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Publication numberUS3587435 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1971
Filing dateApr 24, 1969
Priority dateApr 24, 1969
Publication numberUS 3587435 A, US 3587435A, US-A-3587435, US3587435 A, US3587435A
InventorsChioffe Pat P
Original AssigneeChioffe Pat P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Film processing machine
US 3587435 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent l 13,ss7,43s

3,088,391 5/l963 Sigler ABSTRACT: A film processing machine particularly adapted for developing X-ray film characterized in that the entire developing process is carried out within a single chamber and that the processing solutions are sequentially applied to the film by spraying. The preferred embodiment of the machine includes a plurality of rotatable racks positioned in nesting relation within the chamber, each rack carrying suitable grippers from which the film is hung. As the racks rotate the film is passed between spray heads which apply the film processing solutions in the required sequence, the spray excess draining by gravity into a selectively positionable directional cup to recycle the processing solutions either to tank or to waste.

PATENTED JUN28 lsn 3,587,435

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%%4%M fww FILM PROCESSING MACHINE This invention relates to film processing and development and, more particularly, relates to a novel film processing machine.

Once a photograph has been taken, whether the photographic image has been created on a sensitized surface by a photographic process utilizing visible light or other forms of radiation such as X-rays, that image created must be processed and developed into visible form. Whether such film negatives be in reel or sheet form, numerous different types of equipment are known for processing and developing'photographic negatives.

Generally speaking, in all cases but that of the very high volume processors where a relatively large capital investment can be justified,the processing and developing of film negatives proceeds on a batch basis. Typical batch-type equipment needed for developing film negatives include stainless steel benches and sinks with running water and drains; immersion tanks for the film processing solutions with film hangersfor gripping the reel or sheet negatives during immersion, in the case of reel film the tank is usually cylindrical and the hanger is in the form of a reel onto which the film is wound into a spiral with spaced convolutions to permit access of the solution, and in the case of sheet film the tank is usually in the form of a flat tray and the hangers in the form of finger grips attached to the sheet for handling it without touching it; special wash water tanks or trays for washing the film negative after exposure to each of the various film processing solutions; drying equipment ranging from simple clips for hanging the developed film negatives in the open air to special cabinets having forced warm air, or heated, drum or belt-type dryers; and clocks and timers for signaling the time lapse for each processing step. Other specialized devices may be required for certain types of specialized work. Such batch-type equipment takes up a substantial amount of floor space, thereby adding 'to overhead and operating costs. Such equipment is in no sense of the word automatic and generally only a single reel or sheet negative can be processed at one time. Further, an operators attention is required at all times to follow and control the developing or processing of film negatives with such batchtype equipment. All these disadvantages of the batch-type equipment for processing or developing of film negatives are particularly acute in doctors and dentists offices where radiographic or X-ray photography is quite commonly practiced in the analysis of patient ills and disorders.

Film processing machines having all the process steps for developing a photographic negative in a single machine or apparatus are, of course, well known to the prior art. That is, continuous film processing machines are known which automatically develop a film negative, the only operatorattenti'on required being to feed the machine with an exposed sensitized film sheet and to remove the developed film negative. These machines generally also function by immersing the exposed film; therefore, such machines must be relatively complex in their mechanical structure because of the necessity of maintaining the various processing solutions and water washes completely separate one from the other and for preventing contamination of those solutions one with the other. Further, because of the complexity of such continuous or automatic machines the capital investment required for each is quite substantial and, often times, is out of the range available to doctors and dentists offices.

Therefore, it has been a main objective of this invention to provide a film processing machine that is relatively simple in structure and in control circuitry, and that automatically processes a film negative to completion with no attention required of an operator other than to enter the exposed film in the machine and to remove the developed negative.

It has been another objective of this invention to provide a film processing machine that can cooperate with existing processing solution immersion tanks of the type commonly used in the batch-type processing or developing of sheet film.

A further objective of this invention has been to provide a film processing machine particularly adaptedfor developing sheet type X-ray film.

These objectives have been attained by providing a film processing machine characterized in that the entire developing process is carried out within a single chamber and that the processing solutions are sequentially applied to the film by spraying. The preferred embodiment of the machine includes a plurality of rotatable racks positioned in nesting relation within the chamber, each rack carrying suitable grippers from which the film is hung. As the racks rotate the film is passed between spray heads which apply the processing solutions in the'required sequence, the spray excess draining by gravity into a selectively positionable directional cup to recycle the processing solutions either to tank or to waste.

