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Publication numberUS3273256 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 20, 1966
Filing dateNov 2, 1964
Priority dateNov 2, 1964
Publication numberUS 3273256 A, US 3273256A, US-A-3273256, US3273256 A, US3273256A
InventorsBehrens Curtis E
Original AssigneeBorg Warner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dry cleaning machine
US 3273256 A
Abstract  available in
Images(14)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 20, 1966 c. BEHRENS 3,273,256

DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed 001;. 5, 1961 14 Sheets-Sheet 1' INVENTOR: .C u 712512. 56% 7"6725' p 0, 1966 c. E. BEHRENS 3,273,256 I DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed Oct. 3, 1961 14 Sheets-Shee t 2 IN VEN TOR.

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DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed Oct. 5, 1961 14 sheets sheet 3 INV EN TOR.

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DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed Oct. 5, 1961 14 Sheets-Sheet 6 lNV EN TOR.

Sept. 20, 1966 c BEHRENS 3,273,256

DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed Oct. 3, 1961 14 Sheets-Sheet 7 I a f? 25 32 24 37 IN VEN TOR.

CurZ'z'SE Bekrens C. E. BEHRENS DRY CLEANING MACHINE Sept. 20, 1966 1 4 sheets-sheet 8 Original Filed Oct. 3, 1961 INVENTUIC Cu rials l: Be/uerzs Sept. 20, 1966 c. E. BEHRENS DRY CLEANING MACHINE 14 Sheets-Sheet 9 Original Filed Oct. 3, 1961 INVENTOR; C'uriz'sE Behrens Sept. 20, 1966 c, BEHRENS 3,273,256

I DRY CLEANING MACHINE Original Filed Oct. 3, 1961 14 Sheets-Sheet 10 IN VEN TOR.

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C. E. BEHRENS DRY CLEANING MACHINE Sept. 20 1966 14 Sheets-Sheet 12 Original Filed Oct. 5, 1961 INVENTOR. Cur'ZzLsEBek rens Sept. 20, 1966 C. E. BEHRENS DRY CLEANING MACHINE IN V EN TOR.

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14 Sheets-Sheet14 United States Patent 3,273,256 DRY CLEANING MACHINE Curtis E. Behrens, Eflingham, Ill., assignor to Borg- Warner Corporation, Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Illinois Continuation of application Ser. No. 142,606, Oct. 3, 1961. This application Nov. 2, 1964, Ser. No. 407,959

17 Claims. (Cl. 34-45) This is a continuation of application Serial No. 142,606, filed October 3, 1961, now abandoned.

This invention relates to dry cleaning machines and more particularly to a new and improved control arrangement for such machines in which fabrics are cleaned and dried.

Dry cleaning machines employ dry cleaning fluids, in the form of solvents, having volatile and toxic characteristics. It is important that the operator of the machine be precluded from breathing the solvent vapors in any substantial percentage of air and solvent vapor mixture and many safeguards are utilized for this purpose. For example, a ventilation system is generally employed to vent the solvent vapors to the atmosphere exteriorly of the building in which the dry cleaning machine is located. In addition, in conventional dry cleaning machines, it is necessary for the operator to remove fabrics from the machines which have been partially dried by centrifuging the solvent from the fabrics so that solvent vapors cling to the fabrics, the fabrics then being placed in a drying machine to completely dry the fabrics. At the present time, the dry cleaning and drying operations may be performed in a single machine having provision for circulating heated air about and through the fabrics to completely dry the fabrics. Due to the high cost of solvents, solvent-vapor condensing devices, such as cooling water or refrigeration, are employed to condense the vapors released by the drying operation into fluid form for re-use. Such devices are practical only if they perform their intended function for, in the event of inadequency or improper supply of cooling fluid or refrigeration to condense the vapors, will result in the improper drying of the fabrics and consequent exposure of the operator to the solvent vapors when the fabrics are removed through the access door of the machine.

An object of the invention is to provide a new and improved door control arrangement for a fabric-cleaning and drying machine preventing opening of the door in the event of malfunctioning or stoppage of the machine during, or upon completion, of the operation of the machine.

An object of the invention is to provide a new and improved door control arrangement for a fabric-cleaning and drying machine operative to prevent opening of the door and controlled by electrically energizable means operable to permit opening of the door normally only upon completion of the operation of the machine.

A specific object of the invention is to provide a new and improved control arrangement for a fabric-cleaning and drying machine and employing door-locking means automatically controlled to prevent access to the fabrics in the machine in the event the ventilation system and/ or the solvent-vapor condensing devices fail to properly function.

Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved control arrangement for a fabric-cleaning and drying machine in which the cleaning and drying operations of the machine are controlled by a sequential controller effective to provide circuits for energizing electrical components in a predetermined sequence and including switch means operative to normally energize spring-biased door locking means at the completion of the operation of the machine to permit opening of the door, and to prevent energization of the door-locking means in the event of malfunctioning or stoppage of the machine during, or at the completion of, the operation of the machine.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly from the following specification in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of the dry cleaning system embodying the invention, including two combination cleaning and drying machines;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the system illustrating the fluid supply arrangement and including a filter;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the system shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic rear view of the system, certain parts of the system being shown in changed position from that of FIGS. 1-3 to more clearly illustrate a feature thereof;

FIG. 4A is a sectional view of a portion of the fluid supply system and also showing details of a fluid level device;

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of one of the machines shown in FIG. 1, said section being taken on line 55 of FIG. 1, and illustrating interior parts of the machine including a fluid-containing receptacle, a fabricreceiving basket, and an air-circulating fan, and means for rotatably mounting the basket and fan on the receptacle;

FIG. 6 is a rear elevational view of the machine shown in FIG. 5, illustrating the drive mechanism for basket and fan rotation and including a transmission providing different speeds of rotation of the basket;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged sectional view of the receptacle, basket and fan and mounting means therefor of FIG. 5, said section being taken on line 77 of FIG. 6, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 8 is a greatly enlarged sectional view of the basket and fan mounting means shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, said section being taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 6, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of the transmission shown in FIG. 6, said section being taken on line 9-9 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9A is a front elevation of the electric drive motor unit including drive pulleys and clutch, said view being taken on line 9A9A of FIG. 6 and being partly in section to more clearly illustrate the structure thereof;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the lower half of the machine including a cleaning fluid storage tank, said view partly being in section to more clearly illustrate the structure thereof;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary top plan view of the control valve arrangement mounted on the top of the fluid storage tank;

FIG. 12 is a view illustrating an air-venting vacuumbreaker valve shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a side elevation of one of the control valves, taken on line 13-13 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 14 is an end View partly in section, of the valve of FIG. 13, said view being taken on line 1414 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view of the valve of FIGS. 13 and 14, said section being taken on line 1515 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a diagrammatic view of the control valve arrangement shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 17 is a sectional view of a separating device for different fluids, said section being taken on line 1717 of FIG. 11;

FIGS. 18 and 19 are vertical sectional views of one of the two identical air shutters, in the form of poppet valves, shown in FIG. 6 and provided for removal of cleaning fluid fumes from and about the machine at the conclusion of the drying cycle of the dry cleaning machine, FIG. 18 illustrating the closed position of the valve and FIG. 19 illustrating the open position of the valve;

FIG. 20 is a rear view of a portionof the door and the door-mounting front panel of the machine shown in FIG. 6 and illustrating the door-locking mechanism and control means therefor;

FIG. 21 is a horizontal section view of a switch-actuating arrangement associated with the door lock mechanism controls, said section being taken on line 2121 of FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is a horizontal sectional view of the doorlocking mechanism of FIG. 20, said section being taken on line 2222 of FIG. 20;

FIG. 23 is a diagrammatic view of the electrical control arrangement of the dry cleaning machine and including sequentially-controlled cam-operated switches;

FIG. 24 is a cam sequence chart illustrating the cleaning and drying cycles of the dry cleaning machine.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4 illustrate an improved dry cleaning arrangement particularly, but not necessarily, adapted for a plurality of combination fabric-cleaning and drying machines, two of which are shown and generally identified as I and H.

The cleaning fluid supply system utilized with the machines has been designed to provide a constant flow of clean, filtered cleaning fluid or solvent, such as perchlorethylene, to each machine during the fabric-cleaning cycle, each machine having an overflow arrangement to expel the solid solvent from the machine to a solvent storage base tank of the machine for flow of the solvent to a pump and then to a filter for removing soil and other impurities from the solvent and for recirculation of the cleaned solvent. The filtered solvent is supplied to each machine by a manifold providing a metered quantity of cleaning solvent to each machine with a proper solvent level or height being constantly maintained in the machines by the location of the solvent overflow pipe in the machine. This feature is important as each machine includes a fabric-containing basket rotatable about a horizontal axis and designed to permit the fabric to be picked up from the solvent, lifted above the solvent and dropped back a maximum distance into the solvent to provide the best flushing action of the solvent through the fabric and greater dispersion and elimination of the soil from the fabric.

Prior to describing the fluid supply system, reference is made to FIGS. 1 to 4, inclusive, illustrating machines I and II. As each of these machines are identical in construction and operation, it is believed the description of one of the machines (machine I) will be adequate to an understanding of each machine structure and operation. Identical structural parts of machine 11 are designated with the same numeral as machine I but with the suflix a. The structure of machine I is illustrated in FIGS. 5-10, inclusive, and referring first to FIGS. 5 and 6, the machine comprises a cabinet receiving a cleaning fluid-containing receptacle in the form of an imperforate cylindrical casing or tub 11 having a front wall 12 and a rear wall 13. The tub 11 is supported by a suspension system of the inverted pendulum type generally indicated at A mounted on a base structure B, the suspension system A comprising pivots C and D attaching the tub to the base structure B for operating movement of the tub, the pivots C and D being directly below the center line of the tub and being connected to the bottom of the tub by a pair of front and rear brackets, one of which is shown at E. Control springs (not shown) can be located on opposite sides of the tub, and these springs, in conjunction with an hydraulic damper assembly are effective to control the tub movement during rotation of a cylindrical fabric-containing basket or drum 18 at high speed with an unbalanced load of fabric, such as clothes, in the basket. The suspension system arrangement of the tub is more particularly shown and described in US. Patent 2,978,892 issued April 11, 1961. The front wall 12 of the tub 11 is provided with an access opening 14 and a corresponding opening 15 is in the cabinet 10. A flexible corrugated gasket 16 extends between and connects the annular portions of the front walls of the tub and cabinet defining two openings, and the cabinet is provided with a door 17 to close the opening in the tub.

