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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
WINDOW-CLEANING MACHINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/042670
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A window-cleaning machine for windows of buildings, ships, airplanes, tanks, etc. It comprises a main cleaning body and a securing device. The securing device comprises multiple cables and allows the main body to be positioned at any point on the surface. The machine further comprises an assembly of omnidirectional wheels which enable it to move over any obstacle or irregularity on the surface.

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Inventors:
CABALLERO GEORGE, Rony Javier (Paseo del Norte, Alpes Norte Calle 8 casa B40, Corregimiento Ernesto Córdoba Campos, Panamá, PA)
MERCHAN, Fernando (Ancón, Altos de Panamá Boulevard Paseo el Dorado, Mc Gregory Heights Torre 4 Apto. 7, Panamá, PA)
BERBEY, Aranzazu (Paseo del Norte, Alpes Norte Calle 8 casa B40, Corregimiento Ernesto Córdoba Campos, Panamá, PA)
Application Number:
IB2016/055229
Publication Date:
March 16, 2017
Filing Date:
September 01, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLÓGICA DE PANAMÁ (Avenida Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Vía Puente CentenarioCampus Metropolitano Víctor Levi Sasso,Corregimiento de Ancón, Ciudad de Panamá, PA)
International Classes:
A47L1/02; B05B3/18; B08B3/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001017698A12001-03-15
WO2015143920A12015-10-01
WO2001072438A12001-10-04
WO1997013938A11997-04-17
Foreign References:
US4883184A1989-11-28
US20060048800A12006-03-09
US5901720A1999-05-11
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A window-cleaning machine for a surface, comprising:

- a main cleaning body with cleaning means,

- a securing device configured to secure the main body and comprising at least:

-a plurality of cables through which it is joined to the main cleaning body, and -a plurality of motors to which the cables are joined by means of a mechanical transmission and/or a pulley to wind or release them depending on the position where the main cleaning body is located,

- an assembly of omnidirectional wheels arranged on the main cleaning body, by means of which it rests on and moves over the surface.

2. The machine according to claim 1 , wherein the cleaning means comprise at least one brush located on the main cleaning body, intended to remain in contact with the surface.

3. The machine according to claim 1 , comprising four cables that are joined from the main cleaning body via an upper left end, an upper right end, a lower left end and a lower right end.

4. The machine according to claim 1 , wherein the cables comprise springs at their ends by means of which they are joined to the main cleaning body.

5. The machine according to claim 1 , further comprising a control unit arranged in the main cleaning body and which is connected to the motors.

6. The machine according to claim 1 , comprising at least one sensor arranged on the main cleaning body. 7. The machine according to claim 6, wherein the sensor is selected from among position sensors, speed sensors, revolution counters, inertia sensors or image sensors.

8. The machine according to claim 1 , wherein the wheel assemblies comprise three wheels that are joined by means of bars to a central shaft around which they rotate.

9. The machine according to claim 8, wherein each one of the wheels rotates around its respective shaft.

10. The machine according to claim 9, wherein the wheels comprise rollers joined to their circumference, said rollers being arranged on rotation shafts arranged at 45° with respect to the plane of the wheel and 45° with respect to the line passing through the roller parallel to the rotation shaft of the wheel.

1 1. The machine according to claim 8, wherein the wheels are spherical.

12. The machine according to claim 1 , further comprising at least one water tank, one detergent tank and one water and detergent nozzle connected to both tanks.

13. The machine according to claim 1 , comprising an external tank intended to store water and/or detergent and a hose that connects said external tank to the main cleaning body.

Description:
WINDOW-CLEANING MACHINE

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

This invention describes a window-cleaning machine for cleaning windows and other external surfaces of buildings, ships, airplanes, tanks, silos and the like.

In particular, the machine comprises a securing device with multiple cables that allow the main cleaning body to be positioned at any point on the facade of the building, hull of the ship, fuselage of the plane, etc., whether this surface is regular or irregular.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In general, high-rise buildings are cleaned manually. Usually, for this purpose a scaffolding structure is secured from the top of the building. One problem associated with this solution from the state of the art is that the scaffolding can only move vertically. Therefore, to cover adjacent sections of the building, the scaffolding must be taken down and reinstalled in the new cleaning area.

Moreover, the process of cleaning high-rise buildings can be a dangerous operation. Indeed, it has been shown that at great heights the wind and drafts can generate aerodynamic forces on the structure or device used for cleaning (for example: scaffolding or climbing robots) causing it to swing away from the building, endangering the workers and the equipment.

Many window-cleaning devices have been described in the current literature. In particular, in patent US 7823242 B2 by Daniel J. Gorman, the classic scaffolding is used to support a cleaning system. However, this system is subject to the effect of the winds and drafts, and furthermore is limited to vertical movements. It must therefore be moved and reinstalled in order to cover the entire wall surface of the building.

