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Publication numberUS3757543 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 11, 1973
Filing dateAug 30, 1971
Priority dateAug 30, 1971
Publication numberUS 3757543 A, US 3757543A, US-A-3757543, US3757543 A, US3757543A
InventorsBraga A
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combination detergent dispenser and manual filter
US 3757543 A
Abstract
A dispensing device adapted for use in a washing machine having a liquid circulation system for selectively dispensing a washing agent into the liquid of the circulation system. The dispensing device includes a housing which is connected in the circulation system of the washing machine and which preferably acts as a discharge for circulating the liquid back to the tub of the machine. A tray for holding the laundry agent or additive is removably received in the housing and is movable between a bypass position withdrawn from the flow of the circulating liquid and a dispensing position with the tray in the path of the circulating liquid to flush the agent contained therein into the machine. When inserted in the device, the tray is held by a permanent magnet in the bypass position until an electromagnetic force overcomes the magnetic forces of a permanet magnet to release the tray and enable a spring to bias the tray to the dispensing position. In one embodiment of the invention, the tray includes a filtering means comprising upstanding fingers to filter the washing liquid as it is passing across the tray to be discharged into the washing machine.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

limited States Patent [191 Braga 1 Sept. 11, 1973 COMBINATION DETERGENT DISPENSER AND MANUAL FILTER [75] Inventor: Albert T. Braga, Stevensville, Mich.

[73] Assignee: Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Mich.

[22] Filed: Aug. 30, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 175,959

[52] US. Cl. 68/17 R, 68/18 F, 134/93 [51] Int. Cl D06f 39/02, D06f 39/10 [58] Field of Search 68/17 R, 17 A, 18 F; 222/160, 162, 164; 134/93 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,333,739 8/1967 Clearman et a1 68/17 R X 3,248,910 5/1966 Bochan 68/17 R X 2,990,707 4/1961 Gerhardt et al. 68/17 R X 3,088,305 5/1963 Ohmann 68/18 F X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,211,560 11/1970 Great Britain 68/17 R Primary Examiner-John Petrakes Assistant Examiner-Philip R. Coe Attorney-James S. Nettleton et a1.

[5 7] ABSTRACT A dispensing device adapted for use in a washing machine having a liquid circulation system for selectively dispensing a washing agent into the liquid of the circulation system. The dispensing device includes a housing which is connected in the circulation system of the washing machine and which preferably acts as a discharge for circulating the liquid back to the tub of the machine. A tray for holding the laundry agent or additive is removably received in the housing and is movable between a bypass position withdrawn from the flow of the circulating liquid and a dispensing position with the tray in the path of the circulating liquid to flush the agent contained therein into the machine. When inserted in the device, the tray is held by a permanent magnet in the bypass position until an electromagnetic force overcomes the magnetic forces of a permanet magnet to release the tray and enable a spring to bias the tray to the dispensing position. In one embodiment of the invention, the tray includes a filtering means comprising upstanding fingers to filter the wash ing liquid as it is passing across the tray to be discharged into the washing machine.

10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Patented Sept. 11, 1973 3,757,543

I N VENTOR.

w 4 2%,) 4/ TT YS BY rW-A COMBINATION DETERGENT DISPENSER AND MANUAL FILTER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention is directed to a dispensing device and particularly a dispenser for selectively dispensing a washing agent or additive into a circulating laundry liquid of a laundry device. 2. Prior Art In home laundry devices such as automatic washing machines, a dispensing device has been provided for adding a laundry agent such as a detergent or soap to a liquid being circulated from the treatment zone or tub by a pump through a filter and back into the tub. An example of such a dispensing device is disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,088,305, issued May 7, 1963 which patent is assigned to the assignee of the present application.

