US 3452763 A
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July 1, 1969 T. B. BALLARD CLEANING MACHINE WITH TUMBLING MEANS Sheet Filed Sept. 22. 1967 INVENTOR [THOMAS B. BALLARD FIG-3 July 1, 1969 'r. B. BALLARD CLEANING MACHINE WITH TUMBLING MEANS Sheet Filed Sept. 22. 1967 R m A N EL M 8 3 S A M 0 H T ATTORNEYS.
United States Patent US. Cl. 134-96 16 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for cleaning large and small engine parts within a closed housing having a novel, spring-balanced lid. The large parts are supported on a vaned turntable, and the small parts disposed in a motor-driven tumbler basket. A cleaning solution stored in a reservoir below the turntable is pressurized, discharged against the vanes to rotate the turntable, and discharged against the large engine part to clean it as it is rotated. A trough, supported below the turna-ble and above the reservoir collects the cleaning solution which is recirculated to the reservoir, and a by-pass conduit connected to the trough provides means for diverting rinse solutions to a drain to avoid diluting the cleaning solution.
CROSS-REFERENCE T 0 RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 606,839 filed Jan. 3, 1967, for Cleaning Machine.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to machines for cleaning parts such as engine blocks and their related components and more particularly to such a machine having means for recirculating a cleaning solution between a storage chamber and a cleaning chamber with means for introducing a rinse solution into the cleaning chamber without diluting the cleaning solution.
Description of the prior art In my aforementioned copending application, a novel form of a machine for cleaning engine blocks and the like was disclosed. This machine essentially consists of a workpiece supporting turntable mounted in a housing above a reservoir. Cleaning solutiton contained Within the reservoir is continuously pumped to a manifold having nozzles which direct the solution at a series of vanes carried around the periphery of the turntable with a suflicient force to rotate the turntable. A series of upright conduits extend from the manifold and direct the pressurized solution at the rotating engine block. The interior cavities of the block as well as the exterior surfaces are cleaned by the solution in a matter of a few minutes as opposed to amuch longer time when conventional machines are employed.
The pressure of the cleaning solution which produces the best cleaning spray tends to cause the turntable, if unrestrained, to rotate at an extremely high rate. In order to reduce the rotational rate of the turntable, the cleaniug machine disclosed in my aforementioned application employs a paddle which extends from the turntable and into the storage reservoir. The paddle provides a suflicient retarding force opposing rotation of the turntable that the engine block rotates at a fairly slow rate thereby permitting the cleaning spray to remove the accumulated oil, grease and the like.
Cleaning machines of this character, including the machine of my aforementioned application, employ a very strong caustic solution to dissolve the grease and oil from the engine blocks and other engine components. It is desirable that the system recirculate this caustic solution in an undiluted state in order to obtain the full benefits of the cleaning chemicals. However, it is necessary that upon completion of the cleaning cycle the engine block be rinsed in order to remove the cleaning solution. Water is normally employed as a rinsing medium. It is conventional practice to remove the block from conventional cleaning machines in order to rinse the solution from the block. The reason is to prevent the rinsing solution from diluting the cleaning solution. It is one of the purposes of the present invention to provide an improved cleaning machine for engine blocks and the like which is constructed so that the engine block can be rinsed in the cleaning chamber Without diluting the cleaning solution.
The machine disclosed in my aforementioned patent application has a lid which opens to provide access to the cleaning chamber. The lid, as well as the tank, is of an insulated construction and for this reason has a substantial weight. To assist the operator in raising the lid to obtain access to the cleaning chamber, the present invention provides 'a lid balancing arrangement which acts to counterbalance the weight of the lid in a partially open position.
Cleaning machines normally are designed to clean relatively large objects with the smaller engine components being cleaned either manually or in special machines adapted for this purpose. Another purpose of the present invention is to incorporate means for cleaning relatively small parts in the same machine employed for cleaning the block.
