US 3349962 A
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Oct. 31, 1967 H. c. LEVIN AUTOMATIC PAINT COLORANT DISPENSERS 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 27 1966 INVENTOR HERBERT C. LEV/N flwau ATTORNEYS H. C. LEVIN Oct. 31, 1967 AUTOMATIC PAINT COLORANT DISPENSERS 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Jan. 27, 1966 INVENTOR HERBERT C. LEV/N ATTORNEYS 1967 H. c. LEVIN 3,349,962
AUTOMATIC PAINT COLORANT DISPENSERS Filed Jan. 27 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENT OR HERBERT C. LEV/N BY W XM ATTORNEYS United States Patent AUTOMATIC PAINT COLORANT DISPENSERS Herbert C. Levin, Chicago, 111., assignor to De Soto, Inc., a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 27, 1966, Ser. No. 523,319 6 Claims. (Cl. 222-2) This invention relates to automatic paint colorant dispensers especially of the type which are code actuated to simultaneously dispense various paint colorants into a common mixing container.
It is necessary in the sale of paint to provide an almost infinite variety of colors in accordance with the customers preference. This has placed a burden on paint suppliers, as they must either maintain a prohibitive inventory or take the time and effort to mix the desired color upon demand, in order to meet the publics need. Several efforts have been made to meet this problem in the direction of automatic paint colorant dispensers, but these have been inadequate because of such factors as excessive cost, ineflicient operation, and excessive maintenance. The present development is designed to overcome these shortcomings providing an economic and efficient automatic colorant dispenser.
In accordance with the present invention, paint colorants are disposed in separate reservoirs and dispensed into a common mixing container by card actuated dispensing means. The dispensing means comprises a series of pumps, three-way valves and associated lines, one of each of the said series being used in combination with each of the separate reservoirs to provide a complete dispensing system. The system includes back and forth transfer of colorant between each reservoir and its associated pump, each line including a three-way valve enabling the colorant carried by the line to be diverted through the valve and into a common mixing container. In this way, all of the pumps can be operated at the same time so that all of the desired colors are dispensed substantially simultaneously.
More particularly, paints of different colors are each disposed in separate reservoirs. In the dispensing operation, a series of pumps, one for each reservoir, are reciprocated to fill the cylinders of the pumps with paints from the reservoirs and then, on the return stroke of the piston, to refill the reservoirs with the paints from the cylinders. On the return stroke, three-way valves are operated to divert a portion of the return flow to a container in which the paint is to be mixed. The amount of each color is governed by the length of time the valve associated with that color is moved to its diverting position and this, in turn, is controlled by the length of some element which is sensed on what is termed a control card. The control card may be formed with slots sensed by a feeler gauge which operates a microswitch. On the other hand, electrically conductive lines or optical sensing of openings in an opaque card would serve just as well. The piston of the pump is linked to the sensing mechanism so that mechanism travels with the piston so that the length of stroke during which the valve is in its diverting position is tied to the length of the slot or other actuating element on the control card.
The invention will be more fully understood from the descri tion which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is -a plan view of the colorant dispenser showing the pumps in their fully extended position, parts being broken away for clarity;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of shown in FIG. 1:
FIG. 3 is a cross-section taken on line 33 of FIG. 1, showing the paint colorant reservoirs;
the colorant dispenser 3,349,962 Patented Oct. 31, 1967 FIG. 4 is a cross-section taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged plan view showing the coded card as it would be in use;
FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of the three-way valve; and FIG. 7 illustrates appropriate wiring for the operation of the structure shown in FIGS. 1-6.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a paint colorant dispenser 10 equipped to dispense two colorants by the operation of a common actuating unit. It is to be noted that although two colorants are shown dispensed in the simplified structure, the invention is by no means limited to the dispensing of two colorants as the principle will apply to any number of colorants, normally from 3 to 10 being involved.
The paint colorant dispenser 10 is mounted on a bed 11, supported by frame elements 11. Parts of the dispenser 10 are supported by an upright wall 12 positioned at one end of the bed 11. The upright wall 12 carries a bracket 13 which functions as a stand to hold the common mixing container 14. Paint colorant flow lines or conduits 15 lead from the container 14 and connect with the three-way valves 16. The three-way valves 16 are secured to the bed 11 by the bracket 17, as shown in FIG. 3, and underlie the reservoirs 18 to which they are connected by conduit 19. Conduits 20 lead from the three-way valves 16 and connect with the pumps 21. The pumps 21 each include a cylinder 22 and a piston 23, as shown in FIG. 1. The pistons 23 are actuated by piston arms 24 which extend out of the cyinders 22 and connect with drive arms 25 to which they are secured, as by bolts 26. The drive arms 25 are, in turn secured as by studs 28 to the threaded plate 27 which is threaded onto the Worm 29, as shown in FIG. 4. The worm 29 is mounted at one end, for free rotation in housing 30, and at the other end in a bearing mount 34.
