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Title:
WATER-SAVING DEVICE FOR WASHING-DRYING MACHINES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1993/017169
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A washing-drying machine equipped with a water-saving device including a duct (17) for cooling the air-circulation condenser (13). Consumption of water during the drying of the laundry is thus totally eliminated or substantially reduced.

Inventors:
MERLONI ANTONIO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP1993/000112
Publication Date:
September 02, 1993
Filing Date:
January 19, 1993
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MERLONI ANTONIO SPA (IT)
International Classes:
D06F25/00; D06F58/02; D06F58/24; (IPC1-7): D06F58/24
Domestic Patent References:
WO1990008851A11990-08-09
Foreign References:
EP0481178A11992-04-22
GB2097519A1982-11-03
GB2026147A1980-01-30
DE3311077A11984-10-04
EP0163265A21985-12-04
DE3738031A11989-05-18
GB1247788A1971-09-29
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Watersaving device for washingdrying machines, comprising a condenser element (13) connected to the tank (5) of the machine, aspiration means (15) connected to said condenser so that the moist air which is present in said tank is fed into said condenser and then fed into said tank, characterized in that it comprises a cooling duct (17) arranged adjacent to said condenser element, and ventilation means (19) adapted to generate a flow of air in said cooling duct so as to cool said condenser in order to condense the moisture of said air which is fed into said condenser.
2. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that said cooling duct (117) is coaxial and internal to said condenser (113) .
3. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that said cooling duct (17) is coaxial and external to said condenser (13).
4. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that said cooling duct is constituted by an internal tube (217b) coaxial to said condenser (213) and by an external tube (217a) coaxial to said condenser (213) .
5. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises an auxiliary condensation device (323) adapted to generate a thin film of water inside said condenser (313) .
6. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises a discharge duct (21) , said duct being connected to said tank (5) and to said condenser element (13) , and characterized in that it comprises a device for cleaning said discharge duct, said cleaning device comprising a jet of water fed into said discharge duct.
Description:
WATER-SAVING DEVICE FOR WASHING-DRYING MACHINES

The present invention relates to a water-saving device for washing-drying machines.

Machines termed washing-drying machines with closed-cycle air circulation are known which comprise an air circulation device which starts to operate at the end of the washing cycle and after spi -drying, for drying the laundry completely.

Various air circulation devices are known. In a first type, the air enters the tank, where the laundry is heated by a radiating element, removes the moisture, passes through the holes of the drum along the discharge ducts, and then rises up to the fan, which pushes the air back into the tank. The air, by passing through the warm laundry, removes the moisture and, by passing through the discharge duct, makes contact with the cooling water and consequently deposits the moisture. This cycle is repeated for approximately 100-120 minutes until the laundry is perfectly dry.

In a second type of known device, the air is pushed by a fan in contact with a resistor which heats it. The air is then fed into the drum, where, in contact with the wet laundry, it becomes loaded with moisture. This moisture-rich air then passes in a condenser, which is kept humid and cold by a jet of water, and deposits the moisture inside said condenser.

Other systems, which are substantially similar to those

described above, provide for the feeding of air and heat into the laundry, which yields its moisture to the air. The air is fed into a condenser (which is kept cold by water) , where said air releases its moisture. By repeating the cycle for a certain time, the laundry is dried.

An essential component of these drying systems is the condenser, where the air, in contact with the cold water, releases its moisture.

The condenser is generally constituted by a substantially vertical duct, wherein the current of warm and moist air coming from the lower end is intercepted by a film of water co ing from the upper end. The film of water cools the warm air causing the condensation of the moisture.

The water also captures ' and removes the fluff, which has deposited on the duct walls. This fluff is then disposed of together with the discharge water.

The water thus acts as cooling means and as means for washing the condensation ducts in known drying systems.

Since in conventional machines the drying cycle is rather long, from at least 70 minutes up to 120 minutes, there is a considerable consumption of water, generally from 40 to 70 liters for each drying cycle.

The aim of the present invention is to provide a washing- drying machine which has a considerably lower water consumption than known machines.

This aim, these objects and others which will become apparent hereinafter are achieved by a water-saving device for washing-drying machines, which comprises a condenser element connected t the tank of the machine, aspirator means connected to said condenser so that the moist air which is present in said tank is fed into said condenser and subsequently fed into said tank, characterized in that it comprises a cooling duct arranged adjacent to said condenser element, and ventilation means adapted to generate a flow of air in said cooling duct so as to cool said condenser in order to condense the moisture of said air fed into said condenser.

Further characteristics and advantages will become apparent from the description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the invention, illustrated only by way of non- limitative example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is a sectional side view of a washing-drying machine according to the invention, having an external cooling duct;

Figure " is a view, similar to l lιe preced' 1 : .?g one, of a machine cording to another aspec of the in ntion, having an internal cooling duct;

Figure 3 is a view, similar to the preceding one, of a machine according to a third aspect of the invention, having a dual internal and external cooling duct;

Figure 4 is a view, similar to the preceding ones, of a machine according to a fourth aspect of the invention, having a dual cooling duct and with an auxiliary condensation water device.

With reference to the above figures, a washing-drying machine 1 generally comprises a supporting structure 3 for a tank 5 containing the laundry to be washed and dried.

The drying and air circulation system comprises a hot-air delivery duct 7 and an electric resistor 9 for heating the air fed to the tank, in a per se known manner.

The machine comprises an aspiration duct 11 connecting the tank 5 to a condenser 13. Condenser 13 is connected to an aspirator 15 and to the delivery duct 7, in a per se known manner.

A discharge duct 21 is connected to the tank 5, in order to discharge the water, and to the condenser 13.

With particular reference to figure 1, the machine according to the invention comprises a cooling duct 17 which is external and coaxial to the condenser 13. The duct 17 has a fan 19 for generating an air current in the cooling duct.

Figures 2-4 illustrate different embodiments of the water- saving device according to the invention, which is based on the elimination or substantial reduction of the use of water to cool the condenser. The same numerals designate common or

substantially similar elements in the different embodiments illustrated.

Figure 2 illustrates a machine 101, substantially identical to the machine 1, wherein the cooling duct 117 is internal and coaxial to the condenser 113.

Figure 3 illustrates a machine 201, similar to the preceding ones and having a dual cooling duct. The dual cooling duct is constituted by an external duct 217a and by an internal duct

217b. Both ducts 217a, 217b are coaxial to the condenser 213.

Figure 4 instead illustrates a machine 301 having a dual cooling duct 317, similar to the one of the machine shown in Figure 3. Duct 317 is coaxial to the condenser 313 a d comprises an auxiliary cooling device constituted by a nozzle 323 for generating a film of cooling water inside the condenser 313.

The described machines can also be equipped with a device, for cleaning the condenser and the discharge duct, for example, similar to the one described in the Italian patent no. 1217490 in the name of this same Applicant. Said device essentially comprises a jet of cleaning water with a relatively high flow rate.

In practice it has been observed that the invention achieves the intended aim and objects , a saving device having been provid ed wh i ch a l l ow s a n enormou s r educ t i on i n w a t e r consumption in washing-drying machines .

The cooling of the condenser by means of an air-circulation cooling duct, optionally with the aid of a reduced use of water in the condenser, allows to substantially reduce or even completely eliminate the use of water during the drying of the laundry.

The device according to the invention is susceptible to numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the inventive concept; all the details may furthermore be replaced with technically equivalent elements.

The materials employed, as well as the dimensions, may naturally be any according to the requirements and the state of the art.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the scope of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.