Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SUCTION INTERFACE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/064667
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An interface (1) for connecting a suction device (100) to a suction assembly (1000) comprising a suction unit (1002), at least one suction intake (1004) and a network (1005) of suction ducts (1006), each arranged between the unit (1002) and the at least one suction intake (1004); each suction intake (1004) having two actuation electrodes (10040) that can be electrically bridged to selectively control driving of the unit (1002); the interface (1) comprising a box-shaped frame (10) provided with at least a suction mouth (12) and an outlet mouth (14) communicating through a duct (16); the duct (16) comprises an air-flow regulating valve (20) between the suction mouth (12) and the outlet mouth (14); the valve (20) having control members (22) for the relative actuation.

Inventors:
MARTINI MAURIZIO (IT)
MARCHI MARCO (IT)
MORETTO ALESSANDRO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2020/059254
Publication Date:
April 08, 2021
Filing Date:
October 02, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
AERTECNICA S P A (IT)
International Classes:
A47L5/38; A47L9/10; A47L9/24; A47L9/28
Foreign References:
US20130305481A12013-11-21
EP3391798A12018-10-24
EP3192420A12017-07-19
CN108403017A2018-08-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONCUZZI, Davide (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An interface (1) for connecting a suction device (100) to a suction assembly (1000) comprising a suction unit (1002), at least one suction intake (1004) and a network (1005) of suction ducts (1006), each arranged between said unit (1002) and said at least one suction intake (1004); said at least one suction intake (1004) having two actuation electrodes (10040) that can be electrically bridged for selectively determining the driving of said suction unit (1002); said interface (1) comprising a box shaped frame (10) provided with at least a suction mouth (12) and an outlet mouth (14) communicating through a duct (16); wherein said duct (16) comprises an air-flow regulating valve (20) between said suction mouth (12) and said outlet mouth (14); said valve (20) having control members (22) for the relative actuation, wherein said interface (1) comprises a connection pipe (60) longitudinally delimited by an end (62) and by a second end (64); said first end (62) being arranged to fluidodynamically connect said pipe (60) with said outlet mouth (14) and said second end (64) being arranged to connect said pipe (60) with said at least one suction intake (1004); said second end (64) being provided with electric remoting means (640) of said actuation electrodes (10040) to a control unit (50) so that said suction unit (1002) can be driven by said control unit (50) via a wired or wireless connection; characterised in that said remoting means (640) comprise an elbow fitting (642) associated with said second end (64) and comprising a pair of C- or half-moon shaped electrodes (644), each being arranged to electrically couple with one of said actuation electrodes (1004).

2. The interface according to claim 1, characterised in that said frame (10) comprises power-supply means (40) and position transducer means (11) carried by said frame (10) and electrically connected to said power-supply means (40) so as to place said device (100) in an active position (P) with respect to said suction mouth (12).

3. The interface according to claim 2, characterised in that it comprises said one electronic control unit (50) electrically coupled to said power-supply means (40) and electronically coupled to said position transducer means (11) so that it is selectively actuated, in use, by placing said device (100) in said active position (P); said frame (10) having the recharging electrodes (42) associated with said transducer means (11) electrically connected to said power-supply means (40) and electronically connected to said control unit (50) for being switchable between an active electrical connection condition and a deactivated electrical connection condition.

4. The interface according to claim 3, characterised in that said control unit (50) is electronically connected to said control members (22) for selectively determining actuation of the respective said valve (20) and said suction unit (1002) via a wired or wireless connection when, in use, said device (100) is arranged in said active position (P).

5. The interface according to any one of the claims 3 or 4, characterised in that it comprises a capacitor (23) electrically connected to said power-supply means (40) and to said control members (22) by interposing a switch (230) electronically controlled by said control unit (50).

6. The interface according to any one of the claims 1- 5, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising an instrument designed to operate in pneumatic vacuum conditions when, in use, it is arranged in said active position (P).

7. The interface according to any one of the claims 1- 5, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a self-propelled vacuum cleaner (100) and is provided with two driving wheels (104) for the respective driving; at least one directional wheel (106) being provided at the vertex of a triangle with said driving wheels (104) for steering, in use, said vacuum cleaner (100).