In some automatic washing machines, various different types of washing cycles are provided and some of these cycles utilize a prerinse or prewash period in which the articles being laundered are preferably agitated in the washing liquid in the treatment zone before the addition of the laundry agent. This type of washing machine, requires a dispenser which has the capability of dispensing a laundry agent at a preselected time in the washing cycle such as after the prewash or prerinse period and the dispenser disclosed in the above mentioned patent does not have this capability. Several solutions for providing dispensing devices which have the necessary capability for dispensing of its contents at a preselected time interval in the washing cycle have been proposed. For example, if the laundry agent is in a liquid form, the dispenser has an outlet with a valve which valve is controlled to release the contents of the container at the desired time interval. To utilize a laundry agent in a form of a powder or granule, a dispensing device has been proposed which has a controlled valve for selectively diverting a flushing fluid through the dispensing device to flush the agent into the washing machine at the desired time. Due to the cost of the valves necessary for diverting a flushing fluid at a predetermined time to the dispenser, this type of dispensing device is expensive to manufacture and increases the cost of the washing machine.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a dispensing device connected in the liquid circulation system of a washing machine for dispensing a laundry agent such as a detergent at a preselected time in the washing cycle. The dispensing device comprises a housing forming a portion of the liquid circulation system which receives a removable tray that is mounted in the housing for movement between a liquid bypass position and an agent dispensing position. The device includes an actusting means which selectively releases the tray from the bypass position to the dispensing position at a predetermined time in the wash cycle of the machine. Preferably a biasing means urges the tray toward the dispensing position which tray is held in the bypass position by a permanent magnet whose force is overcome by the actuation of an electromagnet to release the tray and enable the biasing means to move the tray to the dispensing position. Preferably the tray is also provided with filtering means such as upstanding fingers to filter the water passing over the tray prior to entry into the treatment zone. To prevent the force of the circulating fluid from pushing the tray into the treatment zone, the housing and tray have coacting abutment surfaces which limit the movement in the direction of the fluid flow through the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a laundry machine incorporating a dispensing device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view of the dispensing device of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the dispensing device with portions in elevation for purposes of illustration taken along line IIIIII of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view similar to FIG. 3 with the tray removed to its extended position during the dispensing operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The principles of the present invention are particularly adapted in a dispensing device illustrated in FIG. 3 and generally indicated at 10. The dispensing device 10 is particularly useful when incorporated in a liquid circulation system of an automatic washer 11 (FIG. 1). As illustrated, the dispenser 10 has an outlet for discharging the circulated liquid into a treatment zone 12 which is a tub or basket which, as illustrated, contains an agitator 13. The washer 11, includes controls not shown for controlling the operation of the washing machine in one or more predetermined or preselected cycles as is well known in the art.

The dispenser 10 has a housing 16 having a top wall 17, a bottom wall 18, a pair of side walls 20,20 and an end wall 21 which walls form a chamber 22 having an opening 23 opposite the end wall 21. The end wall 21 is provided with a coupling 24 adapted for connection to a hose or conduit of the liquid circulation system and forms for the liquid being circulated an inlet to the chamber 22 of the housing 16.

A tray 26 is adapted for insertion into the chamber 22 of the housing 16 through the opening 23 and has a pair of side walls 27,27 with a curved bottom wall 28 extending therebetween. At one end of the tray 26, the bottom wall 28 curves upward and merges at an edge 29 with a portion of an end wall 30 between upstanding edge portions 31,31 (FIG. 2). At an end opposite the end wall 30, the tray 26 is substantially opened and is provided with a post 32 on which a spring 33 forming a biasing means and a magnet pole piece such as a steel washer 34 are mounted.

The tray 26 is inserted into the housing 16, with a bottom edge 35 of each of the side walls 27 riding on projections 36, 36 which extend inwardly from an inner surface of each of the side walls 20, 20 of the housing 16. As inserted into housing 16, the tray 26 can pivot on the projections 36, 36 between'a liquid bypass position, as illustrated in FIG. 3, and a laundry agent dispensing position illustrated in FIG. 4.

To mount the tray 26 in the housing 16, mounting means including magnetic means 37 are positioned on the top wall 17 of the housing 16 and the means 37 includes a permanent magnet 38 which holds the tray in the bypass position by holding the pole piece 34 against the top wall 17 of the housing 16 by compressing the spring 33. When in the liquid bypass position with the permanent magnet 38 holding the pole piece 34 against the top wall 17, the liquid entering the inlet or coupling 24 passes beneath the bottom wall 28 of the tray 26, is discharged through the opening 23 and is deflected downward into the treatment zone 12 by a flange 39 on the end wall 30 of the tray 26.

To shift the tray 26 to the laundry agent dispensing position illustrates in FIG. 4, the magnetic means 37 inctudes an electromagnet 40 having electrical leads 41 extending to the control circuit. When the electromagnet 40 is energized, it produces a magnetic field opposing the field of the permanent magnet 38 to overcome its holding force to enable the spring 33 to force the tray 26 to the dispensing position. The coaction of the electromagnet 40 of the magnetic means 37 and the spring 33 forms an actuating means which releases the tray 26 from the liquid bypass position.

