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Publication numberUS3877110 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 15, 1975
Filing dateApr 27, 1973
Priority dateApr 27, 1973
Publication numberUS 3877110 A, US 3877110A, US-A-3877110, US3877110 A, US3877110A
InventorsMccloskey John T, Villavicenio Eduardo J
Original AssigneeProcess Evaluation Devel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cleaning apparatus
US 3877110 A
Apparatus for cleaning fibrous vegetable materials to remove trash components (such as coarse sand, stones, rocks, metallic particles, shives, dirt and the like).
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent McCloskey et al.

CLEANING APPARATUS Inventors: John T. McCloskey, Paramonga,

Peru; Eduardo J. Villavicenio, New York, NY.

Assignee: Process Evaluation and Development Corporation, New York, NY.

Filed: Apr. 27, 1973 Appl. No; 355,179

US. Cl 19/66 R; 19/7; 209/18; 209/173; 209/361 Int. Cl D0lb 3/10 Field of Search 19/66 R, 7, 8; 209/173, 209/461, 463, 464, 488, 494, 495,

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Thame 19/66 R 1 Apr. 15, 1975 1,733,256 10/1929 Gardner.... 19/66 R 2,711,822 6/1955 Novak 209/173 X 2,795,823 6/1957 Wade.... 19/66 R 2,895,176 7/1959 Wade 19/66 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,273,788 9/1961 France 19/66 R 15,783 1895 United Kingdom.. 209/173 405,954 10/1943 Italy 209/173 Primary Examiner-Dorsey Newton Attorney, Agent, or FirmMichael J. McGreal ['57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for cleaning fibrous vegetable materials to remove trash components (such as coarse sand, stones, rocks, metallic particles, shives, dirt and the like).

6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 2 SETS mv w PATENTEDAFR 1 5 SEEEUZUFQ CLEANING APPARATUS This invention relates to cleaning apparatus and method. In particular it relates to apparatus and method for cleaning fibrous vegetable materials intended for use in preparing paper pulp to remove undesired trash components such as sand, stones, rocks, metallic particles, shives, dirt and similar impurities. The invention is especially suitable for cleaning fibers of sugarcane bagasse but is also suitable for cleaning fibers of other vegetable materials such as straw, flax, rice hulls, bamboo, esparto, hemp, waste jute, and the like.

The prior art has suggested several methods and apparatus for cleaning papermaking wood fibers and pulp. Representative examples of these known methods include those described in Freeman US. Pat. No. 1,988,416 (1935); Lea et al. US. Pat. No. 3,367,495 (1968); and Reinhall US. Pat. No. 3,279,597 (1966). Tilby US. Pat. No. 3,690,358 (1972) discloses a forced air detrashing of sugarcane stalks.

It is an object of this invention to provide a new method and apparatus for cleaning papermaking fibers comprising vegetable materials such as sugarcane bagasse. Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description.

The invention will be described in conjunction-with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view showing one possible general arrangement of the apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view, in elevation, of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end view, in elevation, taken from the right side of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view, partially in section, taken generally on line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view, partially in section, taken generally on line 5-5 of FIG. 5.

Referring to the drawings it is seen that the illustrated cleaning apparatus of this invention generally designated in FIG. 1 as 10, includes a U-shaped wash tank or trough 11 comprising outer side wall 12, inner side wall 13, an interconnecting bottom wall 14 and an open top. The inner side wall 13 has openings 13a and 1312 (as seen in FIGS. 5 and 4; respectively) at the outlet end 16 and inlet end 15, respectively, of the device to permit recirculation of cleaning fluid. The apparatus could be linear, in which case separate provisions would be required for recirculation. The illustrated U- shape design gives a more compact unit and simplified recirculation. At the extremity of one leg of the tank 1 1 there in an inlet chute for feeding the fibrous material to be cleaned to roller 21; and at the extremity of the other leg there is an outlet chute 16 for cleaned fibers. Disposed transversely of the tank are a plurality of fee rollers. In the device as illustrated there are eight such rollers designated as 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28.

