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Title:
LIQUID SUCTION HEAD, SPECIALLY SUITABLE FOR STEAM-CLEANING IRREGULAR SURFACES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/166680
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Suction head for a steam cleaner, specially suitable for sucking liquids and for steam-cleaning irregular surfaces, including a subsequent suction of condensation. The device comprises a hollow handle and a special permeable pad capable of making suction possible even through a layer of wet textile material.

Inventors:
SPINELLI PAOLO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2016/052103
Publication Date:
October 20, 2016
Filing Date:
April 13, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SPIVAL S P A (IT)
International Classes:
A47L11/30; A47L7/00; A47L11/34; A47L11/40; A47L13/22
Foreign References:
US6260232B12001-07-17
US3195166A1965-07-20
CA2178990A11996-12-23
DE569799C1933-02-08
US1575939A1926-03-09
US4279095A1981-07-21
GB1254550A1971-11-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FANFANI, Stefano (Viale Fratelli Rosselli 57, Firenze, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A head for steam cleaning machines equipped with a liquid suction system, comprising a hollow handle (1), functionally connected to a steam ejection piping, evacuated thanks to a suction duct (3) and with which a special pad (4) is associated, through which the liquid is sucked, said special pad (4) comprising a proximal part

(41) interfacing to said hollow handle (1) and a distal part (42) whose outer profile defines an outer surface contacting the surface to be treated, characterized in that said proximal part (41) of said pad (4) presents a plurality of perforations (44) and in that said distal part

(42) of said pad (4) comprises a plurality of solid spaces (46) which develop on said proximal part (41) alternating to empty spaces (45), the latter being placed in correspondence with said perforations (44) and extending up to said outer surface.

2. A head according to the previous claim 1, characterized in that said special pad (4) defines at least one steam ejection duct (43) functionally connected to said ejection piping, through at least one of said perforations (44) present on said proximal zone (41) of said pad (4), the remaining perforations being used for liquid suction.

3. A head according to the previous claim 1 or 2, characterized in that said outer contact surface of said distal part of said pad (4) has a convex shape.

4. A head according to any of the previous claims, characterized in that said outer contact surface of said distal part of said pad (4) is wrapped by a layer (5) made from a steam- or liquid-permeable material.

5. A head according to the previous claim 4, characterized in that said layer (5) is made from a textile material.

6. A head according to any of the previous claims, characterized in that said special pad (4) is made from an at least partially elastic material.

7. A head according to any of the previous claims, characterized in that said special pad (4) is made from a spongy material.

8. A head according to any of the previous claims, characterized in that between said hollow handle (1) and said special pad (4) there is interposed a diaphragm (6) made from a stiff material presenting at least the same perforations as those present in said proximal part.

Description:
DESCRIPTION

Title

LIQUID SUCTION HEAD, SPECIALLY SUITABLE FOR STEAM-CLEANING IRREGULAR SURFACES.

Technical field

The present invention belongs to the sector of the liquid suction heads; more specifically, the invention belongs to the sector of the heads for steam cleaners provided with a condensation suction system.

In particular, the present invention refers to a head for cleaners of a type including a wrap which increases the effectiveness of the cleaning action, such as a wrap made from a textile material or the like. Furthermore, the present invention is particularly suitable for irregular surfaces .

Status of the art

Home and non-home cleaning devices are known for long time in which steam is supplied, the latter being, as a matter of fact, capable of performing a strong cleaning action, thanks to the heat as well as to the humidity it brings to the surface to be cleaned.

After steam cleaning, a problem arises of removing the liquid so formed, the same problem arises whenever a surface has to be dried after a washing, however is this performed .

In order to solve the problem of condensation removal, steam cleaners have been equipped with vacuum suction systems .

Italian patent application ITMI961822 (Al) describes a cleaning head comprising steam supplier means and scraping profile means to wipe off a surface from condensed steam; it is a solution that can be used on planar surfaces only, for instance floors or windows, whereas it is not suitable for wiping off surfaces of irregular shapes, for instance cooktops of kitchens.

In order to increase the effectiveness of the cleaning action it is often advantageous to wrap the head in a cloth or towel, so as to increase the abrasive effect of rubbing, examples thereof are disclosed in US2007130719 (A) and in US2006000049 (Al) . However, in these solutions the textile element is arranged on a cleaning head devoid of a condensation suction system; as a matter of fact, if the head is wrapped by an element made from a textile material or the like, as soon as the latter gets wet it becomes an obstacle to condensation suction and greatly reduces the conductance of the vacuum suction system.

