US 3854812 A
A processor for extracting a large format film unit from a cassette and causing a fluid processing composition to be uniformly distributed between predetermined layers of the film unit. The processor includes a housing having film entry and withdrawal slots therein. A guide member guides the film unit through the housing such that a tab on the film unit extends through the withdrawal slot to give the user a visual indication that fluid distribution has been completed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 S'orli 1 5 Dec. 17, 1974  References Cited 4] PHOTOGRAPHIICY PROCESSOR FOR LARGE FORMAT FILM UNITS. i  Inventor: Duncan Sorli, Chelmsford, Mass.
- Assignee: Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge,
221 Filed: Dec. 29, 1972 211 App]. No.: 319,489
 US. Cl 354/312, 354/84, 3 5 4/301, 1
, 354/307 51 :Int. (:1. G03d 9/02 58 .Field of Search 95/13, 89 R, 89 L, 94 R,
} UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,495,113 1/1950 Gannon 95/13 x 2,689,306 9/1954 Land 95/89 R x 2/1957 Fairbanlc 2/1961 Orlando.'..' 95/13 3,086,100 4/1963 Carrozza et al. v i
3,165,039 1/1965 Downey 95/13 3,364,835 1/1968 Brackett et a1. ..'95'/89 R X 3,559,554 2/1971 Schmidt 95/94 R X Primary ExaminerFred L. Braun Attorney, Agent, or-Firm-John S. /ale [5 7] ABSTRACT A brocessor for egrtractin a large fqrmatfilrn from a cassette and causinga fluid processi'ng composition to be uniformly distributed between predetermined layers of the film unit. The processor includes a housing having film entry and withdrawal, slots therein. A I
guide member guides the film unit through the housing such that a tab on the film unit "extends throughthe withdrawal slot to givelthe use'ra visual indication that fluid distribution has'been completed;
.- 8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Eloranta 95/13 X 1 j PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSOR FOR-LARGE I FORMAT FILM UNITS BACKGROUND INVENTION 7 l. Fieldofthe Invention I The present invention relates to thefield of photography and, more particularly, to a processor for processing large format film units of the self-developing type.
2. Description of the Prior Art Large format, i.e., 8XlO or l l2.inch film units of 4 the self-developing type arecommonly used in the medical field to provide instantradiographs or X-rays. Other applications include industrial, advertising, and
portrait photography. t The film units are generally loaded into a light-tight cassette and exposed in conventional view cameras or X-ray apparatus. a After CXPOSUICy-tllfi cassette is moved to 'a processor which extracts the film from the cassette and distributes' a fluid processing composition between predetermined layers of thefilm unit to initiate a well known diffusion'transferprocess; I
ln their;mos.t common form, each film unit includes a photosensitive elementcomprising an opaque or translucent support sheet having one or more photosensitive layers thereon and an image-receiving element comprising an opaque ortranslucent support sheet having one or more image-receiving layers thereon and a rupturable container of fluid processing composition coupled totheleading end of the support The two sheets maybe coupled together at their respective leading ends bya leader such that'the two elements may be extracted simultaneouslyfrorn the cassette in super-position with the photosensitive and image-receiving layers in other. W j
The leaderis. generally fed between pressure applying members in the processor, e.g., apair of juxtaposed 9 1W 1 Qh. .Y tiQ ma a compr ss vt ntss p face-to-face relation to one an- I across the width of the film unit'for rupturing the'conis a time consumingoperation and it severely limitsthe number of film units which may be processed duringa tainer and-distributingthefluid between the photosensitive andwimag'e-receiving layers as thefilm unit is advancedrelative to the pressure'applying member. After a suitable imbibition period, the two sheets may be separated to reveal a positive image on the image- 'receiving sheet. v f
At least two types of large format film processors are disclosed in the prior art. The firsttype (SeeU.S. Pat.
No. 2,638,828) includes a lighttightxbox having a platform therein for receiving afilm cassette, a pair of pressure rollers at one end of the platform for frictionally engaging the film unit. to extract it from the cassette v 'he may begin to time the imbibition period. Also, loadingthe cassette into the processor and removing the processedfilm unit is time consuming because the user must manually open and close a cover on the top of thebox in preparation to manipulate the film unit.
