The present invention relates generally to automatic sprayers for applying coating, medical, or cosmetic liquid to a surface. Typically, previously, there were only known manually operated sprayers which were used for applying cosmetic, medical, or coat liquid to surfaces. Manual sprayers were either powered by means of a motor, or operated by means of a hand crank. Primarily, these hand crank operated types of sprayers required the operator to stand at a specific distance from the nozzle in order to apply the liquid to the surface that needed coating. Additionally, it was necessary for an operator to be in a specific, stationary position in order to control the speed of the pump.
The present invention eliminates all of the problems inherent in the prior art. First, an automatic sprayer is provided that can be remotely controlled by a computer-controlled unit. The computer, or unit, controls the speed of the pump, and in turn, controls the spray body, which is attached to the nozzle. This allows a completely different and much simpler way to operate than has previously been available.
Secondly, a driver is provided for controlling the flow of the fluid. The driver is a two-stage solenoid type device that is programmed for sensing the operation of the drive unit, such as the Fig. drive unit, on the Fig. drive unit. Once the proper driving means is detected, the appropriate signal is provided to the motor thus enabling the automatic sprayer to engage and disengage the solenoid driven by the signal.
Additionally, this system also eliminates the need for an operator. In the prior art, there were two types of automatic spraying systems. One type was designed for manual operation, where the user manually operated the prime mover. The other type was designed for automatic operation, where the prime mover could be left unattended to, thereby leaving the work area open to any person who desired to work without supervision.
In automatic sprayer systems, the sprayer motor is mounted in a sealed container such that the liquid is injected into the container via the nozzle body. The prime mover then mounts inside the container and controls the flow of the liquid through the nozzle body. As the liquid is sprayed from the nozzle body, it flows into a discharge vessel. The discharge vessel is usually of a larger size than the sprayer body itself, to allow for the amount of liquid being sprayed to fully disperse. The liquid is sprayed into an area where it is highly visible so that it is readily seen by all who are working nearby.
The liquid is highly dispersed upon arrival into the area in question, so that it can be thoroughly picked up and inspected. If the liquid contains spores or other contaminants, these will be picked up and removed before the next spray. In typical sprayer applications, the automatic system will spray the liquid onto a work surface where it will be inspected. If the material to be sprayed is contaminated, the automatic system will fail if the material is not removed prior to the application of the material. In some cases, this may simply require changing the material to an inert material that will prevent the contamination from spreading.
Some automatic sprayer systems require the use of a transfer table or a transfer van to apply the liquid onto the work surface. In these instances, the nozzle body 4 is placed on the table and the liquid is pumped into the container. The flow of the liquid is controlled so that it continues to flow into the table until the material is applied. Once the material has been applied, the transfer van is then placed onto the work surface, where it can pick up the material and transport it to the appropriate location for storage. Most automatic systems are powered by the operator, although in some cases, electricity is used to operate the transfer van.
Sprayer units available in the United States generally fall into one of three categories: those based on physical media, those based on magnetic, and those based on a second media. Media based units allow spraying materials either up against a wall or through a space (e.g., plastic bags) while magnetic media allow only certain materials to be sprayed upon a given surface (e.g., paper, plastic bags). Sprayer units based on a second media are based upon the presence of an electric field. Spray units based on physical media are used to apply liquids, while spray units based upon magnetic forces cause electrical charges to be applied to particles present in a certain area. The present invention refers to a method of automatically applying a material (e.g., an inkjet printhead) to a surface in a certain vertical range.