US 3668997 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Ratowsky  PROCESSING OF. PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL  Inventor: Simon Ratowsky, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada  Assignees: William C. Jephcott, Toronto, Ontario; Jean M. Richard, Willowdale, Ontario; Ontario Development Corporation, Ontario, Canada 22 Filed: Aug.6,1969
211 Appl.No.: 848,042
 Foreign Application Priority Data Aug. 10, 1968 Great Britain ..38,333/68  US. Cl. ..;...95/93, 95/89 R, 95/99  Int. Cl. ..G03d 3/04  Field ofSearch ..95/89, 90.5,93,99; 68/171,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 751,644 2/1904 l-Ierz .L ..95/905 June 13, 1972 1,807,901 6/ 1 93] Drew ..95/90.5 2,122,916 7/1938 Parker ..95/98 X 2,206,669 7/1940 'Kowalski ..259/72 2,947,236 8/1960 Siege] ..95/96 X 3,091,435 5/1963 Pease.... ..259/72 3,381,599 5/1968 Banks ..95/93 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 786,073 5/1968 Canada ..95/90.5
Primary Examiner-John M. l-Ioran Assistant Examiner-Alan A. Mathews Attorney-Westell and Hanley ABSTRACT A method and apparatus for the processing of photographic material in which the material is mounted arcuately in a carrier which is horizontally disposed with respect to the axis of arcuation, charged in its lower portion with processing liquid, and moved about the axis of arcuation while at the same time the liquid is oscillated in a non-horizontal plane about a fulcrum to produce a wave form travelling back and forth in the liquid parallel to the axis of arcuation. A web mount may carry the photographic material in the carrier, preferably a web formed of polytetrafluoroethylene.
28 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PAIEmanJum m 3.668.897 sum 10F I I H'39 l .V V E.\ FUR.
SIMON RATOWSKY PATENTEDJUM 13 I972 SHEET 3 BF 3 FIG. 8
INVENTORv SIMON RATOWSKY PROCESSING OF PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for the processing of photographic material, either in sheet or roll form.
Methods now commonly in use for processing photographic material employ dishes or tanks holding liquid chemicals or water into which the exposed material is successively submerged. In these tanks the liquid is agitated manually or by suitable mechanical means. Since this operation uses large quantities of chemicals, smallerunits in the form of rotatable containers or carriers have been employed to reduce these chemical quantities. An example of such a carrier is to be found in U.S. Pat. No. 2,947,236 issued Aug. 2, 1960 in the name of H. Siegel. However, the Siegel type of apparatus suffers from the disadvantage that the liquid chemical within the carrieris not agitated sufficiently during rotation and may cause streaking of the film or print. To overcome this problem, external agitating means have been employed to reciprocate the carrier axially, but this makes the apparatus more complex and expensive to produce. Vertical agitation of itself does not provide a satisfactory result.
The present invention overcomes the above mentioned disadvantage by providing a simple method and apparatus, for processing photographic material in a carrier, which results in photographic products of improved quality. This is achieved by providing increased agitation of the liquid chemical within the carrier by upward and downward oscillation of the body of liquid about a fulcrum centrally located in the axis of the carrier to produce a wave moving back and forth along the carrier.
In another aspect of the invention a mount is provided, for disposition within a carrier which is an open mesh web woven of glass fibers coated and impregnated with polytetrafluoroethylene.
Example embodiments of the invention are shown in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of one embodiment;
FIGQZ is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 (the tilt of the carrier beingdenoted only schematically);
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the photographic sheet material insert carrier, partly broken away;
FIGS. 4a and 4b are schematic views of the mounted carrier in two different rotational positions;
FIG. 5 is a view in perspective showing a modified sheet material insert member;
FIG. 6 shows insert member of FIG. 5 holding sheet material and being changed into the carrier of the invention;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a view in perspective, partially broken away and exploded, showing the carrier of FIGS. 7 and 8; and
FIG. 10 is a partial view in cross-section of the carrier of FIG. 8 taken along the line 1010.
The embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings consists of a cylindrical carrier 10 comprising an elongated tubular body or drum 11 carrying a pair of removable end caps 12, each of which press-fits into the drum tube. Each end cap 12 consists of a concave disc 13 having an outwardly projecting central funnel aperture 14 and a circumscribing flange 15 providing a cylindrical, slightly sloping surface 16 for press fitting engagement with inside surface 17 of drum 1], and an end lip 18. The inside surface of disc 13 carries a second, double concave disc 19 fixed to disc 13 by a plurality of vanes 20.
The outer surface of drum 11 carries a pair of raised cam shoulders 21, onelocated adjacent each end of the drum. Each cam 21 partially circumscribes drum 11 and the two cams are juxtaposed one with another with respect to a longitudinal axis 22 of the drum.
Drum 11 is preferably formed of Plexiglas, a trade mark of Rohm and Haas Corporation used in association with polymethacrylate, while end caps 12 and cams 21 are preferably formed of acrylonitrile butydiene styrene (ABS).
Inside surface 17 of drum 11 carries a mount in the form of a cylindrical web 24 which is adapted to receive one or more sheets 25 of exposed photographic material for processing. Web 24 is adapted to be inserted into, and removed from, drum 11 but does not slip on inside surface 17 of the drum. Web 24 is shorter in length than the length of drum 11 to allow end caps 12 to engage the drum. The material from which web 24 is woven is preferably Fluoroglas, a trade mark of Dodge Industries Limited, Hoosick Falls, New York, USA, used in association glass fibers coated and impregnated with polytetrafluoroethylene. The optimum mesh size (i.e. the openings between the threads) of web 24 is 3/16 inch, the thread thickness being 0.020 inch. Cylindrical web 24 may be formed from a flat sheet with the opposing edges preferably joined on a bias to the longitudinal axis of the web. Positioning pins 26 may be located at selected points in web 24, the pins projecting inwardly through the web and being removably mounted on the web.
Carrier 10 is adapted to be placed on a pair of parallel, spaced apart, horizontal roller shafts 30 whereby the carrier is horizontally disposed. Rollers 30 are preferably disposed within a tank 31 containing water or other liquid 32 which contacts carrier 10 for temperature control purposes. Rollers 30 are journally mounted in tank 31 and at least one of the rollers are driven by suitable means such as a motor 33 located within a protective housing 34 integral with the-tank. Tank 31 has an annular ring 35 for inserting an inlet conduit 36, and a standpipe 37 for coupling with an outlet conduit 38. The upper edge of stand pipe 37 is below the lowermost portions of the rim of apertures 14 of end caps 12 when carrier 10 is positioned on rollers 30, as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings. When carrier 10 is thus resting on rollers 30 a pipe 39 projects from housing 34 into the carrier through aperture 14 of one of end caps 12.
In the operation of the device at least one sheet of photographic material 25 is mounted in web 24 with the sheet being bounded by pins 26 pushed through the web which is then slid into drum 11 of carrier 10. Carrier 10 is closed by fitting end cap 12 (or one end cap along if the other cap is fixed to the tube) into the ends of drum 11.
Carrier 10 is then placed on rollers 30 asoutlined above, with pipe 39 projecting into the carrier through aperture 14 of one of end caps 12. A predetermined amount of liquid chemical is introduced into carrier 10 through pipe 39 and this liquid chemical lies at-the bottom of the carrier in a pool 40 having its surface below the level of apertures 14 in both end caps 12. One roller 30 is then rotated at a constant speed by motor 24, causing carrier 10 to rotate constantly. As carrier 10 rotates, first one cam 21 and then the other cam comes into contact with rollers 30, the cams contacting the rollers intermittently and causing the carrier to oscillate about a fulcrum 32 centrally located on longitudinal axis 22 of the carrier, as shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b of the drawings. As a result of this oscillation the liquid chemical in pool 40 is oscillated in a nonhorizontal plane and moves back and forth longitudinally along inner surface 17 of drum 1 1, as well as circumferentially about the inner surface, thus giving even contact of the liquid chemical in two directions, one normal to the other, on the surface of photographic sheet material 25. The open weave of web 24 allows the liquid chemical of pool 40 to move longitudinally and laterally behind sheet material 25. Moreover, where sheet material 25 is paper and the web is Fluoroglas, the sheet will lift off web 24 at the lower portion of its rotation in pool 40 and adhere again to the web in the upper portion of its rotation out of the pool, without rolling the sheet, thus aiding the flow of liquid chemical about the sheet. To prevent detracting from the clarity of FIG. 2 of the drawings, the longitudinal tilt of carrier 10 has been denoted only by dotted line 41 representing the far end of the carrier.