The basket or drum 18 is disposed in the tub 11 for the reception of fabric to be cleaned and dried and the basket is supported by means of a spider 19, forming a portion of the rear wall of the drum, on a sleeve shaft 20 rotatably mounted on the rear wall 13 of the tub 11 for rotation of the drum 18. A pulley 21, fixedly secured to the shaft 20, is adapted to be rotated by a belt 22 in driven relation to a driving pulley 23 connected to the driven shaft of a two-speed transmission T driven by an electric motor M. Briefly described, the two speed transmission is controlled by clutches, one of which is self-energizing and the other clutch is solenoid-controlled to provide low speed for slow rotation of the basket or high speed for rapidly rotating or spinning the basket. When the solenoid is deenergized, its clutch is ineffective and power flow is through the self-energizing clutch to provide low speed to tumble the basket during a portion of a cleaning operation and during the drying operation, and when the solenoid is energized, its clutch is operative and the self-energizing clutch becomes inoperative, so that the transmission is conditioned to provide a relatively high speed to rotate the basket, for example, during the extraction of the cleaning fluid from the fabric.

More particularly, and referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, the tub .11 has the radially inner edge of its rear wall 13 connected to two annular support housings 24, 24 by screws 25, the housings 24, 24 having radially inner ends overlapping and confining therebetween an outer race 26 of a ball bearing assembly, with the inner race 27 fixed to the sleeve shaft 20 for rotatably supporting the shaft 20. The front end of the shaft 20 is connected to a hub of the basket provided by the radially inner edge of the rear wall of the basket and two retaining rings 28, 28 connected by screws 29 so that rotation of the shafts 20, by pulley 21 keyed as at 30 to the rear end of the shaft, will rotate the basket.

A blower fan 32 is supported for rotation by the sleeve shaft 20 including a shaft 33 extending through and mounted on needle bearings between the shafts, the front end of the shaft 33 being connected to the'hub 34 of the fan 32 by a bolt 35 threaded into the hub and engaging the shaft 33. The rearward end of the shaft 33 extends outwardly of the shaft 20 and receives the hub 36 of a pulley 37 for rotating the fan independently of the basket, the pulley hub 36 being connected to the shaft 33 by a bolt 38 threaded into the hub and engaging the shaft 33.

The basket and fan shaft mounting assemblies also comprise grease seals and thrust washers as clearly evident from an inspection of FIG. 8.

Referring now specifically to FIGS. 6 and 9 for the structure and operation of the drive mechanism including the transmission T, the transmission comprises an input sleeve shaft 40 having a pulley 41 connected by a belt 42 to a pulley 43 driven by the electric motor M. The shaft 40 has an input pinion 44 meshing with a gear 45 fixed to a countershaft 46. A gear 47 is rotatably supported on the counter shaft 46 and may be coupled to the countershaft for rotation therewith by a self-energizing clutch spring 48 of well known type, surrounding the countershaft between gears 45 and 47. The countershaft gear 47 meshes with a gear 49 fixed to the output shaft 50. A clutch spring 51 surrounds the input shaft 40 and is positioned between the gear 49 and pinion 44,

the clutch spring having a tab 52 at one end of its helically wound coil engageable with a plunger 53 actuated by a solenoid 54.

In operation the basket may be slowly rotated to tumble the fabric in the cleaning fluid in the tub. As the solenoid is deenergized, its plunger 53 engages the tab 52 of the clutch spring 51 to prevent operation of the clutch spring 51 to couple the gear 49 and spring 51, and the hub of the gear 49 turns freely within the clutch spring 51. Power flow from the motor is transmitted to the pulley 41 and thereby input shaft 40 and input pinion 44. Pinion 44 rotates gear 45 on the countershaft and gear 49, keyed to the output shaft 50, to drive pulley 23 to rotate the basket at slow speed.

During the fluid-extraction period of the cleaning cycle, the basket rotates rapidly to centrifuge the fluid from the fabric. For this purpose, the solenoid 54 is energized to remove its plunger 53 from the tab 52 of the clutch spring 51 so that power flow will be from the input shaft 40, input pinion 44, and, as the clutch spring 51 is effective at this time to couple the input pinion 44 and gear 49, gear 49 will be rotated to drive the output shaft 50 to rotate the basket at high speed. It will be apparent, due to the sizes of the input pinion 44 and gears 45, 47, and 49, that the gear 49 will drive the gear 47 at such high speed that the clutch spring 48 will overrun to prevent power flow through the countershaft and gear 45 to the gear 44.

