US 3570042 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 16, 1971 F. D. SQLQMQN 3,570,042
DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH FilBd May 6, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. 1 II 55 FRED 0. SOLOMON BY 24%, FIG. 9 fl ffl ATTORNEYS F. D. SOLOMON DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH March 16, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed may 6, 1968 NOT INVENTO FRED D. sow/wow ATTORNEYS March 16,1971 F, D, SQL MQN 3,570,042
DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH Filed May 6, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR FRED D.- SOLO 0N ATTORNEYS March 1971 F. D. SOLOMON 3,570,042
DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH Filed May 6, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIG.6
FIG. 7 5
INVENTOR. FRED D. SOLOMON R 44? Air-W A TTORNEYS March 16, 1971 F. D. SOLOMON 3,570,942
DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH Filed May 6, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG.
INVENTOR, FRED D. SOLOMON BY I Mar/W ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,570,042 DRYING APPARATUS FOR A CAR WASH Fred D. Solomon, Akron, Ohio, assignor to Lanning Equipment Corp., Akron, Ohio Filed May 6, 1968, Ser. No. 726,839 Int. Cl. F26b 19/00 US. Cl. 316 16 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A drying apparatus for an automatic car wash. This apparatus is supplied with forced air from a single source and comprises two, upright, side enclosures to which an overhead assembly is connected to present an inverted U-shaped configuration. The side enclosures and the major portion of the overhead assembly are preferably made of a plastic material and include a system of internal baflle arrangements to provide ducting for the distribution of forced air therethrough from a single source. A plurality of uniquely constructed and arranged linear slot nozzles direct air from the upright side enclosures to dry the sides of a car by peeling the water therefrom, and two nozzles depend from the overhead assembly to dry the top of the car. While the slot nozzles in the side enclosures are preferably fixed, the two overhead slot nozzles are swingingly mounted on the overhead assembly so as to provide an unimpeded air flow from one of the upright enclosures, through an enclosure in the overhead assembly and into the overhead nozzles. The overhead nozzles each have a head portion that articulates with respect to a body portion to assure that air emitted therefrom will sweep the water across and off the top of the car. The nozzles are also constructed so that air emitted therefrom tends to swing the nozzle away from the vehicle being dried so that it will not strike thereagainst. Retarding means counterbalance the rotative forces induced by the emitted air so that contact means on the nozzle ride lightly along the top of the vehicle to maintain the nozzle the desired spacing from the surfaces being dried thereby.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Automatic car washing systems are generally of two types. In one type the automobile is parked in a stationary position and the washing mechanism traverses the ex tent of the auto, often making several passes to complete the job. In the second type system, the washing mechanism is stationary and the automobile is propelled therethrough at a predetermined speed, the speed and spacing of successive autos being controlled by the utilization of a conveyor system. The present invention relates to an apparatus employed to dry the vehicle after it has been thoroughly washed. Although this apparatus will only be described in conjunction with the second type of system described above, adaptations of the present concept can also be employed by those skilled in the art of the first type of system.
Most prior known drying systems consist of an inverted U-shaped plenum chamber through which the cars pass and from which air, usually somewhat heated, is impinged against the vehicle in an attempt to remove residual rinse water.
These chambers have usually been made of steel or some other metallic material. As such, they are expensive ice to manufacture, heavy and difficult to install. Moreover, being excellent thermal conductors they elfect a cooling of the air and thus decrease the efiiciency of those systems in which heated air is employed. Further, as air is forced into, and through, these plenum type chambers, they tend to vibrate. This not only creates a great deal of noise but also tends to shorten the useful life of the dryer.
The use of a plenum chamber itself compounds the drawbacks of the prior known systems. The pressure differential between the plenum and the surrounding atmos- .phere must be maintained quite high if the emitted air is to dry the car. In order to achieve a sufiicient pressure diffierential in the large, inverted U-shaped plenum, experience has taught that multiple blowers are more economical than a single blower of the capacity that would be required. But even the use of multiple blowers engenders prohibitive operational costs when traflic through the car Wash is light. Thus, during periods of light trafiic many car wash operators attempt to hedge on the operational costs by operating less than the required number of blowers, but this results in incomplete drying and dissatisfied customers.
Economical operation of a dryer embodying the concept of the plenum chamber also severely limits the number of vents from which the air can exit against the vehicle being dried.
Accordingly, each side, or leg, of the inverted U-shaped plenum has, heretofore, generally been provided with a single vent that merely impinges air onto the sides of the vehicle to remove water therefrom. However, a single vent has been found to be deficient in that it is inherently not adapted to accommodate the wide variety of side contours that exist between various makes and models of automobiles. Further, while a single vent may be oriented to remove a large portion of the residual rinse water, a single vent is impractical for adequately drying even the particularly contoured side for which it might be best adapted.
