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Publication numberUS3598037 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 10, 1971
Filing dateFeb 6, 1970
Priority dateFeb 6, 1970
Publication numberUS 3598037 A, US 3598037A, US-A-3598037, US3598037 A, US3598037A
InventorsHouston Herbert W Sr
Original AssigneeHouston Herbert W Sr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Film-developing apparatus
US 3598037 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 72) Inventor Herbert W. Houston, Sr.

655 East 20 St., Yuma, Ariz. 85364 [2|] Appl. No. 9,345 [22] Filed Feb. 6, I970 [45] Patented Aug. 10, I971 [54] FILM-DEVELOPING APPARATUS 3 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 95/89 R,

95/94 R [51] lnt.Cl. 6031! 3/12 [50] Field oi Search 95/89, 94

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,927,503 3/ i960 Zollinger 95/94 X 3,224,356 l2/l965 Fleisher et al. 95/94 3,257,927 6/ l 966 Belder 95/89 3,263,345 8/1966 Fleisher et al. 95/94 X 3,287,013 l 1/1966 Fairbanks et al. 95194 X Primary Eiaminer-John M. Horan Assistant ExaminerAlan Mathews Anomey-Drummond & Phillips ABSTRACT: An improved continuous film-developing apparatus particularly adapted for developing sheet or cut films. The necessity for washing the film free of chemicals between each processing stage is obviated and film is automatically threaded through the apparatus by means of a film-drive assembly carried in the upper portion of each chemical tank. The film-drive assembly includes three spaced horizontal rollers, the axes of rotation of which are arranged in a triangular pattern, and a film-drive web around the triangularly spaced rollers. A film-receiving roller and film-ejecting roller are spaced on either side of the apex of the triangle and bear inwardly against the film-drive web. Film inserted between the film-receiving roller and the web is transported partially around the film-receiving roller and downwardly into the chemical tank. Rollers in the lower portion of the tank return the film upwardly to the ejecting roller. Film passing between the ejecting roller and the web is wiped free of the chemical, is transported partially around the ejecting roller and is ejected outwardly from the apparatus to the film-receiving roller of the next chemical tank. The angle at which the film is ejected is adjustable, providing for automatic feeding of the leading edge of the film into the film-receiving roller in the next solution tank.

PATENTEUAUBIOIQ?! 3,598,037

SHEET 1 OF 4 INVENTOR.

HERBERT W. HOUSTON,SR. ISL-1:5 1 BY 0W Mf ATTORNEYS PATENIEUMJBI IHH 3,598,037

SHEET 2 0F 4 I NVEN TOR.

5 k HERBERT W. HOUSTON,SR.

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ATTORNEYS PATENTEU AUBIOIQ?! 3, 598,037

SHEET 3 {1F 4 l 4412 LA INVENTOR. HERBERT W. HQUSTON,SR.

ATTORNEYS PATENWEB MM; 1 0 i971 SHEET [1F 4 INVENTOR.

HERBERT W. HOUSTON,SR,

ATTORNEYS FILM-DEVELOPING APPARATUS This invention relates to developing apparatus for photographic films, sheet or cut films and the like.

In another aspect, the invention concerns a continuous filmdeveloping apparatus which is automatically self-threading and in which provision is made to adjust the self-threading elements to compensate for changesv in the stiffness of the film substrate and other mechanical factors such that threading remains reliably automatic.

In a particular respect, the invention relates to apparatus especially adapted for the processing and developing of sheet and cut films.

Continuous film-developing apparatus for processing photographic films is known in the art. With particular reference to sheet film processors, the apparatus typically includes a plurality of tanks or liquidreservoirs, each containing a particular processing chemical or a wash liquid. Since droplets of chemicals tend to remain on the film as it is passed frorn'one tank to the next, the prior art film-processing ap paratus normally includes a wash tank between each tank of chemical. In the wash tank, the film is contacted with a washing liquid such as water to remove the preceding chemical before it is introduced into'the next chemical tank. The necessity for washing the film between each of the processing steps and the associated wash tanks and film-transport apparatus required to form the washing step makes the prior art apparatus unduly bulky and complicated and, in addition, considerable water is consumed to 2 oid chemical contamination from one solution to the next. If wash tanks are not provided, a very high rate of replenishment is required to prevent contamination.

