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1. (WO1991005503) DUCTED HAND/HAIR DRYER APPARATUS
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"DUCTED HAND/HAIR DRYER APPARATUS
The present invention relates to a
hand/hair/clothes dryer of the type utilized in rest rooms, bathrooms and the like wherein the apparatus is adapted to be manually or automatically started to generate a warm air draft for drying hands or hair depending upon the particular location and purpose.
Such hand/hair dryer devices whilst having the advantage of being convenient and hygenic, do suffer from the disadvantage of being rather noisy and difficult to protect from vandalistic acts. Endeavours to produce less noisy units that are vandal proof lead to added costs.
The present invention has as its objective to locate the motor/fan unit remote from the air outlet thereby removing the source of noise and the part most difficult to protect from vandalism from direct contact with the
discharge area.
The invention has as a further objective the provision of multiple controlled outlets fed from a single motor/fan unit.
There is provided according to the present
invention a hand/hair dryer apparatus comprising a motor/fan unit for generating a draft of air, an air discharge outlet connected to the motor/fan unit and positioned at a
convenient location in a bathroom, rest room area or the like for distributing the air discharged by the motor/fan unit, said discharge unit being connected to said motor/fan unit by duct means to convey the air to the said discharge unit, said unit including a heater unit and a sensing unit, said sensing unit being adapted to control the operation of the motor/fan unit and the heating unit for selective operation as required, the motor/fan unit being located in an out of the way secure, sound insulated position.
Conveniently, the motor/fan unit is adapted to feed into a plenum chamber for distributing air to a plurality of discharge units connected to the plenum by a duct, the flow of air from the plenum being controlled by air flow control valves.
The apparatus is adapted to provide a clothes drying facility.
The invention will be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic view of the hair/hand dryer system of the invention;
Figure 2 is a schematic view of a hand/hair dryer system having multiple outlets.
Figure 3 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of a multiple outlet hand/hair dryer system.
With reference to Figure 1, the dryer unit 10 is connected by duct work 12 to a motor/fan unit 11 mounted above the sealing 13 of a room unit. It will be appreciated the room unit may be installed in a bathroom, toilet room or like room area where washing facilities are provided and there is a requirement for a hand/hair drying equipment. The motor/fan unit 11 is located at a position remote from the drying unit in the ceiling, cupboard or external wall or under the floor so that it is secure and sound proofed from the living area.
The dryer unit is adapted to be considerably reduced in size requiring only to house a heater unit and optionally an electronic sensing unit. Such componentry is easily accommodated within the dimensions of a conventional house brick.
Furthermore, the discharge outlet can be easily designed as desired to match various operating conditions. For example, in vandal prone areas a small but strong metal casing can be installed, whilst in prestige areas such as office areas and hotels, more aesthetic designs may be utilized made from plastic or vitreous china.
The discharge units are preferably controlled by an electronic sensing device, the subject of our Australian Patent No. 584,261 and New Zealand Patent No. 219,334 for detecting hands placed under the discharge outlet to
activate the blower unit. Of course, the unit may be controlled manually by push button control.
Referring to Figure 2, the blower unit 20 includes a variable speed fan driving into a plenum chamber 21 having multiple valve controlled outlets 22 each leading through ducting 28 to a discharge unit 23 incorporating a heater unit for heating the air as it is discharged therefrom.
The discharge unit includes a sensor unit 26 for electronically sensing the presence of hands or the like to start the blower unit under the control of the electrical control unit 25. The control unit 25 is adapted to activate the blower unit to force air into the plenum chamber and controls the valve opening to the appropriate discharge unit. The control unit then activates the heater unit of the appropriate discharge outlet.
After a predetermined time, the fan and heater are turned off by the control unit.
The plenum includes an air pressure sensor 27 adapted to control the speed of the variable speed fan to maintain a substantially constant internal air pressure for multi-outlet use. The arrangement is such that for every discharge unit actually in operation, the blower unit is supplying sufficient air for an extra discharge outlet.
The minimum performance required for a hand dryer is for the air velocity at the hand dryer outlet as
measured 100 mm therefrom should be of the order of 18 metres per second at a temperature of 50°C. In the
alternative use as a hair dryer, the outlet velocity may vary between 7 to 12 metres per second having a variable temperature control of between 25 to 50°C.
The cover outlet for the discharge unit may be manufactured from strong stainless steel or injection moulded plastic or vitreous china or equivalent casing.
Preferably a hair dryer outlet option is provided including a flexible hose (not shown) which may be fitted onto the outlet. Upon such fitting of the hose the sensor unit is activated to start the blower unit and thereby force heated air through the outlet and the flexible hose.

The outlet may have an adjustable temperature control and flow rate control.
With refererence to Figure 3 a further embodiment is illustrated in which a pair of blower fans 20a are provided blowing directly into ducting 28 under the control of valve units 22. The blower fan 20a and valve units 22 are activated in response to the control unit 25 connected thereto all under the control of the sensor unit 26 in each of the outlets 23 provided at the end of the ducts. There is provided a self-contained outlet 23 at the end of each duct 28 located in separate rooms as required.
Power is supplied to the control unit 25 through electrical leads 30 and the unit is electrically
interconnected with the sensor unit 26 and fan units 20a.
The outlet 23 includes a heater 24. One or other of the fan unit 20a is started upon activation of the sensor unit 26 such as by detection of hands to be dried at the outlet this in turn leads to the appropriate valve 22 being opened and the heater element being engergised in the outlet and air being transmitted from the appropriate blower unit to the outlet.
The ducting between the fan blower unit and the discharge unit may be of standard vacuum pipe of 47 mm diameter having elbows of 90° or differing angles as
required.
It will be appreciated that pipe duct dimensions and fan and heater capacity may be varied for differing requirements.