DISCLOSURE OF APPARATUS AND METHOD
Publication Date: 2017-Jun-01
The IP.com Prior Art Database
This disclosure relates to an apparatus suitable for connecting to, for example, a conventional washer-extractor. The apparatus provides a conventional washer-extractor with the ability to handle and utilise solid particles, especially solid particles having a size of from 1 to 20mm. Washer extractors utilising such solid particles are currently only available from Xeros Technology Group Plc. The apparatus is preferably in the form of a pedestal which sits underneath the conventional washer-extractor. The combined apparatus is especially suitable for cleaning and laundry. This disclosure also describes the basic operation of the apparatus when connected to a washer-extractor.
 Field of the disclosure
 Currently, the only washer-extractors using solid particle cleaning technology are those supplied by Xeros Technology Group Plc. Conventional washer-extractors as defined herein are not configured to handle or utilise solid particles.
 This disclosure relates to an apparatus suitable for connecting to, for example, a conventional washer-extractor which then provides said conventional washer-extractor with the ability to utilise solid particles after minimal modification. By the word connecting we preferably mean the mechanical and/or electrical connections. It also relates to the method of employing said apparatus when connected to, for example a conventional washer-extractor for treating (especially cleaning) a substrate such as laundry items.
 Washing methods utilising solid particles are known in the art. For example, PCT patent publication WO2007/128962 discloses a method of cleaning a soiled substrate using a multiplicity of polymeric particles.
 Cleaning apparatus are already known in the art which utilise solid particles. For example, PCT patent publication WO2011/098815 discloses an apparatus which can utilise solid particulate matter and which provides the advantages of reduced water usage, reduced energy requirements and efficient cleaning of soiled substrates.
 Indeed, following on from these and many other technological developments commercial washer-extractors employing solid particles are now available from Xeros Technology Group Plc (including Xeros Inc. and Xeros Ltd.) which provide amongst other things one or more of the following advantages including: superior cleaning performance, markedly reduced water consumption, much reduced energy consumption and improved fabric care.
 Whilst Xeros’s commercial washer-extractors are exceptionally well developed and maximise the benefits of the presence of solid particles, some collaborating washer-extractor manufacturers might prefer to employ key aspects of their own washing technology in combination with Xeros’s solid particle technology. Also, it would be desirable to find a way to “retro-fit” Xeros’s solid particle handing technology into conventional washer-extractors. In this way, for example, end users would not need to buy a new washer-extractor but could instead retro-fit a pre-existing conventional washer-extractor.
 Accordingly, there is disclosed herein an apparatus which can be connected to a wide variety of conventional washer-extractors as a retro-fit option, and thereby provide the ability to utilise solid particles. The components of the apparatus are kept elegantly simple and versatile such that a wide variety of conventional washer-extractor configurations can be connected, and such that the resulting machine can best take advantage of other features which the relevant manufacturer feels are of importance or value.
 The appara...