(19)
(11)EP 3 719 315 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
08.02.2023 Bulletin 2023/06

(21)Application number: 20171076.1

(22)Date of filing:  19.12.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F04B 13/02(1968.09)
F04B 49/02(1968.09)
D06F 39/08(1968.09)
D06F 39/14(1968.09)
D06F 39/02(1968.09)
F04B 49/10(1968.09)
D06F 39/10(1968.09)
D06F 103/18(2020.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
F04B 13/02; F04B 49/02; F04B 49/106; F04B 2205/09; D06F 39/022; D06F 34/14; D06F 39/085; D06F 39/028; D06F 39/14; D06F 2103/18; D06F 39/10

(54)

WASHING AGENT PUMP AND LAUNDRY TREATING APPARATUS HAVING THE SAME

WASCHMITTELPUMPE UND WÄSCHEBEHANDLUNGSVORRICHTUNG MIT SOLCH EINER PUMPE

POMPE D'AGENT DE LAVAGE ET APPAREIL DE TRAITEMENT DE LINGE COMPORTANT UNE TELLE POMPE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 05.01.2016 KR 20160001255

(43)Date of publication of application:
07.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/41

(60)Divisional application:
22212389.5

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
16205022.3 / 3190293

(73)Proprietor: LG Electronics Inc.
07336 SEOUL (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • JUNG, Sungwoon
    08592 Seoul (KR)
  • JANG, Hunjun
    08592 Seoul (KR)

(74)Representative: Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB 
Siebertstrasse 3
81675 München
81675 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 708 633
JP-A- 2011 200 519
KR-A- 20150 006 260
EP-A1- 2 829 649
JP-A- 2013 099 400
US-A1- 2008 202 173
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This specification relates to a washing agent pump and a laundry treating apparatus having the same.

    [0002] As well known, a laundry treating apparatus is a type of an apparatus for treating (washing) clothes or laundry through a washing process and a rinsing process.

    [0003] The laundry includes not only clothes but also washable articles including bed clothing such as bed clothes, curtains, stuffed dolls and the like.

    [0004] The laundry treating apparatus has a dehydrating function of spinning washed clothes or laundry at a preset speed to dehydrate moisture.

    [0005] Some of such laundry treating apparatuses have a drying function of drying washed clothes or laundry by supplying heated air.

    [0006] Meanwhile, the laundry treating apparatus has a washing agent supplying function of supplying detergent or washing agent (hereinafter, referred to as 'washing agent') to improve a washing effect.

    [0007] Here, the washing agent includes materials, such as laundry detergents, fabric softeners, bleaching agents and the like, which enhance the washing effect.

    [0008] As the washing agent, a powder washing agent, a liquid washing agent or a gel-type washing agent is used.

    [0009] The powder washing agent is not dissolved after washing due to its relatively low dissolution and detergent ingredients remain in a wash tub or laundry.

    [0010] In recent time, considering the problem of the powder washing agents, the liquid washing agents having relatively high dissolution are increasing in use.

    [0011] Some of those laundry treating apparatuses have a liquid washing agent supply device for supplying a liquid washing agent to washing water.

    [0012] The liquid washing agent supply device includes a storage container in which the liquid washing agent is stored, and a pump provided at a discharge side of the storage container.

    [0013] However, the related art laundry treating apparatus cannot accurately detect a residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0014] This causes inconvenience in requiring for frequently checking a detergent container.

    [0015] Also, upon performing washing without recognizing a residual quantity shortage of the liquid washing agent in advance, the washing is not performed properly.

    [0016] Considering these problems, a sensor is installed in the detergent container in some laundry treating apparatuses. However, when the sensor is installed in the detergent container, it makes it difficult to draw out the detergent container and inconvenience in refilling the liquid washing agent is caused accordingly.

    [0017] JP 2013 099400 A relates to a drum-type washer comprising: a rotary drum; a water tank housing the rotary drum; a motor for rotationally driving the rotary drum; a circulation water channel for circulating washing water in the water tank through a circulation channel, which is connected to the bottom part of the water tank by means of a circulation pump; an electrode sensor disposed at a side wall of piping, which is located in the vicinity of the lowest point of the circulation channel, for detecting the electroconductivity; controlling means for controlling a series of processes such as washing, rinsing and dehydrating by controlling the motor. The controlling means is configured to detect a first electroconductivity for a period in which the circulation channel is filling with washing water, and detect a second electroconductivity for a period in which the circulation channel is out of washing water, and detect the abnormality of the electrode sensor on the basis of values of the first and second electroconductivity.

    [0018] EP 2 829 649 A1 relates to a detergent dosing device in a washing machine and a method for controlling same. An electric machine and a dosing cartridge piston mechanism are connected together by a crank and connecting rod mechanism, and the number of revolutions of the electric machine is counted by a cam and a contact switch so as to control the operation of the electric machine. The amount of detergent added is controlled by controlling the number of revolutions of the electric machine.

    [0019] Therefore, an object of the detailed description is to provide a washing agent pump capable of facilitating a storage container to be drawn out without employing a detecting unit for detecting a residual quantity of liquid washing agent in the storage container, and a laundry treating apparatus having the same.

    [0020] Another object of the detailed description is to provide a washing agent pump capable of preventing an incorrect detection of a residual quantity of a liquid washing agent, caused due to bubbles generated during a flow of a liquid washing agent, and a laundry treating apparatus having the same.

    [0021] Another object of the detailed description is to provide a washing agent pump capable of preventing an incorrect detection of a residual quantity of a liquid washing agent, and reducing a deviation of a supply quantity of the liquid washing agent, and a laundry treating apparatus having the same.

    [0022] These objects are achieved with the features of the claims.

    [0023] To achieve these objects, there is provided a laundry treating apparatus as defined in claim 14. The apparatus may include a cabinet, a tub provided within the cabinet, a rotary tub provided within the tub in a rotatable manner, and a washing agent supply unit provided with a storage container storing therein a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener (softening agent) and drawn out of the cabinet, a washing agent supply passage having one side connected to the storage container and another side connected to the tub, and a washing agent deliver member provided in the washing agent supply passage to deliver the liquid washing agent.

    [0024] The washing agent deliver member is a washing agent pump.

    [0025] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the washing agent pump includes a passage forming member forming a passage of the liquid washing agent and the pressing space, and provided with an intake valve opening and closing an inlet port of the pressing space, and a discharge valve opening and closing an outlet port of the pressing space, a cylinder disposed at one side of the passage forming member to communicate with the pressing space, a piston disposed within the cylinder in a reciprocating manner. It may include a residual quantity detecting unit provided with an air pocket communicating with the passage of the passage forming member and temporarily storing therein air and the liquid washing agent, and electrodes disposed within the air pocket to be contactable with the liquid washing agent, the residual quantity detecting unit detecting the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0026] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the washing agent supply passage for supplying the liquid washing agent may be provided between the washing agent pump and the tub.

    [0027] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the residual quantity detecting unit may be disposed at a downstream side of the pressing space along a flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0028] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the air pocket may include an introduction portion through which the liquid washing agent is introduced and a discharge portion through which the liquid washing agent is discharged.

    [0029] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the introduction portion and the discharge portion may be spaced apart from each other in the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0030] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the discharge portion may be located below the introduction portion.

    [0031] In an embodiment disclosed herein, an upper end of the discharge portion may be disposed at the same height as a bottom of the introduction portion.

