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Numéro de publicationUS20080301970 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 11/997,305
Numéro PCTPCT/GB2006/002144
Date de publication11 déc. 2008
Date de dépôt12 juin 2006
Date de priorité30 juil. 2005
Autre référence de publicationCN101232832A
Numéro de publication11997305, 997305, PCT/2006/2144, PCT/GB/2006/002144, PCT/GB/2006/02144, PCT/GB/6/002144, PCT/GB/6/02144, PCT/GB2006/002144, PCT/GB2006/02144, PCT/GB2006002144, PCT/GB200602144, PCT/GB6/002144, PCT/GB6/02144, PCT/GB6002144, PCT/GB602144, US 2008/0301970 A1, US 2008/301970 A1, US 20080301970 A1, US 20080301970A1, US 2008301970 A1, US 2008301970A1, US-A1-20080301970, US-A1-2008301970, US2008/0301970A1, US2008/301970A1, US20080301970 A1, US20080301970A1, US2008301970 A1, US2008301970A1
InventeursPaul Cedric Campbell Hackwell, Frederic Nicolas
Cessionnaire d'origineDyson Technology Limited
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Drying Apparatus
US 20080301970 A1
Résumé
A drying apparatus having a casing, a cavity formed in the casing for receiving an object, a fan located in the casing and creating an airflow, and at least one slot-like opening communicating with the fan and arranged in the casing to direct an airflow transversely across the cavity. The slot-like opening is formed between opposing walls which approach one another at an angle of between 10° and 20°. In another aspect, two slot-like openings are provided ducting providing communication between the fan and the slot-like openings has a first cross-section in the vicinity of the fan whose dimensions are similar in all directions and a slot-like cross-section in the vicinity of the openings, the transition between the said cross-sections being gradual and smooth.
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Revendications(12)
1. A drying apparatus, comprising a casing, a cavity formed in the casing for receiving an object, a fan located in the casing and capable of creating an airflow, and at least one slot-like opening communicating with the fan and arranged in the casing to direct an airflow transversely across the cavity,
wherein the slot-like opening is formed between opposing walls which approach one another at an angle of between 10° and 20°.
2. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the opposing walls approach one another at an angle of about 14°.
3. A drying apparatus having comprising a casing, a cavity formed in the casing for receiving an object, a fan located in the casing and creating an airflow, and two opposing slot-like openings communicating with the fan via ducting and arranged in the casing to direct an airflow transversely across the cavity,
wherein the ducting has a first cross-section in the vicinity of the fan whose dimensions are similar in all directions and a slot-like cross-section in the vicinity of the openings, a transition between the said cross-sections being gradual and smooth.
4. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the total cross-sectional area of the ducting is substantially constant between the fan and a point immediately upstream of the slot-like openings.
5. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 3 or 4, wherein the ducting is divided into two separate airflow paths at a point downstream of the fan.
6. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 3, wherein the width of the or each slot-like opening is no more than 0.5 mm.
7. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 3, wherein the fan is adapted to cause an airflow to be emitted through the or each slot-like opening at a velocity of at least 80 m/s.
8. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 7, wherein the fan is adapted to cause an airflow to be emitted through the slot-like opening at a velocity of at least 100 m/s.
9. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 3, wherein the fan is adapted to cause an airflow to be emitted through the or each slot-like opening at a pressure of at least 8 kPa.
10. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein the fan is adapted to cause an airflow to be emitted through the or each slot-like opening at a pressure of at least 12 kPa.
11. The drying apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 3, wherein the drying apparatus is a hand dryer.
12. (canceled)
Description
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a national stage application under 35 USC 371 of International Application No. PCT/GB2006/002144, filed Jun. 12, 2006, which claims the priority of United Kingdom Application Nos. 0515739.1, filed Jul. 30, 2005, and 0600880.9, filed Jan. 17, 2006, the contents of which prior applications are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to drying apparatus which makes use of a narrow jet of high velocity, high pressure air to dry an object, including part of the human body. Particularly, but not exclusively, the invention relates to a hand dryer in which the air jet is emitted through a slot-like opening in the casing of the hand dryer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of air jets to dry hands is well known. Examples of hand dryers which emit at least one air jet through a slot-like opening are shown in GB 2249026A, JP 2002-034835A and JP 2002306370A. However, in practice it is very difficult to achieve an evenly distributed airflow of sufficiently high momentum to dry the user's hands efficiently in an acceptably short length of time. The prior art does not achieve this.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide drying apparatus which, in use, emits an air jet through a slot-like opening which is capable of drying an object in a short time as compared to the prior art. It is another object to provide a hand dryer which is capable of drying the user's hands in a short time in comparison to the prior art. It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved hand dryer in which the drying efficiency is improved in comparison to the prior art.

