US 3712089 A
A commercial laundry machine includes an inner perforated cylinder and an outer casing both mounted on a pair of end frames for rotation about their common central axis. The cylinder is rotated during washing operations, and the casing is fixed to the end frames, thereby to hold the casing stationary. Alternatively the casing can be fixed to the cylinder for simultaneous rotation of the cylinder and casing for loading and unloading of laundry. Washing fluid, steam, electrical and pressurized air connections are selectively made from the end frames to the casing when the casing is stationary by means of connection structures. The connection structures are released in order to free the casing for rotation relative to the end frames.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91' Toth [ Jan. 23, 1973 [541 COMMERCIAL LAUNDRY MACHINE AND RELEASABLE CONNECTIONS THEREFOR  Inventor: Alex Toth, Lincolnwood, Ill.
 Assignee: Ellis Corporation, Chicago, Ill.
 Filed: July 28, 1971  Appl. No.: 166,720
Related US. Application Data  Division of Ser. No. 22,508, March 25, 1970, Pat.
 US. Cl ..68/210  Int. Cl ..D06f 35/00, D06f 39/12  Field of Search ..68/210, 4
 References Cited FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,207,165 8/1959 France ..68/208 Primary Examiner-William 1. Price Attorney-Richard D. Mason et al.
 ABSTRACT A commercial laundry machine includes an inner perforated cylinder and an outer casing both mounted on a pair of end frames for rotation about their common central axis. The cylinder is rotated during washing operations, and the casing is fixed to the end frames, thereby to hold the casing stationary. Alternatively the casing can be fixed to the cylinder for simultaneous rotation of the cylinder and casing for loading and unloading of laundry. Washing fluid, steam, electrical and pressurized air connections are selectively made from the end frames to the casing when the casing is stationary by means of connection structures. The connection structures are released in order to free the casing for rotation relative to the end frames.
11 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures I'AHN IHJJAH 23 mm SHEET UF 6 ATTORNEYS COMMERCIAL LAUNDRY MACHINE AND RELEASABLE CONNECTIONS THEREFOR This is a division of U. S. application Ser. No. 22,508, filed Mar. 25, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,613,406, dated Oct. 19, I971. Reference may be had to that patent for a description of features of the structure disclosed herein not material to the invention of the present application.
The present invention relates to improvements in commercial laundry apparatus and particularly to releasable connections thereto.
Commercial laundry machines of the type including a perforated inner cylinder for holding a washing load immersed in washing liquids contained within a surrounding outer casing are well known. Such machines include a drive system for rotating the inner cylinder during washing operations while the outer casing is stationary. To load the machine, doors in the cylinder are aligned with doors near the top of the casing. In order to unload the machine, it has been proposed to rotate both the cylinder and the casing about their common central axis in order to align the doors at the bottom of the machine. Machines of this type developed heretofore have not been entirely satisfactory for several reasons and have not been well suited for largely automated control of washing operations.
Accordingly, objects of the present invention are to provide an improved laundry machine of the type including concentrically rotatable casing and cylinder structures, and to provide improvements in the components thereof.
In carrying out washing operations, washing liquids are introduced into the casing. Steam may be introduced for supplemental heating of the washing liquids. The interior of the casing may be interconnected with liquid level detection equipment. Electrical and/or pressurized air connections may be made with the casing for carrying out detection and control functions. It is necessary to make these connections in such a way that rotation of the outer casing during loading and unloading operations is not hindered.
Objects of the present invention are to provide an improved releasable connection construction for interconnecting the casing with the fixed machine structure; to provide a connection adapted to automatic control; to provide a connection which does not interfere with the movement of the casing when released; and to provide a sturdy and reliable releasable connection that can readily be used for both fluid and electrical connections.
In brief, a commercial laundry machine constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may comprise a perforated inner cylinder and a surrounding outer casing enclosing the cylinder and including a pair of end walls and a circular cylindrical side wall. A pair of end frames are disposed on either side of the casing and cylinder and support both the casing and cylinder for rotation about their coincident central axis. The cylinder is rotated, and the casing is either held stationary or rotated with the cylinder.
In accordance with a feature ofthe invention, several novel releasable connection assemblies are provided for selectively establishing liquid, steam, pressurized air and electrical connections between the fixed structure of the machine and the rotatably mounted casing. Each connection includes a first connector structure mounted on one of the end frames for movement relative to the end frame. A second connector structure is mounted on the washer casing and is aligned with the first connector structure in a predetermined position of the casing. Actuator means connected to the support frame and to the first connector structure serve to move the first connector structure into engagement with the second structure.
