EP2516718B1 - Washing method and washing machine - Google Patents

Washing method and washing machine Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2516718B1
EP2516718B1 EP10839809.0A EP10839809A EP2516718B1 EP 2516718 B1 EP2516718 B1 EP 2516718B1 EP 10839809 A EP10839809 A EP 10839809A EP 2516718 B1 EP2516718 B1 EP 2516718B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
drum
wash water
water
valve
laundry
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Active
Application number
EP10839809.0A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP2516718A2 (en
EP2516718A4 (en
Inventor
Chang Oh Kim
Jae Hyun Kim
Jae Won Chang
Jong Min Lee
Sang Heon Lee
Young Ho Kim
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
LG Electronics Inc
Original Assignee
LG Electronics Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to KR1020090130105A priority Critical patent/KR101709474B1/en
Priority to KR1020090130102A priority patent/KR101617290B1/en
Priority to KR1020090130104A priority patent/KR20110072976A/en
Priority to KR1020090130972A priority patent/KR101669489B1/en
Priority to KR1020090130968A priority patent/KR101696708B1/en
Priority to PCT/KR2010/009296 priority patent/WO2011078612A2/en
Application filed by LG Electronics Inc filed Critical LG Electronics Inc
Publication of EP2516718A2 publication Critical patent/EP2516718A2/en
Publication of EP2516718A4 publication Critical patent/EP2516718A4/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP2516718B1 publication Critical patent/EP2516718B1/en
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Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F35/00Washing machines, apparatus, or methods not otherwise provided for
    • D06F35/005Methods for washing, rinsing or spin-drying
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F1/00Washing receptacles
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F39/00Details of washing machines not specific to a single type of machines covered by groups D06F9/00 - D06F27/00 
    • D06F39/08Liquid supply or discharge arrangements
    • D06F39/088Liquid supply arrangements

Description

    Technical Field
  • - Embodiments relate to a washing method and washing machine, and more particularly, to a washing method and washing machine with shorter washing time and improved washing performance.
  • Background Art
  • In general, a washing machine is an apparatus that uses water, detergent, and mechanical action to wash clothing, bed linen, etc. (hereinafter referred to as 'laundry') by performing wash, rinse, and spin cycles to remove contaminants from the laundry.
  • Washing machines are categorized into agitator type, pulsator type, and drum type wash-ing machines.
  • An agitator type washing machine performs washing by left and right rotation of a washing agitator projecting upward in the center of a wash tub; a pulsator type washing machine performs washing by employing friction between whirling water and laundry through rotating left and right a round plate shaped rotating wing formed on the bottom of a wash tub, and a drum type washing machine performs washing by rotating a drum filled with water, detergent, and laundry.
  • A drum washing machine has a tub installed inside a cabinet defining the exterior of the washing machine to hold wash water, a drum disposed inside the tub to hold laundry, a motor installed at the rear side of the tub to rotate the drum, and a driveshaft installed on the motor, passed through the tub, and connected to the reverse side of the drum. A lifter is installed within the drum to lift laundry when the drum rotates.
  • Various efforts are being made to improve the washing performance of such drum wash-ing machines.
  • DE 42 10 577 A1 relates to a washing machine, in which during spin rinsing wash water is circulated into the tub while the laundry sticks to the inner wall of the drum.
  • US 5,689,846 A relates to a laundry machine water flow control wherein flow of water into the laundry machine is adaptively controlled during rinse phases of a wash cycle, wherein first, an open time of a water valve is measured until a predetermined water level is reached and a flow rate is calculated therefrom. The calculated flow rate is then compared with a desired flow rate and a stored valve opening value is decremented or incremented by a predetermined amount for optimizing a rinse flow rate for the inlet water pressure at the machine side.
  • Brief Description of Drawings
  • Embodiments can be understood more fully from the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
    • FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the washing machine of FIG. 1;
    • FIG. 3 is a view illustrating the internal structure of the washing machine of FIG. 1;
    • FIG. 4 is a view illustrating a region covered by wash water sprayed by a first nozzle or second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 5 is a view illustrating a gasket, and a first nozzle and a second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a first nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 8 is a view illustrating a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 9 is a view illustrating the whole cycle of a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 10 is a view illustrating a rotational speed of a drum upon complex cycle in the washing method shown in FIG. 9;
    • Fig. 11 is a view illustrating eco-rinsing of a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 12 is a flowchart of a method for calculating an open time of a second water supply valve during eco-rinsing in a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a flow routing valve 10 of a washing machine according to another embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIGS. 14 to 16 are sectional views illustrating the function of a moving ball and pivot lever, from among the components in FIG. 13;
    • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a detailed operational diagram of the flow routing valve 10 of FIG.13;
    • FIG. 18 is a sectional view of a washing machine according to another embodiment of the present invention;
    • FIG. 19 is a perspective view illustrating the inner structure of the washing machine of FIG. 18; and
    • FIG. 20 is a flowchart of a wash water supplying method in a tub of the washing machine according to the present invention.
    Best Mode for Carrying out the Invention
  • The foregoing and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. The invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. In the drawings, the shapes and dimensions may be exaggerated for clarity, and the same reference numerals will be used throughout to designate the same or like components.
  • Hereinafter, exemplary embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the washing machine of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a view illustrating the internal structure of the washing machine of FIG. 1.
  • A washing machine 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention includes a cabinet 111 defining the exterior, a door 112 opening and closing one side of the cabinet 111 such that laundry is introduced into the cabinet 111, a tub 122 disposed inside the cabinet 111 and supported by the cabinet 111, a drum 124 disposed in the tub 122 and rotating with laundry inserted, a driving unit 113 that applies torque to rotate the drum 124, a detergent box 133 for holding detergent, and a control panel 114 that receives a user input and displays the state of the washing machine 100.
  • The cabinet 111 defines the laundry loading hole 120 to enable loading of laundry. The door 112 is pivotably provided on the front surface of the cabinet 111 to open and close the laundry loading hole 120. The control panel 114 is provided on the cabinet 111 to receive a command from a user and display information on various aspects of the washing machine 100. The detergent box 133 is provided on the cabinet 111 to be insertable and withdrawable and hold detergent such as washing detergent, rinsing detergent, and bleach:
  • The tub 122 is disposed in the cabinet 111 to be cushioned by a spring 115 and a damper 117. The tub 122 holds wash water. The drum 124 is disposed inside the tub 122.
  • A level sensor 121 may be provided in the tub to sense the water level of wash water held in the tub 122. The level sensor 121 may be implemented in various methods. In the present embodiment, the level sensor 121 measures the water level using a canpacitance variation of an electrode caused by changing a gap between electrodes using an air pressure varying according to the level of wash water
  • The drum 124 holds laundry and rotates. The drum 124 defines a plurality of through-holes 129 to allow wash water to pass therethrough. A lifter 125 may be disposed on the inner wall of the drum 124 to lift laundry a certain height when the drum 124 rotates. The drum 124 receives rotating force from the driving unit 113 to rotate.
  • The gasket 128 is provided between the tub 122 and the cabinet 111 to seal the tub 122 and cabinet 111. The gasket 128 is disposed between the entrance of the tub 122 and the laundry loading hole 120. The gasket 128 absorbs shock transmitted to the door 112 when the drum 124 rotates, and also prevents wash liquid from within the tub 122 from leaking to the outside. A first nozzle 127 and a second nozzle 150 may be provided on the gasket 128 to introduce wash water into the drum 124.
  • The gasket 128 is formed integrally of a single material, and may be formed of a robust material at the portion coupled to the tub 122, in order to ensure adequate fastening strength with the tub 122 and rigidity. The portion that couples to the cabinet 111 may be formed of a material having elasticity to absorb vibrations transferred from the tub 122 to the cabinet 111.
  • The driving unit 113 rotates the drum 124. The driving unit 113 may rotate the drum 124 at various speeds or different directions. The driving unit 113 may include a motor and a switching device for controlling the motor, a clutch, etc.
  • The detergent box 133 holds detergent such as washing detergent, rinsing detergent, and bleach. The detergent box 133 may be provided to be withdrawable to the front of the cabinet 111. The detergent in the detergent box 133 is mixed with wash water and enters the tub 122 when wash water is supplied. The detergent box 133 may be divided into a portion that holds washing detergent, a portion that holds ringing detergent, and a portion that holds bleach.
  • The inside of the cabinet 111 may include a water supply valve unit 131 for controlling the influx of wash water from an external water source, a first water supply hose 132 guiding wash water to the detergent box 133 when a first water supply valve 131a is opened, and a water supply hose 134 that allows wash water mixed with detergent to flow from the detergent box 133 into the tub 122. Also, a second water hose 159 may be provided to be connected to a second nozzle 150 such that wash water without detergent, directly supplied from the external water source when a second water supply valve 131b of the water supply valve unit 131 is opened, is sprayed into the drum 124.
  • A third water supply hose 161 is provided inside the cabinet 111 to guide wash water to the detergent box 133 when the prevalve 131c of the water supply valve unit 131 is opened. Wash water flowing into the detergent box 133 through the third water supply hose 161 is not mixed with detergent and flows into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134. Also, a fourth water supply hose 162 is provided inside the cabinet 111 to guide wash water to the detergent box 133 when the bleach valve 131d of the water supply valve unit 131 is opened. Wash water flowing into the detergent box 133 through the fourth water supply hose 162 is mixed with bleach and flows into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134.
  • The inside of the cabinet 111 may include a drain pipe 135 through which wash water inside the tub 122 is drained, a pump 136 for draining wash water in the tub 122, a circulation hose 137 that circulates wash water, a circulation nozzle 127 for directing flow of wash water into the drum 124, and a drain hose 138 for draining wash water to the outside. According to embodiments, the pump 136 may be provided as a circulation pump and a drain pump connected to the circulation hose 137 and the drain hose 138, respectively.
  • The control panel 114 may include an input unit 114b through which a washing course selection, operating times for each cycle, presettings, and various other operating commands are input by a user, and a display unit 114a that displays the operating state of the washing machine 100.