' A second type of large format film processor is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,364,834. It consists of a vertically standing rectangular frame having a top slot for receiving the leading end of'a'film cassette. Below the slot' is a pair of pressure applying rollers each having a flexible sheet of material coiled therearound. The two sheets are joined together at one end such that they operate to form a lighttight expansibleimbibition chamber as the rollers arerotatedto cause: the-sheets to uncoil therefrom. The rollers are adapted to be manually ormotor driven to frictionally engage the film leader and extract the film unit from the cassette while'applying the compressivepressure and advancing the film unit into the expanding chamber below the rollers,
One major disadvantage of this type of processor is that in order to remove the film unit from the expanded chamber, the film must be retracted back through the rollers as they are rotated in a reverse direction. This given time period. 1
In another embodiment where the chamber may be opened at the bottom-to remove the film unit, the-processing time is still excessive because the rollers must I be reversed to retract the chamber beforethe next film unit may be processed.
- SUMMARY or THE iNveN-TloN The presentinventionprovides a'compact and easy to use processor for-extracting a largeformat film unit from a cassette and causing a fluid proce'ssingcomposivanced from the cassette and between the rollers'to effect the distribution. of thefluid processing composition.
As the film'exits from the rollers it is guided, by guide members within, the housing, along a curved path of I travel to the withdrawalslot. The guide membersdeand apply the compressive pressure to effect fluid distribution, a slot adjacent to the rollers, and an auxiliary receiving chamber mounted on the exteriorof the box in communication with the slot for receiving the processed film unit.
There are several drawbacks to this type of processor. First, it is relatively large compared to the size of the film unit because of the need for the auxiliary receiving chamber which extends outwardly from the main housing. Secondly, the film .unit is completely enclosed during processing and the user cannot tell exactly-when the fluid'distribution has been completedso fine a pathlength such that a portion of the leader extends through the withdrawal slot whenthe'film unit a has completely passed between the rollers. This serves as a visual indication to the user that the fluid distribution has been completed and that he should begin to I entry slot..As the superposed film elements are drawn time the imbibition period.
As noted earlier, the withdrawal-slot is preferably on the same side of thejhousing as the'entry slot. Accordingly,the leader appears in alocation where the user may easily grasp it and remove the film unit from the housing by pulling the leadertowards himself.
, The processor preferably is also equipped with a novel fluid control mechanism associated with the film into the rollers, a pair of flanges positioned over the entry slot on the inside of the housing apply a compressive pressure to the lateral margins of the two sheets to insure that the fluid will be contained therebetween during the spreading or distribution mode of operation.
The processor may also be provided with a cassette support member positioned on the exterior of the housing for supporting the leading end of a film holding cassette in operative relation with the entry slot. The support member is simple in construction and allows cassettes to be quickly and accurately attached to and detached from the housing.
In operation, the user attached a cassette to the processor housing, feeds the leader or tab of the film unit and presses a motor start button. The rollers frictionally engage, extract, andprocess the film unit and the tab appears at the withdrawal slot. The user waits until the imbibition interval is complete, pulls the film unit through the withdrawal slot and separates the two sheets. I
There are no housing covers to open and close. There are no expansible imbibition chambers to retract. The
user simply has to couple the next cassette to the processor housing and press the start button to process the next film unit. I
Therefore, it is a feature and object of the present invention to provide a compact and easy to use processor for large format self-developing film units.
It is another feature and object of the invention to providea processor which includes a housinghaving offset film entry and withdrawal slots, processing means including pressure applying means and film advance means within the housing, and guide means for receiving the film unit from the processing means and guiding it to the withdrawal slot.
