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Publication numberUS3739706 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 19, 1973
Filing dateDec 9, 1971
Priority dateDec 9, 1971
Publication numberUS 3739706 A, US 3739706A, US-A-3739706, US3739706 A, US3739706A
InventorsCarstens H
Original AssigneeCarstens H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Photographic processor
US 3739706 A
A device for developing photographic prints, transparencies and the like automatically. The device consists of a plurality of tanks spaced longitudinally between a pair of parallel rails which carry a print support adapted to suspend the prints in the tanks. A transport mechanism is coupled to the rails for lifting the print support upwardly out of one tank and then longitudinally to position the print support above an adjacent tank, and finally to lower the print support into the adjacent tank. An agitator is also included to oscillate the print support vertically while the prints are in each of the tanks.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Carstens [4 1 June 19, 1973 [54] PHOTOGRAPH: PROCESSOR 3,469,517 9/ 1969 Nishimoto 95/89 R [76] Inventor: Heinz Peter Carstens, l340 Da nforth Road, Apt. 702, Toronto, Ontario, ri y E T' F9 Canada r Attorney- David M. Rogers, Daniel R. Bereskin, 221 Filed: Dec. 9, 1971 Rwhardj' et I r [57] ABSTRACT [21] Appl. No.: 206,477

' v A device for developing photographic prints, transparencies and the like automatically. The device consists [52] U-S.'C|. 95/89 I), 95/99 of a plurality of tanks spaced longitudinally between a [51'] Int. CL 603d 3/10 p of p l l rails which carry a print pp [58] Field of Search 95,89 89 adapted to suspend the prints in the tanks. A transport 95/l00 mechanism is coupled to the rails for lifting the print support upwardly out of one tank and then longitudi- [56] Reterences Cited nally to position the print support above an adjacent ED STATES PATENTS tank, and finally to lower the print support into the ad- 3,55 9,553 2/1971 vBuachnm- 95/89 D jacent tank. An agitator is also included to oscillate the 2,823,595 'l2/l958 McFadden et al.. 95/89 D print support vertically while the prints are in-each of 2,480,236 8/1949 Gay 95/99 the tanks, 1 2,892,393 6/1959 l lixon et aL. 95/100 Stirrup; 95/100 4 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures Patented June 19, 1973 3,739,706

4 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 3

Patented June 19, 1973 3,739,706

4 Sheets-Sheet 3 This invention relates to a device for developing photographic prints, transparencies and the like, automatically.

For the purposes of simplicity of description, the device will be described with reference to its use in developing photographic prints. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the device can be used for other photographic purposes such as developing transparencies and the like.

The development of photographic prints requires that the prints should alternately pass through tanks containing chemicals and other tanks containing water. The prints may have to remain in each tank for different lengths of time and be agitated while in the tanks. Also, where colour prints are being processed, there is a need for as many as six or more different tanks. Each print remains in each of the tanks for a predetermined time and must be lifted out of one tank and into an adjacent tank and then successively through all of the tanks. When the print emerges from the device, the chemical development process is complete.

Automatic devices for processing prints have been available for some time. However, in general they are relatively large, complex and expensive devices which smaller photographic business find uneconomic. A typical processing device has'a relatively strong and heavy container on top of which a track is positioned for supporting a carriage. The carriage is adapted to transport prints successively through a series of tanks mounted in the container. Because of the different times during which the prints must be positioned in each tank, and also because of the difficulty in stopping and starting a carriage accurately, the device tends to be complex and requires constant maintenance.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an automatic device for processing photographic prints, transparencies and the like, the device being relatively light and inexpensive.

According to a particular'preferred embodiment of the present .invention, a device is provided for automatically processing photographic prints, transparencies and the like. The device consists of a plurality of tanks spaced longitudinally between a pair of parallel rails adapted to carry a print support. A transport mechanism is provided to elevate the rails for moving the print support upwardly out of one tank, then longitudinally from above the tank to above an adjacent tank, and then finally to lower the print support into the adjacent tank. An agitator is also included to oscillate the print support vertically while the prints are in each of the tanks.

The invention will be better understood with reference to the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of a device according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a print support for suspending prints in the device.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the print support when as sembled;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view on lines 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view on lines 5-5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a drive system incorporated in the device; and i FIGS. 7 to 10 are diagrammatic views of the device illustrating a print support being moved from one tank to the next tank in the device.