    [0032] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the upper end of the discharge portion may be disposed lower than the bottom of the introduction portion.

    [0033] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the residual quantity detecting unit may be disposed at an upstream side of the pressing space along the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0034] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the passage forming member is provided with an introduction space, which is disposed at the upstream side of the pressing space and in which the liquid washing agent is introduced.

    [0035] In an embodiment disclosed herein, a volume of the air pocket may be greater than that of the introduction space.

    [0036] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the air pocket may upwardly protrude above the passage such that the liquid washing agent is temporarily accommodated in a lower portion of the air pocket and air is accommodated above the liquid washing agent.

    [0037] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the volume of the air pocket may be greater by more than two times than the volume of the introduction space.

    [0038] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the apparatus may further include an intake valve spring and a discharge valve spring restoring the intake valve and the discharge valve to initial positions thereof, respectively.

    [0039] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the apparatus further includes a piston operating unit operating the piston.

    [0040] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the introduction space may be provided with an introduction hole formed through a peripheral surface of the passage forming member, and further include an introduction hole opening/closing member opening and closing the introduction hole.

    [0041] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the introduction hole opening/closing member may open and close the introduction hole while moving along a lengthwise direction of the passage forming member.

    [0042] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the apparatus may further include an introduction hole opening/closing member spring applying elastic force to the introduction hole opening/closing member in a direction of closing the introduction hole.

    [0043] Meanwhile, in accordance with another aspect, the present invention provides a washing agent pump as defined in claim 1.

    [0044] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the residual quantity detecting unit may be disposed at a downstream side of the pressing space along a flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0045] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the air pocket may include an introduction portion through which the liquid washing agent is introduced and a discharge portion through which the liquid washing agent is discharged. The introduction portion and the discharge portion may be spaced apart from each other in the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent, and the discharge portion may be located below the introduction portion.

    [0046] In an embodiment disclosed herein, an upper end of the discharge portion may be disposed at the same height as a bottom of the introduction portion or lower than the bottom of the introduction portion.

    [0047] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the passage forming member may be provided with an introduction space, which is disposed at an upstream side of the pressing space and in which the introduction space storing the liquid washing agent introduced. The residual quantity detecting unit may be disposed at the upstream side of the pressing space along the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent to communicate with the introduction space.

    [0048] In an embodiment disclosed herein, a volume of the air pocket may be greater than a volume of the introduction space.

    [0049] In an embodiment disclosed herein, the intake valve may be disposed within the pressing space and the discharge valve may be disposed outside the pressing space. The washing agent pump may further include an intake valve spring and a discharge valve spring restoring the intake valve and the discharge valve to initial positions thereof, respectively.

    [0050] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a washing agent pump may include a cylinder sucking and discharging a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener, a piston reciprocating within the cylinder, and a residual quantity detecting unit provided with an air pocket communicating with an intake-side passage or a discharge-side passage of the liquid washing agent of the cylinder and temporarily accommodating therein air and the liquid washing agent, and electrodes disposed within the air pocket to be contactable with the liquid washing agent, the residual quantity detecting unit detecting the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0051] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

    [0052] In the drawings:

    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a laundry treating apparatus in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a partial perspective view illustrating an inside of a cabinet of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 3 is a planar view of a washing agent supply unit area of FIG. 2;

    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a washing agent pump of FIG. 3;

    FIG. 5 is a sectional view illustrating a passage forming member area of the washing agent pump of FIG. 4;

    FIG. 6 is a sectional view illustrating a piston operating unit area of the washing agent pump of FIG. 4;

    FIG. 7 is a sectional view illustrating a residual quantity detecting unit of the washing agent pump of FIG. 4;

    FIG. 8 is a view illustrating a detergent introduction process of FIG. 5;

    FIG. 9 is a view illustrating a detergent discharge process of FIG. 5;

    FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a washing agent pump in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 11 is a sectional view of the washing agent pump of FIG. 10; and

    FIG. 12 is a view illustrating a variation of the washing agent pump of FIG. 10.



    [0053] Description will now be given in detail of exemplary embodiments disclosed herein, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

    [0054] In describing the present invention, moreover, the detailed description will be omitted when a specific description for publicly known technologies to which the invention pertains is judged to obscure the gist of the present invention. Also, it should be noted that the accompanying drawings are merely illustrated to easily explain the spirit of the invention, and therefore, they should not be construed to limit the spirit of the invention by the accompanying drawings.

    [0055] As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a laundry treating apparatus in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention may include a laundry treating apparatus main body 110, and a washing agent supply unit 190 having a storage container 210 for storing a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener, and supplying the liquid washing agent of the storage container 210 to the laundry treating apparatus main body 110.

    [0056] The laundry treating apparatus main body 110 may include a cabinet 120 defining appearance of the main body 110, a tub 130 provided within the cabinet 120, and a rotary tub (or drum) 140 provided in the tub 130 in a rotatable manner.

    [0057] The cabinet 120, for example, may be implemented in an approximately rectangular parallelepiped shape.

    [0058] The tub 130, for example, may be implemented in a cylindrical shape with one opening.

    [0059] The tub 130 may be disposed in a manner that the opening faces a front of the cabinet 120.

    [0060] The tub 130, for example, may be supported by a plurality of elastic members 142 and/or dampers 144.

    [0061] Accordingly, vibration of the tub 130 can be prevented.

    [0062] The rotary tub (or drum) 140 may rotate centering on a rotation shaft provided on one end portion (rear portion) of the tub 130.

    [0063] The rotary tub 140, for example, may be implemented in a cylindrical shape with one opening.

    [0064] The rotary tub 140 may be disposed in a manner that the opening communicates with the opening of the tub 130.

    [0065] A driving motor 145 for rotating the rotary tub 140 may be provided in a rear end portion of the tub 130.

    [0066] A door 125 for opening and closing the opening of the tub 130 may be disposed on a front surface of the cabinet 120.

    [0067] The door 125, for example, may be disposed to be relatively rotatable with respect to the cabinet 120.

    [0068] In more detail, for example, the door 125 may be coupled to the cabinet 120 in a manner of being rotatable in left and right directions of the cabinet 120 centering on a rotation shaft that is disposed in up and down directions of the cabinet 120.

    [0069] An electric heater 132 for heating water upon applying power may be provided, for example, in a lower area of the tub 130.

    [0070] A water collecting unit 134 in which water is collected may be provided at the lower area of the tub 130.

    [0071] The water collecting unit 134, for example, may downwardly protrude from a lower portion of the tub 130.

    [0072] The electric heater 132 may be installed to be sunk in water of the water collecting unit 134.

    [0073] A drain pump 150 for draining out water may be disposed at one area below the tub 130.

    [0074] A circulation passage 160 along which water is discharged out of the tub 130 and circulates into the tub 130.

    [0075] A circulation pump 162 allowing water to flow upward may be provided in the circulation passage 160.

    [0076] The circulation passage 160 may include a bellows 164 connected to a lower end of the tub 130, and a circulation pipe 166 connected to the bellows 164.

    [0077] A filter unit 170 that filters off foreign materials from water discharged out of the tub 130 may be provided at one side of the drain pump 150.

    [0078] The filter unit 170, for example, may include a filter casing 172, and a filter 174 detachably accommodated within the filter casing 172.

    [0079] The filter 174 may be provided with a filter handle 175 provided on a front surface thereof.

