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Publication numberUS3439689 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1969
Filing dateSep 30, 1966
Priority dateSep 30, 1966
Publication numberUS 3439689 A, US 3439689A, US-A-3439689, US3439689 A, US3439689A
InventorsEmil Zadron, Alton S Kenmonth
Original AssigneeJet Clean Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Jet cleaning apparatus with filter means for removing debris from the cleaning fluid
US 3439689 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 22,

Filed Sept. 30. 1966 JET CLEANING APPARATUS WITH FILTER MEANS FOR REMOVING E. ZADRON ET AL 3,439,689

DEBRIS FROM THE CLEANING FLUID Sheet of 2 INVENTORS. EM/L Znoeo/v JQLTON 5. KENMONTH By Their fltzorneyr. Haze/.9, K/ECH, Pusssu. a KEEN April 22, 1969 ZADRON ET AL JET CLEANING APPARATUS WITH FILTER MEANS FOR REMOVING DEBRIS FROM THE CLEANING FLUID Filed Sept. 30. 1986 Sheet 3 of 2 INVENTORS. EM/L 2002 0! .lqL ra/v S. KEA/Ma/vru 4 2 Their flzforweys. flame/s, K/ECl-I, PUs-ELLQKKEEN United States Patent US. Cl. 134104 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A jet cleaning apparatus having a cleaning chamber and a sloping wall positioned directly beneath the cleaning chamber. The uppermost zone of the sloping wall is imperforate so that cleaning fluid falling thereon flushes material removed from an article being cleaned onto a filter comprising the lowermost zone of the sloping wall. Most of the cleaning fluid and fine sediment return to a reservoir below the sloping wall through this filter, larger particles and the remainder of the cleaning fluid passing over the lower edge of the filter means into a debris trap. The trap is provided on the side thereof opposite the lower edge of the first-mentioned filter with a second filter sloping upwardly from the bottom of the trap, the remainder of the cleaning fluid returning through the reservoir through this second filter.

Background of invention This invention relates to a means for cleaning objects. More particularly, the present invention relates to a means for cleaning irregularly shaped objects, such as engine blocks. Apparatus is provided which is particularly adapted for the cleaning of engine blocks and the components thereof, but it should be understood that other objects can also be cleaned with such apparatus. For example, carburetors, crankshafts, cam shafts, connecting rods, oil pans, valve covers, plates, castings, and other workpieces can also be cleaned with the apparatus provided by this invention.

The apparatus of the present invention in an exemplary embodiment is principally characterized by a housing into which the objects to be cleaned are placed. A wheeled carriage, rollable along a track, is provided so that large or heavy objects may be easily positioned within the housing. One or more oscillating headers equipped with nozzles are provided in the housing and the nozzles jet heated cleaning solution upon the object or objects to be cleaned, the objects being rotated on a spoked ring while being cleaned. The cleaning solution is stored in a tank or reservoir to which it is returned after striking the object orobjects being cleaned, and thereafter the solution is recirculated to the headers. Successive objects may be cleaned with the recirculated solution.

Summary and objects of invention One important feature and distinct advantage of this invention is that a screen or filter is carried by the reservoir for efficiently filtering the cleaning solution which is being returned to the reservoir after impinging upon the object being cleaned. The screen or filter traps larger particles of dirt and other debris on the top thereof, while allowing liquid and smaller particles of debris to pass readily therethrough. Preferably, the screen or filter is positioned in an oblique or slanted plane, the slanted screen providing a substantial measure of self-cleaning action. The screen is preferably not immersed in the circulating cleaning solution in the reservoir, and thus does not tend to readily plug up. The filter should preferably 3,439,689 Patented Apr. 22, 1969 cover the entire opening or drain which serves as a port for the return to the reservoir of cleaning solution which has been jetted through the nozzles in the headers.

Another important feature of the invention is that cleaning the reservoir of debris is simply and efliciently accomplished. For example, the operator can merely attach a hook used to hoist motor blocks and baskets to a handle on the reservoir, then tilt the tank or reservoir and allow the spent cleaning solution to run" out of the tank. A slanted screen carried by the tilted side of the reservoir is preferably provided, so that the cleaning solution passes through the screen, and the debris which thereafter remains in the reservoir is practically dry and can be easily removed and disposed of.