It is an object of the invention to provide a self-threading continuous film-developing apparatus which develops the film without washing it between the various film-processing steps.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide improved 7 continuous film-developing apparatus which is less complicated and hence more reliable and which is simpler and less time consuming to operate.

These and other, further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed dcscription thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention in the form of a sheet or cut-film-processing machine is depicted.

FIG. I is a perspective view of a sheet-film-developing machine embodying various features of the invention and showing the general arrangement of the processing liquid tanks which also contain the film-transport mechanism;

FIG. 2 illustrates a film-transport mechanism suitable for use in the processing liquid tanks of the machine of FIG. I, some of the parts of the film-transport mechanism being omitted for clarity of illustration;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the film-transport mechanism of FIG. 2 viewed from the plane 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an end view of the apparatus of FIG. 2 viewed from the plane 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 2 taken along section line 5-5 thereof;

FIG. 6 is a partial schematic illustration of the film-transport mechanism of the machine of FIG. I and FIGS. 7 and 8 are partial schematic views of portions of the film-transport apparatus of FIG. 6, illustrating the preferred technique and apparatus for adjusting the exit angle of the film from each stage for self-threading into the film-transport apparatus of the next successive stage.

In'accordance with'my invention, I provide improvements in prior art continuous sheet film-developing apparatus. The prior art apparatus typically includes a plurality of tanks for chemical and wash liquids, a frame supporting the chemical and wash liquid tanks in consecutive positions to receive the film, to contact the film with the liquid contained in the tank and to deliver the contacted film to the next consecutive tank.

The prior film-developing apparatus will also include a film transport mechanism for moving a continuous sheet of film to each of the tanks for processing or washing and for moving the film after such processing or washing to the next consecutive tank.

According to the improvements which I provide in the typical prior art apparatus described above, excess chemical liquids are removed from the film before it is introduced into the next consecutive tank and the leading edge of sheet or cut film is accurately positioned for introduction into the filmtransport mechanism of the next consecutive tank. To achieve these objectives, I provide a plurality of roller film-transport modules. Each module comprises a frame sized and shaped to be received and operatively positioned within one of the processing chemical tanks. An upper film-drive assembly is carried in the upper portion of each of the module frames and includes a horizontal web-driving roller journaled in the module frame and a pair of web-driven rollers parallel to the driving roller and journaled in the frame spaced on either side of and above the driving roller. A continuous film-driving web is carried by and around the web-driving and web-driven rollers. A film-receiving roller is journaled into the module frame parallel to the driving and driven web rollers and is located below one of the driven web rollers to contact and urge the film-driving web upwardly inwardly between the driving roller and the driven roller thereabove. In this manner, sheet or cut film inserted between the film-receiving roller and the driving web is transported inwardly partially around the film-receiving roller and is ejected downwardly within the module frame. The upper film-drive assembly also includes a resiliently surfaced ejecting roller journaled into the module frame parallel to the driving and driven web rollers and located below the other of said driven rollers on the side of the driving roller opposite the film-receiving roller. The ejecting roller contacts the film-driving web and urges it upwardly outwardly between the driving roller and the driven roller thereabove. In this manner, the film inserted between the ejecting roller and the web is transported upwardly partially around the ejecting roller and the film-driving web to cause excess liquid carried by the film to be squeegeed or wrung, as in a clothes wringer, and returned to the solution tank and, finally, is ejected outwardly from within the module frame toward the film-trans port module contained in the next solution tank, substantially free of excess or surface liquids.

The improved developing apparatus embodying the inven tion also includes roller means, including at least one driven roller, journaled in the module frame below the upper film drive assembly for receiving film ejected downwardly therefrom from the film-receiving roller and for returning film upwardly within the frame to the ejecting roller.