  • The washing course includes, in addition to a normal course, various courses according to the type or function of laundry, such as a lingerie/wool course, a steam course, a quick wash course, a functional garment course, a gentle course to prevent damage to laundry, a silent course, and an energy-saving course. The operations of the washing machine 100 are divided into a wash cycle, a rinse cycle, and a spin cycle, and in each cycle, supplying water, washing, rinsing, draining, spinning, and/or drying are performed.
  • The first nozzle 127 is provided at the gasket 128 to spray wash water into the drum 124. The first nozzle 127 is connected to the circulation hose 137 to spay wash water that the pump 136 has circulated into the drum 124.
  • The wash water housed in the drum 124 moves along the drain pipe 135 provided on the tub 122 to the pump 136. The pump 136 moves wash water through the circulation passage 137 to the first nozzle 127. The wash water flows back into the drum 124 by means of the first nozzle 127
  • The first nozzle 127 may be provided at an upper portion of the gasket 128. According to embodiments, the first nozzle 127 may be disposed at various locations such as a lower portion of the gasket 128, a location between the gasket 128 and the cabinet 111, the cabinet 111, and the tub 122.
  • The second nozzle 150 is provided at the gasket 128 to spray wash water into the drum 124. The second nozzle 150 is provided adjacent to the first nozzle 127. The second nozzle 150 is connected to the second water supply hose 159 to spray wash water supplied from the external water source into the drum.
  • The second nozzle 150 may be provided at the upper portion of the gasket 128. According to embodiments, the first nozzle 150 may be disposed at various locations such as the lower portion of the gasket 128, a location between the gasket 128 and the cabinet 111, the cabinet 111, and the tub 122.
  • The first nozzle 127 and/or the second nozzle 150 may be a whirling nozzle that revolves and discharges wash water to the inner wall 124a and rear wall 124b of the drum 124.
  • A whirling nozzle is a nozzle that allows wash water to undergo a translational motion and a circular motion. The whirling nozzle may be embodied in various forms, and may change wash water into whirling water to spray into the drum 124 via a plurality of twisted passages.
  • It has been described that the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 are connected to the circulation hose 137 and the second water supply hose 159, respectively, but the spirit and scope of the present invention are not limited thereto. The first.and second nozzles 127 and 150 may connected to the circulation hose 137 and the second water supply hose 159 in various combinations.
  • According to embodiments, the second nozzle 150 may be provided integrally with first nozzle 127. That is, one whirling nozzle may be configured to serve as the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150. The whirling nozzle may be connected to the second water supply hose 149 and the circulation hose 137 through a Y-shaped pipe to spray wash water supplied from the external water source or wash water that is circulated. Also, the water supply pipe 134 may be a whirling nozzle that is formed integrally with the first nozzle 127 and/or the second nozzle 150.
  • The water supply valve unit 131 controls the influx of wash water from an external water source. The water supply valve unit 131 includes a first water supply valve 131a, a second water supply valve 131b, a prevalve 131c, and a bleach valve 131d. The water supply valve unit 131 may further include a hot water valve (not shown) and a steam valve (not shown).
  • The first water supply valve 131a supplies wash water into the detergent box 133 through the first water supply hose 132. Wash water supplied by the first water supply valve 131a is mixed with washing detergent while passing a portion of the detergent box 133 holding washing detergent, and then is supplied into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134.
  • The second water supply valve 131b supplies wash water to the second nozzle 150 through the second water supply hose 159. Wash water supplied by the second water supply valve 131b is sprayed into the drum 124 through the second nozzle 150.
  • The prevalve 131c supplies wash water to the detergent box 133 through the third water supply hose 161. Wash water supplied by the prevalve 131c is not mixed with washing detergent in the detergent box 133, and is supplied into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134.
  • The bleach valve 131d supplies wash water to the detergent box 133 through the fourth water supply hose 162. Wash water supplied by the bleach valve 131d is mixed with bleach in the detergent box 133 and is supplied into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134.
  • The hot water valve supplied hot water to the detergent box 133 by controlling hot water supplied from the external water source. The steam valve supplies wash water to a steam hose (not shown) connected to a steam module (not shown) to allow the steam module to supply steam into the drum 124.
  • Each of the above valves may, according to embodiments, be combined with two or more to perform the respective functions. Any one of the above described valves may function as the first water supply valve 131a or the second water supply valve 131b, and a combination of two or more valves may function as the first water supply valve 131a and the second water supply valve 131b. Any one of the hoses connected to the respective valves and to the detergent box 133 may function as the first water supply hose 132 or the second water supply hose 159.
  • The first water supply hose 132 connects the first water supply valve 131a and the detergent box 133. The wash water supplied from the external water source through the first water supply valve 131a reaches the detergent box 133 through the first water supply hose 132, and the wash water mixed with detergent in the detergent box 133 flows through the water supply pipe 134 into the tub 122.
  • A whirling nozzle may be provided on the water supply pipe 134, in which case revolving wash water is discharged through the water supply pipe 134.
  • The second water supply hose 159 connects the second water supply valve 131b to the second nozzle 150. The wash water supplied from an external water supply source flows through the second water supply hose 159 and reaches the second nozzle 150. The wash water that reaches the second nozzle 150 is changed to whirling water through the second nozzle 150 and is sprayed into the drum 124.
  • The circulation hose 137 connects the pump 136 to the first nozzle 127. The wash water discharged from the tub 122 by the pump 136 flows through the circulation hose 137 and is sprayed into the drum 124 at the first nozzle 127.
  • FIG. 4 is a view illustrating a region covered by wash water sprayed by a first nozzle or second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • The first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 allow wash water to be sprayed to a region A of the inner wall 124a and rear wall 124b. The wash water sprayed from the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may reach the region A of the inner wall 124a of the drum corresponding to the circumferential wall of the drum 124 and the rear wall 124b corresponding to the bottom wall of the drum 124. When laundry is housed in the drum and rotates, the wash water sprayed from the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 is applied to the laundry in the region A.
  • The first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may spray wash water on the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and a portion of the rear wall 124b, and may spray wash water on the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and the entire rear wall 124b.
  • As a whirling nozzle that revolves and discharges wash water, the first nozzle 127 and/or the second nozzle 150 changes wash water to whirling water that moves in a translational motion and a circular motion.
  • Through centrifugal force imparted by the whirling water, the wash water is sprayed and may be sprayed on the inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and the rear wall 124b. Also, through the centrifugal force imparted by the whirling water, wash water may be atomized to be quickly absorbed by laundry and pass through.
  • FIG. 5 is a view illustrating a gasket, and a first nozzle and a second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 may be provided at the upper portion of the inner circumferential surface of the gasket 128 to efficiently spray wash water into the drum 124.
  • In order to prevent laundry from disengaging and wedging between the gasket 128 and cabinet 111 through the rotation of the drum 124, or laundry front spilling out when the door 112 is opened after washing is complete, the first projecting portion 128a and the second projecting portion 128b are formed protruding from an upper portion of the inner surface of the gasket 128. The first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 are provided between the first projecting portion 128a and the second projecting portion 128b such that the wash water is not impeded by the first projecting portion 128a and the second projecting portion 128b when wash water is sprayed.
  • When the door 112 closes the laundry loading hole 120, a portion of the door 112 enters the drum 124. The first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 is disposed so as not to interfere with the portion of the door 112 that enters the drum 124. When the door 112 closes the laundry loading hole 120, the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 is provided at a predetermined space from the door 112.
  • The first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 may be disposed at a position offset from the centerline of the drum 124. When the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150 are positioned offset from the centerline of the drum 124, arid when wash water is sprayed, the wash water may act upon the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and a portion of the rear wall 124b, or the wash water may act upon the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and the entire rear wall 124b.
  • The first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may be disposed to face the inner side of the drum 124. That is, the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may be located at a certain angle with respect to the centerline of the drum 124 in a direction of the inner side of the drum 124.
  • Also, the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may be disposed to incline toward the first projecting portion 128a or the second projecting portion 128b. That is, the first nozzle or the second nozzle 150 may be located at a certain angle with respect to the centerline of the drum.
  • As described above, the location of the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 is not limited to the present embodiment, but the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150 may be disposed at various location such as a lower portion of the gasket, a location between the gasket 128 and the cabinet 111, the cabinet 111, and the tub 122.
  • FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a second nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, a second nozzle 150 has one side formed in a hemispherical shape, to include a dome 141 defining a receiving space 154 within, a core 152 with a plurality of bent plates formed in the receiving space 154 to form twisted passages together with the receiving space 154, and a spray nozzle cap 153 that sprays wash water passing through the passages defined by the core 152 and the receiving space 154.
  • In the present embodiment, the second nozzle 150 is a whirling nozzle including the dome 151, core 152, and spray nozzle cap 153.
  • The dome 151 is formed in a curved shape that forms a hemisphere or an oval to define the receiving space 154 that is a vacant space therein. The dome 151 is connected to a second water supply hose 159. Wash water flowing through the second water supply hose 159 is housed in the receiving space 154. The dome 151 is formed in a curved shape, so that when laundry is inserted into the laundry loading hole 120, the laundry is not damaged from catching on the second nozzle 150 or by the second nozzle 150.
  • The core 152 formed with the bent plate is provided in the receiving space 154. The core 152 is formed with one or a plurality of bent plates. The core 152 is provided in the receiving-space 154, a passage is defined between the receiving space 154 and the core 152, and because the passage is formed in the shape of the bent plate, a plurality of twisted shapes or screw shapes is formed. The core 152, according to embodiments, may be configured in various shapes that form the receiving space 154 and twisted passage, and may be configured in many types of formations including screws, propellers, twisted tubes, twisted propellers, twisted screws, screw threads, etc.
  • When wash water passes through a passage of the core 152 and the receiving space 154, it is changed to revolving wash water by means of the passage shape. While the core 152 may generally be fixed, when wash water passes through the passage formed by the core 152 and receiving space 154, the core 152 may be rotated within the receiving space 154 by wash water. When the core 152 is rotated, the wash water also rotates to aid in better forming whirling water.
