Title:
Independently operable washing and treating routine clothes washing machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothes washing and treating appliance in the form of an independently operable washing routine clothes washing machine 10 comprises an appropriately drainable clothes washer 12, clothes rinser 14 and spin dryer 16. The tubs 18 of the washer 12 and rinser 14 are each fitted ith an independently driven pulsator. The washer 12 and the rinser 14 are drainable via respective drains 28, 30 that are closable by means of valves 32 of which the discharge sides connect to a common discharge pump 36. The spin dryer 16 comprises a perforated spin drying drum 38 that is rotatably mounted inside a housing 40 fitted with a drain 42 via which water extracted from spin dried garments is removed. The machine 10 is fitted with an overhead cover 56 while its controlling is achieved via manual control switches 66, 68, 70, 72 and 74 used for switching appropriate circuitry.



Inventors:
Diederiks, Christiaan Johannes (Bronkhorstspruit, ZA)
Application Number:
11/727305
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/26/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F29/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OSTERHOUT, BENJAMIN LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C J DIEDERIKS (MEMPHIS, TN, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A clothes washing and treating appliance of the kind that involves the performance of a clothes washing and at least one clothes treating function in performing a clothes washing and treating routine comprising a clothes washing item of equipment constituted and mounted to perform a non-manual clothes washing function while being independently water chargable and drainable via a washing item of equipment drainage facility, and at least one further clothes treating item of equipment though in the case of including a clothes spin drying item of equipment, then at least two further clothes treating items of equipment, constituted and mounted to perform a specific non-manual clothes treating function associated with the washing of clothes once the appliance is in use and between which clothes washing item of equipment and at least one further clothes treating item of equipment clothes being washed and subsequently treated is manually transferable, the clothes washing item of equipment and at least one further clothes treating item of equipment being drivable from independent drive sources to enable their independent operation thus enabling their simultaneous use while the at least one further clothes treating item of equipment, in the case of involving a drainage action, being drainable independent of the clothes washing item of equipment via a treating item drainage facility.

2. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 1 in which the at least one clothes treating item of equipment is in the form of a motorised clothes rinser with the appliance accordingly including appropriate electrical circuitry towards is activation and deactivation.

3. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 2 in which the clothes rinser is in the form of an upright mounted cylindrical clothes rinsing vessel fitted with a suitably driven floor mounted rinsing pulsator and a floor mounted reopenably closable rinser drain as providing its drainage facility, via which spent rinsing water and agent is drainable.

4. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 3 that also includes a further treating item of equipment in the form of an appropriately housed, drainable, vibration effect accommodating upright mounted spin dryer including a cylindrical perforated spin drying vessel that is driven by way of motor mounted to the base of the appliance and connected via a drive shaft to the spin drying vessel, the housing of the spin dryer being fitted with a spin dryer drain, as providing its drainage facility, via which water released during a spin-drying operation is drainable while the spin dryer and the rinser are mounted about adjacent parallel axes.

5. A clothes treating appliance as claimed in claim 4 in which the circuitry is arranged to cause the spin dryer drain to automatically open on activation of the spin dryer.

6. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 1 in which the clothes washing item of equipment in the form of a motorised clothes washer.

7. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 6 in which the clothes washer is in the form of an upright mounted cylindrical clothes holding washing vessel fitted with a suitably driven floor mounted washing pulsator and a reopenably closable washer drain, as providing the washing item of equipment drainage facility, via which spent washing-water and agent is drainable.

8. A clothes washing and treating appliance as claimed in claim 7 in which the at least one further clothes treating item of equipment is in the form of a clothes rinser provided by an upright mounted cylindrical clothes rinsing vessel fitted with a suitably driven floor mounted rinsing pulsator and a reopenably closable rinser drain, as providing its drainage facility, via which spent rinsing water and agent is drainable while the washer and the rinser are mounted about adjacent parallel axes.

9. A clothes treating appliance as claimed in claim 8 that also includes further clothes treating item of equipment in the form of an appropriately housed, drainable, vibration effect accommodating upright mounted spin dryer including a cylindrical perforated spin drying vessel that is driven by way of motor mounted to the base of the appliance and connected via a drive shaft to the spin drying vessel, the housing of the spin dryer being fitted with a spin dryer drain, as providing its drainage facility, via which water released during a spin-drying action is drainable while the washer with the rinser and the spin dryer being mounted about adjacent parallel axes.