The invention together with the above and other objects and advantages may be better understood with reference to the embodiment illustrated in the drawings, wherein:
FIG. I is a front elevational view of a laundry apparatus in the form of a commercial washer constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the washer of FIG. I taken from the left-hand side as viewed in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the opposite side of the washer of FIG. 1 with certain structure broken away;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the washer of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, broken, front elevational view, partly in section, taken from the line 1 5-5 of FIG. 3 illustratingthe releasable washing liquid connection;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view taken from the line 66 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged partly sectional elevational view taken along the line 7--7 of FIG. 2 illustrating the releasable steam connection;
FIG. 8 is a partly sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional top view taken along the line 9-9 of FIG. 3 illustrating the releasable connection to the level detection assembly;
FIG. I0 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 10-10 of FIG. 3 illustrating the releasable connection for electrical conductors and a pressurized air line;
FIG. 11 is an elevational view taken from the line llll of FIG. 10.
Having reference now to the drawings there is illustrated a commercial laundry apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and designated as a whole by the reference numeral 40. In the illustrated arrangement the apparatus 40 comprises a commercial washer, but it should be understood that principles of the invention are applicable as well to apparatus such as washer-extractors, driers, and the like. In general, the washer 40 includes an inner washing cylinder 42 enclosed within a substantially fluid-tight cylindrical casing 44. The cylinder 42 and the casing 44 are mounted for rotation on right and left end frames 46 and 48. In order to provide access to the interior of the washer 40 the casing 44 includes a pair of axially spaced doors 50 and the cylinder 42 includes a series of complementary doors.
The cylinder 42 and the casing 44 are both mounted for rotation about their common central axis to the end that the casing and cylinder doors can be aligned with one another and can be located at desired angular positions for loading and unloading of laundry. A pair of substantially identical cylinder drive assemblies both generally designated by the numeral 54 are mounted on the left and right end frames 46 and 48 and serve to rotate the cylinder 42 during washing operations, as well as for loading and unloading of the washer 40. A suitable clutch or interlock arrangement may be used to interlock the casing 44 with the end frames 46 and 48 thereby to hold the casing 44 immobile during washing operations when the cylinder 42 is rotated. Alternatively, the casing 44 may be interlocked with the cylinder 42 for loading and unloading oflaundry.
An important aspect of the present invention resides in the provision of novel releasable connections between the fixed structure of the washer 40 and the movable casing 44 for selectively establishing liquid, steam, pneumatic and electrical communication. The novel connection assemblies of the present invention permit selective and convenient automatic control of the washing cycle and do not interfere with movement of the casing 44 during loading and unloading.
ln carrying out washing operations with the washer 40, hot and cold water is mixed with suitable chemicals or the like from a supply header 58 in a mixer section 60, and the resulting washing fluids are channeled to the casing 44 through a releasable washing fluid connection generally designated as 62. Connection 62 is best illustrated in FIGS. and 6 ofthc drawings.
Steam for providing additional heating of fluid contained within the casing 44 is supplied from a steam inlet fitting 64 and through a releasable steam connection generally designated as 66. The construction of this steam connection is illustrated in FlGS. 7 and 8.
A level detection assembly 68 is mounted on the washer 40 and serves to provide an indicating or con trol function in response to the level ofliquid within the casing 44. Communication is selectively established between the casing interior and the assembly 68 by means of a releasable fluid connection generally designated as 70 and illustrated in FIG. 9.
Electrical and pneumatic connections for carrying out sensing and control functions and the like are selectively established by means of a releasable electrical and air connection generally designated as 72. The construction of this releasable connection is illustrated in FIGS. and 11.
Referring now in more detail to the construction of the main structural components of the washer 40, the cylinder 42 serves to hold a washing load internally thereof while permitting free communication of washing fluids held within the outer casing 44 to the interior of the cylinder 42. The cylinder 42 includes a circular cylindrical wall section 92 having a multitude of perforations 94 (FIG. 1). The cylinder 42 may be provided with end walls and one or more inner partitions (not shown) in order to segregate the interior of the cylinder into discrete sections.