In addition to the foregoing features, the present invention provides other important improvements over the prior art and overcomes many difficulties which are inherent in the cleaning of irregularly shaped objects such as engine blocks. For example, engine blocks contain many cavities which are difficult to clean by conventional but which when mingled with oil and greases often form a soap and tend to foam, thereby making them more diflicult or impossible to pump under pressure to the spray nozzles of the cleaning device. The present invention overcomes the foregoing problem.

Yet another difficulty which is solved by this invenvention is in the handling of heavy objects during the cleaning operation.

Thus, it is a primary object of this invention to provide a cleaning apparatus which will automatically clean an irregularly shaped object, such as an engine block, without manual adjustment of the components of the apparatus. Handling of heavy objects being cleaned, other than loading and unloading them from the cleaning apparatus, is eliminated.

A further object of ths invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which will thoroughly remove most or all of the above-noted deposits frequently found on engine blocks.

A further object of the invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which will clean irregularly shaped objects much more rapidly than was possible heretofore.

Another object of this invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which will rapidly and automatically clean all parts of an irregularly shaped object by causing jets of cleaning fluid to impinge against the object at varying angles and in overlapping paths.

A further object of this invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which will impinge at least one jet of cleaning fluid against an irregularly shaped object along a line inclined with respect to a horizontal plane, and oscillate such jet through an are along a path inclined with respect to the horizontal plane, and provide at least one revolution of relative rotation between the jet and the irregularly shaped object.

A further object is to utilize in the cleaning apparatus a generally vertical header having a plurality of nozzles secured thereto, at least some of the nozzles having axes which are inclined relative to a horizontal plane. By oscillating the header while rotating the irregularly shaped object the cleaning fluid is caused toimpinge against the object at varying angles and in overlapping paths so as to assure that substantially all portions of the object, including cavities therein, will be contacted and cleaned by the cleaning fluid.

A further object of this invention is to provide an engine block cleaning apparatus in which the forces exerted by high pressure oscillating streams of cleaning fluid against the engine block are substantially balanced. More particularly, the forces may be balanced, to some extent, by providing first and second rotatable headers on opposite sides of the engine block and a plurality of nozzles on each of the headers. By inclining some of the nozzles so that the fluid streams emitted by the nozzles of one of the headers generally oppose those emitted by the nozzles on the other of said headers, some force-balancing is produced. By oscillating the headers through a limited are so that when the first header rotates in a clockwise direction, the second header rotates in a counterclockwise direction, and vice versa, additional force-balancing occurs. By use of such force-balancing means, the lateral forces acting on the engine block have a negligible effect on the relatively heavy block. Without such force-balancing, it could be necessary to anchor the engine block securely to a support member to prevent it from being moved or tipped within the cleaning apparatus, and additional driving force would be required to rotate the block.

The cleaning fluid generally used to clean engine blocks is a hot caustic material. Frequently, much of the foreign matter removed from the engine block is in the form of oil or grease deposits. In this invention the hot caustic is sprayed against the engine block to remove the oily deposits (and particles of debris) and then the mixture of hot caustic and the grease and oils, or a portion thereof, and particles which have been removed, are fed onto an obliquely extending filter. As the mixture passes on, over, and through the filter, the larger particles of debris, such as relatively large metal particles, are trapped on the upper surface of the filter and the relatively smaller particles are permitted to pass through the filter, together with at least a portion of the remaining mixture, and thereafter into the reservoir.

The obliquely extending filter to a large extent has a self-cleaning action, since it is slanted and the debris thereon tends as it accumulates to move down the inclined filter. At the lower end of the inclined filter means can be provided for accumulating the large particles, such as by providing a basin-like member, one side of which is provided with a second obliquely extending filter, the two filters being preferably inclined toward each other.

A further object, therefore, is to provide a self-cleaning obliquely-extending filter such as the one described above.

A further object is to provide a second obliquely-extending filter such as the one described above.

Distinct advantages are provided by this invention in the preferred embodiment of using two such filters. For example, the larger particles can be accumulated in the basin-like member and readily removed. The screens, if required, may be readily removed or replaced. In addition, when it becomes necessary to discharge spent cleaning fluid from the reservoir, to clean the reservoir, and to replace the spent cleaning fluid with fresh cleaning fluid, the reservoir can be merely tipped in the, direction of the second filter and the spent cleaning fluid permitted to flow from the reservoir through the second filter. Upon removal of the second filter the debris remaining in the reservoir can be easily removed. The debris will generally be practically dry and easily disposed of.

