circle. The advantage of manufacturing the element lli@ from a plurality of arcuate segments is that a narrower sheet of material can be used to form the individual segments.
A suitable number of clips 104 are welded about the periphery of the ring S8. The clips T104 may conveniently be formed from conventional angle iron and are placed so that one leg extends radially inwardly [toward the shaft 31 in a position such as to presenta face that is ilush with the ends of the rings SS and V8d at their axial extremity. A bolt hole is in the ilush lface of the clip. The radially extending ning it@ is removably secured to the clips by conventional threaded fasteners such as the nut and bolt ltl, 1% respectively passing through the bolt hole. The ring 102 `or `any portion thereof can be removed in order to clean out the annular passage or to replace .the tube 92. should that ever be required.
FIGS. 6 through 8 show additional embodiments of Ithe arrangement of the inner and outer concentric rings that deiine the annular space. FIG. 6 illustrates as embodiment where the end wall 10 of the drum has a plurality of ports 14' disposed peripherally therearound. The other elements are othenvvise arranged as described above. FlG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the invention where an axial extension 9" of the member `9 is employed in order to form an inner concentric ring. 'Ilhe other parts otherwise remain substantially the same.
FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of the invention having holes it peripherally disposed around the end wall l0 and which open into the annular space. Another feature of this embodiment is that the drum wall 9 is axially extended to term the outer concentric ring 9".
lt will be observed that the effect of the designs of FlGS. 7 and 8 is such as to make use of the axial extension of the cylindrical member 9. As to FIG. 8, Where the extension forms the outer wall, the plates 84 are dispensed with.
l'lbe conduit 98 is ordinarily employed for supplying compressed air to, and removing it from, the inliatable member 92. The conduit 93 connects lbetween the intlatable member and a conduit tonmed in the hollow portion ot the shaft 3l. A conventional rotary seal 12), similar or identical to seal 7l, is provided in the rotary shaft to connect between the fixed pip-ing 122 leading from the compressor 12d, and the rotating portion of the shaft. In addition, a three-way valve 126 is used in line 122 to control the flow of air into and out of the tube 92. The 'three-way valve is arranged to alternately (1) conduct compressed air from a source to the rotary shaft seal 12@ and (2) to shut off air from the compressor while connecting the compressed air inside the in ated member 92 to the atmosphere, thereby to exhaust the air from the inside or" the member 92.
in the preferred embodiment, the inflatable member 92 is made of smaller inside diameter than the outside dia-meter ou Wall With this construction the member 92 is stretched over the wall 8S, and thus is self-biased into a snug peripheral engagement therewith by its own elastic properties. Thus, there are a plurality of means acting to secure member 92 in position: stretching of member 92, the nut ldd and the retainer ring 162. In addition, the member gains additional sealing action when inflated.
In FIGS. 9 and l-O a modiiied drain valve is shown which has a split elastomeric member 93 positioned between outer concentric ring 9" and the inner wall 89.
The split elastomeric member is sealed at each end by a cylindrical member 13d, 132 which supports studs 1314, 136. An aperture 118 is provided in stud 136 to admit air to the elastomeric member The studs are slipped into slots 14@ in channel lmember tlf-t2 which has been mounted in gap idd in the inner rim. The channel me-mber is sealed to the front `face of the drum and to the inner surface of concentric rim 9".
A nut 146 and washer M8 is provided on each stud and tightened by hand to hold the ends of the elastomeric member in position. The remaining portion oi the elastomeric member is then pushed onto the inner rim with the iiat face of the member positioned against the inner rim. The nuts are then tightened until both ends of the elastomeric member are drawn up tight against the channel member. The length of the split elastomeric member is slightly less than the circumferential distance around the inner wall so that a tight seal is `for-med between the inat-able member and the rim. The retainer ring 162 is then mounted on the inner rim as previously described.
Air is supplied to the elastomeric member through conduit 98 as described above. A hollow elbow 156i is secured to the end of hollow stud 136 and is connected to conduit 98. The elastomeric member can then be inflated as reqiured. It should .be apparent that the primary yadvantage of this yarrange-nient is the ease of installation. The seal can be replaced lwithout disturbing the drum as is necessary with the completely circular or inner tube type of seal.