The outer casing 44 of the washer encloses the cylinder 42 with sufficient clearance for independent rotation of the cylinder 42 and serves as a container for washing liquids during the washing cycle. The casing 44 includes a pair of end walls 100 mounted outwardly of the ends of the cylinder 42 and mounted inwardly of the right and left end frames 46 and 48. A circular cylindrical casing wall 102 extends between the end walls 100. Supports 104 are mounted on the cylinder wall 102 for slidably supporting the casing doors 50 for movement between their closed position (F105. 1 and 4) and their open position. The wall 102 of casing 44 includes a deck structure 106 located at the top of the casing 44 in the washing position of the casing. An operator may use the deck 106 to gain access to laundry loading equipment or the like located above the washer 40.
In order to provide a trim appearance while permitting ready access to various components of the washer 40, the end frames 46 and 48 serve not only as supports, but also comprise hollow housings or enclosures for various portions of the structure of the washer 40. The right end frame 46 includes an inner wall 108, a spaced outer wall 110 and a peripheral wall 112. Similarly the left end frame 48 includes inner and outer walls 114 and 116 a peripheral wall 118. As appears in greater detail below, convenient access is provided to various regions of the interiors of end frames 46 and 48 for installation, adjustment and servicing of the washer 40. The end frames 46 and 48 also include base plates 120 for supporting the end frames 46 and 48, the casing 44 and the cylinder 42 on a base assembly 74 or other support. Tie rods 122, 124, 126 and 128 extend between the end frames 46 and 48 radially outward of the casing 44 in order to provide rigidity.
In order to support an operator at a convenient position in front of the washer 40, a platform I30 is provided. The platform 130 includes a guard rail 132 and a ladder 134 and is supported in part by a pair of side supports 136. Although in the illustrated construction the platform 130 is mounted in a fixed position, it may if desired be slidably supported for reciprocal movement toward the washer. Thus, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the platform 130, rail 132 and ladder 134 are shaped to fit in the space beneath the casing 44 and between the end frames 46 and 48.
ln accordance with important aspects of the present invention, the novel releasable connections generally designated as 62, 66, 70 and 72 are provided for communicating fluids including washing liquids, steam and pressurized air, as well as electrical circuits selectively to the movable casing 44 of the washer 40. The releasable connections are simple in construction, provide for convenient automatic control of the washing operation, and are largely concealed so that they do not detract from the appearance of the machine, but nevertheless are conveniently accessible for installation, adjustment and repair. When not in use, the connections do not interfere with rotation of the casing 44.
Referring first to the releasable connection generally designated as 62 for introducing washing liquid to the interior of the casing 44, this connection is best illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings. The circular cylindrical wall 102 of the casing 44 supports a generally rectangular supply fluid header 328 extending between an opening 330 located substantially in the center of the wall 102 and one end of the casing 44. In the illustrated embodiment ofthe invention, and as best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the header 328 extends from the center of the casing 44 to the right hand end of the structure as viewed in FIG. 4. The header 328 is provided with an open inlet end 332 opening outwardly of the cylinder 44. The releasable connection 62 serves selectively to permit fluid communication with the interior of the casing 44 by selectively establishing a connection to the inlet end 332 of the header 328.
The fluid mixer section generally designated as 60 in cludes a hot water inlet 334 and a cold water inlet 336 adapted selectively to be connected with a suitable water supply. In addition, there is provided a conduit 338 for introducing suitable chemicals supplied from the header 58 into mixer section 60. A plurality of pneumatically controlled supply valves 340 are interconnected to suitable supplies of washing materials such as soap, blueing, bleach, sour, starch and the like and are opened and closed at predetermined points during a washing cycle. In order to provide for calibration of the supply header 58, the conduit 338 includes an additional outlet 342 bypassing the mixer section 60 but normally blocked by a cap 344.
In accordance with the invention, the releasable connection 62 frees the casing 44 for unobstructed rotation when not in use, yet provides a reliable fluid connection upon demand. In general the connection 62 includes a flexible supply conduit 346, a connector structure 348 and a pneumatic actuator 350 for moving the structure 348 into engagement with the header 328. I
More specifically, the connector structure 348 includes a conduit 352 having an outlet 354 carrying a resilient sealing gasket 356. Gasket 356 is pressed into sealing relation against the edge of header inlet 332 by operation of actuator 350. Actuator 350 is sandwiched between a fixed support plate 358 and a movable plate 360 slidably related to one another by pins 362. Springs 364 normally urge the movable plate 360 toward the plate 358, and since the movable plate 360 is attached to conduit 352 by bolts 364, the springs also normally urge the outlet 354away from the inlet 332.
