|1.||DEFINING THE INVENTION ARE: A fluid applicator head assembly comprising: at least one roller or support for a roller sleeve, and a wipe applicator portion.|
|2.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 1 which includes a drip tray or fluid reservoir.|
|3.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 1 which includes means of attachment to a bulk reservoir.|
|4.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 1 which includes means of attachment to a bulk reservoir, and fluid delivery means.|
|5.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 1 which includes a bulk reservoir and fluid delivery means.|
|6.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 through 5 wherein said wipe applicator portion comprises a porous material capable of holding a load of fluid and releasing same when said portion is wiped across a surface.|
|7.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 6 wherein said wipe applicator portion is a spongelike material.|
|8.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 6 wherein said wiperapplicator portion is positioned according to at least one of the following: i) forwardly of said roller or roller sleeve support; ii) along substantially an entire edge of said roller or roller sleeve support; iii) substantially parallel to the rotational axis of the roller or roller sleeve support; iv) substantially surrounding the roller or roller sleeve support when the head assembly is viewed in plan.|
|9.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 through 5 wherein said head assembly has a preferred contact face which can contact a workface to which fluid is to be applied, said preferred contact face comprising portions of said roller or a sleeved roller support, and said wipe applicator portion.|
|10.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 9 wherein preferred contact face is substantially planar.|
|11.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 through 5 wherein said wiper applicator portions can be replaced.|
|12.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 2 wherein there is a fluid path from said drip tray or fluid reservoir to a wipe applicator portion.|
|13.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 12 wherein said drip tray or fluid reservoir contacts said wipe applicator portion, there being at least one aperture in the portion of said drip tray or fluid reservoir contacting said wipe applicator portion to allow fluid to transfer to said wipe applicator portion.|
|14.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 2 wherein there is a fluid path from said drip tray or fluid reservoir to said roller or to a sleeve on a said support therefor.|
|15.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 2 which includes a wiper acting on said roller or a roller sleeve about a support therefor, said wiper capable of removing a portion of fluid on said roller or roller sleeve, which fluid is directed to said reservoir or drip tray.|
|16.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in either claim 4 or claim 5 which includes means for the internal delivery, by said fluid delivery means, of fluid to either or both of the wipe applicator portion, and roller or roller sleeve support.|
|17.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in either claim 4 or claim 5 wherein the fluid delivery system includes pump means.|
|18.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 17 in which said pump means is manually operated by a user of the assembly.|
|19.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 18 in which said pump means is positioned in a handle for a user of the assembly.|
|20.||A fluid applicator head assembly as claimed in claim 18 in which said pump means is operable by longitudinal sliding movements of handle portions by a user of the device.|
|21.||Fluid application apparatus comprising: a roller or a support for a roller sleeve, a wipe applicator portion, a fluid reservoir allowing for contained fluid to transfer to either or both of said wipe applicator portion, and roller or roller sleeve support, fluid delivery means capable to delivering fluid from a bulk reservoir to at least one of said wipe applicator portion, roller or roller sleeve support, and fluid reservoir, and a handle or means of attaching a handle for a user of the apparatus.|
|22.||Fluid application apparatus as claimed in claim 21 wherein said handle is hollow and the cavity contributes as part of said fluid delivery means.|
|23.||Fluid application apparatus as claimed in claim 22 in which said fluid delivery means includes pump means, said pump means being located in said handle and being operable by longitudinal sliding movements of handle portions by a user of the apparatus.|
|24.||A fluid applicator head assembly, substantially as described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings.|
|25.||Fluid application apparatus, substantially as described herein, with reference to the accompanying drawings.|
The present invention is directed to fluid application means. Most embodiments discussed herein rely on contact between the apparatus and a surface to which fluid is to be applied. One envisaged application of the present invention is for paint application.
The present invention is directed towards addressing problems associated with the delivery and application of paints. However, it is envisaged that the present invention need not be restricted to paint application and may find application in other areas - for instance cleaning or the application of herbicides.
Many methods of fluid in a paint application have been devised. For large areas, the paint brush has been generally superseded by spray or roller application. Paint rolling is commonly used, especially for buildings, and has advantages over spray application in that the bulky apparatus and power source associated with spray painting is not required. Also, there is less problem with overspray and much thicker paints and fluids can generally be applied. However a disadvantage of paint application by roller is that the roller head needs to be repeatedly dipped into a tray or reservoir of paint and the loaded roller then returned to the work surface. This can be tedious, give rise to paint drips between the reservoir and the work surface, and can result in practical problems when reloading the roller where long extension handles are used.
