US 3352627 A
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NOV- 14, 1967 J. B. INDRELAND LNT FREE LAUNDRY SYSTEM 3 Sheets-Sheet l Filed March 30, 1962 NOV- 14, 1967 1. B. INDRELAND LINT FREE LAUNDRY SYSTEM 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March .'50, 1962 INENTOR :74176K .I1/0251. mvo
Nov. 14, 1967 1 B. :NDRELAND 3,352,627
LINT FREE LAUNDRY SYSTEM Filed March 30, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 3 IFI/o. 4.
/FILTEP 4 o 8 N l l 23s P107 n OOO 92 INVENTOR 70.9" r'QcM B. /vDeE/ nA/D United States Patent C 3,352,627 LNT FREE LAUNDRY SYSTEM .lack B. Indreland, Tarzana, Calif., assigner to Atlas Coverall d: Uniform Supply Co., Los Angeles County, Calif., a partnership Filed Mar. 3l), 1%2, Ser. No. 133,879 4 Claims. (Cl. 8 137) The invention relates to cleaning systems and has particular reference to a system for the cleaning and reconditioning of garments made from synthetic fabrics which are currently available commercially in order that when the process has been completed the garments will be not only pressed but also lint-free and dirt-free. The system inherently contemplates segregation of synthetic fabrics from cotton and linen fabrics even to the extent of removing portions of primarily synthetic garments which may consist of cotton or linen fabric.
In certain types of industries, for example, industries engaged in the assembling of miniature and subminiature electronic equipment, it has become necessary to have not only the premises but all personnel and their working garments just as lint-free and dust-free as possible in order to reduce to a minimum the likelihood of lint and dust particles finding their way into the equipment, thereby to cause failures, Because of the excessive amount of highly skilled labor going into operations of this general nature and the relative high cost of devices and assemblies resulting from such skilled labor, there is an increasing demand for the ultimate in physical cleanliness of such workers and their working garments.
Since conventional ironing and pressing tends not only to deteriorate fabrics but also to break fibers little by little, thereby generating fibrous particles, repeated laundering and pressing is objectionable. Even when washing is done with ltered water and under the most sanitary conditions, some particles of dust and dirt will remain caught in the creases, folds and seams of the garment and without special treatment by means not currently available, these particles ultimately become loosened when the garment is opened and worn and accordingly such particles are detrimental when they find their way into devices and assemblies which need to be finished absolutely free of contamination. Although there are processes which are designed primarily to clean garments as thoroughly as possible, they do not incorporate a system which assures that each and every garment will be equally clean and the presence of a few unsatisfactory garments in a run of any appreciable quantity makes such prior systems particularly undependable.
It is therefore among the objects of the invention to provide a new and improved system for thoroughly and completely washing and pressing garments made of synthetic fabrics and ultimately assuring that all loose particles of lint, dust and dirt have been removed before the garment is sealed and delivered for use, the system being such that there is dependable continuity and uniformity in the result secured.
Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for the washing and pressing of garments of synthetic fabrics and for the ultimate stages of inspection and delinting whereby the process is continuous and the apparatus is one such as to assure dependable results for each and every garment passing through it.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved method of conditioning synthetic garments which entirely avoids conventional pressing and which makes use of temperatures suicient to relax the tendency of synthetic bers to hold creases, folds and presses whereby to produce in effect a dry press which is dependable and complete.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved method, system and apparatus for the cleaning of garments of synthetic fabrics which makes it possible to quickly convert a wet Washed garment to a pressed and dried garment in a continuous process which can be carefully adjusted and controlled so as to assure uniformity and dependability.
Still further among the objects of the invention is to provide a new and improved system, means and apparatus for the handling of garments and particularly garments constructed of synthetic fabrics, whereby after the garment has been cleaned and dry pressed, the garment is then subjected to a vigorous air wash sucient to clear out virtually all residual particles which may have been previously embeded in any portions of the garment.
With these and other objects in view, the invention consists in the construction, arrangement and combination of the various parts of the device, whereby the objects contemplated are attained, as hereinafter set forth, pointed out in the appended claims and illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FlGURE 1 is a plan View of an apparatus in which the system can be employed showing the system as continuous for all portions of the cycle.
FIGURE 2 is a vertical sectional view taken on the line 2 2 of FIGURE 1.