Actuator 350 expands 'when supplied with pressurized air through a conduit 366. The actuator includes rigid end sections 368 attached to the plates 358 and 360 and a flexible, expansible central section 370. The actuator may be similar in construction to the ac tuator of the releasable steam connection 64 illustrated in sectional detail in FIG. 8. When pressurized, actuator 350 expands and forces the gasket 356 tightly into sealing relation with the inlet 332 thereby to establish communication between the mixer 60 and the header 328.
The fixed support plate 358 is mounted on a base 372 by structure including astrut 374. A bracket 376 holds the connection 62 in place on the wall 112 of the end frame 46.
In order to heat washing liquids contained in the easing 44, steam is introduced into the interior of the washer through the steam inlet fitting 64 and the releasable steam connection generally designated as 66. Having reference more particularly now to FIGs. 7 and 8, steam supplied through the inlet fitting 64 flows through a rigid conduit section 378 supported to the rear of the end. frame 48 to a flexible conduit 380 disposed between the inner and outer walls 114 and 116 of the end frame 48. A pressure relief valve 382 is provided adjacent the inlet 64. Steam flowing through the flexible conduit 380 reaches the releasable steam connection 66 from which it is selectively applied through a steam conduit 384 and a pair of fittings 386 (FIG. 4) to the interior ofthe casing 44 by way ofa pair ofdump valve assemblies or the like located at the bottom ofthe casing 44.
Referring more specifically to the construction of the releasable steam connection 70, as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 the flexible conduit 396 is coupled to a connector structure 388 movable by a pneumatic actuator 392 into sealing relation with an inlet end or edge 394 of the steam conduit 384. The connector structure 388 includes a conduit 396 having an outlet fitting 398 slidable in a sleeve 400 mounted in a removable plate 402 attached to wall 114 by screws 404. Fitting 398 includes a gasket 406 pressed into sealing relation with the inlet 394 by actuator 392. Actuator 392 is located between a fixed plate 408 held against wall 116 by screws 410 and a movable plate 412 slidably related to plate 408 by pins 414, and springs 416 normally urge the movable plate 412 toward the fixed plate 408. Conduit 396 is attached to movable plate 412 by a bracket 418 (FIG. 8), and as a result normally the outlet 398 is spaced from the inlet 394 as illustrated in full lines in FIG.7.
Actuator 392 is sandwiched between the plates 408 and 412 and expands when supplied with pressurized air through a conduit 420. The actuator includes rigid end sections 422 attached to the plates 408 and 412 and a flexible expansible central section 424. When pressurized, actuator 392 expands and forces gasket 406 tightly against inlet 394 as illustrated in FIG. 8 thereby establishing communication between steam inlet fitting 64 and the interior of the casing 44.
Having reference now to FIG. 9, the washer 40 of the present invention is provided with the novel releasable connection generally designated as for providing selective intercommunication between the interior of the casing 44 and a water level indicator or control device generally designated as 68 which may be of any desired construction. The device 68 is coupled by means of a conduit 426 (FIGS. 1 and 3) to a flexible conduit 428 (FIG. 9) disposed between the inner and outer walls 108-and of the right hand end frame 46. The releasable connection 70 serves selectively to establish fluid communication between the level indicator 68 and a fluid conduit 430 supported on the outside of the casing 44 and connected to a fitting 432 (FIG. 4) communicating with one dump valve assembly or the like and thereby with the interior of the casing 44.
Connection 70 includes a connector structure 434 movable by an actuator 436 into sealing relation with the inlet end or edge 438 of the conduit 430. The connector structure 434 includes a conduit 440 having an outlet fitting 442 slidable in a sleeve 444 mounted in a removable plate 446 attached to wall 108 by screws 448. Fitting 442 includes a gasket 450 capable of being pressed into sealing relation with the inlet 438 by actuator 436. A fixed plate 452 is held against wall 110 by screws 454 and a movable plate 456 is slidably related to plate 452 by pins 458. Springs 460 normally urge the movable plate 456 toward the fixed plate 452. Conduit 440 is attached to movable plate 456 by a bracket 462, and as a result normally the outlet 442 is spaced from the inlet 438 as illustrated in full lines in FIG. 9.
Actuator 436 is sandwiched between the plates 452 and 456 and expands when supplied with pressurized air through a conduit 464. The actuator includes rigid end sections 466 attached to the plates 452 and 456 and a flexible, expansible central section 468. When pressurized, actuator 436 expands and forces gasket 450 tightly against inlet 438 as indicated in broken lines in FIG. 9 thereby establishing communication between the level detection assembly 68 and the interior of the casing 44.
ln order to balance the forces involved when the releasable steam connection 66 and the releasable fluid connection 70 are simultaneously actuated, a force transfer bar 470 (FIG. 4) is mounted between the axially aligned steam conduit 384 and fluid conduit 430. In this manner there if no tendency for the fluid fitting 432 or the steam fittings 386 to be stressed by the establishment of connections with the conduits.