8. The interface according to claim 7, characterised in that said frame (10) is delimited at the top by a support portion (18) for said vacuum cleaner (100) comprising an access ramp (19) that ends in a rest station (190) provided, on respective sides, with a seat (192) for each of said driving wheels (104); said frame (10) having said suction mouth (12) between said seats (192); said vacuum cleaner (100) having, at the bottom, a recess (107) arranged between said driving wheels (104) shaped to match on the edges with said suction mouth when said vacuum cleaner (100) is arranged on said support portion (18) with said driving wheels (104) housed in said respective seats (192), in said active position (P) with respect to said suction mouth (12).

9. The interface according to claim 8, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a said self-propelled vacuum cleaner (100) comprising a removable tank (110) provided with a collection chamber (1100) in communication with said recess (107) and in communication with the outside through an ejection mouth (1102) provided with a filter (1104).

10. The interface according to claim 9, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a said self-propelled vacuum cleaner (100) wherein said recess (107) has an axially symmetrical portion that rotatably houses a motorised brushing roller (1070) and provided with at least a division ring (10700) for hydraulically dividing said recess (107) into at least a first part (1072) and a second part (1074), where said first part (1072) is arranged for being hydraulically connected with said suction mouth (12) when said vacuum cleaner (100) is on said support portion (18) in said active position (P) with respect to said suction mouth (12).

11. The interface according to any one of the claims 7- 10, characterised in that said transducer means (11) are carried by said support portion (18) between said unloading station (14) and said rest station (190); and in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a said vacuum cleaner (100) comprising connection electrodes (108) arranged for electrically coupling with said recharging electrodes (42).

12. The interface according to any one of the claims 7- 11, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a self-propelled vacuum cleaner (100) in which said brushing roller (1070) comprises a first portion (10702) with bristles arranged helically and a second portion (10704) with spatulas arranged helically; said first portion and said second portion being divided by said division ring (10700).

13. The interface according to claim 12, characterised in that it is designed to connect to said suction assembly (1000) a said suction device (100) comprising a said vacuum cleaner (100) in which said tank (110) comprises a flow baffle (1101) inside said collection chamber (1100) provided with an attachment portion (11010) arranged for butt coupling with said at least one division ring (10070).

14. A suction assembly (1000) comprising a suction unit (1002), a plurality of air intakes (1004) and a network (1005) of suction ducts (1006), each arranged between said unit (1002) and an intake of said air intakes (1004); said assembly (1000) comprising an interface (1) for connecting said suction device (100) to said unit (1002) through one of said intakes (1004); each said suction intake (1004) having a first pair of electrodes (10040) that can be electrically bridged to control the actuation of said suction unit (1002); characterised in that said interface (1) is an interface (1) according to one of the claims 1-15.

15. The suction assembly (1000) according to claim 14, said assembly (1000) comprising a self-propelled vacuum cleaner (100) provided with movement means (102) comprising two driving wheels (104) for the respective driving; at least one directional wheel (106) being provided at the vertex of a triangle with said driving wheels (104) for steering, in use, said vacuum cleaner (100).

16. The suction assembly (1000) according to claim 15, characterised in that said vacuum cleaner (100) has at the bottom a recess (107) arranged between said driving wheels (104) shaped for matching at the edges with said first opening (194) when said vacuum cleaner (100) is arranged on said support portion (18) in an active position (P) with respect to said suction mouth (12) with said driving wheels (104) housed in said respective seats (192).

17. The suction assembly (1000) according to claim 16, characterised in that said vacuum cleaner (100) comprises a removable collection tank (110) provided with a collection chamber (1100) hydraulically in communication with said recess (107) and in communication with the outside through an ejection mouth (1102) provided with a filter (1104).

18. The suction assembly (1000) according to claim 17, characterised in that said recess (107) has an axially symmetrical portion that rotatably houses a brushing roller (1070) that can be driven by said actuator (1020) and provided with a division ring (10700) that hydraulically divides said recess (107) into a first part (1072) and into a second part (1074), where said first part (1072) is hydraulically connected with said suction mouth (12) when said driving wheels (104) are housed in said respective seats (192).