Reference is first made to FIG. I in which an automatic device 22 is shown for processing photographic prints, transparencies and the like. The device includes end walls 24,25 side walls 26,27 and an open top. A floor 28 in the device combines with upper portions of the walls to define a water-tight container 29 and supports a plurality of tanks 30a, 30b, etc. which will be referred to collectively by the numeral 30. The tanks are intended to contain chemicals or water as required and a manifold 32 is provided to supply water through control valves 34 to the tanks which are to contain water. In the device shown three of the tanks contain water and the others contain chemicals. Each of the tanks has a plurality of openings 35 adjacent an upper end thereof to permit liquids in the tanks to overflow.

A transport mechanism 36 is coupled to the side 26 for moving prints between tanks 30 as will be described. The mechanism 36 is moved by a drive system contained below floor 28 and having a drive sprocket 38 coupled to the transport mechanism 36. The drive system includes an agitator 40 and this together with the rest of the drive system will be described in detail with reference to FIG. 5. The transport mechanism 36 and associated parts are duplicated on the side 27 of the device to operate in unison with the mechanism 36 for better supporting prints as will be described. Primed numerals will be used for the duplicate mechanism and associated parts where they correspond with similar parts of mechanism 36.

In use, prints are suspended within a first of the tanks 30 and moved from one tank to an adjacent tank sequentially through all of the tanks by the transport mechanisms 36, 36 ending either in a space between tank 38 and end wall 24 to permit excess water to drain off the prints, on in a hardening bath commonly used as the last step in a print process. Both mechanisms 36, 36' are activated by the drive system which includes a timer to ensure that the prints are in each of the tanks for a predetermined time interval. While each print is in one of the tanks, the agitator 40 oscillates the print vertically as is common in photographic processing.

In order to better understand the function of the device 22, it will be convenient to refer to FIGS. 2 and 3 to describe a print support 42 specifically for use in conjunction with the device 22 and then to return to FIG. ll. As seen in FIG. 2, the support 42 consists of a lower receptacle 44 having dividers 46 extending between a central wall 48 and respective end walls 50,52. Openings are provided in the dividers 46 similar to openings 54 in the front wall of the receptacle. These openings are covered by a mesh 56 which permits chemicals to circulate through the receptaclefor processing the prints. In use,prints are dropped into the receptacle between dividers 46 where they are held in spaced-apart relation for circulation of chemicals.

A pair of coupling elements 58,60 are attached by respective pivots 62,64 to the lower receptacle adjacent the top and respective end walls of this receptacle. The elements are identical in construction and one of the elements will be described as typical of both elements 58,60.

Element 58 includes a respective first and second side members 66,68 and spacers 70, 72. The members 66,68 are generally L-shaped and terminate in respective outwardly-turned flanges 74,76 to which spacer 72 is permanently attached. Spacer 70 is permanently attached to the respective other ends of the members 66,68 and is positioned for engagement with the top of receptacle 44 when the element 58 is pivoted upwardly from a release position shown in FIG. 2 into an engagement position shown in FIG. 3. The elements 58 can be moved downwardly to use spacer 72 as a foot to stand the print support on a level surface.

An upper receptacle 78 which is preferably similar to the receptacle 44 is adapted to be supported between the elements 58,60 with the elements 58,60 in the engagement position shown in FIG. 3. The upper receptacle can be slipped downwardly between respective pairs of side members 66,68 of the elements 58,60 with the elements in the engagement position. The upper receptacle then rests on the spacers 70.

As seen in FIG. 3, when the print support 42 is assembled in the engagement position, the flanges 74,76 extend horizontally for suspending the support 42 from slider rails 80,80 shown in ghost outline in FIG. 3. The rail 80 is better seen in FIG. 1 and forms part of the transport mechanism 36.

Reference is again made to FIG. 1 to describe the structure of transport mechanism 36 which is typical of both mechanisms 36,36. The mechanism 36 includes: a pair of upright tracks 82,84 attached to side wall 26; and a moveable member 86 which consists of parallel uprights 88,90, spaced-apart horizontal rails 92, 94 and 96, and a cross-bar 97 mounted on tracks 82,84 for vertical movement. The tracks are similar and as seen in FIG. 4,. the track 84 consists essentially of an angle bracket having a rib 100 for engagement by a roller 98 mounted on upright 90. The mechanism 36 also includes a continuous'chain 102 which is engaged with drive sprocket 38 and respective idlers 104, 106 and 108. The sprocket 38 and idlers are positioned so that the chain 102 defines a rectangle having the longer sides vertical. Both sprocket 38 and idler 104 are rotatably mounted on a side wall 110 of housing 112 containing the drive mechanism. The side wall 110 extends between tracks 82,84 and downwardly below floor 28.

