Title:
Bath-alternating machine and process for operating the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In the case of a bath-alternating machine which is intended for washing colored and white laundry and, at least in the region of its washing zone, is designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine, the casing of its inner drum (26), at least in one of the chambers of the washing zone, is of water-permeable design only in a subregion (160) of the circumference. Devices for optionally discharging the washing water are provided at least in that chamber of the washing zone in which the inner drum is designed with said casing which is water-permeable only in a subregion (160).



Inventors:
Ten Have, Bernard (SC Lochem, NL)
Application Number:
10/322951
Publication Date:
06/19/2003
Filing Date:
12/19/2002
Assignee:
LAVATEC AG
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/27, 68/143, 8/159
International Classes:
D06F31/00; (IPC1-7): D06F31/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ADHLAKHA, RITA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DARBY & DARBY P.C. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A bath-alternating machine (12) which is intended for washing colored and white laundry (20) and, at least in the region of its washing zone (16), is designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine, having a plurality of chambers (4, 5, 6) in the region of the washing zone (16), through which the laundry (20) passes in succession, having devices (152, 80, 134, 108) for optionally feeding detergents, water and heat into one or more chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16), having devices (34, 36) for optionally discharging washing water from chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone, wherein the casing of the inner drum (26), at least in one of the chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16), is of water-permeable design only in a subregion (160) of the circumference, the devices for optionally discharging the washing water are provided at least in that chamber (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone in which the inner drum (26) is designed with said casing which is water-permeable only in a subregion (160).

2. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein the devices for optionally discharging the water are provided in each chamber (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16).

3. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the water-permeable subregion (160) of the casing of the inner drum (26) is provided in the region of carry-along elements (164) which are provided for raising the batches of laundry in the chambers.

4. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the water-permeable subregion (160) of the casing of the inner drum (26) covers at least approximately a quarter of the drum circumference.

5. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the devices for optionally feeding water are provided at least in that chamber (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16) in which the water-permeable subregion (160) is provided in the casing of the inner drum (26).

6. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in claim 5, wherein the devices for optionally feeding water are provided in each of the chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16).

7. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the devices for optionally feeding heat are provided at least in some chambers of the washing zone.

8. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein chambers (1, 2, 3) of a prewashing zone (14) are arranged upstream of the chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone.

9. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein chambers (7, 8, 9, 10) of a rinsing zone (18) are arranged downstream of the chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16).

10. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein an overflow (66) is provided in the at least final chamber (6) of the washing zone (16) as an additional device for discharging washing water from said chamber (6).

11. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the devices for optionally discharging washing water from individual chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16) are line-connected (34, 38, 80) to devices for optionally feeding water into individual chambers (3, 4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16) and/or of the prewashing zone (14).

12. The bath-alternating machine as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the devices for optionally discharging washing water from individual chambers (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16) are line-connected (34, 38, 136) to devices for optionally feeding water into the inlet region.

13. A process for operating a bath-alternating machine (12) which, at least in the region of its washing zone (16), is designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine (26, 28), wherein as the batch of laundry located in a chamber (4, 5, 6) of the washing zone (16) is transported further, the casing of the inner drum (26) of said chamber is closed at least in its bottom subregion (160) accommodating the batch of laundry.

14. The process as claimed in claim 13, wherein batches of laundry are transported further by virtue of the inner drum (26) being rotated (176) through 360° (degrees), during further transportation, the casing of the inner drum (26), said casing being water-permeable only in a subregion (160) of the circumference, is rotated out of the bottom drum region accommodating the batch of laundry.

15. The process as claimed in claim 13 or 14, wherein as the batch of laundry is transported further, the washing water of said chamber is let out of the annular space (interspace 174) enclosing the inner drum (26) in the region of said chamber.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The invention relates to a bath-alternating machine which is intended for washing colored and white laundry. Bath-alternating machines are used if colored and white laundry is to be washed in a frequently alternating manner. The invention also relates to a process for operating such a bath-alternating machine.

