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Publication numberUS3545364 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 8, 1970
Filing dateMay 4, 1967
Priority dateMay 4, 1967
Publication numberUS 3545364 A, US 3545364A, US-A-3545364, US3545364 A, US3545364A
InventorsBaker Donald V, Reedy Richard C
Original AssigneeCordell Eng Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Photographic processing apparatus
US 3545364 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

first transport eleelement to slip when it through the processor. g fluids across the photo- 3,345,928 10/1967. Krehbiel....................... 3,375,593 4/1968 Fleisher et al.. 3,383,996 5/1968 Dokulil et al. 3,405,626 /1968 Fleisher et al. Primary ExaminerJohn M. Horan Assistant Examiner -F red L. Braun Att0rneyRick and Ericson ABSTRACT: Automatic photographic film processor having a horizontal drive transport system with processing fluid plenum chambers disposed between pairs of resiliently bearing rollers. The transport system consists of a plurality of sequentially 95/89; disposed transport elements in which the 34/|55195/94195/961 1 18/405 ment of the horizontally arranged system is driven at a first G03d 3/12 linear velocity and the second transport element is driven at a 95/94 891 second linear velocity which is greater than the first. The trans- 1 1581 197 port system includes a slip clutch arrangement which may be adjusted to allow the second transport engages the film being transported Recirculation pumps direct processin graphic film along a plane parallel Richard C. Reedy Melrose; Donald V. Baker, III, Brighton, Mass. Appl. No. 636,097

May 4, 1967 Patented Dec. 8, 1970 Cordell Engineering, Incorporated Everett, Mass.

23 Claims, 12 Drawing Figs.

Field ofSearch.......................... 96; 1 18/405; 34/155, 158; 242/71.1

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 164 9/1967 United States Patent [72] Inventors [22] Filed [73] Assignee [54] PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSING APPARATUS 8 2. .mmkamm S pp OrU Ca peo ao pD- l. r. my ePo d y hr. 3 apd "m maA D. fi.m mm 8 95/89 curtains of processing fluid across 34/158X dicular to the direction of motion 9 4 opposing curtains of dry heated air to the film in a 4 pendicular to the direction of film motion. A rand 95/ X loading box has separate compartments for se 95/89 the film.

6/1968 Mayfield 890 5/1962 Brick et al. 7/1965 Wright "g m w o fi.mm HLK 677 666 999 Ill 040 PATENTED DEC 8 I970 SHEET 1 BF 8 Swan -35 NEE wag 20:39

Qw mm mm mm ON a 2 2 INVENTO/PS RICHARD CREEDY DONALD VBAKER III 23M mew ATTORNEY PATENTEB DEC 8 1970 3545364 sum u or a RICHARD C. IQEEDY By DONALD V. BAKER [l1 ATTORNEY PATENTED DEC 8 19m SHEET 5 OF 8 N D R T R R m N W E .b R w Rm 0 W m E R EM H R F m a m. K oL m w w F B E 0' R LU A D F O R LN EC E R E R V I E V W mm V F. E M m R X cD. E M DE T D D H .R F R U U Q M 3 O n O O 5 2 l .l M 5 THS-l m 211 //vv/v r0/e RICHARD c. REEDY DONALD v. BAKER III EM 4. QM:

ATTORNEY PATENTED DEC 8 I978 SHEET 8 [1F 8 #vmvroes RICHARD c. REEDY 8y DONALD v. BAKER III ATTORNEY PATENTEnnEc 8I97fl 3.545.364

SHEET 7 BF 8 OFF WARM UP I 22 I n RUN Tfi n STAND BY f\0N-0FE 51 L WW I OFF L .L WARM UP K2 WARM UP y 241 c RUN K3 RUN STAND BY 242 FF D om-o RIVE 5119 2400 TAKE-OFF K10 I: m

CONTROL RELAY 242 I67 (POWER) 243 m G o A AI K'30 DRYER BLOWER GD 208V FIX REPLENISHER A c O M 127 210 DEPVELOPER /c M o\ 1000 244 SUMP PUMP LEVEL 245 CONTROL F'XER M IRC A 106 DEVELOPER M RECIRCULATION A 51M W21 E24m AIR W THS1 DEvELoPER F/G. l0

DEVELOPER [LG FIXER 54b 241a wvmrms FIXER m ATTORNEY FINE sum 8 BF 8' COARSE A] 251 I 5-2 SCR-l OUT SPEED F IGT INVENTOAS RICHARD C. REEDY 5y DONALD V. BAKER IE $74. Rich ATTORNEY PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSING APPARATUS The present invention relates to photographic processing apparatus. More particularly the invention relates to such apparatus for automatically developing, fixing, washing, and drying long rolls of photographic film as well as short pieces, in a relatively short time.