The plenum concept also requires venting to dry the top of the car. Most prior known constructions suspend a vent means from the top, or overhead portion of the inverted, U-shaped plenum. The basic problem encountered in providing an overhead vent is that the vent must be close enough to the hood portion of the car to dry it, yet be far enough away to clear the windshield and dry the roof of the car, and then again be close enough to the car to dry the trunk, or rear deck, portion. If the vent is merely allowed to be suspended close to the hood portion, it would strike the windshield and could cause damage thereto. In an attempt to alleviate this problem many prior known systems employ a trip switch assembly which, when contacted by the windshield of the vehicle being dried, activates suitable power means to swing the vent upwardly in order to clear the windshield. As such, these vents are often swung prematurely away from the vehicle, further decreasing their effective drying capability.
This swinging motion of the vent presents still further problems in that most overhead nozzles currently employ a flexible conduit to duct the air from the plenum to the swingable vent, and when the vent swings upwardly to clear the windshield, the flexible conduit tends to kink and cut off the air supply.
\Furthermore, most overhead vents of this nature are constructed merely to impinge the air flow against the top of the vehicle. Although such impingement of air may remove a considerable portion of the residual rinse water, it tends merely to scatter the water rather than systematically remove it.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a more elfective drying apparatus for vehicles.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a drying apparatus, as above, having a novel system of internal ducting, fixed nozzles of novel configuration and orientation for drying the sides of a vehicle and swinging nozzles of novel configuration for drying the top of a vehicle.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a drying apparatus, as above, which requires only one blower to provide enough air economically and effectively to dry vehicles of all makes and models irrespective of whether the traflic through the car wash is heavy or light.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a drying apparatus, as above, in which the swinging nozzles are so connected to the overhead assembly that the air flow to and through the nozzles will not be hampered by swinging of the nozzles.
It is an even further object of the present invention to provide a drying apparatus, as above, in which the overhead nozzles are adapted to follow the top profile of the vehicle with only light pressure thereagainst and sweep the water across and off the top of the vehicle by directing the forced air thereagainst at a moderate angle.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a drying apparatus, as above, that is lighter in weight, of low thermal conductivity, easier to install, less expensive, and constructed so as to decreas vibration.
These and other objects of the invention, as well as the advantages thereof over existing and prior art forms, will become apparent from the following detailed description of the attached drawings and are accomplished by means hereinafter described and claimed.
In general, a drying apparatus constructed according to the concept of the present invention comprises an inverted U-shaped archway formed by two, upright, side enclosures connected across the top by an overhead assembly that includes a third, overhead, enclosure. The enclosures contain a system of internal ducting which receives air from a single source and directs it to various nozzle members that emit the air, under pressure, across the vehicle being dried.
Each upright enclosure utilizes a plurality of fixed nozzle members possessing unique configuration and orientation from which air is directed to dly that side of the car passing in proximity thereto.
The overhead assembly supports two nozzle members that are swingingly carried by conduit-journal means attached to supporting compartments extending forwardly and rearwardly from the enclosure in the overhead assembly. The overhead nozzles are also constructed to ride lightly over the upwardly directed contour of the vehicle, while sweeping the residual rinse water thereacross and off.
The nozzles, enclosures and the bafiles delineating the ducting therethrough are preferably made of a plastic material.
One preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown by way of example in the accompanying drawings and described in detail without attempting to show all of the various forms and modifications in which the invention might be embodied; the invention being measured by the appended claims and not by the details of the specification.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a prespective view of the rear side of an im- 4 proved drying apparatus showing an automobile emerging therefrom;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical cross section of the drying apparatus taken substantially along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 so as to face the same direction as the automobile depicted in FIG. 1 would be moving;
FIG. 3 is a horizontal cross section taken substantially along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 depicting the overhead enclosure, the supporting compartments and associated components;
FIG. 4 is a partial elevation of the nozzles secured to one of the upright enclosures, taken substantially along line 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a further enlarged partial cross section taken substantially on line 55 of FIG. 4;
:FIG. 6 is a further vertical cross section taken substantially along line 66 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross section of a typical baffie used internally of the upright and overhead enclosures;
FIG. 8 is a further enlarged cross section taken substantially along line 88 of FIG. 3 and depicting a conduit-journal means, as used to swingingly mount the overhead nozzles on the supporting compartments;
FIG. 9 is a frontal elevation, partly in section, of an overhead nozzle, taken substantially on line 99 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 10 is a side elevation of an overhead nozzle, taken substantially on line 1010 of FIG. 9; and
FIG. 11 is an enlarged cross section taken substantially along line :11-l1 of FIG. 9.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A preferred embodiment of the improved drying apparatus, indicated generally by the numeral 10, is depicted in FIG. 1. The drying apparatus 10 has the appearance of an archway formed from upright, side enclosures 11 and 12 connected across the top by an overhead assembly 13. The assembly 13 has a laterally oriented overhead enclosure 14 joining the upright enclosures 11 and 12 and from which two, laterally spaced, relatively long, supporting compartments 15 and 16 and two, laterally spaced, relatively short, supporting compartments '18 and 19 extend. The supporting compartments 15, 16, 18 and 19 are all longitudinally aligned and are thus parallel to the path along which a vehicle 20 will travel when passing through the drying apparatus 10. The supporting compartments in turn carry the swinging overhead nozzles 21 and 22 adapted to dry the top of the vehicle 20. The sides of the vehicle are dried by nozzles affixed to the upright enclosures 11 and 12, as will be more fully hereinafter explained.
