United States Patent 3698213

Apparatus for treating fabric and other articles by spraying liquid thereon while advanced by an apertured flexible conveyor belt through a spray-confining hood. Spray precipitate is collected on a collection pan below the conveyor and discharged into a sump. A liquid circulating system is connected to a liquid container and has valve means therein responsive to means sensing the presence of articles on the conveyor, valved normally closed bypass means for supplying spray means, and normally closed pressure responsive valve means for draining liquid in the system to the sump. The sump has valved liquid return means connected to the system.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
International Classes:
D06B1/02; D06G1/00; (IPC1-7): B05C9/04; B05C11/10
Field of Search:
134/198,199,200 68
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2736632Dry cleaning process1956-02-28Blau
2698627Washing apparatus1955-01-04Kearney et al.

Primary Examiner:
Price, William I.
What I claim is

1. Apparatus for treating fabrics and other items with a liquid comprising

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said liquid circulating system is connected to a liquid container to withdraw liquid from and return liquid to said container,

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein a conduit is connected in said system to bypass said valve means and supply said spray means, said bypass including a valve.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein a normally closed pressure responsive drain valve discharging into said sump is connected in said system at the high pressure side of said valve means.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said liquid circulating system includes a pump, and a line extends from the bottom of said sump to the liquid circulating system at the portion thereof connected to the intake of said pump.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5, wherein a sump valve is interposed in said last named line and a conduit controlled by a float valve responsive to liquid level in said sump connects said sump to said line and bypasses said sump valve.

This invention relates to improvements in apparatus for treating dust mops, dust cloths, rugs and other articles.

In the business of supplying dust mops, dust cloths and entrance rugs to commercial and industrial plants, office buildings and other institutions, the items are replaced and reconditioned periodically. Reconditioning of used items entails cleaning thereof and frequently entails the application thereto after cleaning of a chemical or other material, such as a dust-collecting material, a bactericide or the like. The treating materials used vary according to the location and type of business of the customer and the conditions of service encountered, and also, in some instances, upon the nature of the article being treated. Thus it is common practice to treat a batch of articles, such as dust cloths and dust mops having like requirements, with a treating material such as a dust retainer, and then to treat another batch of different articles having a requirement for a different treating material, such as a bactericide. It is also important to secure uniformity of application of the liquid material to the items constituting a batch. Other desiderata are for rapid treatment, as while traveling on a conveyor, and for treatment only in response to the presence of an item to be treated. Furthermore, inasmuch as some of the treating liquids may include oils, waxes or other materials which tend to clog supply lines, safety factors must be provided to meet adverse operating conditions with minimum interruption to operation, and minimum risk of injury to equipment or risk of application of excessive treating material to the work pieces or articles to be treated.

It is the primary object of this invention to provide a device which meets satisfactorily the above stated desiderata and requirements for the apparatus.

A further object is to provide a novel, simple, trouble-free, reliable apparatus for uniformly applying treating materials to work pieces.

A further object is to provide a device of this character by means of which treating material may be sprayed upon a work piece and confined within a limited area, with overspray thereof being collected and recirculated.

A further object is to provide a device of this character providing means for purging a treatment collecting sump after use of one type of treating material has ended and before use of a different type of treating material commences.

A further object is to provide a device of this character with a liquid flow circuit which functions to commence liquid application in response to the position of a work piece upon a conveyor.

A further object is to provide a device of this character with means responsive to over-pressure of treating material in a liquid circulating system to drain excess fluid while permitting fluid application to the work to continue.

Other objects will be apparent from the following specification.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device with parts broken away.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the mechanical parts of the device.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the liquid circulating system of the device.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of a modification of the liquid circulating system.

Referring to the drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiment of the invention, the numeral 10 designates a frame or housing including end walls 12, front walls 14 provided with an access door 16, and rear wall 18. End walls 12 preferably project below walls 14 and 18 to support the housing in elevated position. The space between the front and rear walls at each end of the device is spanned by a bottom wall 20 which is interrupted adjacent to the access door 16. The interruption of the bottom wall 20 is spanned by bottom panel 22 which carries a depending tank or sump 24 adjacent to and accessible through the housing opening spanned by the door 16. The top of the frame or housing is spanned by a collector pan 26 having a central drain opening 28. The pan 26 has a concave upper configuration, as may be provided by sloping thereof from each end and each side toward the central opening 28. The central opening 28 is positioned above the depending tank or sump 24 which is open at its top and adapted to receive liquid draining from the drain opening 28.