As a matter of fact, the suction condition differs from the steam discharge one both in the greater difference in pressure of the steam that goes out as referred to the suction vacuum, and because condensation wets the textile elements thus greatly reducing its permeability.

In addition to the above consideration, it is necessary to mention that in order to clean irregular surfaces, a special configuration of the head is also necessary, which cannot be planar or however rectilinear, but shall be shaped in such a way as to be capable of following the curvatures and the irregularities of the surface.

A steam supply head suitable for cleaning irregular surfaces and preset for being wound by a steam-permeable material is disclosed in WO2010098852 (Al) ; this patent application illustrates a head comprising a base secured to a handle and a plurality of support elements which extend from the base and on which the steam permeable material rests, so that the support element and the base define a steam distribution chamber; the same patent application also specifies that the flexibility of the cleaning head increases in proximity to the distal end. However, this patent application does not cope with the problems bound to aspiration of condensation of liquids in general .

Patent US6260232 (Bl) discloses a device in an embodiment of which the suction head features a cylindrical shape and is capable of rolling on flat surfaces whereas, in another embodiment thereof, the contact surface is flat. Neither solution is suitable for cleaning surfaces of irregular shapes. Patents US3195166 (A) and CA2178990 (Al) also feature the same application limit.

Objects and summary of the invention

An object of the present invention is thus to provide a head capable of sucking liquids that is particularly suitable for steam cleaning devices, wherein the problem arises of sucking condensation, and is also capable of operating well on surfaces of irregular shapes.

A further object of the present invention is to implement a head capable of sucking liquids through a layer of textile material or another material suitable for increasing the effectiveness of the rubbing action exerted by an operator. The solutions illustrated in the present patent application solve the problems described above by means of a hollow box-like body, kept in a vacuum status by a liquid suction duct, with which a special permeable pad is associated, which comprises solid parts and empty parts; in a non limitative sense is said hollow box-like body called handle in the present text, because it can also advantageously perform this function.

A possible embodiment supports the use of a spongy material whereas other embodiments use still other materials, in any case the elements that make-up the solid spaces define an outer contact surface, on which the layer made from a textile material can be easily arranged, whereas the empty spaces are taken advantage of to foster fluid discharge and suction. In order to make the cleaning of irregular surfaces easier, the outer contact surface of the special pad can have a convex shape, of a hemisphere or faceted prism type.

Very advantageously is the permeable pad made from an at least partially elastic material, so that its shape can even better fit the irregularities of the surfaces to be cleaned.

However, flexibility shall not be too high because, during the condensation suction, a wet textile layer offers a high resistance to the passage of air and consequently the difference in pressure between the external environment and the vacuum zone inside the head pushes the wet textile layer toward the inside of the evacuated cavity thus inducing onto the permeable pad loads that tend to compress and deform it, up to obstructing it.

Should the pad be particularly flexible, in order to prevent any risks of deformations, the interposition of a rigid diaphragm, with one or more perforations present in the pad and with references that make it possible to align them, is envisaged between its proximal portion and the hollow handle.

The embodiments of the permeable pad can be numerous and some examples thereof are shown in the figures described below .

In a particularly simple and practical solution the special permeable pad is at least partially made from a spongy material. Very good results are achieved by using an open cell expanded polyurethane sponge. An open cell spongy material is very perspiring, hence it dries well and lets steam pass through, however there is a risk that during the suction step, under the effect of vacuum, the spongy material gets deformed and tends to be sucked down; therefore, the use of a rigid diaphragm is envisaged in this event.

Integrally connected to the hollow handle is also an end of the duct that delivers steam; the steam jet can go out both directly and through the pad via a special duct.

In one embodiment, the hollow handle is in turn shaped in such a way as to comprise an inner duct which transfers steam from its delivery duct up to the duct comprised in the pad.

Brief description of the drawings

Fig. 1 shows a front view of an embodiment of the head according to the present patent application, wherein it is possible to identify the hollow box-like body, also referred to as handle (1), the steam-permeable textile layer having been removed. The figure also shows the trace III of the sectioning plane of Fig. 3.

Fig. 2 shows an axonometric view of an embodiment of the pad (4) with a number of tubular projections (47) coaxial to each other and connected by connections (48) ; the innermost tubular projection defines a steam ejection duct (43) . The figure highlights the proximal part (41) and the distal part (42) of said pad with reference to the position assumed on said handle. The proximal part (41) features a number of perforations (44) .