A cycle of operations for washing with the present machine includes placing dirty clothes in the machine, iniiating the member 92 into sealing engagement with the walls or rings 36 and 86 by turning three way valve 126 to connect member 92 to the compressor 124, pouring water, soa-p, steam or the like in through the hollow shaft 32 (for 31, as desired) and then rotating the drum by drivin-g it with the motor 63. A conventional switch gear is provided for the starting and stopping of the motor, it being ordinarily an electrical motor. Alfter the washing step proper is completed, air is removed from the inflatable member 92 by turning three way valve 126 to shu-t off air rfrom the compressor and exhausting the member '92 to atmosphere. As an aid to deflation, a vacuum pump can be employed. The inner tube then deiiates to the dotted line position denoted as 92 in FIG. 2. The dirty, soapy water iiows out of the drum, past the plates S4- -and out through the annular space into the drain housing where it is removed yvia lthe conduit 51 (FiG. 1) while the drurn 3 continues to be rotated.
The machine now enters upon the rinsing step of a cycle. When rinsing, the member 92 is left uninflated and a continuous flow of rinse water is admitted to the interior of the drum 3 from one of the hollow shafts 31, 32. The continuous flow is maintained for a predetermined time during which time the drum 3 continues to be rotated. In this fashion a stream of clean rinse water fiows through the drum for a selected time and provides a superior cleansing action as compared to machines that agitate the load being washed in a fixed body of rinse water. Also it is not necessary to stop rotating the drum 3 when entering another step in the cycle: the member 92 is deflated, the previous solution is removed while continuing to rotate the drum 3, and then a different fiuid or solution is admitted into the drum from one of the hollow shafts 31, 32. When rinsing is completed, rotation of the drum ceases, the clothes are removed and another cycle can be started.
While an example has been given of a cycle comprising washing, draining, `and rinsing, it is contemplated that other operations can be carried out with the machine. For example, in washing butchers aprons, surgical linens, and other articles soiled with blood, a stream of cold water would first be continuously passed through drum 3 while rotating the same with member 92 deflated. The cold water washes out the blood, acts as a solvent therefor. As washing proceeds, a bleach solution may be admitted to the drum, but the member @2 would be inflated to seal the bleach within the drum for a predetermined time while the clothes are contacted with the bleach. Many other examples of cycle variation could be given, involving the selected admission of fluids of different composition, temperature and the like.
In the foregoing example the drum is startedV and stopped in its rotation by an operator manually throwing the switches controlling the motor 63. Similarly, the same operator manually manipulates valve 126 to admit or remove air from the iniiatable member 92. Valves for steam, water, liquid detergent and other fluids are also manually operated. Alternatively, the invention contemplates that appropriate timing switches and relays are provided to accomplish the starting, stopping, iniiating, deflating in the appropriate sequence. In such cases, the valve 126 and others are preferably solenoid operated.
While the invention has been described with respect to a specific embodiment and several alternative embodiments, it is not intended that the invention be limited only to these embodiments and their modifications. The invention contemplated and as described in the specification and claims, is intended to include all those modifications and changes which would be obvious to one skilled in the art.
What is claimed is:
1. In a llaundry machine the combination comprising a drum including a horizontal hollow cylindrical member, and end walls secured to and closing both ends of said member; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured on said drum adjacent to one end of said drum; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than said outer cylindrical wall, secured to said one end of said drum defining an annular space between said two Vcylindrical walls; said drum having an opening therein dispo-sed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space; a hollow flexible iniiatable member disposed between said cylindrical walls in said annulm space and infiatable into engagement with both walls defining said annular space; and means to inflate said member.
2. ln a laundry machine the combination comprising a drum including a horizontal hollow cylindrial member, and end walls secured to and closing both ends of said member; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured on said drum adjacent to one end of said drum; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than, and concentric with, said outer cylindrical wall, secured to said one end of said drum defining an annular space between said two cylindrical walls; said drum having an opening therein disposed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space; a hollow fiexible iniiatable member disposed between said cylirldrical walls in said annular space and inflatable into engagement with both walls defining said annular space; and means to inflate said member.
3. In a laundry machine the combination comprising a hollow drum that includes a hollow cylindrical member and end walls secured to both ends of said member; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured on said drum adjacent to one end of said drum; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than said outer cylindricd wall, secured to said one end of said drum and defining an annular space between said two cylindrical walls; said drum having openings adjacent said one end disposed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space; and a hollow flexible inflatable member disposed between said cylindrical walls and said annular space and inflatable into engagement with both walls defining said annular space.
4. In a laundry machine the combination comprising a drum including a horizontal cylindrical member and end walls secured to and enclosing both ends of said member; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured on said member adjacent to one end of said drum; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than said outer cylindrical wall secured to said one end of said drum and defining an annular space between two cylindrical walls; said drum having a perforate region adjacent to said one end; means, including one of said cylindrical walls for defining a passage between said perforate region and said annular space; and an inflatable member disposed between said cylindrical walls in said annular space and inflatable into sealing engagement with both said walls defining said annular space.