A first aspect of the invention provides drying apparatus having a casing, a cavity formed in the casing for receiving an object, a fan located in the casing and capable of creating an airflow, and at least one slot-like opening communicating with the fan and arranged in the casing so as to direct an airflow transversely across the cavity, wherein the slot-like opening is formed between opposing walls which approach one another at an angle of between 10° and 20°.

In a preferred embodiment, the angle between the walls of the slot-like opening is substantially 14°. This angle has been found to be advantageous in that the momentum of the airflow emitted through the slot-like opening is greatly increased in comparison to that of the prior art devices. This increases the efficiency of the dryer by virtue of the fact that more water is blown from the object during each pass thereof through the airflow exiting the slot-like openings.

A second aspect of the invention provides drying apparatus having a casing, a cavity formed in the casing for receiving an object, a fan located in the casing and capable of creating an airflow, and two opposing slot-like openings communicating with the fan via ducting and arranged in the casing so as to direct an airflow transversely across the cavity, wherein the ducting has a first cross-section in the vicinity of the fan whose dimensions are similar in all directions and a slot-like cross-section in the vicinity of the openings, the transition between the said cross-sections being gradual and smooth.

Preferably, the total cross-sectional area of the ducting is substantially constant between the fan and a point immediately upstream of the slot-like openings. This minimises losses within the ducting and enhances the efficiency of the fan.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment of the invention in the form of a hand dryer will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a hand dryer according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the hand dryer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of the hand dryer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side sectional view, shown on an enlarged scale, of the upper ends of the air ducts forming part of the hand dryer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic sectional side view, shown on a further enlarged scale, of the slot-like opening located in the front wall of the cavity of the hand dryer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional side view, shown on the same further enlarged scale, of the slot-like opening located in the rear wall of the cavity of the hand dryer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of the ducting forming part of the hand dryer of FIG. 1 shown in isolation from the other components of the apparatus;

FIG. 8 a is a plan view of the cavity entrance of a hand dryer according to a second embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 8 b is a front view of the slot-like opening located in the rear wall of the cavity of the hand dryer of FIG. 8 a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the hand dryer 10 shown in the drawings comprises an outer casing 12 having a front wall 14, a rear wall 16, an upper face 18 and side walls 20, 22. The rear wall 16 can incorporate fixing devices (not shown) for securing the hand dryer 10 to a wall or other structure prior to use. An electrical connection (not shown) is also provided on the rear wall or elsewhere on the casing 12. A cavity 30 is formed in the upper part of the casing 12 as can be seen from FIGS. 1 and 2. The cavity 30 is open at its upper end and delimited thereat by the top of the front wall 14 and the front of the upper face 18. The space between the top of the front wall 14 and the front of the upper face 18 forms a cavity entrance 32 which is sufficiently wide to allow a user's hands to be introduced to the cavity 30 through the cavity entrance 32. The cavity 30 is also open to the sides of the hand dryer 10 by appropriate shaping of the side walls 20, 22.

The cavity 30 has a front wall 34 and a rear wall 36 which delimit the cavity 30 to the front and rear respectively. Located in the lowermost end of the cavity 30 is a drain 38 which communicates with a reservoir (not shown) located in the lower part of the casing 12. The purpose of the drain and reservoir will be described below.

As shown in FIG. 3, a motor (not shown) is located inside the casing 12 and a fan 40, which is driven by the motor, is also located inside the casing 12. The motor is connected to the electrical connection and is controlled by a controller 41. The inlet 42 of the fan 40 communicates with an air inlet 44 formed in the casing 12. A filter 46 is located in the air passageway connecting the air inlet 44 to the fan inlet 42 so as to prevent the ingress of any debris which might cause damage to the motor or the fan 40. The outlet of the fan 40 communicates with a pair of air ducts 50, 52 which are located inside the casing 12. The front air duct 50 is located primarily between the front wall 14 of the casing 12 and the front wall 34 of the cavity 30, and the rear air duct 52 is located primarily between the rear wall 16 of the casing 12 and the rear wall 36 of the cavity 30.