When sheet 25 mounted in carrier 10 within drum 11 has been fully processed, the carrier is removed from rollers 30 and tank 31, and the liquid chemical within the carrier is drained away either by removing one of end caps 12 or by upending the carrier. Carrier 10 is then repositioned on rollers 3021s before and, while the carrier is being rotated, the chemical treatment step is repeated or the photographic sheet material 25 is rinsed by introducing wash water continuously through conduit 39 into the carrier with the excess water flowing out of the carrier through apertures 14 into tank 31. When removing or repositioning carrier 10 it is not necessary to stop motor 33. After the rinsing step, carrier 10 is removed as before, the carrier is emptied of rinse water, web 24 is removed from drum 11, and sheet (or sheets) 25 is removed from the web.
In a specific construction of the described embodiment a drum 11 having a length of 22 inches, an outer diameter of 6 inches and a 4; inch wall was used. The cam shoulders were 54 inch deep, 3 inches wide (i.e. longitudinally of drum 11), and 8% "inches in lateral transverse measurement (i.e. circumferentially of the drum) and were spaced 1 inch from each end of the drum. Web 24 was 20% inches long. Carrier 10 was rotated at 23 revolutions per minute and the agitation of the liquid chemical caused by rotation, and by oscillation, of the tube achieved a photographic product of high quality. With this specific construction and operating the apparatus at this specific speed of rotation and oscillation a wave form in pool 40 of the liquid chemical travels spirally back and forth through the length of carrier 10 an provides optimum agitation of the liquid chemical.
While the temperature control in the described embodiment is preferred,'it may be omitted or replaced by other suitable temperature control means such as warm air.
If it is desired to process roll film using the present invention, the film may be spirally wound on a cage which rolls on the bottom of drum 11, the film being spaced from contact with inside surface 17 of the drum by circumferential end shoulders on the ends of the cage, as is known.
It will be appreciated that rotation of carrier 10 allows a minimum amount of liquid chemical to contact all portions of sheet material 25 mounted arcuately in the carrier, while oscillation of the carrier provides the agitation necessary to prevent streaking of the sheet material. Hence a product of acceptable quality is obtained with a simplified method and an apparatus of simple construction.
It should be noted that the shallowness of cams 21 allows the liquid chemical of pool 41 to flow along drum 11 without spilling over apertures 14 of end caps 12, while the length of each cam (circumferentially with respect to the tube) provides a sufficient interval of time for the flow, initiated at the raised end of the tube, to travel the full length of the tube (spirally because of the simultaneous rotation of the tube).
In an alternate embodiment of the invention, carrier 10 could consist solely of web 24 mounted horizontally on a coaxial, longitudinally rotatable shaft with the lowermost portion of the web resting in a pool of liquid chemical contained in an open tray which could be oscillated vertically about a fulcrum intermediate the ends of the tray and located on the bottom thereof, the tray being oscillated by a pair of spaced, rotatable cams, one cam positioned below the tray on each side of the fulcrum. This embodiment would be advantageous for larger carriers where their emptying would be more difficult.