    [0080] The filter 174 may be coupled in a manner that the filter handle 175 is externally exposed and a rear area of the filter handle 175 is inserted into the filter casing 172.

    [0081] The filter casing 172, for example, may be connected to one end portion of the circulation pipe 166.

    [0082] The circulation pump 162, for example, may be connected to an upper side of the circulation pipe 166 in an upwardly protruding manner.

    [0083] A bellows connecting portion 167 connected with the bellows 164 may be formed on another end portion of the circulation pipe 166.

    [0084] The bellows connecting portion 167, for example, may be configured in a hemispherical shape with an upper opening.

    [0085] A water level detecting unit pipe 169 for detecting a water level of the tub 130 may be connected to the bellows connecting portion 167.

    [0086] A drain pipe 155 through which water is discharged to outside may be connected to a discharge side of the drain pump 150.

    [0087] The circulation passage 160 may be provided with a discharge pipe 168 disposed at a discharge side of the circulation pump 162 and having one end connected to an upper area of the tub 130.

    [0088] Meanwhile, a washing agent supply unit 190 for supplying a liquid washing agent into the tub 130 may be provided within the cabinet 120.

    [0089] The washing agent supply unit 190, for example, may be provided below the tub 130.

    [0090] The liquid washing agent refers to a material, such as liquid fabric detergent, liquid fabric softener (liquid fabric softening agent) or liquid fabric bleaching agent, which improves a washing effect of the laundry.

    [0091] The washing agent supply unit 190 may include a storage container 210 storing therein a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener and drawn out of the cabinet 120, a washing agent supply passage 260 formed between the storage container 210 and the tub 130 and allowing a supply of the liquid washing agent therethrough, and a washing agent delivery member provided in the washing agent supply passage 260.

    [0092] The washing agent delivery member, for example, may be implemented as a washing agent pump 280 provided in the washing agent supply passage 260.

    [0093] A storage container accommodating portion 220 in which the storage container 210 is accommodated to be drawn out thereof.

    [0094] A frame 230 having a draw-out opening 232 formed therethrough for drawing out the storage container 210 may be disposed at the front of the storage container accommodating portion 220.

    [0095] A filter opening 234 through which the filter 174 is detached may be formed through the frame 230.

    [0096] A cover 235 for opening and closing the draw-out opening 232 and the filter opening 234 may be provided on the front of the frame 230.

    [0097] The cover 235 may be rotatable with respect to the frame 230 in up and down directions.

    [0098] The cover 235 may rotate centering on a rotation shaft provided on a lower end of the frame 230.

    [0099] The storage container 210, for example, may be provided with a detergent storing portion 212a storing the liquid detergent therein, and a softener storing portion 212b storing the liquid softener therein.

    [0100] A storage container handle 215 may be provided on a front surface of the storage container 210.

    [0101] This may facilitate the storage container 210 to be drawn out, accommodated and moved.

    [0102] The detergent storing portion 212a and the softener storing portion 212b may store the detergent and the softener, respectively, by being divided by a partition wall 213 provided within a uni-body.

    [0103] The detergent storing portion 212a and the softener storing portion 212b may be provided with injection opening covers 216a and 216b, respectively, for opening and closing injection openings thereof.

    [0104] An installation space 225 in which the washing agent pump 280 is accommodated may be provided in the rear side of the storage container accommodating portion 220.

    [0105] The installation space 225, for example, may be open toward the rear of the cabinet 120.

    [0106] A washing agent supply passage 260 through which the washing agent is supplied may be formed at one side, for example, at the rear side of the installation space 225.

    [0107] The washing agent pump 280, for example, may include a detergent pump 280a connected to the detergent storing portion 212a, and a softener pump 280b connected to the softener storing portion 212b.

    [0108] The washing agent supply passage 260, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 3, may include a detergent supply passage 262 supplying the detergent therethrough, and a softener supply passage 266 supplying the softener therethrough.

    [0109] The detergent supply passage 262, for example, may be provided with a detergent discharge pipe 264 having one end connected to a discharge side of the detergent pump 280a, which is connected to the storage container accommodating portion 220, and another end connected to the bellows connecting portion 167.

    [0110] The softener supply passage 266, for example, may be provided with a softener discharge pipe 268 having one end connected to a discharge side of the softener pump 280b, and another end connected to the bellows connecting portion 167,

    [0111] Here, the detergent discharge pipe 264 and the softener discharge pipe 268 may all be connected to the bellows connecting portion 167, such that the washing agent can be supplied into the tub 130 after being diluted by being mixed with water of the bellows connecting portion 167 before flowing into the tub 130.

    [0112] With the configuration, the washing agent can be brought into contact with the laundry after being diluted by water, which may result in preventing damage on the laundry caused due to a direct contact between a high concentration washing agent and the laundry.

    [0113] The detergent pump 280a and the softener pump 280b may be connected to the storage container accommodating portion 220 in a manner of communicating with the detergent storing portion 212a and the softener storing portion 212b, respectively.

    [0114] The detergent storing portion 212a of the storage container 210 may be provided with a detergent pump connecting portion 217a that communicates with the detergent pump 280a when the storage container 210 is accommodated and blocks a leakage of the detergent from the detergent storing portion 212a when the storage container 210 is drawn out.

    [0115] The softener storing portion 212b of the storage container 210 may be provided with a softener pump connecting portion 217b that communicates with the softener pump 280b when the storage container 210 is accommodated and blocks a leakage of the softener from the softener storing portion 212b when the storage container 210 is drawn out.

    [0116] Hereinafter, a washing agent pump in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 4 to 9.

    [0117] As illustrated in FIGS. 4 to 6, a washing agent pump 280 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, for example, may include a cylinder 310 that sucks and discharges a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener, a piston 320 reciprocating within the cylinder 310, and a residual quantity detecting unit 410a having an air pocket 415 communicating with an intake-side passage or a discharge-side passage of the liquid washing agent of the cylinder 310 and temporarily storing therein air and the liquid washing agent, and an electrode 421 disposed within the air pocket 415 to be contactable with the liquid washing agent, and configured to detect a residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0118] The washing agent pump 280 may further include a passage forming member 360 forming a passage of the liquid washing agent and a pressing space 363, and provided with an intake valve 365 opening and closing an inlet port 364 of the pressing space 363, and a discharge valve 375 opening and closing an outlet port 374 of the pressing space 363, such that the pressing space 363 communicates with an inside of the cylinder 310.

    [0119] The washing agent pump 280, for example, may be provided with a piston operating unit 440 by which the piston 320 operates in a reciprocating manner.

    [0120] The washing agent pump 280 may further include a case 330 supporting the cylinder 310, the piston 320 and the piston operating unit 440 in an accommodating manner.

    [0121] The case 330, for example, may include a case body 332 forming an internal accommodation space, and a case cover 335 opening and closing the case body 332.

    [0122] The cylinder 310, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 6, may be coupled into the case body 332.

    [0123] The piston 320 may be inserted into the cylinder 310 to reciprocate therein.

    [0124] The piston operating unit 440 may be provided at another side within the case body 332.

    [0125] The piston operating unit 440, for example, may include an electric heater 442 generating driving force upon applying power, and a driving force transfer portion 445 transferring the driving force of the electric heater 442 to the piston 320.