PRIOR ART

[0002] DE 29 49 228 A1 discloses a continuous washing machine for washing colored and white laundry alternately and simultaneously, and a process for operating such a continuous washing machine. Said continuous washing machine has chambers which are partitioned off from one another and through which the batches of laundry pass in succession. On account of high-outlay and complicated line connections between the individual chambers, the washing water located in a chamber may be channeled into any other desired washing chamber. At the same time, it is possible to let out all the washing water from each chamber. The successive washing of, for example, white and colored laundry is achieved in that the washing chamber located in each case upstream of the washing chamber containing the white laundry is completely emptied. Otherwise, the batch of white laundry would become colored. In order to make it possible for the batch of white laundry to pass through the washing machine, complicated device-related and process-related means for controlling the movement of the washing water from one chamber into other chambers are necessary.

[0003] A single-drum batch-type washing machine is also known. The single-drum washing-machine design means that the batch of laundry, be this a batch of white laundry or of colored laundry, is accompanied by “its” washing liquid as it passes through the washing machine. All of washing water from each chamber is therefore transferred into the next chamber in each case. The operation of letting washing water out of one of these chambers, feeding fresh water into the individual chambers, reheating the washing water in the individual chambers or adding chemicals is not possible in said single-drum washing machine since, on account of their necessary sealed single-drum casing, the individual chambers are not accessible from the outside. The washing result in such single-drum batch-type washing machines is thus less satisfactory from a technical point of view than is the case with a double-drum batch-type washing machine, although the latter consumes a considerable amount of water.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Based on this known prior art, the object of the invention is to specify a bath-alternating machine which is intended for washing colored and white laundry and by means of which frequent color changeover is possible along with the lowest possible water consumption, a high performance and a satisfactory washing result.

[0005] This invention is achieved, for the bath-alternating machine, by the features of claim 1, and, for the process for operating such a bath-alternating machine, by the features of claim 13. Expedient developments of the invention form the subject matter of further claims which follow the abovementioned claims in each case.

[0006] The bath-alternating machine according to the invention is distinguished, in particular, in that the casing of its inner drum, at least in one of the chambers of its washing zone, is of water-permeable design only in a subregion of the circumference. Such a merely partially water-permeable casing helps to achieve the situation where, in the case of batches of colored laundry and white laundry following one after the other, there is no need for all the water of the relevant washing chambers in each case to be channeled out of the chamber; rather, only the washing water provided in the interspace between the inner drum and the outer drum needs to be channeled out of the chamber. Discharging a smaller quantity of water in relation to the prior art means that it is also the case that only a correspondingly smaller quantity of fresh water or other washing water has to be channeled into the relevant chambers. It is thus the case that a smaller quantity of water is moved through the lines provided and used up.

[0007] According to an exemplary embodiment which is also illustrated in the drawing, the water-permeable subregion of the casing of the inner drum is provided in the region of the carry-along elements, by means of which, during the reversing drum movement, the laundry is raised out of the washing liquid and allowed to fall into the washing liquid again, as is usually the case with such washing machines. It has found to be sufficient for said water-permeable subregion of the casing to be arranged only approximately in a sector of 90° (degrees) of the cross-sectionally circular inner-drum casing.

[0008] The bath-alternating machine according to the invention has the advantage that the water consumption of the washing machine is reduced to a considerable extent in relation to the double-drum batch-type washing machines known in the prior art. It is possible here, in contrast to the single-drum batch-type washing machines which are likewise known in the prior art, to reheat the batches of laundry in the individual washing chambers as desired. It is also possible for chemicals or other washing additives to be added without any modification. It is thus possible for colored and white laundry to be washed in an alternating manner as desired, in a double-drum batch-type washing machine, with considerably reduced water consumption.

[0009] These abovementioned advantages are made possible in that, in accordance with the process according to the invention, as the batch of laundry located in a chamber of the washing zone is transported further, the casing of the inner drum of said chamber is closed at least in its bottom casing region accommodating the batch of laundry. When washing water is let out of a washing chamber, it is thus only the washing water located in the annular space between the inner drum and the outer drum which is let out. The washing water located in the interior of the inner drum is transported further, with the laundry, into the next chamber.

