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Title:
SHOWER HEAD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/229806
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A control mechanism for a rotary selector of a fluid delivery device comprises a base (3, 50) in which is mounted a relatively stationary member (7, 52), a selector member (8, 53) rotatable against a return force provided by springs (9), and a drive member (6, 54) rotatable to alter fluid delivery. The drive member (6, 54) is configured for connection to the selector member (8, 53) through a ratchet mechanism (10, 55), the arrangement being such that on rotation of the selector member (8, 53) against the return force of a spring (9), the ratchet mechanism (10, 55) engages the drive member (6, 54) to transmit rotation of the selector member (8, 53) to the drive member (6, 54).

Inventors:
WHITFIELD ROBIN (GB)
JONES OLIVER (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2020/051147
Publication Date:
November 19, 2020
Filing Date:
May 12, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KOHLER MIRA LTD (GB)
International Classes:
B05B1/18
Foreign References:
US5433384A1995-07-18
CN1127678A1996-07-31
CN105478251B2018-05-25
US10179337B22019-01-15
US9394259B22016-07-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARKER BRETTELL LLP (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A control mechanism for a rotary selector of a fluid delivery device comprises a base in which is mounted a relatively stationary member, a selector member rotatable against a return force, a drive member rotatable to alter fluid delivery, the drive member being configured for connection to the selector member through a ratchet mechanism, the arrangement being such that on rotation of the selector member against the return force, the ratchet mechanism engages the drive member to transmit rotation of the selector member to the drive member, and on release of the selector member the return force returns the selector member, and the relatively stationary member and the ratchet mechanism co-operate to disengage the drive member and the ratchet mechanism.

2. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 1, arranged such that it operates for each direction of rotation of the selector member.

3. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 2, adapted to control spray in a shower head, in which the base comprises a housing of the shower head, the drive member comprises a drive disc having predetermined positions controlling the fluid flow, the relatively stationary member has a pair of cam faces and mounts resilient means providing the return force for the selector member, and the selector member comprises a manually-operable ring, carrying a pair of ratchet members selectively engageable with the drive disc, the engagement being controlled by the cam faces.

4. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 3, in which the selector member is rotatable in each direction from a neutral position through a limited angle, and the resilient means comprises a pair of springs.

5. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 4, in which the angle through which the selector member is movable is determined by the construction of the relatively stationary member and the springs.

6. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 3 to 5, in which the selector member has a projecting handle, by which it is manually operated from the neutral position. 7. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 3 to 6, in which a retainer disc retains the selector member and the springs. 8. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 3 to 7, in which the drive disc and the ratchet members have interengaging teeth, the arrangement being such that when the teeth on the drive disc and the ratchet member are engaged, circumferential movement of the ratchet member in one direction causes the drive disc to rotate, but circumferential movement in the other direction does not cause rotation of the drive disc, as the ratchet teeth slide over the teeth on the drive disc.

9. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 8, in which the two ratchet members are arranged such that they rotate the drive disc in opposite directions. 10. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 3 to 9, in which each ratchet member is urged towards engagement with the drive disc, and is held out of engagement with the drive disc by a respective cam face on the relatively stationary member. 11. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 8 to 10, in which each ratchet member has the teeth on a radially inner face, and a cam follower on a radially outer face.

12. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 3 to 11, in which each ratchet member is mounted for rotation on the selector member, and urged towards the drive disc by resilient means, such as a wire spring.

13. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 12, wherein the resilient means comprises a wire spring.

14. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 2, adapted to control flow rate of a water tap by a rotary selector, in which the base comprises a tap base on which is mounted a rotatable drive ring for controlling the fluid flow, and a relatively stationary member comprising a pin plate, the selector member comprising a manually-operable rotatable selector ring carrying the ratchet mechanism in the form of a pair of ratchet arms selectively engageable with the drive ring under the control of the pin plate.

15. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 14, in which the selector ring has a projecting handle for manual operation, and is rotatable in each direction from a neutral position against a spring force.

16. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 14 or claim 15, in which the angle through which the selector ring is rotatable is limited by the construction of the ratchet mechanism and the pin plate.

17. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 14 to 16, in which the ratchet mechanism is mounted rotatably on the selector ring.

18. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 14 to 17, in which the drive ring has teeth with which the end of each ratchet arm is engageable, and for each ratchet arm, the arrangement is such that when it engages the teeth on the drive ring, circumferential movement of the ratchet arm in one direction causes the drive ring to rotate, but circumferential movement in the other direction does not rotate the drive ring.

19. A control mechanism as claimed in claim 18, in which the two ratchet arms are arranged such that they rotate the drive ring in opposite directions.

20. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 14 to 19, in which the ratchet arms are out of engagement with the drive ring when the selector ring is in the neutral position.

21. A control mechanism as claimed in any of claims 14 to 20, in which movement of the selector ring against a spring force carries the ratchet mechanism with it, and brings a ratchet arm into engagement with the pin plate to rotate the ratchet mechanism relative to the selector ring, and engage the other ratchet arm with the drive ring to rotate it to a new position.

Description:
SHOWER HEAD

This invention relates to a control mechanism for a rotary selector of a fluid delivery device. In particular, it relates to fluid delivery devices such as shower heads where a rotary selector is used to change a spray pattern, or mixer valves where a rotary selector is used to alter fluid flow or temperature.

In a fluid delivery device the rotary selector acts on a drive member to change the output of the device. The drive member may have several positions, for example corresponding to different spray patterns in a shower head, or to different flow rates or temperatures in a mixer valve. It may be advantageous for a rotary selector to return automatically to a neutral position after operation, while retaining the position of the drive member. US 9 394 259 shows a shower head with different spray patterns, selected by manual operation of a rotary selector mounted on the rear of the shower head, and operating a rotatable drive member. The drive member is a toothed wheel, operated by a pawl which in turn is rotated with the rotary selector. The pawl rotates a passive disc against the force in a spring. When the rotary selector is released the passive disc is returned by the spring force, taking with it the pawl and the rotary selector. The drive member remains in position, because the pawl disengages from it. While this arrangement provides automatic return of the rotary selector on release, the use of the rotatable passive disc means there is a considerable amount of lost-motion in the mechanism, which is a disadvantage, as it makes the selector less responsive in use. Providing the selector on the back of the shower head also makes it awkward to use.

According to the invention, a control mechanism for a rotary selector of a fluid delivery device comprises a base in which is mounted a relatively stationary member, a selector member rotatable against a return force, a drive member rotatable to alter fluid delivery, the drive member being configured for connection to the selector member through a ratchet mechanism, the arrangement being such that on rotation of the selector member against the return force, the ratchet mechanism engages the drive member to transmit rotation of the selector member to the drive member, and on release of the selector member the return force returns the selector member, and the relatively stationary member and the ratchet mechanism co-operate to disengage the drive member and the ratchet mechanism.

This arrangement provides automatic return of the selector member to its initial position, and has the advantage of a simple construction. Using a relatively stationary member rather than a movable member to provide the disengagement of the ratchet mechanism and drive member minimises the lost-motion and ensures the responsiveness of the control mechanism in use. This is advantageous where the selector member has only a small amount of movement available for operation.

Conveniently, the control mechanism is arranged such that it operates for each direction of rotation of the selector member.

In one embodiment adapted to control spray in a shower head, the base comprises a housing of the shower head, in which are mounted the other components of the control mechanism. Preferably, the drive member comprises a drive disc having predetermined positions controlling the fluid flow, the relatively stationary member has a pair of cam faces and mounts resilient means providing the return force for the selector member, and the selector member comprises a manually-operable ring, carrying a pair of ratchet members selectively engageable with the drive disc, the engagement being controlled by the cam faces.

