|Publication number||US3626835 A|
|Publication date||Dec 14, 1971|
|Filing date||Jul 19, 1968|
|Priority date||Jul 19, 1968|
|Publication number||US 3626835 A, US 3626835A, US-A-3626835, US3626835 A, US3626835A|
|Inventors||Buechner Werner W|
|Original Assignee||Buechner Werner W|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (7), Classifications (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent  lnventor Werner W. Buechner 4407 Gladding Court, Midland, Mich. 48640 ] Appl. No. 746,210
[22} Filed July 19, 1968  Patented Dec. 14, 1971 Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 402,545, Oct. 8, 1964, now Patent No.
I 3,411,424, which is a division of application Ser. No. 342,459, Feb. 4, 1964, now Patent No. 3,349,686, which is a continuation-inpart of application Ser. No, 23,313, Apr. 19, 1960, now Patent No. 3,124,051. Continuation-impart 01 application Ser. No. 677,265, Oct. 23, 1967, now abandoned. This application July 19, 1968, Ser. No. 746,210
 PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSING MACHINE 13 Claims, 25 Drawing Figs.
 Int.Cl 603d 3/08  Field of Search 95/89 M, 93, 96, 90.5
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,381,222 6/1921 Paulson et al 95/93 1,441,163 H1923 Martin et al. 95/93 2,495,049 l/1950 Arthur 95/90.5 3,280,716 10/1966 Gall 95/90.5 X 3,359,880 12/1967 Huss 95/93 Primary Examiner-Samuel S. Matthews Assistant Examiner-Fred L. Braun ABSTRACT: A photographic processing machine for the treatment or development of stationary, limp flexible photographic materials, face down on a rotating textured horizontal drum. The lower portion of the drum is contained in a curved bottom troughlike receptacle which receives the treating liquids. A mechanism is provided for quick dumping of the spent treating liquids from said receptacle.
"Patented v Dec. 14, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG; 24
PI-IOTOGRAPIIIC PROCESSING MACHINE This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 402,545, filed Oct. 8, I964 and entitled CYLINDRICAL CARRIER FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC SHEET MATERIALS; now US. Pat. No. 3,41 l,424, which application is a division of my earlier application Ser. No. 342,459, filed Feb. 4, 1964 now U.S. Pat. No. 3,349,686, the latter being a continuation-in-part of my application Ser. No. 23,313, filed Apr. 19, I960, now US. Pat. No. 3,124,05 I. The present application is furthermore a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 677,265, filed on Oct. 23, 1967, now abandoned and entitled PHOTOGRAPHIC PRO- GRAM TIMER, of my copending application Ser. No. 632,842, filed Jan. 23, 1967, now US. Pat. No. 3,470,810, and entitled WATER JACKET AND PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSING APPARATUS, furthermore of my copending application Ser. No. 678,987, filed Oct. 30, I967, now abandoned and entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THE CONTROL OF THE TEMPERATURE IN PHOTO- GRAPHIC TREATING SOLUTIONS, and of my copending application Ser. No. 707,757, filed Feb. 23, 1968 and entitled WATER MIXING DEVICE AND METHOD FOR DELIVERING A STREAM OF TEMPERATURE CON-' TROLLED WATER.
In my copending application Ser. No. 402,545 is described apparatus and device which comprises a rotary textured drum, i.e., a drum which is provided on its outer convex surface with a pattern of small protrusions or high areas and low areas alternating in suitable fashion to produce the said textured effect. For its operation, the drum is positioned with its axis of rotation approximately horizontally and a wetted sheet of photographic paper-backed material is placed face down, i.e., with its emulsion side onto the textured surface of the drum and held stationary, while the drum rotates, with its lower portion projecting into a receptacle containing the treating liquid. The rotating drum contacts the treating liquid and picks up and forwards to the said sheet small amounts of the treating liquid, forwarding it upwardly into the area between the drum and the stationary sheet of photographic paper, where it acts as the lubricant and where it effects continuously the treatment of the reactive layer or layers contained on the concave side of the partially cylindrical sheet. This method of photographic treatment provides an unusually high agitation level, permitting the drastic shortening of the treating times as compared with the treatment of the same materials in regular, conventional tank or tray development.
In a commercial embodiment of this machine, the lowermost portion of the drum is placed very close to the bottom of a tiltable, generally flat tray for the reception of a few ounces of the treating solution. For the operation of this commercial machine, it is required that the machine or drum, respectively, is leveled with great care, such that the drum 'axis and the tray bottom are absolutely horizontal.
It was found, that in practice even with the greatest care in leveling the machine, vibrations and contact of the machine by the operator during operation tend to bring the machine out of the exact level position, with the result, that the amounts of treating solution picked up and brought between the drum surface and the paper sheet contained thereon, are nonuniform in the direction of the drum axis. Since the treating solution acts as the lubricant, the uneven distribution of the solution along the drum surface produces directional drag on the paper, in addition to uneven chemical treatment, so
that the paper, which is usually held stationary by an apron of It is another object of the invention to provide a drum processing machine of the described type, which comprises means for the exact control of the treating temperature at minimum additional cost and at a minimum of consumption of hot water.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new drum processing machine of the described general type, which is adapted for fully automatic operation.
Other objects will become apparent from the attached drawings and from the following detailed description of the invention.
The objects of the invention are achieved by a drum processing machine comprising a rotary textured drum, which is oriented in operating position with its rotary axis approximately horizontally, means for rotation of the drum around its cylinder axis, a troughlike receptacle for the treating solution comprising a bottom having the form of a partial lying cylinder of a radius slightly larger than the outer radius of said drum, said troughlike receptacle surrounding the lowermost portion of said rotary drum, and means for quick dumping of the treating solution from said receptacle at the end of each treating step. The radius of the troughlike receptacle is preferably, depending on the size of the drum, exceeding that of the drum, measured at the apex of said protrusions or high portions, by an amount which ranges advantageously from about I to 10 millimeters.
In the accompanying drawings,
FIG. I is an end elevation. partially broken away and FIG. 2 is a vertical section, taken along line 2-2 of FIG. I, of a basic embodiment of the machine of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a top elevation and FIG. 4 a horizontal section, taken along line 44 in FIG. 3, of an embodiment of a device for holding the sheet of photographic paper face down and stationary on the rotating tex tured drum;
FIG. 5 is a top elevation and FIG. 6 a vertical section, taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 5, of another embodiment of the machine of the invention, comprising closeable dumping means for the spent treating liquids in a partially cylindrical troughlike receptacle;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary coaxial vertical section of the lower portion of the machine, taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary horizontal section taken along line 88 of FIG. 7, illustrating detail of the construction of the preferred dumping means;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary horizontal section taken along line 99 in FIG. 8 showing likewise detail of the dumping means;
FIG. 10 is a schematic horizontal section of another embodiment of the machine of the invention, comprising a different form of the dumping means, and comprising means for the control of the temperature of the treating liquid contained in the troughlike receptacle;
FIG. I1 is a fragmentary horizontal section of the troughlike receptacle, taken along line 11-11 in FIG. 10;
FIG. I2 is a fragmentary, coaxial vertical section of the lower portion of the troughlike receptacle and of the dumping means, taken along line l2I2 in FIG. I0;
FIG. I3 is a fragmentary side elevation, partially in section of the inside of the machine of FIG. 10, taken along line 13-- 13 in FIG. 11;
FIG. 14 is a fragmentary vertical end elevation of the outside of the troughlike receptacle comprising a preferred form of temperature control means useful in the machine of FIG. 10;
FIG. 15 is an enlarged detail view of a schematic representation of a horizontal section of a cylindrical wall of a preferred embodiment of the temperature control means useful in the machine of the present invention;
FIG. 16 is a vertical section of a schematic representation of an improved textured drum useful in the machine of the present invention;
FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a full cylindrical sheet and FIG. 18 depicts in perspective a partial cylindrical sheet;
FIG. 19 is a plan view of the top and FIG. 20 is a side elevation of a drum-type closed suppo.t of the invention;
FIG. 21 is a sectional view of a portion of a drum-type support, cut perpendicularly to the central axis;
FIG. 22 is a coaxial section of a portion of a drum-type support and of the clamp contained thereon;
FIG. 23 is an elevational side view of the outer perpendicular extension of the clamp shown in FIG. 25;
FIG. 24 is an elevational view of a portion of another modification of the closed drum-type support;
FIG. 25 is a plan view of the clamp shown in FIG. 24.