Referring to FIG. 5, the cylindrical wall of the basket 18 is perforated having a plurality of openings 55 therein. The basket front wall is provided with an opening 56 spaced from the access opening in the front wall 12 of the tub 11. An annular ring 57 is suitably attached to the front wall 12 of the tub 11, a second annular ring 58 is attached to the ring 57 and spaced therefrom by pins or rivets 59. The rear wall of the basket 18 is provided with a pocket P formed by the legs of the spider 19 merging with the cylindrical portion of the basket extending about the rotational axis of the basket, the pocket P having a plurality of openings 60 defined by the legs of the spider 19. The front of the basket 18 has a cylindrical flange 61 defining the opening 56, and the front wall 12 of the casing 11 has a pair of bearing rollers 62 secured thereto to support the front of the basket.

Air circulating means, in the form of the suction type blower fan 32, is rotatably mounted in a pocket P in the rear wall of the basket 18. The fan 32 has a plurality of curved blades and, as previously described, is driven by a belt and pulley arrangement, the pulley being indicated at 37 and the belt being indicated at 63 to be driven by the pulley 64 of the electric motor M. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 9A, operation of the fan is controlled by a clutch generally indicated at 65 and including a clutch spring, surrounding the motor drive shaft 66 and located within a housing 67, the spring having an end tab 68 seated within a recess in the housing, and the housing having an outwardly projecting finger 69 engageable with the end of a plunger 70 of a solenoid 71 so that, when the solenoid is energized to move its plunger from the spring tab 68, the clutch spring is effective to couple the pulley 64 to the drive shaft 66 to effect drive of the pulley, and thereby the fan, by the motor. The solenoid 71 is mounted on a bracket 72 fixed to the motor casing which is mounted on a plate secured to the tub, as shown in FIG. 6. The solenoid is energized to effect rotation of the fan during the drying operation.

In FIGS. 5 and 6, an annular heater assembly 73 is fixedly secured to the front wall 12 of the tub 11 and includes an aluminum body having embedded annular Calrod type heating coils 74 and 75 suitably connected 'to a supply of electric current controllable to energize one or the other, or both, heating coils of the heater assembly during the drying operation of the machine. During this drying operation, the basket is rotated slowly to tumble the fabric and the fan is effective to cause the heated air to circulate and flow between the tub and basket and around the basket and through the perforations in the basket to dry the clothes in the basket. The heated air is then drawn through a perforated plate 76 and lint screen S by the fan and through the pocket P of the basket and through the openings 60 defined by the spokes of the basket rear wall spider 1-9 and into the space between the basket and the rear wall 13 of the tub to be recirculated in the machine. As it is contemplated the machine will be used with a dry cleaning solvent, such as perchlorethylene, vaporizable during the drying operation, a condenser, generally indicated at 77, is positioned adjacent the lower portion of the wall 13 of the tub 11 for condensation of the solvent vapors produced by the drying operation. More particularly, the condenser 77 comprises a plate of arcuate configuration and having upper and lower connected passages 78 and 79 with the upper passage 78 being connected to a Water inlet hose '80, the passages 78 and 79 of the condenser conducting the water to a hose 81 leading to a drain exteriorly of the machine. As seen in FIG. 5, the condenser is mounted on the inside of the rear wall 13 of the casing 11 by securing means 82. The hose extends to a valve CV controlled by a solenoid CS which, when energized, opens the valve to permit cold water to enter and flow through the hose 80 into and through the condenser into the hose 81.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 6, the drum 11 has the upper portion of its rear wall provided with air shutters in the form of air inlet and exhaust poppet valves, generally indicated at 83 and 84, operative to permit air to enter the tub 1 1 through valve 83 so that all solvent vapors may be flushed and discharged from the machine through the valve 84 at the end of the drying cycle of the machine to be carried away by a ventilating system. The ventilating system includes an air intake opening in wall '13 of the tub 11, through which flow of air into the machine is controlled by valve 83, the air entering and mixing with the solvent vapors and the mixture then being discharged through the valve 84 into an air duct 85 and a plenum duct 86 and through an exhaust duct 87 into the atmosphere exterior of the building. The duct 86 has a blower 88, including an electric motor 89 and a fan 90, for causing air flow into and through the machine and into the ventilating system ducts. During operation of the blower fan, any vapor-laden air about the machine is also drawn through a scavenger duct 91 extending upwardly into the duct 86 for exhaust by the blower fan.