It is another feature and object to provide a processor which includes a housing having entryand withdrawal slots therein, processing means for extracting a film unit from a cassette through the entry slot, means for supporting a cassette on the housing, and guide means for defining a curved path of travel for the film unit within the housing such that it is located in a convenient position to be removed from the housing through the withdrawal slot.
lt isyet another feature and object-to provide such processor which isequipped with fluid control members associated with the entry slot for applying a compressive pressure to the lateral margins of a film unit passing therethrough to insure that a processing fluid being distributed between predetermined layers of the film unit does not escape along the lateral margins of the film unit. I
It is still another feature and object of the present invention to provide a system for distributing a fluid'processing' composition between predetermined layers of a film'unit wherein the system includes a processor, a
elements, and arrangement of parts which are exempli- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein: Y
F,lG. l is a perspective view of a large format film processor, film holding cassette, and self-developing film unit comprising the processing system of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the processor of FIG. 1 with the front panel removed to show details of the interior construction;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a large' format, self developing film unit which is especially well suited to be processed in the processor shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
' processor showing a film holding cassette positioned in operative relation with a film entry slot in the processor; it
FIG. 6 is an elevational view, partly in section,.of the processor showing a processed filmunit protruding from a withdrawal slot in the processor housing; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the film holding cassette of FIGS. I and 4 shown in its open position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The components forming a unique system for processing a large format self-developing film unit are shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings. They include a film unit processor 10, a film holding cassette l2, and a selfdeveloping film unit 14 (shown positioned in cassette A more detailed view of film unit 14 is shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings. In its preferred form, it comprises a first film element 16, commonly referred to as the'photosensitive elementor negative sheet, and a second element 18 which may be called an image-receiving element or positive sheet.
I The photosensitive element 16 includes a generally rectangular support sheet 20 having one or more photosensitive layers coated on one side thereof. Sheet 20 is preferably formed of a conventional paper or plastic .film'base material'which may be opaque or slightly translucent. Attached across the leading end of sheet 20 is a paper or plastic leader 22 for facilitating manipulation of sheet 18 during cassette loading and subsequent processing operations. Leader 22 is preferably configured to include a tapered portion 24 (for stiffeninserted-The opening 30- islight sealed by an opaque overskirt 34 on leader 22 into which the leading end of the envelope 28 is adapted to be inserted. Once film element 14 is loaded into a lighttight cassette 12, envelope 28 may be withdrawn from the trailing end 32 of sheet 20. I r
The second film unit element vl8 preferably comprises a generaly rectangular, opaque (or slightly translucent), paper or plastic support sheet 36 having one or more image-receiving layers coated on one side thereof. A strippable rectangular mask 38 is releasably secured around the marginal edges ofthe coated surface and serves to define the bounds of a generally rectangular, central image-forming area 40. In a preferred embodiment, a pair of slightly raised spacers or rails 42 are provided on the lateral margins 44 of mask 38 for establishing a predetermined gap between the photosensitive 'and image-receiving layers, when sheets 20 and 36 are superposed, to control the thickness of the layer of processing fluid distributed therebetween.
Attached to, and extending acrossthe leading end of sheet 36, is a paper or plastic leader 46 which terminates in a forwardly extending, centrally disposed, sheet manipulation tab 48 having a centrally disposed elongated slot 50 therein. V In this embodiment, film element 18 also includesa rupturable container 52 of a fluid processing composition. Container 52 is preferably formed of a rectangular blank of vapor and liquid-impermeable material which is folded over on itself and sealed along three edges to I sette 12 in overlying relation to element 16 such that the photosensitive and image-receiving layers arein face-to-face relation. g t
The leading ends of elements l6.and 18 are coupled together by folding tab 48 back on itself such that slot 50 is at the leading edge of the folded. tab 48.The tab- 26, on film element 16, is then inserted through slot 50 until the planar forward edge 5660f leader portion 24 abuts against the crease in the side of slot 50.
Tab 26 is fed into processor where pressure applying members (to be described later) frictiona-lly engage tab 26 and draw the two superposed elements 16 and 18 from cassette 12 and into the processor 10'.