Conveniently the selector member is rotatable in each direction from a neutral position through a limited angle. The resilient means may comprise a pair of springs. The angle through which the selector member can move is determined by the construction of the relatively stationary member and the springs. The selector member has a projecting handle, by which it is manually operated from the neutral position. A retainer disc may retain the selector member and the springs.

Preferably, the drive disc and the ratchet members have interengaging teeth. For each ratchet member, the arrangement is such that when the teeth on the drive disc and the ratchet member are engaged, circumferential movement of the ratchet member in one direction causes the drive disc to rotate, but circumferential movement in the other direction does not cause rotation of the drive disc, as the ratchet teeth slide over the teeth on the drive disc. The ratchet members are arranged such that they rotate the drive disc in opposite directions. Each ratchet member is urged towards engagement with the drive disc, and is held out of engagement with the drive disc by a respective cam face on the relatively stationary member.

Each ratchet member has the teeth on a radially inner face, and a cam follower on a radially outer face. Each ratchet member is mounted for rotation on the selector member, and urged towards the drive disc by resilient means, such as a wire spring. The arrangement may be such that a single spring acts on both ratchet members.

In operation, rotation of the selector member from the neutral position in one direction carries both ratchet members with it. One ratchet member is held off the drive disc by engagement with the cam face, and the other ratchet member can engage with the drive disc to move it to a new position against the force in one of the springs. On release of the selector member, the spring returns the selector member to its neutral position. The teeth of the ratchet member in engagement with the drive disc slide over the teeth on the drive disc, while the other ratchet member is still held off the drive disc by the cam face, so that the drive disc stays in its new position, while the selector member and ratchet members return to their neutral position. If the selector member is rotated in the other direction, the other ratchet member, cam face and spring operate similarly.

The selector member may be a selector ring.

Another embodiment is adapted to control flow rate of a water tap by a rotary selector. Conveniently, the base comprises a tap base on which is mounted a rotatable drive ring for controlling the fluid flow, and a relatively stationary member comprising a pin plate, the selector member comprising a manually-operable rotatable selector ring carrying the ratchet mechanism in the form of a pair of ratchet arms selectively engageable with the drive ring under the control of the pin plate.

The selector member, e.g. selector ring, preferably has a projecting handle for manual operation, and is rotatable in each direction from a neutral position against a spring force. The angle through which the selector member can move is limited by the construction of the ratchet mechanism and the pin plate. The ratchet mechanism is preferably mounted rotatably on the selector member. Conveniently, the drive ring has teeth with which the end of each ratchet arm can engage. For each ratchet arm, the arrangement is such that when it engages the teeth on the drive ring, circumferential movement of the ratchet arm in one direction causes the drive ring to rotate, but circumferential movement in the other direction does not rotate the drive ring. The ratchet arms are arranged such that they rotate the drive ring in opposite directions.

The ratchet arms are out of engagement with the drive ring when the selector member is in the neutral position. Movement of the selector member against a spring force carries the ratchet mechanism with it, and brings a ratchet arm into engagement with the pin plate to rotate the ratchet mechanism relative to the selector member, and engage the other ratchet arm with the drive ring to rotate it to a new position. The relative rotation of the ratchet mechanism and the selector member is limited by the geometry of the ratchet arm and pin plate, which in turn limits the rotation of the selector member. When the selector member is released the spring force returns it to the neutral position, and the ratchet arm disengages from the drive ring, which remains in the new position. If the selector member is rotated in the opposite direction, the ratchet arms operate in the opposite way.