10. A clothes treating appliance as claimed in claim 9 that incorporates circuitry arranged to cause the spin dryer drain to automatically open on activation of the spin dryer.

11. A clothes treating appliance as claimed in claim 2 that incorporates a pump arrangement used for discarding drained water and agent, where applicable, from the clothes washer and the at least one clothes treating item of equipment.

12. A clothes treating appliance as claimed in claim 11 in which the pump arrangement is in the form of a common drain pump connected to the drainage of each of the items of equipment for use in discarding drained water from the selected source or sources.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

The washing and subsequent rinsing and, where applicable, spin drying of clothes is an everyday occurrence that is done in a variety of ways from done by hand to by way of is automatic washing machine. A load charged to an automatic washing machine proceeds from beginning to end without human interference. Such appliance is naturally limited to only deal with one charge during a full washing and treating routine as the same equipment forming part of the appliance is used during performance of the various steps of the routine. In addition a subsequent garment charge requires a fresh charge of water and agent.

BRIEF SUMMARY

This invention of the application relates to a clothes washing and treating appliance of the kind that permits the simultaneous performance of a variety of clothes washing and treating functions during the performance of a clothes washing and treating routine. The washing function is naturally the primary operation to be performed in any washing routine. To rid washed garments of washing agent a subsequent rinsing operation is also required. Often the rinsed garments are finally required to be spin dried although such step is not necessarily essential. An increase in garment washing capacity can be achieved by simultaneously performing a washing function on one charge of garments while already washed garments can be simultaneously rinsed and already rinsed garments simultaneously spin dried. The invention deals with equipment that enables such simultaneous operations. An improved use of water in the household environment is becoming increasingly important as environmental issues are starting to play a larger role on human activities. To limit the extent of water consumption during the washing of garments a charge of water during both the washing and rinsing operations can be used for more that one garment washing and rinsing charge but naturally to the satisfaction of the person in charge of the operation to still achieve a proper washing and rinsing function.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 in three dimensional partly exploded frontal view shows a clothes treating appliance in the form of an independently operable washing routine clothes washing machine,

FIG. 2 in shows the interior components of the washing machine excluding the lid, in three-dimensional diagrammatic frontal view,

FIG. 3 shows the washing machine along section A-A in FIG. 1,

FIG. 4 shows the washing machine along section line B-B in FIG. 2, and

FIG. 5 diagrammatically shows the various liquid flow paths and flow control equipment extending and fitted within the housing of the washing machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings a clothes washing and treating appliance, according to the invention, in the form of an independently operable washing and treating routine clothes washing machine is generally indicated by reference numeral 10.

The machine 10 comprises three appropriately driven clothes washing and treating items of equipment in the form a motorised clothes washer 12, a motorised clothes rinser 14 and a and spin dryer 16.

Both the washer 12 and the rinser 14 are in the form of rigidly upright mounted drum type vessels in the form of tubs 18 each fitted with a conventional through the floor operating pulsator 20 used for performing the appropriate washing/rinsing function. The pulsators 20 are independently driven from reverse rotation motors 22 via drive trains 24 each of which motors 22 is mounted to the base 26 of the machine 10. The drive shafts of the pulsators 20 naturally extend sealably though the floors of their respective tubs 18.

The washer 12 and the rinser 14 are drainable via a washing item of equipment drainage facility and a treating item of equipment drainage facility in the form of a rinser drainage facility as provided by respective drains 28, 30. The drains 28, 30 are closable by means of valves 32 of which the discharge sides are connected via drainpipes 34 to a common discharge pump 36. Final drainage from the pump 36 takes place via a common drainage pipe 54.