  • Upon rotation of the drum 124, the second nozzle 150 may spray wash water on the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and a portion of the rear wall 124b, and may spray wash water on the entire inner wall 124a of the drum 124 and the entire rear wall 124b. The wash water sprayed from the second nozzle 150 is sprayed in a whirling form, and the wash water may be atomized to be absorbed by and penetrate the laundry quickly.
  • The spray nozzle cap 153 sprays wash water that passes through the passage formed by the core 152 and receiving space 154. The spray nozzle cap 153 defines an opening to spray wash water changed by the passage to whirling water into the drum 124. The spray nozzle cap 153 is fastened to the dome 151 and fixed. When the spray nozzle cap 153 is fixed to the dome 151, in order to prevent wash water from leaking out from the coupling portion of the spray nozzle cap 153 and dome 151, packing (not shown) formed of a waterproof material such as rubber may be additionally provided.
  • While in the present embodiment, description of the second nozzle 150 has been limited to a whirling nozzle, it is not limited thereto, and the second nozzle 150 may be configured in a variety of types of whirling nozzles for revolving and spraying wash water. Also, the second nozzle 150 may be a nozzle that can spray wash water in the shape of FIG. 7 described below or other various shapes.
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating a first nozzle of a washing machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, a first nozzle 127 includes a main body 127a having a passage through which wash water passes, and a bent surface 127b which wash water having passed the main body 127a runs against and is bent to be sprayed from.
  • The main body 127a may be formed to have a cylindrical shape and may pass wash water. The main body 127a is connected to the circulation hose 137 and passes wash water flowing from the circulation hose 137. The bent surface 127b may be extended from an opening of the lower side of the main body 127a' to form an arc shape.
  • If wash water may run against the bent surface 127b through the passage of the main body 127a, the wash water spreads out to be evenly sprayed into the drum 124 such. that more wash water passes through the laundry.
  • The first nozzle 127 is not limited to the present invention, but may be implemented in various types that can spray wash water. Also, the first nozzle 127 may be a whirling nozzle shown in FIG. 6.
  • FIG. 8 is a view illustrating a washing machine according to an embodiment.
  • A controller 141 may control overall operations of a washing machine according to an operation command that an input unit 114b has received. The controller 141 may be provided in a control panel 114. A Micom and other electronic components for controlling the operation of the washing machine may be provided. The controller 141 determines whether to perform the respective cycles according to a wash course selected by a user, whether to perform operations such as water supplying, washing, rinsing, draining, spinning and drying, operation time, and the number of cycles, and performs them.
  • The controller 141 may control a water supply valve unit 131, a driving unit 113, and a pump 136 according to the selected course or other operating commands.
  • FIG. 9 is a view illustrating the whole cycle of a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 10 is a view illustrating a rotational speed of a drum upon complex cycle in the washing method shown in FIG. 9.
  • The washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention may be performed when a user selects an energy-saving course through a control panel 114, or an energy-saving course performance command is inputted to the controller 141 according to an input or determination of the user. According to embodiments, a normal washing course may become a washing method described below.
  • A wash cycle 210 is a cycle of removing contaminants from laundry by rotating a drum 124 after soaking the laundry in wash water mixed with washing detergent. In the washing method according to the embodiment of the present invention; the wash cycle 210 may progress in the order of water supplying 211, balancing 212, eco-washing 213, draining 214, and simple-spinning 215.
  • If the wash cycle 210 is initiated, the controller 141 may indicate the wash cycle 210 is initiated by displaying a wash icon on a progress display of a display unit 114a.
  • The water supplying 211 is supplying wash water from an external water source to a tub 122. The water supplying 211 includes laundry load sensing 211a, initial water supplying 211b, laundry soaking 211c, and additional water supplying 211d.
  • The laundry load sensing 211a is sensing the amount of laundry (hereinafter, referred to as 'laundry load') housed in the drum 124. The laundry load may be measured by various methods. In the present embodiment, the laundry load is measured by a method in which the controller 141 measures deceleration time after the drum 124 is rotated at a certain rate for a certain time.
  • The longer the deceleration time of the drum 124 is, the higher the level of the laundry load is. According to embodiments, the controller 141 may also measure the acceleration time by calculating the laundry load upon acceleration of the drum 124. The controller 141 determines the amount of wash water supplied into the tub 122 upon initial water supplying 211b and additional water supplying 211d according to the sensed laundry load, determines the amount of wash water sprayed into the drum 124 upon eco-rinsing 222 and 228 described below, and determines operation time for each cycles.
  • The initial water supplying 211b is supplying wash water mixed with washing detergent into the tub 122 and spraying wash water not mixed with detergent into the drum 124. Upon initial water supplying 211b, wash water not mixed with washing detergent may be supplied, and then wash water mixed with washing detergent may be supplied. When the controller 141 opens the pre-valve 131c of the water supply valve unit 131, wash water may flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134 without being mixed with washing detergent in the detergent box 133, and then, when the controller 141 opens the first water supply valve 131a of the water supplying valve unit 131, wash water may flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134 after being mixed with washing detergent in the detergent box 133.
  • During the initial water supplying 211b, while the controller 141 opens the second water supply valve 131b to allow wash water not mixed with washing detergent to be sprayed into the drum 124 through the second nozzle 150, the controller 141 may open the first water supply valve 131a to allow wash water to be mixed with washing detergent in the detergent box 133, and then flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134.
  • In this case, the second nozzle 150, which is a whirling nozzle, may revolve and discharge wash water to the inner wall 124a and rear wall 124b of the drum 124. The second nozzle 150 changes wash water to whirling water such that wash water undergoes a translational motion and a circular motion, and sprays the whirling water into the drum.
  • During the initial water supplying 211b, the hot water valve of the water supply valve unit 131 may be opened to allow hot water to flow into the tub 122.
  • The initial water supplying 211b is performed until wash water is filled up to a target water level. The target water level is determined by the controller 141 according to a measured laundry load or a selected course prior to the initial water supplying 211b. In the present embodiment, the target water level is filled to an extent that the wash water is slightly over the drum 124. Since the laundry is evenly soaked by the wash water sprayed from the second nozzle 150, the water level may not be lowered due to soaking of the laundry in the wash water during the laundry soaking 211c. Accordingly, the target water level at which the wash water can be circulated during the laundry soaking 211c may be sufficient.
  • During the initial water supplying 211b, the water level of wash water may be measured by the level sensor 121. If wash water is filled in the tub 122 to the target water level, the controller 141 blocks the valve of the water supply valve 131 to finish the initial water supplying 211b.
  • The laundry soaking 211c is that the controller 141 drives the driving unit 113 to rotate the drum 124 such that the laundry is evenly soaked in wash water mixed with washing detergent, and the washing detergent is dissolved. During the laundry soaking 211c, the controller 141 may operate the pump 136 to allow wash water to circulate along the circulation hose 137 and be sprayed into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127. In this case, the first nozzle 127 may be a typical spray nozzle or whirling nozzle.
  • The additional water supplying 211d is additionally supplying wash water into the tub 122 up to the target water level because the water level is lowered below the target water level due to soaking of the laundry in wash water. During the addition water supplying 211d, when the controller 141 may open various valves including the first water supply valve 131a, the second water supply valve 131b, or the water supply valve unit 131, wash water is supplied through the water supply pipe 134, or is sprayed through the second nozzle 150 from an external water source. In this case, the second nozzle 150 may be a whirling nozzle, and may generate whirling water to allow wash water to be sprayed on the inner wall 124a and the rear wall 124b of the drum 124.
  • When wash water flows into the tub 122 to the target water level, the controller 141 blocks various valves including the first water supply valve 131a, the second water supply valve 131b, and the water supply valve unit 131 to finish the additional water supplying.
  • When the laundry is sufficiently soaked during the initial water supplying 211b, the water level may not be lowered during the laundry soaking 211c. Accordingly, the additional water supplying 211d may be omitted.
  • The balancing 212 is distributing laundry by repeating acceleration, maintenance at a certain rate, and then deceleration of the drum 124. During the eco-washing 213, laundry may be biased to one side due to tangle of the laundry, causing unbalancing of the laundry in which one side of the drum 124 is weighted based on the center of the drum 124. Since the unbalancing of the laundry may cause noise and vibration during the eco-washing 213, the balancing 212 may be required to evenly distribute laundry before the eco-washing 213.
  • The balancing 212 is performed in a cycle of acceleration, maintenance at a certain rate, and then deceleration of the drum 124 in a state where wash water is housed in the tub 122. During the balancing 212, the drum 124 is accelerated, and is maintained for a certain time at a certain rate such that laundry rotates while being pressed against an inner wall of the drum 124. During the balancing 212, the drum 124 may be maintained at a maximum rate of about 108 RPM such that noise or malfunction is not caused due to the unbalancing of the laundry. During the balancing 212, the drum may be decelerated after being maintained for a certain time at a certain rate such that laundry rotates while being pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124, and then the balancing 212 may be repeated or accelerated to perform the eco-washing 213.
  • During the balancing 212, the controller 141 measures laundry load, based on the deceleration time of the drum 124 when the drum 124 is decelerated, and measures an unbalanced degree of the laundry, based on a variation of revolutions per minute (RPM) of the drum 124 after the drum 124 is accelerated.
  • The laundry load is calculated by measuring the deceleration time when the drum 124 is decelerated by the controller 141 as described above. The longer the deceleration time of the drum 124 is, the higher the level of the laundry load is. According to embodiments, the controller 141 may also calculate the laundry load by measuring the acceleration time when the drum 124 is accelerated.
  • The unbalanced degree of the laundry is calculated according to a variation with respect to the rate of the drum 124 after the drum 124 is accelerated. The rate of the drum 124 is measured using a hole sensor, or is calculated by measuring a current flowing in a motor of the driving unit 113.