19. The suction assembly (1000) according to any one of the claims 15-18, characterised in that said brushing roller (1070) comprises a first portion (10702) with bristles arranged helically and a second portion (10704) with spatulas arranged helically; said first portion and said second portion being divided by said division ring (10700).

20. A method for cleaning a tank (110) of a self- propelled vacuum cleaner (100) of a suction assembly (1000) according to one of the claims from 14 to 19 by means of said outlet interface (1); said method being characterised in that it comprises the steps of intercepting said vacuum cleaner (100) on said interface (1) in a given position with said recess (107) facing said suction mouth (12) through a position transducer (11) carried by said interface (1); a step of informing said electronic control unit (50), carried by said interface (1), of the position assumed by said vacuum cleaner (100) on said interface (1) through said position transducer (11); a step of opening said outlet valve (20) by means of said control unit (50) to connect said vacuum cleaner (100) to said suction unit (1002).

21. The method according to claim 20, wherein said vacuum cleaner (100) comprises a said motorised brushing roller (1070) housed in said recess (107); characterised in that said step of opening said outlet valve (20) precedes a step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit (1002) by means of a pair of shaped electrodes (644) that bridge said actuation electrodes (10040); and a step of driving said roller (1070) in step mode.

22. The method according to claim 21, characterised in that the step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit (1002) has a given duration; and in that said step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit (1002) is followed by a step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit (1002).

23. The method according to claim 22, characterised in that said step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit (1002) is delayed by said control unit (50) by a first given time interval with respect to said step of opening said outlet valve (20); said step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit (1002) is followed by the step of closing said outlet valve (20); said step being delayed by a second given time interval with respect to said step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit (1002).

24. The method according to claim 23, characterised in that said first time interval and said second time interval are equal.

25. The method according to claim 23 or 24, wherein said vacuum cleaner (100) carries on-board electric power-supply batteries (109); characterised in that said step of closing said outlet valve (20) is followed by a step of recharging said batteries (109).

Description:
"SUCTION INTERFACE"

DESCRIPTION

The present invention concerns a suction interface. In particular, the present invention refers to a suction interface arranged for connecting a suction device to a suction assembly comprising a suction unit. In greater detail, the present invention refers to a suction interface arranged for connecting a suction device to a suction assembly comprising a suction unit that can be operated by means of a remote-control member .

DESCRIPTION OF THE STATE OF THE ART

In the sector of domestic maintenance and room cleaning equipment, solutions are known that require human intervention and others that do not require said intervention. In the first case, leaving aside manually operated vacuum cleaners, cleaning systems are known that comprise a suction assembly provided with a network of ducts which are accessed through wall sockets, to which hoses are coupled; said hoses are fitted, at the end, with the brushing tool so as to avoid the use of electrical connections, limit noise levels in the rooms to be cleaned, and improve hygiene, since the dirt collection is remote from the rooms being cleaned. In the second case robots are known which perform the function of a vacuum cleaner, normally equipped with a collection bin for collecting the dirt removed from the floor or carpet, wherein said bin must be periodically emptied. Manual emptying of the bin, accompanied by the risk of spillage of part of its contents in the room and inhalation of the finest dust, is being increasingly replaced by automatic emptying. One of the current reference products according to said type of solution is the model Roomba® i7 Plus by Irobot Corporation which, compared to other robots which have been in production for some time now, is designed to self-empty in combination with the so-called Clean Base™, providing an integrated cleaning system. In particular, the Clean Base™ is a tank emptying unit provided with an independent electric power-supply and designed to house the robot, remove from its tank the dirt collected from the swept floors and, if necessary, perform an electric recharging cycle of the robot batteries. The robot has a dirt suction recess, which communicates with a removable bin located centrally between the respective driving wheels and, in eccentric position, an outlet mouth. The emptying unit has a base which can be autonomously accessed by the robot via a minimum slope ramp and a hollow column, which rises from the base peripherally and has an inner chamber designed to contain a bag made of porous material, of the type used to construct conventional vacuum cleaner bags. The hollow column is closed at the top by a cover and the base has a suction mouth on the side of the ramp which is in fluidodynamic communication with the inside of the hollow column through a duct and is positioned to communicate with the eccentric outlet mouth. The bag is designed to receive the dirt collected by the robot through a respective suction mouth located laterally to communicate in a fluid-tight manner with a lateral portion of the inner chamber, in particular through a respective outlet mouth. The chamber inside the column is very capacious and is designed to contain the dirt collected by the robot during multiple cleaning cycles. In the case of rooms that are not particularly dirty, the bag can be emptied as little as every 15 days .