[0010] It is possible for this closure of the inner-drum casing to be realized in a straightforward manner as batches of laundry are transported further, this being achieved by virtue of the inner drum being rotated through 360° (degrees), in that, as is the case with the abovementioned bath-alternating machine according to the invention, the casing region of the inner drum, said region being water-permeable only in a subregion, is rotated out of the bottom drum region accommodating the batch of laundry. The inner-drum casing region located in the bottom drum region accommodating the batch of laundry is also closed in an effective manner as a result. As the batch of laundry is transported further, it is thus only the washing water located in the annular space between the inner drum and the outer drum which is let out.

[0011] Further advantages and features of the bath-alternating machine according to the invention and of the process according to the invention for operating such a double-drum batch-type washing machine can be gathered from the rest of the features specified in the claims and from the following exemplary embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0012] The invention is explained and described in more detail hereinbelow with reference to the exemplary embodiment illustrated in the drawing, in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a schematic illustration of a bath-alternating machine according to the invention, the machine being designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine, and

[0014] FIGS. 2.1 to 2.4 show successive states in a washing chamber as the batch of laundry is transported further into an adjacent washing chamber, with the washing water being let out of said chamber.

METHODS OF IMPLEMENTING THE INVENTION

[0015] A bath-alternating machine 12 designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine has a prewashing zone 14, formed from the chambers 1, 2 and 3, a washing zone 16, comprising three washing chambers 4, 5 and 6, and a rinsing zone 18, comprising four chambers 7, 8, 9 and 10. Batches of laundry 20 are fed to the bath-alternating machine 12 via an introduction hopper 22. After having passed through the individual chambers 1 to 10, the then clean batch of laundry is ejected from the final chamber 10 (arrow 24). The batches of laundry 20 may comprise colored or white laundry. Such differently colored batches of laundry can be washed one after the other in the bath-alternating machine 12.

[0016] The bath-alternating machine 12 has an inner drum 26, which extends over all the chambers 1 to 10, and an outer drum 28, which begins in the final chamber 3 of the prewashing zone 14 and ends in the region of the final chamber 10 of the rinsing zone 18. This means that the bath-alternating machine 12 is designed as a double-drum batch-type washing machine at least in the region of the washing zone 16.

[0017] In the case of the inner drum 26 of the bath-alternating machine 12 revolving through 360° (degrees), a batch of laundry moves, with the liquor (water) bound in it, into the next chamber in each case. This further transportation of the batch of laundry is indicated by arrows 30 for the prewashing zone 14 and the washing zone 16. In the region of the first three chambers 7, 8 and 9 of the rinsing zone 18, the rinsing operation takes place in so-called countercurrent 32. In the final chamber 10 of the rinsing zone 18, a so-called stationary bath is provided. In the case of a further revolution of the inner drum 26 through 360° (degrees), the batch of laundry present in the final chamber 10 is ejected out of the latter (arrow 24), as has already been mentioned above.

[0018] The free liquor located in the final chamber 3 of the prewashing zone 14 and all three chambers 4, 5 and 6 of the washing zone, said liquor not being bound in the respective batch of laundry, may be let out of the respective chamber 3, 4, 5, 6 via a discharge line 34a, 34b, 34c and 34d in each case. For this purpose, in each case one shut-off valve 36a, 36b, 36c and 36d is provided in each of these four discharge lines 34a-34d.

[0019] The discharge lines 34a-34d open out into a collecting line 38. This collecting line 38 opens out, via a line branch 38a in which a shut-off valve 48 is installed, into a collecting basin C. Provided in said collecting basin C is an overflow 42, via which water can flow out of the collecting basin C, via a branch line 44, into the collecting line 38. The collecting line 38 opens out, via a further line branch 38b, into the rear chamber 36 of a further collecting basin B. A shut-off valve 40b is provided in said line branch 38b. In the chamber 46, there is a line connection to the collecting line 38 via an overflow 48 and a branch line 50 connected thereto. Finally, via a third line branch 38c, which is connected to the collecting line 38, the water can be removed from the collecting line and, if appropriate, from the collecting basin C and from the chamber 46 of the upstream collecting basin B into an outflow (arrow 52) from the water circuit.