The feed rollers 21, 22 and 23 have a plurality of curved fingers of uniform length secured to their outer circumference, such as the fingers shown on roller 22. Rollers 24 and 25 have similar curved fingers except that the fingers on these rollers are of varying length. All of the fingers 20 on rollers 21 through 25 are curved away from the direction of rotation of the rollers (see, for example, FIG. 4). As the rollers 21 through 25 rotate, these fingers cause the fibrous material fed through inlet chute 15 to be positively fed from the inlet end towards the outlet end of the tank. At the same time the fingers cause the fibrous material to be repeatedly dunked or immersed in the cleaning fluid maintained in the tank. As a result of this repeated immersion and reiminersion in the cleaning fluid, foreign materials such as sand, dirt, stones, shives (knots) and the like are separated from the bulk of the fibrous material and because of their greater density begin to settle out into the cleaning fluid.

At the loop in the U-shaped cleaning tank the fingers or pins are arranged in a frustoconical feed pattern on the rollers 24 and 25. This pattern on roller 25 at the exit or outlet side of the loop has a larger base diameter than the pattern on roller 24. The smaller feed pattern diameter of roller 24 near the center part of the tank (the midfeather) reduces the linear velocity of the fibers so that they can suitably travel around the bend in the U-shaped tank. Roller 25 has a larger diameter feed pattern at the midfeather to accelerate the fibers after they pass the bend.

As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3 the bottom of the cleaning tank has an inverted sloping cone section 17 which is also located at the loop or bend of the overall U-shape. At the apex of this conical section there is a trash discharge device 18. This includes a cyclindrical chamber 30 and top and bottom gate valves 31, 32. The top gate valve 31 is normally open, permitting collection of settled out foreign materials in the chamber 30. Periodically, this valve is closed and bottom valve 32 is opened, discharging the collected trash. Then the bottom valve is closed again, the chamber 30 is refilled with water from a separate source 52 (FIG. 3) and finally the top valve 31 is reopened and foreign materials settling in cone section 17 again being to collect in the chamber 30. The chamber 30 may also be provided with an air vent line 53 to the atmosphere as shown in FIG. 3. The operation of the trash discharge device is easily automated if desired and permits trouble-free periodic removal of collected foreign materials without interrupting the operating of cleaning tank 11.

If desired or necessary for efficient cleaning and separation of fibrous material from its associated foreign materials the device may include means for introducing air bubbles to assist in refloating cleaned fibrous material to the top of the body of cleaning fluid. Such means could include, for example, the air pipe 50 and sparger 51, as shown in FIG. 2, situated in the inverted conical section 17 of tank 11 just above discharge device 18.

Cleaned fibrous materials are now caused to continue their travel toward the exit end of the tank 11 by the rollers 26, 27, 28. These rollers have a plurality of curved fingers (e.g., fingers 19 on roller 26) like those on rollers 21 through 23 of uniform length and curved away from the direction of rotation. On rollers 26 and 27 smooth metal plates 19a are attached at the ends of and across the respective rows of fingers 19 and serve as paddles for positive feed of the cleaned fibers toward the discharge chute. On roller 28 the plates 19a are further provided with rubber flaps 19b which extend slightly beyond the end of fingers 19 to provide a squeegee-like flap action.

As best seen in FIG. 2 the rollers 26, 27, 28 in the outlet leg of the U-shaped tank are positioned for axial rotation on a plane above the rollers 21, 22, 23, 24 of the inlet leg. As seen in FIG. 5 this causes the cleaned fibrous materials to be forced up an incline 35 at the end of which the mat of fibers is permitted to drain through perforated plate 35a and may be compressed if desired to reduce the cleaning fluid (usually water) content to the desired level. After passing roller 28 the cleaned fibrous materials slide down inclined discharge chute 16 to further processing. The drained water falls back into the tank and recirculates to the inlet side of the tank through openings 13a and 13b.

The apparatus includes a suitable power source such as motor 40 for driving the various rollers 21 through 28 via, for example, gear reducer 41 and drive chains (such as chain 42) cooperating with sprockets at each end of the respective rollers (e.g., sprockets 43 on roller 24). The particular means chosen for driving the rollers is not critical and the illustrated drive as described above should be considered as exemplary of a number of possible means.

The overall apparatus is suitably supported in framing means, such as beams 44 and struts 45, with the axial drive shafts of each roller 21 through 28 suitably journalled on the beams in bearing blocks of the usual construction.