The embodiment of the processing machine of the present invention, illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 employs a partially cylindrical trough as the receptacle for the treating solution, which is provided with means for tilting the trough as the means for quick dumping of the spent treating solution of the wash and rinse water. The processing machine comprises a base having end walls lla and 12a and a bottom 13a. Drum 14 is removably joumaled in end walls 11a and 120 by help of suitable bearings 15 and 16. The drum is coupled by coupling 17 to motor 18 for rotation of the drum 14 around its horizontal cylinder axis and for quick removal and reinsertion.
Drum 14 comprises cylindrical wall 190 and end walls 20a and 2la, the latter being provided with a central, circular opening 22a for the insertion of a water inlet tube (not shown) and for the overflow of the water circulated for temperature control through the rotating drum. Cylindrical wall 190 of the drum 14 is textured, i.e., it is provided on its outer convex surface with a pattern of small protrusions (not shown) and/or indentations, whereby preferably the indentations form a continuous network around the protrusions. The protrusions and/or indentations have preferably a size which permits the utilization of surface tension or capillary forces and the like for picking up and holding the treating liquid on the cylindrical drum surface and in the low areas for transport from the treating solution supply in the lower part of the troughlike receptacle to the area between the concave side of the stationary sheet of photographic paper and the drum surface whereon it is supported. It is believed that capillary forces, becoming effective between the paper or emulsion, respectively, and the high areas of the textured drum surface, distribute the treating liquid in form of a very thin film, which acts as a lubricant, preventing damage to the emulsion, and which also effects the treatment of the reactive layers of the paper under very high agitation conditions due to the relatively rapid relative travel of the rotating drum surface relative to the stationary paper surface and emulsion.
For the sake of clarity, the texture and the protrusions and indentations are not shown in drawings. With regard to their arrangement, special reference is made to the drawings and disclosure of my copending application Ser. No. 402,545, which shows, e.g., the preferred arrangement of the small protrusions winding in a helical pattern around the cylindrical drum surface, forming a network of low areas or indentations between the protrusions. This preferred arrangement of weltlike protrusions is represented and illustrated, for instance, in FIG. 1 and elsewhere in the Pamphlet entitled Kodak Rapid Color Processor, Model 11, published and distributed in I964 by the Eastman Kodak Company. Other arrangement of the pattern of protrusions and indentations or high and low areas respectively, is possible, and the present invention is not limited to any particular arrangement of the elements producing the texture on the drum surface, as long as it serves the function of picking up treating solution in small quantities from a lower receptacle, holding it and distributing it over the emulsion of the sheet material. Drums of this type are called herein and referred to as textured drums."
In the base 10 of the machine of the F [GS 11 and 2 is tiltably mounted trough 23a, which comprises partial cylindrical bottom 24a of a radius slightly larger than that of drum 14, end walls 25a and, extending from the upper front edge of bottom 24a, lip 26 which projects outwardly, away from the axis of the bottom 24a. Trough 23a is mounted such that its cylindrical axis coincides with the cylinder axis of drum 14. Outside of end walls 250, the trough 23a comprises curved rails 27, which in effect may be outside extensions of the bottom 24a of the receptacle, and which preferably have the same radius and curvature as the trough bottom. The rails are running between two sets of rollers 28 and 29, respectively, provided on both sides at the right or front end of the processor as shown best in FIG. 1..At the rear top end, rails 27 are angled toward the central axis of the trough to form a stop 30, which contacts the rollers 29a and effects a stop of the tilting movement of the trough in the desired position for drainage. Handle 31 may serve as the means for tilting the trough or receptacle upwardly to the front into the drainage or quick dump position. Handle arm 32 runs in curved slot 33 provided for it in end wall lla of the base. Lip 26, which is slanted upwardly in the level position of the trough, serves as the means for pouring in and distributing the treating solution in the trough. The weight of the lip tends to drop the front end of the trough downwardly into the operating position. It is held in level position, as is shown in FIG. 1, by the provision of stop 33, against which lip 26 falls in the released position.
For the operation of this embodiment of the processing machine of the present invention, the operator fills into the trough 23a, while it is in the released operating position, the required quantity, e.g., cc. or cc. or the like of the first treating liquid after adjusting the temperature of the drum by running water of the appropriate proper temperature through it. The first treating solution is, in the case of using the Kodak CP-S process, the developer. The operator then starts the motor and permits the temperature of the developer adjust to the exact level as described in said Kodak pamphlet. He then places the prewetted sheet of exposed photographic paper, e.g., Ektacolor Professional Paper, onto the rotating drum surface and holds it there stationary, e.g., by the use of a blanket of netting (not shown), which may be removably fastened to the base 10 by help of a crossbar (not shown) in suitable notches or slots (not shown). Suitable blanket of netting is described e.g., in the above-mentioned pamphlet of the Kodak Company. When the development step is completed, the operator raises the trough forwardly, e.g., by help ofhandle 31 or by raising lip 26 (in which case the handle 31 may be omitted in the design of the machine), until the raising motion is stopped by stop 30 contacting roller 29a. This results in the instantaneous dumping of all the spent developer solution over the lower rear edge of the trough. Thereafter the print is washed by flowing water on top of it, while still holding the trough in the drain position. Finally, the trough is briefly rinsed by running water down on lip 26 across the whole width of the trough. After a few seconds drainage. the trough is then lowered by releasing it, and the next treating solution is filled in in accordance with the prescribed time schedule. The second treating solution is then dumped, after completion of this treating step, in the same manner as described before, whereafter the print is washed or rinsed again in the described manner, the trough is rinsed, the next treating solution is filled in etc., until all the required treating steps have been completed.
As stated, the temperature control may be effected during the treatment, by running into and through the rotating drum water of the required treating temperature, as described, for instance, in the above-mentioned pamphlet. In this case it is desired to provide a spout or the like (not shown) below the opening 22 in the drum to keep the emanating water away from the trough.
The radii of the trough 23a and of the drum 14 are preferably closely together, such that the space between the textured convex side of the drum and the concave inner surface of the trough is extremely narrow. The space is preferably from about 1 mm. to about 5 or 10 mm. or so, depending on the amount of solution intended to be used in each step. Using as an example a drum which is about 50 cm. long in the direction of the drum m axis, a space of 5 mm. between the drum and trough bottom (disregarding the texture of the drum and the amount of solution carried on the drum surface), will permit 250 cc. of treating solution to cover an area about 100 cm. wide in the trough. At a radius of about 25 cm. of the mentioned example of the drum, the solution stands approximately 1 cm. high in the trough (with the drum inserted). Accordingly, the processing machine may be out of level (measured and compared at both ends of the machine) by approximately 1% cm. without loosing contact with the drum at any place in the trough. By making the space between the drum surface and inner trough bottom narrower, e.g., 2 or 3 mm., the processing machine of the present invention is even less sensitive to being placed out of level. Otherwise, the particular design of the trough permits, if desired, the reduction of the quantity of solution in any one step or in all steps to a much lower level than is possible in available commercial machines of this type, without requiring the painstaking levelling procedure.
The foregoing shows, that the processing machine of the present invention does merely require approximate level position for proper operation. This means, reduced loss in prints and greater convenience and versatility in operation over the heretofore available embodiments of the drum processor. The particular design of the processor of the present invention permits also the use of smaller quantities of treating solution in relation to the size of the processor, which, at the relatively high price of the color treating solution brings about greater economy than is possible in the commercially available drum processor.
The partially cylindrical trough has been described hereinbefore in an embodiment which is adapted for quick dumping the spent treating solution by having means for tilting the trough. Instead of employing for this purpose the described arrangement comprising the curved rail and rollers, one may employ any other suitable means for bringing about the tilt, provided they permit the tilting around an axis, which coincides with the cylinder axis of the rotary drum. Such modified tilting means may comprise supporting means for the trough, which are adapted for tilting the trough around the said axis of rotation of the drum. Other suitable tilting means may comprise a partially circular curved bearinglike supporting structure, on which the ends or any other part of the curved bottom of the trough slide for tilting, or any other suitable structure and means.
The means for controlling the temperature of the treating solution during the treatment have been described as temperature controlled water running into and through the interior of the rotating drum. Any other suitable means for temperature control may be employed in this embodiment of the processor of the invention, e.g., a thermostat-controlled heating element such as is described e.g., in my copending application Ser. No. 677,265 or any other suitable means, e.g., as those describe hereinafter. The individual functions of the processing machine of the invention may be automatically controlled and efiected but suitable automatic means, e.g., such means as are described in my said copending application Ser. No. 677,265. The automatic actuation an control means may be controlled and activated at the required points of time and after the desired time periods by any suitable timing means, and particularly by the various embodiments program timers such as are described or claimed e.g., in my US. Pat. No. 3,349,685, or in my copending applications Ser. No. 677,265 or Ser. No. 62l,382, filed Jan. 23, 1967, now abandoned. The tilting of the trough may be achieved in analogous manner, as is described e.g., in said application Ser. No. 677,265 by connecting the actuator of e.g., mechanical, electromechanical, electrical or hydraulic or other actuator means to the trough, which may, for instance, correspond to the position at which the handle is shown in FIG. 1, to be fastened to the trough.