    [0126] The driving force transferring portion 445, for example, may include a piston rod 447 having one end portion connected to the piston 320, a crankshaft 449 connected to another end portion of the piston rod 447, a driven gear 451 provided on a rotation shaft 450 of the crankshaft 449 and rotating integrally with the rotation shaft 450, a driving gear 453 disposed on a rotation shaft 443 of the electric motor 442, and a driving force transfer gear engaged with the driving gear 453 and the driven gear 451, respectively, to transfer rotational force of the driving gear 453 to the driven gear 451.

    [0127] The driving gear 453, for example, may be a worm provided on the rotation shaft 443 of the electric motor 442.

    [0128] The driving force transfer gear 455, for example, may include a first gear 456 configured as a worm wheel rotating with being engaged with the worm, and a second gear 457 rotated by being integrally coupled to a rotation shaft of the worm wheel and rotated by being engaged with the driven gear 451.

    [0129] The case body 332 and the case cover 335 may be engaged with each other by engagement portions 340.

    [0130] Each of the engagement portions 340 may include a coupling rib 342 extending from one of the case body 332 and the case cover 335 to another, and an engagement protrusion 345 protruding from the another to be engaged with the coupling rib 342.

    [0131] A protrusion insertion hole 343 may be formed through the coupling rib 342 such that the engagement protrusion 345 is inserted therethrough.

    [0132] This embodiment exemplarily illustrates that the coupling rib 342 is provided on the case cover 335 and the engagement protrusion 345 is provided on the case body 332, but this is merely illustrative. Alternatively, the coupling rib may be provided on the case body 332 and the engagement protrusion may be provided on the case cover 335.

    [0133] The passage forming member 360, for example, may integrally be coupled to one side of the case body 332.

    [0134] The passage forming member 360, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 5, may be provided with a first body 361a and a second body 361b that are coupled to each other in a lengthwise direction.

    [0135] The first body 361a and the second body 361b may be coupled integrally to each other by coupling members 362.

    [0136] The passage forming member 360 may form a passage of the liquid washing agent and the pressing space 363, and include the intake valve 365 opening and closing the inlet port 364 of the pressing space 363, and the discharge valve 375 opening and closing the outlet port 374 of the pressing space 363.

    [0137] The passage forming member 360 may be configured in an approximately cylindrical shape.

    [0138] The first body 361a and the second body 361b, for example, may all be formed in a cylindrical shape.

    [0139] A coupling portion 392 to be coupled to the installation space 225 may be provided on one side of the passage forming member 360.

    [0140] The pressing space 363 that communicates with the cylinder 310, for example, may be formed within the passage forming member 360, as illustrated in FIG. 7.

    [0141] The pressing space 363 may be formed within the second body 361b.

    [0142] A communication passage 313 (see FIG. 7) may be formed between the passage forming member 360 and the case 330 to communicate an inner space 312 of the cylinder 310 and the pressing space 363 with each other.

    [0143] Accordingly, during a reciprocating motion of the piston 320, each of suction force and compression force may be applied into the pressing space 363.

    [0144] The communication passage 313, for example, may be formed via the case 330 and a lower area of the passage forming member 360.

    [0145] The inlet port 364 and the outlet port 374 may be formed at an upstream side and a downstream side of the pressing space 363, respectively, along a flowing direction of the liquid washing agent (detergent).

    [0146] The intake valve 365 may be provided in the inlet port 364 to open and close the inlet port 364.

    [0147] The intake valve 365 may be provided within the pressing space 363.

    [0148] An intake valve spring 367 that applies elastic force in a direction that the intake valve 365 blocks the inlet port 364 may be provided at one side of the intake valve 365.

    [0149] The intake valve 365 may be restored to its initial position of blocking the inlet port 364 by the intake valve spring 367.

    [0150] The discharge valve 375 may be provided in the outlet port 374 to open and close the outlet port 374.

    [0151] The discharge valve 375 may be provided outside of the pressing space 363 (at a downstream side of the outlet port 374).

    [0152] A discharge valve spring 377 that applies elastic force in a direction that the discharge valve 375 blocks the outlet port 374 may be provided at one side of the discharge valve 375.

    [0153] The discharge valve 375 may be restored to its initial position of blocking the outlet port 374 by the discharge valve spring 377.

    [0154] Meanwhile, the passage forming member 360 may be provided therein with a residual quantity detecting unit 410a that detects a residual quantity of the washing agent.

    [0155] The residual quantity detecting unit 410a (see FIG. 5), for example, may be disposed at an upstream side of the pressing space 363 in the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0156] The residual quantity detecting unit 410a, for example, may include an air pocket 415 communicating with the passage of the passage forming member 360 and temporarily storing therein air and the liquid washing agent, and an electrode 421 disposed within the air pocket 415 to be contactable with the liquid washing agent.

    [0157] The passage forming member 360 may be provided with an introduction end portion 381 through which the liquid washing agent is introduced and an discharge end portion 391 through which the liquid washing agent is discharged.

    [0158] The discharge end portion 391 may be formed at the downstream side of the pressing space 363 in a manner of extending from the outlet port 374 of the pressing space 363.

    [0159] The introduction end portion 381 may be formed at the upstream side of the pressing space 363 in a manner of extending from the inlet port 364 of the pressing space 363.

    [0160] An introduction space 380 in which the liquid washing agent is introduced may be disposed at the upstream side of the pressing space 363.

    [0161] An introduction hole 383 through which the liquid washing agent is introduced into the introduction space 380 may be formed through one side of the introduction end portion 381.

    [0162] The introduction hole 383, for example, may be formed through a bottom surface of the introduction end portion 381 in a circumferential direction of the introduction space 380.

    [0163] This embodiment exemplarily illustrates that the introduction hole is formed through the lower side in the drawing, but the introduction hole may alternatively be formed through a side surface or an upper surface in the circumferential direction.

    [0164] Here, the introduction space 380, for example, may refer to a volume of a passage of the liquid washing agent from a left end portion of the first body 361a of the passage forming member 360 to the inlet port 364 of the pressing space 363.

    [0165] The introduction end portion 381 may be inserted into the detergent pump connecting portion 217a or the softener pump connecting portion 217b.

    [0166] An introduction hole opening/closing member 384 that opens and closes the introduction hole 383 may be provided on the introduction end portion 381.

    [0167] The introduction hole opening/closing member 384 may be coupled to a circumference of the introduction end portion 381 to be slidable along a lengthwise direction of the passage forming member 360.

    [0168] When the introduction end portion 381 is inserted into the detergent pump connecting portion 217a or the softener pump connecting portion 217b, the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 may be relatively slid as an end portion of the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 is brought into contact with an end portion of the detergent pump connecting portion 217a or the softener pump connecting portion 217b. Accordingly, the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 can open the introduction hole 383.

    [0169] The introduction hole opening/closing member 384, for example, may be formed in a cylindrical shape.

    [0170] An introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion 386 may be provided at outside of a periphery of the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 to accommodate the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 when opening the introduction hole 383.

    [0171] A coupling protrusion 388 may outwardly protrude from the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 in a radial direction.

    [0172] The coupling protrusion 388 may be provided in plurality.

    [0173] Each of the coupling protrusions 388 may be spaced apart from an outer surface of the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 in the radial direction.

    [0174] Each coupling protrusion 388 may be moved close to or away from (elastically transformed with respect to) the introduction hole opening/closing member 384.