SUMMARY The preferred embodiment of the present invention, which will be subsequently described in greater detail takes the form of an insulated enclosure having a lid mounted for pivotal movement about a horizontal axis to open and close access to the interior of the enclosure. The upper half of the enclosure forms a cleaning chamber and the lower half forms a reservoir for containing the cleaning solution. The engine block is mounted on a turntable which is supported in the cleaning chamber.
The reservoir is partitioned into a pair of subchambers including a sludge settling tank and a solution storage tank. The storage tank is immediately below the cleaning chamber and the settling tank forms a rearward extension of the storage tank.
The cleaning solution is normally circulated through the machine by initially being Withdrawn from the bottom of the storage tank, filtered and pressurized by a pump. The pressurized solution is delivered to a manifold in the cleaning chamber which delivers a portion of the solution to a series of vanes carried on the periphery of tlie turntable. This rotates the turntable and the engine b ock.
A series of upright tubular members extending from the manifold are perforated to direct a spray of the pressurized cleaning solution toward the rotating engine block with a suflicient force to remove any foreign matter from the block. A paddle carried by the turntable and immersed within the storage tank provides a retarding force to reduce the speed of the turntable to an acceptable rate in order to produce an effective cleaning operation.
A trough in the bottom of the cleaning chamber collects the cleaning solution. Normally the solution fills the trough and overflows into the settling tank where the sludge settles to the bottom. The solution then overflows from the settling tank into the storage tank.
A conduit connects the collection trough to a drain and has a normally closed valve providing communication between the trough and the drain. At the end of a cleaning cycle, a rinse solution, normally water, is directed on the engine block in the storage chamber. In order to prevent the possibility of the rinse solution diluting the cleaning solution, the bypass conduit is opened so that the rinse water flows from the trough to the drain. This structure prevents any dilution of the cleaning solutions.
A tumbler preferably taking the form of a rotatably mounted wire basket, is disposed in the solution in the settling tank. A motor rotates the tumbler so that the smaller engine components can be cleaned concurrently with the engine block.
A novel form of a counterbalance system assists the operator in raising the lid when he desires access to the cleaning chamber. The counterbalance arrangement, unlike conventional counterbalancing devices, is operative during a limited arc of lid movement. It assists the operator in raising the lid from a fully closed position to an upright position where the center of gravity of the lid is substantially vertically aligned above the pivotal axis of the lid. The counterbalance device is inoperative when the lid is moved from this upright position toward a fully open position.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a cleaning machine for engine blocks and the like having means for circulating a cleaning solution through a closed cycle and adapted for the introduction of a rinse solution into the cleaning chamber without diluting the cleaning solution.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a cleaning chamber for a cleaning machine with trough means for collecting solutions introduced into the cleaning chamber and a drain conduit connected to the trough having a normally closed valve so that solutions normally overflow from the trough into a reservoir, however, when the valve is open the solutions bypass the reservoir and are delivered to a drain.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a cleaning machine having a cleaning chamber for cleaning a relatively large article such as an engine block and tumbler means for cleaning relatively small engine components.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel form of spring bias means for counterbalaneing a relatively heavy lid wvhen the lid is moved between raised and lowered positions during a portion of its arc of movement and which is inoperative during other portions of the arc.
Still further objects and advantages of the present invention will readily occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains upon reference to the following detailed description.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The description refers to the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a cleaning machine illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention with the lid in the rinse position;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary view of the preferred cleaning machine with the lid in the fully closed position and showing the counterbalance spring in its extended condition;
FIGURE 3 is an elevational sectional view through the preferred cleaning machine with the front most portion of the machine disposed to the right side; and
FIGURE 4 is a view showing the preferred cleaning machine with the enclosure in phantom to illustrate the cycle of the cleaning solution, and also showing the turntable and paddle assembly separated from the cleaning chamber.