A blower 23 supplies air, under pressure, to the interior of the apparatus 10. While the blower may force the air into the apparatus 10 through the overhead enclosure 14, convenience often dictates that the blower 23 be positioned adjacent one of the upright enclosures, and it is therefore depicted as blowing air into the upright side enclosure 11 in the preferred embodiment.
The upright enclosure 11 is internally divided into three primary ducts 24, 25 and 26 by vertically curved bafiles 27, 28 and 29 (FIG. 2). The baffles 27, 28 and 29 extend between the front and rear walls 30 and 31 of enclosure 11 (FIGS. 3 and 6) and are inclined laterally with respect to the drying apparatus 10 to direct the air from a supply chamber 32 adjacent blower 23 through the enclosure 11. Specifically, baffle 27 curves upwardly from a plane defined by the laterally outer Wall 33 of enclosure 11 to the laterally inner wall 34 thereof so that duct 24 will direct air from approximately the lower third of the supply chamber 32 to the three nozzles 36, 37 and 38 affixed to the laterally inner wall 34 of the upright enclosure 11. Each nozzle 36, 37 and 38 has a linearly slotted aperture 39 through which the forced air is emitted to dry that side of the vehicle passing in proximity thereto. It has been found that if the nozzles 36-38 are constructed with a particular configuration and if they are placed in a particular orientation, the air emitting therefrom will literally peel the water off the side of the vehicle and leave substantially no residual droplets. The configuration and orientation of the nozzles will be hereinafter discussed in detail.
The baffle 28 also curves upwardly from a plane defined by the outer wall 33 to a plane defined by the laterally inner wall 34 of enclosure 11 so that the duct 25 will direct air from approximately the middle third of the supply chamber 32 to the lower half of the overhead enclosure 14.
Baffle 29 curves upwardly from the latterly outer wall 33 of enclosure 11 to a location along the upper wall 46 thereof adjacent the overhead enclosure 14 so that duct 26 will direct air from approximately the upper third of the supply chamber 32 to the upper half of the overhead enclosure 14.
It has been found that the exterior walls 30, 31, 33 and 34 of the enclosure 11 and, in fact, the exterior walls of the entire apparatus 10, may be economically made from a synthetic resinous sheet material; the preferred material being an acrylic such as is marketed under the name Kydex. Acrylic sheet material has exceptional dimensional stability, displays excellent wetherability, possesses remarkable strength and rigidity and is nonflamrnable, light in weight and economical. By way of example, acrylic sheets weigh 44% less than aluminum, are 20% more efficient than glass as a thermal insulator and yet have as much as seventeen times the impact resistance of glass in thicknesses of approximately inch, as would be preferably utilized for fabricating the subject apparatus Additionally, the surface of acrylic sheet material may be formed to a wide variety of finishes. For the subject application the acrylic sheet material may be finished with a glass smooth surface on one side to minimize skin friction oflered against the flow of air through apparatus 10 and yet the other side may be provided with a textured surface to enhance external appearance of apparatus 10.
Fabrication is simplified in that acrylic sheet material may be joined together under the influence of heat and pressure to achieve substantially the same strength as enjoyed by the parent material. Accordingly, this sheet material can be joined by such commercial welding methods as hot gas welding and heated tool welding. Acrylic sheet material may also be joined by bolts, or, corner pieces 47 may be welded to the sheets in order further to strengthen the apparatus 10. These corner pieces may simply be of L-shaped cross section, termed angles, or the corner pieces may be provided with tabs 48 for joining by bolts 49. The latter construction is particularly suitable for joining the overhead assembly 13 to the upright enclosures 11 and 12 during field installation (FIG. 2).
