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Title:
CLEANING IMPLEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/165100
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cleaning implement including a foot, a motor, and an eccentric mass. The foot has a foot plate and an oscillation plate movably coupled to the foot plate. The motor is coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate. The motor rotates about a motor axis extending at a non-perpendicular transverse angle relative to the surface. The eccentric mass is coupled to the motor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate upon operation of the motor. The oscillating force has a planar component parallel to the oscillation plate and a perpendicular component perpendicular to the oscillation plate.

Inventors:
SCOTT, Zachary, P. (US)
WATSON, Elton, Lee (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2022/014200
Publication Date:
August 04, 2022
Filing Date:
January 28, 2022
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TECHTRONIC CORDLESS GP (US)
International Classes:
A47L11/40
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BLANCHARD, Jonathan, M. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A cleaning implement for cleaning a surface, the cleaning implement comprising: a foot having a foot plate and an oscillation plate movably coupled to the foot plate; a motor coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate, the motor including a rotor rotatable about a motor axis extending at a non-perpendicular transverse angle relative to the surface when the foot is supported upon the surface; and an eccentric mass coupled to the rotor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate upon rotation of the rotor, the oscillating force having a planar component parallel to the oscillation plate and a perpendicular component perpendicular to the oscillation plate.

2. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the cleaning implement further comprises a vacuum assembly comprising a suction motor and impeller configured to generate suction to move dirty air through a dirty air inlet, a separator configured to separate the dirty air into debris and clean air, a dust bin configured to collect the debris, and a clean air outlet configured to outlet clean air to the surroundings.

3. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the cleaning implement further comprises a sprayer assembly comprising a solution tank configured to store cleaning solution, an outlet nozzle, and a sprayer pump in fluid communication with the solution tank and the outlet nozzle, the sprayer pump configured to pump cleaning solution from the solution tank and out the outlet nozzle.

4. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the angle is between 10 and 20 degrees from perpendicular relative to the surface.

5. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the planar component is parallel to the surface and the perpendicular component is perpendicular to the surface.

6. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the motor is coupled to the oscillation plate.

7. The cleaning implement of claim 6, wherein the motor is coupled to a motor mount, and the motor mount is coupled to the oscillation plate.

8. The cleaning implement of claim 7, wherein the motor mount includes a mount surface provided at the non-perpendicular transverse angle, and the motor rests upon the mount surface.

9. The cleaning implement of claim 1, wherein the eccentric mass defines a center of mass offset from the motor axis.

10. A cleaning implement for cleaning a surface, the cleaning implement comprising: a foot having a foot plate including a foot plate partition defining a foot plate slot extending transverse to the surface, an oscillation plate including an oscillation plate partition defining an oscillation plate slot extending transverse to the surface, a pin configured to inhibit decoupling of the oscillation plate from the foot plate, the pin being coupled to the foot plate partition with at least a portion of the pin positioned within the oscillation plate slot, a motor coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate, the motor including a rotor rotating about a motor axis; an eccentric mass coupled to the rotor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate upon operation of the motor.

11. The cleaning implement of claim 10, wherein the foot plate includes a second foot plate partition, and the oscillation plate partition is sandwiched between the foot plate partition and the second foot plate partition.

12. The cleaning implement of claim 11, wherein second foot plate partition includes a second foot plate slot extending transverse to the surface, and the pin includes a second end coupled to the arm opposite the end, the second end being coupled to the second foot plate partition.

13. The cleaning implement of claim 12, wherein the end includes a planar portion which engages the foot plate partition.

14. The cleaning implement of claim 10, wherein the foot has a plurality of pins.

15. The cleaning implement of claim 14, wherein the plurality of pins are arranged in a rectangular array when viewed perpendicular from the surface.

16. The cleaning implement of claim 10, wherein the pin is elastic.

17. The cleaning implement of claim 10, wherein the foot plate further comprises a foot plate ball receiver, the oscillation plate further comprises an oscillation plate ball receiver, and the foot further comprises a ball received by the foot plate ball receiver and the oscillation plate ball receiver.

18. The cleaning implement of claim 17, wherein the ball is elastic.

19. The cleaning implement of claim 17, further comprising a sleeve surrounding the ball, the sleeve being positioned between the ball and both the foot plate ball receiver and the oscillation plate ball receiver.

20. The cleaning implement of claim 17, wherein the foot plate comprises a plurality of foot plate ball receivers, the oscillation plate comprises a plurality of oscillation plate ball receivers, and the foot comprises a plurality of balls.

21. The cleaning implement of claim 20, wherein the plurality of balls are arranged in a rectangular array when viewed perpendicular from the surface.

22. The cleaning implement of claim 10, wherein the pin defines an end coupled to the foot plate partition and an arm coupled to the end, the arm being received in the oscillation plate slot.