  • The controller 141 determines whether the unbalanced degree of the laundry falls within a tolerance, using a difference between a rate variation and a reference rate variation of the drum 124. The reference rate variation varies according to the laundry load. The controller 141 stores a table of the unbalanced degree of the laundry with respect to the reference rate variation according to the laundry load.
  • The controller 141 accelerates or decelerates the drum 124 according to the unbalanced degree of the laundry. That is, the controller 141 may adjust the degree of accelerating or decelerating the drum 124 according to the unbalanced degree of the laundry. The controller 141 may also stop the drum 124 when the unbalanced degree of the laundry is excessive.
  • The controller 141 repeats the acceleration and deceleration of the drum 124 according to the unbalanced degree of the laundry. When the unbalanced degree of the laundry is equal to or greater than the tolerance, the controller 141 continues accelerating and decelerating the drum 124. When the acceleration and deceleration of the drum 124 are continuously repeated because the unbalanced degree of the laundry is equal to or greater than the tolerance, the controller 141 may stop the drum 124. That is, when the acceleration and deceleration of the dram 124 are continuously repeated beyond an allowable number of repetitions, the controller 141 may inform the display unit 114a of abnormality, and then may stop the drum 124. When the unbalanced degree of the laundry is within the tolerance, the controller 141 accelerates the drum to perform the eco-washing 213. The balancing 212 described above may be omitted.
  • During the balancing 212, wash water may be sprayed on laundry through the first nozzle 127 and the second nozzle 150. During the balancing 212, wash water may be sprayed on before laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 due to the acceleration of the drum 124. That is, wash water may be sprayed when the drum 124 rotates at a rate of about 45 RPM to about 60 RPM. When the drum 124 rotates at such a rate that laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 in a state where wash water is drained during the balancing 212, a laundry film is formed to cause inefficient eco-washing 213. Accordingly, wash water may be sprayed on laundry so as not to form the laundry film.
  • When wash water is sprayed on laundry through the first nozzle 127, the first water supply valve 131a or other valves of the water supply valve unit 131 may be opened to allow wash water not mixed with detergent in the detergent box 133 to flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 124 to such a water level that wash water does not reach the drum 124, and then allow wash water housed in the tub 122 to be discharged by the pump 136, circulate, and then be sprayed through the first nozzle 127.
  • When wash water is sprayed on laundry through the second nozzle 150, the second water supply valve 131b of the water supply valve unit 131 is opened to allow wash water supplied from an external water source to be directly sprayed through the second nozzle 150.
  • When wash water is sprayed on laundry through the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150, the laundry is soaked by wash water to grow heavier, which prevents a laundry film from being formed.
  • The eco-washing 213 is removing contaminants from laundry when wash water mixed with washing detergent is supplied in the drum 124 and passes through the laundry in a state where laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 due to the rotation of the drum 124. During the eco-washing 213, the controller 141 controls the driving unit 113 to rotate the drum 124 such that the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124, and drives the pump 136 to circulate the laundry water along a circulation hose 137. In order to prevent overheat of the driving unit 113 during the eco-washing 214, the controller 141 may stop the driving of the driving unit 113 at an interval of about several seconds or minutes.
  • Since a physical shock is not applied to the laundry during the eco-washing 213, little damage is caused to the laundry. Accordingly, the eco-washing 213 may be performed when a user selects a laundry damage prevention key or a laundry damage prevention course through the input unit 114b.
  • During the eco-washing 213, the drum 124 rotates at a rate of about 1 or more acceleration of gravity (G) such that the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the inner wall of the drum 124. The drum 124 may rotate at an appropriate rate such that bubbles are not generated too much during the eco-washing 213. During the eco-washing 213, the drum 124 may rotate at a rate of about 150 RPM.
  • During the eco-washing 213, the pump may operate to allow the wash water mixed with washing detergent in the tub 122 to circulate along the circulation hose 137 and to be sprayed through a circulation nozzle 127. In this case, the first nozzle 127 may be a typical spray nozzle or a whirling nozzle. When the amount of the circulating wash water is great, bubbles may be generated too much. Accordingly, the amount of the circulating wash water may fit to such a degree that the circulation is possible.
  • During the eco-washing 213, the controller 141 may open the bleach valve 131d of the water supply valve unit 131 to allow wash water to be mixed with bleach in the detergent box 133, and then flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134. The supplying of bleach is performed until wash water is filled to the target water level. When wash water mixed with bleach flows into the tub 122 to the target level, the controller 141 blocks the bleach valve 131d of the water supply valve unit 131. The supplying of wash water mixed with bleach may be performed as a final process of the eco-washing 213 just before the eco-washing 213 is completed.
  • The draining 214 is discharging the wash water in the tub 122 out of the cabinet 111. During the draining 214, the control unit 141 may operate the pump 136 to allow the wash water in the tub 122 to drain away along a drain hose 138. During the draining 214, the drum 124 may stop, but may maintain at a rate of the eco-washing 213 and also rotate at a rate of 1G or more such that laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124
  • The balancing 212 and the eco-washing 213 in the wash cycle 210 described above may be performed using a normal washing or squeeze-washing according to a washing course or selection of a user.
  • The normal washing may be rotating the drum 124 holding laundry soaked in the wash water mixed with washing detergent. During the normal washing, the controller 141 may control the driving unit 113 to rotate the drum 124 at various rates and direactions. Thus, mechanical forces such as bending and stretching force, frictional force, and impact force may be applied to remove contaminants from laundry. During the normal washing, the drum 124 rotates in a certain direction at a rate of about 45 RPM, and laundry in the drum 124 is lifted by a lifter 125 and falls. During the normal washing, the controller 141 may stop the driving of the driving unit 113 at an interval of about several seconds or minutes in order to prevent overheat of the driving unit 113.
  • Steam may be injected into the drum 124 during the normal washing. During the general washing, the controller 141 may operate the pump 136 to allow the wash water to flow into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127 along the circulation hose 137. In this case, the first nozzle 127 may be a typical spray nozzle or a whirling nozzle.
  • During the normal washing, the controller 141 may open the bleach valve 131d of the water supply valve unit 131 to allow wash water to be mixed with bleach in the detergent box 133, and then flow into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134. The supplying of bleach is performed until wash water is filled to the target water level. When wash water mixed with bleach flows into the tub 122 to the target level, the controller 141 blocks the bleach valve 131d of the water supply valve unit 131. The supplying of wash water mixed with bleach may be performed as a final process of the normal washing just before the normal washing is completed.
  • The squeeze-washing is collecting and spreading by varying the RPM of the drum 124 with a rapid cycle. During the squeeze-washing, the RPM of the drum 124 is varied with the rapid cycle from about 50 RPM to about 100 RPM so that the laundry is collected and spreads repeatedly.
  • During the squeeze-washing, the controller 141 operates the pump 136 such that the wash water flows along the circulation hose 137 and is induced into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127. At this point, the first nozzle 127 may be a normal spraying nozzle or a whirling nozzle.
  • During the squeeze-washing, the movement of the laundry is enhanced and thus the washing deviation is reduced. In addition, the laundry evenly contacts the wash water. Further, since the wash water is removed out of the laundry through a squeezing-like action when the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum, the dirt can be removed from the laundry through the squeeze-like motion. In addition, since the laundry is pressed against or detached from the inner wall of the drum repeatedly, the user can visually identify the movement of the laundry.
  • At least one of the eco-washing 213, normal washing, and squeeze-washing may be performed according to the washing course or user selection.
  • The complex cycle 220 is for removing the remaining detergent and wash water from the laundry. In the normal washing method, the complex cycle includes the rinse cycle and the spin cycle. In the washing method of this embodiment, the complex cycle 220 includes the balancing 221, eco-rinsing 222, simple-spinning 223, water supplying 224, rinsing 225, draining 226, balancing 227, eco-rinsing 228, and main-spinning 229. When the complex cycle 220 starts, the controller 141 may display an icon "rinsing" and/or "spinning" as a proceeding display on the display unit 114a.
  • Like the balancing 212 in the wash cycle 210, the balancing 221 repeats the acceleration, maintenance of constant RPM, and RPM reduction of the drum 124 to disperse evenly the laundry. In the eco-rinsing 222, the laundry may be sided in a direction by the tangling of the laundry. This causes the unbalancing of the laundry, whereby the weight of the drum is sided in a direction with reference to the center of the drum. The unbalancing of the laundry causes the noise and vibration when the drum 124 rotates at the high RPM and thus the laundry is evenly dispersed before performing the eco-rinsing.
  • As shown in FIG. 10, in the balancing 221, the acceleration, maintenance of the constant RPM, and RPM reduction of the drum becomes one cycle. In the balancing 221, after the drum 124 is accelerated, the RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124 is maintained for a determined time. In the balancing 221, the drum 124 maintains about 108 RPM at which the unbalancing of the laundry is not incurred and thus no noise and no breakdown occur. After maintaining the RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 for a predetermined time, the RPM of the drum is reduced, after which the balancing 212 is repeated or the drum is accelerated to perform the eco-rinsing 222.
  • In the balancing 221, the controller 141 measures the amount of the laundry based on the RPM reduction time when the RPM of the drum 124 is reduced and measures the amount of the unbalancing of the laundry based on the variation of the RPM after the drum is accelerated. The method for measuring the amounts of the laundry and unbalancing of the laundry is same as that in the balancing 212 of the wash cycle 210.
  • As described above, in the balancing 221, the wash water is sprayed toward the laundry through the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150.
  • In the eco-rinsing 222, when the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124 by the rotation of the drum 124, the wash water that is not mixed with the detergent is sprayed into the drum 124 and passes through the laundry, thereby removing the remaining detergent and dirt from the laundry. In the eco-rinsing 222, the controller 141 controls the driving unit 113 such that the drum 124 rotates so that the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and opens the second water supply valve 131b to spray the wash water into the drum 124 through the second nozzle 150. At this point, the controller 141 operates the pump 136 so that the wash water in the tub 122 can be drained to the external side along the drain hose 138.
