US 3259049 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 5, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. 02mm flz lifgflem BY flzw/ M Wm M Filed Dec. 14, 1962 July 5, 1966 c. UITHOVEN GAS AGITATING DEVICE 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 14, 1962 INVENTOR.
ply 741261) a J Z W i w H7, w; I mmw H Mu m 3 4 m W July 5, 1966 c. UITHQVEN GAS AGI'I'ATING DEVICE 5 Sheets-Sheet 5% Filed Dec. 14 1962 65 INVENTOR ZZZ/i United States Patent "ice 3,259,049 GAS AGITATHNG DEVICE Christian Uithoven, V 8: A Plating Supplies Inc, 562 S. Cornell, Villa Park, Ill. Filed Dec. 14, 1962, Ser. No. 244,813 Claims. (Cl. 95-100) on the film. The problem is most acute in connection I with the development of sheet film particularly in the larger sizes. Specifically, it is common practice to hang such sheet films on clips with the films suspended first in a developing solution, and subsequently in a short-stop solution, next in a fixing solution, and finally in a water wash or rinse.
In the developing stage, the developer immediately adjacent the film is quickly exhausted or very nearly so. Hence, it is common practice to produce circulation of the developer in some manner, as by means of a small pump, or by periodically shaking or tipping the container, etc. None of the prior art common practices produces uniform circulation or agitation of the developing solution, and hence a greater or lesser degree of nonuniformity of development of the film results. In aggravated cases, the non-uniformity of development shows up very clearly as streaks and mottling in the finished picture. At best, the non-uniformity may be undiscernible to the untrained eye.
Many of the same problems encountered in photographic development as heretofore outlined are also encountered in the art of electroplating. If sufficient circulation or agitation of the electrolyte is not produced,
uneven and unsightly plating results. Heretofore, efforts towards agitation of electrolytes in electroplating tanks have resulted in the placement of pipes in the bottom of electroplating tanks, which pipes have been perforated and have had air, or preferably nitrogen or some other inert gas pumped therethrough to bubble up through the electrolyte. Such. an arrangement has been reasonably successful in producing uniformity of electroplating.
However, crumbs and fragments of material released in the electroplating process practically continuously sink to the bottom of the tank, eventually covering and clogging the pipes. When this happens, it is necessary to shut down operation of the electroplating apparatus, and drain it. This involves the handling of several hundred gallons of caustic chemicals. The workmen then must climb into the tank and shovel out the material that hasdropped to the bottom of the tank. Extreme care must be exercised due to the toxicity of the vapors and the corrosive nature of the residue.
It is difiicult or impossible to remove all of the residue from around the pipes and particularly from the crevices beneath them. Furthermore, all of this requires taking the electroplating apparatus out of operation for a great many hours.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved apparatus for agitating fluids in tanks.
Furthermore, it is an object of this invention to provide an air or other gas agitating device for fluid tanks which is readily removable as an entity from such tanks.
It is another object of this invention to provide =appa I 3,25%,fi49 Patented July 5, 1 966 lowing description when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a photographic developing tank or the like having agitating apparatus therein constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the agitating apparatus;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view therethrough;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of film holders used in connection therewith;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of modified apparatus used for agitating fluids in an electroplating tank;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the upper portion of the apparatus of FIG. 5 in place in an electroplating tank;
FIG. 7 is a longitudinal sectional view through the .tank and agitating apparatus as taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional View as taken substantially along the line 88 in FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a longitudinal sectional view on an enlarged scale as taken along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8; and
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary cross sectional view on an enlarged scale as taken along the line 1(i10 in FIG. 7.
Referring now in greater particularity to the drawings,
' and first to FIGS. 1-3, there will be seen a tank 20 of generally rectangular structure, specifically square, of the type well known in the photographic arts for developing and otherwise processing sheet film hung on hangers. As noted heretofore, the chemicals in such tanks inherently tend to remain in a fixed position, whereby the portions I immediately adjacent the film surfaces tend quickly to become exhausted.
In accordance with the principles of the invention, there is added a supporting and aerating or agitating frame 22. It will be understood that the term-aerating is used in its broadest sense at this point, since it is preferable to use nitrogen or other inert gas to avoid oxidation and early destruction of the photographic chemicals. The frame 22 is made of relatively inert plastic material, polyvinyl chloride being one satisfactory example. The frame comprises a pair of upper side members 24, provided with a series of transversely aligned grooves 26. The side members 24 are connected at their ends by similar transverse end members 28. The parts preferably are welded together inaccordance with well known techniques in the plastic arts.
At the four corners of the frame, there are provided upright angle members 30, and these are connected at the bottom to four similar end and side horizontal angle members 32, completing the frame.