23. The cleaning implement of claim 22, wherein the oscillation plate slot is larger than the pin to define a gap between the arm and the oscillation plate slot, the gap being adjustable in size as the oscillation plate moves relative to the foot plate.

24. The cleaning implement of claim 23, wherein the gap is adjustable in size between zero and non-zero values.

25. The cleaning implement of claim 24, wherein when the gap is a zero value, the pin contacts the oscillation plate partition to inhibit decoupling of the oscillation plate from the foot plate.

22

26. A cleaning implement for cleaning a surface, the cleaning implement comprising: a vacuum assembly comprising a suction motor and impeller configured to generate suction to move dirty air through a dirty air inlet, a separator configured to separate the dirty air into debris and clean air, a dust bin configured to collect the debris, and a clean air outlet configured to outlet clean air to the surroundings; and a sprayer assembly comprising a solution tank configured to store cleaning solution, an outlet nozzle, and a sprayer pump in fluid communication with the solution tank and the outlet nozzle, the sprayer pump configured to pump cleaning solution from the solution tank and out the outlet nozzle; and a user-actuated vacuum switch configured to actuate the suction motor, a user-actuated sprayer switch configured to actuate the sprayer pump, and wherein upon simultaneous actuation of the sprayer switch and the vacuum switch, the suction motor is deactivated.

27. The cleaning implement of claim 26, wherein the suction motor will not be operated until the user actuates the vacuum switch to operate the suction motor.

28. The cleaning implement of claim 26, further comprising a vibration assembly including a foot having a foot plate and an oscillation plate movably coupled to the foot plate, a vibration motor coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate, an eccentric mass coupled to the motor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate when the vibration motor is operated; and a user-actuated vibration switch configured to operate the vibration motor.

29. The cleaning implement of claim 28, wherein the vibration switch is configured to operate the vibration motor to generate the oscillating force while the sprayer switch is actuated and the sprayer pump pumps cleaning solution out of the outlet nozzle.

23

30. The cleaning implement of claim 29, further comprising lights which are operated upon actuating either the vacuum switch or the sprayer switch.

31. The cleaning implement of claim 26, wherein the vacuum switch and the sprayer switch are each electrically coupled to at least one electrical component on a common printed circuit board, and the common printed circuit board is configured to selectively supply power from a power supply to the corresponding suction motor or sprayer pump based on operation of the vacuum switch and sprayer switch.

24

Description:
CLEANING IMPLEMENT

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to the following: U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 63/143,433, filed January 29, 2021, the entire contents all of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to cleaning implements, and more particularly, to powered cleaning implements including at least a vibration assembly.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Some types of cleaning implements include vacuum cleaners, spray mops, and agitators. In prior agitators, eccentric masses rotate a first plate relative to a second plate in a plane parallel with a surface to be cleaned. In prior agitators, the first plate and the second plate are biased toward each other by elastic members. Finally, in prior cleaning implements, solution may be discharged via the spray mop during use of the vacuum cleaner. This may result in the vacuum cleaner attempting to suck wet debris.

SUMMARY

[0004] In one embodiment, a cleaning implement for cleaning a surface is disclosed. The cleaning implement includes a foot, a motor, and an eccentric mass. The foot has a foot plate and an oscillation plate movably coupled to the foot plate. The motor is coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate. The motor includes a rotor which rotates about a motor axis extending at a non-perpendicular transverse angle relative to the surface when the foot is supported upon the surface. The eccentric mass is coupled to the rotor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate upon operation of the motor. The oscillating force has a planar component parallel to the oscillation plate and a perpendicular component perpendicular to the oscillation plate.

[0005] In another independent embodiment, a cleaning implement for cleaning a surface is disclosed. The cleaning implement includes a foot, a motor, and an eccentric mass. The foot has a foot plate including a foot plate partition defining a foot plate slot extending transverse to the surface. The oscillation plate includes an oscillation plate partition defining an oscillation plate slot extending transverse to the surface. The foot further includes a pin configured to inhibit decoupling of the oscillation plate from the foot plate. The pin is coupled to the foot plate partition with at least a portion of the pin positioned within the oscillation plate slot. The motor is coupled to at least one of the foot plate and the oscillation plate. The motor includes a rotor rotating about a motor axis. The eccentric mass is coupled to the rotor to generate an oscillating force between the foot plate and the oscillation plate upon operation of the motor.

[0006] In another independent embodiment, a cleaning implement for cleaning a surface is provided. The cleaning implement includes a vacuum assembly, a sprayer assembly, a user-actuated vacuum switch, and a user-actuated sprayer switch. The vacuum assembly includes a suction motor and impeller configured to generate suction to move dirty air through a dirty air inlet, a separator configured to separate the dirty air into debris and clean air, a dust bin configured to collect the debris, and a clean air outlet configured to outlet clean air to surroundings of the cleaning implement. The sprayer includes a solution tank configured to store cleaning solution, an outlet nozzle, and a sprayer pump in fluid communication with the solution tank and the outlet nozzle. The sprayer pump is configured to pump cleaning solution from the solution tank and out the outlet nozzle. The user-actuated vacuum switch is configured to actuate the suction motor. The user-actuated sprayer switch is configured to actuate the sprayer pump. Upon simultaneous actuation of the sprayer switch and the vacuum switch, the suction motor is deactivated.