The means for holding the sheet of photographic paper stationary on the rotating drum have been described hereinbefore as apron of netting and the like. ln lieu thereof may be employed other means e.g., a bar with a strip of adhesive tape attached, the projecting edge of which is adhered to the back side of one edge of the sheet of photographic paper. Because of possible undertreatment in the washing of the covered edge, it is generally desired to cut off the portion of the sheet covered by the adhesive tape.
An embodiment of a sheet holder, which does not require the cutting off, of the leading edge of the sheet, is illustrated by way of example in FIGS. 3 and 4. Basically the sheet holder comprises a holding bar and attached thereto or clamped in by one edge a flexible strip member 41 at the free edge of which are provided toothlike pointed holding members 42. Strip member 41 is preferably extending away from bar member 40 at an acute angle, with the section carrying the teeth members 42, extending approximately or close to a plane, which is parallel to that of the bar member 40. At the upper side of the tip of the teeth members 42 is provided a small patch of adhesive 43 of a kind, which is resistant to water and the chemicals occuring in photographic color treatments and of the pressure sensitive type which permits adhesion by simple pressure and peeling off of the sheet of paper after completion of the treatment. Suitable adhesives may be found in the low molecular tacky copolymers of various kinds developed for this purpose. The area of the teeth corresponding (no the other side) to the adhesive patch is preferably colored dark, contrasting to the light colored remainder of the teeth members, so as to permit lining up of the sheet edge with the adhesive patches as will be described hereinafter.
For the use of the new sheet holder, the dry sheet is laid flat, face down and the sheet holder is brought over, but not in contact with one edge of the sheet such that the adhesive tips are situated above the sheet edge. The sheet edge is then lined up with the separatory line formed by the dark colored back side of the teeth. The sheet holder is then lowered so as to contact the adhesive with the edge of the sheet and by lightly running over the teeth and by slight pressure, the teeth are adhered to the sheet edge with the bar on the outside, away from the sheet. As can be seen, the expedient of using the dark colored back side of the teeth safely assures, that the edge of the sheet is covered only by the narrow tips of the teeth.
The sheet is then wetted and laid, face down onto the rotating drum in the usual manner and the projecting ends of the bar 40 are hooked into suitable slot means or other holding means provided in the stationary base of the processing machine. The angled construction of the strip member 41 permits slight pressure against the drum surface so as to assure perfect contact also of the adhered edge of the sheet with the drum for complete and perfect treatment. It is of course desirable to make the strip member 41 of a material, having a certain flexibility such as is found in many plastics. After completion of the treatment the sheet is removed from the drum by removing the holder with the adhered sheet. The holder may also be used as the means for hanging up the sheet for drying, whereafter the holder is peeled off the sheet by pulling it upwardly toward the sheet lying face down. For facilitation of hanging up the holder and sheet, a slotted ear or similar means may be provided at the center of holder bar 40. The expedient of adhering the sheet edge merely by the pointed tips of the teeth, assures that the paper areas, covered by the tips are fully washed by help of diffusion and penetration.
In the foregoing embodiment of the processing machine of the invention, the means for quick drainage or dumping of the spent treating solution from the trough have been described as means for tilting the trough. The dumping means may also be valve type means as are shown by way of example hereinafter. For assuring quick drainage or dumping of the spent chemical solution at the same time across the length of the drum or through, such valve means extend preferably over at least nearly the whole length of the trough or are at least distributed over most of the length of the trough. If this precaution is not observed, treatment of various parts of the sheet tends to be different, particularly, where the total treating time of a step is very short, such as V: minute or 1 minute. The effective cross section of the dumping means are presented e.g., by valve means must also be relatively large, so as to accommodate the instant drainage of the wash water which may be used at relatively high flow rates up to one gallon per minute, or more.
These requirements are excellently fulfilled in the embodiment of the dumping means illustrated e.g., in FIGS. to 9.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 to 9, the embodiment of the processing machine comprises a partially cylindrical troughlike receptacle 50, which is mounted and supported in a base structure 51, comprising the vertical face walls 52, horizontal baseplate 53 and feet 54, the latter being preferably provided with conventional means (not shown) for leveling the machine, such as leveling screws and the like. The troughlike receptacle 50 comprises partially cylindrical wall 55, extending between face walls 52, and outwardly slanted lip portion 56, extended over the whole width of the front of the receptacle.
The partially circular curvature of the receptacle 50 has a radius slightly larger than that of the coordinate textured drum 57, indicated by broken lines in FIG. 6. The drum 57 is removably journaled by help of axle stumps 58 in bearing 59, provided at the top of face walls 52. Coaxial slot 60, having a considerable width, extends over nearly the whole width of the lowest portion of the receptacle 50. It is located in a slightly depressed section of the receptacle bottom, such that liquid from both sides can readily flow into and through slot 60. Below the parallel long edges and at the ends of slot 60 is provided slanted seat 61 for gasket bar 62, the latter having a length and width greater than the length and width of slot 60. The lower portion 63 of the gasket bar 62 is parallelepipedal, while the top portion is prismatic, the sides of the prismatic portion having an angle of slant identical to that of the sides of seat 61. The apex of the prismatic portion of gasket bar 62 is preferably cut ofl as shown at 64. The vertical sides of the gasket bar 62 are vertically slideably supported by triangular support members 65 at the long sides and by triangular members 66 at the ends, so as to exactly localize gasket bar 62 in the drainage structure and permit its vertical up and down displacement.
Gasket bar 62 rests, by its base, on the periphery of excentrically rotatably journaled control rod 68, having dimensions and being positioned such that the slot 60 is fully opened, when the excentric control rod 68 is rotated to the low position as illustrated. When the control bar 68 is rotated by 180 or somewhat less, the gasket bar 62 is raised into contact with seat 61, bringing about tight seal all around between the slanted top portion of gasket bar 62 and the coordinated portions of seat 61, thus closing slot 60 tightly in this position.
Friction between the periphery of the control rod 68 and the bottom of gasket bar 62 holds the gasket bar in its raised position and tightly pressed into the seat. The slanted top portion of the gasket bar 62, establishing the seal may preferably be lined with an elastomeric gasket material, such as photographic grades of rubber, elastic plastics or the like or the prismatic top portion may be made entirely of such material. The base of gasket bar 62 may be slightly rounded or carved out (not shown) to still better fit the periphery of control rod 68 and to still better enhance the self-locking qualities of the arrangement. The rotation of the control rod 68 may be effected by handle bar 69, which by the use of weighted knob 70 at its end still further enhances the self-locking feature. Excentric control rod 68 is rotatably set, by its outer bearing portion in suitably positioned bearings or openings in the lower part of outer face walls 52. In order to achieve positive retraction of gasket bar 62 from the seat upon lowering of the excentric control rod periphery (by rotation of the rod) there are provided at the ends of gasket bar 62 pins 72, set through vertical slots 73 of retraction member 74. Retraction member 74 is rotatably set, by a circular opening or bearing in its lower wider portion, over the excentric portion of control rod 68. Upon rotation of the rod to its lowered position, the top end of slot 73 contacts pin 72, forcing gasket bar 72 to follow the downward movement for opening of the slot 60.
In the open position of slot 60, liquid contained in the receptacle 50 flows through the passages 75 opening between seat 61 and the upper slanted portion of retracted gasket bar 62, from where it passes down in the spaces 76 into the lower chamber 77, which it leaves through slot 78 in the bottom plate 53 for drainage into the sink. Instead of draining chamber 77 through slot 78, an outlet may be provided at one end, from where the liquid can be drained through a hose or the like into the sink or other means of disposal.
The operation of the just described machine is very similar to that of the machine illustrated in FIGS. I and 2. Slot 60 is closed by turning handle bar 69 into the rear position. the textured drum is inserted into the bearings 59 and connected to the motor 80 by coupling 81. The motor is started and water of the desired temperature is run into and through the drum. A measured quantity of developer solution is then poured, over lip 56, into the receptacle 50 and a prewetted sheet of exposed photographic paper is placed, face down on the top portion of the rotating drum and held in this position, e.g., by an apron of netting fastened to the base by suitable holding means (not shown). After completion of the development step, the handle lever 69 is brought into its forward position, which lowers the gasket bar 62 for drainage of the spent developer solution, the sheet is then washed by running water over its top portion. The wash water is drained through open slot 60. Thereafter the receptacle 50 is rinsed by pouring water in a sweeping motion over the whole lip. Thereafter slot 60 is closed again by turning handle bar 69 to the rear position and the solution for the next step is poured into the receptacle 50, the sheet is treated for the prescribed time in this solution, the spent solution is drained as described before, the sheet is washed. the receptacle rinsed etc., and new solution is filled in for the next step etc., until all the treatment steps have been completed.
