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(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (io) Pub. No.: US 2004/0045187 Al
Curry et al. (43) Pub. Date: Mar. 11,2004
(54) HEATLESS AND REDUCED-HEAT DRYING SYSTEMS
(75) Inventors: John Michael Curry, Piano, TX (US);
Troy Inslee Vanderhoof, Piano, TX
(US); Brian Douglas Cross, Double
Oak, TX (US)
WOOD, HERRON & EVANS, LLP
2700 CAREW TOWER
441 VINE STREET
CINCINNATI, OH 45202 (US)
(73) Assignee: Andrew Corporation, Orland Park, IL (US)
(21) Appl. No.: 10/238,503
(22) Filed: Sep. 10, 2002
(51) Int. CI.7 F26B 11/02
(52) U.S. CI 34/595; 34/254
Apparatus and method for drying articles either free ol applied heat or with a significantly reduced heating requirement. The apparatus includes a drying gas source is operative to dehumidify a moisture-laden gas, such as ambient air, flowing in the flow path to provide a drying gas to a drying chamber of a receptacle holding the articles. The drying gas removes moisture, or other cleansing liquid, from articles held in the chamber. The drying gas and moisture entrained in the drying gas are exhausted from the receptacle. The apparatus may optionally be equipped to provide a cleansing liquid, such as water, to the receptacle for mixing with the articles before the drying gas is supplied.
Patent Application Publication Mar. 11,2004 Sheet 2 of 2 US 2004/0045187 Al
HEATLESS AND REDUCED-HEAT DRYING
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates generally to drying systems and, in particular, to drying systems that remove moisture from moist or wetted articles with either non-heated air or air heated to a reduced temperature.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Conventional drying systems, such as for use to dry items including clothing, are of the once-through external air type. In such systems, the ambient air is heated with a heater, usually by exposing a forced flow of ambient air or other gas to heat generated by a gas heating box or an electric heating element. An air plenum conveys the heated drying air into a chamber enclosed within a tumbler drum. A load of waterimpregnated articles is carried within the tumbler drum, which is rotated such that the articles will be tumbled while heated drying air flows through the drum. A full load of wet articles, particularly absorbent articles, may contain one to one and a half gallons of water that must be extracted. The heated drying air elevates the temperature of the articles and the water held by the articles. The heated water evaporates and is entrained in the heated air. The spent hot, moistureladen air is discharged from the dryer. The discharge air path is typically vented to the outside of the building in which the dryer is positioned.
 Conventional dryers equipped with a conventional heater for heating the drying air suffer from multiple deficiencies. Foremost among these deficiencies is that the primary energy consumption associated with the dryer arises from powering the heater. In addition, the heat transfer from the heater to the flowing air is relatively inefficient in that significant heat energy is wasted. Another deficiency is that the heat transferred from the heated air may deteriorate the articles in some way and, as a result, reduces their lifetime. Furthermore, certain articles, such as fabric articles, are prone to shrinkage when exposed to elevated temperatures. Yet another deficiency of conventional dryers is that the heater provides a significant fire or flammability hazard.
 Similar to the operation drying systems used for fabric articles, other drying systems rely on a flow of a heated air or gas to a stationary chamber for removing moisture from moist or wetted articles. For example, the semiconductor packaging industry utilizes aqueous washing to remove solder flux residues from assembled dies and substrates. After washing, a heated stream of air is used to remove residual water from the surfaces of the assembly. Yet another drying system that relies on heated air for water removal is a dishwasher. At the end of a washing cycle of a dishwasher, residual water left on the dishes is evaporated by heating the residual water to a temperature greater than the dew point temperature of the air in the dishwasher chamber.
 Therefore, it would be desirable to have a drying system that has reduced reliance on a heavy flow of heated air for removing the moisture from the articles being dried. Furthermore, it is desirable to significantly reduce or even eliminate the reliance of a drying system on any heat source. It is further desirable to reduce the detrimental effects of heat on the articles being dried.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a dryer in accordance with principles of the invention;
 FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of an embodiment of the dryer of FIG. 1 in accordance with principles of the invention;
 FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of the dryer of FIG. 1 in accordance with principles of the invention;
 FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of the dryer of FIG. 1 in accordance with principles of the invention;
 FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of the dryer of FIG. 1 in accordance with principles of the invention; and
 FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of the dryer of FIG. 1 in accordance with principles of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
 Although the invention will be described next in connection with certain embodiments, the invention is not limited to practice in any one specific type of drying system or dryer. It is contemplated that the invention can be used with a variety of drying systems, including but not limited to dryers for fabric articles or clothes dryers. Exemplary clothes dryers in which the principles of the invention can be used are commercially available, for example, from Maytag Corporation (Newton, Iowa), General Electric Company (Louisville, Ky.), Whirlpool Corporation (Benton Harbor, Ml), and Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Hoffman Estates, 111.) and such commercially available clothes dryers can be adapted to include a drying system constructed in accordance with the present invention. It is appreciated that the drying systems of the invention may be used to dry other moist or wetted articles, such as dishes or electronic and semiconductor components, or any other washed or wetted components or articles that require active drying. The description of the invention is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalent arrangements as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. In particular, those skilled in the art will recognize that the components of the invention described herein could be arranged in multiple different ways.
 With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a dryer 10 according to the principles of the invention includes an open-ended receptacle 12 rotatably disposed within an outer cabinet 14 consisting of a metal sheet housing attached to a rigid support frame. The receptacle 12 is rotated, when the dryer 10 is operating, by a motor 16 mechanically coupled with drum 12 by a drive mechanism for rotating the receptacle as understood by those of ordinary skill. A cabinet door 18 is pivotally movable between an open position permitting delivery of articles to be dried and a closed position when the dryer 10 is operating. In the open position, the cabinet door 18 provides access to a chamber 20 provided inside the receptacle 12. The chamber 20 is adapted to accept wet or moist articles. In the closed position, a resiliently compress