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Патент USA US3090300

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May 21, 1963
D. 5. R055
3,090,290
DATA PROCESSING SYSTEM
Filed 001;. 14, 1960
4 Sheets-Sheet 1
INVENTOR.
DONALD s. ROSS
W69
I
'
I
ATTORN Y
May 21, 1963
n. 5. R085
3,090,290
DATA PROCESSING sysmu
Filed Oct. 14. 1960
4 Sheets-Sheet 2
INVENTOR.
ONALD 8. R088
BY
' ATTORN
m
Y
May 21, 1963
D. 5. R085
3,090,290
DATA PROCESSING SYSTEM
Filed Oct. 14, 1960
4 Sheets-Sheet 3
FIG. 3.
INVENTOR.
DONALD S. ROSS
BY
ATTORNEY
United States Patent 0 M1C6
1
2
3,096,290
invention by providing a servomechanism to automati—
cally vary the length of ?lm being processed in propor
DATA PROCESSING SYSTEM
Donald S. Ross, Lexington, Mass, assignor to ltelt {Cor
poration, Waltharn, Mass, a corporation of Delaware
Filed Oct. 14, ‘1960, Ser. No. 62,611
7 Claims. (Cl. 95-89)
This invention relates generally to the art of data
tion to the ?lm velocity, thereby maintaining the length
of time the ?lm is processed equal to the preselected
processing time.
An object of this invention is to provide an improved
data processing system for processing data bearing ?lm.
A further object of this invention is to provide an im
processing. More particularly, the invention relates to
proved data processing system for continually processing
rapid and controlled continuous processing of data hear 10 data bearing ?lm.
ing photographic ?lm.
A further object of this invention is to provide an im
While the invention is subject to a wide range of appli
proved data processing system for continuously process
cation it is especially suited for use in an automatic con
ing data bearing ?lm irrespective of the ?lm velocity to
tinuous processing system for processing ?lm that is being
the system.
exposed at a varying rate and a usable photograph is 15
A further object of this invention is to provide a data
desired immediately after exposure irrespective of the
processing system for processing data bearing ?lm that
exposure rate.
is light in weight and compact.
A major problem frequently encountered in modern
As used in this speci?cation, the term “monobath” de
photographic work is the requirement for the rapid proc
?nes a viscous solution of photographic processing ma
essing of high quality negative or positive images for
terial used to simultaneously ‘develop and ?x a latent
visual examination, telemetering, or some other use where
quick access to the recorded information is essential. In
image.
many instances the need for rapid access to the photo
graphic image is accompanied ‘by a variable ?lm output
As used in the speci?cation, the term “photo
graphic ?lm” is intended to define the combination of a
carrier and any of the well known photosensitive ma
terials. As used in the speci?cation, the term “thixo
rate from a recording station. This poses a problem, in 25 tropy” de?nes the property or phenomenon exhibited by
that the processor must accommodate ?lm coming to it
certain gels of becoming ?uid when vibrated, pressurized,
at cycling rates which vary. By way of example the
and/ or placed under shear. As used in this speci?cation,
cycling rate may vary from one frame per second to ten
the term “thixotropic photographic processing ge ” is de
frames per second. The average ?lm velocity would
vary from less than one inch per second for 70 mm. ?lm
to 45 inches per second for ?ve inch ?lm. The same is
true in many continuous strip photographic applications,
where the exposure rate may vary from instant to instant.
?ned as a viscous solution of photographic processing
material in a thixotropic responsive gel medium.
For a better understanding of the present invention,
together with other and further examples thereof, ref
erence is made to the following description taken in con
In a photographic system, when the environmental
nection with the accompanying drawings, and the scope
conditions of camera, camera lens, ?lm emulsion type 35 will be pointed out in the appended claims.
and illumination are chosen, the processing material re
In the drawings:
sponse time is then determined. Therefore, the process
FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram illustrating the
ing rate at which the processor is to operate is ?xed.
operation of the preferred embodiment of the present in
Where one or all of the above conditions are varied, the
rate of operation for the processor must also be changed. 40
Processing rates per frame may vary from less than one
second for four and one-half inch ?lm to as high as forty
eight seconds for 70 mm. ?lm. Frequently, there are
vention;
FIG. 2 is a partially schematic perspective view of the
preferred embodiment of a one-stage ?lm processing ap
paratus embodying the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the belt, processing
material, ?lm, and pressure roller taken along line 3-3
variations in conditions; as for example, in a reconnais 45 in FIG. 2;
no means available to compensate the processor for these
ance missile or satellite.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a thixotropic gel
The prior art, for example, as shown in US. Patent
applicator taken along line 4—4 in FIG. 2; and
No. 2,446,668, discloses apparatus with which it is pos
FIG. 5 is a schematic block diagram of another em
sible to photograph, process, and project images in a short
bodiment of the present invention.