The pressureapplying members compress the walls of the container 52 and induce a hydraulic pressure in the fluid which causes the longitudinal seal 54 to rupture thereby. dispensingthe fluid in a mass along the leading edge of the image forming area 40. As the superposed element's l6and 18 are further ad vanced between the pressure applying members, the mass of liquid is advanced along a wave front which travels from the leading to the trailing endof the image forming area 40. Accordingly, the fluid is distributed between and in contact with the photosensitive and image-receiving layers to initiate the well known diffusion transfer process. As noted earlier, the side rails or ,spacers 42 on mask 38 serve to regulate the thickness of the fluid layer between sheets 20 and 36. In a preferred embodiment, the trailing end margin 57 of mask 38 is provided with a liquid trap (not shown) for collecting any excess fluid which may extend beyond the trailing'end J of the image forming area 40.
Once the fluid has been distributed, the user begins to time a predetermined imbibition period, typically 15 seconds for black and white film and one minute for color, after which the photosensitive and imagereceiving elements may be separated to view the positive image on sheet 36.
At this point, it may be well to point out that the chemical composition of 'film unit 14 has been described in somewhat general terms and that-it may be configured to produce either black' and white or full color positive images. For a more detailed description of the chemical composition of suitable photosensitive and image-receiving layers andcompatible processing fluids, reference may be had to US. Pat. No. 2,983,606, issuedtoI-I. G. Rogers on May 9, 1961, and IJ.S. Pat. Nos. 2,698,236, 2,698,237 and 2,698,245, issued to E. H. Land on Dec. 28, 1954.
The film holding cassette 12 which is especially well suited for use with processor 10 and film 'unit 14 is best shown in FIGS. 4 and 7. a
The cassette is formed by two generally rectangular plate-like members 60 and 62 which arehinged together near thelateral corners of their respective trailing ends for movement between the open or film loading position of FIG. 7'and the closed'position of FIG. 4 wherein members 'and 62 cooperate to form a lighttight enclosure for film element 16.
Cassette member 60 is formed of any suitable opaque 8 material, i.e., metal or plastic, and is configured as a rectangular frame which defines a rectangular exposure aperture 64 therein. The'exposure aperture 64 is folded tab 48 on eitherv adapted to be blocked and unblockedby means of a plate-like dark slide 66 which is adapted to be inserted into member 60 through anelongated opening 68 at its leading end. Communicating with opening'68 is a pair along its lateral edges. It will be noted cassette member 60 is configured to be thicker in the .center (to accommodate darkslide 66)'than out at its lateral edges. This thicker center portion extends down between flanges 72 when the cassette is closed such that lateral edges rest on top of flanges 72 to create a labyrinth-type of 1 light seal therebetween.
In order to releasably secure the cassetter'nembers 60 and 62 in the closed position, member 62 is provided with a pair of spring'biased latching members 74 near its leading end which are adapted to engage appropriate detents 76 formed in the leading endof cassette member 60. V i
The film element 16 is placed on the bottom wall of cassette'member 62 with its envelope enclosedphotosensitive coated side facing the exposure aperture 64 and its leading end tab 26 extending beyond the leading end of member 62.
It will be noted that the bottom wall 70 includes a generally rectangular depression 78 at its leading end to accommodate the relatively thick envelope sealing overskirt 34.
The cassette is then closed and latched. The forwardly extending film tab 26 is folded aroundthe leading end of member 62 and is releasably coupled to the underside of bottomwall 70 by a projection 80 integrally formed therewith which is adapted to extend through a hole 82 in tab 26 (See FIG. 4).
The opening at the leading end of the cassette 12, between member 60 and 62, may be light sealed by a strip of resilient material, for example foam rubber, secured across the leading end of the underside of member 60. With the leading end of film unit 16 secured to the cassette, the opaque envelope 28 may be withdrawn from sheet through a light baffled opening (not shown) at the trailing end of the cassette between the hinges connecting members 60 and 62.
Cassette 12 then may be mounted on a camera or X-ray apparatus to expose the photosensitive emulsion through exposure aperture 64. One skilled in the art will appreciate that in the case of X-ray applications, the dark slide 66 may be made of a suitable material which is transparent -'to X-rays such that it may remain in its blocking position during exposure.