Theframe 22 is provided at the bottom with a floor in the form of a cushion 34, having upper and lower sheets 36 and 38 peripherally sealed together, and secured as by plastic welding, to the horizontal angle members 32. The cushion is fluid-tight throughout, but is provided with small apertures 40 on oneinch centers distributed in a substantially universal pattern over its upper surface.
A plastic pipe, also conveniently of polyvinyl chloride, is identified by the numeral 42, and opens into the floor, bag or cushion 34 through the upper sheet or surface 36 thereof, as illustrated, the parts being sealed together,
7 corner angle member 30 in which it is nested. The pipe passes through the upper horizontal frame members 24 and 28, and is connected by a flexible hose 44 to a timer control valve 46. This, in turn, is connected to a tank of nitrogen 48.
Conventional film holders or hangers 50 are utilized to support photographic film 52. The hangers 50 have 3 laterally extending ends 54 which are received in the aligned grooves 26 of the horizontal upper frame members 24, with the film 52 hanging down within the area of the frame 22. The entire frame and aerating device is disposed within the tank 20, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The timer operated valve 46 opens from time to time to release nitrogen from the tank 48 into the cushion 34 at the bottom. The nitrogen then passes out through the apertures 40, the flow path being indicated by the arrows in FIG. 3. The nitrogen bubbles up to the surface of the developer or other photographic liquid chemical within the tank, thereby thoroughly agitating the liquid. The size of the small bubbles passing up from the apertures 40 is such as not to cause violent agitation of the fluid, which might, in itself, cause streaking of the film, and which might also cause splashing of liquid up from the surface upon egress of the bubbles therefrom. Hence, the present structure is far superior to anything that might simply jet nitrogen or other gas into the photographic chemical.
During experimental research with a device as heretofore shown and described, and which might best be referred to as an agitator and film rack unit, it was found that negatives were evenly developed throughout the complete developing time, without developing any noticeable streaks. The agitator and film rack unit is easily handled, being in one piece, and is quite light in weight, thereby further facilitating handling. Temperature control was readily maintained, since the nitrogen bubbles counteracted any tendency of the solution to heat up due to chemical reaction. Acids and bleaches were found to have no reaction on the material of the agitator and film rack unit, and the unit was found very eflicient in staining negatives for special procedures. Stain was uniform over the complete negative. Turning now to FIGS. 5-10, there is shown a device similar to that heretofore shown and described, but for use in an electroplating apparatus.
Referring specifically first to FIG. 5, there will be seen a generally rectangular cushion or manifold 56. This cushion or manifold 56 comprises an upper wall 58 or top, a lower wall or bottom 60 (see FIG. and a peripheral wall afew inches high and sealed to the top and bottom, conveniently by plastic welding techniques. The manif-old 56 is provided with transversely spaced longitudinal slots 62, a detail of which is shown in FIG. 10. Thus, each slot comprises a pair of elongated vertical walls 64 in close spaced relation, and extending through the top and bottom walls 58 and 60. These slots aid in preventing flotation of the manifold, and greatly aid in raising and lowering the manifold through electrolytic solutions in an electroplating tank. In addition, rows of air holes 66 are provided spaced among the slots 62 and also between the outer slots and the side walls of the manifold.
As will be apparent, these holes are in the top Wall only. For the sake of conveying approximate size in an exemplary embodiment, it will be understood that the slots 62 are spaced about six inches apart. Each slot is about /2 wide, while the total structure providing the slot, including the side walls is about one inch.
At each end of the manifold 56, there is provided a pair of hollow pipes 68 in upstanding, parallel relation, andin fluid communication With the interior of the manifold 56 through fittings 70. The pipes 68 are provided at the upper end with elbows 72, these in turn being connected to horizontal pipes 74 leading to a T connector 76. The T connector has a vertical pipe 78 connected thereto. The manifold and the pipe structure just discussed is entirely of plastic construction, polyvinyl chloride again being a preferred example. As will be apparent from the photographic solution agitator heretofore disclosed, air' or other gas is piped down through the pipes 78-, 74 and 68 to the opposite ends of the manifold and then bubbled up from the air holes 66 through the electrolyte.
The manifold also is provided with a plurality of intermediate uprights of tubular or pipe-like form. These uprights are supplied in transversely spaced pairs, and the 7 pairs are spaced longitudinally of the manifold. Each upright is identified by the numeral and comprises an upright tube or post 82 secured at its bottom 'by means of a fitting 84 to the top of the manifold 56. The fitting may be formed integral with the flange or base 86, and the diagonal braces 88 extend from the opposite ends of the flanges up to a position relatively adjacent the upper end of each pipe 82. As will be apparent, there are two such braces for each pipe. In addition, there is an upright strip 9t) adjacent each of the four endmost posts or pipes 80 extending up somewhat over half the distance from the top of the manifold to the cross pipes 74. These strips lie immediately adjacent the diagonal braces 88 of the corresponding uprights 80.