With the exterior walls 30, 31, 33 and 34 made of 4 inch acrylic sheet material it may be desirable to include a vertical partition 50 (FIG. 3) within the enclosure 11, the partition being oriented laterally between the inner and outer walls 34 and 33 and in spaced relation between the front and rear walls 30 and 31, respectively, further to rigidify the enclosure. While such a partition 50 divides the ducts 24, 25 and 26, the partition 50 may be formed from an acrylic sheet material that is smooth on both sides to obviate any substantial resistance to the air flow through those ducts.
Although acrylic sheet material would be excellent for all the internal baflles as well, it has been found more advantageous to utilize a material that can be bent to the desired curvature for the various baflles rather than molding rigid acrylic material to the proper shape.
One satisfactory construction for the internal baflling is represented in FIG. 7. A very thin core sheet 52 of acrylonitrile-butydiene-styrene (ABS) is laminated between two outer sheets 53 and 54 of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Only very thin sections of ABS may be flexed, and even thin sections possess the strength for which ABS is noted. Thus, the core sheet 52 imparts the required rigidity to the baflfles, and the outer sheets 53 and 54 of PVC provide relatively friction free surfaces for the bafiles while, at the same time, increasing thickness of the baflles to a more workable dimension than could be obtained if ABS, with polished surfaces, were used alone.
Returning now to the structural details of the preferred embodiment, a vertically oriented partition 55 is spaced inwardly of the front wall 56 and extends laterally of the enclosure '14 (FIG. 3). A second partition 58 is spaced between the first partition 55 and the rear wall 59 of the enclosure 14. The partitions 55 and 58, together with the upper and lower walls 60 and 61, respectively, of the enclosure 14 define a duct 62 that extends the length of the overhead enclosure 14 to convey a portion of the air flowing from the ducts 25 and 26 in enclosure 11 through the enclosure 14 and into the opposed, upright enclosure 12.
The interior of the upright enclosure 12 (FIG. 2) incorporates a single duct 65 between the laterally inner wall 66 of the enclosure '12 and a vertically curved deflector 68. The deflector 68 extends between the front and rear walls 69 and 70, respectively, of the enclosure 12 and curves rather sharply from a location on the upper wall 71 thereof adjacent the overhead enclosure 14 downwardly and laterally outwardly to the laterally outer wall 72 of the enclosure 12 and then laterally inwardly along a more gentle curve to the laterally inner wall 66 at a point beneath the three nozzles 73, 74 and 75 affixed thereto for drying the sides of the vehicle. The use of a splitter vane 76 has been found to be greatly beneficial to flow characteristics of the air being blown from the overhead enclosure 14 into the upright enclosure 12. The splitter vane 76 also extends between the front and read walls 69 and of the enclosure 12 and curves laterally outwardly and downwardly to deflect that portion of the air flowing through the lower half of the duct 62 toward the nozzles 73-75.
The configuration and orientation of nozzles 73, 74 and is identical, though reversed, with the configuration and orientation of nozzles 3'638.
Referring in details to FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, the nozzles 73, 74 and 75 are also each provided with a linear aperture 78A, 78B and 78C, respectively, and are inclined both vertically and horizontally in order to peel the water rearwardly and downwardly across the side of the auto.
The air emitting from nozzle 73 is the first to contact the side of the vehicle being dried, and the linear aperture 78A in nozzle 73 is therefore preferably longer than the other two so that it will initially remove the majority of the water. For this purpose the aperture 78A should be approximately two and one-half feet in length with the upper extent thereof positioned substantially on a level with the top of a typical automobile. With respect to a vertical reference, or plumb line 77 (FIG 4), nozzle 73 is inclined forwardly at between 10 to 15, it having been found that approximately 13 /2" provides the optimum performance with the majority of todays automobiles. This vertical inclination of the nozzle, designated by the letter 0, provides a directional component that tends to sweep the water downwardly, and a horizontal inclination of nozzle 73 (FIG. 5) is also utilized to provide a directional component that tends to sweep the water rearwardly. The optimum horizontal, or rearward, inclination is substantially the same as the vertical in clination and is, therefore, also represented by the letter 0. In addition to this compound inclination of the nozzle 73, the aperture 78A is also vertically inclined. As represented in FIG. 2, the aperture 78A is inclined at approximately 15 so that the upper portion is positioned laterally inwardly of the lower portion.
Removal of the water is also enhanced by including a horizontal bias to the aperture 78A. As best shown in FIG. 5, the forward wall 79 of nozzle 73 is somewhat shorter than the rearward wall 80 so that the air will tend to spill off the forward wall 79 inducing a mild vortical turbulence in the air as it strikes the side of the car. This vortical turbulence assists in peeling the water therefrom and is readily accomplished by biasing the aperture at approximately with respect to a reference plane 81 normal from the rearward wall 80 and including the outer edge 82 thereof.