50
interval. The apparatus is of the type in which the ?lm
Referring now to FIG. 1 there is schematically illus
is fed to and from each of the exposure processing and
trated the broad operation of a continuous processor
projecting stations in rapid succession by a single ?lm
embodying the present invention.
feeding means, which is driven by a motor and which
The system broadly operates to continuously process
motor constitutes the sole driving means for the com
a data bearing ?lin a preselected time irrespective of the
plete apparatus. No provision is made to adapt the
film velocity. in ‘order to accomplish this the system
motor to another rate of ?lm feed or to a periodically
operates to vary the length of ?lm in a processing means
in accordance with the ?lm velocity, so that ti e ?lm re
varying rate of ?lm feed.
In addition, there are many applications where there
is a time delay between the separate stages of the photo
graphic process. Several known devices employ stored
loops, excessive rebate length, intermittent processing or
continuous processing with rate control by solution tem
As illustrated, a data bearing ?lm 23 moves at an inde
terminate velocity VQ from a source 4-5. The ?lm 23
perature variations. Each method required complex
equipment that is relatively high in weight and large in
size. In addition, processing apparatus employing proc
essing solutions in liquid form tend to be too heavy and
conveyance means. The roller 12 de?nes the entrance
to the processing means and roller 14 the exit therefrom.
In addition rollers 12 and i4 transport the ?lm through
bulky for use in reconnaisance missiles and satellite ap
plication.
The problem of accommodating continuous processing
having a preselected processing time and a data bearing
?lm moving at an indeterminate vvelocity is solved in this
mains in the processing means for the preselected time.
is transported through a continuous processing means
16 over two rollers l2‘ and 14, which form part of the
processing means 16 at the ?lm velocity V0.
The ?lm
length control means includes a ?lm velocity sensor 22
for sensing the ?lm velocity V0 and producing a signal
indicative of ?lm velocity V0; a reference velocity signal
generator 47 computes a reference velocity Vr from the
relationship Vr=L,./ T, where Vr corresponds to the ref
3,090,290
3
erence velocity, Lr corresponds to a selected value of ?lm
length in the processing means, and T corresponds to the
preselected processing time of the processing medium;
and a velocity comparator 27 for comparing reference
velocity Vr and ?lm velocity V0 and producing an error
velocity signal AV indicative of the algebraic difference
of the two velocities VI and V0 respectively. The error
velocity AV may have a positive or negative value de
pending on the magnitude of the two velocities VT and
V0 respectively. The positive or negative value indicates 10
the direction and distance of movement required to vary
the length of ?lm in the processing means.
The ?lm
length control means 23 receives, as an input, the error
4
rotational velocity of servo-motor 25 equal to the ?lm
velocity V0. Servo-motor 25 is connected to roller 12 by
a shaft 37 whereby the roller 12 has a rotational velocity
‘equal to the ?lm velocity V0. The roller 12, in turn drives
belt 11 for transporting the ?lm 23.
In the preferred embodiment, belt 11 is constructed of
stainless steel because of its ?exibility, high heat of con
ductivity, ease of fabrication and photographic com
patability. However, belt 11 may be constructed with a
pair of ridges 32 parallel to its lateral edges. The ridges
32 are separated from each other a distance substantially
equal to the width of ?lm 23. The ridges prevent lateral
?ow of the processing medium 34 from the belt 11.
Refer-ring once again to FIG. 2, belt 11 passes over
31a attached to frame 3t} up or down. The frame 30, in 15 roller 12, under roller 17, and over rollers 14, 15, 20, 21,
and back to roller 12. Rollers 15, 17, 20, and 21 are
turn, is attached to a translatable roller 17. The move
velocity signal AV and drives rack and pinion 31 and
ment of frame 36 up and down varies the length of the
?lm in the processing means in accordance with the error
velocity AV, whereby the ?lm remains in the processing
slave rollers, that is, they are not positively driven. All
rollers have a plurality of sprockets 38 to mesh with a
plurality of apertures 33 through belt 11 arranged parallel
means 16 the preselected time T irrespective of the film 20 to both lateral edges of belt 11 and between ridges 32
and lateral edges of belt 11. Uses of sprockets 38‘ and
apertures 33 maintain positive drive and prevent slippage
Referring now in more detail to the drawings and with
of belt 11 on the rollers. Rollers 12, 14, and 21 are ?xed
particular reference to FIG. 2 there is here illustrated a
relative to each other.
preferred embodiment of the invention for thixotropic
velocity V0.
photographic processing. The data processing system in 25
cludes a source 45 of moving data bearing ?lm 23, mov
ing in the direction of the arrows A at an indeterminate
velocity V0. The processing means includes a processing
medium applicator ltl located adjacent to a conveyance
means.