[0007] Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a cleaning implement according to an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 2 is an enlarged front perspective view of a foot of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the foot of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1. [0011] FIG. 4 is a front view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1.

[0012] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 5 — 5 in FIG. 4.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 6 — 6 in FIG. 4.

[0014] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 7 — 7 in FIG. 4.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 8 — 8 in FIG. 4.

[0016] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 9 — 9 in FIG. 6.

[0017] FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 10 — 10 in FIG. 6.

[0018] FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the foot of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 11 — 11 in FIG. 10.

[0019] FIG. 12 is a first perspective view of a pin for use with the cleaning implement of FIG. 1.

[0020] FIG. 13 is a second perspective view of the pin of FIG. 12.

[0021] FIG. 14 is a side view of the pin of FIG. 12.

[0022] FIG. 15 is an end view of the pin of FIG. 12.

[0023] FIG. 16 is a side view of a valve and cover of the cleaning implement with the cover in a closed position.

[0024] FIG. 17 is a side view of the valve and cover of the cleaning implement with the cover in an open position. [0025] FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of a proximal end of a handle of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 18 — 18 in FIG. 5.

[0026] FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional end of a distal end of the handle of the cleaning implement of FIG. 1 taken along section line 19 — 19 in FIG. 4.

[0027] FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional view of another cleaning implement including a removable handle in an attached position.

[0028] FIG. 21 is a cross-sectional view of the cleaning implement of FIG. 20 with the removable handle in a detached position.

[0029] FIG. 22 is a schematic view of the cleaning implement shown in FIG. 1.

[0030] FIG. 23 is a flow chart illustrating operation of the cleaning implement and at least a vacuum motor shutoff step.

[0031] Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0032] FIGS. 1-5 illustrate a cleaning implement 10. The illustrated cleaning implement 10 includes a vibration assembly 100, a sprayer assembly 200, a vacuum assembly 300, and a light 400. The operation of each of the vibration assembly 100, the sprayer assembly 200, the vacuum assembly 300, and the light 400 will be described in detail below.

[0033] With reference to FIG. 1, the cleaning implement 10 includes a body 14, a handle 18 extending from the body 14, and a foot 22 (FIGS. 2-3) opposite the handle 18. In some embodiments, the handle 18 may be removable from the body 14. Similarly, the body 14 may be removable from the foot 22. The handle 18 includes a proximal end 18a which is coupled to a receptacle 14a (FIG. 18) of the body 14. The handle 18 further includes a distal end 18b opposite the proximal end 18a. During use of the cleaning implement 10, the user may grasp the distal end 18b of the handle 18. The body 14 is coupled to the foot 22 by a pivot 24 (FIG. 3). The pivot 24 permits rotation of the body 14 relative to the foot 22 in at least one plane. The pivot 24 also defines a pivot cavity 24a (FIG. 5) through which components of the cleaning implement 10 may extend. Such components may rotate with the body 14 while also permitting adjustment of the body 14 relative to the foot 22 and retaining needed connections between the body 14 and the foot 22. In the illustrated embodiment, the pivot 24 permits rotation of the body 14 relative to the foot 22 along two perpendicular planes. Accordingly, a user grasping the handle 18 at the distal end 18b can translate the foot 22 along a surface S with the foot 22 being parallel to the surface S and the handle 18 being transverse to the surface S. Due to the pivot 24, the body 14 is movable toward and away from the surface S. Also due to the pivot 24, the body 14 is movable left and right relative to the foot 22. Accordingly, the foot 22 is maneuverable along the surface S. The foot 22 includes a foot plate 26 and an oscillation plate 30. As will be described in detail below regarding the vibration assembly 100, the oscillation plate 30 is movably coupled to the foot plate 26.