From the above description it is evident that the Clean Base™ must be installed in areas of the house free from furniture or furnishings, also wall-mounted, given the vertical dimension and the need to access the device to change the dirt collection bags . Furthermore, due to the porosity of the material with which the bags are produced, every emptying cycle of the robot bin via the Clean Base™ contributes, in a non-negligible manner, to contamination of the floor and furnishings present in the room, first aerial and then surface contamination, due to selection of the finest dust extracted from the dirt collected, with the result of significantly limiting the effectiveness of said cleaning system, considering that the finest dust is the most harmful to health. Moreover, the passage of the dust is, in turn, accompanied by the emission of bad odours which develop inside the bag also due to the dirt remaining a long time inside the bags prior to periodic replacement.

Furthermore, in construction terms, the robot has two openings through which it communicates with the outside: the one engaged by the brushing roller and the eccentric one for discharge of the dirt collected in the bin, both potentially at risk of leakage of dust. To conclude, the Clean Base™ is equipped with a particularly powerful motor, which is therefore also particularly noisy, to effectively collect the dirt from the robot bin.

Therefore, it is evident that the Clean Base™ must be installed well away from rooms where people rest or where they spend the majority of their time in order to avoid breathing air contaminated by fine dust and being disturbed by the noise emitted during the robot discharge cycles.

As can be seen from the above description, the problem of discharging the dirt from a vacuum cleaner robot in a silent and remote manner so that it is particularly hygienic, is currently unsolved, and represents an interesting challenge for the applicant, who wishes to contribute to expanding the market of domestic devices that function with the application of a pneumatic vacuum in a hygienic manner and with limited costs, above all in the case of vacuum cleaner robots. Considering the situation described above, an interface for suction devices would be desirable which, in addition to limiting and if possible, overcoming the drawbacks typical of the known art illustrated above, defines a new standard in general and in particular for integrated cleaning systems. Further examples of integrated cleaning and maintenance systems are known from the documents US 2013/305481, EP 3391798 and CN 108403017.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention concerns a suction interface. In particular, the present invention refers to a suction interface arranged to connect a suction device to a suction assembly comprising a suction unit. In greater detail, the present invention refers to a suction interface arranged to connect a suction device to a suction assembly comprising a suction unit operated by means of a remote-control member.

The problems illustrated above are solved by the present invention as defined by the independent claims, further embodiments of the present invention being defined by the dependent claims.

According to some embodiments described, an interface is provided to connect a suction device to a suction assembly comprising a suction unit, at least one suction intake and a network of suction ducts, each arranged between said unit and said at least one suction intake; each said suction intake having two actuation electrodes that can be electrically bridged to selectively determine the operation of said suction unit; said interface comprising a box-shaped frame provided with at least one suction mouth and one outlet mouth communicating through a duct; wherein said duct comprises a regulating valve for regulating an air flow between said suction mouth and said outlet mouth; said valve having control members for the relative actuation.

In some embodiments, said frame comprises power-supply means and position transducer means carried by said frame and electrically connected to said power-supply means to place said device in an active position with respect to said suction mouth.

In some cases, the interface comprises an electronic control unit electrically coupled with said power- supply means and electronically coupled with said position transducer means so that it can be selectively actuated, in use, by placing said device in said active position; said frame having recharging electrodes associated with said transducer means electrically connected to said power-supply means and electronically connected to said control unit for being switchable between an active electrical connection condition and a deactivated electrical connection condition.

In other cases, said control unit is electronically connected to said control members to selectively determine actuation of the respective said valve and said suction unit via a wired or wireless connection when, in use, said device is arranged in said active position .

According to a possible construction variation, said interface comprises a capacitor electrically connected to said power-supply means and to said control members by the interposition of a switch electronically controlled by said control unit.