The conveyance means includes a belt 11 which
A processing loop is described by belt '11 from roller
12, under roller 17, to roller 14. Roller 12‘ is disposed
at the entrance of the processing loop and roller 14 is dis
posed at the exit therefrom. A return loop is described
by belt 11 ‘from rollers 14, 15, 20, and 21 to roller 12.
Roller 14 is tendency driven ‘by a belt 40» between pulley
is passed over a drive roller 12, under a pressure roller 1%,
a guide roller 17, over a tension roller 14, under a tension
41 attached to shaft 37‘ and a slip clutch 42 attached to
a variable servo-motor 25 through computer 27 for vary
is maintained in the direction of rotation of motor 25.
shaft 43 of the roller 14. The ratio‘ of pulleys 41 and
slip clutch 42 permits roller 14 to revolve at a slightly
roller 15, over a guide roller 29, and under an idler roller
higher rotational velocity than roller .12 whereby constant
21 and back to roller 12 to form a continuous loop. A
?lm velocity sensor 22 is located adjacent to the exposed 35 tension is maintained on belt 11 passing through the
processing loop. The slip clutch 42 direction of rotation
?lm 23 entering the processing means and is coupled to
ing the rotational velocity in accordance with the ?lm
velocity V0. The servo-motor 25 drives the roller 12
through a shaft 37. A pressure roller 19‘ is adjacent to
the belt 11 over roller 12 for holding the ?lm 23 against
a processing gel 34 to be described hereinafter.
The ?lm length control means includes a computer 27
for receiving a ?lm velocity signal V0 and a programmed
Roller 15 is suspended by a pair of springs 44 to maintain
constant tension on belt 11 passing through the return
loop. Since roller 12 positively drives the belt 11, the
'veloctiy of belt 11 is equal to the ?lm velocity V0.
Film 23 is placed on the belt 11 between ridges 3'2
simultaneous with the passage of belt 11 over roller 12.
Film 23 is between ridges 32 with the exposed surface of
value of processing time to compute a value of ?lm 45 ?lm 23 facing the belt 11, and remains in the processing
loop until belt 11 arrives at roller 14 after passing under
length. The computer may be programmed for a refer
roller 17. At roller 14 belt 11 enters the return loop
ence velocity indicative of a reference length from the
while film 23 proceeds to a further operable position not
relationship V,=L,/ T as discussed with reference to FIG.
shown.
1. In addition to function as a reference velocity signal
The characteristics of the photosensitive material, the
generator, the computer 27 also functions as a velocity 50
processing material, and the desired use to which the data
comparator for comparing the actual ?lm velocity and
is to be applied determine the processing rate. A value of
reference ?lm velocity for producing an error signal in
temperature is determined to speed processing without
damage to the ?lm. This evaluation determines the allow
time. A position sensor 29 is attached to a frame 30 and 55 able processing time during which the ?lm is to be proc
essed to the desired output. It is this value of processing
is coupled to computer 27 for feeding back the actual
time that is programmed into computer 27.
length of ?lm in the processor to the comparator. This
Simultaneous with the input of ?lm 23 to belt 11 the
provides in indication of the required direction of change
roller frame 30 is translated to vary the length of belt 11
needed, that is, increase or decrease of length. The driv
ing means includes a rack and pinion 31 and 31a, respec 60 in the processing loop. A signal indicative of the velocity
dicative of the required change in length needed to main
tain the ?lm in the processor for the preselected processing
tively, attached to the frame 30 and attached to a re
versible servo-motor 28. Servo-motor 28‘ is coupled to
transmitted to computer 27 is evaluated with the pro
grammed value of processing time to calculate a value of
?lm length in the processing loop. This value represents
computer 27 for varying the ?lm length through the rack
the length of ?lm 23 which must remain in the processing
and pinion 31 and 31a whereby the ?lm is processed for
65 loop to obtain the desired result. Rollers 17 and 20 are
the preselected time irrespective of said ?lm velocity.