The air ducts 50, 52 are arranged to conduct air from the fan 40 to a pair of opposed slot-like openings 60, 62 which are located in the front and rear walls 34, 36 respectively of the cavity 30. The slot-like openings 60, 62 are arranged at the upper end of the cavity 30 in the vicinity of the cavity entrance 32. The slot-like openings 60, 62 are each configured so as to direct an airflow generally across the cavity entrance 32 towards the opposite wall of the cavity 30. The slot-like openings 60, 62 are offset in the vertical direction and angled towards the lowermost end of the cavity 30.

FIG. 4 shows the upper ends of the air ducts 50, 52 and the slot-like openings 60, 62 in greater detail. As can be seen, the walls 54 a, 54 b of the air duct 50 converge to form the slot-like opening 60 and the walls 56 a, 56 b of the air duct 52 converge to form the slot-like opening 62. Even greater detail can be seen in FIGS. 5 and 6. FIG. 5 shows that the slot-like opening 60 has a width of W1 and FIG. 6 shows that the slot-like opening 62 has a width of W2. The width W1 of the slot-like opening 60 is smaller than the width W2 of the slot-like opening 62. The width W1 is 0.3 mm and the width W2 is 0.4 mm.

Each pair of walls 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b is arranged so that the respective walls approach one another as they approach the respective slot-like opening 60, 62. If an imaginary axis 70 is considered to lie midway between each pair of walls, as is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, then each wall 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b lies at an angle of substantially 7° to the respective axis 70. Thus the angle formed between each pair of walls 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b is thus substantially 14°. This angle has been found to be advantageous, although it could be varied by several degrees. Angles of between 10° and 20° may be used.

Sensors 64 are positioned in the front and rear walls 34, 36 of the cavity 30 immediately below the slot-like openings 60, 62. These sensors 64 detect the presence of a user's hands which are inserted into the cavity 30 via the cavity entrance 32 and are arranged to send a signal to the motor when a user's hands are introduced to the cavity 30. As can be seen from FIGS. 1 and 3, the walls 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b of the ducts 50, 52 project slightly beyond the surface of the front and rear walls 34, 36 of the cavity 30. The inward projection of the walls 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b of the ducts 50, 52 reduces the tendency of the user's hands to be sucked towards one or other of the walls 34, 36 of the cavity, which enhances the ease with which the hand dryer 10 can be used. The positioning of the sensors 64 immediately below the inwardly projecting walls 54 a, 54 b, 56 a, 56 b of the ducts 50, 52 also reduces the risk of the sensors 64 becoming dirty and inoperative.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, the shape of the cavity entrance 32 is such that the front edge 32 a is generally straight and extends laterally across the width of the hand dryer 10. However, the rear edge 32 b has a shape which consists of two curved portions 33 which generally follow the shape of the backs of a pair of human hands as they are inserted downwardly into the cavity 30 through the cavity entrance 32. The rear edge 32 b of the cavity entrance 32 is substantially symmetrical about the centre line of the hand dryer 10. The intention of the shaping and dimensioning of the front and rear edges 32 a, 32 b of the cavity entrance 32 is that, when a user's hands are inserted into the cavity 30 through the cavity entrance 32, the distance from any point on the user's hands to the nearest slot-like opening is substantially uniform.

The air ducts 50, 52 form part of the ducting 90 which lies between the fan 40 and the slot-like openings 60, 62. A perspective view of the ducting 90 is shown in FIG. 7. The ducting 90 includes a scroll 92 which lies adjacent the fan 40 and receives the airflow generated by the fan 40. The scroll 92 communicates with a first chamber 94 which is generally square in cross-section, although the cross-section could easily be generally circular. The intention is that the cross-section of the chamber 94 should have dimensions which are substantially the same in both directions. Immediately downstream of the chamber 94 is a Y-junction 96 downstream of which the air ducts 50, 52 are located. As has been described above, the air ducts 50, 52 pass towards the upper end of the casing 12 with the front air duct 50 being located between the front wall 14 of the casing 12 and the front wall 34 of the cavity 30 and the rear duct 52 being located between the rear wall 16 of the casing 12 and the rear wall 36 of the cavity 30. The air ducts 50, 52 communicate with the slot-like openings 60, 62 at the upper end of the cavity 30.