Other objectives and advantages of this invention will be more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a partially broken away perspective view illustrating the film processing machine of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of the film processing machine illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 55 of FIG.

FIG. 6 is a partial diagrammatic view illustrating the relationship of the drain cup to the drain troughs; and

FIG. 7 is a circuit diagram illustrating the electrical circuit for controlling the processing steps carried out by the film processing machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE MACHINE'S STRUCTURE The film processing machine 10 of this invention is particularly directed to the processing of sheet X-ray film ll of the type normally used in doctors offices. The machine 10 is structured to provide an efficient and very compact film processing apparatus which can automatically and simultaneously process a plurality of exposed film sheets. The film developing machine 10 of this invention is particularly adapted for use with a commonly available processing solution tank system 9 of the type that is commonly found in donctors offices for use in developing X-ray film by immersion techniques. The machine 10 need merely be placed on top of the tank system 9 with minor piping required to make the machine ready for use. Further, because of the relatively sim ple structure and control circuitry the machine 10 may be economically manufactured and sold relative to the cost of other known automatic film processing machines.

The film processing machine 10 structure of this invention is particularly illustrated in FIGS. 1-6. The film processing machine 10 includes a processing chamber 12 that is light tight. The chamber 12 includes a top 13, sidewalls I4, and a conical-shaped bottom 15 that slopes toward the axial center of the chamber. The chamber 12 is provided with double doors 16 opening away from one another, see FIG. 3, that are hinged to the sidewalls 14 by hinges 17 to permit access into the chamber. Each door 16 is provided with a handle 18 and the doors carry a suitable latch I9 for holding them in the closed attitude during operation of the machine. The chamber 12 is configurated at its base 20 to mount onto a square base 21 by screws 22 at its bottom, see FIG. 2. The square base 21 is preferably sized to permit the machine I0 to sit on and be supported by the top of the tank system 9. The tank system 9 includes an outer housing or tank 26 within which is housed an open top tank 27 for developer solution and an open top tank 28 for fixer solution, these two solutions being the main processing solutions used in developing X-ray negatives. As is illustrated in FIG. 4, the developer tank 27 and fixer tank 28 each have a rectangular cross section and are adapted to fit within the tank 26 so that a center tank or section 29 is established. The tank 26 is provided with a suitable water inlet, not shown, and a drain, not shown. Water is permitted to circulate within the center section 29 and around the developer tank 27 and fixer tank 28 to maintain the developer and fixer solutions at a substantially constant temperature. Such a tank system is known to the prior art and is generally used for hand, batch-type processing of sheet-type film negatives by immersion techniques, the center tank acting as a wash water source when the tank system is so used. The processing chamber 12 is supported on top of the tank system 9 by the cooperation of the square bottom 21 with the tops of the tank 26, the developer tank 27, and the fixer tank 28, see FIG. 2.

The processing chamber 12 mounts, on its top 13 surface, a blower housing 32 which opens into the processing chamber, see FIG. 1. The top of the blower housing 32 carries a filter 33 of any known type capable of filtering out undesirable airborne dirt and other foreign substances. A fan and blower motor, neither being shown, are located within the blower housing 32 for directing forced air from the atmosphere through the filter 33 into the processing chamber 12 at desired times during the film processing cycle primarily for the purpose of drying the film negatives 11 therein, after they have been developed.

Two racks 36 are positioned within the chamber in nesting relation, that is, one is positioned inside of the other, see FIG. 3. The racks 36 are simultaneously rotatable about a vertical axis that is positioned substantially centrally of the processing chamber. Each rack includes a top continuous loop 38 of square configuration and a bottom continuous loop 39 of square configuration, the loops being linked together at their four corners 40 by vertical or outer stringers 41, thereby providing the racks with a nesting relationship where they are positioned one inside of the other. Both the top continuous loop 38 and the bottom continuous loop 39 of each rack are provided with grippers 42 for hanging the exposed film sheets 11 therefrom during the processing cycle. Because the sides of each racks square loops differ in length, the outermost rack 36 can accommodate larger width film sheets than can the innermost rack. It will be seen that by this nesting configuration, because there are four sides for each of the two square loop racks presented, eight exposed film sheets 11 can be processed at any one time in the film processing machine.