It will be noted that dark slide 66 is provided with a pair of upturned-flanges 84 near its leading end lateral edges which are adapted-to slide into a pair of slots 86 in the leading end of cassette member 60 when the dark The construction of processor 10 is quite simple. It.
- includes film entry slot 114 in lower front wall section 110b, a pair of pressure applying rollers I16 and 118 positioned behind entry slot 114 for applying a compressive pressure to a film unit 14;a roller drive assembly comprising an electrical motor 120, a chain drive system 122, and a motor start/stop switch 124; an offset film exit or withdrawal slot 126 in front wall section slide 66 is in its fully inserted or blocking position. The
function of flanges 84 are toengage and pivot upwardly a resilient light sealing member (not shown) which normally depends from the upper edge of the elongated opening 68 towards the bottom edge thereof.
Subsequent to the exposure of the film element. 16, and withthe light sealretracted by flanges 84, the'second film element 18 may be inserted through opening 68, on top of dark slide 66,-with its image-receiving layer facing downwardly towards the photosensitive layer of film element 16 on the opposite side of dark 110a above the entry slot 114; and a curved film guide member 128 for guiding a film unit from the exit side of rollers 116 and 118 to the withdrawal slot 126. The processor also includes a cassette support member 130 mounted on the exterior of front wall section 11% for supporting a cassette such that its leading end is in alignment with film entry slot 114.
The rollers 116 and 118 are rotatably mounted in juxtaposition between a pair of L-shaped mounting blocks 132 which may be secured to bottom wall 102 and side walls 104.
Rollers 116 and 118 are preferably formed of a suitable metal, e.g., stainless steel and dimensioned such 1 that their central film engaging portion measure approximately to 1 inch in diameter.
The lower roller .1 18 includes a pair of narrow diameter end extensions 134 which extend through suitable roller bearings (not shown) fixedly. mounted in'mounting blades 132. Mounted on the right end extension 134 (as viewed in FIG. 2) between block 132 and side wall 104 are a pair of gears 136 and 138.
The upper roller 116 also includes narrow end exten- I sions 140. which extend through roller, bearings (not shown) which. are preferably slidably mounted in elongated openings 142 in mounting blocks 132 (See FIG.
'2). This arrangement permits roller l16to move toments 144 which may be securedto bottom wall 102.
Each spring element includes an upper curved section 146 which receives the .roller end extension 140 and a lower curved section 148 for receiving a complimen- Accordingly, the film elements 16 and 18 may be extracted from cassette 12 simultaneously and thereby brought into face-to-face contact by pulling tab 26 outwardly from the leading .end of the cassette.
Processor 10, as best shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 5, and 6, includes a box-like housing 100 which may be formed of any suitable opaque material, e.g., sheet metal or plastic. The housing 100 is formed by a bottom wall 102, a pair ofside walls 104, a top wall 106, a rear wall rotation of rollers 116 and 118.
The upper roller 116 is mounted for vertical movement relative to roller 118 to vary the gap or spacing therebetween during the film processing cycle to accommodate the relatively thick container 52 of processing fluid at the leading end of 'thefilm vunit- 14. More importantly, however, is the fact that this type of structure provides a simple method for varying the compressive pressure along the length of the film-unit as will be described in detail hereinafter. I
For reasons to be explained later, it is desirable to maintain a minimum gap between the rollers 116 and 118. This may be accomplished by providing raised collars 152 near the ends of roller 1l6inboard of mounting blocks 13 2. In a preferred embodiment the mini- Roller 116 is provided with a drive gear 154 mounted on the right hand end extension 140 which is adapted to'mesh with drive gear 136 on roller 118. It will be noted that the teeth of both gears 136 and 154 are cut sufficiently deep to permit limited vertical movement of roller 116 without having these gears become disengaged. I
The roller drive assembly includes an AC. motor 120 which may be fixedly mounted on the interior surface of the right hand housing side wall 104 by a suitable mounting bracket (not shown). The motor drive shaft 156 has a' drive gear v158 coupled to its end which is preferably coupled to gear 138 on roller 118 by a closed loop drive chain 160.