  • In the eco-rinsing 222, the second nozzle 150 may be the whirling nozzle that revolves and discharges the wash water to the inner and rear walls 124a and 124b of the drum 124. In order for the wash water to perform translation motion and circular motion, the second nozzle 150 converts the wash water into the whirling water and sprays the whirling water into the drum 124.
  • According to an embodiment, the first water supply valve 131a of the water supply valve unit 131 or another valve is opened to supply the wash water that is not mixed with the detergent into the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134 up to a height at which the supplied wash water does not contact the drum 124 or the second water supply valve 131b of the water supply valve unit 131 is opened to supply the wash water into the tub 122 through the second nozzle 150 up to a height at which the supplied wash water does not contact the drum 124, after which the wash water contained in the tub 122 is discharged and circulated by the pump 136 and sprayed through the first nozzle 127. At this point, the first nozzle 127 may be the normal spraying nozzle or the whirling nozzle. When the circulated wash water is sprayed through the first nozzle 127, the wash water in the tub 122 is not drained to the external side along the drain hose 138.
  • In the eco-rinsing 222, the drum 124 rotates at 1G (i.e., above about 108 RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124). In the eco-rinsing 222, the laundry may be pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124. At this point, the pressing of the laundry against the inner wall of the drum 124 includes a means that at least a portion of the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124. That is, most of the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124.
  • In the eco-rinsing 222, the drum 124 may maintain about 400 RPM. In the eco-rinsing 222, the drum may be accelerated to about 600 RPM. Before the drum is accelerated to about 600 RPM and the simple-spinning 223 is performed, the wash water that is not mixed with the detergent may be sprayed into the drum.
  • The eco-rinsing 222 will be described in more detail with reference to FIG. 11 later.
  • In the simple-spinning 223, the drum 124 rotates at a high RPM so that the wash water can be removed out of the laundry. After the eco-rinsing 222, the controller 141 continuously rotates the drum 124 at an RPM higher than an RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124. The controller 141 closes the second water supply valve 131b to stop spraying the water and accelerates the drum 124.
  • Hereinafter, the term "continuously" means that the drum 124 rotates without stopping between the respective cycles and includes the RPM variation of the drum 124 by accelerating or reducing the RPM of the drum 124.
  • According to an embodiment, the controller 141 performs the simple-spinning 223 by accelerating the drum 124 after stopping spraying the wash water by closing the second water supply valve 131b after draining the water by operating the pump 136 without reducing the RPM of the drum 124.
  • Since there is no need to remove the water out of the laundry to a level that the laundry is dried, it is desirable to rotate the drum 124 at about 750 RPM.
  • In the simple-spinning 223, it is desirable that the controller 141 intermittently operates the pump 136 to drain the wash water in the tub 122 to an external side. As described in the above-described embodiment, the pump 136 operates for a predetermined time to drain the wash water in the tub 122 to the external side before the drum is accelerated and thus rotates at a high RPM. At this point, the drum 124 may maintain an RPM higher than an RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124. The drum may maintain an RPM of the eco-rinsing 222. Since the wash water in the tub 122 is drained to the external side before the drum 124 rotates at the high RPM, the breakdown of the washing machine can be prevented.
  • The simple-spinning 223, the balancing is not performed between the eco-rinsing 222 and the simple-spinning 223 by accelerating the drum 124 without stopping the drum 124 in the eco-rinsing 222. That is, the eco-rinsing 222 and the simple-spinning 223 are continuously performed without the balancing, whereby the whole washing time can be reduced and the damage of the laundry can be reduced.
  • According to an embodiment, the drum 124 may maintain an RPM higher than an RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124 so that no balancing is required even when the RPM of the drum 124 is reduced between the eco-rinsing 22 and the simple-spinning 223. That is, the drum may rotate at 1G (i.e., above about 108 RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124) from the eco-rinsing 222 to the simple-spinning 223 so that the laundry is not detached from the drum 124. In other words, the laundry remains pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 from the eco-rinsing 222 to the simple-spinning 223.
  • Like the water supplying 211 in the wash cycle 210, the water supply 224 is performed to supply the wash water from the outer water source into the tub 122. The water supplying 224 includes initial water supplying, laundry soaking, and additional, water supply.
  • In the water supplying 224, the controller 141 opens the first water supply valve 131a and the free valve so that the wash water can be supplied to the tub 122 through the water supply pipe 134 after being mixed with a rinsing detergent in the detergent box 133.
  • According to an embodiment, in the water supplying 224, the second water supply valve 131b is opened to spray the wash water that is not mixed with the detergent into the drum 124 through the second nozzle 150 or the pump 136 is operated to spray the wash water flowing along the circulation hose 137 into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127.
  • Although the drum 124 may be stopped in the water supplying 224, the water supplying 224 may be preformed after the RPM of the drum 124 is reduced to 1G (i.e., about 108 RPM that is an balancing RPM) at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124 after the simple-spinning 223.
  • In the rinsing 225, the drum 124 in which the laundry soaked in the wash water mixed with the rinsing detergent rotates. In the rinsing 225, the controller 141 controls the drum 124 such that the drum 124 rotates in a variety of RPMs and a variety of directions so that the laundry can repeatedly be lifted and falls, thereby applying bending force, frictional force, and impact force to the laundry and thus removing remaining detergent and dirt from the laundry. In the rinsing 225, the controller 141 may operate the pump 136 so that the wash water flows along the circulation hose 137 and is sprayed into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127. At this point, the first nozzle 127 may be a normal spraying nozzle or a whirling nozzle.
  • Like the draining 214 in the wash cycle 210, the draining 214 is for draining the wash water in the tub 122 out of the cabinet 111.
  • The water supplying 224, rinsing 225, and draining 226 may be modified or omitted. The water supplying 224, rinsing 225, and draining 226 may be performed without stopping the drum 124 that is reduced in the RPM after the simple-spinning 223. In this case, balancing 227 that will be described below may be omitted.
  • Like the balancing 221 described above, the balancing 227 is for evenly dispersing the laundry by repeating the acceleration, maintaining of the constant RPM, and reduction of the RPM of the drum. As described above, in the balancing 227, the wash water is sprayed toward the laundry through the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150.
  • As described above, in each balancing 212, 221, and 227, since the wash water is sprayed toward the laundry through the first nozzle 127 or the second nozzle 150, the forming of a laundry film can be prevented. After the balancing 212,221, and 227, the drum 124 rotates at 1G (i.e., an RPM greater than about 108 RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124) and one of the eco-washing 213 and eco-rinsing 222 and 228 is performed.
  • In addition, according to an embodiment, after the balancing 212, 221, and 227, the simple-spinning or main-spinning may be performed.
  • Like in the eco-rinsing 222 described above, in the eco-rinsing 228, the drum 124 rotates and the wash water that is not mixed with detergent is sprayed into the drum to which the laundry is pressed, whereby the wash water passes through the laundry to remove the remaining detergent and dirt from the laundry.
  • In the eco-rinsing 228, the drum 124 rotates at 1G (i.e., an RPM greater than about 108 RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124). In the eco-rinsing 228, it is desirable that the laundry is not detached from the drum 124.
  • In the complex cycle 220, at least one of the eco-rinsing 222, rinsing 225, and eco-rinsing 228 may be performed as squeeze-rinsing according to a washing course or user selection or the squeeze-rinsing may be added to the complex cycle 220.
  • In the squeeze-rinsing, the drum 124 rotates at a high RPM to collect or spread the laundry. In the squeeze-rinsing, the drum 124 varies at a rapid period from about 50 RPM to about 100 RPM so that the laundry 124 can be repeatedly pressed against or detached from an inner wall of the drum 124.
  • In the squeeze-rinsing, the controller 141 operates the pump 136 so that the wash water flows along the circulation hose 137 and can be induced into the drum 124 through the first nozzle 127. At this point, the first nozzle 127 may be a normal spraying nozzle or a whirling nozzle.
  • In the squeeze-rinsing, the movement of the laundry is enhanced and thus the wash deviation of the laundry is reduced. In addition, the laundry and wash water contact evenly each other. In addition, when the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum, the wash water absorbed in the laundry is removed from the laundry by a squeezing-like action. Therefore, the remaining detergent can be removed from the laundry by the squeezing-like action. In addition, since the laundry is repeatedly pressed against and detached from the inner wall of the drum, the user can visually identify the movement of the laundry.
  • Like the simple-spinning 223, the main-spinning 229 is for removing the wash water out of the laundry by rotating the drum 124 at a high RPM. After the eco-rinsing 228, the controller 141 continuously rotates the drum 124 at an RPM higher than an RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124. In addition, the controller 141 closes the second water supply valve 131b to stop the spraying of the wash water and accelerates the drum 124. According to an embodiment, the controller 141 closes the second water supply valve to stop the spraying of the wash water at the end of the eco-rinsing 228, after which the controller 141 operates the pump 136 to drain the wash water without reducing the RPM of the drum 124. Next, the drum 124 accelerates the drum 124 to perform the main-spinning 229.
  • In order to remove the wash water out of the laundry as much as possible, the controller 141 may rotates the drum 124 at a maximum RPM of about 1000 RPM or higher.
  • In the main-spinning 229, the controller 141 may drain the wash water in the tub 122 to the external side along the drain hose 138 by intermittently operating the pump 136. According to an embodiment, before the drum 124 is accelerated to rotate at the high RPM, the pump 136 operates for a predetermined time to drain the wash water in the tub to the external side along the drain hose 138. At this point, the drum 124 may maintain the RPM higher than the RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124. Before the drum 124 rotates at the high RPM, the wash water in the tub 122 is drained and thus the breakdown of the washing machine can be prevented.
  • In the main-spinning 229, no balancing is specially performed between the eco-rinsing 228 and the main-spinning 229 by accelerating the drum 124 of the eco-rinsing 228 without stopping the drum 124 or reducing the RPM of the drum 124. The eco-rinsing 228 and the main-spinning 229 are continuously performed without the balancing, the whole washing time can be reduced and the damage of the laundry can be reduced.