The poppet valves 83 and 84 are identical and, for this reason, a description of the structure and operation of only one of these valves (valve 84) will be made. The valve 84 is shown in detail in FIGS. 6, 18 and 19. This valve comprises valve body 109 having a plate portion 1110 with an annular flange 11'1 fitting within an opening in the tub rear wall 13 and providing a seat for a flexible seal 112 to prevent air flow between the three spaced legs 113 of the valve body from the machine. The seal is normally held engaged with the flange 111 by an activating rod 114 slidably mounted within a sleeve 115 secured to the radially inner ends of the legs 113, the sleeve 115 having a surrounding spring 116 compressed between the seal 12 and the valve body. The rod 114 is connected to a link 117 which is connected to one end of a U-shaped lever 118 centrally pivoted at 1 19 to upstanding ears on a tubular extension collar 120, the other end of the lever 118 being connected to a spring 121 coupled to the plunger 122 of a solenoid 123 mounted on a bracket 124 fixed to the tub rear wall 13. The valve is shown in closed position in FIG. 18, the solenoid being energized at this time. Upon deenergization of solenoid 123 as shown in FIG. 19, the plunger 122 will move downwardly to cause spring 116 to expand to move seal 112 from the flange 1 11 to thereby permit air to flow from the tub 11 through the valve 84 and into the duct 85. When the solenoid is energized, the valve 84 will close, as shown in FIG. 18, as the link and lever arrangement will cause seal 112 to again seat against the flange 1 11, the spring 116 being compressed at this time.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 20, 21, and 22, each of the machines I and II is also provided with a door lock mechanism having electrically-operated and controlled components eifective to prevent the machine operator opening the door during operation of the machine. This safety factor is important to prevent solvent vapors entering the room, containing the machines, with possible injury to the operator during the cleaning and drying cycles of the machine operation, or in the event, the machines become inoperative due to a mechanical or electrical failure. More particularly, the door lock mechanical and electrical components are mounted on the rear of the front panel 125 of the cabinet of the machine and comprise a door lock pin or latch 1'26 extending through and being slida'bly supported in a fixed guide plate 127 and a removable guide plate 128 the pin 126 being moved to the left in FIGS. 20 and 22 by a spring 1 29, surrounding the reduced end of the pin, the spring having one end engaged with a boss 130 on a flange 161 of the panel 125, and the other end of the spring engaging the pin to move the angular nose 162 of the pin 126 into the keeper 163 secured to the door 17. The keeper 166 comprises a U- shaped bracket 164 having a roller pin 1 35 rotatably supported by the ends of the arms of the bra/cet and engageably by the pin 126 to positively lock the door. The pin 126 is movable to the right, as viewed in FIGS. 20 and 22, by an activating bolt arm or lever 138 rotatably supported intermediate its ends by a pivot pin 1'39 positioned in a bracket 136, the arm 138 having its upper end received within a slot 140 in the latch and having its lower end provided with a slot 141 receiving a roll pin 142 secured to a plunger 146 of a solenoid 144. Energization of solenoid 144 is eflective to rotate the lever 138 in a clockwise direction about pin 139 to cause the upper end of the lever to move the latch 126 from the keeper 166 and thereby to its door-unlocking position to permit opening of the door 17. Safety features are provided for insuring the inability of the operator unlocking and opening the door during machine operation or, in the event of failure of mechanical or electrical components of the machine during machine operation. More particularly, a bolt switch 145 having an actuating arm 146 engaging a laterally-extending tab 147 on the latch; a door release switch 148 actuated by a pushbutton 149 on the front of the machine by the operator; a lockout switch 150; and a door switch 151, all of these switches being arranged in electrical circuits to be later explained during the description of the operation of the electric circuit diagram of FIIG. 2'3.

Referring now more particularly to the closed fluid supply system, machine I has its base structure B supported above and on a rectangular solvent storage tank indicated at 152, the tank including a top plate 153 enclosing the top of the tank and on which the machine is mounted by means of brackets 154, and bolt and nut securing and leveling devices, such as illustrated at 155. The flat bottoms of the tanks of machines Iand II are positioned on a floor F that is smooth, fiat, and level with no rise or drop in elevation from one end of the row of tanks to the opposite end for insuring the proper flow and correct distribution of the solvent to the tank assemblies as will be later described. Each tank extends rearwardly of its machine, as will be obvious from the drawings, and the top plate 153 of the tank is provided with a.circular opening 156 for receiving a basket-type filter 157 formed of mesh wire screen and extending downwardly into the tank, the filter having its upper rim 158, defining the open top thereof, extending over and engaging the edge of the opening 156 of the top plate 153 of the tank to removably position the filter within the tank. A cylindrical header 159 (FIG. 10) is positioned on and may be welded to the top plate 153, the header having its bottom edge inwardly turned and extending beneath the rim 158 of the filter 157, the header also extending upwardly and having its upper end closed by a removable cover 160 having sufficient weight to insure tight sealing engagement with the upper end of the header to prevent the escape of solvent vapors from the tank and filter. The cover 160 is provided with a handle 161 for removal of the cover to permit access to the filter 157 which may be raised from its position within the tank and through the header for cleaning lint from the filter, as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 10. The header 159 is formed with a tubular portion 162 extending laterally thereof and provided with a reduced end portion for attachment to a tubular connector .163 having one end receiving a hose 164. As seen in FIGS. 5 and 10, the hose 164 extends along the top of the tank and upwardly for connection to a tubular extension 165 secured to the tub 11 and defining an opening within the cylindrical wall of the tub located a predetermined distance above the bottom of the tub for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter.

As seen more particularly in FIGS. 11 and 12, the opposite sides of the tank have substantially large, tubular extensions 166 and 167, the tubular extension 166 providing a fluid inlet passage for solvent entering the tank and the tubular extension 167 providing a fluid outlet for the solvent from the tank. The tank has a central baffle 168 around which the solvent flows, as indicated by the arrows in FIGS. '11 and 12, and also a baflle 169 connected to the side Wall of the tank adjacent the outlet tubular extension 167, the baflies being effective to prevent settling of impurities in the tank.