To address these problems, paint feed mechanisms to supply paint to the roller head have been developed. These generally use a pressurised paint reservoir which will feed paint to the roller head at a rate typically determined or controlled by the operator. However, this type of equipment tends to be expensive, may require an external power source in order to pressurise the paint reservoir, and can be bulky and difficult to clean as the entire reservoir has to be emptied and cleaned between use or when a different fluid or colour is to be applied.
Another form of painting which has evolved relatively recently is what is commonly referred to within the trade as the 'speed brush'. Essentially this is a pad of a porous material able to hold a load of paint - more or less like a sponge. The pad is loaded and wiped across a surface. In the hands of a skilled painter, a speed brush may apply paint at a rate rivalling or even exceeding that of a paint roller. However it shares one difficulty in common with the roller i.e. it still needs to be returned to a tray or reservoir for loading before application to the work surface. To date no apparatus has been devised or is available to allow the continuous or semi-continuous delivery of fluid to a speed brush.
Some other problems also plague existing painting methods. For instance, it may be possible in some embodiments of rollers having paint delivery systems, to overload the head which can affect the finish. This may be partially addressed by complicated fluid return facilities on the apparatus.
Another problem with rollers is that they cannot paint easily into corners. Consequently, corners or intersections with architecture (such as scotias, architraves and skirting boards etc) must be completed by brush. In addition this final brush treatment must generally be done while the paint is still wet and flowing so that there is no visible intersection between the two. With thicker or acrylic paints, the rolled and brushed areas may be visible due to the different surface pattern characteristic of each form of application - this effect may not be as pronounced on slower drying paints which have a greater period of time in which to flow-out.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a fluid applicator head assembly comprising: - at least one roller or support for a roller sleeve, and a wipe applicator portion.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a fluid applicator head assembly substantially as described above which includes a drip tray or fluid reservoir.
According to another aspect of the present invention a fluid applicator head assembly substantially as described above wherein said wiper- applicator portion is positioned according to at least one of the following: i) forwardly of said roller or roller sleeve support; ii) along substantially an entire edge of said roller or roller sleeve support; iii) substantially parallel to the rotational axis of the roller or roller sleeve support; iv) substantially surrounding the roller or roller sleeve support when the head assembly is viewed in plan.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a fluid applicator head assembly substantially as described above wherein said head assembly has a preferred contact face which can contact a work- face to which fluid is to be applied, said preferred contact face comprising portions of said roller or a sleeved roller support, and said wipe applicator portion.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided fluid application apparatus comprising: - a roller or a support for a roller sleeve, a wipe applicator portion, a fluid reservoir allowing for contained fluid to transfer to either or both of said wipe applicator portion, and roller or roller sleeve support, - fluid delivery means capable to delivering fluid from a bulk reservoir to at least one of said wipe applicator portion, roller or roller sleeve support, and fluid reservoir, and a handle or means of attaching a handle for a user of the apparatus.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided fluid application apparatus substantially as described above in which said fluid delivery means includes pump means, said pump means being located in said handle and being operable by longitudinal sliding movements of handle portions by a user of the apparatus.
One aspect of the present invention comprises an improved head assembly which generally comprises a roller assembly portion and a wipe-applicator portion. The roller assembly may comprise a standard paint roller (or a comparable roller unit). The roller assembly may also comprise a support to which a roller sleeve may be fitted. This may be advantageous as often different types of roller sleeves are prescribed for different types of paint and fluids. Generally only one roller or roller support will be provided though it is envisaged that multiple rollers, arranged ahead of each other, side by side or in various other arrangements, may also be provided.
The wipe-applicator portion generally comprises a porous, absorbent material able to hold a load of paint or the intended fluid. Upon wiping across an intended work surface, paint should be released. A variety of materials may be used though typically the materials similar to that used on 'speed brushes' may be employed. A possible consideration is the rate of release of fluid from the wipe-applicator portion as compared to the roller or roller sleeve. If fluid is held or released at substantially different rates, then an uneven finish may result where both the roller and wipe-applicator do not both pass over the work surface e.g. at corners. In some embodiments this may be partially alleviated by feeding fluid or paint predominantly to the roller, and wherein the wipe-application portion may act to a certain extent as a means for distributing the fluid rather than for just loading and releasing the fluid. The choice of the particular paint or fluid, and the type of finish required, may also influence the choice of material for the wipe- applicator portion. Consequently a finer, foam-like material (than the material used on many commercially available speed brushes) may be preferable in some cases. It may also be desirable to have the wipe- applicator portion divided into areas of different materials allowing the benefits of different materials to be taken advantage of. Some embodiments of the present invention may allow for substitution of the wipe-applicator portion or portions.