  • According to an embodiment, in order for the balancing not to be necessary even when the RPM of the drum 124 is reduced between the eco-rinsing 228 and the main-spinning 229, the drum 124 may maintain the RPM higher that the RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124. That is, the drum may rotate at 1G (i.e., above about 108 RPM at which the laundry is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124 and rotates together with the drum 124) from the eco-rinsing 228 to the main-spinning 229 so that the laundry is not detached from the drum 124. In other words, the laundry remains pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124. from the eco-rinsing 228 to the main-spinning 229.
  • After the main-spinning 229, drying where hot wind is supplied into the drum 124 to dry the laundry may be performed.
  • The above-described complex cycle 220 may be modified or omitted.
  • FIG. 11 is a view illustrating eco-rinsing of a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 11, When the drum 124 rotates in the eco-rinsing 222, 228 such that the laundry L is pressed against the inner wall of the drum 124, the second water supply valve 131b is opened to supply the wash water to the drum 124 through the second nozzle 150.
  • The drum 124 mary rotate at about 400 RPM. The second nozzle 150 may spray the wash water to an area of the inner and rear walls 124a and 124b of the drum 124. The remaining detergent and dirt are removed from the laundry as the sprayed wash water passes through the laundry L
  • The controller 141 may operate the pump 136 to drain the wash water in the tub 122 to the external side along the drain hose 138.
  • During eco-rinsing 222, the amount of wash water that is sprayed is determined according to the laundry load or the course selected. Since the wash water sprayed during eco-rinsing 222 is discharged to the outside and cannot be measured by the water level sensor 121, it is determined by the open time of the second water supply valve 131b. The controller 141 controls the open time of the second water supply valve 131b to control the amount of wash water sprayed. The calculation method of the open time of the second water supply valve 131b will be described later with reference to FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart of a method for calculating an open time of a second water supply valve during eco-rinsing in a washing method according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • In the initial water supplying 211b of the water supplying 211 in the wash cycle 210, the controller 141 measures, in operation S210, the time it takes from when the pre-valve 131c is opened for wash water to fill and reach a target water level of an initial water supplying. The target water level is a point where the wash water does not reach the drum. When the pre-valve 131c is opened, wash water supplied from an external water supply is supplied into the tub 122 so that it does not reach the drum 124. Here, the wash water is not for soaking laundry within the drum 124, so that by measuring the time it takes to fill and reach a target water level, the flow rate of the wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c can be calculated. The time it takes to fill and reach the target water level may be measured as the open time of the pre-valve 131c.
  • The flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c may be calculated by calculating a volume of wash water supplied into the tub 122 until it reaches a target water level, and dividing the volume of wash water by the time measured.
  • For the supplying of bleach in eco-washing 213 or normal washing of a wash cycle 210, in operation S220, the controller 141 measures the time it takes from when the bleach valve 131d opens for wash water to fill and reach a target water level for supplying bleach. When the bleach valve 131d opens, wash water is supplied from an external water supply to mix with bleach and fill the inside of the tub 122. Here, laundry in the drum 124 is thoroughly soaked, so that by measuring the time it takes to fill and reach a target water level, the flow rate of wash water through the bleach valve 131d may be calculated. The time it takes to fill and reach the target water level may be measured as the open time of the bleach valve 131d.
  • The flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve 131d may be calculated by calculating a volume of wash water supplied into the tub 122 from the difference in a water level before the bleach valve 131d is open and a target water level, and dividing the volume of wash water by the time measured.
  • In operation S230, the controller 141 calculates the flow rate of the wash waster supplied through the second water supply valve 131b. Because the flow rate of wash water is determined by water pressure and flow resistance, the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c may be different from the flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve 131d. Accordingly, the controller 141 calculates the flow rate of wash water sprayed into the drum 124 through the second water supply valve 131b, based on the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c and the flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve 131d.
  • The controller 141 may calculate the flow rate of wash water supplied into the drum 124 through the second water supply valve 131b, as the average value of the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c and the flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve 131d, and may use various other methods for the calculation according to embodiments of the present invention. The controller 141 calculates the flow rate of wash water supplied into the drum 124 through the second water supply valve 131b, based solely on the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c.
  • In the process above, while the flow rate of wash water supplied through the second water supply valve 131b is described as being calculated from the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c or the flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve 131d, the scope of the present invention are not limited thereto. For example, the flow rate of wash water supplied through various valves of the water supply valve unit 131 may be measured or calculated to calculate water pressure of an external water supply, and the flow rate of wash water supplied through the second water supply valve 131b may be calculated if the flow resistance for wash water supplied through the second water supply valve 131b can be estimated.
  • In operation S240, the controller 141 calculates the open time of the second water supply valve 131b during eco-rinsing 222 and 228. The amount of wash water that is sprayed into the drum 124 during eco-rinsing 222 and 228 is determined according to the laundry load or the selected course, so that the open time of the second water supply valve 131b is calculated by dividing the determined amount of wash water by the flow rate of the wash water supplied through the pre-valve 131c, calculated in operation S230.
  • The controller 141 opens and then closes the second water supply valve 131b during eco-rinsing 222 and 228, according to the calculated open time of the second water supply valve 131b.
  • The above time control methods for valves may all be applied in cases where measuring the water level of supplied wash liquid when a valve is open is problematic.
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a flow routing valve 10 of a washing machine according to another embodiment of the present invention, FIGS. 14 to 16 are sectional views illustrating the function of a moving ball and pivot lever, from among the components in FIG. 13, and FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a detailed operational diagram of the flow routing valve 10 of FIG. 13.
  • A flow routing valve 10 of a washing machine according to another embodiment of the present invention includes a valve body 11 configuring an exterior thereof, a first inlet portion 12 and a second inlet portion 13 connected to admit liquid into the valve body 11, and a first outlet portion 14, a second outlet portion 15, and a third outlet portion 16 connected to respectively discharge the liquid that was admitted into the valve body 11.
  • That is, predetermined passages 21 to 23 (to be described later) are formed inside the valve body 11 to allow liquid to flow in through the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13, and the liquid that flows in is discharged back out through one of the first to third outlet portions 14 to 16.
  • While not shown, a first control portion and a second control portion are provided at the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13, respectively, to restrict liquid flowing in through the first inlet portion 12 and liquid flowing in through the second inlet portion 13.
  • As types of opening and closing portions, the first control portion and the second control portion perform the function of restricting liquid flowing in through the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13.
  • Referring to FIGS. 14 to 16, the first inlet portion 12 and the second.inlet portion 13 formed on the valve body 11 are formed apart at the bottom of the valve body 11 and extending rearward (in the drawings) from the valve body 11, and the first outlet portion 14 and second outlet portion 15 formed on the valve body 11 are formed opposite the first inlet portion 12 and second inlet portion 13 at the top of the valve body 11, and extending a predetermined length to either left and right sides (in the drawings).
  • The third outlet portion 16 is formed between the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15 and extends a predetermined length forward (in the drawings).
  • Here, while the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention has been described as formed with the first to third outlet portions 14 to 16 formed at the top of the valve body 11 and the first inlet portion 12 and second inlet portion 13 formed at the bottom thereof, it should be noted that such description was made only for de-scriptive convenience with respect to the attached drawings and should not be construed as limiting the scope of rights of the present invention.
  • The ends of the first inlet portion 12 and second inlet portion 13 and the first outlet portion 14, second outlet portion 15, and third outlet portion 16 may be formed with stepped connecting parts (the end parts of each pipe portion that are not shown in the drawings) that can be connected to supply hoses (reference numerals 201 and 202 in FIG. 18, for example) for supplying liquid from an external water supply.
  • Moreover, as illustrated in FIGS. 14 to 16, the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention has a plurality of passages 21 to 23 formed thereon, through which liquid that enters into the valve body 11 flows through.
  • The plurality of passages 21 to 23 includes a first passage 21 connecting the first inlet portion 12 in a straight line to the first outlet portion 14 within the valve body 11, a second passage 22 connecting the second inlet portion 13 in a straight line to the second outlet portion 15 within the valve body 11, and a third passage 23 connecting the first passage 21 or the second passage 22 to the third outlet portion 16 within the valve body 11.
  • That is, the third passage 23 is formed to branch at the middle of the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 and connect to the third outlet portion 16.
  • The flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention further includes flow routing portions 17 and 18 that are moved within the valve body 11 when any one of the first control portion and the second control portion opens any one of the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13, and that re-route the passages of liquid flowing from the first inlet portion 12 and second inlet portion 13 to discharge the liquid through any one of the first outlet portion 14, second outlet portion 15, and third outlet portion 16.
  • The flow routing portions 17 and 18, as illustrated in FIGS. 14 to 17, include a first moving ball 18a for moving from the first passage 21 and opening and closing the first outlet portion 14, a second moving ball 18b for moving from the second passage 22 and opening and closing the second outlet portion 15, and pivot levers 17a and 17b contacted with the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b and moving to open and close the third outlet portion 16.
  • The first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b are types of marble-shaped components provided respectively at the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 that, when the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 are opened by the first control portion and the second control portion so that liquid flows into the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 formed within the valve body 11, are pushed by the liquid inflow pressure and moved toward the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15.
  • Here, the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b are made to have diameters corresponding approximately to a diameter of an inner tube (not shown) defining the first passage 21 and the second passage 22, to prevent leakage of liquid between the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b and the inner wall of the first passage 21 and the inner wall of the second passage 22, and may be respectively formed of diameters smaller than those of the inner tubes. Here, if the inner tubes defining the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 are not provided separately, and the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 are formed integrally in the valve body 11, the inner diameters of the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 will be what the moving balls are matched to.
  • Also, considering that after the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b are ultimately pushed and moved by liquid to block the starting points of the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15, and that they prevent liquid from being discharged outwardly through the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15, the diameters of the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b may be made greater than the diameters of the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 14 to 16, the forming of the third passage 23 constituting the intermediate moving passage for the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b ? that is, the portion connecting the middles of the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 to the third outlet portion 16 ? has already been described.