Various embodiments of the invention are illustrated, by way of example only, in the accompanying drawings, in which: -

Figure 1 is an exploded view of a shower head with a control mechanism according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a front view of a relatively stationary member of the control mechanism of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a front view of the relatively stationary member, selector member, ratchet arms and retainer disc of the control mechanism of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is an enlarged view of part of Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a front view of the control mechanism of Figure 1 in a neutral position;

Figure 6 is similar to Figure 5 showing the control mechanism in an operating position;

Figure 7 is similar to Figure 5 with the drive disc in a new position; Figure 8 is a perspective view of a rotary control for a water tap with a modified control mechanism according to the invention;

Figure 9 is a side view of the control of Figure 8;

Figure 10 is a section through the control of Figure 8;

Figures 11 to 13 are top views of the control of Figure 8 showing different positions of the mechanism; and

Figure 14 is an enlarged top view of the control of Figure 8 showing a further position of the mechanism.

The shower head of Figures 1 to 7 is a fluid delivery device, with a rotary selector used to change the spray pattern, the device having three different patterns.

The shower head has a housing 1 with a handle 2 and a circular base 3, in which the various components are accommodated.

The water enters the base 3 through the handle 2, and exits through a spray plate 4 at the front of the shower head, in a spray pattern. The spray pattern can be changed by rotation of the spray plate 4. In this embodiment, the spray plate 4 has three positions, each providing a different spray pattern, but more or fewer positions and patterns may be provided. Rotation of the spray plate 4 is by operation of a control mechanism 5 accommodated at the rear of the head. The control mechanism 5 includes a rotatable drive member 6, operative to rotate the spray plate 4 in a known way. The components providing the connection between the drive member 6 and the spray plate 4 will not be described in detail, as they are not relevant to the control mechanism 5 which is the subject of the present invention, and are known to the skilled person.

The control mechanism 5 comprises the base 3, a relatively stationary member 7, a selector member 8 rotatable against a return force provided by springs 9, the drive member 6, and a ratchet mechanism 10 selectively connecting the selector member 8 to the drive member 6.

The relatively stationary member 7 is shown in Figure 2, and comprises a disc which is fixed to the base 3 in any suitable way. It is supported on a central boss 11 on the base 3, the boss 11 defining an axis of rotation for the control mechanism 5. The relatively stationary member 7 has a central projection 12 extending outwardly along the axis of rotation. The relatively stationary member 7 is mirror symmetrical about a line passing through the handle 2 and the axis of rotation. The perimeter of the relatively stationary member 7 has three circumferentially-extending projections, 13, 14, 15. The projections 13, 14 are provided remote from the handle 2, one on each side of the line of symmetry and each accommodates a spring 9. The adjacent ends of the projections 13, 14 each have a radial abutment 16 for a first end 17 of the respective spring 9. The projection 15 is adjacent the handle 2, and straddles the line of symmetry. It is formed with a circumferential outwardly projecting cam member 18, which provides a pair of cam faces 19 for the ratchet mechanism 10. The central part of the cam member 18 has a constant radius, and each end has a decreasing radius.

As best shown in Figure 3, the selector member 8 is a selector ring, and is configured to fit to the perimeter of the base 3. It is also mirror symmetrical about the line of symmetry. It is rotatable about the axis of rotation in each direction, and has a radially-extending projection 20 to enable the user to rotate it. In the neutral position shown the projection 20 is aligned with the handle 2. The selector member 8 has a pair of radially inwardly projecting lugs 21, each forming an abutment for a second end 22 of a respective spring 9. Each of a further pair of radially inwardly projecting lugs 23, adjacent the projection 20, carries an axially outwardly extending cylindrical boss 24 on which a part of the ratchet mechanism 10 is mounted. The selector member 8 is held in place by a retainer disc 25. The retainer disc 25 is screwed onto the relatively stationary member 7 at four locations 26, although it may be attached in any suitable way. The retainer disc 25 also has a cover portion 27 for each spring 9. It will be appreciated therefore that each spring 9 is fully contained between the relatively stationary member 7, the selector member 8 and the retainer disc 25. The rotational movement of the selector member 8 is limited by the springs 9.