Upon recirculating cleaning fluid which has been jetted against a workpiece and has been returned to the reservoir for recirculation to a jet spray means, a serious problem arises in the reservoir when the caustic cleaning fluid contacts and is mixed with the oil and grease deposits removed from the workpiece. Such contact produces a soap which forms a foam in the reservoir and which, if uncontrolled, may overflow the reservoir and may also cause a pump used for recirculating the fluid to cavitate. Further, it is desirable to heat the caustic material in the chamber thereby further aggravating the pump cavitation problem.

Accordingly, another object of this invention is to reduce the foaming of the cleaning fluid by dispersing the small particles of debris, described above, throughout the cleaning fluid. Thus, rather than letting the smaller particles settle to the bottom of the reservoir, it is desirable to agitate the fluid and disperse the smaller particles throughout the fluid. It has been found that such dispersion of the smaller particles eliminates the foaming problem.

A particular object of this invention is to eliminate the foaming of the cleaning fluid by disposing a perforated pipe within the reservoir and connecting the pipe to recirculate a portion of the cleaning mixture to the reservoir to hydraulically agitate the fluid contained therein. In addition to eliminating the foaming problem, such agitation disperses the small particulate matter throughout the cleaning fluid so that it can be pumped through the jet nozzles along with the cleaning fluid to act as an abrasive cleaning agent.

The workpiece is generally cleaned by hot caustic cleaning fluid. The cleaning action is improved as the temperature of the caustic solution is increased and is made still more effective by jetting the hot caustic against the workpiece under high pressure. However, increasing the temperature of the hot caustic reduces the vapor pressure of the cleaning fluid, thereby reducing the threshold of cavitation of the pump. Thus, it is important to maintain the temperature of the hot caustic.

A further object of this invention is to provide a compact package workpiece cleaning apparatus including a housing having a reservoir for holding cleaning fluid and a cleaning section communicating with the reservoir through an opening in the cleaning section; a plurality of nozzles within the cleaning section for directing streams of the cleaning fluid against the workpiece to remove particles, grease, oil, and/or soil therefrom; means for pumping the cleaning fluid from the reservoir to the nozzles; and means to permit the cleaning fluid directed against the object and the smaller particles removed therefrom to flow through a filter positioned in the opening and into the reservoir.

A further object of this invention is to provide a cleaning fluid-level gauge carried by the reservoir.

The invention, 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 connection with the accompanying drawings.

Description of drawings In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top sectional view of one embodiment of the cleaning apparatus of this invention, particularly illustrating in the upper portion of the apparatus means for oscillating a pair of opposite headers, and in the lower portion of the apparatus a spoked ring for supporting and rotating a workpiece to be cleaned;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the arrowed line 2-2 of FIG. 1, particularly showing the cleaning section, the cleaning fluid reservoir, and a pair of obliquely extending filters of the cleaning apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the arrowed line 33 of FIG. 1, particularly illustrating the details of the cleaning section of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view of the details of a header of this invention and its components; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the arrowed line 5-5 of FIG. 4, particularly showing the details of the lower portion of the header of FIG. 4.

Description of exemplary embodiment of invention Referring to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, reference numeral designates a cleaning apparatus which includes a housing 12 having a cleaning section or chamber 14 and an engine block or other workpiece loading section 16. A tank or reservoir 18 for holding a cleaning fluid or solution 20 is provided below the cleaning section 14 and the loading section 16.

The loading section 16 includes a lid or cover 22 which serves the dual functions of permitting access to the reservoir 18 and as a base for supports 24. A track 26 is mounted on the supports 24 (FIG. 2), which track extends from the loading section 16 into the cleaning section 14. The track 26 may be hinged Or divided and slidably movable at or near the entrance to the cleaning section 14. A stop 28 may be provided at the end of either one or both of the rails of the track 26. As indicated earlier, the lid 22 also permits access to the reservoir 18, the lid being slidably movable or hinged at its end proximate to the cleaning section 14 so that the lid may be opened and closed or removed.

Leading into the cleaning section 14 is a door 30 which may be provided with hinges 32 to permit entry and exit of a carriage 34 from the cleaning section.