FlGURE 3 is a Vertical sectional view taken on the line 3 3 of FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 4 is a vertical sectional view of the air wash portion of the system and apparatus taken on the line 4 4 of FIGURE 6 with some connecting duct Work shown in elevation.
FlGURE 5 is a vertical sectional view taken on the line 5 5 of FIGURE 4.
FIGURE 6 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 6 6 of FIGURE 5.
In an embodiment of the invention chosen for the purpose of illustration an apparatus is shown by which the system can be practiced embodied in a system of chambers serving as a unit, the walls, floors and ceilings of which are in effect sealed from contact with the exterior except for the passage of filtered air into and out of the composite chamber arrangement. The chambers of the operating portion of the system may be lhnited to a washing chamber lli, a dry pressing chamber 11, an inspection chamber 12, and an air wash chamber 13. Also interconnected in the chamber complex is a packaging room 14 and an interconnecting utility room 1S. Walls 16 of the Washing chamber may be of substantially conventional construction except that on the interior the finish is made substantially crack-free and with rounded edges and corners and all framing iiush so that there is no prospect for dust to collect, and also to make it possible to ilush clean the premises whenever necessary.
Walls 17 of the inspection chamber, Walls 18 of the packaging room and walls 19, 20 and 21 of the utility room may be similarly constructed. A personnel access door 22 may be employed to provide access to the washing chamber which may also be designated as a laundry room. Preferably the access door 22 communicates with a suitable personnel decontamination trap so that persons entering the chamber complex may be able to clean their persons and clothing completely before entering.
A delivery door 23 is provided for passing completed articles outwardly from the packaging room 14. This may, if desired, be a relatively small opening which may or may not be provided with a closure in that the interior of the chamber complex when kept at a pressure slightly above atmospheric will assure that there will be no flow of nonltered air inwardly through the delivery door. It is also found advantageous in the operation of the system to a provide a slight pressure differentiation through the chamber complex so that the area of greatest cleanliness as, for example, the packaging room, is maintained at a pressure slightly higher than the chamber next in order of ultimate cleanliness back to the washing chamber where the pressure will be Ileast in that this chamber is the chamber having the lowest degree of cleanliness.
In the washing room the space is kept just as clean of appliances and furnishings as is commensurate with good working conditions. An automatic washer 27 is set in one of the walls 16 with all of the apparatus exterior relative to the washing chamber, there being provided on the interior only a door 28 and a detergent line 29 capable of being manipulated by a valve 30, thereby to pass aY suitable quantity of detergent into the washer which is preferably a liquid detergent under circumstances such that the detergent cannot be spilled into the chamber.
After washing, garments are extracted from the washer and hung while wet upon special hangers 30 supported upon a continuous conveyor 3'1. The conveyor extends through an air curtain 32 into the dry pressing chamber 11 wherein it makes a series of five loops 33, 34, 35 36 and 37 before passing outwardly through a second air curtain 38 into the inspection chamber 12. From the inspection chamber the conveyor passes through the air wash into the packaging room and thence through an open doorway 39 into the utility room and thence outwardly through a second open doorway 40 lback to the washing chamber. The direction of travel of the conveyor is indicated by the arrows.
Although five loops are shown, the number is not critical and seven may be used on some occasions or some other appropriate number.
The sundry working parts of the dry pressing chamber are shown partly in vertical section and partly in elevation in FIGURES 2 and 3. Walls 45, 46, 47 and 48 are of laminated construction consisting of Irespectively outside and inside sheet material 49 and 50 which may be sheet metal rust-proofed in a satisfactory fashion or stainless steel, containing therebetween an insulating layer 51. The walls rest upon a sealed oor slab 52 and support a ceiling 53 which is of composite construction similar to the construction of the walls.
Above the ceiling is a housing 54 having side walls 55, 56, end walls 57 and 58 and a roof 59. These walls and roof are of substantially the same construction as the walls and ceiling of the dry pressing chamber already made reference to. A shelter roof 60 of conventional construction, a portion of which is shown in FIGURE 2, protects the entire chamber complex.