The racks 36 are each connected to a rotatable center shaft 37 by connecting or horizontal stringers 43 running diagonally from each comer 40 of each rack s bottom loop 39 toward a fixed connection with the center shaft. The center shaft 37 and, hence, the racks 36, are rotated by a motor 47 fixed above the racks 36 to the top 13 of the processing chamber 12, the motor being interconnected with the center shaft through a gear reducer 48. The motor 47 and gear reducer 48 are contained within a motor housing 49 that is also fixed to the top of the processing chamber 12, the housing serving to protect the motor and gear reducer from the processing fluid spray as it is directed toward the film sheets 11 during the developing or processing cycle. Also fixed to the center shaft 37 within the motor housing 49. is a loading cam 50 having a series of four notches 51, see FIGS. 2 and 5, the four notches being provided to correspond to the four sides of each of the two nesting racks 36. A cam operated switch 52 is also positioned within the housing 49 to sense the loading cam s notches as the center shaft 37 rotates to relate the rotational position of the racks 36 to the open doors 16 through the machine's control circuit during loading and unloading of the machine.

Below the racks 36 is positioned a clutch housing 54 that is attached to the bottom of the center shaft 37 at 55, see FIG. 2. The clutch housing 54 is rotatable with the center shaft 37 and provides a conical portion 56 to which the horizontal stringers 43 are connected for purposes of supporting the racks 36. The clutch housing 54 also includes a tubular portion 57 that defines a series of drain holes or apertures 58 circumferentially about the tubular portion, the apertures being positioned adjacent the opening centrally positioned in the bottom 15 of the chamber 12. The drain holes 58 permit excess spray to drain from the processing chamber 12 into drain means 59.

A one-way clutch 61 is interconnected with the center shaft 37 inside the clutch housing 54, the center shaft extending beneath the one-way clutch to mount the drain means 59. Thus, the drain means 59 is interconnected to one side of the one-way clutch 61 and the racks 36 are interconnected to the other side of the one-way clutch. The drain means 59 includes a directional cut 62, connected at its axial center to shaft 37 by bolts 63, that is selectively positionable during the film processing cycle from one disposing attitude to another for the purpose of either recycling the processing fluids to tank or to waste, the cups position being dependent on the processing fluid being utilized. The directional cup 62 provides a drain spout 64 offset from the axial center of the cup, the spout being rotated about the center shafts axis by rotation of that center shaft 37 when the one-way clutch 61 is engaged. Because the drive motor 47 for the racks 36 is a bidirectional type of motor, that is, because it can rotate the racks 36 in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, the one-way clutch 61 is required so that the directional cup 62 can be rotated simultaneously with the racks 36 when the racks are rotated in a counterclockwise direction for selectively positioning the cup from one disposing attitude to another, and so that the directional cup will remain stationary when the rack is rotated in the other or clockwise direction for rotating the racks 36 and processing the film sheets 11 hung thereon through the desired film processing spray.

The outer sidewall surface of the directional cup 62 functions as a cycling cam 89 for controlling spray discharges of the various processing solutions in sequence from the spray system and into the processing chamber 12. The cycling cam 89 provides a series of notches of varying heights that cooperate with the feeler arms of microswitches MSl, MS2 and M83, these notches being dry position notch 90, developer spray notch 91, first water rinse notch 92, fixer solution notch 93 and second rinse notch 94, see FIGS. 4 and 7. The series of microswitches, MSl, MS2 and M83, are fixed in position to an annular mounting flange 65 mounted to depending wall 66 of the processing chambers bottom. Thus, the microswitches MSl, MS2 and MS3 are positioned to engage detents or notches -94 on the cycling cam 89 on the directional cup 62 as the cup rotates relative to the microswitches so as to control the film processing cycle. Such cycle control will be explained in further detail later in connection with the machine s control circuit.

The directional cup 62 cooperates with, depending on the relative position of spout 64 about the center shaft 37, either a drain tube 71 directed to'waste, a developer recycle trough 72 for recycling the excess developer solution back into the developer tank 27, or a fixer recycle trough 73 for recycling the excess fixer solution back into the fixer tank 28, see FIGS. 2 and 4. The geometry of the recycle troughs 72, 73 is particularly shown in FIGS. 4 and 6 with each trough commencing in a point 74 positioned underneath the path of the spout 64 as it rotates, the points 74 being approximately opposite one another.