Prior art apparatus of this character are exceedingly complex and occupy excessive space. Many such prior art machines require leaders in order to load the machine. characteristically such machines suffer from slow operation, thereby curtailing the rate with which the film may be processed. The prior art machines are not flexible in being able to handle various widths of photosensitive material. Many such machines suffer from excessive leakage with the resultant rapid contamination of the processing fluids. Heretofore it has not been possible to load such apparatus while film is in process.

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus capable of rapidly processing photosensitive material.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus which may be loaded with random access, i.e., the machine may be loaded while it is in operation.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus capable of simultaneously processing films of widely varying widths, for example, 8 millimeters to 25 centimeters or larger.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus which is relatively maintenance free.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus free of excessive leakage, contamination and jamming.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus which rapidly dries photographic material without damage thereto.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved photographic processing apparatus requiring no leader for the material to be processed.

Other and further objects of the invention will be apparent from the following description of the invention, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, and its scope will be pointed out in the appended claims.

In accordance with the invention there is provided a photographic processing apparatus. The apparatus includes receiving means for receiving photosensitive material. Transport means transport the received material along a lateral path. The material is transported in a common plane. Drive means so drive the transport means as to tend to increase the linear velocity of the material as it travels along the path. Processing means are adapted to apply processing fluids to the material along the path. Dryer means are provided for drying the material after exposure to the processing fluids.

In one form of the invention the receiving means include a random access media loading means adapted separably to receive a plurality of spools of film. The loading means have separate light proof compartments with hinged covers. Roller bearings carry the spools and guide the film through a common access channel. I

In the preferred embodiment, the transport means includes a first pair of rollers positively driven at a first rotational speed. The rollers resiliently bear against each other and rotate about congruent axes in opposition to each other. A second pair of rollers are spaced from the first pair along the path and are driven at a higher speed than the first rollers. The drive means includes slip clutch means so adjusted as to enable the second pair of rollers to slip while engaging the material.

In one form of the invention the apparatus includes an unitary, molded organic plastic container having a plurality of basins formed therein to receive developer, fixer and washing fluids.

In the preferred embodiment, the processing means includes recirculation means for continuously applying the processing fluids to the material. A plenum chamber is included having an elongated slit transverse the path for continuously washing with processing fluid a photosensitive side of the material. Adjustable thermostatically controlled heater means may be used to maintain the processing fluids at a selected temperature.

In another form of the invention the dryer means includes heater means, impeller means and an upper plenum chamber above the material path tor directing heated dry air downwardly to the material. A lower plenum chamber means directs heated dry air upwardly to the material. The plenum chambers include a plurality of transversely oriented serrated members with elongated slit ducts adjacent each serration.

In yet another form of the invention, the transport means includes a pair of resiliently bearing output rollers which are so driven as to tend to transport the material at a maximum linear speed.

The transport means may include a plurality of pairs of resiliently bearing rollers. One of the rollers may have a bearing surface formed of polyvinyl chloride.

In a simplified form the apparatus includes an electrical control circuit. The control circuit has a main on-off switch in series with a drive motor, a takeoff motor, a dryer blower motor, a fixer replenisher switch in series with a fixer replenisher motor, a developer replenisher switch in series with a developer replenisher motor, a fixer recirculation motor, a developer recirculation motor, a dryer thermostatic switch in series with a dryer heater, and a developer thermostatic switch in series with a developer heater connected in parallel with a fixer heater. The motor and heater connected parallel.

In a more complex embodiment, the control circuit includes a silicon controlled rectifier circuit having a coarse speed control and a fine speed control, for each coarse setting, coupled to the drive motor. An operating condition control circuit is included having off, warmup, run and standby condition circuits. The warmup circuit enables fast heating of the developer and fixer solutions and disables, at least in part, the dryer heater means. When the operating condition is other than off, the developer and fixer heaters, the dryer impeller means, the developer and fixer replenisher means, the sump pump and level control means and the developer and fixer recirculation means are enabled. The run circuit enables the drive means.