The drive member 6 is a drive disc shown in more detail in Figures 5 to 7. It comprises an annular disc rotatable about the axis of rotation, and relative to the relatively stationary member 7 and the selector member 8. As mentioned above, the drive disc 6 can adopt three distinct positions, each corresponding to a position of the spray plate 4 and thus a distinct spray pattern. The drive disc 6 is also mirror symmetrical about the line of symmetry. The drive disc 6 is mounted by any suitable means which secures it in the control mechanism 5 and allows the required amount of rotation, and the ability to operate the spray plate 4. Approximately half of the perimeter of the drive disc 6 is formed with teeth 28, the disc 6 being arranged so that the teeth 28 are in the part of the base 3 adjacent the handle 2.

As best seen in Figure 4, the ratchet mechanism 10 comprises a pair of ratchet members 30, which are also mirror symmetrical. Each ratchet member 30 is of arcuate outline. Each has a jaw 31 at one circumferential end 32, by which it is mounted on a boss 24 of the selector member 8 for rotation relative to the selector member 8. A radially inner face 33 of each ratchet member 30 has ratchet teeth 34, for engagement with the teeth 28 on the drive disc 6. A radially outer face 35 of each ratchet member 30 has a cylindrical projection 36 comprising a cam follower engaging with a respective cam face 19 on the relatively stationary member 7. Each ratchet member 30 is urged towards the drive disc 6 by a wire spring 37 which extends round and is retained on the selector member 8. The wire spring 37 is received in a groove in each cylindrical projection 36 to retain it on the respective ratchet member 30. In an inoperative position the ratchet members 30 are held out of engagement with the drive disc 6 by their engagement with the cam faces 19.

The inoperative position of the control mechanism 5 is shown in Figure 5. The drive disc 6 and spray plate 4 are in a central position to select one of the spray patterns. The selector member 8 is in a neutral position, with the manually-operable projection 20 in line with the handle 2, so the springs 9 are at rest. The ratchet members 30 are held out of engagement with the drive disc 6 by their engagement with the cam faces 19.

If the user wishes to select a different spray pattern, they rotate the selector member 8 using the projection 20. The selector member 8 may be rotated in either direction. Figure 6 shows the selector member 8 rotated anti-clockwise, which compresses the right-hand spring 9 as shown in Figure 6. The selector member 8 carries the ratchet members 30 with it, sliding the projections 36 along the cam faces 19. The left-hand ratchet member 30 in Figure 6 slides along the constant radius central part of the cam member 18, and continues to be held out of engagement with the drive disc 6. The right-hand ratchet member 30 slides along the decreased radius end of the cam member 18, and out of engagement with the cam face 19, allowing the force in the wire spring 37 to urge the ratchet member 30 into engagement with the drive disc 6. The ratchet teeth 34 engage with the teeth 28 on the drive disc 6, the ratchet teeth 34 being arranged to drive in that direction. The drive disc 6 is moved anti-clockwise to a new position, taking with it the spray plate 4 to change the spray pattern.

When the user releases the projection 20, the force in the right-hand spring 9 returns the selector member 8 to the neutral position as shown in Figure 7. The selector member 8 carries the ratchet members 30 with it, as before. The left-hand ratchet member 30 remains on the central part of the cam member 18, and is still held out of engagement with the drive disc 6. The teeth 34 on the right-hand ratchet member 30 are arranged to slide over the teeth 28 on the drive disc 6 in that direction, so the drive disc 6 remains in its new position. The right-hand ratchet member 30 re-engages the cam face 19, so that the cam member 18 holds it out of engagement again with the drive disc 6.

It will be appreciated that on movement of the selector member 8 in a clockwise direction, the left-hand ratchet member 30 and spring 9 will operate as described above to move the drive disc 6 in a clockwise direction.

This arrangement provides a compact and simple construction for returning the selector member 8 to the neutral position while retaining the position of the drive disc 6 and spray plate 4.