[0020] The collecting basin B has a chamber 54 arranged upstream of the chamber 46. An overflow wall 56 is provided between the chamber 54 and the chamber 46. A line 58 coming from a collecting basin A leads into the chamber 54 of the collecting basin B. A line 60 from a filter arrangement 62, having a fluff filter, leads into the collecting basin A. Leading to said filter arrangement 62 is a discharge line 64 which comes from the first rinsing chamber 7 and is connected to an overflow 66 in said first rinsing chamber 7. A shut-off valve 68 is also installed in the discharge line 64.

[0021] Water deposited in the collecting basin A may be discharged from the latter via a line 70a and, by means of an overflow, via a line 70b into a collecting line 70c and fed to the outflow (arrow 52). A shut-off valve 72 is also provided in the line 70a.

[0022] The water of the flushing zone 18 which has been channeled into the collecting basin B flows out of the latter, via the overflow wall 56, into the chamber 46. From there, the water can be fed in the respectively desired quantity via a supply line 80, by means of a pump 82, to the final chamber 3 of the prewashing zone and chambers 4, 5 and 6 of the washing zone 16. For this purpose, the supply line 80 branches into supply-line branches 80a, 80b, 80c and 80d. Also leading into the final chamber of the washing zone 46 is a further supply-line branch 80e which, in contrast to the other supply-line branches leading into the chambers 3, 4, 5 as well as 6, may be activated as desired by an electrically controllable shut-off valve 78. It is possible in this way, in dependence on the overflow 66 provided in said chamber 6, to level out the level of the water as desired and thus to keep the latter at the desired level.

[0023] At the final rinsing chamber 10, a discharge line 86 is connected to the outer drum and a discharge line 88 is connected to the inner drum. These two lines 86, 88 lead into a collecting basin D, in which a press 90 is located. The respective batch of laundry transported out of the final chamber 10 falls onto said press 90. The water bound in the batch of laundry can be squeezed out with the aid of the press 90. This water is discharged from the basin D, through a line 92, by means of a pump 94. The line 92 opens out in the collecting basin C by way of a branching line 96 and in the line branch 38c by way of a further branching line 98. From the line branch 38c, it is possible for the water either to be removed via the outflow 52 or to be fed, via the line branch 38b, to the chamber 46 of the collecting basin B or, by the line branch 38a, to the collecting basin C. The respective flow direction depends on the shut-off valves or branching valves, such as the branching valve 99, which are provided in the lines in each case.

[0024] Via a superheated-steam line 100, in which a shut-off valve 102 is installed, it is possible for superheated steam and thus heat to be fed on the one hand, via a branching line 104, into the collecting basin C or, via a branching line 106 and supply lines 108a, 108b, 108c and 108d connected thereto, optionally to the chambers 3, 4, 6, 9, in accordance with the positions of the shut-off valves 110a, 110b, 110c and 110d provided in said supply lines. All the supply lines for superheated steam and for water open out into the outer drum 28.

[0025] Finally, it is also possible for cold water to be channeled both into chambers 3, 4, 5 and 6 and into the final two chambers 9 and 10 of the rinsing zone 18 and also into the introduction hopper 22 and into the chamber 54 of the collecting basin B. Moreover, said cold water (fresh water) can be used for cooling the press 90. The channeling arrangement for this cold water (fresh water) thus contains a supply line 120, from which a flow line 122 leads to the press 90 and a return line 124 leads back again from the press 90. The return line 124 opens out into a channeling-in line 126, which opens out from the supply line 120 into the chamber 9 of the rinsing zone 18. An electrically activatable shut-off valve 128 is installed in said channeling-in line 126. The final chamber 10 may be supplied with cold water out of the supply line 120 via a further inlet line 130. Finally, a further line 132, depicted by dashes, opens out into the final chamber 10, it being possible for rinsing additives, for example softeners or starch, to be added to the final chamber 10 via said further line 132.