[0034] With continued reference to FIG. 1, the cleaning implement 10 is in electrical communication with a power source 34. In the illustrated embodiment, the power source 34 is a battery 34. The battery 34 is removable from a battery receptacle 14b of the body 14. The battery 34 may be a rechargeable battery. In some embodiments, the battery 34 may include lithium-ion based chemistry. Other battery chemistries are possible. When the power source 34 is a battery 34, the cleaning implement 10 may be described as a cordless cleaning implement 10. In other embodiments, the cleaning implement 10 receives power from an external power source 34 (e.g., an AC power source such as a wall outlet). When the power source 34 is an external power source 34, the cleaning implement 10 may be described as a corded cleaning implement 10. [0035] As best illustrated in FIG. 5, the cleaning implement 10 includes a main PCBA (i.e., printed circuit board assembly) 38 positioned within the body 14. The main PCBA 38 is in electrical communication with the power source 34. Other positions of the main PCBA 38 are possible. The main PCBA 38 includes a printed circuit board 38a and electronic components 38b mounted on the printed circuit board 38a. The main PCBA 38 is in electrical communication with a user-actuated control 46. The illustrated user-actuated control 46 includes three separate switches 46a, 46b, 46c. In the illustrated embodiment, the switches 46a, 46b, 46c are buttons 46a, 46b, 46c. However, other types of user actuated switches 46a, 46b, 46c could be used. Such other types of user actuated switches 46a, 46b, 46c may be, without limitation, slides, knobs, levers, triggers, and the like. The button 46a is a vacuum button 46a for controlling operation of the vacuum assembly 300. The button 46b is a vibration button 46b for controlling operation of the vibration assembly 100. The button 46c is a spray button 46c for controlling operation of the sprayer assembly 200.

[0036] In the illustrated embodiment, the vacuum button 46a, and the vibration button 46b may be held in an actuated position after being operated by a user. In other words, the vacuum button 46a may be actuated by a user to an ON position initiate operation of the vacuum assembly 300. The vacuum assembly 300 may be continuously operated until the user actuates the vacuum button 46a to an OFF position. Similarly, the vibration button 46b may be actuated by a user to an ON position to initiate operation of the vibration assembly 100. The vibration assembly 100 may be continuously operated until the user actuates the vibration button 46b to an OFF position. In contrast, the spray button 46c controls operation of the sprayer assembly 200 only during actuation of the spray button 46c by the user. In other words, the spray button 46c must be continuously actuated to operate the sprayer assembly 200. In other embodiments, other arrangements of ON and OFF positions and subsequent operation of the vibration assembly 100, sprayer assembly 200, and/or vacuum assembly 300 could be used. [0037] FIGS. 6-11 illustrate the vibration assembly 100 in detail. With reference to FIG. 8, the vibration assembly 100 includes a vibration motor 104 including a rotor 104a and a stator 104b. The vibration motor 104 is electrically coupled to the main PCBA 38 (FIG. 22) for operation by a user. The rotor 104a is oriented along a vibration motor axis AX1. The vibration motor axis AX1 is non-perpendicular relative to the surface S. With continued reference to FIG. 8, an angle AN1 defines a non-perpendicular transverse angle relative to the surface S. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle AN1 is between 10 and 20 degrees from perpendicular relative to the surface S. In other words, the angle AN1 is between 70 and 80 degrees. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle AN1 may be approximately 75 degrees. Other non-perpendicular angles AN1 between the vibration motor axis AX1 and the surface S are possible.

[0038] With continued reference to FIG. 8, an eccentric mass 108 is coupled to the rotor 104a of the vibration motor 104. The eccentric mass 108 has a center of mass CM (FIG. 9) offset from the vibration motor axis AX1. Accordingly, as the vibration motor 104 is operated and the rotor 104a rotates relative to the stator 104b, the eccentric mass 108 generates an oscillating force OF (FIG. 8). The oscillating force OF includes both a planar component OFA extending parallel to the oscillation plate 30 (and thus the surface S) and a perpendicular component OFB extending perpendicular to the oscillation plate 30 (and thus the surface S). Accordingly, when the vibration motor 104 is operated, the eccentric mass 108 causes the oscillation plate 30 to oscillate in a planar direction parallel to the oscillation plate 30 and perpendicular direction perpendicular to the oscillation plate 30.

[0039] With continued reference to FIG. 8, the illustrated vibration motor 104 is mounted upon the oscillation plate 30. Other constructions may secure the vibration motor 104 to either the oscillation plate 30 or the foot plate 26. The vibration motor 104 rests upon a mount arm 112 of a vibration motor mount 116. The vibration motor mount 116 extends generally perpendicularly from the oscillation plate 30. The mount arm 112 protrudes from the vibration motor mount 116 at an angle AN2. The angle AN2 generally corresponds with the angle AN1. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle AN2 is between 10 and 20 degrees from perpendicular relative to the surface S. In other words, the angle AN2 is between 70 and 80 degrees. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle AN2 may be approximately 75 degrees. Other angles AN2 between the vibration motor mount 116 and the mount arm 112 are possible. In some embodiments, a fastener or the like (not shown) may couple the motor 104 to the mount arm 112. The vibration motor mount 116 defines fastener receivers 120 operable to receive fasteners (not shown) which couple the vibration motor mount 116 to the oscillation plate 30.

[0040] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the oscillation plate 30 includes a fastener 30a. In the illustrated embodiment, the fastener 30a is integrated onto the oscillation plate 30. The fastener 30a is configured to engage a pad fastener PF of a removable pad P. In some embodiments, the pad P may be a single-use pad P configured to be disposed of after a single use or multiple uses with the oscillation plate 30. In other embodiments, the pad P may be a multi-use pad P configured to be cleaned after a single or multiple uses with the oscillation plate 30. The fastener 30a and the pad fastener PF may be, for example, hook and loop type fasteners. The fastener 30a may be provided on a bottom surface of the oscillation plate 30 which faces the surface S. Other locations of the fastener 30a are possible.