Chain 102 has a projection 114 attached to it for engaging a switch 116 of the drive system as will be explained. A link 118 is pivotally attached at 120 to the centre of rail 96 and has a forked lower end defining a recess 122 for engaging a pin 123 attached to the chain 102. An upper end of link 118 is engaged in a recess 125 of the slider rail 80. When the sprocket 38 is moved by the drive system, the chain in turn imparts movement to the link 118 which in turn elevates the moveable member 86 to lift the print support (FIG. 2) out of one of the tanks and then in turn moves the print support longitudinally and downwardly to an adjacent tank as will be described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 7 to 10.

The moveable member 86 has a counter balance 124 consisting of a weight 126 and cord 128 passing over a pulley 130 and attached at its other end to a lower end of upright 88. The counter balance reduces the power necessary from the drive system for elevating the print support and also tends to enhance the smooth action of the device.

The slider rail 80 of the moveable member 86 is shown in cross-section in FIG. to which reference is now made. The cross-bar 97 consists of slide members 132,134 which are spaced-apart by and attached to end pieces 136,138 and to upper ends of uprights 88,90. The pieces 136,138 extend outwardly from the respective uprights 88,90 to rigidify the cross-bar and to define the bottom of a recess for containing the slider rail with the top of the rail proud of the side members 132, 134. As a result, when a print support 42 (FIG. 2) is placed in the tank 30 (FIG. 1), the support 42 rests on the slider rails 80,80 rather than on the cross-bars 97,97.

As seen in FIG. 1, the slider rail 80 is shorter than the corresponding cross-bar 97 to permit the rail to move longitudinally for transferring print support 42 from one tank 30 to an adjacent tank. The slider rail is moveable through a distance at least equal to the distance between centres of adjacent tanks 30.

The device 20 also includes a fan located below floor 28 and connected by a duct 142 to a nozzle 144 above floor 28. The fan is of a type having a heating element for warming air passing through the fan and a thermostat 145 is provided for controlling fan 140 to maintain a substantially constant temperature in container 29 as is desirable when processing photographic prints.

A drain 146 is set in floor 28 and extends through end wall 24 for disposing of excess water and spillage from container 29. This permits water from manifold 32 to pass through control valves 34 continuously if preferred. The water then enters the water tanks and overflows through openings 35 and into container 29 before leaving by way of drain 146.

Reference is next made to FIGS. 1 and 6 with particular reference to FIG. 6 to describe the drive system which both drives the transport mechanisms 36,36 and the agitator 40. The system is housed in a chassis consisting of side walls 110 and 148 connected by respective parallel end and intermediate walls 150, 152 and each of these walls is attached to a base 154. After assembly, the walls 110,148 are substantially co-planar with respective container walls, 26,27 to enhance the appearance of the device.

The sprockets 38,38 are attached to respective ends of a drive shaft which is mounted for rotation in side walls 110, 148 and in a further upright wall 162 which extends between walls 150,152. A gear wheel 164 on shaft 160 is in mesh with a pinion 166 coupled to a motor 168 attached to wall 162. The motor is activated periodically by an adjustable timer 170 as will be described. Once the motor 168 starts, the sprockets 38,38 rotate for driving the transport mechanisms 36,36.

A control mechanism 172 is housed in a trough 173 consisting of an upper portion of wall 150, a low wall 174 and a narrow bottom wall 176. A slider 177 rests loosely on bottom wall 176 and is of a width for location by walls 150,174. The length of the slider is such that when one end of the slider engages a corresponding one of a pair of end stops 178,180 then one of the switches 116,116 at the other end of the slider is in a withdrawn position where it will not be contacted by the corresponding one of projections 114,114 on chains 102,102.

The slider 177 is controlled by a solenoid 182 which is electrically coupled to the timer 170. The solenoid is mounted on a bracket 184 attached to wall 150 and includes a plunger 186 attached to an upper surface of a slider 177. A spring 190 is also attached to the lug 188 and to a pin 192 fixed to the walls 150, 174. The spring 190 biases the slider 177 into the position shown in FIG. 6 in which switch 116 projects beyond the end stop 178 and the switch 116' is in a withdrawn position where it does not project beyond wall 148. Upon activation of the solenoid 182 the slider is moved longitudinally into engagement with end stop 180 so that the switches reverse positions and switch 116 projects beyond wall 148 and the switch 116 is withdrawn behind the outer surface of wall 110. The switches remain in these positions while the solenoid 182 is activated and upon de-activating the solenoid the spring 190 returns the switches to the position shown in FIG. 6. This position will be referred to as a first position, and the other position resulting from actuation of the solenoid will be referred to as a second position.