When the tray 26 is in the dispensing position as illustrated in FIG. 4, the flow of fluid from the liquid circulation system flows in the open end of the tray across the bottom wall 28 up over the edge 29 and into the treatment zone 12. The force of the flowing fluid will tend to move the tray 26 in the housing to its dispensing position.

To prevent the discharge of the tray 26 or to limit its forward movement, each of the sidewalls 27 of the tray 26 are provided with abutment surfaces 43 on its upper edge 44 which coact with the abutment surfaces on the projections 36 acting on the lower edge 35 of the side walls to wedge the tray 26 in the housing 16 after a predetermined amount of travel therein. The abutment surfaces 43, which are slightly tapered with respect to the edge 44, have a second function of enabling the tray 26 to pivot on the projections 36 from the bypass position to the dispensing position.

To filter the liquid of the circulation system which flows across the tray 26, the tray 26 may be provided with a filtering means to filter the wash liquid prior to its discharge into the treatment zone 12. The filtering means is illustrated as a plurality of upstanding fingers 48 arranged in columns with each column offset with respect to adjacent columns to provide a tortuous path for the liquid to flow through and for removing lint and other foreign matter carried by the liquid of the circulation system. The filtering means of the fingers 48 have a second function of preventing the rapid flushing of the laundry agent from the tray 26 by the flow of the circulating liquid into the treatment zone. Thus the laundry agent such as a detergent will be held from discharge into the treatment zone 12 until it is broken or dissolved to a size which is small enough to pass through the tortuous path of the fingers 48 of the filtering means.

The dispenser is proposed for use in an automatic washing machine 11 which has a prerinse or prewash cycle or in a machine in which the laundry agent or additive is to be added after liquid has been circulated for a predetermined time. When utilized in such a machine, the tray is loaded with the desired amount of the washing additive or agent, inserted in the housing 16, and placed in the bypass position. The permanent magnet 38 will maintain the tray 26 in the bypass position with the liquid or water being circulated through the housing 16 passing beneath the tray and out the opening 23 into the treatment zone 12. While the tray 26 is in the bypass position, the circulating liquid will not pick up or contact the agent At additive. At a preseleced time in the cycle, the electromagnet 40 is energized by the control circuit to overcome the holding force of the permanent magnet 38 and release the tray 26 to enable the spring 33 to force the tray 26 to the discharged position. At this time, the fluid being circulated by the circulation system will flow across the tray and flush its contents over the edge 29 into the treatment zone 12. With the release of the tray 26 from the bypass position, filtering means will begin to filter lint and other matter from the circulated liquid and will limit the flushing of large particles of the agent directiy into the tub without first being broken up or dissolved to a size to pass through the tortuous path of the filter fingers 48. Once the tray 26 has been released, it will remain in the dispensing position for the rest of the washing cycle or operation of the machine.

After completion of the washing cycle or operation, the operator can remove the tray 26, by pivoting it on the projections, from the chamber 22 for subsequent cleaning or removal of any materials retained on the filtering fingers 48. While removed from the housing, an additive or washing agent for a next washing operation can be loaded in the tray. Once the tray is loaded with the agent, the operator inserts the tray into the chamber 22 of the housing 16 and positions it in the bypass position in which it will be held by the force of the permanent magnet 38.

Both the tray and the housing 16 are preferably formed of a plastic material which is molded to the desired shape. The spring element 33 and the metal piece 34 are attached to the post 32 by a conventional fastener such as a screw. The filter means such as the fingers 48 can be integrally formed during the molding of the tray 26 or they can be molded as a separate piece which is subsequently attached to the tray by a suitable adhesive. The permanent magnet 38 is selected to have a sufficient magnetic strength to hold the tray 26 in the bypass position, but it does not have sufficient force to shift the tray from the dispensing position to the bypass position.

While the above description of the operation of the tray was primarily for dispensing of a detergent during a washing cycle, the tray could also be utilized for selectively dispensing another additive such as a bleach or fabric conditioner at a predetermined time in the washing or rinsing cycle.

As illustrated, the housing 16 of the dispenser 10 is mounted in the machine 11 with the opening 23 projecting slightly over the tub forming the treatment zone 12 to enable the discharge from the housing to return directly into the treatment zone 12. Furthermore such a mounting enables the user or the operator of the laundry device to have ready access for both removing the tray for cleaning and reloading and subsequent replacing of the tray into the housing 16.