As best may be seen in FIG. 9, each of the upright pipes 82 is formed with a semi-circular cut-out upper end as indicated at 92. The axis of the semi-circle is transverse of the manifold.
The entire agitating unit comprising the manifold and other parts heretofore described is immersed in an electrolytic solution 94 in a tank 96. The tank may be made of an inert metal, such as lead, or may be made of a plastic material, such as the polyvinyl chloride of which the entire structure heretofore described preferably is made. As heretofore noted, the slots 64 allow electrolyte to pass through the manifold as the manifold is lowered into the electrolyte, and this also helps to keep the manifold from floating. Anode bus bars 98 and cathode bus bars 100 are supported above the edges of the tank 96 by suitable insulating supports 102 which insulate the bus bars from the tank and from one another. Anode bars extend transversely across the tank, and are supported at the opposite ends by the anode bus bars 98. In addition, the anode rods 104 are supported at intermediate positions by the upright pipes or posts 82, the anode rods being cylindrical and received in the semi-circular recesses 92 at the upper ends of the pipes 82. A plurality of anodes in the form of heavy metal ingots of the metal being plated, copper for example, is provided at 106, and respectively have hooks 108 at their upper ends received over anode bars 104. Typically, the anode ingots weigh on the order of 40 lbs. each, and there is a minimum .of at least one such ingot for each anode 'bar. This further holds the manifold 56 down against floating, while at the same time providing improved support for the ingots.
The items to be plated are indicated at 1 10. These also are provided with hooks 112 by means of which they are supported from the cathode rods 1M extending between the cathode bus bars 100.
It will be observed that the items 110 to be plated are disposed between adjacent uprights 80, while the outermost of the items to be plated lie beyond the strips 90. Accordingly, the items to be plated are positively spaced apart. Typically, the items to be plated may be plastic or the like bases which have been cast over a master. The plastic material then is generally spray coated with silver or the like to provide a conductive surface. In accordance with the present invention, preferably two items to be plated are mounted back to back, and are connected electrically in parallel. Conveniently, they may be held together by staples.
In the illustrative example, there are three anode rods and five cathode rods. Typically, the anode rods are spaced '12" on center, and the cathode LI'OdS are halfway between. Although only three anodes or ingots 106 are specifically illustrated, typically, there would be about twelve such anodes in an installation of the size disclosed.
As will now readily be understood, the air agitating unit shown in FIG. 5 is placed in the tank as shown in FIGS. 6-8, and the anode and cathode rods, the anodes or ingots, and the articles to be plated are hung in place. The current is turned on and passes through the electrolyte, in accordance with conventional practices, causing the mate-rial to be plated on the articles 110. At the same time, air or any other suitable gas is piped in through the pipes 78 and bubbles up through the holes 66 in the manifold, thereby thoroughly agitating the electrolyte 94, and insuring even plating. Plating time has been cut by fifty percent due to the uniform distribution of the electrolyte.
In the past, there has been considerable .trouble with heating of the electrolyte if the' plating has not been kept at a relatively slow rate. In the present structure, the voltages applied to the bus bars can be higher than heretofore, with concomitant increase in the current passing through the electrolyte, since the air bubbled through the electrolyte cools the electrolyte. This is done by tending to lower the electrolyte to the temperature of the air, and also by a certain amount of evaporation at surface. It is generally considered [good practice to hold temperatures at 90 -F. since too much heat .tends to burn the plating. It will be apparent that cooling by the .air can be augmented by pre-cooling or chilling the air.
'Bubbling of the air or other gas up through the electrolyte tends to disturb the position of the articles being plated, particularly when they are of 'a sheet nature as tern over the entire upper surface for passing of gas up herein illustrated. The uprights 80, besides acting as supports for the anodes and hold-downs for the manifolds, also act as separators. The items 110 being plated cannot move far in any direction without encountering one of the uprights 80, or else one of the upright strips 90. Hence, the items being plated are held in relatively constant place.