[0041] As illustrated in FIG. 6, the vibration assembly 100 further includes a plurality of balls 124 configured to allow relative horizontal movement between the foot plate 26 and the oscillation plate 30 while maintaining vertical spacing by inhibiting excess compression of the foot plate 26 onto the oscillation plate 30. Each of the balls 124 are positioned between an oscillation plate ball receiver 128 of the oscillation plate 30 and a foot plate ball receiver 132 of the foot plate 26. As viewed in FIG. 6, the oscillation plate ball receiver 128 extends upwardly from the oscillation plate 30 towards the foot plate 26. Similarly, the foot plate ball receiver 132 extends downwardly from the foot plate 26 towards the oscillation plate 30. However, a gap G1 perpendicular to the surface S exists between the oscillation plate ball receiver 128 and the foot plate ball receiver 132. Accordingly, the oscillation plate 30 can translate in a direction transverse (e.g., perpendicular) to the surface S and relative to the foot plate 26 extend the gap G1 greater than the minimum gap G1 distance defined by the balls 124. In the illustrated embodiment, the balls 124 are elastic but maintain minimum spacing along the gap G1 between the foot plate 26 and the oscillation plate 30. The elasticity of the balls 124 may hinder generation of sound when the oscillation plate 30 moves relative to the foot plate 26. Other balls 124, such as inelastic balls 124 may be used.

[0042] With continued reference to FIG. 6, the vibration assembly 100 further includes a plurality of sleeves 136 positioned between the balls 124 and the ball receivers 128, 132. The balls 124 are generally spherical and each define an outer diameter DI. The sleeves 136 are generally cylindrical in shape. The sleeves 136 each define an inner diameter D2 which is greater than the diameter DI of the balls 124. Accordingly, the balls 124 can translate in a plane parallel to the surface S. Accordingly, the sleeves 136 may serve to inhibit excess translation of the balls 124 relative to the upper and lower ball receivers 128, 132.

[0043] In instances where the foot plate 26 is lifted relative to the oscillation plate 30, the cleaning implement 10 includes pins 140 configured to inhibit separation of the oscillation plate 30 from the foot plate 26 and removal of the balls 124 from the sleeves 136. To an extent, the pins 140 of the illustrated embodiment are elastic and may be deformed. In other embodiments, other pins 140 may be used which are inelastic and may not be deformed. The pins 140 are illustrated in FIGS. 6-7 and 9-15. FIGS. 12-15 illustrate the pin 140 itself. With reference to FIG. 12, the pin 140 includes a first end 140a, and an opposite second end 140b. Adjacent the first end 140a, the pin 140 includes a finger 140c. Adjacent the second end 140b, the pin 140 includes a finger 140d. The fingers 140c, 140d each extend outwardly from the remainder of the pin 140. The pin 140 includes an arm 140e which spans the first end 140a and the second end 140b. The pin 140 further defines planar surfaces 140f adjacent both the first end 140a and the second end 140b.

[0044] As shown in FIG. 11, the pin 140 spans a foot plate partition 144 and an oscillation plate partition 152. The illustrated foot plate partition 144 includes a first portion 144a and a second portion 144b with the oscillation plate partition 152 being sandwiched between the first portion 144a and the second portion 144b. It is envisioned that the foot plate partition 144 may include only a single portion 144a with the oscillation plate partition 152 being positioned adjacent the foot plate partition 144. In such an embodiment, the arm 140e of the pin 140 may function as a cantilever beam.

[0045] Each portion 144a, 144b of the foot plate partition 144 and the oscillation plate partition 152 include slots 148a, 148b, 156. The slots 148a, 148b, 156 extend transverse to (i.e., perpendicularly from) the surface S when the foot 22 is supported on the surface S. In other embodiments, the slots 148a, 148b, 156 include at least one dimension extending perpendicular from the surface S when the foot 22 is supported on the surface S. In the illustrated embodiment, the first end 140a of the pin 140 is secured to the first portion 144a of the foot plate partition 144. The second end 140b of the pin 140 is secured to the second portion 144b of the foot plate partition 144. More specifically, the first end 140a and the second end 140b of the pin 140 are secured in the slots 148a, 148b. The arm 140e of the pin 140 is received in the slot 156 of the oscillation plate partition 152. [0046] As best illustrated in FIG. 7, the pins 140 define a width W 1 and a height Hl . The width W1 and height Hl of the pins 140 are smaller than the slot 156 of the oscillation plate partition 152. In other words, the slot 156 of the oscillation plate partition 152 is larger than the width W1 and height Hl of the pins 140. Accordingly, the arm 140e of the pin 140 is received in the slot 156 with gap width W2 and gap height H2 between the pins 140 and the oscillation plate partition 152. The gap height H2 defines a gap extending in a direction (i.e., along the arrows illustrating the gap height H2) transverse (i.e., perpendicular to) the surface S. FIG. 7 illustrates the gap height H2 as a non-zero value. During movement of the foot plate 26 relative to the oscillation plate 30, the gap height H2 is adjustable in size between zero and non-zero values. For example, as described in detail below, when the foot plate 26 is lifted relative to the oscillation plate 30, the pin 140 contacts the oscillation plate partition 152 with the gap height H2 adjusted to a zero value. This inhibits decoupling of the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26.