The ducting 90 is designed so that the cross-sectional area of the ducting 90 gradually transforms from the generally square (or circular) shape of the chamber 94 to the slot-like shape of the openings in a smooth and gradual manner. Immediately downstream of the chamber 94, the ducting divides into the air ducts 50, 52, at the upstream end of which the cross-sectional area is still generally square in shape—ie, the breadth and depth of the cross-section are substantially similar. However, the cross-section changes gradually with distance from the chamber 94 so that the breadth of each duct 50, 52 increases as the depth reduces. All of the changes are smooth and gradual to minimise any frictional losses.

At a point 98 immediately upstream of each of the slot-like openings 60, 62, the cross-sectional area of each of the air ducts 60, 62 begins to decrease so as to cause the velocity of the airflow travelling towards the slot-like openings 60, 62 to increase dramatically. However, between the chamber 94 and the point 98 in each air duct 50, 52, the total cross-sectional area of the ducting (ie. the combined cross-sectional area of the air ducts 50 and 52) remains substantially constant.

The hand dryer 10 described above operates in the following manner. When a user's hands are first inserted into the cavity 30 through the cavity entrance 32, the sensors 64 detect the presence of the user's hands and send a signal to the motor to drive the fan 40. The fan 40 is thus activated and air is drawn into the hand dryer 10 via the air inlet 44 at a rate of approximately 20 to 40 litres per second and preferably at a rate of least 25 to 27 litres per second, more preferably air is drawn into the hand dryer 10 at a rate of 31 to 35 litres per second. The air passes through the filter 46 and along the fan inlet 42 to the fan 40. The airflow leaving the fan 40 is divided into two separate airflows; one passing along the front air duct 50 to the slot-like opening 60 and the other passing along the rear air duct 52 to the slot-like opening 62.

The airflow is ejected from the slot-like openings 60, 62 in the form of very thin, stratified sheets of high velocity, high pressure air. As the airflows leave the slot-like openings 60, 62, the air pressure is at least 15 kPa and preferably approximately 20 to 23 kPa. Furthermore, the speed of the airflow leaving the slot-like openings 60, 62 is at least 80 m/s and preferably at least 100 or 150 m/s, more preferably approximately 180 m/s. Because the size of the slot-like opening 62 located at the end of the rear duct 52 is greater than the size of the slot-like opening 60 located at the end of the front duct 50, a larger volume of air is emitted from the duct 52 than from the duct 50. This provides a greater mass of air for drying the backs of the user's hands which is advantageous.

The two thin sheets of stratified, high velocity, high pressure air are directed towards the surfaces of the user's hands which, during use, are inserted fully into the cavity 30 and are subsequently withdrawn from the cavity 30 via the cavity entrance 32. As the user's hands pass into and out of the cavity 30, the sheets of air blow any existing water off the user's hands. This is achieved reliably and effectively because of the high momentum of the air leaving the slot-like openings 60, 62 and because the airflow is evenly distributed along the length of each slot-like opening 60, 62.

Each stratified sheet of air is directed towards the wall of the cavity 30 which is remote from the slot-like opening through which the respective sheet of air is emitted. Because the slot-like openings 60, 62 are also inclined towards the lowermost end of the cavity 30, the emitted airflows are directed into the cavity 30. This reduces the risk of turbulent air movement being felt by the user outside the casing, eg in the user's face.

It is envisaged that it will take only a small number of “passes” of the hand dryer described above to dry a user's hands to a satisfactory degree. (By “pass”, we mean a single insertion of the hands into the cavity and subsequent removal therefrom at a speed which is not unacceptable to an average user. We envisage that a single pass will have a duration of no more than 3 seconds.) The momentum achieved by the airflows is sufficient to remove the majority of water found on the surface of the user's hands after washing during a single pass.