In the preferred embodiment, takeup means are coupled to the transport means and the drive means for reloading the material after processing.

There is further provided in accordance with the invention a random access photographic film loading means. The film loading means includes a lightproof container having a plurality of separate lightproof compartments for separably receiving spools of film of light sensitive photographic film. A cover for each compartment is pivotally coupled to the container. Each cover provides a lightproof overlapping engagement with its compartment. Roller bearings are provided for each compartment to carry a spool and guide the film through a common port adapted for coupling to the processing means.

There is still further provided in accordance with the invention a photographic dryer apparatus. The dryer apparatus includes receiving means for receiving wet photosensitive material. Transport means transport the received material in a plane along a lateral path. Drive means so drive the transport means as to increase the linear velocity of the material as it travels along the path. Drying means are adapted to apply drying fluids to the material along the path.

In the preferred embodiment, the drying means includes heater means, impeller means and an upper plenum chamber above the material path for directing heated dry air downwardly to the material. A lower plenum chamber means directs heated dry air upwardly to the material. The plenum chambers includes a plurality of transversely oriented serrated members with opposing elongated slit ducts adjacent each serration. The drying means may include adjustable thermostatically controlled heater means to maintain the heated air at a selected temperature. In one form of the invention, the drying means includes means for directing opposing curtains of air across the material in a plane perpendicular to the path.

IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a photographic processing apparatus embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the operating mechanism of the apparatus FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective, partially exploded view of the apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is an enlarged, exploded, perspective view illustrating the dryer heated air path of the apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4B is an enlarged, perspective view illustrating solution flow for a solution plenum chamber;

FIG. 5 is a simplified control circuit diagram useful for the apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view, partially fragmentary, of a random access loading means embodying the invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view, partially fragmentary, of a modification ofthe loading means in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, partially fragmentary, detail view illustrating an aspect of the operation of the apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged side view of a slip clutch used in the drive illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of a more complex control circuit for the apparatus of FIG. I; and

FIG. 11 is a detailed schematic circuit diagram for the drive motor control of the circuit in FIG. 10.

DESCRIPTION AND EXPLANATION OF THE APPARATUS IN FIGURE 1 Referring now to the drawings and with particular reference to FIG. 1, there is here illustrated the housing, input loading means, takeup means and control panel for the processing of photosensitive material, particularly for long rolls of photographic film. The film typically varies from 8 millimeters to 25 cm. or larger in width and 3 cm. to 40 meters or more in length. The apparatus is generally indicated at 10 and includes a housing 11, control panel 12, input loading box 13, takeup device 14 and removable covers 15 and 16. A thermometer 17 indicates the temperature of the developer solution. A control 18 adjusts the developer thermostat which controls the temperature of the developer and fixer solutions. An indicator light 19 indicates the heater cycle for the developer and fixer solutions. A thermostat control 20 and indicator light 21 are coupled to the heater for the dryer to adjust the temperature of the dryer air and indicates the heating cycle. An operating condition switch placed in the off position may be adjusted for off, warmup, run or standby conditions. An indicator light 23 indicates when the machine is on or off. A drive speed control 24 controls the speed of the drive means and an indicator light 25 indicates when the drive means is in operation.

DESCRIPTION AND EXPLANATION OF THE APPARATUS IN FIGURE 2 Referring now to FIG. 2 there is here schematically illustrated the horizontal transport, drive and processing means for the apparatus in FIG. 1. Here a single molded tank has a plurality of basins for the developer solution, fixer solution and water rinse. Another section of the tank is adapted to be coupled to a dryer.