The control mechanism 172 is used to control the movements of the transport mechanisms 36,36 and combines with projections 114,114 on respective chains 102,102. The transport mechanism 36' has been previously mentioned as a duplicate of mechanism 36 seen in FIG. 1. However this is not exactly correct in that the projection 114 on the hidden device is in the relative position shown in chain-dotted outline on the mechanism 36 of FIG. 1. The projection 114 engages switch 116 as will be described. Otherwise, the mechanisms 36,36 are substantially identical.

Returning to FIG. 6, the drive system includes agitator 40 for combining with respective U-shaped links 194,194 attached to respective moveable members 86,86. The agitator 40 consists of an electric motor 196 to which is attached a cam 198 which rotates continuously about a horizontal axis when the device is in use. The cam 198 includes a roller 200 for engagement with a first of a pair of levers 202,204. The lever 202 is pivotally attached to a support 206 mounted on the base 154 and has an outer end defining a recess 208 for engagement with the link 194. The lever 202 is biased into engagement with the link 194 by a spring 209 attached to the link and to the wall 152. Second lever 204 is pivotally connected to a support 210 and has a recess 212 at its distal end for engagement with the link 194'. Although the links 202,204 are somewhat similar, they differ in that the upper surface of the lever 202 is adapted to be engaged by the roller 200 for depressing the inner end of the lever 202, whereas the inner end of the lever 204 has a rounded portion 214 for engagement with the underside of the inner part of lever 202. The spring 209 thereby also tends to rotate lever 204 so that the recess 212 is in engagement with the link 194'.

The agitator motor 196 runs continuously when the device is in use and causes the cam 198 to rotate in an anti-clockwise direction (as drawn) to bring the roller 200 into engagement with lever 202. As a result, the inner ends of levers 202 and 204 are depressed so that the outer ends move upwardly in respective slots 216,218 in the walls 110,148. Further rotation of the cam 198 brings the roller 200 out of contact with the lever 202 so that the levers return to the position shown in FIG. 6. This agitator movement results in vertical oscillation of the moveablefmembers 86,86 and therefore of the print support 42 (FIG. 2) carried by the movable members. As a result, prints in the print support are agitated in chemicals contained in tanks 30 (FIG. 1).

The agitator is driven continuously and operates to agitate the print support only when the print support is suspended in a tank. As soon as the print support is elevated, the links 194,194 move away from the agitator so that the agitator has no further effect on the print supports until the print support is lowered into a further tank.

Reference is now made to FIGS. 7 to 10 which are diagrammatic representations of movements made by the transport mechanisms 36,36. As previously described, the transport mechanism 36 is typical of the further mechanisms 36 on the other side of the device and that the difference between these mechanisms lies only in the relative positions of the projections 114,114. For simplicity, projection'114' is shown in ghost outline in these views to avoid reproducing the mechanism 36.

As seen in FIG. 7, the transport mechanism 36 is in the position shown in FIG. 1 and the projection 114 is engaged with switch 116 (FIG. 1) to hold the switch in an off or open position. At this point the projection 114 is remote from the switch 116 and switch 116 is therefore in an on or closed position. Referring to FIG. 6, the motor 168 is coupled to the timer 170 in series with the switches 116,116. Consequently, the motor 168 will be energized only when both switches 116,116 are closed. The timer 170 also controls the solenoid 182 so that after a delay set by the timer, the mechanisms 36,36 are energized by the solenoid 182 drawing the slider 177 towards bracket 184 so that switch 116 is withdrawn and switch 116' projects beyond wall 148. Because the switch 116 is spring-loaded to return to the on or closed position, both switches are now closed and the motor 168 is actuated.

Returning to FIG. 7, the chain 102 then begins to move so that the link 118 carries the moveably member 86 and hence a print support 42 upwardly. This upward movement continues into the FIG. 8 position at which point the projection 114 engages switch 116 thereby opening this switch and de-energizing the motor 168. The print support then remains in this position while the prints drain for a predetermined time after which the timer 170 de-activates the solenoid 182 (FIG. 6) and the spring returns the slider 177 to the FIG. 6 position. Switch 1 16 is thereby withdrawn and thereby returns to the closed position whereupon the motor 168 is again energized. As the chain 102 continues to move, the pin 123 moves horizontally along a shorter and upper side of the rectangle defined by chain 102 thereby rotating link 118 about pivot 120 and moving the slider rail 80 in the cross-bar 97. As a result, the print support 42 moves into position above a tank adjacent to the tank from which is was removed.