5. In a shell-less laundry machine having a hollow elongated cylindrical drum revolvably supported to rotate about the longitudinal axis of said drum and with one end of said drum disposed within a housing, a drain valve construction at said one end comprising an outer cylindrical wall extending axially of, and secured on, said drum Y adjacent to said one end thereof and within said housing;
an inner cylindrical wall extending axially of said drum and of less diameter than said outer wall, secured to said one end of said drum in concentric relationship with said outer wall to define therebetween an annular space; said drum having a perforate region adjacent said one end; means, including one of said walls, for said perforate region to communicate between said annular space and said perforate region; an inflatable member disposed between said cylindrical walls within said annular space and so proportioned as to be inatable into sealing engagement with said both walls; an annular ring removably secured to one of said walls and extending radially toward the other of said walls partially across said annular space; and means for supplying fluid to inflate said member into sealing engagement with said walls.
6. In a laundry machine having a rotatably supported horizontal drum with at least one end disposed in a drain housing, said one end having a peripheral perforate region disposed between two axially extending rings supported on said drum within said housing, said two rings dei-ming an annular space therebetween; a means for controlling flow through said annular space comprising an elastomeric toroid iniiatable into sealing engagement with both said rings.
7. In a laundry machine having a rotatably supported drum with one end having a peripheral perforate region disposed between two axially extending rings supported on said drum said two rings detining an annular space therebetween; a means for controlling liow through said annular space comprising an elastomeric toroid inatable into sealing engagement with both said rings.
8. A valve having the combination comprising a support member with an opening therein that provides communication between one side and an opposite side of said member; means for rotatably supporting said member; means supported from said member and surrounding said opening for providing opposed valve seat means; means for sealably engaging said valve seat means by expansion into such sealing engagement therewith under fluid pressure.
9. In a laundry machine the combination comprising a hollow drum including a hollow cylindrical member, and walls sealably secured to and closing both ends of said member; means for revolvably supporting said drum to rotate about the axis of said member; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall supported from said drum adjacent to one end thereof; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall supported from said drum within said outer Wall to present a surface opposed to said outer wall; said inner and outer walls defining between them an annular space; said drum having a plurality of holes therethrough, each hole being located to provide a communication between said annular space and the inside of said drum; means supported between said inner and outer walls for expanding into sealing engagement with said walls throughout said annular space; and means for controllably expanding the last said means.
l0. In a laundry machine having a hollow cylindrical drum with a peripherally extending perforate region communicating with the annular space defined by a pair of opposed cylindrical walls concentric with said drum and extending axially thereof, the outermost one of said walls being spaced outwardly from and surrounding said perforate region, means for controlling the iiow through said annular space and comprising in combination a hollow inflatable member extending completely around said annular space and retained therein, a plurality of spacer plates for supporting the outer one of said concentric walls away from said drum, said spacer plates having a longitudinal dimension generally parallel to that of said drum, and a radially extending ring secured to said drum against which all of said spacer plates abut, said ring and spacer plates extending the same distance outwardly rom said drum, and the outermost one of said walls being mounted sealably to both said radial ring and said spacer plates, and means for inrlating said inflatable member into sealing engagement with said walls to control the iioW of fluid through said space.
11. In a laundry machine having a hollow, generally cylindrical drum with a perforate region extending peripherally thereof and a pair of opposed walls supported from said drum in sealed communication with said perforate region, an annular space being defined between said pair of walls, means for controlling the iiow of fluids between said annular space and said perforate region comprising in combination elastomeric inflatable means in the shape of a toroid disposed in said annular space, said elastomeric means being iniiatable into sealing engagement with said Walls, means extending partly across said annular space from one of said walls toward the other for retaining said inlatable member therein, one of said walls comprising an axial extension of the cylindrical portion of said hollow drum and the other of said walls being concentric therewith.
12. ln a laundry machine the combination comprising a drum that includes a hollow cylindrical member and end walls sealably secured to both ends of said member; means for revolvably supporting said drum to rotate about the longitudinal axis of said member, and including a hollow shaft coaxial with said member and connected t0 one end of said drum; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall supported from said drum and adjacent said one end; an inner cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than said outer wall supported from said one end of said drum; said inner wall and outer wall deiining therebetween an annular space; said drum having means for communicating between said annular space and the inside of said drum; an iniiatable member disposed between said cylindrical Walls in said annular space and iniiatable into engagement with both walls; and conduit means connecting said inatable member to the internal passageway of said hollow shaft.