The spin dryer 16 comprises a perforated upright cylindrical vessel in the form of a spin drying drum 38 that is rotatably mounted inside a housing 40 fitted with a drain 42 via which water extracted from spin dried garments is removed. Spin dryer operation is done by way of a driving motor 44 that is connected to the drum 38 via a drive shaft 46. While the housing 40 is fixed the drum 38 is mounted to also accommodate unbalanced and thus off centreline spinning. This is achieved by the driving motor 44 being mounted to the base 26 via a resilient support (not shown). The drum 38 is consequently solely supported by its drive shaft 46 as extending from the motor 44.

Drainage of water from the drum 38 is controlled by means of a manually operable closure in the form of a flap valve 48 of which the discharge connects via a pipe 50 to the pump 36.

As shown in FIG. 5 the various drains 28, 30 and 42 are fitted with removable screens 52 used for preventing clogging of the pump 36. While not shown in detail the screens 52 can be removed for cleaning purposes.

The tubs 18 and the housing 40 are mounted to the base 26 in upright triangular spaced pattern.

In referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 3 the washer 12, rinser 14, spin dryer 16 and appurtenances are housed within a housing 56 fitted with a removable side cover (not shown) enabling access to the various functional parts of the machine 10. It is also fitted with an overhead cover 58 for closing off the washer 12, clothes rinser 14 and spin dryer 16 during use to limit spillage and access thereto during use. This is particularly important in the case of the spin dryer 16. The cover 58 is in the form of a split facility of which the one sub cover 58.1, as appropriately hingedly connected via hinges 60 to the housing 56, is used for covering the washer 12 and the rinser 14 and the other sub cover 58.2, as hingedly secured via hinges 62 to the housing 56, is used for covering the spin dryer 16.

In referring in particular to FIG. 1 controlling of the machine 10 is achieved via control switches mounted to a panel 64 forming part of the upper wall of the machine 10. The electrical circuitry of the machine 10 is not shown as it is of conventional layout in performing the various switching and power supply functions. The switches include a wash timer switch 66 for activating the clothes washer 12 for the desired length of time and a rinse timer switch 68 for activating the clothes rinser 14 for the desired length of time. The switches also include a spin timer and pump switch 70 that activates the pump 36 while opening the flap valve 48 for the selected length of time and a wash and rinse valve selector and pump switch 72 via which opening of the appropriate valve 32 is selected and the pump 36 thus activated once the washer 12 or the rinser 14 is desired to be drained. The appropriate switching of the pump 36 can consequently be done via the switch 70 or the switch 72 enabling, for example, the simultaneous draining of the rinser 14 and the spin drier 16. The spin dryer 16 is activated via a switch 74 mounted to the sub cover 58.2.

The washing machine 10 is conventionally used by manually locating garments to be washed in the tub 18.1 of the washer 12, suitably filling it with water from a supply source, adding washing powder and then commencing washing via desired switching of the timer switch 66. Once the wash cycle of the washing routine is completed the washer 12 can drained via its drain 28 in response to appropriately switching the switch 72. Otherwise the water and washing agent in the washer 12 can be used for a further garment charge and eventually drained when not suitable for further washing operations. Once desirably drained the washed garments are manually transferred to the tub 18.2 of the spin dryer 16 in which excess water and agent is in a brief spinning operation removed, then to the rinser 14 and finally to the spin dryer.16 again. The rinsing cycle is performed by appropriate switching of the switch 72 after the tub has been desirably filled with rinsing water and rinsing agent, where applicable. Once completed the rinser 14 is drained via its drain 30 in response to appropriately switching the switch 72. The charge of rinsing water and agent can again be used for more than one rinsing operation though in such case the rinsed garments transferred to the spin dryer 16 will be very wet. As alternative rinsing water can be drained to the washer 12 after the latter's water has been drained off beforehand. When done in such a way the rinsing water that is normally much cleaner than the washing water is used for two purposes. The rinsed garments are then transferred to the drum of the spin dryer 16, which is activated via its switch 74 after appropriate selection of the switch 70.

While a specific bundle of washing can be processed through the various stages of the washing routine of the machine 10 an advantage is found in that the various stages can be run simultaneously owing to being independently driven thus enabling the simultaneous processing of three garment bundles. As said above several garment charges can indeed be washed and rinsed in a single charge of water to the washer 12 and the rinser 14 rendering the machine 10 environmentally friendly.





 
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