Advantageously, the interface comprises a connection pipe longitudinally delimited by a first end and by a second end; said first end being arranged to fluidodynamically connect said pipe to said outlet mouth and said second end being arranged to connect said pipe to said at least one suction intake; said second end being provided with electric remoting means of said actuation electrodes to said control unit so that said suction unit can be driven by said control unit via a wired or wireless connection.

In some cases, said remoting means comprise an elbow fitting associated with said second end and comprising a pair of C- or half moon-shaped electrodes, each being arranged to electrically couple with one of said actuation electrodes. According to a possible construction variation, said suction device comprises an instrument arranged to operate in pneumatic vacuum conditions when, in use, it is arranged in said active position.

In some cases, the suction device comprises a self- propelled vacuum cleaner provided with two driving wheels for the respective driving; at least one directional wheel being provided at the vertex of a triangle with said driving wheels for steering, in use, said vacuum cleaner.

Advantageously, said frame is delimited at the top by a support portion for said vacuum cleaner comprising an access ramp which ends in a rest station provided, on respective sides, with a seat for each of said driving wheels; said frame having said suction mouth between said seats; said vacuum cleaner having at the bottom a recess arranged between said driving wheels shaped to match at the edges with said suction mouth when said vacuum cleaner is arranged on said support portion with said driving wheels housed in the respective said seats, in said active position with respect to said suction mouth.

According to a possible variation, said vacuum cleaner comprises a removable tank provided with a collection chamber in communication with said recess and in communication with the outside through an ejection mouth provided with a filter.

In particular, said recess has an axially symmetrical portion which houses rotatably a motorised brushing roller provided with at least a division ring to hydraulically divide said recess into at least a first part and a second part, where said first part is arranged to be hydraulically connected with said suction mouth when said vacuum cleaner is on said support portion in said active position with respect to said suction mouth.

In some cases, said transducer means are carried by said support portion between said outlet station and said rest station; said vacuum cleaner comprises connection electrodes arranged to electrically couple with said recharging electrodes.

In other cases, said brushing roller comprises a first portion with bristles arranged helically and a second portion with spatulas arranged helically; said first portion and second portion being separated by said division ring.

Advantageously, said tank comprises a flow baffle inside said collection chamber provided with an attachment portion arranged for butt coupling with said at least one division ring.

According to a possible variation, a suction assembly is provided comprising a suction unit, a plurality of air intakes and a network of suction ducts, each one arranged between said unit and an intake of said air intakes; said assembly comprising an interface for connecting said suction device to said unit through one of said intakes; each said suction intake having a first pair of electrodes that can be electrically bridged to control the actuation of said suction unit. According to a possible variation, a self-propelled vacuum cleaner is provided and equipped with movement means comprising two driving wheels for the respective driving; at least one directional wheel being provided at the vertex of a triangle with said driving wheels to steer, in use, said vacuum cleaner; being designed to operate in combination with an interface comprising a box-shaped frame provided with at least a suction mouth and an outlet mouth communicating through a duct; said frame comprising power-supply means to drive said vacuum cleaner and position transducer means carried by said frame and electrically connected to said power-supply means to place said device in an active position with respect to said suction mouth; said frame being delimited at the top by a support portion for said vacuum cleaner comprising an access ramp which ends in a rest station provided on respective sides of a seat for each of said driving wheels; said suction mouth being arranged between said seats .

In some cases, the vacuum cleaner has at the bottom a recess arranged between said driving wheels shaped to match on the edges with said first opening when said vacuum cleaner is arranged on said support portion in an active position with respect to said suction mouth with said driving wheels housed in the respective said seats .

In other cases, the vacuum cleaner comprises a removable collection tank provided with a collection chamber in hydraulic communication with said recess and in communication with the outside through an ejection mouth provided with a filter.

Advantageously, said recess has an axially symmetrical portion which houses rotatably a brushing roller that can be driven by said actuator and provided with a division ring which hydraulically divides said recess into a first part and a second part, where said first part is hydraulically connected to said suction mouth when said driving wheels are housed in the respective said seats.

In some cases, said brushing roller comprises a first portion with bristles arranged helically and a second portion with spatulas arranged helically; said first portion and second portion being separated by said division ring.