One skilled in the art will appreciate that the drive chain 160 is but one of many methods of transmitting powerfrom motor 120 to roller 118 and it will be un derstood that it is within the scope of the present invention to utilize other drive train components such as a series of interconnected gears.
As best shown in FIG. 2, motor 120- is adapted to be driven in a'clockwise direction (looking at the end of drive shaft 156 from right hand wall 104 in FIG. 2) in response to actuating start/stop switch 124. Gear 158 drives chain 160 in a clockwise direction causing roller 118' to also be rotated in a clockwise direction. Gear 136 on roller 118 drives gear 154 on roller 116 causing roller 116 to be rotated in a counterclockwise direction such that a film unit inserted into the bite of the rollers from the entry slot 114 will pass between the rollers and be advanced into the housing 100.
' Positioned on the exit side of rollers 116 and 118 is a curved guide member 128 for receiving a film unit 14 from rollers 116 and 118 and guiding it to th'eexit slot 126.
Inits preferred embodiment guide memberl28 may The lower projection 182 is preferably provided with a planar, horizontal, bearing surface 184 which is disporting and guiding the film unit 14 as it is advanced from the cassette 12 into the bite of the rotating pressure applying rollers.
It will be noted that surface 184 extends beyond (to the right as viewed in FIG. 5) the trailing end 186 of the upper projection 180. Mounted on the trailing end 186 of projection 180 is a pressure applying member 188 for selectively applying a second compressive pressure to the lateral margin of the film unit 14 forward (to the left as viewed in FIG. 5) of the rollers 116 and 118. The function of member 188 is to hold the lateral edges of the superposed film elements together to prevent fluid leakage along the lateral margins. In effect, member 188 serves as a means for controlling the lateral distribution of fluid processing composition between the superposed photosensitive and image receiving elements.
. 188 depend downwardly towards bearing surface 184 be formed, in part, bya first curv'ed section 162 which to define a small gap (narrower than the thickness of .a film unit 14) therebetweenn As a film unit 14 is advanced through film entry slot 114, the ends 190 are deflected upwardly and apply a downward force on the lateral margins of the film unit 14 and selectively compress the margins against the fixed bearing surface 184.
As best shown in FIGS. 1, 5,'and 6, the cassette support member 130 is mounted on the exterior surface of front wall section l10b. It comprises a pair of laterally spaced upper projections 192 for bearing against the top surface of the cassette 12 and a generally horizontal bar 194, supported forwardly of projections 192 by tritions 166 which extend inwardly, approximately one by a resilient, opaque, exit door 174 which is attached to the interior surface of top wall 106 at one end and has its opposite free end resting on a beveled surface at the bottom of the film exitslot 126. The exit door 174 serves to'light seal slot 126 and the open exit endsvl72 of channels 168 and is normally biased to the position. shown in FIG. 5 in closing relation to slot 126.
As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 the film entry slot 114 in the lower front wall section -l10b is generally defined by a pair of inwardly extending upper and lower projections 180 and 182.
' section b leading to slot 114 may be provided with.
angular support plates 196, for supporting the underside of the leading end of cassette 12.
Support member also includes a second support With the upper and lower leading ends of cassette 12- positioned between projections 192 and'bearing surface 198, horizontal bar 194 is able to support the .full
weight of cassette 12 in cantilever fashion.
In an alternative embodiment of processor 10, a cassette support structure similar to support 130 may be integrally formed with the horizontal portion of carrying handle 112. When the processor is in use, the bandle would be pivoted to a position in front of wall 110 to locate the cassette support in alignment with film entry slot 114.
As best shown in FIG. 5, the opening in front wall a resilient rubber gasket or O ring seal 200 which is In the operation of the film processing system, the photosensitive film element 16 is loaded into cassette 12 which is then mounted in an appropriate camera or other photographic apparatus. Subsequent to exposure of element 16, the cassette is removed from the camera or apparatus and the image receiving element 18 is slipped into the cassette in overlying relation to the dark slide 66. The tab 26 on'film element 16 is inserted through the slot 50 in the leader attached to film element 18 thereby interconnecting elements 16 and 18 for simultaneous withdrawal from cassette 12.