Referring again to FIG. 9, it can be seen that the inner and outer walls 108 and 110 of the end frame 46 are provided with removable wall sections 446 and 452, as well as an additional removable plate 472 removably held in place on the wall 108 over the inlet end of flexible conduit 428 by screws 474. In this manner, although the releasable connection 70 is hidden and protected by the surrounding end frame structure, nevertheless access to the connection 72 and as sociated conduits is readily obtained by removal of the desired plate section.
In order to control the operation of components of the washer 40 and in order to detect various conditions such as temperatures existing within the casing 44 during washing operations, it is desirable selectively to establish electrical and pneumatic connections between the fixed structure of the washer and the casing 44. Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 10 and 11 of the drawings, the electrical and air releasable connection generally designated as 72 is illustrated.
in general the electrical and air releasable connection 72 includes a first relatively fixed connection box 476 attached to the end wall 100 of the casing 44, and a second relatively movable box 478 slidably mounted within the right end frame 46. Normally the connection boxes 476 and 478 are spaced from one another to permit free rotation of the casing 44. A pneumatic actuator 480 serves selectively to interconnect the connection boxes thereby to establish electric and pressurized air connections.
More specifically, the connection box 476 includes a circular metal housing 482 bolted to the wall 100 of the casing 44 and communicating with an electrical conduit 484 through which a group of electrical conductors are connected to various desired items upon or within the casing 44 such as, for example, electrical temperature sensing devices or the like. The box 476 also includes an outer wall 486 formed of insulating material and supporting a plurality of terminals 488 to which the electrical conductors are connected. The terminals 488 include electrical contact portions 490 disposed on the outer surface ofthe wall 486.
The second connector box 478 includes a circular wall 492 slidably mounted in a sleeve 494 carried by a plate 496 removably attached to the inner wall 108 of the end frame 46 by screws 498. A group of electrical conductors are fed in through a connector 500 and a flexible conduit 502 to the interior of the connector box 492. The box includes an inner wall 504 formed of electrically insulating material and supporting a group of terminals 506 to which the electrical conductors are connected. The innermost portions of the terminals 506 form a series of contacts 508 disposed on the inner surface of the wall 504 and aligned with corresponding contacts 490 ofthe first connector box 476.
The pneumatic actuator 480 serves to control the position of the slidably mounted connection box 478 in order selectively to establish electrical connections with the contacts 490. In the position illustrated in full lines in FIG. 10, a pair of springs 510 telescoped around pins 512 serve to urge a movable actuating plate 514 toward a fixed plate 516 held to wall 110 of end frame 46 by screws 518. In this position the box 478 is free to rotate along with the casing 44. The pneumatic actuator 480 includes a pair of rigid end sections 520 attached to walls 514 and 516, together with an expansible central section 522. When the actuator is pressurized by pressurized air applied through a conduit 524, the central section 522 expands and moves the plate 514 against the force of springs 510 in order to slide the connection box 478 toward the casing 44. Electrical contact is established between fixed contacts 490 and the movablecontacts 508 thereby electrically to interconnect the inlet and outlet electrical conductors.
In order to carry out desired control functions such as, for example, the control of the pneumatically operated dump valve assemblies 82, the casing 44 is selectively interconnected with a supply of pressurized air. For this purpose, the connector box 476 includes a pressurized air fitting 526 surrounded by a resilient gasket 528. The second connection box 492 includes a fitting 530 having a lip pressed into sealing engagement with the gasket 528 when the connection box 478 is moved to its alternate position by operation of the pneumatic actuator 480. Suitable pneumatic conduits, omitted from the drawings for purposes of simplicity, connect the fittings 526 and 530 to the dump valve assemblies 82 and with a source of pressurized air.
In carrying out a washing operation with the washer 40, the elements of the washer 40 are initially arranged in a loading position wherein the cylinder 42 and the casing 44 are arranged so that the door openings of the cylinder 42 and casing 44 are aligned with one another and are disposed at the top of the machine. The doors of the casing 44 and cylinder 42 are opened, and a laundry load is dropped into the machine from any suitable laundry handling apparatus such as a chute 644 or the like.