Air within the dry pressing chamber is adapted to be heated to a temperature preferably between about 270 F. and 310 F. and forced into the dry pressing chamber wherein it is circulated from the bottom upwardly into contact with the garments and then outwardly at the top. There is a substantial amount of recirculation of the dry air but at the same time a percentage of fresh air Vis constantly introduced and a corresponding percentage of air from within the chamber is simultaneously exhausted. Fresh air is drawn inwardly through lters Y41 and 42 in respective intake openings 43 and 44 into a chamber or passage 62. Y
A heat exchanger 61 is located within the housing 54 and at the right end of the chamber 62, as viewed in FIGURE 2. In the chosen embodiment a gas flame 63 is shown directed into the right end of the heat exchanger for generating heat by which air in the chamber 62 is raised to the desired temperature.
A baflle 64 is interposed in the path of travel for air directed from the heat exchanger in a direction from right to left as viewed in FIGURE 2, the air travel being forced by action of a blower 65. The blower is operated by a motor 66 located entirely outside of the housing 54 and, in the embodiment shown, upon the roof 59. A suitable belt drive 67 connects the motor with the blower.
Air heated in the manner indicated passes downwardly through a down-flow duct 68 into horizontal ducts 69, 70 and 71 on the slab 52. Inflow ports 72 provide means by which hot air from the horizontal ducts is forced upwardly into the dry pressing chamber and thence upwardly into outflow ports 73 which in turn communicate with upper horizontal ducts 74, 75 and 76. These last identified ducts communicate with a manifold duct i7 which again communicates with the chamber 62. There is also a vent stack 78 which passes upwardly through the shelter roof 60. In order to control the amount of air being vented through the stack, a vent blower 79 is located at the base of the stack operated by a Vent motor 80, the vent blower being located within a vent passa-ge 81, this passage being in communication with a vent duct 82 capable of drawing air from various locations, as indicated in the ceiling 53. By this means the amount of air exhausted through the vent stack can be adequately controlled.
As indicated the loops 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 of the conveyor pass above the outflow ports so that as the garments are carried through the dry 4pressing chamber, heated air forced upwardly against the bottoms of the garment tends to expand the garments and induce a complete circulation of hot, dry air during the -path of travel of the garments through the press dry chamber. Moreover, the temperature of the hot, dry air is adjusted to the degree made reference to because at about the temperature indicated the fibers of synthetic material making up the fabric of the garments are relaxed and unbend freely. This unbending, unfolding and -uncreasing occurs almost simultaneously throughout all portions of the garment as it hangs upon the hanger. The weight of the garment itself on an adequately shaped hanger is sufiicient to draw and stretch the garment lengthwise While it is being dried in the hot atmosphere. At the same time the folds of the -garment are being expanded laterally outwardly by the rush of air upwardly from the inow ports into the interior of the garment.
When the Agarment is accordinglyrsubjected to the conditions described for a period of from roughly three to seven minutes, depending upon various circumstances, the garment will be completely dried before it emerges from the dry pressing chamber. Simultaneously as the drying occurs, the garment is expanded and drawn into a completely smooth appearing condition which, in fact, is smoother and neater in all respects and as to all portions than is customarily accomplished by conventional ironing and pressing. Accordingly, passa-ge through the dry pressing chamber accomplishes simultaneously two separate and distinct things, namely, drying the garment from the complete wet condition such as it has when removed from the dryer and at the same time smoothing kand in eiect pressing all portions of the garment.
Ordinarily the garments when supported upon the hangers 30 while in the dry pressing chamber are oriented as indicated therein, the hangers bein-g hung parallel to the path of travel of the loops. Upon emerging through the air curtain 38 the hangers are rotated 90 with respect to the path of travel of the conveyor by a suitable conventional fixture 83. The garments then pass in front of a completely black surface 84 on the wall 17 and at the same time are subjected to a brilliant light which in a chamber of the proportions suggested will be a light of approximately 200 candle power. By making remaining walls of the room entirely White, an inspector viewing the garments, which in themselves are usually light colored or white against the black background under the light indicated, is able to detect any unwanted bers which may be sticking out from the garment. The proportions of the inspection room shown by way of example are roughly ten feet by ten feet. Monochromatic light has been used for such inspection purposess with good results.
After inspection the hangers are again rotated by a similar rotating fixture 34 so that once again theyV are assaeafz parallel to the path of travel of the conveyor prior to entering the air Wash 13.