A method is also described for cleaning a tank of a self-propelled vacuum cleaner via an outlet interface provided with mains electric power-supply means in communication with a remote suction unit accessible via a wall-mounted suction intake provided with two actuation electrodes that can be electrically bridged; said interface comprising a box-shaped frame provided with at least a suction mouth and an outlet mouth communicating through a duct provided with an electronic-control outlet valve; said vacuum cleaner being provided at the bottom with two driving wheels for the respective driving located at the side of a recess arranged between said driving wheels; said vacuum cleaner comprising a removable tank provided with a collection chamber in communication with said recess through an ejection mouth in communication with said tank; said method comprising the steps of intercepting said vacuum cleaner on said interface in a given position with said recess facing said suction mouth through a position transducer carried by said interface; a step of informing an electronic control unit carried by said interface of the position assumed by said vacuum cleaner on said interface through said position transducer; a step of opening said outlet valve via said control unit to connect said vacuum cleaner to said suction unit.

According to a possible variation, said vacuum cleaner comprises a motorised brushing roller housed in said recess; said step of opening said outlet valve preceding a step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit via a pair of shaped electrodes which bridge said actuation electrodes; and a step of driving said roller in step mode.

In some cases, said step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit has a given duration; said step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit being followed by a step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit.

In other cases, said step of enabling the actuation of said suction unit is delayed by said control unit by a first given time interval with respect to said step of opening said outlet valve; said step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit is followed by a step of closing said outlet valve; said step being delayed by a second given time interval with respect to said step of controlling the switch-off of said suction unit.

Advantageously, said first interval and said second interval are equal.

In some cases, said vacuum cleaner carries on-board electric power-supply batteries; said step of closing said outlet valve being followed by a step of recharging said batteries.

Furthermore, said control unit is arranged to control a capacitor designed to supply a reserve of difference in potential to open and close said valve instead of said mains electric power-supply means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Further characteristics and advantages of the suction interface according to the present invention, of a type of vacuum cleaner designed for coordinated operation and of the operating method of the set of the two devices will appear clearer from the following description, provided with reference to the attached figures which illustrate at least one non-limiting embodiment example thereof, in which identical or corresponding parts are identified by the same reference numbers. In particular:

- figure 1 is a three-dimensional schematic view of a preferred embodiment of an interface coupled with a suction device;

- figure 2 is a plan view of figure 1; figure 3 shows figure 1 with parts removed for clarity;

- figure 4a shows in plan view a detail of figure 3 on an enlarged scale and with parts removed for clarity;

- figure 4b shows a detail of figure 4a on an enlarged scale and with parts removed for clarity;

- figure 5 is an exploded rear view of figure 1 with parts removed for clarity;

- figure 6 is a three-dimensional schematic view of the suction device of figure 1 on an enlarged scale;

- figure 7 is a view from below of figure 6;

- figure 8 is a partially exploded view of figure 7;

- figure 9 is a three-dimensional schematic view of a detail of figure 8 from a first point of view and on an enlarged scale;

- figure 10 is a three-dimensional schematic view of a detail of figure 8 from a second point of view and on an enlarged scale;

- figure 11 shows the detail of figure 10 in an open configuration and on an enlarged scale;

- figure 12 shows a detail extracted from figure 11;

- figure 13 is a three-dimensional schematic view of a detail of figure 3 on an enlarged scale; figure 14 shows figure 13 with parts removed for clarity; and figure 15 shows some details of figure 13 on an enlarged scale and with parts removed for clarity. DETAILED DISCLOSURE OF THE PRESENT INVENTION In figures 1-3, the number 100 indicates, overall, a suction device together with a respective interface 1 which can be used to connect the same device 100 to a suction assembly 1000 comprising a suction unit 1002 through at least one suction intake 1004 of a network 1005 of suction ducts 1006, each arranged between the unit 1002 and one of the suction intakes 1004, only two of which are illustrated in figure 3 for the sake of practicality, only schematically through the respective axis line. Each intake 1004 is of the type provided with a first cover 10041 which allows it to be re-closed in an airtight manner and an optional second cover 10043, which is provided for aesthetic reasons only.