A pair of longitudinal rails 30 are mounted at the top of the frame or housing 10 at front and rear thereof and are interconnected by transverse members 32. At one end of each rail 30 may be mounted a bracket 34 depending therefrom within the housing 10 and journaling a transverse shaft 36 adapted to be driven by a motor (not shown). Each rail 30 mounts adjacent its opposite ends a bracket 38. The pairs of brackets 38 at each end journal a transverse shaft 40. Each shaft 40 mounts a sprocket 42 adjacent each end thereof and between said brackets 38. The shaft 40 at the end adjacent the shaft 36 may mount a sprocket 44 around which is trained a drive chain 46 which also is trained around a sprocket 48 upon shaft 36 so as to provide a driving connection between shaft 36 and the adjacent shaft 40. Alternatively, shaft 40 may mount a sprocket 50 around which is trained a chain 52 in turn trained around a driving sprocket of a driving motor (not shown). A flexible apertured conveyor of the endless chain-belt type 54 is trained around the sprockets 42. In the preferred form, the conveyor 54 consists of uniformly spaced parallel metal rods, each of which is pivotally connected to an adjacent rod at its opposite ends, thereby providing support for flexible fabric members, mats, dust cloths, dust mops, rugs or other articles.

Each of the rails 30 supports thereon an upper elongated guide member 56 extending longitudinally thereof and adapted to support a margin of the upper run of the conveyor 54. The longitudinal margins of the collector pan 26 preferably mount elongated lower guides 58 adapted to be traversed by the margins of the lower run of the conveyor 54. The upper portions of the rails 30 carry longitudinal rail caps 60 which project inwardly therefrom and preferably overlie the margins of the conveyor 54. End caps 62 may enclose the ends of the rails 30.

Rail guards 64 may be carried by rail caps 60 at the longitudinal central portion thereof. A hood 66 spans the rails 30 and the rail caps 60 at the central portion of the rails adjacent the rail guards, said hood 66 preferably being hinged to the rear rail cap so that it may be swung upwardly for access to the parts of the device therebelow. Hood 66 is preferably open at its ends and has suspended or pivoted thereto the upper ends of hinged closures or doors 68 spanning the open hood ends and adapted to swing upon contact with articles carried by the conveyor 54 as the conveyor travels lengthwise of the device.

A microswitch 70 having a feeler (not shown) responsive to articles carried by the conveyor 54 adjacent the entry end of the hood 66 is carried by a rail cap 60. Control switches 72 may be carried by the front panel 14.

The fluid circulating system of the device is illustrated in FIG. 3 and includes a supply conduit 80, such as a flexible conduit which may be connected to a supply tank or barrel (not shown) positioned alongside the device, as at the rear thereof. A return conduit 82 is also adapted to be connected to the supply tank. Supply conduit 80 is connected to the intake conduit 84 of a pump 86 which discharges through a conduit 88 which preferably includes a portion extending lengthwise within the housing 10. A pressure restricting valve 90, which may be set manually at any selected pressure, is connected in pump discharge conduit 88, and a return line 92 connects the valve 90 with the return conduit 82.

A line 94 branches from discharge conduit 88 between pump 86 and valve 90, and from line 94, in turn, branches a line 96 which preferably has a solenoid valve 98 connected therein, said valve 98 being responsive to the microswitch 70. A line 100 branches from line 96 and extends to one or more nozzles or jets 102 positioned between the upper and lower runs of the conveyor 54 at a point below the hood 66. Nozzles or jets 102 are positioned to direct or discharge jets or sprays of liquid material in an upward direction through the conveyor 54. A second line 104 branches from line 96 and extends to a position above the upper run of the conveyor 54 within the hood 66 at which it mounts one or more jets or nozzles 106 adapted to discharge jets or sprays downwardly upon material within the hood 66 and supported by the conveyor 54. A bypass line 108 may extend from conduit 96 beyond lines 100 and 104 and return to and be connected to the portion of conduit 96 between the valve 98 and the branch line 94. Line 108 includes a valve 134 which is normally closed to prevent flow from line 108 back to line 96. A third line 110 branches from conduit 88 and extends into the hood 66 at which it carries jets or nozzles 112 of a different type than nozzles 106 and preferably positioned above the conveyor. A valve 114 is preferably interposed in line 110 to accommodate selected liquid passage within line 110.