positionally ?xed relative to each other on frame 30‘ and
In operation, the system is preset for operation within
are capable of vertical movement relative to roller 12.
an expected ?lm velocity range. A preselected processing
Rack and pinion 31 and 31a, respectively, are attached
time is programmed on the computer 27 in accordance
to frame 30. Position sensor 29 is attached to frame 30
with the criterion to be stated hereinafter. The data
processing system becomes functional when the ?lm 70 to determine the instantaneous position of rollers 17 and
20 relative to roller 12. A signal representative of this
velocity sensor 22 senses the velocity of ?lm 23‘ emerging
position is transmitted to computer 27. Computer 27
from the source 45. Sensor 22 produced a signal indica
calculates a resultant command signal. The value is in
tive of the ?lm velocity V0 and transmits the signal to
dicative of the distance and direction of vertical move
the computer 27. The computer 27 transmits the velocity
to the variable speed servo-motor 25 directly to vary the 75 ment frame 30 must undergo to change the position of
3,090,290
6
rollers ‘17 and 20‘ relative to roller 12. The change in
level of density. Stage C has been modi?ed to ?x the
position of rollers 17 and 20 will alter the con?guration
of both processing and return loops. This command sig
developed image in ?lm 23.
nal is transmitted to reversible servomotor- 28. servo
motor 28‘ will move rack and pinion '31 and 31m respec
tively with subsequent movement of ‘frame 30 through the
correct distance and direction. Thus the length of the ?lm
in the processing loop is varied in accordance with ?lm
velocity V0. Film 23‘ will remain in the processing loop
the preselected length of time irrespective of ?lm velocity
While there vhave been described what are at present
considered to be the preferred embodiments of this in
ventor, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that
various changes and modi?cations may be made therein
without departing ‘from the invention, and it is therefore
aimed in the appending claims to cover all such changes
and modi?cations as fall within the true spirit and scope
10 of the invention.
V0 in the processing loop.
What is claimed is:
Referring to FIGS. ‘3 and 4, the processing means in
1. A data processing system, comprising: a source of
the monobath thixotropic ?lm processing embodiment be
moving data bearing ?lm, said ?lm having an indeter
minate velocity; processing means, including ‘a processing
determined quantity of monobath thixotropic photo 15 medium for continuously processing said ?lm, the time
graphic processing gel 34 is stored in applicator .10. The
of processing being preselected in accordance with selected
comes operative with the movement of belt '11. A pre
gel 34 is maintained under pressure by a pressure plate 35
characteristics of said medium and ?lm; conveyance means
and at a pressure such that gel 34 will not leave applica
‘coupled to said source and processing means for trans
tor 10 while belt 11 is stationary. As belt 11 moves into
porting said ?lm through said processing means at said
the processing loop belt 11, in contact with a variable ori 20 ?lm velocity; ?lm length control means coupled to said
?ce 36, becomes a shearing arm receiving a predetermined
conveyance and processing means for controlling the
length of ?lm in said processing means, said control means
amount of gel 34 through ori?ce 36-. The resultant pres
including a reference velocity signal generator for produc
sure exerted by pressure plate 35 and the shearing force
lique?es a surface of gel 34 applied to belt 11. The sur
ing a reference velocity signal proportional to said pre
face lique?ed is the free surface of the medium. Gel 34 25 selected time, a ?lm density sensor for producing a signal
is applied to belt 11 by applicator 10' between ridges 32.
indicative of said ?lm density and modifying said refer
ence velocity signal proportional to said ?lm density, for
As belt 111 with gel 34 passes over roller 12 ?lm 23‘ is
transported by belt 11 through the processing loop. The
providing controlled density of said processed ?lm, a ?lm
velocity sensor for producing a signal indicative of said
combination of belt 11 and ?lm 23, with gel 34 between,
is nipped between roller 12 and pressure roller 19‘. This 30 ?lm velocity, a velocity comparator for producing an error
signal in accordance with the algebraic difference of said
action insures uniform thickness of gel 34 and establishes
velocity signals; and driving means coupled to said ?lm
uniform contact between the exposed surface of ?lm 23
and the liquid surface of gel 34.
length control means ‘adapted for receiving said error
signal, said driving means adjusting the ?lm length in
Ridges 32 also acts to prevent gel 34 from oozing from
between belt 11 and ?lm 23‘. A pair of heaters 16 and 35 said processing means in accordance with said modi?ed
error signal, whereby said ?lm is processed for said pre
18 maintain belt 11 at the constant temperature predeter
selected time irrespective of said ?lm velocity.
mined to reduce processing time without damage to the
2. A data processing system for a moving strip of
?lm. The liquid surface of gel 34 acts on the exposed sur
photographic ?lm comprising:
face of ?lm 23v to process the latent image contained
therein during the required processing time at the velocity 40 an endless belt conveyor;
of belt 11. Belt cleaner 13 removes exhausted gel as
?lm 23 proceeds to the next stage, and belt 11 proceeds
into the return loop.