It is to be noted, that the drainage mechanism is self cleaning. The wash and rinse water carries away and dilutes any concentrated treating solution, so that the danger of operating difficulties due to crystallization and incrustation is very slim. Corresponding design of the form and bottom slant of the collection tray guarantees trouble free operation.
The drainage means described hereinbefore may be modified in many ways. Other means may be selected for positively retracting the gasket bar from the slot 60. Other equivalent means may be used for raising and lowering the gasket bar. Instead of a continuous gasket bar, one may employ a plurality of individual, preferably round gasket means, cooperating with and closing and opening a series of coordinated openings extending along the bottom of the receptacle. The disposal of the drained liquid may be achieved in many other ways, e.g., by conducting it from chamber 67 into a tray or the like, from where it may be disposed through suitable conduit means. These and many other modifications may be made, without departing from the spirit of the invention.
A different kind of drainage means or means for quick dumping of the liquid from the receptacle is shown in FIGS. 10 to 12. The processing machine comprises as before a stationary, partially cylindrical troughlike receptacle 101, which is supported and fixedly mounted in base 102 of the machine. Receptacle 101 comprises in its lowermost bottom portion a recess 103, in which is provided in line, across the bottom of the receptacle, a series of elongated perforations 104 opening into the core portion of horizontal slightly conical valve member 105. The latter is joined to the lower outside bottom of the receptacle in the direction of the axis of the receptacle 101 and comprises a horizontal frustoconical bore 106 of relatively large diameter. Into the bore 106 is set rotatably, with tight fit core member 107 having identical frustoconical configuration as said bore 106. Core member 107 is provided with slotlike passages 108, one each opposite and of about the same size as, openings 104 in the bottom of the receptacle. Between the wide end 107a of core member 107 and pressure plate 109, the latter being fastened to the base structure 102 in suitable manner, is provided compression spring 110, which holds and presses core member 107 into bore 106 so as to insure at all times tight fit of the core member 107 in the bore 106 for liquid tightness. To the outer end of shaft 111, the latter being coaxially and fixedly set into the wide end 107a of core member 107, is fastened handle bar 112 at a right angle for coaxial rotation of the core member 107 in the bore 106. For fixing the angle of motion of handle bar 112 within an arc of about 90 stops 113 and 114 are provided at the outside of the face panel 115 of base 102. Stop 1 13 is provided in such position that the openings of passages 108 in the core member are exactly lined up with the openings 104 in the bottom of the trough, when handle 112 contacts stop 113. In the bottom of valve member 105 are likewise provided slotlike passages 116 in a position such that they line up with the lower openings of passages 108, when the core member is set in the just described position, thus forming in the open position" a continuous passage from the interior of the receptacle to the bottom of the valve member 105. In this position, liquid contained in the receptacle, flows through openings 104, passages 108 into spaces 116, from where it is drained through tubular outlets 117 into the collection tray at the bottom of base 102, which tray it leaves through outlet 1 19 at the rear of the machine.
The operation of this type of quick dump means is similar to that described hereinbefore. For the treatment of the paper in the machine with chemical solution, handle bar 112 is set in the horizontal position, in which position the passages 108 extend approximately horizontally, so that openings 104 are all closed. For drainage of the liquid after completion of the treatment, and for washing and rinsing, as described hereinbefore, the handle bar 112 is set into the vertical position in contact with stop 113. Many modifications and changes may be made in the design and structure of the just described closure means. The bottom passages may open directly to tray 118, or tray 118 may be omitted, when the machine is to be operated in a sink or similar means of disposal of liquids.
The machine may be provided with feet 120 for level positioning on a suitable support such as a table top, laundry tub, washing machine or the like. Desirably adjusting screws are provided at the feet for approximate leveling, when an approximately level support of the kind just mentioned is not available. I
As is well known, one of the first steps of the wet treatment (usually the development step) of commercially available enlarging color papers and of other color materials requires very close temperature control, usually within limits of at least 105 F. of a preset treating temperature. For critical work, this operating range should be maintained in even closer limits.
In one type of commercially sold drum processing machines the temperature in the critical first developing step is maintained within the required narrow range by flowing at a relatively high flow rate, through the interior of the drum, water having a temperature exactly maintained within the required narrow temperature range. The temperature controlled water may be obtained from a regular or from a diaphragm controlled mixing valve, both kinds of devices being unreliable and subject to sudden uncontrolled variations of the temperature of the emitted water beyond the permissible limits. Temperature control may be improved by using a thermostatically controlled mixing valve. However, this kind of device is not only expensive, but requires for continuous operation quantities of hot water, which are not available to the noncommercial user, such as the amateur photographer operating in his home. The high consumption of hot water for temperature conditioning severely limits the capacity and output of the just referred to commercial machine for use by the amateur in his home.
In another commercial design of the drum processing machine, the temperature control is effected by recirculating thermostatically temperature controlled water in a complex system through the machine. This type of temperature control is very expensive and increases the price of the machine to very high levels, aside from the fact that this machine still requires some kind of temperature control for the rinsing and wash water.
The preferred embodiment of the processing machine of the present invention provides very accurate reliable temperature control of the critical development step by the utilization of a built-in low cost thin layer" heat exchange system. This system can be very inexpensively constructed from available materials and is provided right in the machine, requiring very little hot or warm water for its operation.
The new thin-layer heat exchange system operates on the principle that water, having a temperature only slightly above that, which is desired in the developer solution, is flown around the receptacle containing the developer solution in form of a very thin widespread layer, until the developer solution has achieved an intermediate temperature D. Temperature D is selected such that, after heat exchange through the receptacle walls the desired treating temperature A is reached by heat exchange between the quantity of warm water surrounding the developer r solution after stopping the flow of said streaming temperature conditioning water. In the machine of the present invention, employing a troughlike partially cylindrical receptacle, and with the textured drum inserted, the developer solution forming a very thin, partial lying annulus, which can be readily heated to the said temperature D by the slightly warmer water flowing around the bottom portion of said troughlike receptacle. Of course, the temperature D may also be higher than the desired treating temperature, if it is desired to bring the developer solution to a lower temperature than it has, by running around it a slightly cooler stream of temperature conditioning water.
The layer of temperature conditioning water is kept as narrow as possible and may be as thin as l mm. or less up to a few mm. such as 3 to 5 mm. or even more, depending on the thickness of the layer of the developer solution. The layer of temperature conditioning water extends preferably at least over the whole width of the bottom area covered by the developer solution so that it contacts, if possible, at least all those areas of the receptacle wall which are opposite the developer solution standing inside the receptacle.
The temperature of the temperature conditioning water need be only slightly higher than the desired treating temperature A to be established in the developer solution. If the development is to be carried out e.g., at F. in Kodak's CP-S process, the temperature conditioning water need be only a few tenths of a degree F. up to 2 or 3 or sometimes more above 100 F. The best range is in this case l to 2 F. differential. In spite of this small temperature differential. the developer reaches temperature D very rapidly because of the very large heat exchange area in relation to the small volume of the wide spread developer solution. Usually, depending on the starting temperature of the developer solution, I to a few minutes flow of the water are sufficient to establish temperature D. After stopping the flow of the temperature conditioning water at this point, the heat exchange proceeds to quickly establish the exact treating temperature A in the developer solution. The system is so sensitive, that the temperature A may be established, if desired, within l/lO of a degree. This manner of establishing the treating temperature A has the advantage of permitting repeatedly the quick adjustment of the developer temperature to within a narrow limit, where it may be maintained by the use of insulation for sufficient length of time to complete the development step at exactly the right temperature, independently of fluctuations in the temperature of the running water supply. Only minimal quantities of hot water are consumed in this temperature adjusting step. Since temperature conditioning water does not flow by the developer during the effecting of the development, the machine is not only completely independent of fluctuations of 4 the temperature of the running water during the treatment,
but it remains essentially constant or follows a curve which is a constant of the particular machine, so that each sheet of paper is developed at perfect reproducible temperature conditions, providing for highest accuracy and reproducibility of the resulting prints and permitting super critical work fulfilling the highest demands.
The new temperature control system, just described, permits also the utilization of a phenomenon, which was observed with this type of operation and which operates to still further maintain the developer temperature at the desired exact level during the total duration of the developing step, when properly considered in the design of the machine.