    [0175] Coupling protrusion accommodating portions 387 for accommodating the coupling protrusions 388 may be provided in the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion 386.

    [0176] Each of the coupling protrusion accommodating portions 387 may be brought into contact with the coupling protrusion 388 so as to restrict the movement of the coupling protrusion 388, thereby preventing the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 from suddenly being separated from the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion 386.

    [0177] An introduction hole opening/closing member spring 385 may be provided within the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion 386. The introduction hole opening/closing member spring 385 may apply elastic force to the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 such that the introduction hole opening/closing member 384 can move to a closing position of closing the introduction hole 383.

    [0178] A coupling portion 389 coupled to the storage container accommodating portion 220 may be provided on an end portion of the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion 386.

    [0179] Sealing members 382a and 382b may be provided on both sides of the introduction hole 383 at the introduction end portion 381.

    [0180] The sealing members 382a and 382b may be brought into contact with an inner surface of the introduction hole opening/closing member 384, which has been moved to the closing position by the elastic force of the introduction hole opening/closing member spring 385 upon drawing out the storage container 210, thereby preventing a leakage of the liquid washing agent through the introduction hole 383.

    [0181] Meanwhile, the air pocket 415, for example, may be configured such that a lower portion thereof communicates with the passage of the liquid washing agent to temporarily accommodate the liquid washing agent. Also, the air pocket 415 may upwardly protrude above the passage so as to accommodate air above the liquid washing agent.

    [0182] In more detail, the air pocket 415 may be formed by an air pocket forming portion 412 having a lower end communicating with the passage of the passage forming member 360 and an upper end protruding in an open state, and an air pocket cover 414 coupled to the upper end of the air pocket forming portion 412.

    [0183] The air pocket forming portion 412, for example, may be formed in a rectangular parallelepiped shape.

    [0184] The air pocket forming portion 412 may be provided with coupling member coupling portions 416 to which coupling members 417 inserted through the air pocket cover 414 are coupled.

    [0185] The coupling member coupling portions 416, for example, may be formed on edges in a diagonal direction of the air pocket forming portion 412 and the air pocket cover 414, respectively.

    [0186] The air pocket cover 414 may be provided with an electrode 421 that downwardly extends into the pair pocket forming portion 412 to be contactable with the washing agent flowing along the passage of the passage forming member 360.

    [0187] The electrode 421, for example, may be provided as a pair.

    [0188] Each of the electrodes 421 may have a length such that a lower end thereof is disposed lower then an upper end (dotted line in the drawing) of a cross-section of the passage.

    [0189] In more detail, for example, each electrode 421 may be disposed in a range that the lower end thereof is lower than the upper end of the cross-section of the passage and higher than a center of the cross-section of the passage.

    [0190] This may result in correctly detecting the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0191] Meanwhile, a volume of the air pocket 415 may be greater than that of the introduction space 380.

    [0192] In more detail, the volume of the air pocket 415 may be greater by more than 2 times than the volume of the introduction space 380.

    [0193] This may result in effectively preventing an incorrect detection of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent, caused due to bubbles generated during the flow of the liquid washing agent (detergent).

    [0194] More concretely, during the flow of the liquid washing agent, air is stored in the air pocket 415 in a compressed state, so as to prevent the bubble generated due to the flow of the washing agent from upwardly moving along the electrodes 421. This may result in preventing the incorrect detection of the residual quantity caused due to the upward movement of the bubbles.

    [0195] With the configuration, when the electric motor 442 rotates in response to power applied thereto, the driving gear 453, the driving force transfer gear 455 and the driven gear 451 may rotate, and accordingly the crankshaft 449 may rotate.

    [0196] In response to the rotation of the crankshaft 449, the piston rod 447 may perform a reciprocating motion and the piston 320 may perform the reciprocating motion within the cylinder 310 accordingly.

    [0197] When the piston 320 is moved in a direction that an inner volume of the cylinder 310 extends, as illustrated in FIG. 8, suction force is generated in the pressing space 363 that communicates with the inside of the cylinder 310 via the communication passage 313, and accordingly the intake valve 365 opens the inlet port 364 by the suction force.

    [0198] When the inlet port 364 is open, the liquid washing agent within the storage container 210 may be introduced into the introduction space 380 through the introduction hole 383, and then flow into the pressing space 363 through the inlet port 364.

    [0199] When the piston 320 is moved in a direction that the inner volume of the cylinder 310 is reduced, as illustrated in FIG. 9, an inside of the pressing space 363 is compressed and thus the discharge valve 375 opens the outlet port 374 by the compression force of the piston 320.

    [0200] When the outlet port 374 is open, the compression force of the piston 320 is applied to the liquid washing agent (detergent, softener). Accordingly, the liquid washing agent may flow along the washing agent supply passage 260 (detergent supply passage 262 or softener supply passage 266) to be introduced into the bellows connecting portion 167.

    [0201] The liquid washing agent (detergent) introduced into the bellows connecting portion 167 may then be mixed with water and then introduced into the tub 130 along the circulation passage 160.

    [0202] When the electric motor 442 is stopped, the intake valve 365 and the discharge valve 375 may be restored to initial positions thereof, respectively, by the elastic force of the intake valve spring 367 and the elastic force of the discharge valve spring 377, thereby closing the inlet port 364 and the outlet port 374, respectively.

    [0203] Meanwhile, when the supply of the liquid washing agent is completed, the residual quantity detecting unit 410a may detect the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent remaining in the portion of the air pocket 415.

    [0204] Here, air is collected within the air pocket 415 during the flow of the liquid washing agent and a relative great amount of air is collected and compressed according to the lapse of time. Accordingly, the bubbles generated during the low of the liquid washing agent can be prevented from flowing up along the electrodes 421.

    [0205] Consequently, when a shortage of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent within the lower portion of the air pocket 415 is actually caused, the bubbles other than the liquid washing agent may flow up and simultaneously be brought into contact with the pair of electrodes 421, thereby preventing the incorrect detection of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0206] Hereinafter, a washing agent pump according to another embodiment will be described with reference to FIGS. 10 to 12.

    [0207] As illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11, a washing agent pump 280 according to this embodiment, for example, may include a cylinder 310 that sucks and discharges a liquid washing agent including liquid detergent or liquid softener, a piston 320 reciprocating within the cylinder 310, and a residual quantity detecting unit 410b detecting a residual quantity of the liquid washing agent, and provided with an air pocket 415 communicating with an intake-side passage or a discharge-side passage of the liquid washing agent of the cylinder 310 and temporarily storing therein air and the liquid washing agent, and an electrode 421 disposed within the air pocket 415 to be contactable with the liquid washing agent.

    [0208] The washing agent pump 280 may further include a passage forming member 360 forming a passage of the liquid washing agent and a pressing space 363, and having an intake valve 365 opening and closing an inlet port 364 of the pressing space 363, and a discharge valve 375 opening and closing an outlet port 374 of the pressing space 363, such that the pressing space 363 communicates with an inside of the cylinder 310.

    [0209] The passage forming member 360, for example, may be formed in an approximately cylindrical shape.

    [0210] The passage forming member 360 may be provided with an introduction end portion 381 through which the liquid washing agent is introduced along a flowing direction of the liquid washing agent, and an discharge end portion 391 through which the liquid washing agent is discharged.

