Multi-function combined brush for vacuum cleaner
1. A combined brush for vacuum cleaner comprising at least one suction duct, one fixed part, and two or several frames, each movable with respect to said fixed part from a retracted position to an extracted position, wherein each of said two or several movable frames is extracted or retracted according to an alternating translatory movement controlled by the intermittent rotation of a shaft, wherein the extraction of each movable frame takes place at at least one angular position of said shaft, said at least one angular position being different from the angular positions at which the other or the other movable frames are extracted.
Multi-function combined brush (1) for vacuum cleaner. A brush (1) for vacuum cleaner of a “combined” type, i.e. a brush (1) capable of changing the operating mode without being obliged to replace the accessory, whose main feature consists of its possibility of alternating its functions, for instance carpets, floors, and liquids, by way of a pedal (7) featuring one static position. Very advantageously, the innovative solution according to the present application makes it possible to embody a combined brush (1) capable of performing different functions in one device.
- 1. A combined brush for vacuum cleaner comprising at least one suction duct, one fixed part, and two or several frames, each movable with respect to said fixed part from a retracted position to an extracted position, wherein each of said two or several movable frames is extracted or retracted according to an alternating translatory movement controlled by the intermittent rotation of a shaft, wherein the extraction of each movable frame takes place at at least one angular position of said shaft, said at least one angular position being different from the angular positions at which the other or the other movable frames are extracted.
The present invention belongs to the sector of the brushes for vacuum cleaners. More specifically, this invention concerns cleaning brush and accessories equipped with retractile elements.
It is known that the devices used for home cleaning, for instance the vacuum cleaners, operate on the basis of the principle of creating a vacuum and a consequent flow of atmospheric air toward said vacuum, which results in the particles of dust being carried by the so created flow.
Particularly complete clearing machines also exist and are known, which generate steam and make it expand and direct toward the surface to be cleaned, thus leaving humidity and water which are sucked by the machine itself by using the same vacuum device as used to suck dust; in this case the brush is often equipped with rubber blades, which are used to keep the water to suck within a confined environment.
The brushes for cleaning equipment vary in accordance with their specific application and with the surface where they shall be used. Therefore, there are brushes specially suited for floors, for carpets, for parquet floors, for sofas, or others. Further, there are brushes specially suited for suction only, for liquids, for steam, or mixed. Their variants are actually even more numerous and possibly also offer other features including, for instance, the presence and the type of small wheels that facilitate the displacement or the handling of the brushes as well as of the cleaning elements.
In order to make it possible the use of several cleaning features in one brush, there is, in general, the following alternative: according to a first option, the accessory of interest is mounted on a basic brush every time it is required, whereas the second option consists of using a so called “combined” brush. A bush of the latter type comprises a bottom plate, usually of a type suitable for carpets, and a retractable accessory, usually one or several bristles for floors and one or several blades for liquids.
In combined brushes, a pedal operates a number of mechanisms which, alternatively, lower and lift the frame that the accessory of interest is connected to. The frame is usually located in a raised position thanks to the action of one or several springs.
Different kinematic mechanisms have been progressively developed over years to move these frames; however the variants known so far always features two working positions only, so one accessory only can be lifted or extracted downwards, alternatively.
Examples of these devices are described in DE 3737749 A1, in GB 1311079 A, in GB 1343962 A, in DE19818568 C1, in WO 2009128762 A1 and in DE 2005500 A1.
Some devices have also been developed which, thanks to specially designed moving mechanisms, make it possible to obtain different operating modes, for instance U.S. Pat. No. 2,034,196 A, U.S. Pat. No. 3,821,831 A, and EP 0158145 A1.
However, these devices do not really allow to use more than two accessories, but rather they allow to set a plurality of different working positions for each individual accessory, so as to determine slightly different operating modes.
For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 3,821,831 A, even though it offers the possibility of selecting three different positions, in fact allows to position the one and same accessory in two different arrangements, in correspondence with which said accessory is more or less extracted.
On the contrary, the device according to the present patent application makes it possible to have several accessories mounted on the same brush, so as to set operating modes really different from each other; for instance, by extracting brushes to clean floors or by extracting blades for liquids or by even holding both the bristles and the blades inside the brush body, so as to use the bottom plate only, for instance to clean carpets.
Moreover, the brush configuration described below does not require any separate external accessories, hence it is easier to use than those described above.
The solutions illustrated in the present patent application solve the problems described above by means of a shaft (4) which rotates intermittently to cause the alternate translation of one or several movable frames, preferably two or more frames, so that the latter pass from a position retracted with respect to the fixed part (2) and an extracted position and vice versa.