4 DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, the preferred cleaning machine comprises an insulated enclosure '10 which is internally divided to define a cleaning chamber 12, a cleaning solution storagd chamber 14 below the cleaning chamber 12 and a sludge settling chamber 16 which is disposed rearwardly of the storage chamber 14. A cover or lid 18 is pivotally connected as by hinges 20 to the enclosure 10 and provides access to the cleaning chamber 12. Similarly a cover 22 is pivotally connected as by hinges 24 to provide access to the settling chamber 16.
The lid 18 has three operative positions including a fully closed position illustrated in FIGURE 2, a partially open or rinse position illustrated in FIGURE 1 and a fully opened position wherein an engine block or other large part can be disposed in or removed from the cleaning chamber 12. The rinse position permits suflicient access to the cleaning chamber 12 for an operator to direct a pressurized stream of a rinse solution such as water on an engine block. A spray shield 26 carried along each lateral side of the lid 18 prevents the rinse solution from being deflected exteriorly of the cleaning machine.
A support 28 is carried on each side of the lid 18. Each support 28 extends rearwardly and upwardly and is connected to an elongated coil spring 30.
A pair of tubular members 32 are pivotally mounted to supports 34 which extend rearwardly from the upper end of the enclosure 10 and which are disposed below the supports 28. The lower end of each spring 30 extends through the tubular members 32 and carries an abutment 36 which has a transverse dimension larger than the diameter of the tubular members 32. The springs 30 function essentially as a counterbalancing means [when the lid 18 is in a position intermediate its rinse position and its fully closed position. In the fully closed position, the abutments 36 engage the lower end of the tubular members 32 so that the springs 30 are stretched and apply a tensile force acting on the supports 28 in a direction tending to raise the lid 18 upwardly. This biasing force on the lid 18 assists the operator in raising the lid 18 from its fully closed position toward an open position. As the lid 18 is raised, the upper ends of the spring 30 approach the tubular member 32 so that the lifting force applied by the springs is gradually reduced as the lid moves through an arc toward the rinse position.
The rinse position substantially coincides to a position wherein the center of gravity of the lid 18 is vertically aligned over the hinge axis of the lid 18. In the rinse position, the springs 30 assume an unstressed condition. That is to say that the springs do not apply a biasing force on the lid 18 when it is essentially in a balanced position.
The springs 30 are chosen so that in the rinse position, the lid 18 is inclined slightly toward the closed position with the springs 30 functioning as links retaining the lid in position so that the operator does not have to manpulate the lid while rinsing the engine block. When the user pivots the lid 18 toward a fully open position, the abutments 36 drop below the lower ends of the tubular supports 32, as can best be seen in FIGURE 1, so that the springs 30 are essentially disconnected between the lid '18 and the enclosure 10.
The cleaning chamber 12 is separated from the storage chamber 14 by an apertured support plate 38 which is best shown in FIGURE 4. The plate 38 is joined as by welding to the interior of the enclosure 10 along both its front and both sides, however, it is unsupported along its rear edge. As can best be seen in FIGURE 3, the rear edge of the support plate 38 is formed into a trough 40 so that solutions or other liquids introduced into the cleaning chamber 12 are collected by the trough 40.
Referring to FIGURE 1, a discharge conduit 42 conmeets the trough 40 to a drain 44. A push-pull valve 46 connected in the conduit 42 is adapted to open and close communication between the trough 40 and the drain 44. When the valve 46 is open, liquids in the trough 40 are delivered by gravity to the drain 44. When the valve 46 is closed, a liquid in the trough 40 accumulates until it overflows into the settling chamber 16.
An elongated handle 48 extends forwardly of the front side of the enclosure so that the operator can observe the condition of the valve 46 at a glance by the position of the outer end of the handle 48. Thus when the handle 48 is in its fully extended position the valve 46 is closed. Illustrated in FIGURE 1 is a two headed arrow which indicates the direction of travel of the handle 48.
A perforated, substantially flat strainer 50 is disposed over the trough 40 and provides means for separating foreign matter from the cleaning and rinse solutions as they pour from the cleaning chamber 12.