The drive means include a motor driven chain linkage which is coupled to a series of sprockets coupled to drive gears for driving the transport means. The transport means include a plurality of pairs of resiliently bearing rollers, having transport gears mating with the drive gears, which are vertically oppositely disposed and bear on each other for driving a photosensitive medium such as photographic film along a lateral path. The processing means includes a developer recirculation pump coupled to the developer solution basin and a pair of plenum chambers disposed between three pairs of transport rollers. A tank of fresh developer solution is coupled to a developer replenisher pump and flow control to the developer recirculation pump. A fixer recirculation pump is coupled through a fixer solution basin to a second pair of plenum chambers disposed between three pairs of transport rollers. A tank of fresh fixer solution is coupled to a fixer replenisher pump and flow control to the fixer recirculation pump. A source of fresh water is coupled to a pair of plenum chambers disposed between three pairs of transport rollers in the wash basin. The plenum chambers cooperate with the transport rollers and therefore'function as a transport means as well as a part of the processing means simultaneously. The developer, fixer, and wash transport sections are assembled in modules with three pairs of rollers and the two plenum chambers assembled together. The three modules are preferably identical and interchangeable.

The processing means solution tank is generally indicated at 30 in FIG. 2. A developer basin 31 is integrally formed with a common interconnection with a fixer solution basin 32, a wash basin 33 and a dryer section 34. A drive motor 35 is coupled to a drive sprocket 36 which is in turn coupled to a linkage chain 37. The drive motor may be located other than as shown. The chain 37 couples thirteen other sprockets 38a- -50a, inclusive, and drive gears 38-50, inclusive. The drive gears mate with corresponding transport gears attached to a shaft of one upper roller'of each of thirteen transport roller pairs.

The processing means includes a developer recirculation pump 51. The pressure side of the pump is coupled to a central pressure port 52 in an extension pan 53 which forms a depression below the bottom surface of the basin 31. The pan 53 is integraly formed with the basin 31 from a common mold. A heater 54 and a thermostatic switching element 55 are disposed in the pan 53 and immersed in the recirculating developer solution. A temperature sensing element 56 is also disposed in the pan 53. A cover plate 57 has a pair of nozzles 58 and 59 formed in it. The cover plate 57 is sealed to the pan 53. The nozzles 58 and 59 are coupled through conduits 60 and 61, respectively, to input ports 62 and 63 of a pair of plenum chambers 64 and 65. The transport means includes thirteen roller pairs 66,67 90,91, respectively. Splash plates 92 and 93 are mounted above the plenum chambers 64 and 65, respectively, to contain the flow of processing fluid and provide a lateral path for the motion of photosensitive material. The basin 31 has a return port 94 which is coupled to a divider 95 through a return conduit 96 to the pump 51. The divider 95 is coupled to a drain valve 97 and through a conduit 98 to a flow control 99 which is coupled to a developer replenisher pump 100. The pump 100 is coupled through a conduit 101 to a fresh developer solution tank 102. An overflow tank 103 is coupled through a conduit 104 to an overflow port 105 in the basin 31. A sump pump and level control switch may be mounted in the tank 103 and coupled to the drain.

A fixer recirculation pump 106 is coupled to an input port 107 of an extension pan 108 affixed to the basin 32. A heater 109 is disposed in the extension pan 108 to be immersed in the fixer solution. A pan cover 110 is sealed to the pan and has a pair of output nozzles Ill and 112. The nozzles 111 and 112 are coupled through conduits 113 and 114 to input ports 115 and 116 of a pair of plenum chambers 117 and 118, respectively. Back splash plates 119 and 120 are mounted above the chambers 117 and 118, respectively.

The basin 32 is coupled through a return port 121 and conduit 122 to a divider 123 which is coupled to the pump 106. The divider 103 is coupled to a drain valve 124 and through a flow control 125 and conduit 126 to a fixer replenisher pump 127. The pump 127 is coupled through a conduit 128 to a fresh fixer solution tank 129 The overflow tank 103 is coupled through a conduit 103a to the basin 32.

The wash basin 33 is coupled to a source 130 of warm or hot water which is coupled through a conduit 131 to an input port 132 of an extension pan 133 forming a depression in the bottom of the basin 33. A cover 134-has a pair of nozzles 135 and 136 coupled through a pair of conduits 137 and 138 to a pair of input ports 139 and 140 to a pair of plenum chambers 141 and 142. A pair of back splashing plates 143 and 144 are mounted above the plenum chambers 141 and 142.