The carriage 34 includes four wheels 36 and is mounted for movement along the track 26. The carriage 34 also includes a rotatable support member 38, which in turn includes a ring 40 and a plurality of spokes 42 extending radially inwardly from the ring and welded to a generally centered bushing 44. One advantage of the support member 38 is that it is easily made and, therefore, is relatively inexpensive. In operation, the door 30 is opened and the carriage 34 is wheeled outside the cleaning section 14 and an engine block or other workpiece to be cleaned is placed on the support member 38. Thereafter, the carriage 34, with the workpiece, is wheeled into the cleaning section 14 and the door 30 is closed and secured. As the door 30 closes it presses against a spring 46 mounted on the carriage 34, thus urging the carriage forward and positioning the carriage firmly in place within the cleaning section 14.

As the carriage is urged forward into the cleaning section 14, the ring 40 of the support member 38 engages a rotatable friction drive member 48 which provides means for rotating the support member and the workpiece mounted thereon. The drive member 48 may be coated with rubber or other material having a high coeflicient of friction and is driven by a motor 49.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3, means is provided for emitting streams of the cleaning fluid 20 against the workpiece, generally an engine block, in the cleaning section 14. Such means preferably includes two generally vertical headers 50 and 52 rotatably mounted to a base member or plate 54 of an elongated vertically oriented frame assembly 55 (FIG. 5) for oscillation about a generally vertical axis and disposed on opposite sides of the support member 38, as shown in FIG. 3. Each of the headers 50 and 52 is rotatably mounted as illustrated in FIG. 5. A tubular member 58 is secured to the plate 54 and has an exterior portion 60 of reduced diameter for slidably and rotatably receiving an end of the header (header 52 being particularly illustrated). An annular washer 59 made of Teflon or the like is positioned between the header 52 and the tubular member 58 at the end of the exterior portion 60 to reduce friction between the rotating header and the tubular member. An annular sealing element 62, such as an O-ring, is positioned between the header 52 and the tubular member 58. The header 52 is allowed to oscillate relative to the seal 62 and the tubular member 58 and the seal 62 prevents fluid leakage between the header 52 and the tubular member 58. The base plate 54 forms the bottom of the frame assembly 55 which also includes a pair of opposed vertically positioned L-shaped members 61 and an upper plate 65. The frame assembly 55 is removably mounted to the housing 12 and within the cleaning section 14 by threaded bolts or screws (not shown). The entire frame assembly 55 including the header 52 is pre-assembled as a unit before mounting within the cleaning section 14.

A similar rotary seal arrangement is located at the upper end of the header 52 (see FIG. 4). A tubular mem- 'ber 64 is secured to the plate 65 and has exterior portion 66 of reduced diameter for slidably and rotatably receiving the upper end of the header 52. A washer 67a, similar to washer 59, is located between the top of the header 52 and the tubular member 64. An annular sealing element 67, such as an O-ring, is positioned between the header 52 and the tubular member 64. The header 52 is allowed to oscillate relative to the seal 67 and the tubular member 64 and the seal 67 prevents fluid leakage between the header 52 and the tubular member 64.

The mounting of the headers 50 and 52 completely within frame assemblies 55 permits the headers to rotate with respect to the frame assemblies and, in effect, float therewithin. For example, all upwardly directed pressure on the headers 50' and 52 resulting from the surging of pumped cleaning fluid therewithin is transmitted to the frame assemblies 55 through the tubular members 58 and 64.

Particularly referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a plurality of nozzles 68 is threadedly secured to the header 50 and inclined downwardly at a given angle from a plane which is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the header, the plane being horizontal in the preferred embodiment. An angle of up to about 15 has been found particular-1y satisfactory. Preferably, all of the nozzles 68 extend downwardly at the same angle and are fixed relative to the header as no adjustment thereof is required. A special angle nozzle 70 may also be provided which extends downwardly at a diflerent angle, and horizontal nozzles 72 may also be provided, or any suitable combination of the foregoing may be used. The nozzles 70 and 72, if provided, should preferably be oifset horizontally from the plane into which the nozzles 68 emit their jets in order to avoid interference therewith. The nozzles 70 and 72 may be provided to direct streams of the cleaning fluid into otherwise relatively inaccessible areas. A plurality of preferably upwardly inclined nozzles 73 may also be provided. The header 50 also includes a horizontal overhead pipe 74 which carries a plurality of nozzles 76 which are directed downwardly toward the workpiece. Preferably the nozzles 76 are inclined downwardly from a horizontal plane at an angle of about 60.