In order to insure reliable self-threading, I provide means for adjusting the exit angle of the film from each film-transport module such that the leading edge of the film strip is automatically inserted between the film-receiving roller and the web of the upper film-drive assembly operatively positioned within the next consecutive tank of the developing apparatus.

In a presently preferred embodiment, the exit angle ofthe film from each transport module is adjusted by varying the distance between the longitudinal axes of rotation of the ejecting roller and the web-driven roller. Such adjustment can be conveniently accomplished by varying the vertical position of either the ejecting roller or the web-driven roller, or both, and preferably is accomplished by means of varying the vertical position of the web-driven roller within the module frame.

Turning now to the drawings in which the presently preferred embodiments of the invention chosen for purposes of illustration are depicted, FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a sheet filmtprocessing apparatus showing the general arrangement of parts which include a control panel 10, solution supply lines 1 l, a tempering bath tank for temperature control (generally indicatedby reference character 12) containing three separate tanks and film-transport modules 13a, 13b and 13s, a final wash tank (generally indicated by reference character 14) containing its separate associated film-transport module 15, and a film-drying compartment (generally indicated by reference character 16) provided with a film-transport module 17. Power from a motor enclosed within the cabinet 18 is transmitted through a chain drive 19 to sprockets 2011-20 which, as will be explained below, power the filmtransport mechanism contained within each module. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the cabinet also includes the other necessary elements such as heaters and thermostatic controls for maintaining the developing liquids at their correct temperatures, appropriate drive motor speed controls to adjust the time of contact between the film and the developing liquids and other necessary accessory equipment. However,.such accessories are conventional and need 'not be further described here as the present invention pertains to the details of the film-transport mechanism illustrated in FIGS.

Turning now to FIGS. 2-5, in which like reference characters refer to the same parts in the several views, the roller filmtransport modules include a module frame (generally indicated by reference character 21) comprising a pair of end plates 22 and 23 maintained in proper spacial relationship by means of transverse rods 24. Power to drive the various rollers and webs of the film-transport module is transmitted into the module through a drive sprocket 26 keyed to a power transmission shaft 27 which is journaled into bearings contained within bearing housings 28 which are, in turn, mounted upon hearing mounting plates 29 fixed to the module end plates 22 and 23 by means of machine screws 30 extending through as sociated spacer sleeves 31. Power from the shaft 27 is transmitted by means of driving sprockets 32 and 33 keyed to the shaft 27, the power being transmitted by means of sprocket chains 34 and 35 to the drive sprockets of various rollers journaled into the module frame as will be explained below. The sprocket chains 34 and 35 are maintained in contact with the teeth of the. various roller-drive sprockets by means of appropriate associated chain guides 36 and 37.

FIGS. -8 illustrate the path of the film (generally indicated by reference character F) as it is transported into, within and out of the film-transport modules. For clarity of illustration, certain of the rollers and. guide elements are omitted from FIGS. 6-8. FIG. 6 schematically illustrates the path of the film through a first film-transport module (generally indicated by reference character D) and into, through and out of a next succeeding film-transport module (generally indicated by reference character E), the film path through module E being illustrated by dashed lines F for clarity of illustration. The direction of movement of the film F is depicted by the arrows A and the direction of rotation of the various roller members is depicted by means of the arrows B. Thus, the film enters the upper portion of the film-transport module in the direction of the arrow A and is engaged between a film-receiving roller 38 and a continuous film-driving web 39, The web 39 is carried by and around a web-driving roller 41 and a pair of web-driven rollers 42 and 43. The film is transported inwardly as shown by the arrow A and partially around the film-receiving roller 38 and is then ejected downwardly within the module frame where it passes between an upper pair of film-driving rollers 44a and 44b, thence between the converging faces of film guide 450 and spacer slat 45b, thence between a lower pair of film-driving rollers 46a and 46b and the converging faces of a lower film guide 470 and a lower spacer slat 47b.