In the dryer section a blower 145 formed of a motor and impeller element forces air by a heater 146 through three pairs of plenum chambers 147, 148; 149, 150; and 151, 152, respectively. The blower 145 is coupled through a funnel 145a to the dryer section 34 of the tank 30. The chambers 147 and 148 are shown in section to reveal the slit ducts 153 and 154 adjacent the serration of the chambers 147 and 148, respectively. The serrations are referenced 155 in the chamber 149. Each slit duct 154 and its corresponding slit duct 153 provides opposing curtains of air flowing in a plane perpendicular to the direction of motion of the film.

The loading box 13 accepts a spool 157 of, for example, 35 millimeter film 158. The spool is carried by three roller bearings 159, 160 and 161. A fourth roller bearing 162 provides a guide for the film 158 to travel through a common output port 163. A cover 164 is pivotally attached to the top of the loading box 13 and is channeled to provide an overlapping engagement with its compartment to provide a lightproof seal. The four roller bearings are carried by a pair of vertical carriage support plates 165. One of the plates is not shown. The entire carriage may be removed from the compartment carrying the spool and the film. Atthe other end of the transport means is a takeup spool 166 which takes up the film 158 and is driven by a small takeup motor 167.

OPERATION To prepare the apparatus for operation, developer solution is poured into the basin 3lzuntil it reaches the overflow level. Fixer solution is poured into the fixer basin 32 until it reaches the overflow level. The machine'is then turned on enabling the heaters 54 and 109 to heatthe developer and fixer solution to a temperature as determined by the thermostatic control 55 and indicated by the thermometer 17, shown in FIG. 1, which is coupled to the temperature sensing element 56. The developer and fixer recirculation pumps are enabled causing the developer and fixer solution to be rapidly circulated through the extension pans 53 and 108 and nozzles 58, 59, 111, and 112 through the plenum chambers 64, 65 and 117, 118, respectively. The solution passes through transverse slits in the plenum chambers as well as in a plane parallel with the photographic film and perpendicular to the plane of the drawing across the film.

The valve 130 is opened to supply wash water at a desired temperature to flow through the extension pan 134 and its nozzles 135 and 136 to its corresponding plenum chambers 141 and 142 in a manner similar to that for the developer fixer solution. The blower 145 is turned on causing airflow through the funnel 145a through the lower plenum chamber slits 153 and through a vertical flow path to the upper plenum chamber through the slits 154 which are congruently oppositely disposed to provide for each plenum chamber three high velocity curtains of air to the opposite sides of the photographic film as it passes between the plenum chambers 147 and 148. The emulsion side of the film tends to become tacky under the influence of the dry heated air. While the rollers 66- 91 are normally formed with a rubber bearing surface around a metallic shaft, the rollers 87 and 89 are preferably formed of a material to which the tacky emulsion does not adhere, such as, polyvinyl chloride. This prevents the film from wrapping around the roller.

The film 158 is extended from the spool 157 through the port 163 to engage the input rollers 66 and 67. The roller 66 is positively driven through a transport gear attached to its shaft, which is not shown here, mated with the gear 50 driven by the sprocket 50a and chain 37. The film enters the region between the splash plate 92 and plenum chamber 64 where it is thoroughly exposed to highly agitated fast flowing developer solution both in a perpendicular curtain stream extending upwardly from the plenum chamber and from a transverse stream in the plane of the film extending from the plenum chamber 64. The emulsion side of the film is typically turned downwardly to receive the developer solution.

The film continues through the rollers 68 and 69 to the region between the plenum chamber 65 and splash plate 93 to engage the rollers 70 and 71 where it is directed to the fixer basin and engages the fixer rollers 72 and 73. The flow pattern of the fixer solution is identical with that of the developer solution. The film moves through the region between the plenum chambers 117 and 118 and the respective splash plates 119 and to the wash basin where it is again subjected to a similar flow of fluid, in this case the rinse or wash water. The film then enters the region between the plenum chambers 147 and 148 where it is subjected to the curtains of high velocity dry heated air. There are three such chambers. The film is then picked up by the takeup spool 166 which is driven by the motor 167 counterclockwise to take up the film.