Nozzle 74 is generally lower than nozzle 73 and is disposed to remove any accumulation of water on the lower side portion of the auto. As such, the aperture 78B in nozzle 74 need not be as long as the aperture 78A in nozzle 73, but the nozzle 74 is preferably inclined at a greater angle with respect to a vertical reference than is nozzle 73. As such, the aperture 78B need only be approximately three-quarters the length of aperture 78A, whereas the nozzle 74 is inclined forwardly at between to with respect to a vertical reference, it having been found that approximately 23 /2 provides the optimum performance.
The horizontal inclination of nozzle 74 may be quite satisfactorily the same as that used for nozzle 73. However, inasmuch as the lower side portions of most vehicles are oriented in a generally vertical fashion, even though they may have some designed contours, the aperture 78B need have no vertical inclination as viewed in FIG. 2, although aperture 78B is also preferably biased at 15 to induce a vortical turbulence in the air emitting therefrom.
Nozzle 75 provides the final blast of air across the side of the car. This nozzle is, therefore, located upwardly of nozzle 74 and preferably directs the flow of air according to the same general pattern as nozzle 73. However, for the final drying blast a lesser volume of air is required than from nozzle 73 so that nozzle 75 too need only be on the order of three-quarters the length of nozzle 73, although the compound inclination of nozzle 75 as well as the inclination and bias of the aperture 78C are preferably identical with that of nozzle 73.
Turning now to that portion of the apparatus 10 which dries the top of the car, the overhead assembly 13, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, includes a plurality of supporting compartments 15, 16, 18 and 19 that extend horizontally outwardly from the overhead enclosure 14. The relatively long compartments 15 and 16 communicate with the interior of the enclosure 14 through the front wall 56, and the relatively short compartments 18 and 19 communicate with the interior of the enclosure 14 through the rear wall 59.
The relatively long supporting compartments 15 and '16 are supplied by air from upright enclosure 11 through individual ducts 85 and 86, respectively, in the overhead enclosure 14. Duct 85 is separated from duct 86 by a bafile 88 that extend vertically between the upper and lower walls 60 and 61 of the overhead enclosure 14. Bafile 88 is anchored at the juncture of the laterally inner wall 89 of compartment 16 with the front wall 56 of enclosure 14 and curves from that point rearwardly and laterally toward the upright enclosure 11, terminating medially of the partition and the front wall 56 of the enclosure 14. The air flow through duct 86 is thus directed into compartment 16.
Duct 85 opens between the partition 55 and bafile 88, and the air flow therethrough is directed into the supporting compartment 15 by a baffie 90 that also extends vertically between the upper and lower walls and 61 of the overhead enclosure 14. Baffle 90 is anchored at the juncture of the laterally outer wall 91 of supporting compartment 15 with the front wall 56 of enclosure 14 and curves from that point rearwardly and laterally toward the compartment 11 to intersect the partition 55.
A baffle 92, similar to bafile 88, is positioned between the partition 58 and the rear wall 59 of enclosure 14 to separate a duct 93 through which air is supplied from the upright enclosure 11 to the relatively short supporting compartment 18 and a duct 94 through which air is supplied from the upright enclosure '11 through the relatively short supporting compartment 19. Duct 93 is also provided with a baffle 95 similar to baffle 90.
Suspended between the relatively long supporting compartments 15 and 16 and the relatively short supporting compartments 18 and 19 are the two, overhead, swinging nozzles 21 and 22. The construction of nozzles 21 and 22 may be identical so that only one need be described in detail.
The body portion of nozzle 21 has front and rear walls 101 and 102, respectively, that converge such that the body portion 100 is of substantially wedge-shaped, or triangular, cross section (FIG. 10). A conduit-journal means, indicated generally by the numeral 105, is secured to each end wall 106 and 107 of the body portion 100 and are also secured to the laterally inner walls 108 and 89 of the supporting compartments 15 and 16, respectively. These conduit-journals permit the nozzle 21 to swing with respect to the supporting compartments 15 and 16 and also permit the forced air in compartments 15 and 16 to enter the body portion 100 of the nozzle 21.
A conduit-journal 105 is best depicted in FIG. 8. As shown therein, a circular bore 110 is provided through the laterally inner wall 108 of supporting compartment 15. An internally threaded mounting ring 111 is secured, as by bolts 112, to the wall 108 in registry with the bore 110.
The radially outer surface on the laterally outer portion of sleeve 113 is provided with threads 114 for engaging the mounting ring 111. A radial stop flange 115 defines the laterally inner extent of the sleeve 113, and an annular journal surface 116 extends between the threads 114 and the stop flange 115. The journal surface 116 is rotatably received within a bearing ring 118 that is secured to, and through, the end wall 106 of nozzle 21 by a clamp ring 119 and a plurality of bolts 120.