The header 52 has a plurality of nozzles 80* directed upwardly preferably at the same angle at which the nozzles 73 are directed downwardly. The header 52 may also be provided, if desired or required, with a special angle nozzle 82, corresponding to the special angle nozzle 70, and/or horizontal nozzles 84, corresponding to the horizontal nozzles 72. Downwardly pointing'nozzles 85, corresponding to the nozzles 68, may also be provided. The header 52 also may -be provided with an overhead pipe 86 communicating with an opening 87 in the plate 65 and having a plurality of downwardly pointing nozzles 88, corresponding generally to the nozzles 76. There is substantially no distortion of the reservoir 18 and substantially no binding of the headers 50 and 52.

Any of the foregoing nozzles may be of any suitable design and may constitute appropriate apertures in the walls of the headers 50 and 52.

Inclining the nozzles 73 and 80 downwardly and upwardly at generally the same angle relative to their respective headers serves two important functions. First, providing nozzles at various angles insures that all cavities and other relatively inaccessible areas of the workpiece will be directly contacted -by a stream of the cleaning fluid emitted from the nozzles. Secondly, the angular relationship between the nozzles 73 and 80 allows the nozzles 80 to emit fluid streams generally in opposition to the fluid streams emitted from the nozzles 73; i.e., the

force exerted by the fluid streams from the nozzles 73 is substantially cancelled or balanced by the force of the jets emitting from the nozzles 80. As the fluid streams emitted by the nozzles may be under high pressure, if this force-balancing effect is not provided then it may require considerably greater driving force to rotate the supporting member 38 and the workpiece. In addition, without such force-balancing, the respective fluid streams might tend to tip or move the workpiece within the cleaning section 14.

A fixed manifold 90 connects the headers 50 and 52 with a source of cleaning fluid 20. The manifold 90 is connected to the tubular member 58 (of header 52 and correspondingly to header 50). The manifold 90 also has a plurality of upwardly pointing nozzles 93 which direct streams of the cleaning fluid upwardly between the rotating spokes 42 of the ring and onto the bottom or under portion of the workpiece. A U-bolt 91 secures the manifold 90 to the base plate 54. Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the U-bolt 91 retains the manifold 90 within a recess 92 in the plate 54 with a manifold opening 94 positioned in alignment with a base plate opening 95 and the interior of the tubular member 58. An annular sealing member 96, such as an O-ring, is positioned around the opening 94 and between the base plate 54 and the manifold 90. The manifold 90 is connected to the header in a manner similar to that described herein above regarding the header 52.

Although the use of two opposed headers in generally preferred, it should be understood that any suitable number of headers may be employed. If desired, several rows of nozzles ejecting fluid streams in one or more directions may be provided on each of the headers.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, means is provided to rotate and oscillate the nozzles 68, 72, and 73 and the header 50 and the nozzles 80, 82, 84, and and the header 52 along predetermined arcuate paths for causing the cleaning fluid 20 to strike various portions of the workpiece and at varying angles of impingment in the same area. Such means includes a motor 97 driving an adjustable crank 97a secured to a centrally located motor shaft 98, a pair of links 99 and 100 pivotally connected to the crank 97a and a pair of headerassociated driving links and 112 pivotally connected to the links 99 and 100, respectively. The driving links 110 and 112 are rigidly connected to the respective headers 50 and 52. It is apparent that rotation of the motor 94 will cause oscillation of the headers 50 and 52 through the above described linking means. Oscillation of the nozzles through an arcuate pattern provides comprehensive coverage of the rotating workpiece.

The rotating and oscillating means will cause the header 50 to rotate in a clockwise direction when the header 52 is rotating in a counterclockwise direction and will cause the header 50 to rotate in a counterclockwise direction when the header 52 is rotating in a clockwise direction. The nozzles in the headers 50 and 52 have a dead center position in which the fluid jets emitted from the nozzles are all in substantially the same plane, such plane also preferably including the longitudinal or central axes of the cleaning section 14 and the carriage 34. As the motor 97 rotates the shaft 98, the headers 50 and 52 rotate at the same rate from the dead center position. The purpose of rotating and oscillating the headers 50 and 52 together in this fashion is to reduce the force acting on the engine block tending to resist rotation thereof with the support member 38. That is, if the nozzles were to oscillate so that they would exert a couple on the workpiece, then a motor 49 having a greater horsepower would be required to rotate the support member 38.