In the alternate embodiment shown in FIGS. and 6 of the drawings, a pair of arcuate segments 50 of sheet material semicircular in cross-section and having an outer diameter slightly smaller than the inner diameter of carrier fit together to form a mounting cylinder 51 for removable insertion into car rier 10. One edge 52a of each segment 50 carries an intumed lip 53 which aides in orienting the two segments to form cylinder 51. Each segment 50 carries on its convex side a pair of inwardly projecting positioning pins 54, one adjacent each end of the segment. Segments 50 are also dimpled to carry, on
each face, rows of inwardly projecting raised portions 55 parallel to each edge of the segment. Mounting cylinder 51 is preferably moulded of a thermoplastic such as polyvinylchloride (PVC).
In the operation of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, a sheet 25 of exposed photographic material is mounted on the inside (convex) surface of a segment 50 by flexing the sheet to engage its opposed edges with pins 54. In its mounted position, sheet 25 rides on raised portions 55 out of contact with the surface of segment 50. A pair of segments 50,'one or more of them carrying a sheet 25, are then fitted together to form cylinder 51 which is charged snugly into carrier 10 for the processing operation described above.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 7 to 10 of the drawings, carrier, 10 does not carry circumferential spaced cams but instead has an annular guide ring 60 mounted circumferentially midway between its ends. Ring 60 is adapted to be engaged in a slot 61 longitudinally disposed in the upper face 62 of a rocker tray 63 which consists of a rectangular sheet longitudinally actuated in its central portion 64 with the end sills 65. A pair of spaced, parallel risers 66 are also disposed on upper face 62 of rocker tray 63, one on each side of slot 61. One riser 66 iscontoured to have a uniformly raised portion 67a extending from one of sills 65 to a point near the mid-section of central portion 64 of tray 60 and tapering off to said mid-section. The other riser 66 is similarly contoured to have a raised portion 67b extending from the other of sills 65. A pair of spaced ribs 68 are longitudinally disposed on the lower face of central portion 64 of tray 63 and carry bearing strips 69. Rocker tray 63 also carries a spirit level 70 on its upper face 62 normal to slot 61 and risers 66. Preferably tray 60 is of plastic such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) which is moulded to form slot 6l,'risers 66 with raised portions 67, ribs 68 and cup 71.
Elongated tubular drum 1 l of carrier 10 carries at one end a removable end cap having a circumferential flange 81 which engages an O-ring 82 adjacent the end of the drum to provide a watertight press fit. The other end of drum 1] carries a fixed end cap 83 which is stepped from a circumferential flange 84 to a central aperture 85. An inlet pipe or conduit 86 extends concentrically into drum 11 from end cap 83 and terminated adjacent end cap 80. Pipe 86 projects outwardly from aperture in end cap 83 and is concentrically positioned in the aperture to define an, annular outlet passage through the aperture. A pair of light traps, each consisting of annular disc 87 mounted on the inside of end cap 83 by dowels 88, hold pipe 86 in fixed position. The end of pipe 86 adjacent end cap 80 carries a third light trap consisting of an apertured disc 89 having an arcuate, open-ended cap 90. All the components of carrier 10 may be suitably moulded of plastic such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) except O-ring 82 which may be of rubber. Ring 60 may be press-fitted on drum 11 before end cap 84 is fixed to the drum as by gluing.
In the operation of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 to 10, one or more sheets of paper 25 is mounted on cylindrical web 24 with positioning pins 26 and the web is inserted in drum 1 1, after which end cap 80 is press-fitted onto the drum to close it. Carrier 10 is then turned upright as shown in FIG. 10 and a predetermined quantity of liquid processing chemical is charged into pipe 86 as indicated by arrows 91, passing down through disc 90 to collect in a pool 92 on end cap 80. Rocker tray 63 is transversely levelled using level 70 and carrier 10 is then turned into a horizontal position and placed on tray 63 with ring 60 located in slot 61, the liquid chemicaktaking a position in the bottom portion of the carrier. Pipe 86 must terminate at a point sufiiciently spaced from end cap 80 to prevent liquid chemical from reentering the pipe through disc 89 when carrier 10 is tipped into a horizontal position. Paper 25 is processed by alternately pressing on sills 65 of tray 63 (or moving one sill up and down) to rock the trayori strips 69 and roll carrier 10 along risers 66 from one end of arcuate central portion 54 of the tray to the other end of the central portion. This movement of carrier 10 along risers 66 caused first one end portion of the carrier and then the other end portion to be lifted by raised portions, 67 of the risers, thus oscillating the carrier about a fulcrum centrally located on its longitudinal axis. This upward and downward oscillation of carrier produces a wave in the liquid chemical lying in the bottom portion of the carrier, and the wave moves back and forth along the carrier to produce the required agitation of the liquid. When a prescribed time. hasv elapsed, carrier 10 is removed from rocker tray 63 and upended with end cap 83 downward, allowing the liquid chemical to drain out through aperture 85 into a suitable receiving vessel. The operation may then be repeated using rinsing water, after which end cap 80 is removed and web 24 withdrawn to'remove processed paper 25.