The spray system 79 includes one pair of spray heads 77 for each rack 36 within the processing chamber 12, the spray heads being selectively connectable with different processing fluid sources but all heads supplying the same fluid at any one time. One spray head 77 of each pair is positioned on each side of the path traversed by the exposed film sheets 1 1 as they are rotated about center shaft 37 so that a selected processing fluid spray is directed against both sides of each film sheet simultaneously, see FIG. 3. Each pair of spray heads 77 (one pair for each rack 36) is positioned in a substantially vertical plane that is substantially radially aligned with the center shaft 37 to whichthe racks are attached, not FIG. 3. Each spray head 77 is substantially tubular in form and includes a series of nozzles 78 directed so as to discharge the processing fluids against the film sheets 11. Preferably the nozzles 78 are spaced one next to the other in a manner that provides a solid wall or plane of spray through which the film sheets 11 must pass. Therefore, each head 77 preferably is of suffi'cient height to extend from about the top closed loop 38 to the bottom closed loop 39 of that rack which it is to serve. It will be noted that all except the outermost spray heads are positioned inside the outer rack 36, hence, the position of the horizontal stringers 43 connecting the racks 36 with the center shaft 37 must be below the bottoms of each spray head 77 (note FIG. 2), so that the racks can be rotated without the horizontal stringers interfering with the spray heads.

Each pair of spray heads 77 is fed by a head manifold line 79 that is interconnected with a single main fluid feed conduit 80, the conduit 80 extending from the top of the chamber to the bottom thereof, note FIGS. 1 and 2. A positive displacement pump 81 is positioned in the main feed conduit 80 intermediate the spray heads 77 and the processing fluid sources, see FIGS. 2 and 4. The various processing fluid sources are interconnected with the main feed conduit 80 through afeed manifold line 82, see FIG. 4. Interconnected with the feed manifold 82, in sequence from closest to the pump 81 to farthest removed from the pump, is a developer solution feed line 83, a fixer solution feed line 84, a wash water feed line 85, and an air feed line 86. Each of the four feed lines8386 are valved off from the manifold by solenoid controlled valves 87A-87D. Of course, the developer 83 and fixer 84 feed lines merely extend from solenoid valves 87A and 87B to their respective developer 27 and fixer 28 tanks. However, the wash water feed line 85 is preferably interconnected with a tap water source and the air feed line 86 is merely opened to the atmosphere. Such a sequence or line up of the processing fluid feed manifold 82 system permits the main conduit 80 and head manifold 79 to be cleared of the developer solution and then the fixer solution, as those two solutions are used in sequence, by admitting wash water after each of the processing solutions is used to substantially flush the lines of that solution and then admitting air to the lines to substantially clear the lines of all fluids. In this way and in combination with the selectively positionable drain means 59, no contamination of the developer solution or the fixer solution during recycling of these two processing fluids can occur.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF MACHINE'S CONTROL CIRCUIT In any photographic development process, the basic process steps include the steps of first subjecting the exposed photographic film to a developer solution for a certain period of time and thereafter washing the film of any and all latent developer solution remaining thereon. Subsequently, the film is subjected to a fixer solution for a certain period of time and, thereafter, the film is washed of any and all latent fixer solution remaining on the film surface. In the case of X-ray negatives, the developed and fixed film negative is then dried and is ready for use. The film processing machine of this invention, as described above, implements these process steps in a controlled sequence so that the only steps required of an operator are the steps of initially inserting the exposed film into the machine and finally removing the developed film from the machine. All steps of the process are continuous and automatic and no operator attention is required during the developing of the film, such continuous and automatic operation being made possible by the control circuit described below.

Reference is now directed to the electrical control circuit 100 illustrated in FIG. 7. This circuit is essentially divided into two subcircuits, one of which is in use during loading of the machine 10 with film sheets 11 to be developed, i.e., when doors 16 of the machine are open, and the other of which is in use during the actual processing or developing of the film sheets 11, i.e., when the doors are closed. Both subcircuits to circuit 100 control rotationof the main drive motor 47. This motor 47 is a bidirectional motor having a primary winding 101 connected to a suitable source 104 of electrical power via leads 102 and 103. interposed in these leads 102, 103 is an onoff switch 105. The motor 47 also has a counterclockwise rotation winding 106 and a clockwise rotation winding 107.