The water removed by the airflows is collected inside the cavity 30. Each airflow will rapidly lose its momentum once it has passed the user's hands and the water droplets will fall to the lower end of the cavity 30 under the forces of gravity whilst the air exits the cavity 30 either through the cavity entrance 32 or via the open sides of the cavity 30. The water, however, is collected by the drain 38 and passed to a reservoir (not shown) where it is collected for disposal. The reservoir can be emptied manually if desired.

Alternatively, the hand dryer 10 can incorporate some form of water dispersal system including, for example, a heater for evaporating the collected water into the atmosphere. The means by which the collected water is dispersed does not form part of the present invention.

In an alternative embodiment, the slot-like openings 60, 62 can be arranged so that the sheets of air which are emitted therefrom are directed generally along planes which are substantially parallel to one another. This minimises the amount of turbulent flow present inside the cavity 30 whilst the drying apparatus is in use.

In a further alternative embodiment shown in FIGS. 8 a and 8 b the slot-like openings are not of constant width across the length L of the cavity of the hand dryer. FIG. 8 a shows a plan view of the cavity entrance of length L. The dotted lines indicate the position and shape of the user's hands as they are normally inserted into the cavity 30 between the front and rear edges 32 a, 32 b. The arrows 80 shown in FIG. 8 a indicate the direction of the airflow emitted from the slot-like openings 60, 62 located in the edges 32 a, 32 b of the cavity entrance 32. In this embodiment the curved portions 33 of the rear edge 32 b are symmetrical about the centre line A-A of the cavity entrance 32 with the centre portion of the rear edge 32 b being closer to the front edge 32 a at the centre line than at a position spaced from the centre line. The minimum distance d between the front and rear edges 32 a, 32 b is at the centre line. The distance between the front edge 32 a and the rear edge 32 b is at a maximum, D, at the mid point of each curved portion. FIG. 8 b shows the shape of the slot-like opening located in the rear wall of the cavity.

Preferably, the width of the slot-like opening in the rear wall varies gradually, increasing towards the mid point of the opening, at centre line A-A of cavity entrance 32.

In this alternative embodiment it is preferred that the variation in width of the opening is achieved by varying the distance of the upper wall of the slot-like opening away from the lower wall, in the shape of a curve, preferably in a smoothly curving shape. More preferably the curve is symmetrical about centre line A-A of the cavity entrance 32. Preferably the maximum width R of the opening is at centre line A-A and is 0.7 mm.

Preferably, the width r is substantially constant in regions F and G with the varying width region (region E in FIGS. 8 a and 8 b) comprising at least half the total length L of the cavity entrance, most preferably the central half. Preferably r is 0.4 mm.

In region E of the hand dryer the width of the slot-like opening 62 is greater than the width of the slot-like opening 62 in regions F and G. The increase in size of the slot-like opening 62 provides a greater mass of air 80 from rear duct 52 for drying the backs of the user's hands in the thumb and forefinger area which is advantageous. The greater mass of air in region E and the momentum achieved by the airflow is sufficient to remove the majority of water found on the backs of the user's hands after washing during a single pass.

The invention is not intended to be limited to the precise detail of the embodiments described above. Modifications and variations to the detail which do not alter the scope of the invention will be apparent to a skilled reader. For example, the shape of the cavity 30 and its entrance 32 may be altered without departing from the essence of the present invention.

Référencé par
Brevet citant Date de dépôt Date de publication Déposant Titre
US7596883 *3 août 20056 oct. 2009Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaHand drying apparatus
US7774953 *25 mai 200717 août 2010Duran Napoli IAthlete hand drying system
US8347522 *26 juin 20068 janv. 2013Dyson Technology LimitedDrying apparatus
US8490291 *13 juin 200623 juil. 2013Dyson Technology LimitedDryer
US8544186 *11 mai 20111 oct. 2013Hokwang Industries Co., Ltd.Hand dryer with annular air exhaust
US20120285033 *11 mai 201115 nov. 2012Chi-Chin HsuHand dryer with annular air exhaust
Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis34/202
Classification internationaleA47K10/00, A47K10/48
Classification coopérativeA47K10/48
Classification européenneA47K10/48
Événements juridiques
DateCodeÉvénementDescription
6 mars 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: DYSON TECHNOLOGY LIMITED, UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HACKWELL, PAUL CEDRIC CAMPBELL;NICOLAS, FREDERIC;REEL/FRAME:020611/0451;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080131 TO 20080211