To prevent looping along the transport system, the roller 66 is positively driven by the gear 50 at the slowest speed. The roller 68 is driven through a slip clutch mechanism at a somewhat higher speed, for example 5 percent higher. Thus the sprocket 50a may have 19 teeth and the sprocket 38a may have 18 teeth. Since the roller 68 can slip on the film, the film is kept taut between the roller pair 66,67 and the roller pair 68,69 at all times. In the preferred embodiments, the roller pairs 70,7l-88,89 respectively, are maintained at the same speed. The transport drive may be varied from the preferred embodiment by successively increasing the speed from selected roller pair to selected roller pair. However, the roller pair 90,91 is operated in the preferred embodiment at the maximum speed to provide maximum linear velocity for the film. This has the effect of a maintaining the film taut throughout the length of the transport system. The slip clutch mechanism is used for each of the roller pairs 68,6990,91, allowing the slippage to compensate for variation in velocity at any point.

DESCRIPTION OF THE APPARATUS IN FIG. 3

Referring now to FIG. 3, the transport system, the tank and the dryer are shown in somewhat greater detail. The driven rollers 66-90 are all identical including the shafts and gears. The drive gears mate with the roller gears. Chain sprockets are coupled to the drive gears and vary in number of gear teeth to vary the speed at which the roller gears are driven. Each roller has a shaft which rides on ball bearings which are carried by support members and 181 for the developer section, 182 and 183 for the fixer section and 184 and 185 for the wash section. Each assembly represented by three roller pairs and two plenum chambers is identical and interchangeable. They form a module which is merely dropped in the tank and held by support elements 186 and 187 which extend out from the member 180 and a similar pair, not shown, of supporting elements which extend out from the member 181.

The tank 30 has a supporting member 188 which carries the modular roller sections associated with the support members 180, 182 and 184. Each basin as shown is bounded by the support member 188 and a common member between adjacent pairs of basins.

DESCRIPTION OF PLENUM CHAMBERS IN FIGURE 4 The enlarged perspective view of the dryer plenum chambers FIG. 4A shows diagrammatically the airflow pattern relative to the direction of motion of photographic film being processed.

In the perspective view of a solution plenum chamber 64 in FIG. 4B, the flow of solution through the slits 196 and 197 is shown as well as through openings 198 and 199 formed in the top member of the chamber 64.

DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTROL CIRCUIT IN FIGURE An output plug 206 is adapted for connection, for example, to 1 volts, alternating current, single phase, 60 cycles line to operate for a maximum load of, for example, amperes. One side of the line is coupled to an on-off switch 207 which controls the application of power immediately to the takeoff motor 167, the drive motor 35, the dryer blower motor 208, the fixer recirculator 106 and the developer recirculator 51. The fixer replenisher pump 127' is enabled by a switch 209 and the developer replenisher pump 100 is enabled by a switch 210. The air heater 146 is enabled by a thermostatic control switch 211 and the fixer heater 109 is enabled by the thermostatic control switch 55. The thermostatic control need not appear on the front panel. It may be that only a screwdriver adjustment is necessary for applications where the temperature of the solutions is rarely varied. Similarly, the fixer and developer replenisher circuits are shown dotted in, indicating that they need not be included in a simplified system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE LOADING BOXES IN FIGURES 6 AND 7 DESCRIPTION OF THE DETAILED VIEW OF THE DRIVE AND SOLUTION PLENUM CHAMBER IN FIGURE 8 Referring now to FIG. 8 the mating of the roller gear 221 coupled to the roller 66 with the drive gear 50 is shown. The enlarged view of the plenum chamber 64 shown partially in section illustrates the cross section of the slits 196 and 197.

The beveling of the top cross member in the vicinity of the slit 196 prevents the film from falling into the slit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SLIP CLUTCH IN FIGURE 9 A shaft 225 carries a chain sprocket 226. A collar 231 is affixed to the shaft. A spring 229 is held in compression against the sprocket which bears on a slip washer 230. The spring is held in place by a lock nut 227 and washer 228.

A pair of ball bearings 232 are carried in a mounting affixed to the housing 11. The inner races of the bearings are mounted on the shaft 225. A drive gear is affixed to the shaft 225.

The sprocket 226 is free to rotate about the shaft 225. When the sprocket 226 is driven, it is frictionally coupled through the washer 230 to the collar 231 affixed to the shaft 225. Rotation of the sprocket causes the gear 234 to rotate correspondingly until the load on the gear 234 exceeds the frictional coupling. At that point the sprocket slips with respect to the collar 231, and, hence, the gear. Adjustment of the spring pressure determines the point at which slippage occurs.

DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTROL CIRCUIT IN FIGURES 10 AND 11 Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 11 there is here illustrated a more complex control circuit to accommodate more functions and provide more indications. The selector switch 22 which selects the operating condition off, warmup, run or standby is a double pole four position switch. As shown in FIG. 10, whenever the switch 22 is not in the off position, i.e., whenever it is in warmup, run or standby, the upper pole connects the line to the relay 240 which has a contact 2400 in series with all of the motor and heater circuits. The relay 240 is connected in parallel with the indicator lamp 23 which indicates that the equipment is on when it lighted. When the relay 240 is energized the dryer motor 208, the fixer recirculation motor 106, the developer recirculation motor 51, the air heater and the developer and fixer heaters are all enabled. Switches 209 and 210 provide independent control of the fixer replenisher 127 and developer replenisher 100. The sump pump 245 is enabled if a level control switch 244 connected in series with the pump 245 is closed. The pump 245 may be located for example in the overflow tank 103 shown in FIG. 2 and the level control providing an indication of the level of fluid in the tank 103. The pump would then operate to pump the fluid out of the tank 103 into a drain.

When the switch 22 is in the warmup position, the relay 241 is energized which has two contacts. The contact 241a is in series with the air heater section 14617 and is normally closed. The contact 24121 is in series with two elements of the developer and fixer heaters and is normally open. When the warmup relay 241 is energized, the contact 241a closes to double or more the heating capacity of the developer and fixer solutions, thereby rapidly bringing these solutions to temperature. At the same time, to reduce the loading on the system, the contact 2410 which is normally closed, opens and reduces the heating in the airflow system.

When the switch 22 is in the run position, the run relay 242 is energized, which has a single normally open contact in series with the drive motor and control circuit 243. When the run relay is energized, the contact 242a closes and energizes the circuit as shown in FIG. 11. A silicon controlled rectifier 251 is shown connected to the drive motor 35 and has various elements connected to variable resistors 247-250, inclusive, corresponding with the various coarse positions of the speed control switch 24. Each of the resistors 247-250 may be varied to provide a fine control for the speed of the drive motor 35.

The present invention has broad application to the field of photographic processing.

While there has hereinbefore been presented what are at present considered to be'the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. It will be considered, therefore, that all such changes and modifications, which fall fairly within the scope of the invention, will be a part of the invention.

We claim:

1. A photographic processing apparatus, comprising:

receiving means for receiving photosensitive media;

transport means for transporting said received media along a lateral path, said media being coplanar and said transport means including a plurality of sequentially disposed transport elements;

drive means for so driving said transport elements of said transport means as to tend to increase the linear velocity of said media as it travels along said path, said drive means tending to drive a first transport element at a first linear velocity and a second transport element at a second linear velocity greater than said first linear velocity, said drive means including clutch means adjusted to allow said second transport element to slip against a predetermined resistance level of said media;

processing means adapted to apply processing fluids to said media along said path; and

dryer means for drying said media after exposure to said processing fluids.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said receiving means includes a random access medialoading means adapted separably to receive a plurality of spools of said media, said loading means having separate lightproof compartments with hinged covers, and roller bearings to carry said spools and guide said media through a common access channel.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein:

said transport elements include a first pair of transport rollers positively driven at a first rotational speed, said rollers resiliently bearing against each other and rotating about congruent axes in opposition to each other;

a second pair of rollers spaced from said first pair along said path driven at a higher speed than the first said rollers; and