In operation fibrous material to be cleaned, such as dry" or moist depithed sugarcane bagasse (see. e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 3,537,142 granted Nov. 3, 1970) is introduced via inlet 15, into the tank 11, which has previously been filled to a suitable level with water or other desired liquid medium in which the fibrous material will normally tend to float. For obvious reasons of economy water will be the preferred liquid medium. The fluid level is usually maintained automatically through use of an automatic valve and a suitable overflow. It has been observed that best operation is usually obtained when the water level in the illustrated apparatus is maintained about six inches below the axial center line of rollers 21 through 25.

The mat of fibers thus introduced into the tank is transported by rollers 21 through 25 through the U- shaped path of the tank and in the course of this travel is repeatedly dunked under the water by the fingers carried on the rollers. As a result of this repeated dunking any dense foreign material present in the fibrous material entering the tank will sink towards the bottom of the tank and eventually will be carried to and slide down the steeply inclined (minimum 35) conical bottom section 17 at the U-bend of the tank. This foreign material collects in chamber 30 from which it is periodically discharged in the manner described above, without upsetting or interrupting the cleaning tank. On the other hand the fibrous material being cleaned has a natural tendency to refioat to the top of the liquid in the tank, which may be assisted, if desired or necessary, by introduction of small air bubbles into the liquid.

The speed of travel of the fibrous mat through the inlet leg of the tank and the length of the inlet leg is appropriately chosen to permit separation of the fibers and the foreign materials associated therewith. If the dirty fibrous material is transported too fast the foreign materials will not properly settle out whereas if the transport speed is too slow there is a tendency for some of the more dense fibrous material to settle out along with the trash. A few routine experiments will suffice for the skilled worker to determine the appropriate speed for his intended application.

Before being discharged from the tank the cleaned fibrous material is forced up the inclined plate 35 to the perforated plate 35a through which excess water or other liquid cleaning medium is permitted to drain back into the tank. Proper design of the inclined plate 35, perforated plate 35a and cooperating rollers 26 through 28 permits one to achieve the desired liquid content in the fiber discharged from chute 16. If necessary pressure rollers may be provided at the discharge end of the tank to assist in liquid removal from the fibrous material. if desired one may provide a bypass gate section 35g (FIG. 5) in plate 35 operated for example by piston mechanism 35p (FIG. 5) when desirable or necessary to recirculate fibrous material if there is a'jam-up at the outlet end of the tank or if it is observed that the product then under processing requires further cleaning.

An apparatus of the type illustrated has been tested for the cleaning of dry depithed bagasse fragments prepared through use of the apparatus and method described in U.S. Pat. N0. 3,537,142 prior to secondary wet depithing in accordance with the procedure schematically illustrated in FIG. 2 of related U.S. Pat. No. 3,688,345 granted Sept. 5, 1972; i.e., the feed material to the cleaning tank 11 is the fibrous fraction of dry depithed raw bagasse and the cleaned fibers are discharged from tank 11 directly to the secondary wet depither. The overall tank dimensions were about 22 feet long by 10 feet wide with the inside width of the tank legs being about 4 feet. The inverted frustoconical section 17 had a base diameter of about 9 feet tapering at an angle of 35 to a 12 inch outlet at the apex. The

dunking rollers 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 were equipped with slightly curved fingers or pins 20 so that they would not catch the fibers as they emerge from the water. On the rollers 21 through 23 these fingers were approximately 18 inches long, mounted on rolls about one foot in diameter. There were six rows of pins around the circumference of the rollers with the pins spaced about 10 inches apart in the rows and staggered with respect to the pins in the adjacent rows. The rolls were rotated at about 18 revolutions per minute giving an average linear speed of about 40 feet per minute to the fibers being transported through the tank. The fibers were fed to the tank at a rate of about 5.8 tons per hour and in a floating mat about one foot thick on top of the water in the tank. This feed rate together with the above average linear speed of the rollers provided an average residence time of about 1 minute between the inlet chute l5 and outlet chute 16, approximately evenly divided between the inlet leg and the outlet leg of the U-shaped tank. The rollers 26, 27, 28 were the same 12 inch diameter and otherwise similar to rollers 21, 22, 23 except that they had smooth metal plates 19a welded to the curved fingers 19 on rollers 26 through 28 and extending across the width of the rollers. The additional rubber flaps 19b attached to the to the metal plates 19a on roller 28 rub against the perforated plate 35a and keep the holes clean. There were six metal plates on the rollers 26 and 27 and 12 metal plates with associated rubber flaps on roller 28.