[0047] The pins 140 function in conjunction with the balls 124 to retain the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26. The balls 124 inhibit compression applied to the foot plate 26 downwards towards the oscillation plate 30. The pins 140 inhibit excess separation of the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26. With refence to FIG. 11, while a user lifts the foot plate 26, the pin 140 remains stationary relative to the foot plate 26. Upon lifting of the foot plate 26, the gap height H2 between the top of the arm 140e and the slot 156 of the oscillation plate partition 152 is taken up. In other words, the gap height H2 is adjusted to a zero value. When the foot plate 26 is lifted enough to take up the gap height H2, the arm 140e of the pin 140 contacts the oscillation plate partition 152 at the boundary of the slot 156. This inhibits removal of the oscillation plate 30 from the foot plate 26. In some embodiments, the pin 140 may be compressed by the oscillation plate partition 152 upon compression of the foot plate 26 towards the oscillation plate 30. In such embodiments, the gap height H2 below the pin 140 is taken up. In such embodiments, the pins 140 may bolster the stiffness of the balls 124. [0048] FIG. 11 further shows a height H3 between the first end 140a of the pin 140 and a lower end of the first portion 144a of the foot plate partition 144. In the illustrated embodiment, the height H3 illustrates that the slot 148a is in communication with the lower end of the first portion 144a. A height H4 is between the second end 140b of the pin 140 and a lower end of the second portion 144b of the foot plate partition 144. In the illustrated embodiment, the height H4 illustrates that the slot 148b is in communication with the upper end of the second portion 144b. Other arrangements are possible.

[0049] As best viewed in FIG. 9, the foot 22 includes a plurality of pins 140 and a plurality of balls 124. In the illustrated embodiment, the plurality of pins 140 are arranged in a rectangular array when viewed perpendicular from the surface S. The plurality of balls 124 are also arranged in a rectangular array when viewed perpendicular from the surface S. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the pins 140 point toward the center of the foot 22 with the second end 140b of each pin 140 pointing toward a pin 140 on an opposite lateral side of the foot 22.

[0050] FIGS. 2, 5, 10, and 16-17 best illustrate the sprayer assembly 200. The sprayer assembly 200 includes a solution tank 204, an outlet nozzle 208, and a sprayer pump 212. With reference to FIG. 5, the solution tank 204 is positioned within the body 14 of the cleaning implement 10. While the solution tank 204 of the illustrated embodiment is not removable from the body 14 without disassembly of the body 14, it is envisioned that other such solution tanks 204 may be removable from the body 14 without requiring disassembly of the body 14. The solution tank 204 is configured to store cleaning solution for egress out of the sprayer assembly 200 from the outlet nozzle 208. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the outlet nozzle 208 is positioned on the foot 22. The illustrated outlet nozzle 208 is positioned on the outer periphery of the foot 22 to spray cleaning solution onto the surface S. The illustrated outlet nozzle 208 is forward-facing, and is angled downwardly towards the surface S. With reference to FIG. 10, the sprayer pump 212 is positioned within the foot 22. [0051] With continued reference to FIG. 10, the sprayer pump 212 is coupled to a pump inlet tube 216 and a pump outlet tube 220. The pump inlet tube 216 is coupled to the solution tank 204. The pump outlet tube 220 is coupled to the outlet nozzle 208. Accordingly, the sprayer pump 212 is in fluid communication with the solution tank 204 and the outlet nozzle 208. The illustrated sprayer pump 212 is an in-line pump positioned between the inlet tube 216 and the outlet tube 220. Other pumps are possible. Upon operation of the sprayer pump 212, the sprayer pump 212 is configured to pump cleaning solution from the solution tank 204 and out of the outlet nozzle 208. The sprayer pump 212 is electrically coupled to the main PCBA 38, and thus the spray button 46c (FIG. 22). Accordingly, when the user depresses the spray button 46c, the sprayer pump 212 is operated, and cleaning solution is passed from the solution tank 204, through the pump inlet tube 216, the sprayer pump 212, the pump outlet tube 220, and out the outlet 208 towards the surface S.