said clutch means being so adjusted as to enable said second pair of rollers to slip while engaging said media.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said processing means includes a unitary, molded organic plastic container having a plurality of basins formed therein adapted to receive developer, fixer and washing fluids.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said processing means includes recirculation means for continuously applying said processing fluids to said media.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said processing means includes a plenum chamber having an elongated slit transverse said path for continuously washing with processing fluid a photosensitive side of said media.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said processing means includes adjustable, thermostatically controlled heater means to maintain said processing fluids at a selected temperature.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said dryer means include heater means, impeller means and an upper plenum chamber above said media path for directing heated dry air downwardly to said media and a lower plenum chamber means for directing heated dry air upwardly to said media, said plenum chambers including a plurality of transversely oriented serrated members with elongated slit ducts adjacent each said serration.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said transport means includes a pair of resiliently bearing output rollers, so driven as to tend to transport said media at a predetermined maximum linear speed while engaging said media substantially without slipping.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said transport means includes a plurality of pairs of resiliently bearing rollers, one said roller having a bearing surface formed of polyvinyl chloride.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes an electrical control circuit having a main on-off switch in series with: a drive motor, a takeoff motor, a dryer blower motor, a fixer replenisher switch in series with a fixer replenisher motor, a developer replenisher switch in series with a developer replenisher motor, a fixer recirculation motor, a developer recirculation motor, a dryer thermostatic switch in series with a dryer heater, and a developer thermostatic switch in series with a developer heater connected in parallel with a fixer heater, said motor and heater circuits being connected in parallel.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said control circuit includes:

a silicon controlled rectifier circuit having a coarse speed control and a fine speed control, for each coarse setting, coupled to said drive motor; and

an operating condition control circuit having off, warmup, run and standby circuit conditions, said warmup circuit enabling fast heating of developer and fixer solutions and disabling, at least in part, said dryer heater means, and said run circuit enabling said drive means.

13. The apparatus of claim 1,-wherein takeup means are coupled to said transport means and said drive means for reloading said media after processing.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said processing means includes means for directing a curtain of processing fluid across said media in a plane perpendicular to said path.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said processing means further includes means for simultaneously directing processing fluid across said media in a plane parallel to said media.

16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said processing means includes means for directing processing fluid across said media in a plane parallel to said media.

17. Random access photosensitive material loading means, comprising:

a lightproof container having a plurality of separate lightproof compartments for separably receiving spools of photosensitive material; a cover for each said compartment pivotally coupled to the container, each cover being channeled to provide a lightproof overlapping engagement for said cover with its respective said compartment; and

roller bearings for each said compartment to carry each said spool and guide said material through a common port adapted to be coupled to a processing means.

18. Photographic dryer apparatus, comprising:

receiving means for receiving wet photographic media;

transport means for transporting said received media along a lateral path, said media being coplanar;

drive means for so driving said transport means as to tend to increase the linear velocity of said media as it travels along said path;

drying means adapted to carry drying fluids to said media along said path, said drying means including heater means, impeller means and an upper plenum chamber above said media path for directing heated dry air downwardly to said media and a lower plenum chamber means for directing heated dry air upwardly to said media and said plenum chambers further includes a plurality of transversely oriented serrated members with opposing elongated slit ducts adjacent each said serration.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein said drying means further includes adjustable, thermostatically controlled heater means to maintain said heated air at a selected temperature.

20. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein said transport means includes a pair of resiliently bearing output rollers, so driven as to tend to transport said media at a predetermined maximum linear speed.

21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein said transport means further includes a roller having a bearing surface formed of polyvinyl chloride.

22. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein said drying means includes means for directing opposing curtains of air across said media in a plane perpendicular to said path.

23. A photographic processing tank, comprising:

an elongated rectangular support member;

a plurality of rectangular basins integrally joined together and to said support member, said basins being bounded by said support member and a common member between each pair of basins;

a pan-shaped extension integrally formed with each said basin and extending from the bottom surface of the basin, forming a depression therein; and

a cover sealed to said pan-shaped extension and having a nozzle extending away from said depression to direct processing fluid along an axis, said pan-shaped extension being adapted to receive processing fluid under pressure, said basin, said pan-shaped extensions and said support member being homogeneously molded from continuous organic plastic material.

Referenced by
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US4561235 *Dec 15, 1982Dec 31, 1985Konishiroku Photo Industry Co., Ltd.Apparatus for and method of processing and packaging photographic film
US4577949 *Nov 30, 1984Mar 25, 1986Agfa-Gevaert AgDeveloping device for a horizontally, transported photographic layer carrier
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Classifications
U.S. Classification396/572, 396/589, 118/405, 396/612
International ClassificationG03D15/02, G03D13/00, G03D5/04, G03D3/06, G03D5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG03D13/003, G03D15/022, G03D3/065, G03D5/003, G03D5/04
European ClassificationG03D13/00F, G03D15/02F, G03D5/04, G03D5/00B, G03D3/06R