Thanks to the solutions adopted, it is possible to have a combined brush (1) capable of matching several operating modes by simply depressing one pedal (7).
More specifically, the combined brush (1) according to the present patent application comprises a fixed part (2) and one or several frames, preferably two or more frames, that are movable with respect to said fixed part.
Said one or several movable frames hold the desired accessories that characterize each specific operating mode, besides making it possible to set special configurations that make specific improvements possible, for instance in sucking given zones. In other words, there might be a frame to clean floors, another for carpets, another one to suck liquids, and so on.
Furthermore, said fixed part (2) can be properly shaped or be equipped with accessories, so as to provide a first operating mode.
Said one or several movable frames move from a retracted position, in which the accessory does not operate, to a working position; therefore, the retracted position corresponds to the raised position of the frame whereas the extracted or blocked position corresponds to the lower position thereof.
It is known that the retracted position is usually held by means of at least one return spring (13), an end being connected to its corresponding movable frame.
In the device according to the present patent application, the intermittent rotation of said shaft (4) results in subsequently operating at least one different movable frame, so as to change the operating mode.
As a matter of fact, the rotation of the shaft acts onto appropriate mechanisms, which force a translatory motion in said at least one different movable frame. Said mechanisms make it possible to realize a kinematic mechanism that links the rotation of said shaft (4) to the translation of a movable frame. Such kinematic mechanism can be implemented by means of a kinematic pair in which motion takes place between two properly shaped profiles in contact with each other or by using any other equivalent kinematic mechanism, for instance a thrust crank gear.
In other words, a first rotation of said shaft (4) makes it possible to extract a frame and its corresponding accessory, whereas a further rotation makes the just extracted frame return and can determine the extraction of another frame.
Advantageously can the rotation of said shaft (4) be directly controlled by said one pedal (7), which oscillates from a rest position to a temporary activation position, in which said pedal (7) is depressed.
As a matter of fact, the combined brush (1) possibly comprises a pedal (7) which, while the accessories are used, is held lifted by a spring (73) whereas, operated by the foot, it moves downwards, so as to operate an oblique sprocket wheel (41) integral with said shaft (4), whereby the intermittent rotation of the latter is caused.
In order to prevent the presence of unavoidable clearances between the elements of the mechanisms present in the combined brush (1) from originating an unstable extracted position, said brush possibly comprises a special wheel (42), integral with said shaft (4), onto which a projecting ridge acts upon reaching the extracted position.
The combined brush (1) according to the present application comprises a fixed part (2) and one or several frames (10, 11), preferably two or more frames, movable with respect to the latter.
The fixed part (2) can be composed of several pieces properly joined to each other, for instance by means of adhesives, joints, screws, or other connection means.
In the embodiment here described, and represented in the figures, the fixed part (2) comprises a lower piece joined to an upper piece via threaded connections. Said lower piece is properly shaped so as to provide a first operating mode of the brush, usually referred to as “for carpets”. A suction inlet of the suction duct (3) and a number of nozzles (21) for steam exhausting purposes are also present on said lower piece.
The fixed part (2) presents a number of appropriate openings in order to make the extraction of the remaining frames possible. In particular, in the embodiment here described the brush (1) is equipped with two frames (10, 11) which move from a retracted position to an extracted position with respect to said fixed part (2). A first frame (10) is specially suited for cleaning floors, being equipped with strip brushes. Conversely, a second frame (11) is equipped with blades which are usually employed because they allow to delimit the volume during liquid suction.
On the basis of what just proposed, the combined brush (1) here described provides three operating modes which are particularly advantageous whenever a vacuum cleaner is to be used also for liquids or is provided with steam generation facilities. More specifically, said brush is provided with a duct for the steam that is exhausted via a number of nozzles (21) and, consequently, shall then be sucked, together with the air, through the suction duct (3).
The movement of the frames, which is an alternating translatory one, is controlled by the intermittent rotation of a shaft (4), placed inside the fixed part. As a matter of fact, said shaft (4) moves two first flat cams (5) and two second flat cams (6) integral with said first frame (10) and with said second frame (11) respectively. Said cams (5, 6) are coaxially integral with said shaft (4), so that the rotation of the latter enables them to cooperate with cam followers of a translating type, the latter possibly directly machined on the two frames (10, 11) or alternatively consisting of components directly connected, also rotationally wise, to said frames. In particular, in the embodiment here described, said cam followers are implemented in the form of wheel tappets (8, 9) each rotating with respect to its respective axis integral with the frame.
