US 3293775 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1966 s KITROSSER DATA PROCESSING APPARATUS Filed April 30, 1965 H .SN k a m a 0% TT NI E K m m S ATTORNEYS apparatus.
tures as high as 130 F. in 12 seconds.
United States Patent 3,293,775 DATA PROCESSING APPARATUS Samuel Kitrosser, Lexington, Mass, assignor to ltek Corporation, Lexington, Masa, a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 30, 1965, Ser. No. 452,326 3 Claims. (Cl. 34156) This is a continuation-in-part of application Serial No. 376,979 filed June 22, 1964.
This invention relates to methods and apparatus for improved photographic processors, and more particularly, deals with improved apparatus for drying wet processed photographic material.
The invention accordingly provides for a straight line, self-threading, processing station capable of continuous processing and drying photographic materials, such as film or paper, either in rolls or in sheets.
Prior art self-threading, beltless photographic processing apparatus depend mainly on transport mechanisms employing rollers that have hard and unyielding surfaces. The transport of material through these processing ap- Paratus is made possible, for example, by either the clearance space between the rollers, the diameter differences of the rollers or the staggered array pattern. Other processing apparatus, utilizing pairs of resilient rollers that are arranged in configurations do not allow for forced circulation of processing fluids through the processing In this type of processing apparatus, the material is usually transported along a curved path, necessitating mechanisms, such as mechanical guides, for conveyance of the material.
Recent improvements in photographic materials have produced films capable of rapid processing at tempera- A further example is commercially available film that is completely processed in 25 seconds at 100 F. Materials manufactured for the microfilming and graphic arts industry also employ improved accelerated processing techniques. Advances have been also made in photographic processing chemistry, providing rapid acting developing agents, such as pyrazolone derivatives known commercially as phenidone. Photographic additives have been developed to prevent excessive swelling of the emulsion layers. These advances create the need for reliable processing methods and apparatus which allow precise, rapid, high tempera ture and kinetically efiicient application of processing gases such as air utilized for drying purposes, coupled With a proper transport system for the photographic material. In addition duplitized films, such as films used in radiography require substantially the same processing on both its surfaces.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus which utilizes a processing gas such as air to process elongated material such as film by contacting the material as it passes through a processing station.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing a continuous web utilizing a processing gas such as air to supply motive power to the web as it passes through a processing station.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing a continuous web by utilizing a processing gas such as air to support the web within the processing station to thereby eliminate rollers or other guiding or supporting means.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing a continuous web by utilizing a processing gas such as air to support the leading edge of the web as its first enters the processing station, thereby to make the processing station self-threading.
It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing a continuous web by utilizing a processing gas such as air to support the web within the processing station in a manner to eliminate flutter of the material as it passes through the processing station.
It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing a continuous web by utilizing a processing gas such as air to dry both sides of the web simultaneously as it passes through the processing station.
It is yet a further object of the present invention to pro vide an apparatus for processing a continuous web by utilizing a processing gas such as air to transport the web through the processing station without damaging its surface.
Another object is to provide an improved data processing apparatus that employs few component parts, is easy to service, and simple to operate.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The features of the invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a cross sectional view of the data processing apparatus of the present invention.
The data processing apparatus utilized in conjunction with the present invention is shown in FIGURE 1 for processing a roll of photographic material 20, such as film or paper, bearing a latent data image which is to be processed to a visible image. Generally, the data processing apparatus comprise a film magazine 102 for storing unprocessed material, a first processing station 104, a second processing station 106 and a drying station 108 which drying station embodies the present invention. It should 'be borne in mind that while two processing stations are illustrated, it is apparent that additional, identical stations may be added to increase the number of steps of operation performed on material 20. Conversely, it is apparent that the number of processing stations may be reduced to one without departing from the concepts of the invention.
While not a part of the invention, and therefore, not shown, the data processing apparatus may be part of a unitary data processing system that includes a processing solution supply means. The processing solution supply means may incorporate a processing solution replenishment system to maintain the chemical activity of the processing solution within certain predetermined limits. Additionally, a processing solution temperature control system may also be incorporated to provide more accurate processing control.
Magazine 102 and processing stations 104 and 106 are enclosed in a light-tight housing 110. Magazine 102 is provided with a removable, light-tight cover 112 to permit access to magazine 102 for mounting the roll of unproccssed material 20. Where material is a sheet of film or paper that is to be processed, removal of cover 112 permits insertion of the sheet directly into the processing station. If the apparatus is to be used in a darkroom and manually fed, then the apparatus may be constructed without magazine 102 without departing from the invention.