Although minor modifications might be suggested by those versed in the art, it should be understood that i wish to employ within the scope of the patent warranted hereon all such modifications as reasonably and properly come within my contribution to the art.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. in a washing machine having a liquid circulation system, a wash agent dispenser comprising:

a housing forming a portion of said liquid circulation system; a tray disposed in said housing, said tray including means for filtering wash liquid in said liquid circulation system;

means for mounting said tray in said housing between a liquid bypass position and a wash agent dispensing position; and actuating means for releasing said tray from said bypass position to said wash agent dispensing position at a predetermined time in a wash cycle of the washing machine.

2. In a washing machine of claim 1, wherein said actuating means comprises a magnetic means.

3. In a washing machine according to claim 2, wherein said tray includes means biasing the tray to the dispensing position, and wherein said magnetic means includes a permanent magnet holding the tray in the bypass position against the force of the biasing means and an electromagnet arranged to overcome the holding force of the permanent magnet, whereby the energizing of the electromagnet at said predeterminedtime releases the tray from the bypass position to enable the biasing means to mvoe the tray to the wash agent dispensing position.

4. In a washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the tray is slidable removed fromthe housing to enable cleaning and filling with the wash agent.

5. In a washing machine according to claim 4 wherein said housing and said tray have coacting means for limiting movement of the tray in the housing while in the dispensing position.

6. In a washing machine according to claim 5, wherein said coacting means comprises coacting abutment surfaces arranged to allow a limited movement of the tray in the housing while in the dispensing position.

7. In a washing machine according to claim 1, wherein said means for filtering comprises a plurality of upstanding fingers arranged across the tray to filter the liquid passing through the liquid circulation system.

8. A laundry agent dispenser for a washing machine having a liquid circulation system, said dispenser comprising:

a housing having an inlet and outlet opening forming a portion of the liquid circulation system;

a tray removably disposed in said housing, said tray including means for filtering a wash liquid in the liquid circulation system as it passes across the tray;

means for mounting said tray in said housing for movement between a liquid bypass position and a wash agent dispensing position with the liquid of said circulation system passing across the tray to flush the contents therefrom; and

actuating means including a biasing means for urging the tray to the dispensing position and magnetic means for holding the tray in the bypass position and selectively releasing the tray to enable the biasing means to urge the tray to the dispensing position.

9. A laundry agent dispenser according to claim 8, wherein said means for mounting includes abutment surfaces disposed on the inner walls of the housing to provide pivot points for the tray while moving between the bypass and dispensing positions.

10. A laundry dispenser according to claim 9, wherein the tray includes a pair of abutment surfaces adapted to engage an upper surface of and housing andco coacting with the abutment surfaces of the housing to limit movement of the tray in a direction of the flow of the liquid of the circulation system while said tray is in the dispensing position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2990707 *Jul 9, 1958Jul 4, 1961Borg WarnerAutomatic dispenser for a clothes washing machine
US3088305 *Mar 17, 1960May 7, 1963Whirlpool CoFilter construction
US3248910 *Jun 25, 1964May 3, 1966Gen ElectricAdditive dispenser for automatic washing machines
US3333739 *Jun 22, 1965Aug 1, 1967Whirlpool CoMaterial dispensing means for a washing apparatus
GB1211560A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3896641 *Jul 30, 1973Jul 29, 1975Gen ElectricCombination lint filter and additive dispenser for automatic washer
US4700554 *Feb 19, 1986Oct 20, 1987Whirlpool CorporationDetergent dispenser with improved water distribution means
US7895864Oct 23, 2007Mar 1, 2011Electrolux Home Products, Inc.Laundry additive dispenser
US8327672Dec 21, 2007Dec 11, 2012Electrolux Home Products, Inc.Methods and systems for water delivery in an additive dispenser
US20100017968 *Sep 6, 2007Jan 28, 2010Pyoung Hwan KimOperating method of washing machine
EP1424428A2 *Nov 26, 2003Jun 2, 2004Elbi International SPADevice for supplying a washing agent in a washing machine
WO2012025332A2 *Jul 28, 2011Mar 1, 2012Hindustan Unilever LimitedDispensing device
WO2012051685A2Oct 21, 2011Apr 26, 2012Electrolux Do Brasil S.A.Improvements introduced in additive dispenser in automatic washing machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification68/17.00R, 68/18.00F, 134/93
International ClassificationD06F39/02, D06F39/00, D06F39/10
Cooperative ClassificationD06F39/02, D06F39/10
European ClassificationD06F39/10, D06F39/02