The contact between said cams (5, 6) and their corresponding cam followers (8, 9) is provided by at least one return spring (13) which pushes its respective movable frame toward its retracted position. In the embodiment here described every frame is provided with two return springs (13). Furthermore, every cam (5, 6) determines two different angular positions, each of which determines the extraction of its respective frame.
Alternatively, said cams can be properly shaped in such a way that said frames (10, 11) behave as translating cam followers, without using any separate tappets. Advantageously can said frames assume configurations that facilitate the movements operated by said cams or allow to stabilize the assumed position.
In the embodiment here described, each of said cams presents a notch (12) on the contact surface. In each of said two different angular positions said notch receives, following an elastic deformation, its respective wheel tappet.
The elastic deformation can be confined between the notch (12) and the cam follower or, advantageously, the return springs, connected to each one of said two frames (10, 11), can get elastically deformed so that every notch (12) can receive its corresponding cam follower.
If the translating cam followers are machined directly on one or several frames, then the surface in contact with its corresponding cam can present a notch to engage it, following an elastic deformation, so as to hold it in at least one working angular position, corresponding to the extracted position of its respective movable frame. In this case too, the elastic deformation can be confined between the notch and the cam or advantageously can the return springs, connected to the frame, get elastically deformed.
In the embodiment here described, the first cams (5) and the second cams (6) form angles of 60 degrees between them so as to allow, by way of successive intermittent rotations of said shaft (4), the comeback of said second frame (11) and the extraction of said first frame (10), the comeback of said first frame (10), the extraction of said second frame (11), and so on, an operating mode corresponding to every position.
Anyway, the number of the cams, their angular configuration, and the number of the extracted positions determined by every cam are characteristics that can vary for a number of reasons, for instance, as a function of the desired features. Or even more, the shaft might rotate both forward or backward, or rotate every time by angles different from those indicated above. All of these configurations can be easily determined on the basis of the information contained in the present patent application.
A further advantageous feature of the brush (1) is represented by the possibility of operating the rotation of said shaft (4) just by means of one pedal (7) hinged onto said fixed part (2) and capable of describing an oscillatory motion.
Advantageously can said oscillatory motion take place thanks to a spring which brings said one pedal (7) back to the rest position after the external depression.
Depressing said one pedal (7) causes, via a ratchet gear, the intermittent rotation of said shaft (4). More in details, an oblique sprocket wheel (41), coaxially integral with said shaft (4), is put into a progressive rotation by a pawl (71) driven by said one pedal (7). While the pedal is depressed, said pawl (71) gets in contact with an oblique sprocket of said wheel (41) and makes it rotate.
Advantageously, in the embodiment here described a spring (74) guarantee the contact between said pawl (71) and said wheel (41).
Whenever, by depressing the pedal (7), one of said two frames (10, 11) is extracted, the pawl (71) drives the shaft (4), via the oblique sprocket wheel (41), into such a position that at least one cam follower is received in a corresponding hollow (12) of its respective cam.
In a particularly complete embodiment, in order to make this position stable, it is possible to coaxially and integrally connect to said shaft (4) a special wheel (42) whose circumference presents a number of notches, one of which engages a specially designed projecting ridge (72) present in the lower part of said one pedal (7) whenever it is in its rest position, so as to prevent said shaft (4) from rotating.
The solutions adopted in the combined brush (1) according to the present patent application make it possible to use an operating mode indicator element (43), i.e. an element that indicates the position of said one or several frames, simple to manufacture, install, and customize.
As a matter of fact, said indicator element (43) is possibly coaxial to said shaft (4) and possibly presents a side surface subdivided into sectors, each of which identifies a different operating mode. This way, rotating said shaft (4) makes it possible to vary the sector that is visible. The figures show a particular indicator element (43) featuring a cylindrical shape visible outside the fixed part (2) through a transparent slot which might even be just an opening in said fixed part (2).
Further, the solutions here presented offer special advantages when they are used in a combined brush (1) that is operationally connected to the vacuum cleaner via a double articulated joint, rotating with respect to a first axis (X) and to a second axis (Y). As a matter of fact, said double articulated joint cooperates with the intermittent rotation of said shaft (4) so as to quickly and easily match the operating mode to the different conditions, for instance when passing from a floor to a carpet.
In an alternative embodiment, said shaft (4) and consequently the frames associated therewith are driven electrically.