For all-purpose work it has been found that rapidly oscillating the headers through approximately 12 to 15 cycles per minute while rotating the support member 38 and the workpiece about once every two minutes produces optimum results. The arc through which the headers 50 and 52 are oscillated is preferably about 60. At the extremities of the cycle the jets of cleaning fiuid are preferably tangential to the workpiece. Of course, the speed of the rotation of the support member 38, the speed of oscillation of the headers 50 and 52, and the length of the are through which the headers oscillate can all be appropriately varied to suit particular cleaning requirements of the specific object being cleaned. Oscillation through a 60 cycle (30 on each side of the dead center position) has only a slight effect on force-balancing of the fluid streams.

An important feature of this invention is that the nozzles on the headers 51) and 52 preferably oscillate through a number of cycles which is not a whole number while the support member is rotated through one revolution. By operating in this manner, the jets of cleaning fluid strike different portions of the workpiece during each successive rotation of the support member 38. By way of illustration, after about five to seven rotations of the support member 38 substantially every point on the surface of the workpiece will have been subjected to a direct or close blasting of the jets of the cleaning fluid 20. Thus, an entire engine block may be cleaned without manual adjustment of the nozzles. In some instances an entire engine block may be thoroughly cleaned within two minutes. Still another advantage of the rapid oscillation of the nozzles and the slow rotation of the support member 38 is to insure that each of the jets of cleaning fluid will strike directly against the surface fluid from adjacent rather than impinging against spent fluid from an adjacent or opposed nozzle, thereby dissipating much of the energy of the jet prior to the time the jet strikes the workpiece.

As indicated earlier, one distinct advantage of the present invention resides in the eflicient filtering and reusing of the cleaning fluid. Thus, as illustrated particularly in FIG. 2, the cleaning fluid 21} after impinging against the workpiece drains downwardly within the cleaning section 14 onto a downwardly sloping wall or base plate 116 and toward an opening 114. The base plate 116 constitutes the upper zone of a sloping wall the lower zone of which comprises a filter or filter means 118. The base plate 116 in turn directs the cleaning fluid onto the sloping filter 118.

As the cleaning fluid 20 flows downwardly over the base plate 116 and onto the filter 118 it carries with it both relatively large particles of debris and relatively small particles of debris which have been removed from the workpiece. The larger particles are readily trapped on the upper surface of the slanted filter 118, but the filtered cleaning fluid 20 containing the smaller particles is permitted to rapidly pass through the filter and into the reservoir 18, from which the cleaning fluid is pumped back to the nozzles for reuse, as will be hereinafter described. The perforations in the filter 118 are generally about 0.015-0.030 openings. The filter 118 has a substantial self-cleaning action, since as the larger particles of debris accumulate on the upper surface of the filter they are flushed downwardly along the surface of the sloping filter into a basin or trap 120 located at the lowermost end of the filter 118. A second filter 122 is also provided sloping upwardly away from the bottom of the trap 120. The filter 122 serves to filter any of the cleaning fluid 20 which may pass into the trap 120, as Well as serving another important function, as will be hereinafter described. Because of its slope the filter 122 produces a self-cleaning action similar to the filter 118, which is important in a rapidly recirculating system such as that provided herein.

Preferably, the filter 118 is not immersed in the cleaning fluid 20 contained in the reservoir 18, and thus the filter does not tend to plug up. The base plate 116 extends over the entire width of the cleaning chamber 14 and the filter 118 covers the entire area above the cleaning fluid level between the end of the base plate 116 and the 9. tfa 120 is a trough-shaped unit having a bottom 120a an upstanding side walls 121. Similarly, the filter 122 covers the entire width of the reservoir 18 from the bottom of the trap 120 to the exterior wall of the reservoir 18. Thus, the cleaning and loading sections 14 and 16, respectively, are substantially separated from the interior of the tank 18 by the base plate 116, the filter 118, the trap 120, and the filter 122. The filters 118 and 122 are removable from the apparatus for replacement or, in the event it is required, manual cleaning thereof. It should also be noted that the filter 122 and the trap 120 may be connected so as to form an integral unit. Thus, when it is desired to remove the filter 122 and trap 120 from the reservoir 18 for cleaning, a hook from the hoist used to lift engine blocks onto the loading section 16 may be secured to a ring or handle 123 located on the trap 120 and the entire integral unit lifted from the reservoir.