[0052] With reference to FIGS. 16 and 17, the solution tank 204 includes an inlet assembly 224 including a pivotable cover 228 pivotable about a pin 232, a pivotable body 230 pivotable about the pin 232, a valve 236, and an arm 240. FIG. 16 illustrates the cover 228 and the body 230 of the inlet assembly 224 secured to an inlet assembly receptacle 14d of the body 14. The cover 228 is movable to permit access to the body 230 without moving the body 230. Air or other fluid may permeate (i.e., pass though) at least a portion the cover 228. The cover 228 may be opaque such that a user may not see through the cover 228 to the body 230. The body 230 is movable to permit access to the solution tank 204 for refilling the solution housed within the solution tank 204. The arm 240 is configured to seal against the inlet assembly receptacle 14d to inhibit egress of fluid (e.g., air) into the solution tank 204 when the body 230 of the inlet assembly 224 secured to the body 14 of the cleaning implement 10.

[0053] The valve 236 is movable during use of the sprayer assembly 200 to permit fluid (e.g., air) to flow into the solution tank 204 as fluid (e.g., cleaning solution) flows out of the solution tank 204. The illustrated valve 236 is a duckbill valve. Other valves 236 are possible. The valve 236 is movable between a closed position where ingress of fluid into the solution tank 204 is inhibited (illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17 with reference numeral 236) and an open position (illustrated by broken lines in FIGS. 16 and 17 with reference numeral 236’) where ingress of fluid into the solution tank 204 is permitted. In the illustrated embodiment, the valve 236 moves between the open position (illustrated as 236’) and the closed position (illustrated as 236) upon egress of cleaning solution from the solution tank 204 as pulled from the solution tank 204 along the pump inlet tube 216 by the pump 212. Accordingly, the volume taken up by the cleaning solution outlet by the outlet nozzle 208 is replaced by fluid (e.g., air) which passes through the valve 236 via a communication passage CP (FIGS. 16, 17) through the body 230 from the outside of the cover 228.

[0054] The vacuum assembly 300 is best illustrated in FIGS. 1-5. The vacuum assembly 300 includes a suction motor 304 coupled to an impeller 308 (FIG. 5). The suction motor 304 and impeller 308 are configured to generate suction to move dirty air through a dirty air inlet 312. As shown in at least FIGS. 1 and 2, the dirty air inlet 312 is positioned on the foot 22 and forward of the oscillation plate 30. The dirty air inlet 312 is positioned adjacent a suction nozzle 316. The suction nozzle 316 directs dirty air and debris from the surface S from the dirty air inlet 312 to a suction tube 320. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the illustrated suction nozzle 316 is pivotably coupled to the foot plate 26 by a suction nozzle pin 318. Other suction nozzles 316 may be fixed to the foot plate 26 or the oscillation plate 30. A first end 320a of the suction tube 320 is coupled to the suction nozzle 316. The second end 320b of the suction tube 320 is coupled to a dust bin 324. The couplings at the first end 320a and the second end 320b of the suction tube 320 may include a bayonet fitting or other fitting. Accordingly, the fittings at the first end 320a and the second end 320b may be removed from the suction nozzle 316 and the dust bin 324, respectively, for cleaning or replacement of the suction tube 320. [0055] With reference to FIG. 5, a separator 328 is positioned within the dust bin 324.

The illustrated separator 328 is a single stage separator 328. Other multi-stage separators 328 are envisioned. The separator 328 is configured to separate dirty air into debris and relatively clean air including residual debris. The debris does not pass through the separator 328 and is retained within the dust bin 324. In other words, the dust bin 324 collects the debris separated from the dirty air by the separator 328. The relatively clean air continues to a premotor filter 332. The pre-motor filter 332 separates the relatively clean air into clean air and residual debris. The residual debris is collected by the pre-motor filter 332. The clean air is acted upon at this location in the flow path by the impeller 308 to create a vacuum airflow through the separator 328. Downstream of the impeller 308, a clean air outlet 336 outlets the clean air to the surroundings of the cleaning implement 10. The clean air outlet 336 is best illustrated in FIG. 3 and is provided as a slit 340 in the body 14.

[0056] The suction motor 304 is electrically coupled to the main PCBA 38, and thus the vacuum button 46a (FIG. 22). Accordingly, when the user depresses the vacuum button 46a, the suction motor 304 is operated, and the impeller 308 generates vacuum suction to move dirty air through the dirty air inlet 312, the separator 328, the pre-motor filter 332, and out the clean air outlet 336.