The positioning of the wipe-applicator portion with respect to the roller portion is also open to variation. Typically the head assembly will have a preferred direction of travel. This will be typically along an axis
perpendicular to the rotational axis of the roller, and this axis along which the head assembly may travel can conveniently be labelled forward and reverse. In many embodiments, the wipe-applicator portion will be positioned forwardly of the roller assembly. This is convenient for the head assembly to be able to apply fluid into corners and apices. In many embodiments, the handle (if provided) will extend rearwardly and the forward placing of the wipe-applicator portion will avoid obstruction by the handle when delivering fluid into corners. However, it is noted that different means may be provided for connection to a handle (for those embodiments to which a handle is to be attached) and this may include pivoting or tilting connections which can avoid possible obstruction by the handle when manoeuvring the head assembly into difficult places.
It is also possible that the wipe-applicator portion is positioned in other locations with respect to the roller. For instance it may also be positioned rearwardly of the roller assembly, or even to the sides thereof. However in most preferred embodiments the wipe-applicator portion will either substantially surround the roller assembly or else be positioned forwardly and rearwardly of the roller assembly. Furthermore, in this latter example it is envisaged that strips of a wipe- applicator material positioned fore and aft of the roller assembly will be substantially parallel to the rotational axis of said roller assembly. It is noted however that many other variations may be employed and the limited range of examples discussed herein have been given by way of example only.
Other modifications may be made to the head assembly. For instance, a tray or shield may be provided about part of the head assembly. This may be merely to prevent paint or fluid from dripping from faces, other than the contact face of the head assembly, during use. The contact face is generally that portion of the head assembly which contacts a work surface during use. As generally both roller and wipe-applicator portions will be used for the application of fluid, the contact face generally includes portions of both of these areas. Typically also the contact portion will be substantially planar though it may not necessarily be so and may even be modified to conform to curved or
other complex surfaces. Other contact faces may be modified in specialised units directed to complex surfaces such as for ribbed or corrugated roofing. Here, for example, rollers may travel along channels while wipe-applicator portions are used to distribute fluid over the ribbed or raised areas. Other variations are also possible.
The tray or shield may also act as a partial reservoir for fluid or paint. For instance it could be that a minimal amount of fluid is held within this shield/reservoir region ensuring that the roller and/or wipe- applicator portions are always substantially fully loaded. It may also be useful in evening out any inconsistencies of the supply of fluid to the head assembly and perhaps even for promoting the more even flow of fluid from a central delivery point. If more than a full load of fluid is delivered to the roller, depending on the particular embodiments, the tray may be of use to catch the excess. It may then slowly re-deliver this to the wipe-applicator portion or back to a fluid reservoir. The fluid path from the fluid reservoir/drip tray may take a variety of forms. Quite simply, apertures may be provided in the face of the reservoir/drip tray in contact with the wipe-applicator portion thereby allowing fluid to infuse into the wipe-applicator portion. A reservoir positioned above the roller (during normal use) could gravity feed fluid onto the roller.
The aforesaid reservoir/drip tray may also be associated with a wiper to remove a portion of fluid from the roller. This may comprise a wiper in physical contact or proximity to the roller or an attached roller sleeve. The position may be such that excess fluid is removed from the roller so that the load on the roller will not generally exceed a predetermined level. Consequently, if the user attempts to overload the roller with paint, the excess will be wiped and collected in a said reservoir/drip tray. While a reservoir may be provided on the head assembly to hold a quantity of fluid, it is generally more convenient to locate the fluid reservoir at a remote point to reduce the weight and bulk of the head assembly. Consequently, means may be provided to allow connection of the head assembly to a remote fluid reservoir. Distribution means may
be included in the head assembly to ensure that the fluid is delivered to the roller and/or wipe- applicator portions. Some existing commercial designs utilise an internal fluid feed system for the roller and such techniques may be incorporated into the present invention. It may be that fluid is delivered primarily to the roller assembly or sleeve - in use the wipe-applicator portion may pick up enough fluid to be effective at distributing the fluid over the work surface as well.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an improved handle assembly which may be included or used in conjunction with a head assembly such as previously described, or in conjunction with roller or speed brushes of more conventional design and incorporating provision for receiving fluid from a remote source.