When the circuit 100 is in the loading phase with the doors 16 open, energization of the clockwise winding 107 rotates the motor 47 and, thus, the racks 36 clockwise to facilitate hanging film sheets 11 onto the racks 36, the racks being intermittently rotated i.e., halted every 90, to provide a time interval for loading each side of each rack. The clockwise winding 107 is connected on one side to an intermittent rotation circuit 109 via a lead 108, and from the circuit 109 to a door safety switch circuit 111 via lead 110. The door safety switch circuit 111, in turn, is connected to the on-off switch 105 via lead 112 and line 102. The other side of this clockwise winding 107 is connected via leads 113, 114 to the door safety switch circuit 111 and from the circuit 111 to the on-off switch via leads 112 and 102.

The intermittent rotation circuit 109 includes the contacts of the cam operated switch 52, and the contacts 119 of a manually operated, spring return switch 121. Switch contacts 120, 119' are bridged by a pair of leads I22 and 123.

The door safety switch circuit 111 includes the contracts 124, 125, 126 and 127 of the four switches 124A, 125A, 126A, and 127A physically located in a position to be switched upon opening and/or closing of the doors 16. Switch 124A has itsmovable contact connected to line 112 and one of its fixed contacts connected by lead 129 to fixed contact of switch 125. The other fixed contact of switch 124A is connected to lead 110. The switch 125A, in turn, has its movable contact connected via line 128 to the movable contact of switch 126A. A fixed contact of switch 126A is connected via a lead 130 to a fixed contact of switch 127A. The other fixed contact of switch 127A is connected to line 110 by line 131 and the movable contact of this switch 127A is connected by leads 113, 114 to the center tap of the clockwise winding 107 and the counterclockwise winding 106.

When the doors 16 are opened during loading of the machine 10, the switches 124A-127A have their contacts 124-127 positioned in the dotted swing line position illustrated in FIG. 7 wherein they are connected to provide clockwise rotation of the racks 36. Thus, with the doors l6 opened to load the racks 36 the clockwise winding 107 of drive motor 47 is connected by line 108 through the intermittent rotation circuit 109 to line 110. From line 110 the circuit is completed to the power source 104 via switch contacts 124, lines 112 and 102, and switch 105. The other leg of the winding 107 is connected via line 113 and 114, switch 127, line 131 to the line 110.

The intermittent rotation circuit 109 stops the rotation of the racks 36 after every 90 of their rotation of a single, complete, rotational cycle so that one of the four rack sides is positioned adjacent the door 16 opening to facilitate hanging the film on the racks. Toward this end the cam actuated switch 52 is positioned with respect to the loading cam 50 so that rotation of the loading cam by motor driven shaft 37 switches the contacts 120 of switch 52. To begin rotation of the rack 36 after the rotation has been stopped by switch 52, the spring return switch 121 located in the machines control panel is manually depressed. Momentary depression of switch 121 moves its contacts 119 to the dotted swing line position to I complete an energization path through the intermittent rotation circuit 109. With the circuit completed, the winding 107 of motor 47 is energized to rotate the shaft 37 and attached cam 50 clockwise. Rotation of the cam 50 switches the contacts 120 of the switch 52 from the position shown in a solid line to that shown in a dotted line so that a connection is made with line 123 instead of line 122. After switch 52 is so switched and when switch 121 is released, the contacts 119 are spring-urged back to the position shown in solid wherein it is now connected with line 123, the completed connection so created is now maintained to continue the energization of clockwise winding 107 and thus continue rotation of motor 47. This circuit exists until the next cam notch 51 of the loading cam 50 receives the feeler arm of switch 52 to switch the contacts 120 so that they return to the position shown in solid and break the circuit created to stop rotation of the racks 36 until the switch 121 is once again manually depressed. This loading cycle is repeated as required until the racks 36 are full or until all film sheets 11 to be developed are loaded, whereafter the doors 16 of the machine are closed to permit the developing cycle to begin.

With the doors 16 closed, the switch contacts 124-127 of the door safety switch circuit 111 are in the solid line attitude shown in H0. 7, and thus are electrically connected for the automatic film developing or processing cycle. In this condition one leg of the counterclockwise winding 106 is completed from the power source 104 via a path that includes switch 105, leads 102 and 112, through the door safety switch circuit 111, and line 114, 113. The other leg of this counterclockwise winding 107 is connected to the power source 104 via a path that includes the door safety switch circuit 111, lead 118, lead 145, switch MS2, lead 144, switch MS3, lead 143, contacts RY-4 of relay RY, lead 142, developing cycle start switch 141 and lead 140. The switches MS2 and MS3 are in the position shown in solid because their feeler arms are resting in dry position detent 90 on the cycling cam 89 which is formed in the outer surface of directional cup 62, and the relay contacts RY-4 of the relay RY are in the solid line position because the relay is deenergized.