This phenomenon is based on the observation, that the speed of heat exchange between the standing layer of the temperature conditioning water (after reaching temperature D by the developer) and between the developer solution can be controlled by choice of materials of differing heat transfer properties. By selecting for the receptacle a material which has relatively low heat transfer properties (but not too low, to achieve quick temperature adjustment in the first stage) the supply of heat through the receptacle wall can be adjusted such that it about equals the heat loss of the developer solution caused by rotation of the drum, by conduction, radiation, etc. In this manner an absolute temperature constancy can be achieved in the developer solution for at least several minutes (which is the time needed for development) in spite of the heat losses going on during the development. This can be achieved by observing a critical balance in the design of the machine, which is effected e.g., by such factors as the thickness of the layer of temperature conditioning water, kind and thickness of the material of the receptacle, amount of insulation provided around the receptacle and drum, amount of developer solution and thickness of the layer formed by it, speed of rotation of the drum etc. By proper balancing of these factors and proper design of the machine, nearly absolute temperature constancy can be achieved in this manner to provide a variation of the developer temperature within limits of less than e.g., 02 F. for a time of 2 to 5 minutes or more, i.e., for a time in which the development step e.g., in Kodak's CP-S process is completed.
Temperature D can be readily determined empirically in a given machine for the various different temperatures of the temperature conditioning water, which may be encountered in its operation. The various values of temperature, coordinated to the water temperatures actually read, may be provided in form of a table or curve, so that for each temperature actually read at the moment of the temperature adjustment for the temperature conditioning water a correlated temperature D is to be taken from the table or curve.
For more detailed information, regarding the just described temperature control system, special reference is herewith made to my copending application Ser. No. 678,987. FIG. 4 of this application, representing a typical temperature curve, shows at the left top portion the area of near temperature constancy brought about by the just mentioned balanced heat exchange phenomenon.
An embodiment of the drum processing machine of the present invention, incorporating the just described temperature control system, is described and illustrated in FIGS. to of the drawings accompanying this application. Partially cylindrical, horizontal troughlike receptacle 101 is provided with an integrated system of triangular channels 130 of very small efi'ective cross section with their wide base disposed toward the receptacle wall. The channels may be provided by attaching a kind of corrugated material, following the outer contours of the lower part of the receptacle and circumclosing the lower drainage means as shown at 132. At the top edge of the space 133 for the flowing temperature conditioning water is provided all around distributor channel 134 with water inlet 135. The channel 134 has a relatively large cross section, permitting the water to flow to all parts of the inlet space 133 without substantial restraint or resistance, while space 133 (Le, the said triangular channels) is made narrow enough to provide for the flowing water, at the desired pressure and flow rate, enough flow resistance to force the water to flow over the whole length of the inlet side of space 133. At the outlet side 135 of space 133 is provided wide outlet channel 136 having outlet openings 137 and tubes for drainage of the water into tray 118 or into other suitable disposal means. Channel 134 and space 133 is preferably also extended around the partially circular faces 139 of the receptacle by providing vertical triangular passages 140 (FIGS. 12 and 14) with a curved channel 141 at the bottom end and a corresponding channel section 143 at the top end, both channels being of relatively large cross section as described above for the main inlet and outlet channel. The inlet end and outlet end of the system is separated by divider 142 extending into and closing ofi from each other the inlet channel 134 plus channel section 143 and outlet channel 136 plus outlet channel section 144.
For the operation of the just-described temperature control system, water, having a temperature slightly higher than the desired treating temperature, is passed through inlet 135, from where it is distributed in inlet channel 134 and 143. From there it flows evenly distributed over the whole area of the outside wall of the receptacle in space 133 (or triangular curved channels, respectively) downwardly, circumflowing the bottom and sides of the receptacle, flowing upwards at the other side of the receptacle in space 135 (or in the respective triangular channels) and into collector channel 136 and 144, which it leaves through orifices 137 and through outlet tubes 138. On its way around the bottom portion or receptacle 101 and along the faces of the receptacle, the water gives off some of its heat energy, through the walls of the receptacle and heats up the developer solution or other treating solution contained in the receptacle in form of a thin layer between the inner receptacle wall and the surface of the textured drum 146 rotating in the receptacle. As soon as the developer solution has reached the predetermined intermediary temperature D (as described above), the flow of the water is stopped, and the heat energy of the layer of water standing in space 133 opposite the developer solution equalizes with that of the developer solution to give the latter the desired treating temperature. The processing machine is now ready for beginning of the developing step of a sheet of exposed photographic paper as described hereinbefore. The procedure is repeated for each new sheet of paper before it is placed on the drum for development.
The space 133 is indicated in FIG. 11 as a narrow straight walled space. It is preferably provided with means to form individual channels, preferably triangular channels as shown in detail in FIG. 15. This manner of construction has the advantage, that the effective heat exchange capacity is largest with the smallest possible effective cross section of space 133. The corrugated wall may be made in one piece and simply laid against the wall of the receptacle 101. It was found that the wall 1010 of the receptacle is preferably made from a very thin nonmetallic material, such as plastic having the desirable corrosion resistance and the medium heat transfer properties as explained above. Excellently suited are for this purpose such materials as high impact polystyrene copolymers, e.g., the so-called ABS copolymers, or polyethylene or polypropylene or similar materials. To achieve just the right amount of heat transfer for the utilization of the above described temperature constancy phenomenon, the receptacle wall 101a may be made relatively thin, when made from the mentioned plastic materials, e.g., l/64 to 1/20 of an inch or so. The unavoidable degree of flexibility of the high impact materials of this thin cross section can be readily overcome by joining the corrugated or zigzagging wall part, e.g., by heat sealing, cementing or the like to the receptacle wall 101a In this manner a sturdy, rigid structure is obtained, even though it is made from very thin flexible material. The named plastic materials have the further advantage of being practically completely corrosion resistant to virtually all the chemicals used in photographic aqueous treating solutions, surpassing nearly all, except the best and most expensive grades of stainless steel in this respect. The corrugated member may be given any other desired form, it may be sinusoidally ondulating, square channeled, or if other materials are used it may be simply a straight sheet of material properly spaced from the wall 101a by suitable spacers and following the contours of the wall 101a.
On the outside of the space 133 and vertical channels 130 and 140, respectively, i.e., preferably all around the receptacle and its components, heavy insulation 147 is advantageously provided. Any suitable material having high heat-retaining values may be used. Preferred are such materials as lightweight foamed polyurethane, foamed polyethylene or polystyrene or the like because of their excellent insulating properties, light weight, ease of application and resistance to moisture and chemicals.
In order to prevent excessive heat loss from the the rotating drum, the top portion of the drum is preferably covered by a removable lid of insulating material, so that the rotating drum is completely surrounded at its periphery and at its sides by a good insulator, cutting down the heat loss, caused by radiation, to a negligible amount. Lid 148 made or filled with a heavy layer of insulating material, e.g., of the kind described hereinabove, is fastened to the lower receptacle portion of the machine by piano hinge 149 or the like hinge means or it may be simply placed onto the receptacle as an independent part. The lid follows on the inside closely the contours of the drum, leaving only a narrow space to permit unobstructed rotation of the drum and to avoid contact with the paper located on the rotating drum. In this kind of machine, it is of course not desired to fill the drum with a supply of temperature conditioned water or running such water through it during the operation. The lid is preferably designed such, that, in the closed position, it excludes light from the interior of the machine, so that the full treatment, except for the placing of the sheet onto the drum, may be carried out in full light. This may be achieved, e.g., by providing suitable tongue and groove arrangements in the lid and top edge of the receptacle all around or by providing a suitable overlap at the lid.
Instead of using for the washing step the conventional tube arrangement with one end of the tube being open for the emission of a single stream of water, it is preferred to employ in the machine of the present invention a wash tube arrangement, in which the tube carries over its length a system of perforations or closely spaced orifices directed onto and covering the top portion of the sheet underlying it, with a water inlet at both ends or at least at one end with the free end closed. The water inlet means are provided with suitable closure means for staring and shutting ofi the water supply to the wash tube as may be needed in accordance with the processing schedule. The tube preferably is positioned horizontally over the whole length of the sheet and slightly spaced above the sheet, contained on the rotating drum, in other words the wash tube preferably extends coaxially with the drum and at least slightly above the top of the drum. One or several rows of, preferably closely spaced small orifices 1700 are provided in the underside of the tube disposed towards the drum, so as to provide an even spray of water over the top portion of the sheet area, when the water supply is opened. When the insulated lid, described hereinbefore, is provided in the processing machine, the perforated wash tube may be built right into the lid, e.g., by placing it into a triangular or round cross section groove 171 in the top center of the lid 148 as shown in FIG. at 170. Preferably, the tube is somewhat recessed in the lid, with the lower sides of the groove 171 sloping outwardly as shown, and with at least some perforations 17% provided in the side portion of the wash tube 170, so as to spray a small portion of the water onto the sides of groove 171, from where it runs down on the underside of the lid to rinse away any chemicals contained thereon. When the lid 148 is opened for the placing of the sheet of paper onto the drum or for its removal from the drum, the perforated wash tube 170 is swung out of the way together with the lid wherein it is contained. The tube is preferably connected by flexible tubing to an on-off valve such as a toggle operated valve for controlling the supply of wash water to the tube as may be needed.