The cassette 12 is inserted, leading end first, into the processor cassette support member 130. The tab 26 is inserted through film entry slot 114 and is guided by surface 184 and the flat medial portion of pressure applying member 188 into the bit between rollers 1 l6 and It will be noted that the length of tab 26 protruding from the end of cassette 12 preferably exceeds the distance from the cassette to the bit of the rollers 116 and As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the film unit exits from between rollers 116 and 1l8'and enters the channels 168 of the curved guide member .128.
Guide member 128 defines a generally circular path of travel from the film unit to the offset withdrawal slot.
The terms offset withdrawal slot and offset exit slot are used in this application to refer to the spacial relationship between the entry slot 114 and the exit slot I 126, and denotes a slot that is normal to a plane other 1 than a horizontal plane passing through the entry slot its direction of travel, from entry to exit, is approxi- 118. This causes tab 26 to assume a curved or S shaped configuration when its leading edge is in the mately 180 degrees.
This configuration is particularly convenient for the user. He may stand in front of theprocessor facing wall 110 and move the film cassette away from himself to insert it into support member 130. After processing,
' the film unit is adapted to be pulled out of housing 100 positive frictional engagement of the tab by the rollers as they begin to rotate.
As noted earlier, the rollers are pre-gapped by collars 152 on roller 116 and are initially spaced .0015 of an inch. The thickness of the tab is preferably .006 or .007 of an inch to insure positivefrictional engagement sufficient to overcome the frictional forces holding the film unit 14 in cassette 12. 7
Motor 120 is energized by depressing the start/stop button 124 and the rollers 116 and 118 are drivenin a direction to advance the film unit 14 therebetween. As the relatively thick fluid container 52 passes between the rollers, the upper roller 116 is forced upwardly and moves vertically in mounting blocks against the downward bias of spring thereby maximizing the compressive pressure on container 52. g
The compressive force on the container creates an' increased hydraulic pressure in the fluid which causes the relatively weak longitudinal seal 54 to rupture. The fluid is dispensed, in a mass, across the leading end margin of the rectangular mask 38 on the imagereceiving sheet 36. As the film unit is progressively advanced between the rollers 116 and 118, roller 116 moves downwardly thereby reducing the compressive either the thickness of the mask 38 or alternatively by the combined thickness of the mask 38 and the side rails 42 if rails 42 are employed on the particular film unit being processed. As noted earlier, the lateral edges of the film unit 14 are compressed by theends 190 of control member 188in cooperation, with bearing surface 184. The pre-gap of therollers'also insures that the fluid will'flow over and not under the mask 38 to maintain a white border around the image forming area 40.
through slot 126 in a direction towards the user.
tion of travel, from entry to exit, would change by approximately 90 degrees. I
In addition to providing convenience for the user, the
employment of an offset exit slot provides the additional advantage for reducing the dimensions of the.
' processor housing since the processed film unit is stored therein in a curved configuration. Accordingly, the dimension from the exitside of the roller to the rear wall 108 of the" housing may be significantly shorter than the length of the film unit.
It will be noted, that the length of the guide member 128 is directly related to the length of the film unit 14.
As best shown in FIG. 6, when the trailing end of the film unit has been disengaged from the rollers, the tab .26 at the leading end of the film unit has displaced the nal to the user that l) he may release the start/stop button 124 to de-energize motor and 2) the distribution phase is finished and he should begin timing the imbibition period.
At the conclusion of the 15 seconds for black and white and 1 minute for color film) the film unit 14 may be grasped by the protruding tab 15 and pulled through the withdrawal slot 124. The photosensitive element 16 is separated from the imagereceiving element'to reveal the positive image formed thereon.
While the instant processing system has been directed to processing a film unit: comprising separate photosensitive and image-receiving elementswhich are adapted to be superposed after exposure of the photosensitive element, it will be understood that the processor l0 and cassette 12 may beused for processing other types of film units.
imbibition period(typically tive element may be exposed. Utilizing this type of film.
structure would eliminate the need for the interlocking tab construction and it maybe used by simply providing a single pull tab at the leading end of the film unit.