The direction of the film is reversed as the film passes around a film-driving roller 48 between the surface thereof and a film-driving web 49. The film-driving web is carried by three triangularly spaced web-driving rollers 51a, 51b and 510. As thefilm emerges upwardly from between the face of the roller 48 and the web 49, it passes successively between the converging faces of the lower spacer slat 47b and lower film guide 470, between the lower film-driving rollers 46!) and 46c, between the converging faces of the upper spacer slat 45b and upper film guide 45c, between the upper film-driving rollers 44b and 44c and between the film-wringing or squeegee and ejecting roller 52 and the film-driving web 39. The film passes partially around the film-wringing and ejecting roller 52 and exits the film-transport module in the direction of the arrow A Particular mention should be made of the fact that ejecting roller 52 is provided with a resilient surface 52a, such as soft rubber, which promotes even and complete contact between both sides of the film F and the outer surface of the film-driving web 39 and the ejecting roller 52 as the film passes therebetween. Such contact squeezes and strips excess liquid from the surfaces of the film F such that the film exiting from the web 39 and the roller 52 is substantially free of liquid.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the rollers 41, 42, 43, 38, 52, 44b, 46b, 48 and 51b are journaled into the 'frame by means of appropriate bearings, e.g., as indicated by reference numerals 53 and 54 as shown in FIGS. 25; however, the rollers 44a, 44c,-46a, 46c, 51a and 51c are provided with appropriate sliding bushings, e.g., as shown by reference numerals 55 and 55a, 56 and 56a, 57, 58 and 59, which slidingbushings ride in associated slots in the module frame end plates 22 and 23. The outer, upper film-drive rollers 44a and 440 are urged inwardly within their respective slots by endless biasing springs 61 and 61a (shown by dashed lines on FIG. 4). Similarly, the outer lower film-drive rolls 46c and 46a are urged inwardly in their respective slots by means of endless biasing springs 62 and 62a (shown by dashed lines on FIG. 4). These biasing springs provide self-alignment of the rollers 44a, 44 0, 46a and 46c, thus ensuring proper driving contact of the rollers with the film.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, it will be noted that the angle at which the film F exits from the film-transport module can be adjusted by varying the distance L between the longitudinal axes of rotation of the rollers 43 and 52 so as to vary the arc of roller 52 subtended by the film-drive web 39. In the presently preferredembodiment of the invention, the length L-is adjusted by means of raising and lowering the roller 43 within slots 63a and 63b (FIGS. 25) in the module frame end plates 22 and 23. Thus, as illustrated in FIG. 8, by moving the longitudinal axes of rotation of the roller 43 vertically downwardly from its position as shown in FIG. 7, the distance between the axes of rotation of rollers 43 and 52 is shortened to L causing the web 39 to subtend a greater are of the roller 52, causing the film F to exit at an angle a, smaller than the angle a of FIG. 7. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the adjustment of the distance L could also be accomplished by varying the vertical position of the roller 52, with roller 43 remaining fixed.

Having now described my invention and the presently preferred embodiments thereof, I claim:

I. In a continuous film-developing apparatus including a plurality of tanks for chemicals and wash liquids,

a frame supporting said tanks in consecutive positions to receive said film,

contact said film with said liquids, and

deliver said contacted film to the next such consecutive tank, and film-transport means for moving a continuous strip of said film to each of said tanks for processing therein, and for moving said film after such processing therein to said next consecutive tank, the improvements in film-transport means whereby excess processing liquids are removed from said film before introduction into each next consecutive tank and whereby the leading edge of said continuous film strip is accurately positioned for introduction into each next consecutive tank, said improvements including:

a. a plurality of roller film-transport modules, each said module comprising a module frame sized and shaped to be received and operatively positioned within one of said tanks,

an upper film-drive assembly carried in the upper portion of said module frame including a horizontal web-driving roller journaled in said frame,

a pair of web-driven rollers parallel to said driving roller and journaled in said frame spaced on either side of and above said driving roller,

a continuous film-driving web carried by and around said web-driving and web-driven rollers.

