WASHING AND DRYING MACHINE AND DRY-CLEANING MACHINES
FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention concerns machines for washing and drying articles such as clothes, bed-linen,curtains,towels and the like and machines by which such articles can be dry-cleaned.Articles which can be so washed dried and/or dry-cleaned are hereinafter simply referred to as articles.
BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
Existing machines tend to comprise a rotary drum mounted within a housing.Access to the drum for loading and unloading articles to be washed/ cleaned is via a top opening lid or front opening door.
Water and detergent is pumped into the drum and the latter is rotated so as to agitate the articles and thoroughly saturate articles with the detergent solution. The articles are then rinsed using clean water and finally are dried by spinning the drum at high speed so as to force moisture out of the articles under centrifugal force and by blowing heated air through the articles in the drum as the latter is rotated more slowly.
In a similar way dry-cleaning is achieved by introducing an appropriate volatile solvent into the drum and rotating the latter whilst in closed condition so as to saturate the articles with the solvent.The spin drying step is not normally called for and the solvent is removed from the articles by blowing hot air through the drum. By virtue of the odour and possibly harmful effects of breathing in the solvent vapour, the latter is normally separated from the exiting valour laden air,and collected before the air is released from the machine.
In the case of a washing machine the process tends to use large quantities of water and energy and a typical washing and drying cycle can be as long as 120 to 250 minutes.
It is an object of the present invention to provide apparatus that can be used for washing and drying articles in a shorter time-scale and with reduced energy requirements and which can be used with minor modification for dry-cleaning articles using an appropriate dry-cleaning solvent.