The drive means, referred to generally at 31, includes a motor 32 and gear reduction unit 33. The motor 32 is held in position by motor mount 35 secured in place by brackets 36 and 37. The motor 32 drives the gear reduction unit 33 by means of shafts interconnected by means of coupling 38 extending between the two. The gear reduction unit 33, in turn, drives the worm 29.
As the worm 29 is turned by the motor 32, it causes the threaded plate 27 to move longitudinally along the worm (carrying the piston with it) in a direction dependent on the direction of rotation of the worm. The direction of rotation is regulated by the forward or reverse operation of the motor 32.
The worm 29 adjacent bearing 30 engages with a worm gear 39 which is mounted on axle 40. The axle 40, in turn, is freely mounted at its opposite ends in journals 41 and 42. A card holding plate 43 formed with marginal racks 44, is positioned below the axle 40 for engagement with pinion gears 45 carried by the axle 40. The plate 43 is mounted for horizontal sliding movement within the L-shaped tracks 46 and 47, so that, when the worm 29 is rotated, it causes the plate 43 to be moved along the tracks 46 and 47 in a direction which depends on the direction of rotation of motor 32.
The distance travelled by the plate 43 is proportionately linked to the distance travelled by the piston 23, as both are driven by the rotation of the worm 29. The gearing is preferably arranged so that piston 23 travels a greater distance and at a faster rate than the plate 43 but both move in the same way and for the same period of time. Thus, certain distances of plate travel corresponds with certain distances of piston travel so that the distance travelled by a card 50 placed atop the card holder plate 43 and carried along therewith is proportional to a dis tance travelled by the piston 23.
Correlating this to the dispensing operation, a short distance along the card corresponds to a small amount of colorant dispensed and a long distance along the card corresponds to a large amount of colorant dispensed, and so on for intermediate amounts.
As for the dispensing operation and as explained hereinbefore, paint colorant is drawn from the reservoir 18 into the cylinder 22 and then returned from the cylinder 22 to the reservoir 18 upon the return stroke of piston 23. While this occurs, the three-way valve 16 is positioned to interconnect the reservoir and the cylinder. When it is desired to divert the fiowing colorant into the common mixing container 14, this can be done by the actuation of the three-way valve 16. As shown in FIG. 6, when the three-way valve 16 is in its closed position (shown in full lines) colorant can flow only between the reservoir and the pump 21, and when the valve is in its open position (shown in phantom lines) colorant can flow only between the pump and the container 14.
Three-way valves 16 are actuated by microswitches 48, one for each of the three-way valves 16, and positioned above the card-holding plate 43. The switches 48 are carried by the support bar 54, which is held in position above the plate 43 by braces 55, and the switches 48 are secured in position as by clamps 56, as shown in FIG. 5. The switches function to detect a change in the thickness of a card placed atop the plate 43, and in this way control the opening and closing of their associated three-way valves 16. The card 50, as shown in FIG. 5, is apertured at 51 and 52. The apertures or slots 51 and 52 are aligned with feeler arms 53 of the switches 48, so that the arms will drop through the slots 51 and 52 as the card is moved past the switches. When the feeler arms 53 are in the raised position, the circuits to the valves 16 are broken and the valves are in a closed position. The movement of the feeler arms 53 through the slots 51 and/ or 52 completes a circuit to the respective valve, causing that valve to be opened.
The paint colorant dispenser operates quite simply in use. A coded card conforming with a color selected by a customer is positioned atop the card holder 43, the card being apertured with longitudinal openings aligned with the feeler arms of the microswitches 48. The motor 32 is then turned on which causes one of two modes of operation to take place. In the first mode of operation, the card holder, card, and the pistons 23 are moved toward the colorant reservoirs 18. As the pistons move, they force colorant from the filled cylinders 22 into the reservoirs through the three-way valves 16. During this operation, and when the feeler arms 53 of the microswitches 48 detect the apertures 51 and 52 in the moving card 50, the three-way valves corresponding to their associated pumps and switches are opened allowing colorant to flow into a common mixing container 14. When each of the microswitches is moved back to its original position by the termination of an aperture, its respective three-way valve is closed diverting the flow of colorant from the mixing container back to the reservoir.