Cycling of the film processing machine is controlled, as previously noted, by the cycling cam 89. This cam 89 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction only through the oneway clutch 61 attached to shaft 37 between the drive motor 47 and cycling cam 89. Momentary depression of the processing cycle start switch 141, on the machines control panel, by manually depressing it, is effective to complete a circuit to the counterclockwise winding 106 to start the film processing cycle and, hence, to start rotation of the cycling cam 89. Rotation of the cycling cam 89 is then initiated with the switches MSl, MS2 and MS3 in their positions as shown in FIG. 7. However, the contacts of these switches are controlled by rotation of the cycling cam 89, that is, they are in the solid line position illustrated when their feeler arms are in one of the cycling detent notches 90-94 and are in the dotted line position illustrated when their feeler arms are on the peripheral surface of the cycling cam 89. Hence, rotation of the cycling cam 89 is effective to change circuitry connections (as described below) depending on the position of the feeler arms of switches MSl, MS2 and MS3.

Switching of the switch MSI as a result of its feeler arm not being in a position detent 90-94 (because of the rotation of the cycling cam 89) completes a circuit to the relay RY from the door safety switch circuit 111 via line 150, closed contacts TD1-1, of time delay relay TD1 and line 151. From the relay RY the circuit is completed via line 152, line 153, closed contacts 154 of a recycle switch 155, and line 156. The contacts TD1-1 of time delay relay TD1 are closed after a predetermined time following the completion of the previous developing cycle and the contacts 154 of recycle switch 155 are closed so long as the recycle switch is not depressed. When in these conditions, the relay RY is energized, and energization of this relay RY switches all of its contacts from the position shown in the drawings to set up various circuit conditions for the motor windings 106, 107 to be subsequently described.

Switching of the switch MS2 as a result of its feeler arm not being in a position detent 90-94 completes an energization circuit to the counterclockwise winding 106 to maintain the counterclockwise rotation of the cycling cam 89 until it reaches the next one of the cycling detents 9094. This circuit for continued rotation is completed from the door safety switch circuit 111 via lines 145, 160 and the now closed contacts TD3-1 (coil not shown). TD3-1 contacts were closed after a predetermined time following the initial rotation of cam 89 (MS1, MS2,.MS3 in dotted line position). These contacts TD3-l will remain closed following a predetermined time after cycling cam 89 reaches the next cycling detent 90- -94.

Switching of switch MS3 as a result of its feeler arm not being in the position 90 energized a time delay relay TD2 and sets up a recycle circuit (to be described below).

Summarizing briefly, counterclockwise rotation of the racks 36 and cycling cam 89 has commenced through manually depressing start switch 141 which, because of the initial rotation of cam 89, causes the switching of switches M81, MS2 and MS3 and has continued to rotate because of the switch MS2 and the closing ofTD3-1 contacts.

As mentioned above, MS], upon switching, energized the relay RY to switch its contacts from the position shown in the drawings. Closing of contacts RY-l of this relay RY completes a holding circuit which maintains the relay RY energized until the opening of contacts TD1-1 of time delay relay TD1 at the termination of the last cycle which is further explained below. The contacts RY-2 of the relay RY complete a circuit from MS3 to the time delay relay TD2.

The relay TD2 when energized will switch its contacts TD2-1 in the line 162 to the solid line position shown to set up a circuit to the clockwise winding 107 of the drive motor 47. These contacts TD2-1 will, after a predetermined time, switch back to the dotted line position to complete a circuit to the counterclockwise winding 106. Also associated with this relay TD2 is a plurality of contacts (not shown) which are sequentially energized to actuate various solenoids 87A-87D in the supply lines for sequentially opening the various processing solution supply sources to the main conduit and pump 81 as determined by the position of the recycling cam 89.

Contacts RY-3 of relay RY are closed to set up a circuit path from switch MS! to the counterclockwise winding 106 via lines 162, nonswitched contacts TD2-1 of time delay relay TD2 and 140, which will be subsequently completed upon the closing of time delay contacts TD2-l. Contacts RY-4 of relay RY are switched setting up a circuit to be completed to the blower motor M and drying time delay relay TD1 upon the subsequent switching of switch MS3 when the dry cycle detent notch is engaged by the feeler arm of switch MS3.

