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Publication numberUS3472143 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 14, 1969
Filing dateJan 12, 1967
Priority dateJan 12, 1967
Publication numberUS 3472143 A, US 3472143A, US-A-3472143, US3472143 A, US3472143A
InventorsBraithwaite Bertrand G, Fleisher Marvin B, Hixon Philip E
Original AssigneeItek Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for processing photographic material
US 3472143 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 14, 1969 P. E. HlxoN ETAL APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL Filed Jan. l2, 1967 INVENTQRS Bertrand G Bra/'fhwa/'fe ATTORNEYS United States Patent C) U.S. Cl. 95-89 11 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DHSCLSURE Apparatus for treating a strip of photosensitive film material comprising a housing With an inlet and an outlet for passing a strip of film material therethrough, a plurality of fluid treating tanks in said housing in longitudinal alignment with each other for treating the film material as it passes therethrough, and a system for automatically replenishing the chemical solution in each of the tanks. The automatic replenishing system consists of a plurality of infrared photodetectors arranged transversely across the film Width so that the detectors may sense the Width of the film strip as it passes through the apparatus. The Width is then integrated with the length of the film strip to determine the area of the film being processed, and the fluid treating tanks are replenished with chemical solution according to the area of film strip lbeing processed.

This application is a continuation-in-part of copending application Ser. No. 471,052 entitled Film Processing Apparatus filed July 12, 1965, now U.S. Patent No. 3,375,593. Y

The present invention relates to a machine or apparatus for automatically processing a sensitized film progressively through a series of tanks in which the several steps of the process take place.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for processing photographic material and the like in which the fluid treating material is replenished to the various treating tanks or compartments through which the film passes in accordance with the amount of film being passed therethrough for development.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for automatically replenishing the fiuid treating material in the various tanks used in the film developing apparatus, such as that used in application Ser. No. 471,052 filed July 12, 1965, now U.S. Patent No. 3,375,593, of which this is a continuation-in-part application.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus utilizing infrared replenishing means for automatically supplying the proper amount of processing fluid to the various tank or compartments of the apparatus through which a continuous film of sensitized material is passed, in accordance with the area of the film entering the apparatus.

At the present time one system of replenishing the fluid treating material used in developing processes is the automatic nitrogen pressurized system which is used to replenish batch type processers. This system is also in limited use for continuous processing machines.

Another system in use is the gravity feed system which relies on a continuous iiow of chemicals, usually through flow meters to feed automatic processors. In this system the chemical solutions flow under the force of gravity.

Another type of system in use at the present time is the pump system which is used for either a batch or a ICC continuous type film developing process. In this system the pumps are used to deliver the chemicals to the processing machines. In accordance With al1 of the above mentioned systems they must be manually set in order to take into account the width and sometimes the length of the film that is being processed. In other Words the amount of chemical that is added to the photographic process to replenish the solution that is being used up has to be metered in exacting proportions to the area of lm that is passing through the film developing apparatus. lf the amount of lm being developed is changed for any reason, the amount of chemical solution being fed or supplied to the system will not automatically change, so that the film may be underdeveloped or overdeveloped.

In accordance with the present invention, a system is provided in which the amount of chemical solution required to properly develop the film is automatically supplied to the processing tanks in accordance with the amount of the film passing through the developing apparatus.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a chemical solution replenishment system actuation device that automatically measures the area of a continuous strip or cut of sheets of film or paper being passed through the developing apparatus and varies the flow or supply of replenishment chemicals in proportion to this area of film being developed. This system may be used with any of the above mentioned systems now in use.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a chemical replenishment system utilizing infrared means that determines the area of the film being passed through the developing apparatus and Varies the flow rate of a pumping means in accordance with the quantity or area of the film passing through the apparatus so as to increase or decrease automatically the quantity of chemical solution being fed to the various tanks so as to supply the proper amount of fiuid treating material thereto to properly develop the film passing therethrough.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a plurality of infrared means across the width Aof a strip of continuous film to be developed that is passed through a developing apparatus, so that beams of infrared light are directed across the film path at the entrance to the apparatus and impinge on infrared sensitive photoresistor means so that a change in resistance for photoresistor means, caused by the film passing through the infrared beam path will automatically actuate the chemical replenishment pump means so as to vary the flow rate thereof in accordance with the amount of film passing through the apparatus.