According to a broad aspect, the handle, which is adapted to allow the connection of an appropriate fluid application head assembly, will comprise a fluid feed portion, a fluid delivery portion including a pump means.
The fluid feed portion will comprise at least provision for connection of the handle assembly to a bulk fluid reservoir. This may merely comprise a connection allowing a hose or conduit to be connected to the handle assembly, and which leads to a remote reservoir. Alternatively the fluid feed portion may include the plumbing allowing the direct attachment of a bulk reservoir, or may even include the reservoir itself.
The fluid delivery portion may merely comprise a connection allowing for the attachments of plumbing for delivery of fluid to a head assembly. Alternatively it may include the plumbing which will deliver the fluid to the head assembly (when attached).
In addition, the fluid feed portion will comprise a route to the pumping means either from the connection or plumbing or reservoir provided. Similarly the fluid delivery portion will include plumbing for the delivery of fluid from the pump means to the head assembly or allow the connection for plumbing between the two.
In a preferred embodiment, most of this plumbing is provided within the handle assembly. For instance the handle is of hollow construction and a substantial proportion of the length is devoted to being a conduit
leading from the pump to a head assembly which fits onto the end of the handle. In this embodiment the fluid feed portion merely comprises an attachment to which a hose leading to a suitable reservoir may be connected. However it will be appreciated that many different variations may be employed and such variations would be apparent to a skilled addressee of the art.
The pump means provided is within the handle unit. This may be formed into the handle, located within the handle (e.g. within a cavity) or mounted to the side of the handle. While the pump may be powered (e.g. by an air line, electric motor, hydraulic motor etc) such embodiments still require the use of an external power source in most instances. It is therefore more preferable, for most embodiments, to provide a pump which may be operated by the user. For instance a preferred embodiment uses a piston-type pump similar to a conventional bicycle pump. A portion of the hollow handle forms the cylinder in which the piston will slide. By pumping forwardly and backwardly fluid may be drawn from and through the fluid feed portion, and pumped via the fluid delivery portion to a head assembly which may be connected to the handle assembly. This particular embodiment is relatively compact, does not have any bulky add-ons extending to the side and can be readily dismantled for cleaning. However this is an example of just one particular type of pump which may be used and it should be appreciated that other arrangements and pumps may be employed in various other embodiments.
Generally the pump will include non-return valves to prevent fluid from flowing in a reverse direction through the pump. However, due to the relatively high head which may be induced on long extensions or handles (e.g. for painting tall vertical surfaces) it may be preferable to include additional non-return valves within the assembly. If extension poles are available, and especially if fluid is fed through the internal cavity of a handle or extension, it may be desirable to incorporate at least one non-return valve within each section.
In addition it may be desirable to provide closeable valves so that fluid is retained substantially within each extension or section during
dismantling. It is noted that other arrangements and types of valves may also be employed. More preferably, it may be desirable to make provision for emptying of the plumbing of the feed and/or delivery portions prior to disassembly or cleaning. A separate return line and/or provision for drainage may be provided. Alternatively the head assembly may be removed and the handle assembly inverted. Various options are available and these may differ according to various embodiments of the invention.
BRD5F DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Figures 1 and 2 are those attached to the provisional specification, and are summarized as follows:
Figure 1: is a simplified diagrammatic plan view of the head assembly of one embodiment of the present invention, and
Figure 2: is a simplified diagrammatic side view of a handle assembly and separated head assembly according to another aspect of the present invention.
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
With reference to the drawings and by way of example only there is provided a fluid applicator head assembly (generally indicated by arrow 1) comprising: a roller 2 or a support for a roller sleeve, and a wipe-applicator portion 3.
The roller assembly 2 may comprise a conventional paint roller sleeve about an internal support. The assembly 2 is mounted on a spindle 4 which allows its rotation.
In the illustrated embodiment, the spindle 4 is hollow to allow the conduit of fluid to the interior of the roller assembly 2. Here the fluid is fed outwardly to various points on the outer roller surface 5. It is preferable that the inside of the roller does not comprise a large hollow cavity as the presence of any significant amount of fluid therein may affect the even rotation of the roller. A foam filled interior, or a solid plug with fluid channels therein, would be preferable in many
instances to a large hollow cavity. Fluid may be fed from the interior of the roller 2, to the outer sleeve 5 by suitable apertures in the sleeve 5 or the use of a porous material allowing the flow of fluid to the sleeve 5.