Fig. 3 shows a cross-sectional view where are also painted the small-thickness walls of the inner ribs of the handle. The figure, which also shows said layer (5), highlights the inner duct (21) through which steam flows from the piping up to said ejection duct (43) and said tubular projections (47) . Furthermore, the pad has been assembled together with a stiffer diaphragm (6) . Fig. 4 shows a bottom view, the handle being slightly tilted, where the suction duct (3) is clearly visible.

Fig. 5 shows a side view of a different embodiment of the pad (4) which also comprises a distal part (41) and a proximal part (42) . The trace VI of the sectioning plane is that of the following figure.

Fig. 6 shows a cross-sectional view of the previous figure where the empty spaces (45), the solid spaces (46), and the steam duct (43) are visible.

Fig. 7 shows a side view of a different embodiment of the pad (4) which also comprises a distal part (41) and a proximal part (42) . The trace VIII of the sectioning plane is that of the following figure.

Fig. 8 shows a cross-sectional view of the previous figure, where the empty spaces (45), the solid spaces (46), and the steam duct (43) are visible.

Fig. 9 shows a side view of a different embodiment of the pad (4) with the elongated projections that also define a distal part (41) and a proximal part (42) . The trace X of the sectioning plane is that of the following figure.

Fig. 10 shows a cross-sectional view of the previous figure, wherein the empty spaces (45) and the solid spaces (46), also comprising elongated projections, are visible. Fig. 11 shows an axonometric top view of the pad (4) of the embodiment depicted in Fig. 5.

Fig. 12 shows an axonometric bottom view of the pad (4) of the embodiment depicted in Fig. 5, wherein perforations (44) are visible.

Fig. 13 shows an axonometric top view of the pad (4) of the embodiment depicted in Fig. 7.

Fig. 14 shows an axonometric bottom view of the pad (4) of the embodiment depicted in Fig. 7, wherein perforations (44) are visible. Fig. 15 shows an axonometric top view of the pad (4) of the embodiment depicted in Fig. 9, wherein perforations (44) and a diaphragm (6) are visible.

Fig. 16 shows an axonometric top view of the diaphragm (6) used in the previous figure, wherein its perforations in correspondence with those of the pad are visible.

Fig. 17 shows a side view of the head depicted in Fig. 1 which allows to view the arrangement of the layer (5) made from a steam- and liquid-permeable material.

Fig. 18 shows a bottom view of the handle (1) wherein a suction duct (3) and an ejection duct (21) are visible; the latter, at the non-visible end, is connected to the steam piping. The trace XIX of the sectioning plane of the following figure is also visible.

Fig. 19 is a cross-sectional view of Fig. 18 which, contrary to Fig. 3, shows the inside of the handle (1) without the inner ribs.

Detailed description of an embodiment of the invention

In one of its embodiments the head for steam cleaners according to the present patent application comprises a hollow handle (1) located at the end of a suction duct (3) used to extract condensation; the handle also receives a special permeable pad (4) through which the sucked condensation flows and, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, can be wrapped by a layer (5) made from a textile materials or another materials suitable for enhancing the effect of rubbing and is at the same time permeable to steam and/or liquids.

The steam ejection piping, connected to a steam source, also terminates in the handle (1) .

In order to make the cleaning of irregular surfaces easier, the pad can be implemented by using an elastic material, for instance silicone or the like, or even be made from a spongy material.

The special pad (4) comprises a proximal part (41), which directly interfaces to the handle (1) with its internal cavity and presents a plurality of perforations (44) through which the sucked liquid enters the handle and subsequently flows out via the suction duct (3) .

The distal part (42) of the pad (4) comprises a plurality of solid spaces (46), which develop from said proximal zone (41) alternating to empty spaces (45) ; at least part of the latter are placed in correspondence with said perforations (44) and extend up to the outer surface.

According to a preferred embodiment, the end of the piping that delivers steam terminates inside the handle and is integrally connected thereto; the steam jet goes out after crossing the pad (4) via a special duct (43) . The handle (1) is in turn shaped in such a way as to comprise an inner duct (21) which transfers steam from the outlet of the piping to the inlet of the duct (43) .

According to a simple and practical embodiment, the duct (43) is defined by the empty space formed in correspondence with the innermost perforation present in the proximal part (41) of the pad (4) .

In order to guarantee a good operation of the device, it is important that all connections of the steam duct be sealed, otherwise steam would fill the inner part of the hollow handle (1), thus depleting the sucking capacity of the cleaner. For this reason, if coupling takes place via spigot joints or the like, it is advisable that o-rings be interposed; however, the elasticity of the material used to implement the pad (4) makes it possible to get a good steam seal by simply inserting, with a slight interference, the outlet end of the duct (21), internal to the head (1), into the perforation corresponding to the duct (43) .