In the operative position the sleeve 113 is turned into the mounting ring 111 until the stop flange 115 snugly engages the radially directed, laterally inner surface 121 of the bearing ring 118.
By periodically adjusting the sleeve 113 with respect to the mounting ring 111 so as to maintain the stop flange 115 snugly against the surface 121 contacted thereby, air loss past the relatively rotatable members 113 and 118 Will be minimized without the necessity of complex, and expensive, sealed and packing arrangements.
The forced air within the supporting compartment 15 fiows through the hollow interior 122 of sleeve 113 and into the body portion 100 of the nozzle 21. Curved baffles 125 and 146 interiorly of the nozzle 21 direct the air entering, through the conduit-journal 105, from compartment 15 downwardly toward the apex 128 of the triangularly shaped body portion 100. Similar baffles 129 and 130 direct the air entering, through a similar conduit-journal 105A aligned with conduit-journal 105, from compartment 16 toward the apex 128.
A head portion 131 is secured to the apex 128 of the body portion 100 by a resilient hinge means 132. The head portion 131 has a linear aperture 133 that communicates, through the hinge means 132 and the apex 128, with the interior of the body portion 100. Thus, the air directed, by baffles 125, 126, 129 and 130, through the body portion 100 will exit via the linear aperture 133 to dry the top of the vehicle.
An articulation control means in the form of a link 135 is pivotally connected between a mounting tab 136 on the head portion 131 and a mounting tab 138 (FIG. 6) fixedly positioned with respect to the overhead assembly 13 to articulate the head portion 131 about the hinge means 132 in response to swinging movement of the body portion 100 about conduit-journal means 105 and 105A.
It has been found that the water will be swept rearwardly and off the top of the auto by directing the blast of air at a moderate angle across the top of the car. At the same time, however, one must remmber that the top of an automobile is comprised of several general surface areas of varying disposition. The hood, top and rear deck, while being vertically separated, are, for the most part, generally horizontal, whereas, at least the windshield and the rear window are considerably inclined with respect to the hood, roof and rear deck.
By utilizing a control link 135 the head portion 131 will be articulated to compensate for these varying orientations of an autos component top surfaces. For example, it has been found most advantageous to incline the head portion 131 so that the air is directed against the hood of the car being dried approximately 30". This can be controlled by the length of the link 135.
At this point it would be well to note that as the forced air leaves the linear aperture 133 and head portion 131 a reaction force tends to rotate the nozzle 21 rearwardly and away from the auto. Accordingly, a swing retarding means 140 is connected to the nozzle 21. As best seen in FIG. 6, a cylinder 141 is dependingly mounted from a longitudinal beam 142 in overhead assembly 13, as by the pivotal clevis connection 143. A piston, not shown, is reciprocally slidable in cylinder 141 and is attached to a rod 145 that extends outwardly of the cylinder 141 and is pivotally attached to the rear wall 102 of nozzle 21, as by the clevis attachment 146. The cylinder 141 utilizes a standard, controlled air release, not shown, to apply a constant pressure against the piston and thus oppose that rotation of nozzle 21 incidental to the reaction force of the air passing outwardly through aperture 133. The standard, controlled air releases are adjustable so that one can balance the force applied by the retarding means 140 against the reaction force.
It is preferred that the nozzle 21 be balanced to ride lightly across the top of the vehicle. To assure that the nozzle 21 will not scratch, or otherwise mar, the car, contact means are also provided on each nozzle. As best seen in FIG. 10, brackets 148 and 149 on the front and rear walls 150 and 151 of the head portion 131 mount rotatable wheels 152 and 153, respectively, to comprise the contact means. Because the head portion 131 terminates in a mouth 155 that extends generally transversely the axis of the slotted aperture 133, the wheel 152 must extend axially beyond the mouth 155 so as to prevent engagement of the head portion 131 against the windshield of the car being dried. Although the wheel 152 could as well be of the same size as wheel 153, if the bracket 148 were modified so as to position the outer periphery of the wheel 152 beyond the outermost edge, or mouth, 155 of the head portion 131, in the preferred embodiment the wheel 152 is of greater diameter than wheel 153 to accomplish the desired purpose.
The outer periphery of wheel 153 is positioned to space the aperture 133 the desired distance above the hood of the car being dried as the wheel 153 makes contact therewith. With the desired balance of the nozzle 21 being achieved by adjustment of the retarding means 140, the wheel 153 will lightly traverse the longitudinal extent of the hood as the car passes into the apparatus 10. When the windshield of the car comes into proximity to the head portion 131 of the nozzle 21, the wheel 152 makes contact therewith so that continued forward motion of the car will cause the body portion 100 to rotate counterclockwise, as viewed in FIG. 6. counterclockwise rotation of the body portion results in a concomitant clockwise rotation of the head portiton 131 about hinge means 132 by the pantographic action of the control link 135. This rotation adjusts the disposition of the head portion 131 with respect to the windshield of the car to 10 minimize the downward direction of the air flow with respect thereto. Thus, the water will tend to be swept upwardly along the windshield and onto the top.