The movement of mechanisms 36,36 continues into the FIG. 9 position whereuponthe moveable member 86 begins to move downwardly towards its original position. This downward movement is continued through the FIG. 10 position until the pin 123 moves horizontally along the bottom side of the rectangle formed by chain 102 resulting in the slider rail 80 moving towards its original position. Because the print support 42 isrestrained from moving horizontally by the tank walls, the rail 80 slides under the flanges 74,76 (FIG. 2) of the print support without moving the support significantly. The pin 123 then moves into the original position whereupon projection 114again strikes switch 116 to open the switch and de-energize the motor 168. At this point, the agitator 40 which has been running continuously since the device was started, begins to operate to agitate the prints in the tank.

The transport mechanisms move the print support from one tank to the next and so on through all of the tanks terminating in the space between tank 30a and end wall 24 (FIG. 1) where the prints will remain and be allowed to dry before being removed from the device. However, as previously described, a further tank can be added to contain a hardening bath if desired.

The timer 170 is of a conventional form and can be adjusted so that the prints can be retained in any one of the tanks for a given predetermined period within pre-set limits. Consequently, the device can be used for black and white prints or for colour prints and the number of tanks can be varied depending upon the process being used.

What I claim is:

1. A device for processing photographic prints and the like automatically, the device comprising:

a plurality of tanks for containing liquids used in photographic processing;

means for supporting the tanks in a longitudinallyextending row;

a pair of transport mechanisms coupled to the support means and positioned one at each of the longitudinal sides of the row of tanks for transporting a print supportthrough the tanks;

each said transport mechanism comprising: a rail on which the print support rests; a movable member coupled to the support means for vertical movement to elevate and lower the rail and thereby elevate and lower the print support, the rail being mounted on the movable member for longitudinal movement; means coupled to the movable member and to the support means and operable to sequentially move the movable member vertically and to move the rail longitudinally whereby the print support is moved vertically out of one tank, then longitudinally from above said one tank into a position above an adjacent tank, and finally vertically downwards into said adjacent tank, drive means coupled to said sequential moving means, said sequential moving means comprising: a link pivotally connected to the movable member intermediate the ends of the link and having an upper end coupled to said rail such that angular movement of the link results in longitudinal movement of the rail sufficient to transport the print support from above said one tank to above said adjacent tank; and means coupling the link to the drive means of said sequential moving means.

2. A device as claimed in claim 1 in which the link coupling means comprises a chain coupled to the support means for movement in a rectangular path and including means in engagement with a lower end of the link for transmitting motion from the chain to the link.

3. A device as claimed in claim 2 in which the longer sides of said rectangular path are vertical and in which said engagement means first moves along one of said vertical sides whereby said movable member is moved vertically upwards to lift the print support from said one tank, then along the upper of the horizontal sides of said path whereby the link is moved angularly and the print support is moved from above said one tank to above said adjacent tank, and then downwardly along the other of the vertical sides of said path whereby the movable member is lowered and the print support moves into said adjacent tank.

4. A device as claimed in claim 1 and further comprising a control mechanism operably coupled to the drive means to start said sequential movement at intervals in a" timing cycle, each interval being determined by desired times of print immersion in each of the tanks, said control mechanism including a pair of electrical switches coupled to a slider-which extends between said sides of the row of tanks, the distance between the switches being less than the distance between switches for relay to the control mechanism.

I! l 1 i

Patent Citations
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US2892393 *Jul 22, 1957Jun 30, 1959White Hixon Lab IncPhotographic print basket
US3469517 *Jan 3, 1967Sep 30, 1969Kan Ichi NishimotoVertically reciprocating apparatus for carrying film hangers in a developing tank
US3559553 *Oct 23, 1967Feb 2, 1971Buechner Werner WAutomatic forwarding mechanism for photographic materials
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3982259 *Dec 13, 1974Sep 21, 1976Edward Van BaerlePhotographic material processing module
US4112452 *Mar 7, 1977Sep 5, 1978Eastman Kodak CompanyApparatus for processing photographic film
US6257255 *Oct 1, 1997Jul 10, 2001Steag Microtech GmbhSubstrate treatment device
DE2743808A1 *Sep 29, 1977Jul 13, 1978Giorgio DragoneGeraet und verfahren zum entwickeln von filmen, insbesondere von roentgenfilmen fuer zahnaerztliche zwecke
EP0061300A1 *Mar 17, 1982Sep 29, 1982Base Electronics LimitedFluid treatment apparatus
U.S. Classification134/82, 396/633, 396/622
International ClassificationG03D3/02, G03D3/10, G03D3/04, G03D3/08
Cooperative ClassificationG03D3/10, G03D3/04
European ClassificationG03D3/10, G03D3/04