After the cleaning fluid 20 containing the smaller particles of debris has passed through the filter 118 and in some instances through the filter 122 and into the reservoir 18, it can be reused, and is preferably reused a substantial number of times. Referring particularly to FIG. 3, a conduit 124 extends into the reservoir 18 and is connected to the intake portion of a pump 126. Upon operation of a motor 128 the cleaning fluid 20 is pumped upwardly from the reservoir 18 through a conduit 124, into the intake portion of the pump 126, through an inwardly directed pipe 129 and then through the fixed manifold 90 and thereafter to the headers 50 and 52 and the pipes 74 and 86, and to and through the nozzles of the headers and the pipes 74, 86, and 90, being directed at, and at least a portion of the cleaning fluid impinging, the workpiece. It has been found that it is advantageous to provide a generally straight pump intake rather than a curved intake.

The smaller particles in the recirculated cleaning fluid 20 when jetted against the workpiece are considerably abrasive and substantially enhance the cleaning action of the cleaning fluid. In addition, the smaller particles which are dispersed in the recirculated cleaning fluid reduce the foaming of the cleaning fluid. Uncontrolled foaming of the cleaning fluid can cause the reservoir 18 to overflow and can also cause the pump 126 to cavitate. The cleaning fluid 20, it will be remembered, is usually a caustic solution, and when the caustic is mixed with oils and greases removed from a workpiece such as an engine block, soap and resulting foaming are produced.

It is preferred, therefore, that the smaller particles not be permitted to settle to the bottom of the reservoir 18 but that they be dispersed in the recirculated cleaning fluid 20. Referring particularly to FIG. 3, this dispersion may be provided by a hydraulic agitator which includes a circular perforated pipe 130 lying along or near the bottom of the reservoir 18. The pipe 130 is connected into the manifold 90 from which it is supplied a recirculated portion of the cleaning fluid 20. The flow of recirculated cleaning fluid to the pipe 130 may be regulated by an automatic or manual valve (not shown) so that cleaning fluid is only directed to the pipe 130 as desired. The fluid discharged by the perforations in the pipe 130 hydraulical- 1y agitates the sludge and abrasive particles which tend to settle to the bottom of the reservoir 18 and disperses them throughout the cleaning fluid 20. If desired, of course, other suitable agitation means may be provided such as mechanical agitation means and the like.

The cleaning action of the fluid 20 is improved as the temperature thereof is increased, preferably to a relatively hot temperature, which may be preselected, such as a temperature of about 160 F., and generally the temperature is within the range of about 160 F. to about 200 F. Heating means which may be provided is illustrated particularly by referring to FIG. 2. The heating means includes a burner or firebox 132 which supplies heat to and through a pipe or heat-exchange member 134, which sup- 10 plies heat to the cleaning fluid 20. Preferably, the burner 132 is operated at a high temperature only when the pump 126 is in operation. As illustrated in this embodiment, a flue 136 is connected to the heat-exchange member 134 for escape of heat exchanged gases, including heat exchanged air.

The cleaning action of the fluid 20 also increases with the pressure of the fluid of the fluid ejected through the nozzles, and the pressure should, therefore, be high, for example, 500 psi. and above.

Particularly, in high-volume operations, it may be de sirable to utilize a multiple unit or apparatus which is capable of simultaneously cleaning a plurality of workpieces, such as a plurality of engine blocks. A single cleaning fluid reservoir and associated components corresponding to those earlier described can be used.

In addition, fixtures (not shown) of various designs may be provided to hold several workpieces such as crankshafts, oil pans, etc. for simultaneous cleaning. The design of the fixture will depend on the shape and size of the workpiece or workpieces. For example, one such fixture can be a wire basket. When such fixtures are used, they may be positioned or secured to the support member 38 in much the same manner as described above. If necessary, means for rigidly'securing the fixture, or engine block or other workpiece, to the support member 38 may also be provided.

An important feature of this invention is that in addition to the earlier described function of the second obliquely extending filter 122, the filter also permits simple and efficient cleaning of the trap and reservoir 18 of accumulated and undesired debris. For example, the operator can open or remove the liquid or cover 22 and merely tilt the reservoir 18 toward the filter 122, such as by attaching to the reservoir a hook used to hoist engine blocks and baskets. The spent cleaning fluid 20 is then permitted to drain through the filter 122, and the debris in the reservoir 18 is filtered out of the spent cleaning fluid and remains in the reservoir. This debris is practically dry and can be readily removed and easily disposed of. Access to the debris in the reservoir is obtained by removing the filter 122 and the trap 120 and then reaching manually through an opening 123 into the reservoir. Then the debris is scooped up and removed from the reservoir and disposed of. Thereafter, fresh cleaning fluid may be introduced through the filter 122 or introduced into the reservoir through the opening 123 with the filter removed therefrom. The filter 122 may be provided with openings smaller than those provided in the filter 118 to further facilitate filtering of spent cleaning fluid.