In order to reduce the heat capacity of the drum and for reducing the heat loss from it to a minimum, the textured drum is in this embodiment of the machine of the present invention preferably made from a material which has a relatively low heat conductivity. Preferred are plastic materials of relatively thin wall thickness, most preferred the above-mentioned corrosion-resistant plastic materials, most advantageously high impact polystyrene copolymers such as ABS material. An embodiment of a preferred low heat capacity textured drum is illustrated in FIG. 16. The drum comprises a cylindrical, relatively thin skin 151 made of the corrosion resistant plastic and carrying on its outer convex surface the protrusions and indentations, providing the desired texture as indicated at 152 at the upper left.
The outer thin shell is joined to circular, disclike structures 153 which are spaced from each other and concentrically mounted on axle 154. Structures I53 comprise preferably openings 155 for facilitating the filling of the interior space of the drum with an insulating material 156 such as a lightweight polyurethane foam, which is preferably foamed in situ in the preformed outer shell with structures 153 and axle 154 in place. The drum is closed in liquidtight fashion at both ends by circular end pieces 156a, likewise mounted concentrically on axle 154. The protruding axle stumps are provided with bearing members 157 on one side and coupling member 158 on the other side, comprising slot 159 for connection to a suitably shaped drive part of the motor 149 (FIG. 11) for easy insertion and removal of the drum in the machine. A drum constructed in this manner has a much lower heat capacity than the conventional metal drums, i.e., it requires much less heat energy for bringing it up to the desired treating temperature and it has a much better heat holding property than the hollow stainless steel drum used in commercial equipment.
THe embodiment of the machine of the present invention, employing the above described thin layer temperature control means and the just described low heat capacity textured drum is preferably operated with preheated treating solutions, having a temperature at least a few degrees within the desired medium treating temperature. The preheated solutions may be poured into the receptacle over lip 160 extending in the front of the machine. The apron of netting or other holding means for the sheet of paper to be treated may be fastened to the machine by help of slots 161 provided at both sides in the base of the machine.
As has been explained hereinbefore in connection with the tiltable receptacle, after dumping of the spent solution in each treatment step, it is desireable to rinse the receptacle. In the fixed troughlike receptacle the rinsing may advantageously be achieved by a new expedient, comprised of built-in suitable rinsing means, provided at the walls of the receptacle, preferably all around the upper edge of the receptacle and connected to separate, independent water inlet means controlled by separate closure means. A preferred embodiment thereof is illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 13 of the accompanying drawings. All around the outside upper edge of receptacle 101 is provided conduit 165 of appreciable cross section so as to produce a minimum pressure drop of water passed into the conduit through inlet 166. The front portion 167 of conduit is located on the underside of the front edge of lip 160. All around the receptacle conduit 165 opens into the receptacle 101 by means of two separate rows of very narrow slotlike apertures 168, with the slots of the two rows slightly overlapping as shown best in FIG. 13. Similar slots 169 are provided in two rows at the front edge of lip 160 connecting conduit portion 167 with the top edge of lip 160. When the inlet 166 is connected to a source of running water and the flow of water into the conduit is started by opening e.g., a closeable valve (not shown), the water distributes in and fills the conduit 165 and passes through slots 168, where it flows down on the inside of the wall of the receptacle 101 in form of a continuous film or layer. flushing and rinsing away the impurities and chemicals etc., remaining on the walls after the completion of the chemical treating step just completed. By providing the slots at the outer edge of lip 160, also the lip is flushed and rinsed. This manner of rinsing has the advantage, that the operator merely needs to open a valve or other closure means for the water stream for achieving thorough rinsing ofall areas of the receptacle as compared with the manual flushing in the commercial drum processors.
Under certain circumstances, it may be also of advantage to fasten the paper with its emulsion pointing outwardly on the convex side of the drum and rotating the paper with the drum through the solution contained in the lower receptacle, as is described in detail in the following. On the other hand, instead of rotating the drum around a horizontal axis of rotation, it may also be rotated around a vertical rotational axis as is described in the following. In this case, it may be of advantage, to place the drum into a vertically oriented cylindrical vessel having a diameter only slightly larger than the drum diameter. With the use of the textured drum, the paper is in this embodiment of the machine, placed with its emulsion side toward the drum surface such that its paper side is next to the vertical cylindrical wall of the upright vessel. In this case the paper may form a nearly full upright cylinder, enclosing the drum, and being held stationary in the vessel, so that the high agitation levels achieved by the textured drum are utilized. This embodiment of the machine comprises, suitably modified, quick dump means for the spent solutions and for the wash and rinse water and may comprise any one or any combination of the various means described hereinbefore, if necessary suitably modified, to fit the particular needs of the vertical embodiment of the machine. The drum may be preferably designed as a bell-shaped structure, being open at the lower end and being hollow so as to permit the circumclosing of a central cylindrical core part of the machine, which in turn may be insulated. This feature permits the use of a very narrow annulus of treating solutions in each step instead of holding the drum down against its tendency to float up in the solution. In this embodiment of the machine a second sheet of paper may be laid with its paper back side against the central core, and with a texture provided also on the inner concave side of the drum wall, two sheets may be developed at the same time. The vertical embodiment of the machine is particularly suited for the development of very large sheets of paper such as murals, because of its small size in relation to the sheet size and because of the minimal floor space it requires in relation to the sheet size. For more detailed information on the construction and design of the vertical embodiment of the machine, reference is made to the following description. Instead of providing the texture on the rotating drum, it may also be provided at the walls of the upright vessel. In this case the paper is preferably fastened to the drum and rotating with it.
Each of the various features, concepts and embodiments of the invention taught herein, may be modified and varied in itself, and the features, concepts and embodiments so modified may be recombined to form many new embodiments of the machine and apparatus of the invention. The invention is not limited to the specific embodiments, except as defined in the appended claims. The horizontal machine has been exemplified hereinbefore as having a thin layer temperature control system, in which the water flows in form of a thin layer primarily in a direction around the periphery of the lower part of the treating receptacle, thus taking the shortest possible path in form of a layer having a width equaling about the length of the treating receptacle. It is, of course, also possible to direct the flow of the thin layer of temperature conditioning water in a direction parallel to the axis of the troughlike treating receptacle. In this case, the water inlet is preferably connected to a horizontal channel provided at one of the partially circular face sides of the treating receptacle, e.g., in a manner as channel 143 is shown in FIG. 14, with the thin layered passage for the water extending down to the periphery of the receptacle and extending over the whole length of the bottom part of the receptacle and up on the opposite face side to be there connected to an outlet channel and water outlet. The thin layered space for the flow of the water is also in this case preferably designed in form of a plurality of triangular spaces or other individual passages, as shown e.g., in FIG. 15. In this case, the passages extend of course beneath the bottom of the receptacle in the direction of the axis of the latter. The faces of the vessel may, as before included or not included, in the channel system and flow pattern. For detailed description of the principles of the horizontal flow of the water, reference is made to my copending application Ser. No. 677,241, entitled METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THE WET TREAT- MENT OF PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIALS, filed Oct. 23, I967, now abandoned, of which the present application is also a continuation-in-part.
In addition to the various embodiments of the processing machine described hereinbefore, the present invention provides also a novel cylindrical support or carrier for flexible photographic sheet materials which comprises a cylindrical member and means adapted to rotationally support the cylindrical support or carrier. The cylindrical support or carrier of the invention may be a closed drum or it may be open on one or both of the circular faces. The outer convex surface of the cylinder wall of the cylindrical carrier or support may be smooth or it may with advantage be provided with a multiplicity of protrusions or indentations or the like, forming a pattern all around the convex side of the cylindrical support.
THe circular ends of the cylindrical wall may be provided with rims or guide means, respectively. The cylindrical support or carrier is advantageously provided with holding means adapted to hold or support the cylindrical sheet of photographic material on the cylindrical wall of the support or carrier.
The preferred embodiment of the cylindrical support comprises a cylindrical member, the outer convex surface of which is provided with a pattern of protrusions or indentations so as to permit access of treating liquid to the concave side of the cylindrical sheet of photographic material while it is contained on said support.
Further embodiments and modifications of the cylindrical carrier or support of the present invention are described in the following detailed description of the invention.