Patent US 36649 by Jesse H. Jefferies describes a system that improves stability through the use of a counterweight installed in the bottom portion of the building. However, the mobility factor continues to be limited due to the fact that the system only moves vertically.

In patent DE 1020121 10387 A1 , by Benjamin Strang, the cleaning apparatus is secured to the building by means of a suction system. This system can move freely in any direction (i.e. vertically, horizontally or in both directions). However, this system has several limitations. In particular, since the suction force depends on the suction system, the system has a limited load weight for the equipment and cleaning supplies (for example: water, detergent and brushes). Moreover, the system is not equipped to move on irregular surfaces (for example, on walls that are not totally flat, with external columns).

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The window-cleaning machine of the present invention overcomes the technical problems of the known systems that have been described above.

The invention consists of a window-cleaning apparatus comprising a plurality of securing cables, preferably at least four of them, in order to ensure its stability. Said cables are directly or indirectly joined to the top portion and bottom portion (or other positions) of a surface to be cleaned. The cleaning apparatus comprises a main cleaning body that is secured to the cables by means of springs that provide suitable securing and stability.

The length of the cables is chosen such that the entire surface one wishes to clean may be covered. The cables secured to the top portion of the surface are connected to a motorized mechanical transmission or other system in order to pull it. The cables connected to the bottom portion of the surface may be connected to a motorized mechanical transmission, counterweights, or another equivalent system. Other cables at other points may be connected in a similar fashion. These mechanical transmissions are directly or indirectly connected to motors. The motors can wind up or unwind the cables such that the cleaning apparatus may be positioned at any position on the surface.

A control unit controls the planning of the motors' movement. The position of the cleaning apparatus is determined by means of at least one sensor arranged on the main cleaning body. Preferably, the apparatus comprises a plurality of sensors that may include position sensors, speed sensors, revolution counters, inertia sensors, image sensors or equivalent systems.

A plurality of assemblies of omnidirectional wheels is secured to the main cleaning body. In one exemplary embodiment the wheel assemblies are arranged on the edges of said cleaning apparatus. The omnidirectional wheels may be wheels with rollers joined to their circumference (said rollers being arranged on rotation shafts arranged at 45° with respect to the plane of the wheel and 45° with respect to the line passing through the roller parallel to the rotation shaft of the wheel), ball-type wheels, or equivalent wheels. The wheel assemblies have a star formation or equivalent, with three wheels in each wheel assembly. This star formation enables the apparatus to overcome obstacles.

The cleaning apparatus has a set of brushes that, in one exemplary embodiment, may be circular brushes. The cleaning supplies, such as water or detergent, may be housed in tanks installed in the main cleaning body, or may be provided by means of a hose connected to tanks arranged outside the main body and which are preferably situated at the top portion of the surface to clean.

The described window-cleaning device may be operated autonomously or remotely. The main objective of this invention is to enable a window-cleaning machine to be positioned at any position on the surface of a wall of a building, ship, airplane, etc.

Another objective of this window-cleaning machine is to overcome any obstacle or irregularity on the surface of the wall.

Another objective is for the system of multiple cables to be able to provide a stable support for the window-cleaning machine, even in the case of winds and drafts.

Another objective is for the machine to be able to carry the necessary load weight of the corresponding cleaning supplies. DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to complement the description being made and with the object of helping to better understand the characteristics of the invention, in accordance with a preferred practical embodiment thereof, said description is accompanied, as an integral part thereof, by a set of drawings where, in an illustrative and non-limiting manner, the following has been represented:

Figure 1a shows a front view of the window-cleaning machine installed on the window of a building.

Figure 1 b shows a close-up view of the main cleaning body in the position of the window-cleaning machine shown in figure 1 a.

Figure 2a shows a top view of the window-cleaning machine installed on the window of a building, shown in figure 1 a.

Figure 2b shows a close-up view of the main cleaning body of the window- cleaning machine shown in figure 2a.

Figure 3a shows a side view of the window-cleaning machine shown in figure 1 a.

Figure 3b shows a close-up view of the main cleaning body of the window- cleaning machine shown in figure 3a, with internal details.

Figure 4a shows a side view of the window-cleaning machine before overcoming an obstacle.

Figure 4b shows a side view of the window-cleaning machine after overcoming an obstacle.

Figure 5 shows the side of the window-cleaning machine that faces the window to be cleaned.

Figure 6a shows a front view of the window-cleaning machine installed on the window of a building, shown in figure 1 a, after having moved upwards along the window.

Figure 6b shows a front view of the window-cleaning machine installed on the window of a building, shown in figure 6a, after having moved sideways along the window.

Figure 7 shows a detailed view of the assembly of omnidirectional wheels arranged in a star formation.