Since certain changestmay be made in the above apparatus andsystem without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it isintended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is: v
l. A processor for providing alighttight environment for a film unit including photosensitive and imagereceiving layers and for distributing a fluid processing composition between'predetermined layers of the film unit, such a film unit being of the type including a film unit tab extending forwardly of aleading end of the film unit, said processor comprising: t
a housing having a lighttight chambertherein and .film entry'and withdrawal 'slots on one side of said housing through which such a film unit may be respectively inserted 'into and withdrawn'from said lighttight chamber; v r
processing means in saidlighttight chamber for effecting the distribution of the fluid between the predetermined-layers of sucha film unit inserted, leading end first, into said vlighttight chamber tively and progressively applying a'compressivepressure along lateral margins of a film unitas the film unit is advanced through said film entry slot to prevent leakthrough saidfilm entry slot and for advancing the film unit within said lighttight chamber; and
' guide means for guiding the film unit as it is advanced I :within said lighttight chamber from said processing means to said withdrawal slot, said guide means ineluding a curved member defining a curved path of 7 travel for the film unit of a predetermined length,-
said predetermined length being at least equal to the length of the film unit but less than the combined length of the film unit and the film unit tab extending forwardly of the leading end of the film unit, to cause at least a portion of the filmunit tab to extend throughsaid withdrawal slot, while the photosensitive and image-receiving layers of the film unit remain in the lighttightenvironment of said chamber, to give the user a visual signal that the fluid has been completely distributed and an imbibition period following distribution has i started, wherein said guide means supports such a film unit'in the lighttight environment of said chamber during.
cessing ,means include pressure applying means mounted within said housing near said film entry slot for applying a compressive pressure'to a film unit to efmined layers of the film unit. I
4. A processor as defined in claim 1 further including v feet the distribution of the fluid between the predetermeans associated with said film entry slot for selec- I age of the fluid from the lateral edges of the film unit.
5. Aprocessor asdefined in claim 1 further including means for supporting a cassette in alignment with said a film unit comprising a plurality of layers including-- photosensitive and image-receiving layers, a rupturable container holding a fluid processing composition adapted to be distributed betweena predetennined pair of said layers, and a film unitmaniptulation tab extending forwardly of-a leading end of said film unit; a a
a lighttight'cassette for holding saidfilm unit, said cassetteincluding a light sealed opening at one end thereof through which said tab may protrudev and through. which said film unit may be withdrawn from-said cassette by pulling on said-tab; and
a processor including:- I v i a housing having alighttight chamber therein and film entry and withdrawal slots on one side of said housing through-which said film unit may be respectively inserted'into and withdrawn from said lighttight chamber; w v l V means on said housing for receiving and supporting said cassette, with said opening at said one end of said cassette facing and in alignment with-said film entry slot; processing means within said lighttight chamber adjacent said film entry slot for engaging said film unit tab andtwithdrawing said film unit from said cassette and advancing said film unit into and within said lighttight chamber, said processing means also including pressure applying means for progressively applying a compressive pressure to said film unitto rupturesaid container and distribute said fluidbetween said predeterminedlayers; and
guide means for guiding said film unit'as. it is advanced within said lighttight chamberfrorn said v processing means to said withdrawal slot, said guide means'including a curved member defining a curved path of travel for said film unit of a predetennined length, said predetermined length being at least equal to the length of said-film unit-but less than the combined length of said film unit and said the lighttight environment of said chamber duringthe imbibition period. 7. The system of claim 6 wherein said film unit includes a first sheet having said photosensitive layer thereon and said tab attached to one end of said first sheet and a second sheet having said image-receiving layer thereon and leader means attached to'one end of said second sheet, said leader means ha ing an opening therein through which said tab is adapted to be inserted to interconnect the ends of said first and second sheets so that they may be extracted from said cassette, simulv taneously, by pulling on said tab,