Details of the air wash are shown in FIGURES 4, `and 6. The air wash actually occupies the position shown in FIGURE 1 so that it is the only path of travel for the garments as they pass from the inspection chamber to the packaging room. A dividing wall 85 provided, if desired, with a viewing window 86 and a door 87 separates the inspection chamber from the packaging room.
A passageway indicated generally by the reference character 90 extends through the air wash and is formed respectively by a first pair of return ducts 91 and 92, a pair of supply ducts 93 and 94, and a second pair of return ducts 95 and 96. The supply ducts are supplied from a common supply passage 97 located at the outlet of a blower 98 which is operated by a conventional electric motor (not shown). Air from the blower is forced downwardly through the supply passage to the supply ducts at a high rate of speed.
Extending through an inner wall 99 of the supply duct 93 is a series of three horizontal inow ports 100, 101 and 102, vertically spaced one from another, the inflow ports 100 and 101 being slightly closer together than the iniiow ports 100 and 102. Similarly on an inside wall 104 of the supply duct 94 are inflow -ports 10S, 106 and 107. These have approximately the same spacing one from another as the infiow ports 100, 101 and 102 except that their locations are staggered slightly with respect to the rst identified infiow ports. That is to say, the inflow port 105' which is the uppermost port is slightly below the indow port 100 on the opposite side and this relationship of one port above the other on respectively opposite sides is likewise true of the ports 101, 106 and the ports 102, 107. Air emerging from the obliquely directed inflow ports impinges in an oblique direction downwardly against a garment 108 hanging upon the hanger 30 and produces a whipping action, whipping the garment into an undulating pattern, as suggested in FIGURE 5, which is similar to the pattern of a flag being extended by the wind. The whipping action is violent, rapid and strong and continues as long as the garment is passing through the air wash. The whipping action accompanied by an abundant blast of air is suicient to extract and blow away any remaining particles of dust, lint, or other particles which are carried downwardly by the air through outflow ports g into an outflow duct 110. inflow ports 117 add to the available tiow of air.
From the outfiow duct 110 air passes laterally to opposite sides entering the bottoms of the return ducts 91, 92, 95 and 95 through which air passes upwardly to a return manifold 111. A pump 112 communicates with the return manifold and assists in the recirculation of the air wash by drawing air upwardly through the return ducts while air is being pushed downwardly through the supply ducts. Employment of the pump 112 is also helpful in making certain that all of the particles which are Washed yfree of the garment are drawn properly through the outflow ports and not permitted to be diverted, thereby to circulate into the air of the adjacent chambers causing unnecessary contamination.
A filter 113 positioned in a recirculating duct 114 serves to filter out all of the particles which are dislodged by the air wash and accordingly all of the air which is recirculated through the air wash and used for washing the garment is kept clean. Although the lter 113 is located precisely in what has been described as a recirculating duct, additional filters may be employed, if desired, or substituted for the filter 113 and it is a good alternative to employ iilters in one or another or perhaps all of the return ducts at advantageous locations where they can be replaced with clean iilters whenever needed.
As the garments emerge from the air wash and pass into the packaging room 14, they are removed from the hangers, hermetically sealed in plastic bags either in extended form or folded to a moderate degree, and then passed outwardly through the delivery door 23. The hangers continue on the conveyor passing ultimately back to the wash chamber 10.
The system and apparatus herein described sets up a continuous drying, pressing, inspection, decontaminating and packaging process which operates as a unit. Because of being self-contained and furthermore because of having all apparatus associated with operation of the system mounted exteriorly except for the presence of certain moving parts in filtered air ducts, the interior is capable of being kept immaculately clean.
Inasmuch as the entire system of successive chambers is hermetically sealed, pressure can be maintained on the interior slightly above atmospheric, thereby assuring that there will be no infiltration of contaminating dust, lint and other particles from the exterior. Although the interior of the dry pressing chamber is maintained at a temperature somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 F., the pressures in the adjoining chambers, namely, the inspection chamlber 12 and the Washing chamber 10, can be kept at approximately the same as the pressure within the dry pressing chamber, at least suiciently so that the air curtains 32 and 38, by providing a draft of air blowing transverse to the path of travel of the conveyor, are capable of preventing the hot air in the dry pressing chamber from finding its way into the adjacent chambers while at the same time providing a constantly open passageway for garments without necessity of having doors opening and closing. The only additional entranceway to the dry pressing chamber need be an access door for use whenever servicing might become necessary.