A supporting frame 6 holds the head assembly and again this frame 6 may be hollow to allow fluid to travel through same to the spindle 4. Alternatively, a separate fluid line may be provided which connects to an end of the spindle 4.
Provision 7 is made for the connection of the head assembly illustrated, to a handle. The connection means 7 may have a threaded insert (see Figure 2) to allow a handle or extension tube to be inserted. Other forms of coupling may also be provided. In the illustrated embodiment, fluid travels through the handle or extension tube to the connection point 7. Consequently, the connection assembly 7 should also allow for the continued flow of fluid either through the frame 6 or to the spindle 4.
Substantially surrounding the roller assembly 2 is wipe-applicator portion 3. This is in close proximity to the roller and may even touch the pile or surface of the roller sleeve 5. However the contact should not be too tight as this may disrupt the pile or surface of the roller giving an inferior paint or fluid finish.
The wipe-applicator portion comprises essentially a pad with an insert removed into which the roller assembly 2 fits. This may be readily seen in the partial cut away view of Figure 2. As can be seen, there is a contact surface 8, which is substantially planar, and represents that face which comes in contact with a work surface. As can been seen the surface of the wipe-applicator portion 3 is substantially flush with the roller sleeve 5.
In the illustrated embodiment, fluid is not directly applied to the wipe- applicator portion 3. Instead, the applicator portion 3 will obtain fluid from the roller assembly 2 in close proximity to same. Some further fluid may be obtained via the drip tray 9.
The drip tray 9 may act as a support for the wipe- applicator pad 3. The tray may also extend forwardly of the roller and about the sides thereof though this is not shown, for clarity, in the illustrated embodiment of
Figure 2. An edge 10 of the drip tray 9 may come into close proximity to the outer surface 5 of the roller assembly 2 and may be used to remove, in a partial scraping type action, excess fluid from the roller surface 5.
This may partially alleviate problems of the roller being over-loaded if excess fluid has been delivered. Apertures in the base 11 of the drip tray 9 may allow this excess fluid to find its way to the wipe-applicator pad 3 which is another source of fluid for the wipe-applicator. Other variations of this procedure may be provided, and it is possible that a drip tray 9 may not be present on other embodiments. However the embodiment illustrated in Figure 2 can address problems which may arise through the over supply of fluid to the head assembly. If desired, a separate fluid return line may be provided if the drip tray ever becomes over full.
A handle portion for a preferred embodiment is illustrated in Figure 2. The handle assembly, generally indicated by arrow 20 comprises a hollow cylindrical handle 21. At one end is a coupling 22 e.g. a thread, which allows connection to the connection means 7 of a head assembly, or the connection means 22 of an extension handle 23.
At the alternate end of the handle assembly 20, is the pump means (generally indicated by arrow 24) which comprises a partitioned section of the hollow handle 21 delineated at an inner end by a one way valve 25. This one way non-return valve 25 is orientated to allow the flow of fluid away from the pump mechanism 24. Near to the non-return valve 25 is a further coupling 26 with a non-return valve 27 allowing the flow of fluid into the pump. A line 28 leading to a suitable reservoir of fluid may be coupled at this point.
The pump mechanism 24 comprises a sliding piston which on an outward stroke will draw fluid through a non-return valve 27 and into the pump cavity 29. On the inward stroke, the contents of the enlarged cavity 29 are expelled through non-return valve 25 towards the head assembly 1. In operation the pump mechanism is very similar to a conventional bicycle tyre pump.
An extension tube 23 may also include an optional non-return valve 30.
In practice, a head assembly unit such as illustrated in Figure 1, may be used in a similar manner to a conventional roller. However, it is easier for the user to use the wipe-applicator portion 3 to take fluid right into corners and apices. The head assembly unit may be used in the manner of a conventional roller e.g. in conjunction with a tray of fluid for loading the roller/wipe- applicator pad. Alternatively the head assembly of Figure 1 may be used in conjunction with the handle 20 of Figure 2. In this case, the pump 24 is used to prime and supply fluid to the attached head assembly 1. Alternatively, the handle assembly 20 may be used in conjunction with a more conventional type head, comprising solely a roller or speed brush type assembly.
Aspects of the present invention have been described by way of example only and it should be appreciated that modifications and additions may be made thereto without departing from the scope thereof as defined in the appended claims.