As the head portion 131 arrives at a position near the juncture of the windshield and the roof of the car, the clockwise rotation of the head portion 131 has brought the wheel 153 into a position for re-engagement by the car-the disposition of the wheel 152 having prevented the mouth 155 of the head portion 131 from coming into direct contact with the car.
Even though the body portion has by now rotated suificiently to raise the head portion 131 from a level where it dried the hood to a level where it will dry the roof, the head portion 131, by its simultaneous counterrotation, maintains its desired moderately angled orientation with respect to the roof.
When the auto has progressed sufliciently to bring the head portion to the rear window, the wheel 153 will traverse downwardly therealong and onto the rear deck, of trunk. This movement allows the body portion 100 to rotate in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 5, so that the control link forces the head protion 131 to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. This retrorotation of the nozzle components thus achieves the desired drying of the rear window and deck. It will similarly caused the nozzle to dry a roof and rear deck that are commonly inclined in that configuration popularly referred to as a fastback.
Nozzle 22 operates identically with nozzle 21 and provides a second drying pass across the top surface of the car. The sole difference between nozzles 21 and 22 is in the length of the supporting compartments on which the two nozzles are mounted. In view of the foregoing discussion concerning the rotation of the nozzle components during the drying operation it should be apparent that the two compartments 15 and 16 supporting nozzle 21 must be longer than the two compartments 1% and 19 in order to assure clearance between nozzle 21 and the overhead compartment 14.
It should now be appreciated that each hinge means 132 will articulate its associated head portion 131 in two directions for each car Washed. Thus, the hinge means 132 should be sturdy and must be of a construction that will not adversely effect the flow of air from the body portion 100 into the head portion 131. A preferred construction employs a flexible strap 158 having one arm 159 secured, as by rivets 160, to the forward wall 101 of the body portion 100 and a second arm 162 secured, as by rivets 163, to the forward wall of the head portion 131. The arms 159 and 162 are joined by a thin neck section 164. The strap 158 so described is preferably made of material such as polypropylene which possesses the property of provided a so-called living hinge in thin sections in which the molecules are oriented by stretching while the material is heated. In strap 158 this molecular orientation may be accomplished by pinching the material while heated to stretch, and thin, the neck section 164.
By the use of a strap 158 having the quality of a living hinge the axis about which the head portion 131 rotates with respect to the body portion 100 is defined by the neck section 164. As such, a flexible retaining means must be provided to assure that the flow of air leaving the apex 128 enters the head portion 131. A piece of canvas 165, which may be impregnated with vinyl to reduce its porosity, may be secured between the body and head portions 100 and 131 to constitute a suitable retaining means. As shown, the canvas retaining means 165 spans between the rear wall 102 of body portion 100 and the rear wall 151 of head portion 131 to which it is secured by rivets 168 and 169, respectively, and around the edges to at least the ends of strap 158'.
The above-described drying apparatus 10 is capable of delivering forced air from a single blower to remote side and top nozzles that have been uniquely constructed to effect adequate, and rapid, drying for an automatic car wash. The drying apparatus embodying the aforedescribed concept has been found capable of delivering a much larger volume of air than prior known constructions employing identical blowers. For example, a 48 inch fan turning at only 1800 r.p.m. will deliver 32,000 cubic feet of air per minute from a dryer constructed according to the present invention whereas the same size fan operating at the same speed can deliver only about one-sixth that volume of air from prior known constructions. Not only this increased volume of air but also the manner in which it strikes the vehicle assures adequate drying.
It should therefore be apparent that the subject drying apparatus fully accomplishes the objects of the invention.
1. An apparatus for drying vehicles moving with respect thereto comprising, a pair of upright, side enclosures presenting spaced, laterally inner walls and an overhead enclosure connected to the upper portions of said side enclosures, blower means for delivering air, under pressure, into said enclosures, a plurality of nozzles attached to the laterally inner walls of each side enclosure to direct forced air from interiorly of the side enclosures to which they are attached against the adjacent side of a vehicle moving with respect thereto, at least one overhead nozzle swingingly mounted to receive air from said overhead enclosure, said overhead nozzle having a body portion and a head portion, resilient hinge means between said head portion and said body portion so that forced air received from said overhead enclosure passes through said body portion and hinge means to said head portion, articulation control means to rotate said head portion about said hinge means in response to swinging movement of said body portion, rotation of said head portion directing forced air against the top of the vehicle at desired angular inclinations.
2. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 1, having bafiie means within said enclosures for directing the air received from said blower to said fixed nozzles and said swinging nozzle.
3. An apparatus for drying vehicles moving with respect thereto comprising, a pair of upright, side enclosures presenting spaced, laterally inner walls, an overead enclosure connected to the upper portions of said side enclosures, blower means for delivering air, under pressure, into said enclosures, a plurality of nozzles attached to the laterally inner walls of each side enclosure to direct forced air from interiorly of the side enclosures to which they are attached against the adjacent side of a vehicle moving with respect thereto, laterally spaced, supporting compartments communicating with said overhead enclosure, at least one overhead nozzle swingingly mounted between said supporting compartments by conduit-journal means, the overhead nozzle communicating with said supporting compartments through said conduitjournal means, said overhead nozzle having a body portion and a head portion, hinge means joining said head portion to said body portion, articulation control means to rotate said head portion about said hinge means in response to swinging movement of said body portion, rotation of said head portion directing forced air against the top of the vehicle at desired angular inclinations.
4. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 3, in which the conduit-journal means connected between said relatively rotatable overhead nozzle and supporting compartments comprise a hollow sleeve, a bearing ring secured to one of said relatively rotatable members, a mounting ring secured to the other of said relatively rotatable members, said sleeve threadably engaging said mounting ring, said sleeve being journaled in said bearing ring.
5. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 4, in which a stop flange extends radially of said sleeve, said threaded engagement of the sleeve and mounting ring permitting said sleeve to be moved axially of itself selectively to position said stop flange against said bearing ring.
6. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 1, in which a retarding means oppose swinging of the overhead nozzle induced by the reaction force of the air emitting from the head portion of said nozzle.
7. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 6, in which the head portion has a front wall facing in the direction from which a vehicle moves with respect to the drying apparatus and an oppositely facing rear wall and in which contact means are carried on the head portion of said overhead nozzle, said contact means comprising a first element mounted from said front wall and a second element mounted from said rear wall.
8. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 7, in which the head portion terminates in a mouth extending generally transversely the axis of a slotted aperture therethrough and in which at least one of said contact elements extends axially beyond said mouth portion.
9. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 8, in which the contact elements are rotatably mounted wheels and in which the periphery of that wheel mounted from the front wall of said head portion extends axially beyond the mouth of said head portion.
10. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 1, in which the fixed nozzles on each side enclosure are inclined vertically and horizontally to sweep the water rearwardly and downwardly off the side of a vehicle.
11. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 10, in which each nozzle has a forward wall and a rearward wall to define a slotted aperture and in which the forward wall is shorter than said rearward wall to bias said aperture with respect to a reference plane normal to said rearward wall and including the outer edge thereof.
12. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 11, in which the aperture of said fixed nozzles is biased at approximately 15.
13. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 1, in which three fixed nozzles emit air from the laterally inner wall of each side enclosure, two of said three nozzles being inclined at approximately 10 to 15 with respect to a plumb line and inclined horizontally at approximately the same angle with respect to said inner wall, the third nozzle being inclined at approximately 20 to 25 with respect to a plumb line and being inclined horizontally at approximately the same angle as the other of said nozzles.
14. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 13, in which each said side nozzle has a forward wall and a rearward wall to define a slotted aperture and in which the forward wall is shorter than said rearward wall to bias said aperture at approximately 15 with respect to a reference plane normal to said rearward wall and including the outer edge thereof.
15. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 1, in which the blower means delivers air under pressure into the first of said two side enclosures, baffle means within said first enclosure to duct a portion of the air being blown into said first enclosure to the plurality of nozzles fixed thereto, and the remainder of said air into said overhead enclosure, baflie means within said overhead enclosure to duct a portion of the air being blown therein to said overhead nozzle and the remainder of said air to said second, side enclosure, bafile means within said second side enclosure to direct the air being blown therein to the plurality of nozzles fixed thereto.
16. An apparatus for drying vehicles, as set forth in claim 15, in which said enclosures are acrylic sheet material and the baffle means comprise a thin core sheet 13 14 of acrylonitrile-butydiene-styrene sandwiched between two FOREIGN PATENTS Sheets 0f Polyvmyl chlonde' 1,023,105 3/1966 Great Britain 34-229 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS EDWARD L. ROBERTS, Primary Examiner 5 2,440,157 4/1948 Rousseau 34--229 3,279,093 10/1966 Dutton 34-229 3,323,228 6/1967 Maxwell 15CCP Dig 34229 3,409,995 11/1968 Greenwood et a1. 34--229X 3,442,027 5/1969 Hurwitz 15405X 1O