  • Here, the pivot levers 17a and 17b include a first lever 17a and a second lever 17b respectively having first ends 17a' and 17b' disposed along the moving passages for the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b, in order to contact the first moving ball 18a and the.second moving ball 18b that move vertically in the diagrams along the first passage 21 and the second passage 22, and second ends 17a" and 17b" extended to block the third outlet portion 16.
  • For descriptive convenience below, the pivot lever adjacent to the first passage 21 will be referred to as a first lever 17a, and the pivot lever adjacent to the second passage 22 will be referred to as a second lever 17b.
  • The first lever 17a and the second lever 17b are disposed in the valve body 11 such that their respective central portions are pivotably provided on a hinge 17'.
  • The first lever 17a and the second lever 17b respectively have the first ends 17a' and 17b' extended to project into the first passage 21 and the second passage 22, and the second ends 17a" and 17b" formed to extend toward the third outlet portion 16 by an amount sufficient to cover the third outlet portion 16.
  • Here, the first ends 17a' and 17b' of the first lever 17a and the second lever 17b extended to project into the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 are moved (from bottom to top in the diagrams) within the valve body 11, when the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 are opened by the first control portion and the second control portion so that liquid pushes the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b in the first passage 21 and the second passage 22, respectively, and are contacted with the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b, respectively, and pivot about the hinge 17' to which they are coupled, such that the second ends 17a" and 17b" of the first lever 17a and the second lever 17b switch the opened state of the third outlet portion 16.
  • That is, a resilient member (not shown) may be inserted to resiliently support the first lever 17a and the second lever 17b in a closing direction of the second ends 17a" and 17b" at the hinge 17' against the third outlet portion 16, so that the third outlet portion 16 is switched from a closed state to an open state by means of the second ends 17a" and 17b", when the first ends 17a' and 17b' come into contact with the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b, and the third outlet portion 16 is continuously maintained closed with the second ends 17a" and 17b" when the first and second ends 17a' and 17b' are not in contact with the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b.
  • The flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention in embodiments above is operated by means of the following operating principles and may selectively perform route switching to activate any one of the first passage 21 to the third passage 23.
  • Below, for descriptive convenience, a first example will be described where only the first control portion is controlled to open only the first inlet portion 12, a second example will be described where only the second control portion is controlled to open only the second inlet portion 13, and a third example will be described where both the first control portion and the second control portion are controlled to open both the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13.
  • Also, for descriptive convenience below, description will be provided by referring to a routed passage in which liquid begins flowing within the valve body 11 at the first passage 21 and passes through the third passes 23 to be discharged through the second outlet portion 15 as a "first routed passage" 31a, referring to a routed passage in which liquid begins flowing within the valve body 11 at the second passage 22 and passes the third passage 23 to be discharged through the first outlet portion 14 as a "second routed passage" 31b, and referring to a routed passage in which liquid begins to flow within the valve body 11 at the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 and passes the third passage 23 to be discharged through the third outlet portion 16 as a "third routed passage" 31c.
  • Referring to FIG. 14, in the first case, a controller (not shown), for controlling the first control portion arid the second control portion, controls the first control portion to open the first inlet portion 12 and controls the second control portion to not open the second inlet portion 13, and only the first moving ball 18a is moved by liquid flow to pivot the first end 17a' of the first lever 17a and open the third outlet portion 16 with the second end 17a". Simultaneously, the first moving ball 18a moves toward the first outlet portion 14 to close the first outlet portion 14.
  • Here however, while the second control portion closes the second inlet portion 13, the second moving ball 18b is not moving, so that the second end 17b" of the second lever 17b remains in a state closing the third outlet portion 16.
  • Accordingly, in the first case, liquid begins to flow within the valve body 11 at the first passage 21 and passes the third passage 23 to be discharged through the third outlet portion 16, thereby activating only the first routed passage 31a.
  • Conversely, in the second case, the second control portion opens the second inlet portion 13, and the first control portion keeps the first, inlet portion 12 closed, so that only the second moving ball 18b is moved by liquid flow to pivot the first end 17b' of the second lever 17b and open the third outlet portion 16 with the second end 17b". Simultaneously, the second moving ball 18b moves toward the second outlet portion 15 to close the second outlet portion 15.
  • Here, however, while the first control portion closes the first inlet portion 12, the first moving ball 18a is not moving, so that the first end 17a" of the first lever 17a remains in a state closing the third outlet portion 16.
  • Accordingly, in the second case, liquid begins to flow within the valve body 11 at the second passage 22 and passes the third passage 23 to be discharged through the first outlet portion 14, thereby activating only the second routed passage 31b.
  • In the third case, when the first control portion and the second control portion open the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 simultaneously, both the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b are simultaneously moved by liquid flow in the first passage 21 and the second passage 22, to respectively pivot the first ends 17a' and 17b' of the first and second lever 17a and 17b and open the third outlet portion 16 with the second ends 17a" and 17b". Simultaneously, the first moving ball 18a and the second moving ball 18b move toward the first outlet portion 14 the second outlet portion 15 to simultaneously close the first outlet portion 14 and the second outlet portion 15.
  • Then, only the third outlet portion is switched to an open state, and in the third case, liquid begins to flow within the valve body 11 at the first passage 21 and the second passage 22 and passes the third passage 23 to be discharged through the third outlet portion 16, thereby activating only the third routed passage 31c.
  • Thus, the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention includes 2 passages (reference numerals 12 and 13 in the drawings) through which liquid is admitted, and 3 passages (reference numerals 14 to 16 in the drawings) through which liquid is discharged, where the opened and closed states of the 2 inlet passages are suitably controlled to configure 3 independent switched passages, and all the functional parts used in a valve are applied, so that the number of valves required can be significantly reduced.
  • A flow routing valve 10 configured as above according to the present invention has a passage for admitting liquid and a plurality of functional parts that can be applied to all applicable fields, and can particularly be applied exclusively to a washing machine that washes clothes using water, the details of which are as follows.
  • FIG. 18 is a sectional view of a washing machine according to another embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 19 is a perspective view illustrating the inner structure of the washing machine of FIG. 18.
  • Below, description shall be provided of only differences to the washing machine according to the one embodiment of the present invention in FIG. 1. A water supply valve unit 200 performs the function of supplying wash water from an external water supply into the drum 124.
  • The water supply valve unit 200 may be configured to include a hot water valve connected to the detergent box 133, a bleach valve, a pre-valve, a first water supply valve, and a plurality of valves 10, 205, and 206 performing the function of a steam valve.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 19, wash water is supplied to each valve 10, 205, and 206 via the detergent box 133 or a steam generator (not shown), and a plurality of water supply hoses 14a, 15a, 16a, 205a, and 206a that are directly connected to the tub 122.
  • Here, for descriptive convenience, a detailed description of the functions of the plurality of valves 10, 205, and 206 is provided below.
  • Specifically, the hot water valve controls hot water supplied from an external water supply, to control the supply of hot water to the detergent box 133.
  • The bleach valve performs the function of controlling the supply of wash water to a part of the detergent box 133 in which bleach is stored.
  • The pre-valve is used at the initial stage of a wash cycle and performs the function of supplying wash water into the drum 124 through the detergent box 133.
  • The first water supply valve performs the function of controlling the supply of wash water to the detergent box 133 during the wash cycle, after the supply of wash water by the pre-valve has ended. The wash water supplied by the first water supply valve passes through the portion of the detergent box 133 containing detergent, and is supplied together with detergent into the drum 124.
  • The steam valve functions to control the supply of wash water through a steam house (not shown) connected to the steam generator.
  • Here, the plurality of valves 10, 205, and 206 have wash water inlet portions (not shown) formed on respective first ends thereof to which supply hoses for supplying wash water are connected, and wash water outlet portions (reference numerals not shown in the drawings) formed on respective second ends thereof to which the plurality of supply hoses 14a, 15a, 16a, 205a, and 206a are connected to supply wash water to the portions requiring supply of wash water to perform their respective functions.
  • A related art washing machine 100 has the limitation in that its design requires the addition of a valve and water supply hose for performing each additional function (as described above) whenever a new function for supplying wash water is added. This significantly increases the manufacturing cost for the overall product, and also increases power consumption and complicates the inner layout design of the cabinet 111.
  • Thus, by incorporating the above flow routing valve 10 into a washing machine 100 according to the present invention, which has the following operating principles, the number of valves can be reduced.
  • Specifically, the water supply valve unit 200, as illustrated in FIG. 19, further includes supply hoses 201 and 202 for directly supplying wash water to a portion of the plurality of valves from an external water supply, and.the flow routing valve 10 to which the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 are connected:
  • Here, a washing machine 100 including the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention is provided as one flow routing valve 10 to which the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 (to which the 2 supply hoses 201 and 202 are connected, respectively) are connected, thus providing a valve that performs the functions of 3 conventional valves.
  • Specifically, a flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention, as described above, has the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 respectively formed in one flow routing valve 10, and the two water supply hoses 201 and 202 are connected to the 2 inlet portions 12 and 13, respectively, to ultimately discharge wash water through the first outlet portion 14, the second outlet portion 15, and the third outlet portion 16, to realize the same effect as that produced by 3 valves.
  • However, in the case of final rinsing from among the wash courses of the washing machine 100, in which a fabric softener stored in the detergent box 133 is used, the first water supply valve and the pre-valve operate simultaneously to supply wash water to the portion of the detergent box 133 in which the fabric softener is stored, and in the case where wash water is only supplied to a routed passage from among the first routed passage 31a to third routed passage 31c (as in the flow routing valve 10 of the present invention), because simultaneously performing the functions of the first water supply valve and the pre-valve involves difficulties, it is not advisable.
  • Accordingly, in a washing machine 100 including the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention, the flow routing valve 10 is an assembly that can freely be applied to replace combinations besides that of simultaneously performing the first water supply valve and the pre-valve functions.