The storage chamber 14 and the settling chamber 16 are separated by a partition 52 which subdivides the lower interior of the enclosure 10 and extends upwardly adjacent the trough 40. When the valve 46 is closed, the liquids in the trough overflow into the settling chamber 16. The sludge in the cleaning solution settles in the settling chamber 16. The cleaning solution then overflows from the settling chamber 16 into the storage chamber 14.
The engine block is mounted on a turntable 54 which is supported for rotation in the cleaning chamber 12. The turntable preferably has a circular configuration and carries a downwardly depending shaft 56 which is rotatably mounted by a bearing 58 to a support plate 60. The support plate 60 is removably mounted on the support 38 and is dimensioned so that it closes off the central aperture in the support 38 to provide a substantially continuous bottom for the cleaning chamber 12 and to direct the cleaning and rinse solutions to the trough 40.
A series of regularly spaced vanes 62 are mounted on the periphery of the turntable 54 and face in a direction generally tangential to the axis of rotation of the turntable 54.
A pair of paddle members 64 are carried at the lower end of the shaft 56 below the normal level of the cleaning solution. The members 64 provide a retarding force opposing the rotation of the shaft 56 and the turntable 54.
As can best be seen in FIGURE 4, the cleaning solution in the storage chamber 14 is withdrawn from the lower part of the chamber into a perforated inlet tube 66 and through a conduit 68 to a filter 70. The solution is delivered to the suction side of a pump 72 which in turn pressurizes the solution and delivers it to a U-shaped manifold 74.
The perforated inlet tube 66 obviates the tendency of the cleaning solution, as it is withdrawn from the storage chamber 14, to form air bubbles and thereby eliminates the tendency of the pump 72 to become air bound. This tendency of the solution to form bubbles or to vaporize is intensified in that the solution is normally heated to a relatively high cleaning temperature by a heating unit 75 which extends into the storage chamber 14.
The U-shaped manifold 74 extends around the periphery of the turntable 54 and has a series of apertures 76 facing the vanes 62. Thus the pressurized solution from the pump 72 is directed at the vanes 62 and produces a driving force sufficient to rotate the turntable 54 about its axis with an engine block 77 mounted on its upper surface. A pair of tubular members 78 having upper capped ends extend upwardly from the rear corners of the manifold 74. Each of the upright tubular members 78 has a series of apertures 80 which deliver a pressurized stream of cleaning solution from the manifold 74 and toward the rotating engine block 77. A second pair of tubular members 82 having upper capped ends also extend upwardly from adjacent the ends of the legs of the manifold 74. The upright tubular members 82 also have a series of apertures 84 which deliver pressurized cleaning solution toward the rotatingengine block 77.
For purposes of maintenance, it is desirable to remove the turntable 54 and its associated components from the enclosure 10. As can best be seen in FIGURE 3, the turntable 54 is mounted below the manifold 74. The upright tubular members 78 and 32 are preferably threadably attached to the manifold 74. This permits the tubular members 78 and 82 to be separated from the manifold 74 which can then be pivoted about its intermediate section, as can best be seen in FIGURE 4 and as indicated by the double headed circular arrow, with the legs of the manifold being moved toward an upright position shown in phantom thereby permitting the turntable to be removed from the enclosure 10.
It can therefore be seen that the preferred cleaning machine employs a pressurized solution from a common source to rotate the turntable 54 as well as to clean the engine block 77 as it rotates under the influence of the fluid impinging upon the vanes 62. It has been found that the pressure which achieves an optimum cleaning spray also rotates the turntable at an abnormally high rate, if unretarded. Therefore, the surface area of the paddle members 64 is chosen to reduce the unretarded rate of rotation of the turntable to an acceptable rate that will permit the cleaning spray to remove the grease and other foreign matter from the engine block 77 as it rotates.