Figures 8 to 14 show an embodiment of the invention as a rotary control for a water tap, for controlling the flow or temperature of the water. The control mechanism has a base plate 50 with a cylindrical upstand 51 defining an axis of rotation of the control mechanism. The control mechanism further comprises a relatively stationary member 52, a manually-operable selector member 53, a drive member 54 and a ratchet mechanism 55, all mounted on the base plate 50. Rotation of the selector member 53 operates the drive member 54 to alter the flow of the water. The selector member 53 is rotatable in each direction against the force in a resilient means (not shown), the angle of rotation being limited and the selector member 53 returning to a neutral position when the manual force is removed. Repeated operation of the selector member 53 provides a stepped operation of the drive member 54 to increase or decrease the flow. The relatively stationary member 52 comprises a pin plate mounted on the base plate 50 spaced from and parallel to the upstand 51. The base plate 50 is of rectangular outline with rounded corners, as viewed from the top in Figures 11 to 14.

The selector member 53 comprises a hollow cylindrical component 56 journalled for rotation about the axis, through a limited angle in each direction from a neutral position shown in Figures 8 and 11. The component 56 forms an enclosure for the control mechanism, and has a manually-operable handle 57 projecting radially outwards to enable a user to rotate the selector member 53. Internally, the component 56 has an axially-extending stub 58 to carry the ratchet mechanism 55.

The drive member 54 has inner and outer rings 60, 61 respectively, connected by four radial arms 62. The inner ring 60 is journalled on the upstand 51 for rotation about the axis in each direction. The outer ring 61 has radially-extending teeth 63 round its outer periphery. The teeth 63 are adapted to engage the ratchet mechanism 55. Rotation of the drive member 54 controls the opening of a water inlet (not shown) to control water flow. Rotation of the drive member 54 in one direction increases flow, and in the other decreases flow.

The ratchet mechanism 55 comprises a ratchet member 64 mounted for rotation on the stub 58 of the selector member 53. The ratchet member 64 has a pair of ratchet arms 65, 65 1 one extending each side of the pin plate 52. The free end 66 of each arm 65, 65 1 is adapted to engage the teeth 63 on the drive member 54. Each arm 65, 65 1 is able to rotate the drive member 54 in only one direction, the arms 65, 65 1 being arranged to rotate the drive member 54 in opposite directions.

Figure 11 shows the control mechanism in the neutral position, with each ratchet arm 65, 65 1 in engagement with the pin plate 52, but out of engagement with the drive member 54.

Figure 12 shows the start of operation, where a user operates the handle 57 to rotate the selector member 53 clockwise against the spring force. The ratchet member 64 is carried with the selector member 53, and moves relative to the stationary pin plate 52. The ratchet arm 65 remains in engagement with the pin plate 52, and that engagement causes the ratchet member 64 to rotate relative to the selector member 53, bringing the free end 66 of the ratchet arm 65 1 into driving engagement with the teeth 63 on the drive member 54, rotating it also in a clockwise direction to increase or decrease the flow. Figure 13 shows the selector member 53 at its limit position, which is defined by the geometry of the ratchet arm 65 and the pin plate 52, such that the ratchet member 64 is unable to rotate further relative to the selector member 53, and thus blocks further rotation of the selector member 53. On release of the handle 57 by the user, the selector member 53 is returned to the neutral position by the spring force. The ratchet member 64 is carried with the selector member 53, causing the arm 65 1 to disengage from the teeth 63 on the drive member 64. On the return movement the pin plate 52 engages the ratchet arm 65 1 , assisting the disengagement, as shown in Figure 14.

The selector member 53 may be operated in the same direction to increase or decrease the flow again, or in the opposite direction to counteract the increase or decrease. It will be appreciated that if the selector member 53 is moved in the anticlockwise direction, the ratchet arm 65 will engage the drive member 54 to rotate it anticlockwise, with the ratchet arm 65 1 remaining out of engagement with the drive member 54.




 
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