    [0211] The washing agent pump 280 may further include a case 330 accommodating therein the cylinder 310, the piston 320 and the piston operating unit 440 in a supporting member.

    [0212] The case 330, for example, may be provided with a case body 332 forming an internal accommodation space, and a case cover 335 opening and closing the case body 332.

    [0213] Meanwhile, the residual quantity detecting unit 410b may be disposed at a downstream side of the pressing space 363 in the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0214] In more detail, the residual quantity detecting unit 410b may be provided at the discharge end portion 391 of the passage forming member 360.

    [0215] The introduction portion 391 may be provided therein with an air pocket forming portion 412 upwardly protruding to form the air pocket 415, and an air pocket cover 414 closing an upper end of the air pocket forming portion 412.

    [0216] The air pocket forming portion 412, for example, may be formed in a rectangular parallelepiped shape.

    [0217] The air pocket cover 414 may be provided therein with the electrode 421 that is disposed within the air pocket forming portion 412 in a manner of downwardly extending in up and down directions.

    [0218] The electrode 421 may be provided as a pair.

    [0219] The air pocket 415 may be provided with an introduction portion 431a through which the liquid washing agent is introduced, and a discharge portion 433a through which the liquid washing agent is discharged.

    [0220] The introduction portion 431a and the discharge portion 433a may be spaced apart from each other in the flowing direction of the liquid washing agent.

    [0221] The discharge portion 433a may be located at a downstream side of the introduction portion 431a.

    [0222] The introduction portion 431a and the discharge portion 433a may have the same height.

    [0223] Meanwhile, a residual quantity detecting unit 410c according to another embodiment of the present invention, for example, as illustrated in FIG. 12, may include an air pocket forming portion 412 forming an air pocket 415 therein and having an upper opening, an air pocket cover 414 closing the upper end of the air pocket forming portion 412, and an introduction portion 431b and a discharge portion 433b formed through the air pocket forming portion 412 in a manner of having a height difference.

    [0224] The air pocket cover 414 may be provided with a pair of electrodes 421 disposed within the air pocket forming portion 412 in up and down directions.

    [0225] The introduction portion 431b may be upwardly spaced apart from a bottom surface of the air pocket 415 to have a preset height from the bottom surface.

    [0226] The discharge portion 433b may have a lower height than the introduction portion 431b.

    [0227] In more detail, an upper end (i.e., ceiling) of the discharge portion 433b may be disposed lower than a bottom of the introduction portion 431b.

    [0228] With the configuration, internal air of the air pocket 415 can be prevented from being discharged through the discharge portion 433b.

    [0229] Accordingly, a flow distribution of the liquid washing agent discharged through the discharge portion 433b may be more reduced.

    [0230] Each of the electrodes 421 may be disposed lower in height than the upper end of the introduction portion 431b.

    [0231] This embodiment illustrates that the lower end of each electrode 421 is lower than the upper end of the introduction portion 431b and has the same height, but this is merely illustrative. Alternatively, one of the electrodes 421 which has a high height may be disposed to be lower than the upper end of the introduction portion 431b.

    [0232] This embodiment exemplarily illustrates that the upper end of the discharge portion 433b is disposed lower than a bottom portion of the introduction portion 431b. Alternatively, the upper end of the discharge portion 433b may have the same height as the bottom portion of the introduction portion 431b.

    [0233] With the configuration, when the piston 320 starts to reciprocate in response to rotation of the electric motor 442, the intake valve 365 and the discharge valve 375 may operate in an alternating manner, such that the liquid washing agent is introduced into the pressing space 363 and then discharged into the introduction portion 391.

    [0234] The liquid washing agent discharged into the introduction portion 391 may then be introduced into the air pocket 415 through the introduction portion 431b, and then discharged through the discharge portion 433b to be introduced into the bellows connecting portion 167.

    [0235] When the supply of the liquid washing agent is completed, the residual quantity detecting unit may detect the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0236] Air may be stored in a compressed state in the air pocket 415 during the flow of the liquid washing agent, thereby preventing bubbles generated during the flow of the liquid washing agent from flowing up along the electrodes 421. Accordingly, an incorrect detection of the residual quantity due to the upward flow of the bubbles of the liquid washing agent can be prevented, thereby improving reliability of detection. When the supply of the liquid washing agent is completed, the electrodes 421 may detect the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent remaining in the lower portion of the air pocket 415.

    [0237] Here, the air is stored in the air pocket in the compressed state during the flow of the liquid washing agent, and thus the bubbles generated during the flow of the liquid washing agent can be prevented from flowing up along the electrode 421.

    [0238] Accordingly, when a shortage of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent within the lower portion of the air pocket 415 is actually caused, the bubbles may flow up and simultaneously be brought into contact with the pair of electrodes 421, thereby preventing the incorrect detection of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent.

    [0239] As described above, according to one embodiment of the present invention, a washing agent pump supplying a liquid washing agent can be provided with a residual quantity detecting unit so as to facilitate a storage container for storing the liquid washing agent to be drawn out without a separate residual quantity detecting means in the storage container.

    [0240] Also, a residual quantity detecting unit can be provided therein with an air pocket in which air is accommodated, thereby remarkably preventing an incorrect detection of the residual quantity of the liquid washing agent, which is caused due to bubbles generated during a flow of the liquid washing agent.

    [0241] In addition, a residual quantity detecting unit may have a discharge portion that is lower than a bottom portion of an introduction portion. This may allow for preventing the air within the air pocket from being discharged simultaneously with the liquid washing agent, thereby preventing the incorrect detection of the residual quantity caused due to the bubbles and reducing a distribution of a supply quantity of the liquid washing agent due to an introduction of air.


    Claims

    1. A washing agent pump, comprising:

    a passage forming member (360) forming a passage of a liquid washing agent, and provided with an intake valve (365) opening and closing an inlet port (364) of a pressing space (363), and a discharge valve (375) opening and closing an outlet port (374) of the pressing space (363);

    a cylinder (310) disposed at one side of the passage forming member (360) to communicate with the pressing space (363);

    a piston (320) disposed within the cylinder (310) in a reciprocating manner;

    a piston operating unit (440) configured to operate the piston (320) to reciprocate; and

    an introduction end portion (381) protruding from a front portion of the passage forming member (360) and extending from the inlet port (364) of the pressing space (363);

    characterized in that the washing agent pump further comprises:

    an introduction hole opening/closing member (384) disposed to surround the introduction end portion (381) and configured to open and close an introduction hole (383) formed through one side of the introduction end portion (381); and

    an introduction hole opening/closing member spring (385) configured to apply elastic force to the introduction hole opening/closing member (384),

    wherein the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) is movable to open the introduction hole (383) when the introduction end portion (381) is coupled to a storage container (210) for storing a washing agent, and to close the introduction hole (383) by the introduction hole opening/closing member spring (385) when the introduction end portion (381) is separated from the storage container (210).


     
    2. The washing agent pump of claim 1,

    wherein the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) is formed in a cylindrical shape, and

    wherein an introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion (386) is located at the outside of the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) and configured to accommodate the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) therein when the introduction hole (383) is opened.


     
    3. The washing agent pump of claim 2,

    wherein the introduction end portion (381) protrudes to be inserted into or drawn out of one side of the storage container (210), and

    wherein the introduction hole opening/closing member (384), when being pressed, is configured to slide into the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion (386) when the introduction end portion (381) is coupled to the storage container (210).


