Title:
Towel loop formation in a hand towel dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand towel dispenser of the type that unrolls clean towel from a roll in metered portions, dispenses the clean towel in the form of a towel loop, and rolls used towel portions on a takeup roll utilizes a used towel portion to form a length of the towel loop, thus conserving clean towel dispensation and use. An oscillating roller forms an additional loop of used towel within the dispenser. The roller tracks within the dispenser to allow the formed additional towel loop to be formed into a part of the main towel loop.



Inventors:
Gaide, Albert (Monnaz, CH)
Frei, Christian (Oberriet, CH)
Ehrensperger, Marcus (Hettlingen, CH)
Application Number:
10/040588
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
01/04/2002
Assignee:
GAIDE ALBERT
FREI CHRISTIAN
EHRENSPERGER MARCUS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K10/28; (IPC1-7): B65H19/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jay A. Bondell, Esq. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A hand towel dispenser of the type that unrolls clean towel from a roll in portions and dispenses the clean towel in the form of a towel loop for hand drying and winds used towel after use onto a separate roll, comprising an oscillating roller for forming an additional loop in the used towel in an interior of the dispenser and for pulling the towel loop taut, the additional loop partially forming the towel loop; tracking means associated with the oscillating roller for forming the towel loop intended for hand drying, the tracking means comprising parallel-guiding gearwheels located at opposed ends of the oscillating roller and racks on the dispenser for engaging the gearwheels.

2. The dispenser according to claim 1, characterised in that, at one end of the oscillating roller, a gripper-rocker loaded by a spring tensions the oscillating roller in order to form the additional loop.

3. The dispenser according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that, at one end of the oscillating roller, a bearing pin is inserted to which an end of a traction cable is fastened, the traction cable being loaded by way of a spiral spring and guided over a winding coil, the traction cable acting on the oscillating roller and relieves load on the additional loop.

4. The dispenser according to claim 1 to 2, characterised in that the oscillating roller has a notched towel-engaging surface.

5. The dispenser according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the oscillating roller has flange-like lateral guides.

6. The dispenser according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that a groove-like parallel guide is provided to limit an oscillation path of the oscillating roller at a front of the dispenser, and impact-absorbing travel-limiting elements are provided on a rear wall of the dispenser.

7. A method of forming a towel loop suitable for hand drying in a hand towel dispenser that unrolls clean towel from a towel roll in portions and winds used towel portions onto a separate roll, comprising the steps of forming an additional towel loop of used towel in the interior of the dispenser and dispensing a portion of the additional loop as a portion of the towel loop.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the additional towel loop is formed by a roller pulling a portion of used towel taut and subsequently tracking in the dispenser to form the towel loop.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the roller is an oscillating roller tensioned by a spring pull.

10. The method of claim 7 or 8 wherein the used towel portion used to form the towel loop is not more than half a length of the full towel loop.

Description:

[0001] This application is a Continuation of PCT/CH00/00362 Filed Jul. 3, 2000.

[0002] The invention relates to a hand towel dispenser of the type which unrolls clean towel from a roll and winds used towel onto a separate roll.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] In commonly known hand towel dispensers, for economical use of a fabric hand towel web the latter is dispensed in portions; when a towel loop suitable for hand drying is being formed, a portion of already used fabric is also rolled back. Hand towel consumption is thereby reduced by almost half.

[0004] The technical implementation in hand towel dispensers of such operation presents difficulties, however, since the wound-up roll of used towel becomes larger in diameter with increasing use and since, in addition, it is necessary to switch between forward and backward movements of the winding shaft. Consequently, problems frequently occur in that region and the dispensers have a tendency to jam.

[0005] A dispenser of the foregoing type is known from EP-A1-0 309 208, in which the rollers and rolls used to pull the towel loop taut, which are loaded by gravity, are unsupported or are supported in lateral guides and easily jam during hand drying and during their movement.

[0006] Also known from U.S. Pat. No. 3,222,112 is a hand towel dispenser driven by an electric motor, having resilient oscillating arms that serve to hold the fabric web taut. A disadvantage with that solution is the high frictional resistance of the oscillating rods against the towel web, which leads to wear of the towel, which is usually damp or wet and, in the case of manually operated dispensers, moreover increases the operating force required of the user.

[0007] It is the object of the present invention to provide a hand towel dispensing apparatus and method of towel dispensation that do not have the disadvantages of the prior art, are economic in their implementation, and do not require any expenditure on maintenance.

[0008] In accordance with the foregoing, a towel dispenser of the present invention includes a secondary loop of used towel which serves to supply a portion of the towel loop used. An oscillating roller forms the secondary loop, allowing the secondary loop to be drawn out to form a portion of the towel loop, and provides tension for the towel loop. Tracking means are provided to allow the roller to oscillate in a parallel manner.

[0009] The inclusion of the additional loop in the hand towel web can take place at any point in the dispenser upstream of the roll for used towel, and is not restricted to a horizontally guided web.