A line 116 branches from conduit 88 and has a pressure gauge 118 connected thereto. A line 120 extends from the junction of lines 94 and 96 to a pressure relief valve 122 having a discharge spout 124 located directly above the tank or sump 24 and adapted to discharge therein.

Below the tank or sump 24 is positioned a support 126 for one end of a conduit 128 having connection a 130 to the bottom of sump 124. Conduit 128 is connected to pump intake conduit 84. A valve 132 is interposed in conduit 128.

In the preferred arrangement, the conduits of the liquid circulating system are positioned within the housing below collector pan 26 so as to be concealed. The nozzles or jets 102, 106, and 112 are positioned within or below the hood 66 for retention of their discharge by the hood. Manually operable valves, such as 90, 114, 132, and 134, as well as valves (not shown) which may be associated with the conduits 80 and 82, are preferably located with their actuating means external of the housing 10. The pressure gauge 118 is also located to be visible externally of the housing.

In the use of the device, assuming that the conduits 80 and 82 have been connected to a source of liquid treating material such as a tank or barrel (not shown) and that the drive motor (not shown) has been energized to drive the conveyor 54, the operator places the items to be treated upon the conveyor 54, as at the left end thereof as viewed in FIG. 1. As the articles are carried by the conveyor 54 and approach the hood 66, they are sensed or contacted by the microswitch or control 70 which actuates the solenoid valve 98 to cause flow of treating liquid through lines 100 and 104 to the nozzles or jets 102 and 106 which spray the articles as they pass through the hood 66. The hood 66 confines the spray and prevents dispersion thereof to the atmosphere. It will be assumed, of course, that valve 114 has been regulated as desired to either open or close the line 110 to the nozzles 112. Excess fluid circulated in the system passes restricting valve 90 and returns through conduits 92 and 82 to the liquid supply. Any excess liquid within the hood 66 or upon the conveyor precipitates onto the collecting pan 26 and is discharged therefrom through drain opening 28 for collection in the sump or receptacle 24. The liquid collected in the sump 24 is recirculated through line 128, assuming that the valve 132 is open.

In the event the solenoid valve 98 misfunctions, as by failing to open, valve 134 may be opened so that liquid may flow to conduits 100 and 104 through the bypass 108, thus ensuring operation of the spray means independently of the solenoid valve 98.

The pressure relief valve 122 provides means for draining liquid to the sump to accommodate excess fluid pressure in the system. Thus, the system is fully protected at all times against adverse effects due to malfunctioning of components and ensures relief of excess liquid pressure, ensures proper function if the solenoid valve or microswitch fail to function, and also provides circulation through the system and return to the liquid container in the event of malfunctioning.

When the treatment of one batch approaches an end flow in conduit 80 can be discontinued while the valve 132 is opened or remains open and the pump 86 continues to function. Thereby liquid is withdrawn from the sump and passed through the circulating system to the return line 92 if the solenoid valve 98 is closed. Operation of the pump continues until the sump is emptied, whereupon the unit can be cleaned or purged of the previous treating liquid before connection of the lines 80-82 to a container of a fresh or different batch of treating material.

In the operation of the device valve 132 may be closed to ensure functioning of the pump to draw liquid through conduit 80, or said valve may be set to limit flow from the sump at a rate correlated to the rate at which liquid collects in the sump so as to ensure that a liquid seal exists in conduit 128 so as to prevent the pump from drawing air. If the sump collects an excess amount of liquid, means are desired to ensure that the sump will not overflow. Such means may take the form shown in FIG. 4 wherein a float valve 140 is carried by the sump 24 and is connected by conduit 142 to the conduit 128 at a point between the valve 132 and conduit 84. Valve 140 will normally be closed, but opens when the level of liquid in the sump exceeds a predetermined limit.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be understood that changes in the construction may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.