     
    4. The washing agent pump of claims 1, 2 or 3, wherein the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) is configured to slide along the introduction end portion (381) to open the introduction hole (383), when the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) is pressed by external force greater than the elastic force.
     
    5. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) is configured to open and close the introduction hole (383) formed on a side portion of the passage forming member (360) in a reciprocating manner in a back and forth direction.
     
    6. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein a coupling portion (389) protrudes outward from the passage forming member (360) and is coupled to a storage container accommodating portion (220) in which the storage container (210) is accommodated,
     
    7. The washing agent pump of claim 6, wherein the introduction end portion (381) protrudes from the coupling portion (389).
     
    8. The washing agent pump of claims 6 or 7, wherein the introduction end portion (381) is located at an upstream side of the pressing space (363).
     
    9. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the passage forming member (360) is provided with an introduction space (380) at an upstream side of the pressing space (363), so that the liquid washing agent is introduced into the introduction space (380).
     
    10. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 1 to 9,

    wherein the intake valve (365) is disposed inside the pressing space (363) and the discharge valve (375) is disposed outside the pressing space (363), and

    wherein the washing agent pump (280) further comprises an intake valve spring (367) and a discharge valve spring (377) configured to restore the intake valve (365) and the discharge valve (375) to initial positions thereof, respectively.


     
    11. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein sealing members (382a, 382b) are disposed at the outside of the introduction end portion (381) and configured to contact with an inner surface of the introduction hole opening/closing member (384).
     
    12. The washing agent pump of claim 11, wherein the sealing members (382a, 382b) are disposed at positions adjacent to the introduction hole (383), and, preferably, wherein the sealing members (382b) are located at the downstream side with respect to the position of the introduction hole (383).
     
    13. The washing agent pump of any one of claims 2 to 12,

    wherein at least one coupling protrusion (388) protrudes outward from the introduction hole opening/closing member (384) in a radial direction,

    wherein a coupling protrusion accommodating portion (387) for accommodating each coupling protrusion (388) is formed in a side of the introduction hole opening/closing member accommodating portion (386), and

    wherein the coupling protrusion (388) is movable in an inserted state in the coupling protrusion accommodating portion (386).


     
    14. A laundry treating apparatus comprising:

    a laundry treating apparatus main body (110) having a cabinet (120), a tub (130) and a drum (140), and

    a washing agent supply unit (190) having a storage container (210) for storing a liquid washing agent, and

    a washing agent supply passage (260) formed between the storage container (210) and the tub (130) and allowing a supply of the liquid washing agent therethrough,

    wherein the washing agent supply passage (260) comprises a washing agent pump (280) according to any one of claims 1 to 13.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Waschmittelpumpe mit:

    einem Kanalbildungselement (360), das einen Kanal des flüssigen Waschmittels bildet, und mit einem Einlassventil (365), das eine Einlassöffnung (364) eines Druckraums (363) öffnet und schließt, und einem Auslassventil (375) versehen ist, das eine Auslassöffnung (374) des Druckraums (363) öffnet und schließt,

    einem Zylinder (310), der an einer Seite des Kanalbildungselements (360) angeordnet ist, so dass er mit dem Druckraum (363) in Verbindung steht;

    einem Kolben (320), der im Zylinder (310) in einer hin- und her beweglichen Weise angeordnet ist,

    einer Kolbenbetätigungseinheit (440), die vorgesehen ist, den Kolben (320) zu betätigen, so dass er sich hin- und herbewegt; und

    einem Einleitungsendabschnitt (381), der von einem vorderen Abschnitt des Kanalbildungselements (360) vorsteht und sich von der Einlassöffnung (364) des Druckraums (363) erstreckt;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Waschmittelpumpe ferner aufweist:

    ein Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384), das angeordnet ist, eine Außenseite des Einleitungsendabschnitts (381) zu umgeben und vorgesehen ist, ein durch eine Seite des Einleitungsendabschnitts (381) geformtes Einleitungsloch (383) zu öffnen und zu schließen, und

    eine Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement-Feder (385), die vorgesehen ist, eine Federkraft auf das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) auszuüben,

    wobei das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) bewegbar ist, um das Einleitungsloch (383) zu öffnen wenn der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) mit einem Vorratsbehälter (210) zum Aufbewahren eines flüssigen Waschmittels verbunden ist, und das Einleitungsloch (383) durch die Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement-Feder (385) zu schließen, wenn der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) vom Vorratsbehälter (210) getrennt ist.


     
    2. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 1,

    wobei das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) in einer zylindrischen Form ausgebildet ist, und

    wobei ein Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement-Aufnahmeabschnitt (386) an der Außenseite des Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelements (384) angeordnet ist und vorgesehen ist, das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) darin aufzunehmen, wenn das Einleitungsloch (383) geöffnet ist.


     
    3. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 2,

    wobei der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) vorsteht um in eine Seite des Vorratsbehälters (210) eingeführt oder daraus herausgezogen zu werden, und

    wobei das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384), wenn es gedrückt wird, vorgesehen ist in den Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement-Aufnahmeabschnitt (386) zu gleiten, wenn der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) mit dem Vorratsbehälter (210) verbunden ist.


     
    4. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 1, 2, oder 3, wobei das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) vorgesehen ist, entlang des Einleitungsendabschnitts (381) zu gleiten, um das Einleitungsloch (383) zu öffnen, wenn das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) mit einer äußeren Kraft gedrückt wird, die größer als die Federkraft ist.
     
    5. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) vorgesehen ist, das durch einen Seitenabschnitt des Kanalbildungselements (360) geformte Einleitungsloch (383) in einer in Vorwärts-Rückwärts-Richtung hin- und her beweglichen Weise zu öffnen und zu schließen.
     
    6. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei ein Verbindungsabschnitt (389), nach außen vom Kanalbildungselement (360) vorsteht und mit einem Vorratsbehälter-Aufnahmeabschnitt (220), in dem der Vorratsbehälter (210) aufgenommen wird, verbunden ist.
     
    7. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 6, wobei der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) von dem Verbindungsabschnitt (389) vorsteht.
     
    8. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 6 oder 7, wobei der Einleitungsendabschnitt (381) an einer vorgelagerten Seite des Druckraums (363) angeordnet ist.
     
    9. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei das Kanalbildungselement (360) an einer vorgelagerten Seite des Druckraums (363) mit einem Einlassraum (380) versehen ist, so dass das flüssige Waschmittel in den Einlassraum (380) eingeleitet wird.
     
    10. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei das Einlassventil (365) innerhalb des Druckraums (363) angeordnet ist und das Auslassventil (375) außerhalb des Druckraums (363) angeordnet ist, und
    wobei die Waschmittelpumpe (280) ferner eine Einlassventilfeder (367) und eine Auslassventilfeder (377) aufweist, die vorgesehen sind, das Einlassventil (365) und das Auslassventil (375) jeweils in die ursprüngliche Position zurückzuversetzen.
     
    11. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei Abdichtungselemente (382a, 382b) an der Außenseite des Einleitungsendabschnitts (381) angeordnet sind und vorgesehen sind, mit einer Innenseite des Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelements (384) in Verbindung zu treten.
     
    12. Waschmittelpumpe nach Anspruch 11, wobei die Abdichtungselemente (382a, 382b) an Positionen neben dem Einleitungsloch (383) angeordnet sind, und, vorzugsweise, wobei die Abdichtungselemente (382b) in Bezug auf die Position des Einleitungslochs (383) auf einer nachgelagerten Seite angeordnet sind.
     