Referring to FIG. 5, there is a sump elbow 170 located in and connected to the bottom of the tub of the machine, the elbow 170 having a laterally extending tube receiving one end of a hose 171. The opening in the elbow 170 is covered by a screen 172 providing a pin and button trap.

Solvent is supplied to the tub of the machine .through the hose 171 and, as the solvent enters the tub, the solvent rises to a predetermined level defined by the opening 165 in the side wall of the tub and through which the solvent overflows from the tub into the hose 164 and through the connector 163 and tubular extension 1162 of the header 159 into the lint filter basket 157, lint being filtered from the solvent and the solvent then being added to and mixed with solvent circulating through the tank from the inlet opening of the tank, provided by the tubular extension 166 of the tank, to the outlet opening of the tank, provided by the tubular extension 167 of the tank.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, the tubular fluid outlet extension 167 of the base tank of machine I is connected to a pipe 173 effective to direct the soiled solvent to a circulating pump 174, the pump causing the solvent to be forced under pressure through an open check valve 175 and a pipe 176 into the bottom of the filter -177. The filter 177 may employ screens covered with a filtering compound for filtering impurities from the solvent. The soiled solvent enters the filter .177, adjacent the bottom thereof, through the pipe 176, and filtered clean solvent flows from an outlet at the top of the filter into a pipe 178 which, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, is elevated above the top of the filter.

Proceeding further with the description of the fluid supply system, it will be seen from FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, solvent flows from the filter 177 into the pipe 178 which extends downwardly through a Water-cooled heat exchanger 210 and thereafter turns at a right angle in a horizontal plane for delivery of solvent to the horizontal pipe 211 connected to a horizontal manifold pipe 213. An inverted U-shaped assembly 212 includes a horizontal pipe 214 and two vertical pipes 215 and 216, the pipe 213 being connected to pipe 211. The pipe 215 functions as a standpipe and is connected to pipe 213 and the solvent is forced upwardly through pipe 215 and flows into pipe 214 and then downwardly into the overflow pipe 216, pipe 216 terminating in a pipe 217 positioned in a horizontal plane below that of pipe 213. The pipe 217 has its outlet end connected to the inlet tubular extension 166a of the side wall of the solvent storage base tank 152a of machine II so that the filtered solvent flows into and through the base tank of machine II, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, for mixture with the soiled solvent entering the tank from the overflow hose and the lint filter basket of machine II which machine II is in operation, the solvent then flowing through a pipe 218 connecting outlet tubular extension 166a with the inlet tubular extension 167 of base tank 152 of machine I for mixture with the soiled solvent overflowing the tub of machine I and for flow therethrough and the outlet tubular extension of tank 152 into the pipe 173 to the pump for recirculation through the filter, the assembly 212, and the storage base tanks of machines I and II. A vacuum breaker hose 219 is connected to the top of pipe 214 and also to the headers 159 and 159a of the storage tanks 152 and 152:: as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

It will be apparent from this description that a substantially large volume of filtered clean solvent flows from the filter and heat exchanger through the manifold pipe 213 and pipes of the U-shaped assembly 212 to effectively mix with the relatively small volume of soiled solvent in the base tanks 152 and 152a of machines I and II during the cleaning operation. The mixture of soiled and clean solvent then flows through the pipe 173 into the suction side of the circulating pump 174 for movement under pressure by the pump into the filter, the clean solvent then being again returned to the base tanks, to thereby insure a continuous circulation of the solvent in a manner providing a constant supply of clean filtered solvent to the machines.

A feature of the fluid supply system is that, after the clean solvent flows out of the upper end of the filter 177 and the heat exchanger 210, the solvent flows, by gravity, through the pipe 211 and through pipes 213, 215, 214, 216, and 217 into the base tank of machine II. More particularly, this advantageous feature contemplates that the pump 174 forces the soiled solvent into the filter 177 under pressure to filter the solvent, the cleaned solvent being raised to an elevated position for flow out of the top of the filter. As the solvent in the filter is only under pressure, the solvent thereafter flows from the filter and into the manifold pipe 213 and pipes of the assembly 212 by gravity and into the base tank of machine II and thence into the base tank of machine I, the solvent continuing to flow by gravity into the machines and flowing out of the machines and back to the pump. It is emphasized that this improved fluid supply system contemplates that none of the fluid lines leading to or from the machines are under pressure from the pump. It is not necessary to mount the machines on a slope or to incline the pipes. The slope is in the solvent that causes it to flow by gravity. Due to the employment of the gravity flow of solvent through pipe 211 and the manifold pipe 213, standpipe 215, pipe 214, and overflow pipe 216, this gravity flow system not only allows metered solvent supply feed selectively to each machine, but provides a balanced feed to one or more machines so that they receive equal amounts of solvent. In effect, the gravity flow of the solvent (the slope of the solvent causing the flow) through the machines is based on the concept that any fluid will seek to find its own level and once that level has been establised, the fluid flowing, for example, into machine II has a level deeper than that of the level of the fluid in machine I causing the flow of the fluid by gravity through the machines and back to the circulating pump. The function of the standpipe 215 is to provide a pressure, caused by an active head of solvent, for feeding solvent by gravity into the tanks and tubs of the dry cleaning machines I and H.