[0010] The device according to the invention provides precise parallel guidance of the roller and completely prevents jamming thereof. Especially efficient is the use of a gripper-rocker to tension the oscillating roller, as such a construction requires only few components.

[0011] A resilient return of the used towel portion may be provided for by a spring-tensioned traction cable connected to the oscillating roller.

[0012] A notched configuration for the roller produces good contact with the hand towel and, when the towel is wet, allows drying and prevents the towel from sticking to the roller surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The subject matter of the invention is described in detail below with reference to the annexed drawings, in which:

[0014] FIG. 1a is a schematic illustration of a hand towel dispenser with its towel guide, before use;

[0015] FIG. 1b shows the dispenser of FIG. 1a with the towel loop pulled out during use;

[0016] FIG. 2 shows a detail view of an oscillating roller of the invention with its operating elements; and

[0017] FIG. 3 shows a portion cut out from the dispenser housing, with the oscillating roller shown in its end travel positions, integrated into the remainder of the dispenser.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] In FIGS. 1a and 1b a dispenser is designated 100. In both Figures, the guidance of the towel from the roll of clean towel T until the used towel T′ is wound up is shown. It can be seen from FIG. 1a how an additional loop 1 is formed around a roller 2 in the interior of the dispenser100.

[0019] When the hands HB of a user pull on the towel loop at the point marked by two parallel lines in front of gripping cavities 3, the roller 2 is drawn back in the direction -p and, at the same time, clean towel T is dispensed from the roll lying at the top of the dispenser.

[0020] The resulting hand towel loop 4 can be seen in FIG. 1b; it has been formed without used towel T′ having to be unwound from the corresponding roll.

[0021] The practical form of a roller 2 can be seen in FIG. 2; in that construction it is identified as an oscillating roller 50.

[0022] The oscillating roller 50 has a structure with notches 51 and is provided at its ends with flange-like lateral guides 53 and respective gearwheels 52 used for its parallel guidance. On the left-hand side of the oscillating roller 50, a gripper-rocker 55 engages the roller 50 by its recess 56 over the roller's shaft. The gripper-rocker 55 is arranged on a bearing pin 64 so as to be pivotable in the directions p and has, at an upper side, a tension spring fastening 57 to which a tension spring 58, arranged substantially vertically, is attached. A stop pin 59 is used for the enforced actuation of the oscillating roller 50 in dependence upon the position of a cover, not shown.

[0023] Inserted rotatably at the right-hand side end of the oscillating roller 50 is a bearing pin 54 to which a traction cable 60 is attached which is guided over a pulley 60′ to a winding coil 61 and is wound up and held taut by the latter's integrated spiral spring 63. A bore 62 in the winding coil 61 is likewise arranged rotatably in a portioning wheel, not shown, for dispensing the towel.

[0024] FIG. 3 shows the dispenser 1 partly dismantled. It is possible to see here the rear wall 40 of the appliance housing, which is attached to a vertical wall by its mounting face M in the usual manner.

[0025] Projecting at a right angle to the rear wall 40 is a side panel 18 which carries a guiding and bearing point 41 for a shaft pin 11 of a pivoting module, not visible. Behind it, there is a curved slot guide 49 which also guides the pivoting module. In the upper region of the side panel 18 a recess 42 can be seen, which is used for a pin guide of a filling indicator for the towel T. Arranged beside it is the above-mentioned tension spring 58 which is attached by the tension spring fastening 57 to the gripper-rocker 55.

[0026] In addition, it is possible to see a guide groove 39 which runs concentrically with a central gearwheel, not visible, and which serves to guide a friction drive intended for winding up the used towel T′; a guide groove 20 that is widened at the top serves to facilitate the installation of that drive.

[0027] Other elements, such as a guide groove 23 and a vertical groove 43 that leads into a linear set of teeth 44, are intended for the parallel guidance of a fabric receptacle, likewise not shown, in which the roll of clean towel T is supported in a vertically displaceable manner.

[0028] The oscillating roller 50 is shown in its rearward position, analogously to FIG. 1b, and has been stopped against travel-limiting elements 50′. It is possible to see here its parallel guide slot 45 in the panel 18 with a parallel rack of teeth 46 lying at the top which guide the roller in an axially parallel manner into the forward position shown by broken lines. The oscillation path is designated p. A similar guide slot is located on an opposed side panel 18, not shown. For the sake of completeness, a portion of a cover 25 with its bearing pin 24 for initiating further operations is also illustrated.

[0029] The subject matter of the invention can easily be adapted to the desired length of used hand towel T′ to be temporarily returned to the towel loop, by delimiting the oscillation path of the roller 2 or the oscillating roller 50. The control of the gripper-rocker 55 can be accomplished by way of the towel delivery process; it can also be locked so as not to impede other operations, such as loading of the dispenser. Preferably, the oscillation path is chosen such that the returned length of used towel is not more than half of the chosen loop length.

[0030] It is especially important that the loop according to the invention is guided at least approximately horizontally, since only then can compact hand towel dispensers of pleasing overall height be obtained.