While there have been described an apparatus which
processes ?lm automatically and adapts automatically to 45
the ?lm velocity, the effect has been accomplished without
complex equipment because the gel layer is, for example,
approximately two mils in thickness. By way of illustra
tion, 1,000‘ feet of ?ve-inch ?lm may be processed with
approximately 120 cubic inches of material weighing six
pounds as compared to twice the volume using ordinary
viscous solution or ten times the volume using spray
means for driving said conveyor at a velocity corre
sponding to the velocity of movement of said ?lm;
means for applying a uniform coating of a semi-fluid
processing medium to said belt conveyor;
means for bringing said ?lm into face-to-face contact
with a traverse of said conveyor to which said proc
essing medium has been applied; and
means for varying the path length of said traverse as a
methods. The result is a great reduction in weight and
function of the velocity of movement of said ?lm,
whereby said ?lm is processed in a manner that is in
dependent of the velocity of movement of said ?lm.
3. A data processing system as in claim 2, wherein said
belt has disposed thereon a pair of ridges parallel to each
size. The process can be adapted to process ?lm to a de
other and to the edges of said belt, said ridges being
sired degree of quality without di?’iculty utilizing any 55 adapted for retaining said processing medium on said belt.
4. A data processing system as in claim 2, wherein said
processing material formulated previously or contemplat
last named means includes:
ed. By controlling the processing technique it is possible
a device for measuring the density of said ?lm to vary
to produce a usable photograph with the desired degree of
the length of said traverse as a function of said
acuitance and resolution in periods of less than ten seconds
density.
from the moment of exposure to the projected position.
60
5. A data processing system for a moving strip of
A series of modules, each substantially as previously
photographic ?lm comprising:
described, can be interconnected to process exposed ?lm
an endless belt conveyor;
in a series of stages where each stage is a modular unit
means for driving said conveyor at a velocity corre
modi?ed to the particular purpose of that stage. Thus
sponding to the velocity of movement of said ?lm;
there may be two stage processing where one stage is de 65
means for applying a uniform coating of a semi-?uid
velopment and one stage is ?xing; or there may be three
processing medium to said belt conveyor;
stage processing where there is two stage development and
means for bringing said ?lm into face-to-face contact
one stage ?xing. In FIG. 5 there is shown a schematic
with a traverse of said conveyor to which said proc
diagram of a three stage processor. Stage A develops
essing medium has been applied;
70
?lm to» a predetermined value of density. The actual value
a roller for guiding said belt conveyor; and
of density of the ?lm emerging from stage A is determined
means for altering the position of said roller thereby
by densitometer 39. This value is transmitted to computer
to vary the path length of said traverse as a function
27 to modify the value of processing loop length in stage
of the velocity of movement of said ?lm,
B to complete the development of ?lm 23 to the desired 75
whereby said ?lm is processed in a manner that is in
3,090,290
7
dependent of the velocity of movement of said ?lm.
6. A data processing system as in claim 5, said last
named means including:
a movable mounting device for said roller and a posi
tional servo mechanism coupled to said mounting
device.
7. A data processing system for a moving strip of
photographic ?lm comprising:
an endless belt conveyor;
means for driving said conveyor at a velocity corre 10
sponding to the velocity of movement of said ?lm;
_ means for bringing said ?lm into face-to-face contact
with a traverse of said conveyor to which said proc
essing medium has been applied, said means in~
eluding;
a roller for creating pressure between said ?lm‘ and
coating; and
means for varying the path length of said traverse as a
function of the velocity of movement of said ?lm,
whereby said ?lm is processed in a manner that is in
dependent of the velocity of movement of said ?lm.
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
means for applying a uniform layer of a processing
medium dispersed in a thixotropic gel to said belt
conveyor;
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,945,429
Grant ______________ .._ July 19, 1960
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