  • In an embodiment of a washing machine 100 including the flow routing valve 10 according to the present invention as configured above, when 5 valves are required to perform a total of 5 functions, for example, one flow routing valve 10 that performs 3 of the functions may be provided, and the remaining 2 functions may be performed by 2 independent valves.
  • Specifically, referring to FIG. 19, the valves that simultaneously perform multiple functions from a total of 5 functions, as described above, include only the first water supply valve and the pre-valve, and at least one of the first water supply valve and the pre-valve may be replaced by the flow routing valve 10, and the 2 routed passages that perform the remaining functions of the flow routing valve 10 may be configured to perform other remaining valve functions.
  • FIG. 20 is a flowchart of a wash water supplying method in a tub 122 of a washing machine 100 according to the present invention.
  • Below, with reference to FIG. 20, a detailed description will be provided on the process of supplying wash water into the tub 122 in a washing machine 100 according to the present invention.
  • Before entering into the detailed description, it will be noted that for descriptive convenience, the plurality of valves illustrated in FIG. 20 are valves that perform 5 functions, where the valve designated by reference numeral 205 performs the function of the bleach valve, the valve designated by reference numeral 206 performs the function of the first water supply valve, the valve designated by reference numeral 14 performs the function of the pre-valve, the valve designated by reference numeral 15 performs the function of the steam valve, and the valve designated by reference numeral 16 performs the function of the hot water valve.
  • When the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is required to supply bleach for bleaching laundry, the function of the bleach valve is required. Here, only the bleach valve 205 may be opened to supply wash water to the detergent box 133 at the portion 133a that holds bleach, and the remaining valves 206 and 10 may be kept closed.
  • Also, when the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is required to supply detergent at the initial stage of a wash cycle, the first water supply valve function is required. Here, only the first water supply valve 206 may be open to supply wash water to the portion 133b of the detergent box 133 that stores detergent, and the remaining valves 205 and 206 may be closed.
  • Further, when the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is required to perform a rinsing cycle (from among the wash cycles) for rinsing laundry using a clean external water supply, the pre-valve function is required. Here, only the second outlet portion 14 from the structure of the flow routing valve 10 may be open to supply wash water to the detergent box 133 without passing detergent, and the remaining valves 205, 206, and 15 and 16 of 10 may be closed.
  • Here, referring to FIGS. 15 to 16 and 20, when the second control portion opens only the second inlet portion 13 within the valve body 11 of the flow routing valve 10, only the second routed passage 31b is formed, and only the function of the pre-valve (that is, the first outlet portion 14 in FIGS. 14 to 16) is activated.
  • When the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is to be used for sterilizing laundry using steam from among the wash cycles, the steam valve function is required. Here, only the third outlet portion 16 is opened to supply wash water to the steam generator (not shown) and generate steam, and the remaining valves 205, 206, and 14 and 15 of 10 are kept closed.
  • Here, with reference to FIGS. 14 to 16 and 20, when the first control portion and the second control portion open both the first inlet portion 12 and the second inlet portion 13 within the valve body 11 of the flow routing valve 10, only the third routed passage 31c is formed, and only the function of the steam valve (that is, the third outlet portion 16 in FIGS. 14 to 16) is activated.
  • When the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is to be used for performing washing from among the wash cycles using hot water, the hot water valve function is required. Here, only the second outlet portion 15 is opened to supply hot water into the tub 122, and the remaining valves 205, 206, and 14 and 16 of 10 are kept closed.
  • Here, with reference to FIGS. 14 to 16 and 20, when the first control portion opens only the first inlet portion 12 within the valve body 11 of the flow routing valve 10, only the first routed passage 31a is formed, and only the function of the hot water valve (that is, the second outlet portion 15 in FIGS. 14 to 16) is activated.
  • Further, when the washing machine 100 according to the present invention is required to perform a final rinsing cycle (from among the wash cycles) for supplying fabric softener in a final rinsing cycle to laundry within the drum 124, the first water supply valve and pre-valve functions are simultaneously required. Here, the first water supply valve 206 and the first outlet portion 14 may be simultaneously open to supply wash water to the portion 133c of the detergent box 133 containing fabric softener, and the remaining valves 205 and 15 and 16 of 10 may be closed.
  • Here, with reference to FIGS. 14 to 16 and 20, when the second control portion opens only the second inlet portion 13 within the valve body 11 of the flow routing valve 10, only the second routed passage 31b is formed, and the function of the pre-valve (that is, the first outlet portion 14 in FIGS. 14 to 16) is activated, and also, the function of the first water supply valve 206 is activated. Thus, wash water is supplied to the portion 133c of the detergent box 133 containing fabric softener to supply wash water mixed with fabric softener into the tub 122.
  • The washing method and washing machine according to the present invention have one or more effects as follows.
  • First, prior to entering spinning, eco-rinsing is performed to reduce the overall cycle time and damage to laundry.
  • Second, prior to entering spinning, eco-rinsing is performed to efficiently remove residual detergent even with only a single rinsing.
  • Third, in eco-rinsing, the drum rotation is accelerated without the drum being stopped or slowed, thereby negating the need for laundry balancing, and reducing overall cycle time and damage to laundry.
  • Fourth, wash water is efficiently sprayed during eco-rinsing.
  • Fifth, formation of laundry film is prevented prior to eco-rinsing to allow eco-rinsing to be performed efficiently.
  • Sixth, prior to eco-rinsing, formation of laundry film is efficiently prevented within a short time by spraying wash liquid on laundry during laundry balancing.
  • Seventh, the amount of wash water that is sprayed during eco-rinsing can be controlled.
  • Eighth, the flow rate of wash water supplied from an external water supply may be calculated without a separate measuring device.
  • Ninth, the water pressure and flow resistance of an external water supply can be estimated.
  • Tenth, the flow rate at a second water supply valve that opens for spraying of wash water in eco-rinsing can be calculated.
  • Eleventh, the open time of a second water supply valve that opens for spraying of wash water in eco-rinsing can be calculated.
  • The effects of the present invention are not limited to the effects described above, and other effects that have not been set forth herein will be clearly understood from the appended claims by those skilled in the art.
  • Although the preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.

Claims (8)

  1. A washing method comprising:
    measuring (S210) a time of water supplying (211b) that wash water that is not mixed with detergent takes to reach a target water level of a tub (122) during water supplying (211), wherein the measuring process (S210) comprises supplying the wash water when a pre-valve (131c) is open; and
    calculating a flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve (131c) from the measured time of water supplying (211b); characterized by
    measuring (S220) a time of supplying bleach that wash water that is mixed with bleach takes to reach a target water level for supplying bleach, wherein the measuring process (S220) comprises supplying the wash water mixed with bleach when a bleach valve (131d) is open;
    calculating a flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve (131d) from the measured time of supplying bleach;
    calculating (S230) a flow rate of wash water supplied through a second water supply valve (131b) based on the flow rate of wash water supplied through the pre-valve (131c) and the flow rate of wash water supplied through the bleach valve (131d); and
    spraying the wash water that is not mixed with detergent into a drum (124) for a time derived (S240) from the calculated flow rate of the wash water supplied through the second water supply valve (131b) while the drum (124) is rotated, such that at least a portion of laundry is pressed against an inner wall of the drum during eco-rinsing (222, 228), wherein the spraying process comprises supplying the wash water when a second water supply valve (131b) is open.
  2. The washing method of claim 1, wherein the target water level in the measuring process is a point where the wash water does not reach the drum (124).
  3. The washing method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the flow rate of the wash water is calculated by dividing a volume of wash water supplied into a tub (122) at the target water level by the measured time.
  4. The washing method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the spraying process comprises draining the wash water to an external side.
  5. The washing method according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising accelerating the drum to remove the wash water from the laundry after stopping the spraying of the wash water.
  6. A washing machine comprising:
    a tub (122);
    a drum (124) disposed in the tub (122), for rotating with laundry loaded therein;
    a pre-valve (131c) for supplying (211) wash water that is not mixed with detergent into the tub, wherein an open time of the pre-valve (131c) is measured;
    characterized by
    a bleach valve (131d) for supplying wash water that is mixed with bleach into the tub;
    a second water supply valve (131b) for spraying wash water into the drum (124) during the drum rotating, and
    a controller (141) configured to measure an open time of the bleach valve (131d) and to calculate an open time of the second water supply valve (131b) from the open time of the pre-valve (131c) and the open time of the bleach valve (131d).
  7. The washing machine of claim 6, wherein the controller (141) is configured to control the drum such that at least of a portion of the laundry is pressed against an inner wall of the drum (124) by the rotation of the drum, when the second water supply valve (131b) is open.
  8. The washing machine according to claim 6 or 7, further comprising a pump (136) for draining the wash water to an external side when the pre-valve (131c) is open.
EP10839809.0A 2009-12-23 2010-12-23 Washing method and washing machine Active EP2516718B1 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

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KR1020090130105A KR101709474B1 (en) 2009-12-23 2009-12-23 Method for washing and washing machine
KR1020090130102A KR101617290B1 (en) 2009-12-23 2009-12-23 Method for washing and washing machine
KR1020090130104A KR20110072976A (en) 2009-12-23 2009-12-23 Method for washing and washing machine
KR1020090130968A KR101696708B1 (en) 2009-12-24 2009-12-24 Method for washing and washing machine
KR1020090130972A KR101669489B1 (en) 2009-12-24 2009-12-24 Valve for changing flow paths and Washing machine including the valve
PCT/KR2010/009296 WO2011078612A2 (en) 2009-12-23 2010-12-23 Washing method and washing machine

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EP2516718A2 EP2516718A2 (en) 2012-10-31
EP2516718A4 EP2516718A4 (en) 2013-08-07
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WO2011078612A2 (en) 2011-06-30
EP2516718A2 (en) 2012-10-31
US20110154580A1 (en) 2011-06-30
WO2011078612A3 (en) 2011-12-08
CN102770595B (en) 2015-11-25
EP2516718A4 (en) 2013-08-07

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