Figure 8 shows a front view of the window-cleaning machine installed in an embodiment further comprising a water hose and a compressor.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Some exemplary embodiments of the invention are described below, with the help of figures 1 to 8.

The window-cleaning machine is shown, for example, in figure 1 a, where it is represented as being arranged on a window. The window-cleaning machine comprises at least one main cleaning body (1) with cleaning means, a securing device for securing the main cleaning body (1) with a plurality of cables (2) and at least one assembly of omnidirectional wheels (7), by means of which the main cleaning body (1) rests on and moves over the surface.

The securing device, in addition to the plurality of cables (2), comprises a plurality of motors (3) to which the cables (2) are joined by means of a mechanical transmission and/or a pulley (4) to wind or release them depending on the position where the main cleaning body (1) is located.

In figure 1 a one may observe said elements of the securing device. Likewise, figure 1 b shows a detailed view of the main cleaning body (1).

In figure 1 b one may observe how the cables (2) may comprise springs (8) at their ends, through which they are joined to the main cleaning body (1). The cables (2) may be joined to the main cleaning body (1) through supports (9) for the cables. In this figure one may also observe at least one sensor (19) arranged on the main body (1), which makes it possible to determine the position of said main cleaning body (1) on the window.

Figure 2a shows a top view of the window-cleaning machine. One may clearly observe the motors (3), which are arranged at the top portion of the surface and the corresponding pulleys (4), which allow the direction of the cables (2) to be changed. It may be seen how the main cleaning body (1) remains in contact with the surface to clean.

Figure 2b shows a close-up of the main cleaning body (1), wherein one may observe the cleaning means, which are brushes (5) that are located on said main cleaning body (1) and are intended to remain in contact with the surface during the cleaning operations. In this figure one may also see the assemblies of omnidirectional wheels (7).

Figure 3a shows a side view of the window-cleaning machine of the present invention. One may observe the main cleaning body (1), the securing device with all of the components thereof, and two wheel assemblies (7).

Figure 3b shows a close-up of the main cleaning body (1) with details of the elements found inside of it. Said elements may be a detergent tank (10), a water tank (1 1), the control unit (12), a nozzle (13) that water and detergent come out of, a used- water collector (14), a water-collector pump (15), a water filter (16) and a pump (17) of the water sprayer.

Figures 4a and 4b show a side view of the main cleaning body (1), arranged upon a surface on which there is an obstacle (22). Figure 4a shows the main cleaning body (1) before passing over the obstacle (22). At this moment, one of the wheels of a wheel assembly (7) is arranged upon the obstacle (22). Figure 4b shows the main cleaning body (1) after passing over the obstacle (22).

Figure 5 shows the side of the window-cleaning machine (1) that faces the surface to be cleaned. In this figure one may observe the brushes (5) used to clean, the nozzles (13) that water and detergent come out of, and the used-water collector (14). Preferably, as observed in the figure, the water and detergent nozzles (13) are arranged in the center of the brushes (5). Said brushes (5) can work in an inverse direction in order to minimize vibrations.

Figures 6a and 6b show the window-cleaning machine in various positions on a surface that is being cleaned.

As described above, the window-cleaning machine comprises at least four cables (2). In one exemplary embodiment, as shown in the figures, the securing device comprises an upper left securing cable (2), an upper right securing cable (2), a lower left securing cable (2), and a lower right securing cable (2). Each one of them is connected to a motor (3) by means of the corresponding mechanical transmission and pulley (4). By regulating the length of each cable (2) by means of the motor (3), the main body (1) is properly positioned and secured upon the surface.

In figure 1 a one may observe the main cleaning body (1) at a position on the surface, and in figure 6a one may observe how said main cleaning body has moved upwards. To do so, the cables running from the top portion of the main body to the top portion of the surface are pulled in. In this case, the cables of the bottom portion extend in a coordinated manner until the main cleaning body reaches the desired position.

Figure 6b shows the main cleaning body after it has moved to the right from the position in figure 6a. This movement is achieved by pulling in the cables on the right in a coordinated manner and extending the cables on the left until reaching the desired position. This movement is possible due to the fact that the apparatus has omnidirectional wheels.

In figure 7 one may observe a wheel (7) assembly. As may be observed in said figure, the assembly has a star formation with three wheels (7), each one of which rotates around its own shaft (18), said shafts (18) being joined by means of bars to a central shaft (23) such that they in turn rotate on said central shaft (23).

Figure 8 offers another exemplary embodiment of the window-cleaning machine. In this case the window-cleaning machine further comprises a water hose (20) and an external tank (21) with a compressor. The water hose (20) connects the compressor and the external tank (21) to the main cleaning body (1). In this variant, the water tank (11) and the detergent tank (10) may be eliminated from inside the main cleaning body (1), thereby reducing its size.