Solvent is fed into the tub of each machine by the manifold pipe 213 which, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, is provided with downwardly extending tubular portions 220 and 220a connected respectively to hoses 221 and 221a which are connected to identical diverter valve assemblies 222 and 222a. Each diverter valve assembly comprises three valves, respectively identified at 223, 224, and 225 in FIG. 13 of similar construction but having different control functions during cleaning and drying cycles of its machine. To describe the structure of each valve assembly, reference is made to valve assembly 222, and its valves 223, 224, and 225, shown in FIGS. 11 and 16. For a description of one of the valves 223, 224, and 225, reference is made to FIGS. 13, 14, and 15. More particularly, the valve 225 functions to direct solvent from the hose 221 into and through the valve assembly 222 and into the hose 171 and the tubular extension 170 of machine I, the solvent flowing into the machine until it reaches a level equal to the height of the overflow opening in the tub of the machine for flow therefrom into the hose 164 and into the filter basket and storage base tank.

The introduction of air, at substantially atmospheric pressure, into the standpipe 215 through the hose 219 causes a liquid-air interface in the overflow pipes 214 and 216 that establishes the level of the solvent at the overflow point. The head of solvent feeding the machines is the distance from the liquid-air interface -to the fluid inlet valves 225 of the valve assembly 222 and/or the valve assembly 222a. The head is substantially the same throughout the manifold pipe 213; however, the head is slightly higher at the filter end of the manifold pipe. This slight variation in head represents the amount of pressure drop through the manifold pipe due to its inherent internal restriction. The head in the solvent manifold pipe 213 can be referred to as the apparent depth of the solvent in the pipe, the variation in the head at different points in the manifold pipe represents the slope of the fluid that causes the flow through the pipe.

All of the fluid in the system is under continuous flow at all times due to the pumping capacity of the filter pump 174. The base tanks 152 and 152a, interconnected by the connecting conduit 218, represent an extension of the flow paths or pipes of the manifold and overflow arrangement. Removal of a quantity of fluid from the manifold pipe 213 represents removal of fluid from the base tanks 152 and 152a since both the pipe 213 and the base tanks are in the same flow path. When a quantity of solvent is removed from the manifold base tank portion of the fluid circuit and introduced into the tub of the machine, an equal quantity of air must "be moved from the tub of the machine through the overflow pipe 214 past the check valve CV into the base tank 152 to maintain substantially atmospheric pressure throughout the system.

The gravity flow :standpipe and fixed head feed arrangement has three primary advantages. First, since all portions of the manifold pipe 213 are under approximately the same head when the fill valves 225 of the valve assembly 222 and/ or the valve assembly 222a open allowing fluid to flow from the manifold pipe into either or both of the machines I and II, the fixed head in the manifold pipe combined with the inherent internal restrictions of the fill hose, fill valve and flow path into either or both of the machines gives a metered flow of fluid for cleaning. This condition is maintained as long as solvent supply exceeds solvent demand and the surplus fluid of supply, exceeding demand, flows over the overflow pipe 216. At any time the supply exceeds the demand, there is no surplus fluid flowing over the standpipe 215 into the overflow pipe 216 and the amount of fluid available is proportioned equally among the machines calling for fluid. An additional feature is that the rate of flow of the fluid supply maybe less than that required for the number of machines connected to the fluid sup ply, allowing more economical use of cleaning machines in relation to the size of the filtration apparatus. For instance, the filter may be partially clogged with soil and only 30 gallons of fluid are available and flowing through the manifold pipe. Assuming eight machines are employed in the dry cleaning system and three machines are energized and call for fluid, each machine receives approximately 9 gallons per minute of fluid for cleaning the garments. The surplus fluid flows over the standpipe into the overflow pipe to the base tanks of the machines. Whenthe fourth machine is energized, no surplus fluid may flow over the standpipe into the overflow pipe, the head in the standpipe fails :and the contacts of a solvent level switch 267 close to energize Do Not Use lamps 266 on the backguards of any machines not in use. The 30 gallons per minute of available fluid or solvent supply is equally proportioned among the four machines energized resulting in 7 /2 gallons per minute to each machine. As soon as one of the four machines stops call ing for fluid, a surplus of fluid supply exceeding demand will exist and fluid will flow over the standpipe into the overflow pipe there-by opening the contacts of the solvent level switch and deene-rgizing the Do Not Use lamps on the machines, alerting the customer that the condition of fluid supply exceeds fluid demand and allowing another machine to be energized.

The solvent level switch device is shown in FIG. 4A and comprises a pipe 307 extending upwardly of pipe 213 and in fluid communication therewith and having its upper end projecting into and positioned within a casing 267a. It will be noted that the fluid level in the pipe 307 reflects any variations in the fluid level in the standpipe 215 continuously and proportionately. During static or changing levels of fluid in the pipe 307, contacts 267d and 267e of switch 267 may or may not be closed depending on the level of the fluid in pipe 307. In the event the level of the fluid in the pipe 307 is as shown in FIG. 4A, it will be seen that the switch contacts 267d and 2672 are closed. The contacts 267e are fixed to the casing and have conductors C15 and C58 connected thereto, as shown in FIG. 23. The contacts 267d are fixed to a rod 267c which is connected to a cylindrical block 2671) of aluminum guidingly movable vertically within the pipe 307 in response to the level of the fluid in this pipe and as also controlled by a tension spring 267 extending between and connected to the top wall of the casing 267a and contact 267d. More particularly, when the block 267k is above the low level of fluid in pipe 307 and suspended by spring 267 contacts 267d and 2672 are closed. As the fluid level rises in pipe 307 and the block is immersed in the fluid, the block will be moved upwardly by the tension spring 2671 to open contacts 267d and 267e. It will be apparent that this occurs due to the physical phenomena of the change in density of the fluid and air mediums causing the fluid to exert an upward force or buoyancy on a body immersed or submerged in the fluid to thereby permit upward movement of the block by the spring to open the contacts of switch.