The invention may be applied to an open rocker processing tray or vessel of the type which holds the photographic sheet material arcuately on its inside bottom surface, with the liquid chemical being moved over the surface of the sheet material as the tray is rocked. By mounting a pair of risers adjacent the opposed lateral edges of the outside bottom surfaces of the tray, offset one on each side of its axis of arcuation (equivalent to the longitudinal horizontal axis of the cylindrical carrier), the desired wave form may be produced parallel to that axis. If desired, of course, the rocker tray or vessel just described could include a closure cap to form a housing for light impermeability. It will be appreciated that in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 to 10 of the drawings the rocker tray 66 could carry raised portions 67 on ribs 68 in its underside, instead of on raisers 66, to achieve the desired result.
7 It will also be appreciated that carrier 10 of FIG. 3 could be modified for use on any. level surface by mounting cams 21 on a pair of fixed end caps l2 and providing suitable stops projecting from drum 10 on the end caps to allow for rolling of the carrier back and forth about its central axis but preventing full rotation of the carrier. By providing an opening in the upper portion of atleast one end cap (as viewed when the carrier is horizontally disposed), processing liquid and paper could be inserted and removed from the interior of the drum.
1. Apparatus for processing photographic material in sheet or roll form, comprising:
a hollow carrier adapted to hold the photographic material mounted arcuately therein and to hold liquid located in its lower portion when disposed horizontally with respect to the axis of arcuation,
means to move the carrier about the axis of arcuation; and
means to oscillate the carrier in a non-horizontal plane about a fulcrum in the axis of arcuation to produce a continuous wave form in the liquid, travelling back and forth along the carrier parallel to the axis of arcuation.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which the carrier is cylindrical and is rotated about its horizontally disposed longitudinal axis.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 in which the means to rotate the carrier comprises a plurality of parallel, spaced horizontal roller shafts adapted to have the carrier removably rotatable thereon.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3 in which the oscillatory means comprises cam means circumferentially positioned on the outer surface of the carrier for intermittent engagement with the roller shafts whereby the carrier rocks in a vertical plane about a fulcrum located on the longitudinal axis thereof, the carrier being adapted to retain the liquid therein.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3 in which the rotational and oscillatory means are constructed and arranged to produce, in operation, a wave form in the liquid travelling back and forth thelength of the carrier.
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4 in which the cam means comprises a pair of raised cam shoulders juxtaposed one with the other on the carrier, one shoulder located adjacent each end of the carrier, and each of the shoulders partially circumscribing the carrier.
7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3, in which the carrier is positioned in a tank constructed and arranged to hold cooling liquid in contact externally with the carrier.
8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 in which the rotating means comprises a rocker tray carrying a pair of spaced risers contoured to oscillate the carrier rolling therealong.
9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 in which the rocker tray carries a slot located between the risers, a ring being positioned on the drum to engage the slot and thereby guide the drum rolling along the risers.