In addition to the switching of the relay RY, the switch MS1 completes an energization circuit to the pump 81 which pumps, in the first instance as directed by the control circuit, a supply of developer solution to the spray heads 77 in the film processing chamber 12. Switching of MS2 halts motor 47 because the circuit was interrupted to the counterclockwise winding 106. Subsequent closing of contacts TD3-1 will again energize the counterclockwise winding 106 allowing the cam 89 to move to the developer position detent. A spray developer solution will be pumped at the spray heads 77 at this time because the developer solution 87A was activated by the proper contacts, not shown, when the cycling cam 89 reached the detent notch 91. The drain tube 71 is positioned above the developer drain trough 72. At this time however, the switch M81 is also switched to complete a circuit to the clockwise winding 107 via line 162 which includes the contacts RY-3 and TD2-1. The contacts RY-3 remain closed because the holding circuit maintains the relay RY energized regardless of the position of switch M51 and the time delay contacts TD2 1 will remain in their solid line position for the predetermined time as dictated by the relay TD2.

At this point in the beginning of a film developing cycle, contacts (not shown) are activated enabling the developer solution solenoid 87A so that the developer solution may be pumped through the system to the spray head 77. After the close or end of a film developing cycle, these contacts (not shown) to the solenoid 87A are opened and another pair of contacts (not shown) are closed, thereby disabling the processing solution solenoid 87A and enabling the air solenoid 870, so that air may be pumped through the spray system blowing out the excess developer solution from the spray system lines and spray heads 77. Because the drain spout 64 is positioned above the developer drain trough 72, the excess solution is drained from the developing chamber 12 and into the tank 27 from which it was pumped.

During the developer solution pumping operation the racks 36 are being rotated clockwise. While the racks 36 are rotating clockwise, the drain spout 64 is stationarily positioned above the developer drain trough 72 to collect the excess solution and to return it to its supply tank 27. The spout 64 and, hence, the cycling cam 89 are not rotated at this time because of the one-way clutch 61 which will permit the cycling cam' 89 and drain spout 64 to be rotated in the counterclockwise direction only. Thus, the cycling of the machine is not effected until the switching of time delay contacts TD2-1 which, when switched, will energize the counterclockwise winding 106 at a predetermined time initially rotating cam 89 to allow pumping of the air to blow the developer solution from the spray heads 77. The termination of the blowing is accomplished by the switching of contacts (not shown) to close the solenoid 87D controlled valve associated with the air being pumped. I

After a predetermined time the contacts TD2-l of relay TD2 switchto their dotted line position to energize the counterclockwise winding 106 via switch MS] to initiate rotation of cycling cam 89 for further processing. This rotation continues after contacts TD3-1 close,-until the feeler arms of switches MSl and M52 fall into the first rinse detent notch 92 of cycling cam 89. During the rotation of cycling cam 89 between the developer detent 91 and the first rinse detent 92, the contacts (not shown) are conditioned to energize'the air solenoid in an identical manner as described above for developer solenoid 87A and the air solenoid 87D. When the switches MS1 and M82 are switched because of their engagement with the first rinse detent 92 the circuit is broken and the drain spout 64 is halted above the waste line 71. With the drain spout 64 located in this position, a water rinse is pumped through the spray heads 77 while the racks 36 are continually rotated clockwise in the manner described above. The wash water is drained off into the waste line 71 from where it is carried to a sewer. The pumping of wash water and the blowing out of the spray system lines and heads 77 is accomplished in the same manner as was the case with the developer solution. After a predetermined time the time delay relay contacts TD2-1 are switched to initiate counterclockwise rotation of the racks 36 and, hence, the cycling cam 89, to achieve further processing with the fixer solution.

The circuit continues to function to sequentially pump the fixer solution, blow out the spray heads, pump wash water, and blow out the spray heads 77- in the same manner as described above for the developer solution. At the termination of the last spray head blow out cycle, the cycling cam 89 is caused to rotate in a counterclockwise direction in the manner previously described. This rotation of the cam 89 will bring the dry position detent 90 into engagement with the feeler arms of all switches M81, M82 and M53 and switch their contacts to the solid line position illustrated in FIG. 7.