As will be understood to those well versed in the electroplating art, crumbs and fragments of material released in the electroplating process practically continuously settle to the bottom of the tank. These collect on the manifold, and ultimately tend to clog the air outlet holes 66. When this happens, it is only necessary at the end of any given plating operation to lift the entire manifold and attendant structure of FIG. 5 from the tank. This picks up all of the fallen material and carries it from the tank. It is then a simple matter to set the manifold off to one side where it may be quickly cleaned with a hose, and if necessary, a scraper. Tipping the manifold on one side facilitates removal of the material. In any event, the material does not stick very well to the polyvinyl chloride of the manifold, and it is hence readily removed.
In lifting the apparatus of FIG. 5 from the tank, it will be found that the air pipes in particular, and the support pipes to some extent, are very helpful. Furthermore, the entire apparatus is rather light in weight.
This cleaning process need take only a few minutes. It is away from the electroplating tank, and hence, away from toxic vapors and corrosive liquids. Thus, in addition to saving a great deal of time, cleaning is much safer. Furthermore, there are no underlying crevices, such as with the prior art types, from which it is substantially impossible to move material.
If desired, as an aid in cleaning, the uprights 80 may be removable from the manifold. For example, the flanges 86 may simply rest on the upper surface of the manifold, rather than being fixed thereto.
It will be apparent that the present apparatus can also be used without modification for aerating fish tanks and the like, or for gassifying liquids in various chemical processes.
The particular examples of the invention as herein shown and described are for illustrative purposes only. Various changes in structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art, and will be understood as forming a part of the present invention insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. Apparatus for gas-agitating liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially flat and relatively long and wide construction, said manifold having an upper into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed and a substantially flat bottom adapted to rest on an underlying supporting surface, a gas flow tube connected to said manifold and opening interiorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, and supporting structure secured to said manifold and extending thereabove, and adapted to support articles in depending position above said manifold.
2. Apparatus for gas-agitating liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially flat and relatively long and wide construction, said manifold having an upper surface with perforations distributed in a universal pattern over the entire upper surface for passing of gas up into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed, a gas flow tube connected to said manifold and opening interiorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, said manifold being generally rectangular in construction and having upright members adjacent the corners thereof supporting a substantially rectangular frame in spaced relation above said manifold and generally parallel thereto, said frame being adapted to support articles in depending position above said manifold.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein the frame is provided across its upper portion with grooves for p0- sitioning articles to be supported therefrom.
4. Apparatus for gas-agitating liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially flat and relatively long and wide construction, said manifold having an upper surface with perforations distributed in a universal pattern over the entire upper surface for passing of gas up into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed, said manifold further having means providing slots extending entirely through said manifold and sealed off from the interior thereof, a gas flow tube connected to said manifold and opening interiorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, and supporting structure secured to said manifold,-and extending thereabove, and adapted to support articles in depending position above said manifold.
5. Apparatus for gas-agitating liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially fiat and relatively long and Wide construction, said manifold having an upper surface with perforations distributed in a universal pattern over the entireupper surface for passing of gas up into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed, a gas flow tube connected to said manifold and opening in teriorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, and a plurality of upright members upstanding from the top of said manifold for separating articles suspended in the liquid above said manifold which would tend to be agitated from place by the gas dispelled by the manifold.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5 wherein at least some of the upright members are adapted to provide support for articles hanging in said liquid.
7. Apparatus for gas-agitating liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially flat and relatively long and wide construction, said manifold having an upper surface with perforations distributed in a universal pattern over the entire upper surface for passing of gas up into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed and a bottom adapted to rest on an underlying supporting surface, a gas flow tube connected to said manifold and opening interiorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, said manifold having means providing a plurality of slots extending through said manifold and sealed off from the interior thereof, and upstanding means on said manifold serving as separators for articles hung in the liquid above the manifold, at least some of said means being adapted to support articles in the liquid above the manifold.
8. Apparatus for introducing gas into liquids comprising a hollow manifold of substantially rectangular outline, being substantially flat and relatively long and wide in construction, said manifold having an upper surface with perforations distributed in a universal pat tern over the entire upper surface for passing of gas up into a liquid in which said manifold is immersed, gas conveying means conected to said manifold and opening interiorly thereof for introducing gas into said manifold, and a plurality of spaced upstanding means on said manifold for positioning articles to be treated by gas-agitated liquid.
9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8, and further including means providing a plurality of elongated slots extending completely through said manifold from top to bottom and sealed off from the interior of said manifold.
10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 and further ineluding means at the top of said spaced upstanding means 15 providing upwardly facing concavities for supporting articles to be treated in depending position.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Saunders 204277 X Mace 95-98 Schwartz 68183 Greenspan 204277 X Parker 95-100 Hixon et al. 95-100 Deal 95-98 X;
NORTON ANSHER, Primary Examiner.
EMIL G. ANDERSON, Examiner.
C. B. PRICE, Assistant Examiner.