10. Apparatus for processing photographic material in sheet or roll form comprising: 7
a cylindrical drum adapted to hold the photographic material arcuately therein, the drum being closed at each end to hold liquid at least in the lower portion thereof when disposed substantially horizontal with respect to its longitudinal axis;
a plurality of roller shafts located to rest the drum removably thereon in substantially horizontal position with respect to its longitudinal axis;
drive'means to rotate at least one of the roller shafts; and
cam means on the drum constructed and arranged whereby the drum, when resting on the roller shafts and rotated thereby, is oscillated about a fulcrum centrally located in the drum on its longitudinal axis to produce a wave form, in liquid held therein, travelling back and forth substantially the length of the drum.
11. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10 in which the roller shafts are located in a tank adapted to hold liquid for externally cooling the drum, and outflow means in the tank for controlling the maximum level of liquid retainable therein.
12. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10 in which the drum is closed at each end by an end cap, at least one end cap being removable and at least one end cap having an opening centrally located therein for the introduction of liquid into the drum when closed.
13. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10 in which the cam means comprises a pair of juxtaposed cam shoulders circumferentially disposed on the drum one on each side of the fulcrum.
14. Apparatus as claimed in claim 10 including a hollow cylindrical mount adapted to retain the photographic material arcuately therein and changeable into the drum.
15. Apparatus as claimed in claim 14 in which the mount is an open mesh web of form retaining material.
16. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 in which the web comprises woven glass fibers coated and impregnated with.
17. Apparatus as claimed in claim 14 in which the mount is segmented in a plane passing through its longitudinal axis.
18. Apparatus for processing photographic material in sheet or roll form comprising:
a cylindrical drum adapted to hold the al arcuately therein; means at each end of the drum for retaining liquid at least in the bottom portion of the drum when the drum is substantially horizontally disposed with respect to its longitudinal axis; a tray adapted to support the carrier in a horizontal dispositron; rocker means on the underside of the tray; and risers mounted on the tray, and adapted to rock the drum in a non-horizontal plane about a fulcrum located centrally on said longitudinal axis when the tray is rocked to roll the drum therealong. 19. Apparatus as claimed in claim 18 in which the risers are mounted on the upper side of the tray and support the drum thereon.
photographic materi- 20. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 in which the drum carries a circumscribing ring centrally located thereon and adapted to register with a slot on the upper side of the tray located between the risers, the ring and slot being adapted to guide the drum rolling along the risers.
21. A carrier for use with apparatus for processing photographic sheet material, comprising:
a cylindrical drum adapted to hold the photographic material arcuately therein;
means at each end of the drum for retaining liquid in the bottom portion of the drum when the drum is substantially horizontally disposed with respect to its longitudinal axis;
cam means circumferentially disposed on the outer surface of the drum and adapted, when the carrier is horizontally disposed and rotated about its longitudinal axis, to rock the drum in a vertical plane about a fulcrum located centrally on said longitudinal axis.
22. A carrier as claimed in claim 21 in which the cam means comprises a pair of juxtaposed cam shoulders circumferentially disposed on the drum one on each side of the fulcrum.
23. A carrier as claimed in claim 21 including a cylindrical mount adapted to retain the photographic material arcuately therein and chargeable into the drum.
24. Apparatus as claimed in claim 21 in which the means for retaining liquid in the bottom portion of the drum comprises a pair of end caps and the cam means comprises a pair of juxtaposed cam shoulders circumferentially disposed one on each of said end caps.
25. A mount for use in processing photographic sheet material in a movable cylindrical carrier, comprising a form retaining cylindrical member concentrically disposable within the carrier and slidably removable therefrom and adapted to receive and hold the sheet material arcuately within the member, the cylindrical member being an open mesh web woven of glass fibers coated and impregnated with polytetrafluoroethylene.
26. A mount for use in processing photographic sheet material in a movable cylindrical carrier, comprising a form retaining cylindrical member, the member being of sheet form and segmented in a plane passing through the longitudinal axis thereof, positioning pins being located on the inner surface of each segment.
27. A mount as claimed in claim 25 pins removably mountable on the web.
28. A mount as claimed in claim 26 in which at least the inner surface of each segment carries raised portions thereon.