Light-tight housing 110 is provided with a wall portion 114a that separates magazine 102 from first processing station 104. Wall 114a is provided with an entry passage 116a. A wall 1114b separates the first processing station from the second processing station and a passage 1.1611 provides communication therebetween. Similarly, light-tight housing 110 is provided with an end wall portion 114s that has a passage 116a between second processing station 104 and drying station 108. The horizontal center lines of passages 116a, 116b and 1160 define a substantially straight line.
Each processing station 104 and 106 is identical and is provided with a pair of feed rollers 44 and 44a, respectively, and a pair of exit rollers 44 and 44a, respectively. Also each processing station 104 and 106 is provided with a processing solution applicator 200 and 200a, respectively. In turn, each processing solution applicator 200 and 200a, is coupled to the processing solution supply system by conduit 36 and 36a, respectively. Return of the processing solution from each of the processing stations 104 and 106 is provided by conduits 38 and 33a, respectively. Direction of How of processing solution into and out of the processing station is indicated by the arrows.
Drying station 108 which embodies the present invention is provided with a pair of feed rollers 44b and a pair of exit rollers 4412. Disposed between roller pairs 44b and 44b are dual air chambers 120a and 12012. Each air chamber 120a and 12012 is coupled to a source of heated air at a predetermined temperature. The heated air i forced into chambers 120a and 12% by fans 202 in the direction of the arrows. Each air chamber 120a and 120!) is provided with nozzle slots 122a and 1221), situated at the material input end of the channel, as shown, for directing the heated air at an acute angle such as 45 with the longitudinal axis of the channel and against the upper and lower surfaces of the material passing therebetween. The longitudinal axis of the channel will lie in the plane of the processed web in this embodiment of the invention.
With this configuration it may be seen that the lower applied stream of drying air will have a vertical velocity component which will support the leading edge of the web as to make the station self-threading. The horizontal velocity components will produce a stream throughout the length of the channel which is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the web and which will coincide with the longitudinal axis of the channel. The velocity of the air emerging from slots 220a and 22.01) is adjusted to provide for laminar flow within the channel so that the web does not flutter and is supported by the stream along the central portion of the channel. Flutter is undesirable since photographic film for instance may stick to the walls of the channel to produce buckling or otherwise mar the film surface. In one embodiment of the present invention the fluorocarbon resin tetrafiuoroethylene was applied to the channel walls, in case any flutter should occur from time to time, to prevent sticking. This resin is marketed under the trademark Teflon by Du Pont.
Due to molecular shearing action at the surfaces of the web, the horizontal air stream will additionally supply motive power to the web.
The major design parameters of the disclosed embodiment of the invention for processing photographic film are as follows:
Width of nozzles 1122a, 1122b /8.
These parameters are not particularly critical. The flow rate must be high enough to support the web and dry the film. Alterations of these parameter to process assorted webs of various thicknesses and stiffnesses, and at various processing rates, will be obvious to those skilled in the art of fluid mechanics.
While there have been described what are at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention, and it is, therefore, intended in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as are fairly within the true scope and spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus particularly well adapted for the drying of photographic sheet material comprising:
(a) drying structure having a photographic sheet conduit passageway formed therein, said conduit passageway having an inlet portion for receiving said sheets to be dried and an outlet portion for discharging said sheets;
(b) drive means positioned adjacent said first inlet portion of said conduit passageway for causing photographic sheet material driven by said drive means to be introduced into the inlet portion of said conduit passageway;
(c) applicator means situated in the vicinity of the inlet portion of said conduit passageway for applying drying gas to the upper and lower surfaces of said sheets at a velocity low enough to produce continuous laminar flow of drying gas throughout substantially the entire length of said conduit passageway in substantially the same direction as the direction of travel of said sheets and at a velocity high enough to simultaneously support said sheet material on said drying gas both in the vicinity of said inlet portion of said conduit passageway and throughout substantially the entire length of said passageway to cause the dryer to be self-threading and to eliminate sheet fiutter.
2. The combination as set forth in claim 1 wherein said conduit passageway comprises upper and lower portions having surfaces which are continuous throughout substantially the entire length of said conduit passageway to aid in the prevention of flutter and abrasion of said photosensitive sheet material.
3. The combination as set forth in claim 2 wherein the surfaces of said upper and lower portions are unperforated.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,060,430 11/1936 Spooner 3423 2,081,945 6/1937 Massey et a1. 3418 2,144,919 1/1939 Gautreau 3423 3,116,124 12/1963 Eolkin 34-156 FREDERICK L. MATTESON, 1a., Primary Examiner.
JOHN J. CAMBY, Examiner.