The cylindrical support of the invention comprises the drumlike or other cylindrically shaped structures, which may or may not be open on one or both cylindrical ends. However, it is preferred in accordance with the invention, to employ a closed drumlike cylindrical structure as the supporting means for the cylindrical sheet. Both circular ends of this drumlike structure are closed such that the treating liquid has no access to the interior or inside of the drum. The closed drum of this type, which will be called hereinafter drum-type support" is shown in FIGS. 19 and 20 of the accompanying drawings. FIG. 19 is a plan view of the top and FIG. 20 is a side elevational view of drum-type support 410. This support comprises the cylindrical wall 48 and the circular top and bottom wall sections 411 and 412 which are joined to the edges of cylindrical wall 448 to form a closed structure. Axle 439 extends through the center of top and bottom sections 411 and 412 and through the entire length of the cylinder, coinciding with its rotational axis. Axle stump 438 extends, outside the cylinder, upwards and axle stump 414 correspondingly downwards both in the direction of and coinciding with the rotational axis of the cylinder. Both circular ends of the cylindrical wall 448 are provided with rims 418 and 419 respectively. The outer convex surface of the cylindrical wall of the drum-type support may be smooth or it may be provided wit a multiplicity of protrusions such as raised dots or welts. Pattern 416 of raised dots is shown in the upper left-hand corner of the cylindrical wall in FIG. 6. In the alternative one may employ a pattern of indentations or the like. These surface modifications of the cylindrical wall of the drum-type support are intended to permit access of the treating liquid to the back side or concave side of the cylindrical sheet contained thereon, if this is desired.
Generally, it is desirable that the closed drum-type support is made heavy enough to sink in water and particularly in the treating liquids of the highest density with which it might be used. Advantageously, its specific weight should be substantially higher than I g./cc. and preferably at least 1.5 g./cc. and sometimes even higher than 2 g./cc. in order to sink and remain submerged in concentrated salt solutions, particularly in the concentrated fixing baths which may be used in some processes. The required weight of the support may be supplied by the use of heavy metals as construction material and/or by the inclusion of extra solid or liquid ballast in the hollow interior of the closed cylinder, e.g., of water, or iron or lead weights. If the weighting of the drum-type support is not desired, it may be pressed into the liquid and held in its submerged position by the application of a downward pressure. This may be accomplished by temporarily connecting some part of the support with the wall or bottom of the vessel wherein the treating liquid is contained.
It need not be mentioned that it is generally preferred that the sheet material is bent onto its support and especially onto the drum-type support in such manner that the photographically active layer or layers of the sheet material form the convex outside of the cylindrical sheet. THis precaution insures that the treating liquid has free access to all parts of the area to be treated, when the cylindrical sheet is immersed or contacted with the treating liquid. Thus on even, uniform treatment of the whole area of the active layer or layers is achieved without the danger of local undertreatment and the resultant faults in the final negative or positive materials. Whether or not preference is given to the flat smooth drum-type support or to the corrugated or dotted modification of the drum depends in part on the nature of the materials and processes used.
The foregoing explanations suggest that photographic materials having one or more active or reactive layers on one side of the sheet only are usually more conveniently processed by the process and in the apparatus of the invention than those materials which have such layers on both sides. However, the dotted or corrugated version of the drum is suitable to sometimes permit trouble-free treatment of the latter kind of materials, particularly if the treatment of the layer contained toward the support is not too critical as is the case, for instance, when a layer of dye is to be leached out. The treating liquid usually penetrates into the portions of the layer which are covered by the tiny supporting dots and readily remove the substances and compounds by diffusion and leaching.
The cylindrical sheet may be fastened to the supporting structure in any suitable manner. Pressure-sensitive tapes which are adhesive on both sides may be applied to the concave back side .of the material in the area of the vicinal edges 403 and 404 (or 403a and 404a) of the cylindrical sheet, if the active layer or layers to be treated in the processing liquids are contained merely on the convex side. The underside of the adhesive strips (which adhere to the back of the sheet material) may then be fastened to the drum-type support by the application of slight pressure over the edges of the cylindrical sheet above the location of the adhesive strips. After completion of the treatment the cylindrical sheet material can be readily removed by peeling it off the drum surface. With this modification there is no need for a subsequent removal of the adhesive tape from the back of the sheet material if the tape is desired to provide the adhesive for the later mounting of the finished print or other product on suitable background material.
In the alternative two adhesive tapes which are provided with an adhesive layer on only one side can be applied (with the adhesive side down toward the sheet) to the face of the sheet along the vicinal edges of the cylindrical sheet such that narrow sections of the adhesive strips extend over the unused edge of the sheet material. The protruding portions of the adhesive tape can then be fastened to the drum surface by the application of slight pressure. After completion of the treatment the edges of the sheet material with the tape adhering thereto may be simply cut off. It need not be mentioned that the adhesive tape should be inert to the treating liquids used and vice versa.
A more generally applicable and more satisfactory method and mode of fastening the cylindrical sheet to the drum-type support avoids the use of adhesive tape altogether. In this preferred modification of fastening the cylindrical sheet to the support and particularly to the drum-type support spring loaded clips or clamps are employed. An embodiment of this modification is shown in FIGS. 21 to 25 of the accompanying drawings. FIG. 21 is a sectional view of a portion of a drum type support which was cut perpendicularly to the central axis. A spring loaded clamp 425 is fixedly provided, recessed in transverse indentation 426 of the cylindrical wall 44812. indentation 426 extends over the entire length of the cylindrical wall 448b in parallel alignment with the central axis of the cylinder. lt tenninates at each end at the inside of the circular faces of the drum and of the rims 4l8b and 19b, respectively (the latter is not shown). Clamp 425 which extends over nearly all the length of the indentation comprises supporting member 423 and pivotally secured to the upper end of the support flat clip 425 which is held depressed onto the convex side of cylindrical wall 448!) by spring 421. The clamp may be opened to receive or release the edge of a sheet of photographic material by depressing lever member 422. A second spring loaded clamp may be provided in another recess or indentation of the drum-type support in similar manner, or it may be removably fastened to the drum-type support in such manner that it can be displaced or moved around the cylindrical wall and locked in place in any desired position around the periphery of the cylindrical support.
A preferred embodiment of the removable clamp and means for fastening it on the support is shown in F IG. 22 of the accompanying drawings. FIG. 22 is a coaxial section of a portion of a drum-type support and of the clamp contained thereon. Rims 435 encircle the edges formed by cylindrical wall 448a and circular end sections 41 la and 412a respectively, of the closed drum-type support. Clamp 440 is fastened on band 427. Both ends of band 427 are bent downwards to form the vertical elastic and curved sections 436 which by virtue of their elasticity press against the outer periphery of rims 435 and against circular walls 41 la and 412a thus holding, by frictional forces band 427 and clamp 440 in a fixed position when it is slipped over rims 435 of the drum-type support.
The band 427 with its elastic angled extensions and the sheet holding clamp thereon may readily be removed and reinserted at any desired point around the periphery of the cylindrical support. Clamp 440 is shown in FIG. 22 located underneath band 427. Sometimes it will be desirable to locate.
the clamp on the upper side of band 427.
Elastic, vertical extensions 436 of band 427 are angled downwards by an angle which is approximately FIG. 23 is an elevational side view of extension 436a which has in its center a vertical indentation or welt 437 and a corresponding narrow, elongated protrusion on the back side of extension 436a facing rim 435 when band 427 is inserted, and pointing radially toward the axis of the drum-type support. This is shown in more detail in FIG. 24 which is an elevational view of a portion of the outside of circular wall 412k and rim 435a of another modification of the closed drum-type support. Rim 435a has been provided with indentations 434 which are of a size suitable to accommodate the protrusion underlying welt 437a and which are arranged radially around the rim in narrow, even spacing over the entire radial width of the rim. Band 427 with clamp 440 joined thereon is shown inserted onto the cylindrical support, elastic vertical extensions 436a engaging over rim 435a and the protrusion opposite Welt 4370 lying in one of the indentations 434. This modification of the drumtype support has the added advantage that adjustable clamp 440 cannot be accidentally displaced in the direction of the periphery during the treatment of the cylindrical sheet or during handling of the support.
Clamp 440 which may also be employed instead of the fixed clamp 425 of FIG. 21 is shown in an enlarged sectional side view in FIG. 25. The clamp comprises as the principal components base 445, spring 442 and the upper holding member 441. The base forms in section a trapezoid with an extension of the base of the trapezoid to the left, the extension forming the lower claw 446. The upper member 441 is pivotally mounted in the right upper corner of the trapezoid, together with spring 442, and follows the contours of the upper horizontal side and the left slanted side of the trapezoid and finally of the lower claw 446 thus forming upper claw 444 which is normally pressed against lower claw 446 by the action of spring 442. The clamp can readily be opened by depressing lever 447 which is formed by an extension of the upper holding member 441 to the right. The left, slanted side of the trapezoid forms stop 443 which prevents the vicinal edge of the cylindrical sheet material inserted therein from sliding into the clampby more than a predetermined narrow distance.