At the completion of the dispensing stroke the motor is turned off, the circuits between the microswitches and three-way valves are opened and the motor reverses itself. The reverse actuation of the motor causes the pistons to move toward the card holder, draining colorant from the reservoirs into the cylinders, and the card holder and card are returned to their original position. On the return movement of the card the microswitches do not activate the three-way valves as the circuit is held open until the piston is in its fully dispensing position. The circuitry will be discussed hereinafter.
In the second mode of operation, the procedure is reversed, the colorant is first drained from the reservoirs into the cylinders and then forced back into the reservoirs. In both of the operations the circuits between the microswitches and three-way valves are opened during the filling or draining cycle and closed during the returning cycle so that the flow of colorant is diverted on only one of the two strokes of a given cycle, namely the power stroke of the cycle.
The difference between the two is that the first mode of operation permits colorant to be dispensed on the first of the two strokes, a more rapid action. In the second mode of operation, the cylinders are empty at the beginning of a cycle and must be filled before colorant can be dispensed causing the colorant to be agitated before it is dispensed. One may choose either advantage.
Reference is also made to the use of switches which move the valve 16 to its open position only when current flows through the feeler arm portion of the switch, in which event the fiow of electrical current is controlled by the conductivity of the surface of the card which can be rendered selectively conductive by the application of a conductive printing ink. When this is done, it enhances the opportunity to have the color cards selected by the customer coded directly by the application of a conductive ink pattern thereto. It is a distinct advantage to be able to directly use the color card selected by the customer thereby avoiding the need for master cards which are chosen by the salesman based on the color selected by the customer.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 7 and when the master switch 57 is closed, current flows through lines 59 6t), and 61, closed mioroswitch 62, and line 63 to coil 64, whereupon it passes through coil 64 to return via lines 65 and 66 to complete a circuit which actuates coil 64 to close latch type switch 67. When switch 67 is closed, current then flows from line 60 through switch 67 to line 68 which is the feed line for microswitches 48 and actuating valves 16.
After the operator closes master switch 57, pushbutton switch 69 is closed by the operator, allowing current to by-pass the open microswitch 70 to flow from line 59 through switch 69 to line 71, to pass through microswitch 72, lines 73 and 74 to motor coil 75, where it passes through the coil 75 and returns via lines 76, 77, 78, and 66 to complete a circuit and actuate the motor 32. At the same time, current from line 73 also passes through coil 79 of the motor start winding reverse relay 98 and then through line 77 to cause the motor 32 to run in a forward direction.
The rotation of motor 32 turns screw 29 so that plate 27 is moved in the direction indicated by arrow A away from microswitches, 62 and 70, which are manually operated microswitches responsive to the engagement and disengagement of plate 27, so that switch 62 is opened and switch 70 is closed when plate 27 is moved out of engagement therewith.
It is to be noted that switch 67 is of the latch type and remains closed when the current in coil 64 is cut-off by the opening of switch 62. When push button switch 69 is released after motor 32 has started to move plate 27 out of engagement with switch 70 (thereby closing the switch), so that current bypasses the released and open pushbutton switch 69 and instead passes through microswitch 70 to line 71 so that motor 32 can continue to operate despite the open position of pushbutton switch 69.
As the screw 29 is turned by motor 32, it causes the threaded plate 27 as well as card 50 to be moved, as hereinbefore noted. As threaded plate 27 is moved away from switches 62 and 70, card 50 is moved so that the microswitches 48 engage with the slots 51 and 52 of the card as noted hereinbefore, which engagement closes the switches 48 and allows current to flow from line 68 and through switches 48, lines 80 and 81 to three-way valves 16, from which the current returns via lines 78 and 66 to complete a circuit and actuate the valves 16 causing these to be moved into their dispensing position.
In the preferred structure, a safety switch 99 is positioned for engagement with card 50 when the card is positioned on the card-holding plate 43, so that when the card 50 is correctly positioned the switch 99 will be closed to allow current to flow to the switches 48, while if the card is not correctly positioned, the switch 99 will remain open and stop the flow of current.