When oriented thusly, the switches MS! and MS2 function as if positioned in any of the previous detents 90-94, that is, the clockwise winding 107 is energized and the racks carrying the films rotate. The switch MS3, however, is actuated only at this dry position detent 90. When switch MS3 is actuated its contacts complete the previously set up circuit through contacts RY-4 of relay RY to start the blower motor M and thus pull air through the filter 33 and blow this filtered air into the chamber 12 where the now developed films are rotating. When the blower motor M was energized by the switching of switch MS3, the time delay relay TDl was also energized. Energization of this relay TDl initiates the timer inherent within it, which after a predetermined time of sufficient duration to permit the films to dry, will open the contacts TDl-l. Opening of these contacts TDl-l deenergizes relay RY switching all of its contacts to the position illustrated wherein RY-l, RY-Z RY-3 and RY-4 switches to cut the power from the blower motor M and reset the circuit 100 for a subsequent developing cycle.

As stated above, a recycle switch is also provided on the machine's control panel. If it is desired, during the course of any one portion of the overall cycle to recycle the machine to the start position, the switch 155 is depressed breaking the circuitthrough its contacts 154 to the relay. When relay RY is deenergized all of its contacts switch to the position shown disabling the various circuit conditions. This depression also completes an initiating circuit to the counterclockwise winding 106 via a path which includes line 140, line 161, MS3, line 144, M82, line 145 and line 118. Dotted line MS2, line and contacts TD3-1 are also associated with the recycling circuit of the machine.

If during operation of the machine 10 an emergency stop is dictated which breaks the operating circuit, for example, if doors 16 are opened to open the switches of the door safety switch circuit 111, the continue switch on the machine's control panel in manually depressed to continue the operation cycle once the doors 16 are again closed. By depressing continue switch 165 the automatic cycling control is reactivated and pump 81 is restarted via lines and 171 for continued pumping of whichever processing solution is in operation at the time of the emergency stop.

Having described in complete detail the preferred embodiment of my invention, what 1 desire to claim and protect by Letters Patent is:

1 claim:

1. A film processing machine comprising:

a processing chamber,

at least one rack positioned within said chamber that is movable about a vertical axis, said rack providing grippers for hanging exposed film therefrom,

motor means interconnected with said rack for moving the exposed film hung from said rack in a predetermined path, and

at least two spray heads within said chamber that are selectively connectable with different processing fluid sources, one spray head being positioned on each side of the path traversed by the exposed film to direct a fluid spray against both sides of the film with a selected processing fluid.

2. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein said rack is in the form of a closed loop capable of hanging at least two exposed film sheets.

3. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 2 includmg:

at least two racks positioned in nesting relation and adapted to move about the same vertical axis, and

at least three spray heads associated with the two racks for directing a fluid spray against both sides of exposed film sheets hung from each rack.

4. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein each spray head is substantially tubular in form and includes a series of nozzles adapted to discharge the processing fluids, said head being of sufficient height to extend from about the top to about the bottom of the largest film sheet capable of being hung from said rack.

5. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 4 wherein said spray heads are positioned in the same substantially vertical plane, said plane being substantially radially aligned with the axis about which said rack moves.

6. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 1 further including:

drain means located toward the bottom of said processing chamber, said drain means permitting the excess processing fluid spray to drain from said chamber by gravity.

7. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 6 includa source of developer solution and a source of fixer solution,

said processing chamber being elevated above said solution sources to permit gravity recycling of said solutions through said drain means from said processing chamber back to said sources.

8. A film processing machine as set forth in claim 6 wherein said drain means includes a directional cup selectively positionable during the film processing cycle from one disposing attitude to another to recycle the processing fluid to tank or to direct the processing fluid to waste, said cups position being dependent on the processing fluid being utilized.

9. A film developing machine as set forth in claim 8 including:

one-way clutch means interconnecting said directional cup with said motor means and said rack, said directional cup being rotated simultaneously with said rack when said rack is rotated in one of a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction for selectively positioning said cup from one disposing attitude to another and said directional cup. remaining stationary when said rack is rotated in the other of a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction for spraying the film sheet with the desired processing fluid.

10. A film developing machine as set forth in claim 8 including:

switch means associated with said directional cup, said switch means being responsive to the relative disposing attitude of said cup for controlling the sequence of processing fluids sprayed onto the film.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification396/612, 396/627
International ClassificationG03D5/00, G03D5/04
Cooperative ClassificationG03D5/04
European ClassificationG03D5/04