Various other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent from the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing forming a part thereof and in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective View illustrating, more or less diagrammatically, the replenishing device of the present invention, and

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged fragmentary detailed view of the infrared means disposed adjacent the inlet end of the developing apparatus.

Referring to the drawing, the reference numeral 10 generally designates the developing apparatus of the present invention. This apparatus may consist of an outer elongated rectangular housing or casing 12 in which are disposed a plurality of tanks or compartments 14, 16, 18 and 20. These tanks are treating tanks and may consist of any predetermined number of treating tanks, for example the tank 14 may be a developer tank and contain a chemical solution for developing the film. The tank 16 may be a stop tank While the tank 18 may be a fixer tank and the tank 20 may be a wash water tank. The device is similar to that described and shown in my application Ser. No. 471,052 filed July 12, 1965, now U.S. Patent No. 3,375,593, in which a continuous strip of film is passed through the various tanks so as to provide a continuous processing system for a quick and simple and economical development of the film.

It will be noted that all of the tanks are disposed in the upper portion of the housing 12 and are in longitudinal alignment with each other so that a continuous strip of film 22 to be developed passes through an inlet opening in the front end 24 of the housing and passes progressively or successively through the various tanks 14, 16, 18, 20 and any other tanks desired, and is discharged from the rear of the housing 12. It is, of course, realized that all of the various tanks have their inlet and discharge openings in alignment therein, as shown and described in my above mentioned application, and the device is provided with the proper drive means so as to thread the film through the device at a predetermined rate.

Each tank is provided with a chemical solution tank, with a tank 26 being illustrated in FIGURE l for supplying the proper chemical solution to the developer tank 14 through the conduits or tubing 3f? land 32 which is supplied with a motor driven pump 28.

FIGURE 1 further illustrates a chemical solution replenishment tank 34 in communication with the stop tank 16 through the lines 36 and 3S in which is provided a motor driven pump 4t). Thus each tank used in the developing apparatus is provided with its own individual chemical solution supply or replenishment tank.

The developing apparatus of the present invention is provided with a bank of infrared means 42 adjacent the front wall 24 and the inlet end of the housing 12. 'Ihe infrared means 42 extends laterally across the path of travel of the continuous strip of film 22, as best seen in FIGURE 2. The infrared means consists of a housing 44 in which is disposed a plurality of small low voltage lamps 46 each with an infrared filter 48 placed -in front of it, or, as shown in FIGURE 2, below it, but `above the upper surface of the film 22. Preferably nine lamps and infrared filters are disposed in spaced relationship laterally or transversely of the path of travel of the film 22. They are spaced evenly across the width of the entrance chute to the film developing apparatus so as to impinge upon a segment or portion of the film passing therebelow.

Disposed below the infrared means 42 and below the undersurface of the continuous strip of film 22 is another housing 50 with a plurality of infrared sensitive photoresistors 52 each in alignment with one of the lamps 46 and the infrared filters 48. The provision of the lamps 46 and the filters 48 results in beams of infrared light being directed across the film path of travel at the entrance to the machine which beams of light impinge on the respective aligned infrared sensitive photoresistors. The change in resistance for the photoresistors 52 which is caused by the strip of film interrupting the infrared beam paths will actuate an electronic package or device S4 for an infrared system which is operatively connected to the pumps of the system, such as 28 and 40, to control the flow rate of these replenishment pumps in order to increase or decrease the supply of chemical solution to the treating tanks, in accordance with the area or amount of the film that is being passed through the device. The low voltage lamps, the infrared filters and the electronic device 54 are all well known commercially available devices and are operatively connected to the pumps by any Well known circuit means not forming a part of the present invention.

`In operation as the sheet or roll of photosensitive material film 22 enters the processing apparatus, it interrupts one or more beams of the infrared light 46. This infrared light is of such a wave length that it does not affect standard photographic emulsions. As the film is fed in a continuous steady rate the length of the film is measured by the interruption of one or more of these infrared light beams. By breaking up the width of the processor into discrete segments and using one beam of infrared for each transverse segment, the area of the film can be integrated by multiplying the length function by the total number of discrete Width functions, as measured by the infrared beams. The width of the film strip being processed is measured by the number of infrared detectors which are covered by the film strip. Since the film strip is fed through the processor `at a steady rate, the length of each film strip is determined by the amount of time the infrared detectors are covered. If desired, other conventional apparatus for measuring the length of a strip passing thereby could be utilized. However, the infrared detectors inherently provide an efficient means of measuring the length of the film strip and lare preferred for that purpose.