13. In a laundry machine the combination comprising a hollow, cylindrical drum that includes a horizontal cylindrical member and end walls secured across said member to seal the same; an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured on said drum adjacent to one end thereof; an axial extension of said member at said one end of said drum that defines another wall opposed to and concentric within said outer wall to thereby define an annular space between said two walls; said drum having a plurality of openings in said member adjacent said one end and disposed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space; an elastomeric inflatable member disposed between said cylindrical walls in said annular space and inflatable into sealing engagement with both said walls.
14. In a laundry machine the combination comprising a hollow, cylindrical drum that includes a horizontal cylindrical member and end walls secured across said member to seal the same; an axial extension of said member adjacent one end of said drum and defining a cylindrical wall; a cylindrical axially extending wall of less diameter than said member and disposed concentrically with said extension to dene an annular space between said two cylindrical walls; said drum having an opening in that end wall thereof upon which said second wall is supported, said opening deiining a passageway between said annular space and the inside of said drum; and an elastomeric, inflatable member disposed between said walls in said annular space and so proportioned to be inflatable into sealing engagement with both said Walls deiining said annular space.
15. In a laundry machine having a hollow drum with a perforate region adjacent one end and a pair of axially extending concentric walls supported from said drum in communication with said perforate region, said pair of walls defining an annular space therebetween, a means for controlling the flow of iluids through said annular space that comprises a toroidal inilatable member disposed within said space and inilatable into sealing engagement with both of said walls, and a radially extending annular ring supported from one of said walls and extending partially across said annular space toward the other said Wall, the inflatable member being disposed between said annular ring and said perforate region.
16. In a laundry machine having a hollow drum with an annular perforate region at one end the combination comprising a pair of walls secured to said drum and sealably connected lto said perforate region with one wall of the pair on each side of said perforate region, means for controlling flow of luids through the annular space between said pair of walls comprising a toroidal inflatable member disposed within said annular space, and means for retaining said inflatable member within said annular space.
17. A drain valve for a laundry machine having a hollow drum that includes a hollow cylindrical member having end walls secured to both ends of said member,
said valve comprising an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured to one end of said drum,
an inner cylindrical wall of less diameter than said outer wall, said inner wall being secured to said one end of said drum and dening an annular space between said two cylindrical walls, said drum having openings therein disposed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space, a channel member positioned within said annular space having end walls sealingly engaging said inner and outer walls,
an elongated hollow inflatable member positioned within said annular space, means on each end of the member for sealing the ends of the member to the walls of said channel member,
and means for inlating said member to close said annular space.
18. A drain valve according to claim 17 wherein the length of said inflatable member is less than the circumferential distance of the outer diameter of the inner wall from one wall of the channel member to the other wall of the channel member whereby said inllatable member is stretched over the surface of the inner wall when its ends are sealed to the walls of said channel member.
19. A drain valve according to claim 18 wherein one of said means on each end of said member includes an opening therein which is connected to the means for inlating said member.
20. A drain valve for a laundry machine having a hollow drum that includes a hollow cylindrical member having end walls secured to both ends of said member,
said Valve comprising an outer cylindrical axially extending wall secured to one end of said drum,
an inner cylindrical wall of less diameter than said outer Wall, said inner Wall being secured to said one end of said drum and defining an annular space between said two cylindrical walls,
said drum having openings therein disposed to place the inside of said drum in communication with said annular space.
a channel member positioned within said annular space having end walls sealingly engaging said inner and outer walls to define a separate chamber in the annular space,
an elongated hollow inflatable member positioned within said annular space,
means on each end of the member for sealing the ends of the member to the walls of said channel member,
connecting means for securing each end of the member to a corresponding end wall of said channel member,
and means for inilating said member through one wall of said channel member to close said annular space.
2l. A drain valve according to claim 20 wherein the length of said inflatable member is less than the circumferential distance from one wall of said channel member to the other wall of said ,channel member whereby said iniiatable member is stretched over the surface of said inner cylindrical wall when it is connected to the end Wall of said channel member.
References Cited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 539,568 Bride May 21, 1895 2,201,322 Schwartz May 21, 1940 2,360,276 Redmond Oct. 10, 1944 2,366,911 Laird Jan. 9, 1945 2,436,536 Wheeler Feb. 24, 1948 2,559,564 Sperling July 3, 1951 2,667,777 Kling Feb. 2, 1954