The trap 120 may be cleaned of debris by removing or opening the lid 22 and the accumulated debris in the trap then easily removed therefrom and disposed of.

Other apparatus (not shown) for the present invention may also be provided, such as a cleaning fluid-level gauge carried by the reservoir 18, means for automatically maintaining the level of the cleaning fluid 20 in the reservoir by automatically introducing additional (fresh) cleaning fluid or water therein, and means for automatically controlling and maintaining the temperature of the cleaning fluid. Other suitable apparatus known to those skilled in the art may also be provided.

Thus, the present invention provides compact apparatus for rapidly and efliciently cleaning workpieces such as engine blocks and the like, and permits the reuse of cleaning fluid on successive workpieces, with the distinct advantages of using the combination of filters described.

Various changes, modifications, and substitutions may be made in the present invention by one having ordinary skill in the art without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

We claim as our invention:

1. In a cleaning apparatus, the combination of:

(a) a supporting structure providing a cleaning-fluid reservoir and a cleaning chamber above and communication with said reservoir;

(b) jet means in said cleaning chamber for spraying cleaning fluid from said reservoir on an object to be cleaned within said cleaning chamber;

() a sloping wall carried by said supporting structure and positioned directly beneath said cleaning chamber to receive cleaning fluid sprayed against the object and debris removed from the object by the cleaning fluid;

(d) said sloping wall having a lowermost zone comprising first filter means for removing larger particles of debris from the cleaning fluid falling onto said sloping wall and for passing a major portion of the cleaning fluid falling onto said sloping wall, and smaller particles of debris, to said reservoir;

(e) said first filter means having a lower edge over which at least some of the cleaning fluid falling on said sloping wall, and larger particles of debris, are discharged;

(f) a trap below and communicating with said lower edge of said first filter means for collecting the larger particles of debris discharged over said lower edge; and

(g) said trap being provided with a second filter means for returning to said reservoir the cleaning fluid discharged over said lower edge of said first filter means, said second filter means is located on the side of said trap opposite said lower edge of said first filter means and slops upwardly from the bottom of said trap.

2. A cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein at least said first filter means is positioned above the level of cleaning fluid in said reservoir.

3. A cleaning apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said sloping wall is imperforate above said lowermost zone thereof to cause the cleaning fluid falling on said sloping wall to flood the upper surface of said first filter means.

4. A cleaning apparatus as set forth in claim 1 includmg:

(a) an opening in said supporting structure and communicating with said reservoir through which opening fresh cleaning fluid may be added and spent cleaning fluid and accumulated debris withdrawn; and

(b) means removably secured to said supporting structure for closing said opening.

5. A cleaning apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first and second filter means are removably mounted on said supporting structure.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,894,631 7/1959 Levit et al 1341 11 XR 2,949,120 8/1960 Federighi et al. 134111 XR 1,605,961 11/1926 Loew 134111 2,229,663 1/ 1941 Meeker et al. 3,070,104 12/1962 Faust et a1 134165 XR FOREIGN PATENTS 607,778 9/ 1948 Great Britain.

ROBERT L. BLEUTGE, Primary Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R. l34-1l1,

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PATENT OFFICE Washington, 0.6. 20231 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,439,689 April 22, 1969 Emil Zadron et al.

It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 2, line 47, "the" should read this Column 7, line 29, "in" should read is Column 8, line 30, "fluid from adjacent" should read of the workpiece Column 9, line 1, after "120" insert The trap 120 line 28, "inwardly" should read upwardly Column 10, line 33, "liquid" should read lid Column 11, line 30, "slops should read slopes Signed and sealed this 14th day of April 1970.

(SEAL) Attest:

WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR.

Commissioner of Patents Edward M. Fletcher, J r.

Attesting Officer

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Classifications
U.S. Classification134/104.4, 134/111, 134/165
International ClassificationB08B3/02
Cooperative ClassificationB08B3/02
European ClassificationB08B3/02