Further still, although there is an ample injection of fresh air into the air system of the dry pressing chamber, the air inflow is protected by the inflow filters 41 and 42 at locations where they can be readily and frequently changed inasmuch as there is likely to be a substantial volume of air entering the system at this point. Reference has been made to maintaining air pressure within the system at a level slightly higher than atmospheric and although specific means has not been expressly shown and described, it will -be understood that conventional filtered air pressure equipment is contemplated and can be mounted at any appropriate location upon the exterior with appropriate conventional inflow duct work directed to the interior at appropriate locations.
Although the dimensions and proportions of the system are exemplary only, a convenient unit has been worked out and exhibits dimensions, for example, such that the dry pressing chamber is roughly l1 x 12 and nine feet high with the washing chamber relatively proportioned. To further assist in the perfection of the operation of the process it has been found advantageous to, on some occasions, provide an initial monochromatic inspection of all garments which may be expected to be passed through the system so as to detect the presence of any cotton or linen fibers which might have found their way into the garment construction or the presence of cotton or linen fabric on insignias, bindings, stitching and other locations which might not be obvious except for careful inspection. Garments initially inspected and from which cotton or linen fibers have been removed may then be placed in polyethylene tarpaulins and washed off on the exterior before being deposited in the washing chamber.
While the invention has herein been shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices.
Having described the invention, what is claimed as new in support of Letters Patent is:
1. A method of cleaning garments constructed of synthetic fabrics comprising washing said garments, hanging said garments while wet on supporting hangers, passing the garments while on hangers through an atmosphere of filtered air at a temperature of from about 270 F. to about 310 F. whereby simultaneously to relax wrinkles and folds in the garments and dry the garments in a wrinkle and fold-free condition, removing said garments from said atmosphere and air washing each garment on its respective hanger in turn by blowing thereon blasts of filtered air at a velocity productive of a whipping action on said garments.
2. A continuous method of cleaning and packaging garments constructed of synthetic fabrics comprising depositing said garments in a dust and lint-free room, washing said garments in filtered water and a cleaning liquid detergent, hanging said garments while wet in relatively open condition on supporting hangers, passing the garments while on hangers through a draft of filtered air at a temperature of from about 270 F. to about 310 F. for a period of about three to seven minutes whereby simultaneously to relax wrinkles and folds in the garments and dry the garments in a wrinkle and fold-free condition, removing said garments from said draft of filtered air, passing said garments Iwhile still on the hangers -before a brilliantly lighted black background for inspection thereof to detect presence of lint, air whipping each garment on its respective hanger in turn by blowing thereon `blasts of filtered air at staggered alternate locations on opposite sides thereof at a velocity productive of a whipping action on said garments and finally packaging said garments in sealed containers while in a dust and lint-free atmosphere.
3. A method of cleaning garments constructed of synthetic fabrics comprising washing said garments in filtered water, hanging said garments while wet on supporting hangers during a drying stage, removing the garments from the drying stage, drying the garments while on hangers, and air washing each garment on its respective hanger in turn by blowing thereon blasts of filtered air at staggered alternate locations on opposite sides thereof at a velocity production of a whipping action on said garments.
4. A method of cleaning garments constructed of synthetic fabrics comprising washing said garments in filtered water, hanging said garments while wet on supporting hangers, passing the garments while on hangers through an upwardly fiowing draft of filtered air at a temperature of from about 270 F. to about 310 F. for a period of from about three to seven minutes whereby simultaneously to relax Wrinkles and folds in the garments and dry the garments in a wrinkle and fold-free condition during a drying stage, removing said garments from said drying stage, and air washing each garment lby blowing thereon a blast of filtered air.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 354,798 12/1886 Lorimer 8-1492 1,095,796 5/19'14 Brandwood 8-149.2 1,767,157 6/1930 Steele 34-91 2,260,449 10/ 1941 Goldwyn 15-304 2,289,700 7/ 1942 Eiben 15-304 2,773,314 12/1956 Gaui 34-91 3,257,739 6/1966 Wentz 8-'-137 X LEON D. ROSDOL, Primary Examiner.
MORRIS O. WOLK, Examiner.
E. S. ZOKE, M. WEINBLATT, Assistant Examiners.