It will be apparent that the dynamic condition of solvent fluid flow through the manifold standpipe and overflow pipe, the injection of air through the vent hose 219, and the establishment of the liquid-air interface, determine the level of the solvent fluid in the manifold pipe can be compared to an elevated storage tank open to :at mospheric pressure which always has a liquid interface that would establish the level of the solvent. The injection of air at substantially atmospheric pressure through the hose 219 into the standpipe 215 and overflow pipe 214 results in a liquid-air inter-face under dynamic conditions that forms a static head the same height in the manifold. If a manometer were connected to the solvent manifold pipe 213, it would indicate a head or effective solvent fluid depth approximately equal to the center line of the pipe 214, and depending upon the solvent manifold pipe length, this head or effective depth would increase at points in the manifold pipe farther from the standpipe 215 to the filter end of the manifold pipe. For example: using a three inch diameter manifold pipe, which provides inherently low internal resistance to the flow of 55 gallons per minute, the head was found to be two inches more 20 feet away from the manifold pipe than adjacent to the standpipe. This slight variation in head at different positions in the manifold pipe does not significantly affect the metering and flow rate into the machines.

Referring to the valve assembly 222 in detail, the flow of the solvent through the valve assembly 222 is diagrammatically shown in FIG. 16 which, briefly described, the fluid enters the assembly through the hose 221 and flows through the valve 225 into a common passage 226 through the valve assembly for all of the valves of the assembly, valves 224 and 223, at this time, being inelfective to divert the solvent from the passage. Accordingly, as the valve 224 is open, the solvent passes therethrough and into and through the passage 226 to flow outwardly of the valve assembly and into and through the hose 171 into the tub of the machine during the fill and cleaning cycle of the machine. This flow of the solvent is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 16. During the drain and extraction periods of the cleaning cycle of the machine, the valves 225 and 223 are closed and the valve 224 is open so that the solvent flows from the tub sump and through hose 171 into the passage 226 of the valve assembly and through valve 224 into the hose 252, connected to the header 159, for flow of the solvent into the storage base tank. During the drying cycle, the valve 223 is open and the valves 224 and 225 are closed. The solvent vapors are condensed by the condenser 77 into liquid solvent which drains from the hose 171 into the passage 226 to flow through open valve 223 into hose 253 connected to a solvent and water separator 254. A more complete description will be later given.

As each of the valves are identical in structure, it is believed that an explanation of one of these valves will be sufficient and, for this purpose, referring to FIGS. 13, 14, and 15, it will be seen that, for example, the valve 224 is provided with a pass-age therethrough, forming a portion of the common passage 226 of the valve assembly, and including tube-like extensions 227, 227 extending laterally from the valve body 228 and providing passages through hoses 229 and 230 for solvent between the valve 224 and the valves 225 and 223. The tubular extensions 227, 227 of the valve 224 provide fluid connections to an interior valve chamber 231 of the valve body 228 through which solvent flows, the chamber having a Wall 232 providing a partition between the chamber and a tubular extension 233 disposed at a right angle to the passage through the valve. The wall 232 is provided with an opening 234 adapted to permit solvent to be diverted and flow from the main chamber 231 into the tubular extension 233 and from the valve, upon pivotal movement of a flexible seal or closure member 235 adapted to engage the peripheral edge of the opening 234 to prevent pass-age of solvent from the chamber into the tubular extension 233 of the valve body. More particularly, the valve closure member 235 is connected by a pin 236 to a lever arm 237 connected to a pivot pin 238 mounted in opposite facing walls of the valve body, the pivot pin having one end projecting outwardly of the valve body and being rotatable by a lever arm 239 projecting upwardly therefrom and having a lost motion connection to lever arm 240 by virtue of a slot 241 in arm 239 receiving a pin 242 fixed to a lever arm 240 pivotally connected to the valve body by a fixed pin 243 between the opposite ends of the lever 240. A pin 244 is secured to the lever arm 240 and one end of a coil spring 245 is connected to the pin 244 with its other end positioned on a pin 240 fixed to a U-shaped frame 247 secured to the top of the valve body and to the tank top 153. The spring 245 normally causes the lever arm 240 and 239 to urge the pivot pin 238 and thereby the lever arm 237 to the position shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 so

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Classifications
U.S. Classification34/546, 34/534, 34/87, 34/547, 34/77, 34/530
International ClassificationD06F43/00
Cooperative ClassificationD06F43/00
European ClassificationD06F43/00