The strip of material along the vicinal edge which is per- 7 that a firm, secure grip is assured. Thus only a minimal portion of the sheet material, usually no more than about one millimeter to several millimeters wide, is covered and thus protected from the action of the treating liquid during processing. The narrow, untreated strips may be removed from the finished sheet, for instance by cutting them'off. The removal of any part of the sheet after completion of the treatment may, however, be unnecessary, if one or both claws of each clamp or slip are provided on their sides facing each other with small protrusions and especially with a row or pattern of dotlike protrusions which make contact with the surface of the clamped-in vicinal edges of the cylindrical sheet. With sufficiently high pressure exerted by the springs or similar means, the cylindrical sheet will be securely held in place, while the minute areas covered by the protrusions will be reached by the treating liquids, by penetration or diffusion: if the usual white unexposed edges are provided all around the sheet material, the contact point should fall into this narrow strip. Any undertreatment of the contact points would generally be of no detriment to the finished product. If in exceptional cases treatment faults should become apparent during extended storage the unexposed edge may simply be cut off all around with no damage to the useful picture area.
Any other type of clip or clamp may be employed, preferably with suitable adjustments having been made to provide for the special requirements of the process and apparatus of the present invention. One or more clips or clamps may be used to hold each of the vicinal edges of the cylindrical sheet. They may be narrow clips extending over a width of an inch or less in the direction of the length axis of the cylinder or they may be of the wider variety, extending over a substantial portion of the cylinder axis and preferably over nearly the whole width of the cylindrical support. The clips or clamps may be fixedly attached at such positions around the periphery of the drum that they accommodate the maximum size of sheet material for which the cylindrical support is designed. However. in order to render the apparatus flexible and capable of accommodating any desired size of sheet material which is smallerthan the maximum size at least one or one set of the clips or clamps should be removable and adjustable so that it can be moved around at least a portion of the periphery of the cylindrical support, as has been described hereinbefore. The clips or clamps may also be slidably mounted on one or more circular guides provided around one or both ends of the cylindrical support and other provision for temporarily arresting or locking the movable clips or clamps in any desired position around the periphery may be included in the design.
The insulated, textured low heat capacity drum of the present invention, as exemplified and illustrated e.g., in FIG. 16 may also be modified to comprise means for internally heating its peripheral wall by the use of the above described thin layer temperature control system. In this case, a thin cavity of a few millimeters or so width may be provided, for instance, on the inside of shell 151. Preferred is a system of triangular or otherwise shaped individual channels, as illustrated e.g., in FIGS. and 21. This construction provides not only increased stability of the cylindrical drum wall, permitting its making of thinner material, but provides also the greatest possible heat exchange as described above. The channels extend preferably and open into a circular cavity at the faces 156a of the drum for the passage of the water e.g., from a bore in the projecting axle stumps, which may serve for connection to the water supply and on the other end to the water disposal. Of course, also in this embodiment of the drum, it is preferred to fill the drum cavity, as shown before, with a lightweight insulating material.
l. A photographic processing machine for treating photographic material with a photographic treating liquid, which machine comprises a base structure; a drum having an essentially horizontal cylinder axis and being mounted in said base structure for rotation around its cylinder axis; driving means for rotation of said drum; receptacle for said treating liquid, said receptacle comprising a rear edge and a front edge and a curved bottom having a partially cylindrical inside configuration, whereby said partial cylinder comprises substantially less than one half cylinder, but not less of a cylinder than is required for holding said treating liquid in said cylindrical portion of the receptacle, when the receptacle is in operating position, said receptacle comprising furthermore an essentially horizontal cylinder axis, essentially coinciding with that of said drum, and a radius at least slightly larger than the radius of said drum, which receptacle is mounted in means for tilting the receptacle around said cylinder axis of said receptacle; lip means extending along the front edge of said receptacle and slanting upwardly in operating position for pouring said treating liquid into said receptacle, said lip means being a continuous, imperforate body; means for temporarily holding said receptacle in an approximately level operating position and for preventing said lip means from swinging below said approximately level operating position such that a tilting motion of said receptacle from said approximately level operating position to a dump position, moves said lip means to a raised forward position, substantially higher than said rear edge of the receptacle, and in which dump position the said rear edge of the receptacle is at least perpendicularly below said cylinder axis of said receptacle for quick dumping of said treating liquid over said rear edge of said receptacle, said means for tilting including means for restricting the angle of tilt of said receptacle about said cylinder axis.
2. The processing machine of claim 1, in which the partially cylindrical receptacle comprises less than one-third of a full cylinder.
3. The processing machine of claim 1, in which the drum has a solid cylindrical convex outer surface, comprising a pattern of surface modifications on its convex surface, which are capable of forwarding the treating liquid from said receptacle to the reactive layerof a sheet of photographic paper contained face down in said drum, for uniform treatment of all areas of said sheet, and means for holding the sheet of photographic paper stationary in relation to said rotating drum.
4. The processing machine of claim 1, in which the drum comprises a solid outer convex surface and means for attaching photographic sheet material to said cylindrical surface of the drum for rotation with the drum.
5. A photographic processing machine comprising a base structure; a drum having an essentially horizontal cylinder axis, having a cylindrical convex outer surface and being mounted in said base structure for rotation around its cylinder axis; driving means for rotation of said drum; a receptacle for a photographic treating liquid, having a rear edge and a front edge, said receptacle comprising a curved bottom having a partially cylindrical inside configuration and comprising substantially less than one half cylinder, an essentially horizontal cylinder axis, essentially coinciding with that of said drum, and a radius at least slightly larger than the radius of the said drum, which receptacle is mounted in tilting means for rotation around said cylinder axis of said receptacle, in which the said tilting means comprise curved rails on the outside faces of said receptacle and cooperating sets of roller means holding said rails for tilting motion of the receptacle; lip means extending along the front edge of said receptacle and slanted upwardly 2L. for pouring liquid into said receptacle and means for restricting the tilting motion of said receptacle from an, approximately level operating position to one in which said lip means is in a raised forward position for quick dumping of treating liquid from said receptacle and for rinsing said receptacle.
6. A photographic processing machine comprising a base structure; a drum having an essentially horizontal cylinder axis and being mounted in said base structure for rotation around its cylinder axis; driving means for rotation of said drum; a receptacle for a photographic treating liquid, said receptacle comprising a curved bottom having a partially cylindrical inside configuration, an essentially horizontal cylinder axis and a radius at least slightly larger than the radius of the said drum, which receptacle is mounted in said base structure such that its cylinder axis essentially coincides with that of the rotary drum; in which the said receptacle comprises at least one aperture which comprises at least one slotlike opening extending coaxially along at least the greater part of the lowest bottom area of said receptacle, and closure means for opening and closing said aperture for quick dumping of the said treating liquid through said aperture, in which said closure means is a gasket bar in combination with means for raising the gasket bar to a high position for closing the said aperture, and means for lowering the gasket bar to a low position for opening the said aperture.
7. The processing machine of claim 6, in which the treating liquid forms an annulus between the said partially cylindrical bottom of said receptacle and between the cylindrical surface of said drum, which annulus has a thickness in the range from about 1 to about 10 millimeters.
8. The processing machine of claim 6, in combination with means for the exact control of the temperature in said treating liquid contained in said receptacle.
9. The processing machine of claim 6, in which the gasket bar is lowered and raised by excentrically rotatably journaled rod means.
10. The processing machine of claim 6, which comprises in addition means for positive retraction of the gasket bar.
11. The processing machine of claim 6, which comprises a pouring lip, extending coaxially along at least the greater part of the front edge of said receptacle, said lip extending outwardly and upwardly for guiding liquid, poured onto it, into said receptacle.
12. The processing machine of claim 6, in which the drum has a solid cylindrical convex outer surface, comprising a pattern of surface modifications on its convex surface. which are capable of forwarding the treating liquid from said receptacle to the reactive layer of a sheet of photographic paper contained face down on said drum, for uniform treatment of all areas of said sheet, and means for holding the sheet of photographic paper stationary in relation to said rotating drum.
[3. The processing machine of claim 6, in which the drum comprises a solid outer convex surface and means for attaching photographic sheet material to the cylindrical surface of the drum for rotation with the drum.
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|U.S. Classification||396/571, 396/635|
|International Classification||G03D13/02, G03D13/04|