After the machine 40 is fully loaded, the casing 44 and the cylinder 42 are simultaneously rotated through a fraction of a revolution to an operating position wherein the door openings are located in the upper front quadrant where the doors are accessible from the platform 130. Prior to beginning the washing operations, the doors of the casing and cylinder are moved to their closed positions.
The casing 44 remains stationary in this position throughout the washing operations during which the cylinder 42 is rotated at washing speeds. Connections are established between the end frames 46 and 48 and the casing 44 by means of the releasable connections 62, 66, and 72. More specifically, the mixer section 60 is interconnected with the interior of the casing 44 by means of the washing liquid connection 62 and the supply fluid header 328. Furthermore, the interior of the casing 44 is intercommunicated with the steam inlet fitting 64 and the level detection assembly 68 by means of the steam connection 66 and the detection liquid connection 70. Furthermore, electrical and pressurized air connections are established by operation of electrical and air connection 72.
Once the various interconnections are established between the end frames 46 and 48 and the casing 44, the washing operation is commenced under the control of a suitable program controller 642 which may be of any desired known construction. The controller 642 is programmed in accordance with the condition of the laundry load and the type of washing cycle desired. Typically a washing cycle will include various operations such as a sequence of flush, alkali, suds, bleach, rinse, sour, blue and starch operations during which the washer casing 44 is charged with washing liquids, chemicals and the like through the supply header 58 and mixer section 60. During the washing operations, the cylinder may be alternatively rotated at substantial speeds in different directions through the operation of the cylinder drive assemblies 54. Supplemental heating ofthe liquids within the casing 44 may be accomplished by the introduction of steam. The level ofliquids within the casing 44 is detected and/or controlled by means of the level detection assembly 68. The electrical and air connection 72 serves to interconnect suitable control equipment with electrical sensing devices such as temperature sensing devices located on the casing. Furthermore, pressurized air supplied through the connection 72 may be used to maintain the conventional dump valve assembly 82 closed during washing operations when it is desired to retain liquid in the casing .44. Upon the completion of the final operation of the washing cycle, the releasable connections 62, 66, 70 and 72 are each released in order to free the casing 44 for rotation during the unloading operation.
Although the present invention has been described in connection with the details of the illustrated embodiment, it should be understood that such details are not intended to limit the invention which is defined in the following claims.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent ofthe United States is:
1. A laundry machine comprising in combination a support frame, a washing structure selectively movable relative to said support frame, and releasable connection means for selectively establishing communication with said washing structure in a predetermined stationary position of said washing structure, said releasable connection means including a first connector structure mounted on said support frame for movement relative thereto, a second connector structure mounted on said washing structure to be aligned with said first connector structure in said predetermined position, actuating means connected to said support frame and said first connector structure for selectively moving said first connector structure into engagement with said nector structure, and said actuating)means comprising an expansible means sandwiched etween sai fixe and movable plates.
2. The laundry machine of claim 1, said conduits comprising fluid conduits.
3. The laundry machine of claim 1, said conduits comprising electrical conduits.
4. The laundry machine of claim 1, said actuating means comprising a chamber formed at least in part of flexible material and adapted selectively to be interconnected with a supply of pressurized air.
5. The laundry machine of claim 1, one of said first and second connector structures including a resilient gasket surrounding the corresponding conduit, the other of said connector structures including a lip pressed into sealing relation 'with said gasket upon operation of said actuating means.
6. The laundry machine of claim 5, said conduits comprising liquid conduits.
7. The laundry machine of claim 5, said conduits comprising steam conduits.
8. The laundry machine of claim 5, said conduits comprising pressurized air conduits.
9. A laundry machine comprising in combination a support frame, a washing structure selectively movable relative to said support frame, and releasable connection means for selectively establishing communication with said washing structure in a predetermined stationary position of said washing structure, said releasable connection means including a first connector structure mounted on said support frame for movement relative thereto, a second connector structure mounted on said washing structure to be aligned with said first connector structure in said predetermined position, actuating means connected to said support frame and said first connector structure for selectively moving said first connector structure into engagement with said second connector structure, said first and second connector structures including interfacing walls formed of electrically insulating material, and' a plurality of aligned electrical contacts on said walls adapted to be moved into contact with one another upon operation of said actuating means.
10. The laundry machine of claim 9, said connector structures further including metal walls defining electrically isolated enclosures.
11. The laundry machine of claim 9, said interfacing walls further including first and second pressurized air fittings engageable with one another upon operation of said actuating means.