[0026] Branching off from the supply line 120 are further inlet lines 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, which lead into the chambers 3, 4, 5 and 6. Through these inlet lines 134, it is thus likewise possible for cold water to be fed to the final chamber 3 of the prewashing zone 14 and all the chambers 4, 5 or 6 of the washing zone 16.

[0027] A further inlet line 134e leads from the supply line 120 into the region of the introduction hopper 22. Opening out into said inlet line 134e is a line 136, which is connected to the collecting basin C. It is thus possible for water to be channeled into the introduction hopper 22 from the collecting basin C through the line 136, by means of a pump 138 and with the shut-off valve 140 open, and also for cold water to be channeled into the introduction hopper 22 via the inlet line 134e.

[0028] Furthermore, the supply line 120 also has two further inlet lines 134f and 134g, which lead respectively into the collecting basin C and into the chamber 54 of the collecting basin B. A respective shut-off valve 142 or 144 is also provided in these two lines. It is thus possible for the collecting basin C to be supplied both with cold water and with superheated steam (branching line 104). The water in the collecting basin C may thus be fed to the introduction hopper 22 as desired in a hot or cold state.

[0029] Finally, a supply line 150 into the chamber 8 of the rinsing zone 18 is also provided in the present case, it being possible, for example, for additives such as chlorine to be fed through said supply line 150. Washing additives such as various detergents may be fed to the washing chamber 4 via a further supply line 152.

[0030] The casing of the inner drum 26 is of water-permeable design in a subregion 160 in the region of the washing zone 16, and thus in the region of the chambers 4, 5, 6. In the present case, this subregion extends over approximately a sector of 90° (degrees) of the drum circumference. In the remaining subregion 162 of the casing, the latter is water-impermeable (FIGS. 2.1 to 2.4). This is illustrated schematically in FIG. 1 by the bottom boundary line 156 of the inner drum 26, said boundary line being illustrated by dashed lines, in contrast to the top boundary line 158 of said inner drum 26, the top boundary line being depicted by a solid line. In the region of the prewashing zone and in the region of the rinsing zone, the entire casing of the inner drum 26 is water-permeable throughout the circumference, which is indicated in FIG. 1 by the top boundary line 159 of the inner drum 26, said boundary line being illustrated by dashed lines.

[0031] In the present example, the subregion 160 with the water-permeable casing is provided in the region of carry-along elements 164. These carry-along elements 164, during the reversing rotary movement (double arrow 166), cause the items of laundry to be raised out of the bath 170 alternately to right and left and then to fall back again into said bath 170, as is usually the case with washing operations.

[0032] In the case of the inner drum 26 revolving through 360° (degrees), which is illustrated by FIGS. 2.2 to 2.4, the subregion 160 likewise moves through 360° (degrees) about the central axis of rotation 172. Even in the case of a rotation through, for example, somewhat more than 90° (degrees), said subregion 160, in the present example, has moved out of the region of the bath 170 (FIG. 2.2). This results in the bath quantity 170a provided in the interior of the inner drum 26 being separated off from the bath quantity 170b provided in the interspace 174. Once the shut-off valve 36 provided in the discharge line 34 has been opened, it is thus only the bath quantity 170b provided in the interspace 174 which flows out of the interspace 174 between the inner drum 26 and the outer drum 28. The bath quantity 170a provided in the interior of the inner drum 26 remains in the relevant washing chamber or is transported as a bound liquor, together with the batch of laundry, into the next chamber. The operation of letting the bath quantity 170b out of the interspace 174 can be carried out simultaneously, in a comparable manner, for each of the washing chambers 4, 5, 6 of the washing zone 16.

[0033] It can be seen from the illustration according to FIG. 2.3 how the water level in the interspace 174 decreases. In the illustration according to FIG. 2.4, all of the bath quantity 170b has flowed out of the interspace 174, through the discharge line 34. By virtue of the subregion 160 being rotated further in the direction of rotation (arrow 176), first of all a liquid connection is re-established between the interior of the inner drum 26 and the interspace 174. Following a full revolution of the inner drum 26, the latter, following the state illustrated in FIG. 2.4, resumes its state illustrated in FIG. 2.1, in which it can then be rotated back and forth in reversing operation 166 again.