At the completion of the dispensing stroke in direction A, plate 27 engages microswitches 72 and 82 which are manually operated microswitches causing switch 72 to switch poles and switch 82 to close. As a result, current flows from line 71, through switch 72, line 83, reverse coil 84 of the motor start Winding reverse relay 98 and then, via lines 77, 78 and 66 to complete this circuit. It is to be noted at this point that the motor 32 has been stopped due to the fact that the reversal of switch 72 by plate 27 has shut oil the flow of current through lines 73 and 74 and coil 75. Current also flows from line 83 through time delay switch 85 via lines 86, 87, and 66 to actuate the time delay switch 85 which, in turn, allows current to flow through line 88 to coil 89 of time delay relay 90, and then through line 91 to line 78 to complete a circuit which closes switch 92 and allows current to flow from lines 60', 94, switch 92, lines 93 and 74, through coil 75, lines 76, 77, 78 and 66 to complete the circuit and start the motor. Once the threaded plate moves away from microswitch 72, this switch reverts to its normally open position. Current now flows through switch 72 to lines 73 and 74 to coil 75 to keep the motor operating. Since a capacitor start motor cannot be reversed once running, the current flowing from line 73 through reverse coil 79 does not reverse the motor until the threaded plate reaches the end of its return stroke.
As current passes through line 94, it also flows through line 95, closed switch 82, line 96, coil 97, lines 65 and 66 to actuate coil 97 to open switch 67. In this way and upon the return of card 50 in direction B, the microswitches 48 will be on an open line and, inoperative.
When the threaded plate 27 reaches the end of its return stroke indicated by arrow B, it again engages microswitches 62 and 70' returning them to their initial positions, which shuts off of the flow of current along line 71 to stop the motor 32. Thus, the dispensing cycle is completed and the structure is ready for another dispensing operation when the next card 50 is properly inserted and the operator pushes the pushbutton switch 69. The master switch 57 is normally closed while the machine is in use.
The invention is defined in the claims which follow.
1. A paint colorant dispenser comprising, a plurality of separate reservoirs, one for each of the colorants to be dispensed, a plurality of reciprocating pumps each including a piston and a cylinder, one for each of said reservoirs, said pumps being adapted to transfer colorant from the associated reservoir through the pump and back to the reservoir, conduits communicating between said pumps and the reservoir associated therewith, each of said conduits including a three-way valve for diverting the flow of colorant, and means to control said valve to divert the flow of colorant as desired to a common mixing container, said means to control said valve comprising a linearly coded card movable with the pistons of said pumps and a plurality of microswitches, one for each of said valves.
2. A paint colorant dispenser as recited in claim 1 in which said card and said pistons are powered by. a common Worm.
3. In a paint colorant dispenser, the improvement comprising a reservoir, a reciprocating pump including a piston and a cylinder and adapted to transfer colorant from the reservoir to the pump and back to the reservoir, a conduit communicating between said pump and said reservoir, said conduit including a three-way valve for diverting the flow of colorant, and control means to actuate said threeway valve to divert the flow of colorant as desired to a common mixing container, said control means including a microswitch for detecting linear elements on a coded card, which linear elements correspond with particular amounts of colorant to be dispensed and means to move said coded card with the piston of said pump.
4. A paint colorant-dispenser comprising, a plurality of [separate reservoirs, one for each of the colorants to be dispensed, a plurality of reciprocating pumps including a piston and a cylinder, one for each of said reservoirs, conduits communicating between each of said pumps and the reservoir associated therewith so that said pumps will transfer colorant from each reservoir through the associated pump on one stroke of said pumps and return the colorant to the reservoir on the return stroke of said pumps, the pistons of said pumps being connected together for simultaneous movement, valve means for diverting the flow of colorant between said pumps and said reservoirs to a common mixing container, means to sense a coded card with each reciprocation of said pumps, and means responsive to the coding on said card for operating said valve means.
5. A paint colorant dispenser comprising, a plurality of separate reservoirs, one for each of the colorants to be dispensed, a plurality of reciprocating pumps including a piston and a cylinder, one for each of said reservoirs, conduits communicating between each of said pumps and the reservoir associated therewith so that said pumps will transfer colorant from each reservoir to the associated pump on one stroke of said pumps and return the colorant through the reservoir on the return stroke of said pumps, the pistons of said pumps being connected together for simultaneous movement, valve means for diverting the flow of colorant between said pumps and said reservoirs to a common mixing container, means movable with the pistons of said pumps to sense a coded card with each reciprocation of said pumps, and means responsive to the coding on said card for operating said valve means.
6. A paint colorant dispenser as recited in claim 5 in which said coded card is moved with the pistons of said pumps.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,8-85,1r19 5/1959 Carriol 222132 X 2,923,438 2/1960 Logan et a1. 222-2 X 3,081,909 3/ 196-3 Hooker 222- X 3,107,034 10/ 1963 Dunnous 222-:145 X 3,251,508 5/1966 Borys 2221B2 ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner. M. HENSON WOOD, JR., Examiner. N. L. STACK, Assistant Examiner,
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