    13. Waschmittelpumpe nach einem der Ansprüche 2 bis 12, wobei mindestens ein Verbindungsvorsprung (388) vom Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement (384) in radialer Richtung nach außen vorsteht,

    wobei ein Verbindungsvorsprungaufnahmeabschnitt (387) zur Aufnahme jedes Verbindungsvorsprungs (388) an einer Seite des Einleitungsloch-Öffnungs-/Schließelement-Aufnahmeabschnitts (386) gebildet ist, und

    wobei der Verbindungsvorsprung (388) in einen in den Verbindungsvorsprungaufnahmeabschnitt (387) eingeführten Zustand bewegbar ist.


     
    14. Wäschebehandlungsvorrichtung, mit:

    einem Wäschebehandlungsvorrichtungshauptkörper (110), mit einem Gehäuse (120), einem Bottich (130) und einer Trommel (140), und

    einer Waschmittelzufuhreinheit (190) mit

    einem Vorratsbehälter (210), um darin ein flüssiges Waschmittel zu bevorraten, und

    einem Waschmittelzufuhrkanal (260), der zwischen dem Vorratsbehälter (210) und dem Bottich (130) gebildet ist, und die Versorgung mit dem flüssigem Waschmittel durch ihn hindurch ermöglicht,

    wobei der Waschmittelzufuhrkanal (260) eine Waschmittelpumpe (280) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13 aufweist.


     


    Revendications

    1. Pompe à agent de lavage, comprenant :

    un élément formant passage (360) formant un passage d'un agent de lavage liquide, et pourvu d'une vanne d'admission (365) ouvrant et fermant un orifice d'admission (364) d'un espace de compression (363), et d'une vanne de refoulement (375) ouvrant et fermant un orifice de sortie (374) de l'espace de compression (363) ;

    un cylindre (310) disposé sur un côté de l'élément formant passage (360) pour communiquer avec l'espace de compression (363) ;

    un piston (320) disposé à l'intérieur du cylindre (310) de manière à exécuter un mouvement alternatif ;

    une unité d'actionnement de piston (440) prévue pour actionner le piston (320) pour que celui-ci exécute un mouvement alternatif ; et

    une section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) faisant saillie sur une partie avant de l'élément formant passage (360) et s'étendant depuis l'orifice d'admission (364) de l'espace de compression (363) ;

    caractérisée en ce que ladite pompe à agent de lavage comprend en outre :

    un élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction disposé de manière à entourer la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) et prévu pour ouvrir et fermer un orifice d'introduction (383) ménagé sur un côté de la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) ; et

    un ressort (385) d'élément d'ouverture/fermeture d'orifice d'introduction prévu pour appliquer une force élastique sur l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction,

    où l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction est déplaçable pour ouvrir l'orifice d'introduction (383) quand la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) est raccordée à un conteneur de stockage (210) destiné à stocker un agent de lavage, et pour fermer l'orifice d'introduction (383) par le ressort (385) d'élément d'ouverture/fermeture d'orifice d'introduction quand la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) est séparée du conteneur de stockage (210).


     
    2. Pompe à agent de lavage selon la revendication 1,

    où l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction est de forme cylindrique, et

    où une section de réception (386) d'élément d'ouverture/fermeture d'orifice d'introduction est située en dehors de l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction et est prévue pour recevoir l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction quand l'orifice d'introduction (383) est ouvert.


     
    3. Pompe à agent de lavage selon la revendication 2,

    où la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) fait saillie pour être insérée dans un côté du conteneur de stockage (210), ou être retirée de celui-ci, et

    où l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction est prévu, lorsqu'il subit une pression, pour coulisser à l'intérieur de la section de réception (386) d'élément d'ouverture/fermeture d'orifice d'introduction, quand la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) est raccordée au conteneur de stockage (210).


     
    4. Pompe à agent de lavage selon les revendications 1, 2 ou 3, où l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction est prévu pour coulisser le long de la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) afin d'ouvrir l'orifice d'introduction (383), quand l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction subit la pression d'une force extérieure supérieure à la force élastique.
     
    5. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 1 à 4, où l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction est prévu pour ouvrir et fermer l'orifice d'introduction (383) ménagé dans une partie latérale de l'élément formant passage (360) en effectuant un mouvement alternatif vers l'avant et vers l'arrière.
     
    6. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 1 à 5, où une section d'accouplement (389) fait saillie vers l'extérieur depuis l'élément formant passage (360) et est raccordée à une section de réception (220) de conteneur de stockage où est logé le conteneur de stockage (210).
     
    7. Pompe à agent de lavage selon la revendication 6, où la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) fait saillie de la section d'accouplement (389).
     
    8. Pompe à agent de lavage selon la revendication 6 ou la revendication 7, où la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) est située en amont de l'espace de compression (363).
     
    9. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 1 à 8, où l'élément formant passage (360) est prévu avec un espace d'introduction (380) disposé en amont de l'espace de compression (363), de manière à permettre l'introduction de l'agent de lavage liquide dans ledit espace d'introduction (380).
     
    10. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 1 à 9,

    où la vanne d'admission (365) est disposée à l'intérieur de l'espace de compression (363) et la vanne de refoulement (375) est disposée en dehors de l'espace de compression (363), et

    où ladite pompe à agent de lavage (280) comprend en outre un ressort (367) de vanne d'admission et un ressort (377) de vanne de refoulement prévus pour rappeler la vanne d'admission (365) et la vanne de refoulement (375) vers leurs positions initiales respectives.


     
    11. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 1 à 10, où des éléments d'étanchéité (382a, 382b) sont disposés à l'extérieur de la section d'extrémité d'introduction (381) et sont prévus pour venir en contact avec une surface intérieure de l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction.
     
    12. Pompe à agent de lavage selon la revendication 11, où les éléments d'étanchéité (382a, 382b) sont disposés à des emplacements adjacents à l'orifice d'introduction (383), et où les éléments d'étanchéité (382b) sont préférentiellement situés en aval de l'emplacement de l'orifice d'introduction (383).
     
    13. Pompe à agent de lavage selon l'une des revendications 2 à 12,

    où au moins une saillie de raccordement (388) est en saillie vers l'extérieur sur l'élément d'ouverture/fermeture (384) d'orifice d'introduction dans la direction radiale,

    où une section de réception (387) de saillie de raccordement destinée à recevoir chaque saillie de raccordement (388) est ménagée sur un côté de la section de réception (386) d'élément d'ouverture/fermeture d'orifice d'introduction, et

    où la saillie de raccordement (388) est déplaçable dans la section de réception (387) de saillie de raccordement en état d'insertion.


     
    14. Machine à traiter le linge, comprenant :

    un corps principal (110) de machine à traiter le linge présentant une carrosserie (120), une cuve (130) et un tambour (140), et

    une unité d'alimentation en agent de lavage (190) comprenant un conteneur de stockage (210) destiné à stocker un agent de lavage liquide, et

    un passage de refoulement d'agent de lavage (260) formé entre le conteneur de stockage (210) et la cuve (130) et permettant le refoulement de l'agent de lavage liquide, où ledit passage de refoulement d'agent de lavage (260) comprend une pompe à agent de lavage (280) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 13.


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description