a film-receiving roller parallel to said driving and driven rollers and journaled into said frame below one of said driven rollers to contact and urge said film-driving web upwardly inwardly between said driving roller and said driven roller thereabove, such that a continuous film strip inserted between said film-receiving roller and said driving web is transported inwardly partially around said film'receiving roller and is ejected downwardly within said module frame, a resiliently surfaced film-wringing and ejecting roller parallel to said driving and driven rollers and journaled into said frame below the other of said driven rollers on the side of said driving roller opposite said film-receiving roller to contact and urge said film-driving web upwardly'outwardly between said driving roller and said driven roller thereabove,

such that a film inserted between said ejecting roller and said web is transported upwardly partially around said ejecting roller, is squeezed substantially free of liquid and is ejected outwardly from within said module frame;

b. means including at least one driven roller journaled in said module frame below said upper film-drive assembly, for receiving film ejected downwardly therefrom from said film-receiving roller and for returning said film up wardly within said module frame to said ejecting roller; and

. means for adjusting the angle of ejectment of said film from said upper film-drive assembly, such that the leading edge of said film is automatically inserted between the film-receiving roller and the web of the upper film-drive assembly operatively positioned within the next consecu tive tank of said developing apparatus.

2. Film-developing apparatus of claim I in which said means for adjusting the angle of ejectment of said film strip comprise means for adjusting the distance between the longitudinal axes of rotation of said ejecting roller and said web-driven roller thereabove.

3. Film-developing apparatus ofclaim 2 in which said means for adjusting said distance comprise means for adjusting the vertical position of said web-driven roller in said module frame.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2927503 *Apr 6, 1955Mar 8, 1960Walter ZollingerPhotographic projection copying device
US3224356 *Apr 24, 1963Dec 21, 1965Rolor CorpPhotographic sheet material processing apparatus
US3257927 *May 22, 1963Jun 28, 1966Gevaert Photo Prod NvApparatus for use in diffusion transfer copying
US3263345 *Apr 24, 1963Aug 2, 1966Rolor CorpPhotographic material drying apparatus
US3287013 *Nov 12, 1964Nov 22, 1966Itek CorpRoller rframe
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3747499 *Jul 28, 1970Jul 24, 1973Foster MAutomatic film processing system and apparatus for x-ray film and the like
US3860944 *Apr 5, 1973Jan 14, 1975Autopan Heimerdinger & StablerApparatus for the fluid treatment of photographic sheet material wherein the latter is passed along an array of rollers
US4019667 *Jan 17, 1975Apr 26, 1977Lodovico FalomoMachine for conveying a material in web form through treatment tubs
US4181421 *Feb 28, 1978Jan 1, 1980Cordell Engineering, Inc.Film processing
US5311235 *Mar 2, 1992May 10, 1994Eastman Kodak CompanyDriving mechanism for a photographic processing apparatus
US5361114 *May 30, 1991Nov 1, 1994Eastman Kodak CompanyPhotographic processing tank
US5418592 *Sep 20, 1994May 23, 1995Eastman Kodak CompanyRack and a tank for a photographic processing apparatus
US5432581 *Mar 2, 1992Jul 11, 1995Eastman Kodak CompanyRack and a tank for a photographic processing apparatus
US5452043 *Feb 19, 1993Sep 19, 1995Eastman Kodak CompanyRack and a tank for a photographic low volume thin tank insert for a rack and a tank photographic processing apparatus
US5842073 *Feb 14, 1997Nov 24, 1998Eastman Kodak CompanyPhotographic processing apparatus
USRE30328 *Aug 14, 1978Jul 8, 1980 Apparatus for developing a travelling photographic emulsion carrier
Classifications
U.S. Classification134/64.00R, 396/612
International ClassificationG03D3/13
Cooperative ClassificationG03D3/132
European ClassificationG03D3/13F