Once the apparatus is set to any standard Width and length, and the replenishment fiow rate is manually adjusted for that proper width and length (speed of machine), the system will automatically adjust for any other width and length of film placed therein. If the speed of the processor is changed, a separate speed variable is automatically fed into the system to make this adjustment and keep the flow rate at the proper level.

The way we have attained this objective is to use several small, low voltage lamps and placed infrared filters in front of them. The resulting beams of infrared light are directed across the film path at the entrance to the machine and impinge on infrared sensitive photoresistors. The change in resistance for photoresistors, caused by feeding the film 22 into the infrared beam path, triggers solid-state circuits, which activate relays and controls the flow rate of the replenishment pump. In a typical situation, we have a number of infrared sensitive systems spaced evenly `across the width of the inlet to the apparatus. Another may be placed outside the film path and acts as a safety relay to shut the system down should a lamp failure occur. Interrupting any one of the infrared systems with film 22 will turn on the replenishment pump system and deliver a preset flow rate to the tanks 14, etc. Interrupting any two will deliver twice the fiow rate and so on.

Thus, from the foregoing description, it is apparent that the present invention provides a simple and inexpensive apparatus for supplying the correct amount of chemical solution to the various tanks in a film developing apparatus in accordance with the area of the film being developed.

The present invention further provides a film developing apparatus and system in which the rate of feed of the film through the device, if changed, will automatically vary the amount of chemical solution being supplied to the various tanks in the device so that the proper amount of treating fiuid is supplied automatically without causing any underdevelopment or over-development of the film.

As is well known in the photographic processing field, the amount of the developer which must be added to compensate for the film being processed is actually a direct function of the amount of silver halides reduced to metallic silver. This is, of course, visually apparent on the photograph by looking at the dark areas vs. the light areas. Therefore, when the photosensitive devices are placed at the exit of the processor, the actual area of the film which was developed is measured. This is the most accurate way one could design a replenishment system. The device then continuously varies the amount of replenisher required, exactly in proportion to the amount of film emulsion which was developed. This relationship applies to the developing bath only. When using the device at the end of the processor, the stop bath and fixing bath replenishers are run at a fairly constant rate and only the developer replenishei flow rate is varied according to the amount of developed image.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for treating a strip of photosensitive film material passing therethrough comprising:

(a) at least one chemical solution applicator means for treating the lm material;

(b) a plurality of noncontacting radiation sensing means disposed across the lateral width of the lm being passed through the apparatus to determine the area of the film being treated for a given film-speed through the apparatus;

(c) supply means responsive to said radiation sensing means to supply chemical solution to at least one of said applicator means in proportion to the area of the lilm being treated.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein there is a plurality of chemical solution applicator means which are disposed in the upper portion of a housing in longitudinal alignment with one another. K

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said supply means controls the substantially continuous flow rate of chemical solution to at least one of said applicator means.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said radiation sensing means operates primarily in the infrared portion of the spectrum.

5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 wherein each radiation sensing means includes emitter means to emit infrared radiation disposed on one side of the film material and an infrared sensor disposed on the other si-de` of the lm material.

6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5 wherein said supply means controls the substantially continuous flow rate of chemical solution to at least one of said applicator means.

'7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said radiation sensing means senses the width of the lm material being treated by the number of sensors which have infrared radiation blocked by the lm, and the length of the photosensitive lm material by the amount of time said sensors are blocked by the lm.

8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 7 wherein there is a plurality of chemical solution applicator means which are disposed in the upper portion of a housing in longitudinal alignment with one another, and said radiation sensing means is disposed at the lm material entrance of said housing.

9. A method of replenishing chemical solution in a iilm processing applicator means in response to the area of a film strip passingthrough the applicator means comprising the steps of:

(a) measuring the area of film passing through the applicator means;

(b) said measuring consisting of the step of projecting a plurality of spaced radiation beams transversely to the path of travel of the iilm through the applicator means;

(c) said measuring further consisting of the step of detecting the amount of radiation projected past the peripheral edge of the lm; and

(d) controlling the rate of ow of chemical solution to said applicator means in accordance with the area sensed.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the projecting of the plurality of spaced radiation beams consists of the step of projecting a plurality of spaced infrared beams.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the measuring of the area of the tilm passing through the applicator means consists of the steps of:

(a) measuring the width of the film material by detecting the radiation projected past the peripheral edge of the lrn; and

(b) measuring the length of the film material by detecting the amount of time the film strip takes to pass by said plurality of spaced infrared beams, for a given ilrn speed through the applicator means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l/1933 Hunt -89 2/1968 Van Bouwel et al. 95-89 U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1895760 *Jan 28, 1931Jan 31, 1933Bell Telephone Labor IncFluid-treating apparatus
US3368472 *Dec 21, 1964Feb 13, 1968Gevaert Photo Prod NvDevice for maintaining a photographic processing solution at a predetermined composition
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3554109 *Sep 17, 1969Jan 12, 1971Logetronics IncImage monitoring and control system
US3760705 *Aug 3, 1971Sep 25, 1973Filmamatic Corp Form KimballFilm processing apparatus
US3785269 *May 7, 1973Jan 15, 1974Logetronics IncAutomatic film processor having switchable transport path
US3905698 *Aug 22, 1974Sep 16, 1975Hoechst AgPhotoprinting apparatus in which developer is replenished in proportion to the treated surface area
US3956764 *Nov 1, 1974May 11, 1976Agfa-Gevaert, A.G.Device for detecting the presence of photographic film as the film travels along a predetermined path through a film processing apparatus
US3984856 *Oct 11, 1974Oct 5, 1976Hoechst AktiengesellschaftProcess and apparatus for developing diazotype material
US4021832 *Aug 5, 1974May 3, 1977Kreonite, Inc.Photocell control device for a photographic film processor
US4025344 *May 23, 1975May 24, 1977E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyLithographic developer replenishment process
US4057817 *Nov 7, 1975Nov 8, 1977Lok-A-Bin Systems, Inc.Film processor standby control system
US4101214 *Dec 31, 1975Jul 18, 1978Minolta Camera Kabushiki KaishaToner dispensing device with electrical integrating circuit
US4134663 *Dec 16, 1976Jan 16, 1979Agfa-Gevaert AgMethod and apparatus for feeding replenishment chemicals in film processors
US4293211 *Jul 14, 1980Oct 6, 1981Pako CorporationAutomatic replenisher control system
US4314753 *Jul 14, 1980Feb 9, 1982Pako CorporationAutomatic inverse fix replenisher control
US4422152 *Nov 19, 1981Dec 20, 1983Pako CorporationAutomatic fixed-quantity/variable-time anti-oxidation replenisher control system
US4466072 *Nov 16, 1981Aug 14, 1984Pako CorporationAutomatic fixed-quantity/fixed-time anti-oxidation replenisher control system
US4506969 *Apr 2, 1984Mar 26, 1985Pako CorporationFilm-width and transmittance scanner system
US4556305 *Sep 27, 1982Dec 3, 1985Agfa-Gevaert A.G.Arrangement for and method of regenerating processing baths for photosensitive materials
US4603956 *Nov 16, 1984Aug 5, 1986Pako CorporationFilm-width and transmittance scanner system
US4978858 *Jun 9, 1989Dec 18, 1990Eastman Kodak CompanyOptical web detection and measurement system especially adapted for controlling replenishment of x-ray film processing chemicals
DE3127824A1 *Jul 14, 1981Jun 16, 1982Pako CorpAutomatisches antioxidations-nachfuell-steuersystem mit zwei zugaberaten
EP0535381A2 *Sep 1, 1992Apr 7, 1993Eastman Kodak CompanyMethod and apparatus for adjusting the volume of replenishment fluid provided to a chamber of a film processor
Classifications
U.S. Classification396/568, 396/570, 396/625
International ClassificationG03D3/13, G03D3/06
Cooperative ClassificationG03D3/065, G03D3/135
European ClassificationG03D3/13G, G03D3/06R
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 6, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: MANUFACTURERS HANOVER COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, A CO
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ITEK GRAPHIX CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004552/0917
Effective date: 19860205
Owner name: MANUFACTURERS HANOVER COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, NEW
Feb 13, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: ITEK GRAPHIX CORP., 800 SOUTH STREET, 5TH FLOOR, W
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ITEK CORPORATION, A CORP OF DE.;REEL/FRAME:004520/0607
Effective date: 19860205
Owner name: ITEK GRAPHIX CORP., A CORP OF DELAWARE,MASSACHUSET
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ITEK CORPORATION, A CORP OF DE.;REEL/FRAME:004520/0607