This test gave excellent results. These was essentially complete removal of all junk including rocks, gravel, coarse sand, metals, rubber, plastics, burnt rind and dense, poor quality fiber bundles such as from cane joints. Some of the finer sand inbedded in the fibers did not settle out in the tank, but the loosening of the sand in the tank did assist its complete removal from the bagasse fiber in the subsequent wet depithing step. More complete extraction of sugar and other solubles in the fiber was observed than was previously possible with the wet depither alone. The improved soaking of the bagasse in the cleaning tank made the pith and fiber more easily separated in the wet depither. This soaking also increases the flexibility of the fiber bundles and thus leads to less fiber breakage and/or loss in the wet depither. Also, the fiber bundles were more easily opened so that during pulping of the final wet depithed fibers the cooking liquor was able to penetrate the bundles more easily than previously possible. This gave more uniform cooking, lower chemical demand, and fewer shives.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for cleaning fragments of fibrous vegetable materials to remove trash components therefrom comprising:

a. An open U-shaped tank defining an elongated path of travel from an inlet end and to an outlet end and containing a liquid medium in which the fibrous materials tend to float and the trash components will sink;

b. Means for introducing dirty fibrous material into the inlet end of the tank;

c. A trash collecting zone intermediate said inlet end and said outlet end;

d. Means for repeatedly dunking the dirty fibrous materials into the liquid medium thereby removing trash components from the fibrous materials ans simultaneosly transporting these materials from the inlet end to said trash collection zone;

e. Said trash collection zone consisting of means for transporting fibrous material through said zone and a sharply sloping trash component collection means extending downwardly from the tank bottom in the loop of the U of said U-shaped tank wherein the path of travel of fibrous material changes;

f. Further means for transporting the cleaned fibrous material from the trash collection zone toward the outlet end of the tank;

g. Means associated with the further transporting means adjacent said outlet end for draining the said liquid medium from the cleaned fibers and recirculating the same to the tank;

h. Means for periodically removing separated trash from the apex of the trash collection means without interrupting the operation of the tank.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherin said means (h) comprises a tubular outlet chamber at the apex of the trash collection means with a pair of valves, one adjacent each end of the said chamber.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the said transporting means (d) and further transporting means (f) comprising a plurality of spaced parallel rotating rollers with axes of rotation substantially perpendicular to the path of travel through the washing tank, each of said plurality of rollers having a plurality of pins or fingers on its circumference, said pins being curved away from the direction of rotation of the roller to which they are attached.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 which includes a pair of transporting rollers in the loop of the U, the pins or fingers of which are of varying length arranged in a conical pattern.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 in which metal plates are attached to the ends of the rows of pins or fingers and across the width of the roller adjacent the fiber outlet end of the tank and said roller has, in addition, rubber flaps attached to the said metal plates and extending slightly beyond the ends of said metal plates.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said rubber flaps of said roller, adjacent to the fiber outlet end of the tank contacts a perforated plate which is above the water level of the tank whereby the fibers are drained and removed from the tank.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1150464 *Aug 1, 1914Aug 17, 1915James ThameProcess of manufacturing yarn.
US1733256 *Jul 17, 1928Oct 29, 1929Cornstalk Products Company IncCottonseed hull and fiber separator
US2711822 *Jul 24, 1953Jun 28, 1955Raybestos Manhattan IncPurification of fibrous asbestos
US2795823 *Jun 2, 1952Jun 18, 1957American Viscose CorpProcess of recovering waste coated fibers and products made therewith
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4007119 *Sep 9, 1975Feb 8, 1977Blackstone CorporationMethods and apparatus for skimming liquids
US4063565 *Jan 29, 1976Dec 20, 1977Dalma Therman EdwardsApparatus for washing and/or treating potatoes and other such fruits and vegetables
US4237582 *Aug 28, 1978Dec 9, 1980Process Evaluation & Development CorporationBagasse preparation
US4635322 *Oct 22, 1984Jan 13, 1987Process Evaluation And Development Corp.Fiber washer
US5198074 *Nov 29, 1991Mar 30, 1993Companhia Industreas Brasileiras PortelaProcess to produce a high quality paper product and an ethanol product from bamboo
U.S. Classification19/66.00R, 209/361, 19/7, 209/173, 209/18
International ClassificationD21C9/02, D21D5/04, D21C9/00, D01B1/00, B03B5/28, D21D5/00, D01B1/42, B03B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB03B5/28, D01B1/42
European ClassificationD01B1/42, B03B5/28