[0057] As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the dust bin 324 is coupled to a lid 344 by a latch 348. The lid 344 is pivotably coupled to the dust bin 324 between a closed position in which the lid 344 is secured to the dust bin 324 and an open position in which the lid 344 is pivoted away from the dust bin 324 and the interior of the dust bin 324 is accessible. In the open position of the lid 344, a user may remove debris located within the dust bin 324. The latch 348 is actuatable to lock and unlock the lid 344 in either the closed position or the open position. Other such lids 344 and latches 348 are possible. In the illustrated embodiment, the entire dust bin 324 is also removable from the body 14. Accordingly, the user can remove the dust bin 324 from the body 14, actuate the latch 348 and pivot the lid 344 away from the dust bin 324 to permit access to remove debris from the dust bin 324 with the dust bin 324 removed from the body 14. Other arrangements are possible. [0058] As previously mentioned, the cleaning implement 10 includes a light 400. The light 400 is best illustrated in FIG. 2, which shows the light 400 mounted adjacent the outlet nozzle 208 on the foot 22. The light 400 may be directed such that light emitted by the light 400 is directed toward the surface S in front of the foot 22. The light 400 is electrically coupled to the main PCBA 38 (FIG. 22). Accordingly, when the user depresses at least one of the vacuum button 46a, the vibration button 46b, or the spray button 46c, the light 400 is operated to shine upon the surface S.

[0059] FIGS. 18-19 further illustrate the proximal end 18a and the distal end 18b of the handle 18, respectively. FIG. 18 shows the proximal end 18a of the handle 18 received by the receptacle 14a of the body 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the handle 18 may be removable from the receptacle 14a to facilitate transport of the cleaning implement 10. As previously mentioned, during operation of the cleaning implement 10 with the handle 18 attached to the receptacle 14a, the user may grasp the distal end 18b. FIG. 19 illustrates the location of the buttons 46a, 46b, 46c adjacent the distal end 18b. A user may grasp the distal end 18b and operate the buttons 46a, 46b, 46c. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the buttons 46a, 46b, 46c are mounted on a handle PCB 40, and the handle PCB 40 is coupled to the main PCBA 38. Other arrangements are possible.

[0060] FIGS. 20-21 illustrate an alternate embodiment where the handle 18 is selectively coupled to a handle receiver 14c. The handle receiver 14c is coupled to the body 14 within the receptacle 14a. FIG. 20 illustrates the handle 18 removed from the handle receiver 14c. FIG. 21 illustrates the proximal end 18a of the handle 18 coupled to the handle receiver 14c. A wire W spans the handle 18 and the receiver 14c such that the electrical connection between the handle PCB 40 and the main PCBA 38 remains even when the handle 18 is removed from the receiver 14c.

[0061] FIG. 22 diagrammatically illustrates the cleaning implement 10. The buttons 46a, 46b, 46c are electrically coupled to electronic components 38b (i. e. , a controller) which is mounted on or in the PCB 38a of the main PCBA 38. The electronic component 38b receives power from the power source 34. Upon receiving a signal that the vacuum button 46a is depressed, the vacuum assembly 300 is operated, and the vacuum motor 304 rotates the impeller 308 to create vacuum suction. Upon receiving a signal that the vibration button 46b is depressed, the vibration assembly 100 is operated, and the vibration motor 104 moves the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26. Upon receiving a signal that the spray button 46c is depressed, the sprayer assembly 200 is operated to power the sprayer pump 212 to output cleaning solution from the outlet nozzle 208.

[0062] FIG. 23 illustrates a process 500 for operating the cleaning implement 10. Generally speaking, the process 500 forces auto-shutoff of the vacuum motor 304 whenever the spray button 46c is depressed. At step 504, the vacuum button 46a is depressed to operate the vacuum motor 304 and to vacuum dry debris from the surface S. As the vacuum button 46a is depressed, the light 400 is operated (i. e. , turned on). In some embodiments, the light 400 may remain in an operated (i.e. , on) state while the vacuum button 46a is depressed. At step 508, the vibration button 46b is pressed, and the vibration motor 104 is operated to agitate (i.e., vibrate) the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26. At step 512, while agitating (i.e., vibrating) the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26, the spray button 46c is pressed to operate a spray pump 212 and pass fluid from a solution tank 204 to a work surface S.

[0063] At decision step 516, the cleaning implement 10 determines whether the vacuum motor 304 is being operated while the spray button 46c is pressed. This decision step 516 may be carried out by the electronic components 38b. If the vacuum motor 304 is not being operated while the spray button 46c is pressed, step 520 is carried out. In step 520, the spray button 46c is released to stop spraying fluid to the work surface S. If the vacuum motor 304 is being operated while the spray button 46c is pressed, step 524 is carried out prior to step 520. In step 524, the vacuum motor 304 is deactivated. Optionally, after step 520, step 528 is carried out. In step 528, the vibration button 46b is pressed to stop vibration of the oscillation plate 30 relative to the foot plate 26. [0064] In sum, the decision step 516 determines whether there is simultaneous actuation of the spray button 46c and the vacuum button 46a. If there is simultaneous actuation of the spray button 46c and the vacuum button 46a, then the suction motor 304 is deactivated.

Other similar decision steps may be implemented to restrict operation of the vibration assembly 100, the sprayer assembly 200, the vacuum assembly 300, and/or the lights 400.

[0065] Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of one or more independent aspects of the invention as described.