It is customary practice to employ a highly caustic cleaning solution which is continuously cycled during a cleaning operation from the storage chamber 14 to the cleaning chamber 12 where it is sprayed on the engine block and then falls by gravity to the lower part of the cleaning chamber for collection in the trough 40. Normally during the cleaning cycle, the valve 46 is closed so that the cleaning solution overflows from the trough 40 into the settling chamber 16 where the sludge settles to the bottom of the settling chamber. The cleaning solution then flows over the partition 52 where it returns to the storage chamber 14 to complete the cycle. At the end of the cleaning cycle, which normally takes but a few minutes, the operator deenergizes the pump 72 in order to discontinue the circulation of the caustic cleaning solution. He opens the valve 46 and raises the lid 18 to the rinse position. The operator then introduces a rinse solution into the cleaning chamber 12 below the partially open lid 18 in order to remove the cleaning solution from the engine block 77. Normally the rinse solution is water. The rinse solution falls by gravity to the bottom of the cleaning chamber 12, flows into the trough 40 and then is delivered to the drain 44 through the conduit 42.
Thus it can be seen that the preferred cleaning machine has optional drain means association with the cleaning chamber 12. Normally the liquid solution in the cleaning chamber 12 flows into the trough 40 and then is recycled into the settling chamber 16 and the storage chamber 14. However, the valve 46 and conduit 42 provides means for diverting the normal flow from the cleaning chamber 12 to the drain 44. This eliminates the possibility of the rinse solution diluting the cleaning solution and thereby permits the operator to both clean and rinse the engine block 77 in the cleaning machine. This eliminates the necessity of removing the engine block 77 from the cleaning machine to a remote area in order to perform the rinse operation.
A tumbler basket 86 is mounted below the cover 22 and extends below the normal liquid level in the settling cham ber 16. The tumbling basket 86 is supported by Support means (not shown) and is coupled by a drive chain 88 to a motor means 90 mounted on the upper surface of the cover 22. The operator normally disposes the smaller engine components into the tumbler basket 86. When the cover 22 is closed, the smaller engine components are immersed in the cleaning solution in the settling chamber 16. As the motor 90 rotates the tumbler basket 86', the smaller engine components are cleaned in the same solution as the engine block 77. This allows the operator to clean all components of the engine simultaneously. The larger particles of foreign matter that are removed from the engine components in the tumbler basket 86 settle to the bottom of the settling chamber 16 so that the cleaning solution returns to the storage chamber 14 in a relatively clean condition.
It is to be understood that I have described an improved cleaning machine for removing foreign matter such as grease and the like from engine blocks and its associated smaller engine components by providing a housing which is internally divided into a cleaning chamber and a lower reservoir which is subdivided into a settling chamber and a storage chamber. Means are provided for continuously cycling heated caustic cleaning solution from the storage chamber to the cleaning chamber wherein the cleaning solution provides means for rotating the turntable on which the engine block is supported and for applying a high pressure spray on the rotating engine block. The S lution then returns to the settling chamber and then to the storage chamber. Optional drain means are provided so that a rinse water can be introduced into the cleaning chamber without diluting the cleaning solution. A novel form of counterbalance mechanism has been disclosed to assist the operator in raising the cover to a partially open position associated with the rinse operation and a fully opened position so that the operator can either rem0ve or dispose an engine block within the cleaning chamber. In addition I have described a tumbler means for cleaning smaller engine components simultaneously with the engine block by employing the same cleaning solution as it circulates through a cleaning cycle.
It is to be understood that although I have described but one embodiment of my invention, various changes and revisions can be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention as expressed in the scope of the appended claims.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. Cleaning apparatus, comprising:
(a) an enclosure having a cleaning chamber;
(b) article-support means mounted in said cleaning chamber;
(0) means forming a liquid reservoir below said cleaning chamber;
(d) means for delivering a liquid, under pressure, into said cleaning chamber from said reservoir;
(e) a trough supported above said reservoir for collecting liquids delivered into said cleaning chamher; and
(f) by-pass means connected to the trough, the bypass means being operable either to divert collected liquids from the trough to a drain, or to overflow the collected liquids from the trough into the reservoir for recirculation to the cleaning chamber such that a first liquid can be recirculated between the reservoir and the cleaning chamber without being diluted by an alternative, second liquid that is delivered into the cleaning chamber.
2. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said bypass means comprises a drain conduit connecting said trough to a drain, and valve means disposed in said drain conduit and operable to open and close communication between said trough and said drain.
3. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 2, including filter means for straining foreign materials from liquids flowing from said cleaning chamber to said reservoir.
4. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, including a tumbler, means supporting said tumbler within the liquid in said reservoir, and means for rotating said tumbler so that relatively small articles contained in said tumbler are cleaned by the liquid in said reservoir.
5. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, including partition means dividing said reservoir into a pair of subchambers including a settling chamber and a storage chamber, and said trough is supported at the lowermost portion of said cleaning chamber such that collected liquids can overflow from the trough into the settling chamber, and then pass into the storage chamber for recirculation to the cleaning chamber.
6. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 5, including a tumbler, means supporting said tumbler within the liquid in said reservoir and means for rotating said tumbler so that relatively small articles contained in said tumbler are cleaned.
7. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 6, including conduit means for withdrawing liquid from said storage chamber, and including a perforated tubular member providing an inlet to said conduit means.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, in which said article-support means comprise a turntable rotatably mounted within the cleaning chamber, including a series of vanes carried on the turntable, and a manifold mounted in the cleaning chamber for receiving liquid from the reservoir and directing the liquid against the vanes to rotate the turntable.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, in which said article-support means comprise a turntable rotatably mounted within the cleaning chamber including means for rotating said turntable, and a manifold mounted in the cleaning chamber for receiving liquid under pressure from the reservoir and directing the liquid toward an article supported on the turntable to clean the article.
10. The apparatus as defined in claim 9, in which the means for rotating the turntable comprise a series of vanes connected to the turntable, and said manifold is formed to direct liquid received from the reservoir against the vanes.
11. The apparatus as defined in claim 9, including a paddle rotatably supported in the reservoir so as to be immersed in liquid therein, and connected to the tumtable to retard its rotation by the liquid being directed against the vanes.
12. Cleaning apparatus, comprising:
(a) an enclosure having a cleaning chamber, and a liquid reservoir below the cleaning chamber;
(b) a turntable rotatably mounted within the cleaning chamber, and suited for supporting an article for cleaning;
(0) a series of vanes carried on the turntable;
(d) means for delivering a liquid from the reservoir, and introducing the liquid under pressure into the chamber against the vanes to rotate the turntable;
(e) a paddle rotatably supported in the reservoir so as to be immersed in liquid therein, and connected to the turntable to retard its rotation by the liquid being directed against its vanes; and
(t) means for collecting liquids delivered into the cleaning chamber, and either passing the collected liquids to the reservoir, or diverting the collected liquids to a drain such that first and second liquids can, alternatively, be delivered into the cleaning chamber, the first liquid being recirculated between the reservoir and the cleaning chamber without being diluted by the second liquid being passed to the drain.
13. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 12, in which the means for delivering liquid from said reservoir includes a pump, and including jet means for receiving the output of the pump and directing same against the vanes.
14. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 13, including means for heating the liquid in said reservoir.
15. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein said turntable and said paddle are removable as a unit from said enclosure.
16. The cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 12, including a tumbler basket rotatably supported in the reservoir so as to be immersed in liquids therein; and means for rotating said tumbler basket Within the liquids in said reservoir to clean relatively small articles disposed in the basket.
References Cited UNITED 1 0 2,598,074 5/1952 Sadwith 134 -96 XR 3,078,861 2/ 1963 Miller 134-96 FOREIGN PATENTS 15,250 1/ 1956 Germany.
ROBERT L. BLEUTGE, Primary Examiner.
US. Cl. X.R.