It is expedient to point out that here and below the expression suction device 100 indicates a self- propelled vacuum cleaner 100, like the one shown in figures 1, 2, 6-8, therefore provided with two driving wheels 104 for the respective driving and at least one directional wheel 106 at the vertex of an ideal triangle with the driving wheels 104 for steering, in use, said vacuum cleaner 100 in its movement during work .

The present description also covers the case of devices conceived to operate in pneumatic vacuum conditions and structured to operate in combination with a remote suction unit, being without a unit functionally similar to the on-board unit 1002 for the sake of practicality or due to particular design requirements. By way of non-limiting example, a device of this type can consist of a device designed to collapse disposable plastic bottles like those made of PET for water or other containers provided with a single opening. It is evident that the aim of such a device would be to drastically reduce the volume of said containers at the end of their working life in order to limit the space occupied in the rubbish bag. Therefore, here and below the expressions "suction device 100" and "vacuum cleaner 100" can both be used and it will be the context that determines the meaning of the expression containing one of the two terms.

With particular reference to figures 13-15, each suction intake 1004 has a seat provided with two actuation electrodes 10040 (figure 14) which can be electrically bridged to selectively control driving of the suction device 1002 through the use of a connection pipe 60, which can be seen in figures 3, 5 and 13 and will be described better below; the pipe 60 is normally concealed by a covering 61 which is illustrated only in figures 1, 2 and 5.

With particular reference to figures 1-3, 4a and 4b, the interface 1 comprises a box-shaped frame 10 provided with at least one suction mouth 12 and an outlet mouth 14 communicating through a duct 16, which can be seen better in figure 4b. The frame 10 comprises mains power-supply members 40 (which can be seen only in figure 4b) and a position transducer assembly 11 carried by the frame 10 and electrically connected to the power-supply members 40 to place the vacuum cleaner 100 in an active position P with respect to said suction mouth 12, which can be seen in figures 1 and 2. The interface comprises an electronic control unit 50 (figure 4b) electrically coupled with the power-supply members 40 and electronically coupled with the transducer assembly 11 so that it can be selectively actuated, in use, by placing the vacuum cleaner 100 in the active position P.

It is useful to point out that, for the sake of economy of drawing, it has been decided not to mark out the electric and electronic connections between the electric and electronic components already mentioned and between those that will be mentioned below, also considering the inventive irrelevance thereof .

The frame 10 is delimited at the top by a support portion 18 for the vacuum cleaner 100 where said support portion comprises an access ramp 19 which ends in a rest station 190 provided, on respective sides, with a seat 192 for each of the driving wheels 104.

The frame 10 has the suction mouth 12 between the seats 192. The vacuum cleaner 100 has at the bottom a recess 107 arranged between the driving wheels 104 shaped to match on the edges with the suction mouth 12 when the vacuum cleaner 100 is arranged on the support portion 18 with the driving wheels 104 housed in the respective seats 192, therefore when the vacuum cleaner 100 is arranged in the active position P with respect to the suction mouth 12. The vacuum cleaner 100 comprises a removable tank 110 (figures 7-12) provided with a hollow portion 110' that can be closed by a cover 110 openable by rotation around a fulcrum axis AX. The hollow portion 110' comprises internally a collection chamber 1100 which, in use, is in communication with the recess 107 and in communication with the outside via an ejection mouth 1102 which develops parallel to the fulcrum axis AX. Despite its name, for the sake of convenience, said ejection mouth 1102 is the opening through which the dirt is collected inside the chamber 1100. The cover 110 contains a filter 1104 (figures 10 and 11) protected by a cover 1007 which closes at the top the chamber 1100 and is in communication with the outside through a vent mouth 1103 which develops parallel to the ejection mouth 1102. Said vent mouth 1103 naturally can vent only inside the body of the vacuum cleaner 100, which is therefore delimited laterally by two perforated walls 101, shown in figures 6 and 7.

The recess 107 has an axially symmetrical portion which houses rotatably a motorised brushing roller 1070 which is provided with at least one division ring 10700 the purpose of which is to hydraulically divide the recess 107 into at least a first part 1072 and a second part 1074, where the first part 1072 is arranged to be hydraulically connected with the suction mouth 12 when the vacuum cleaner 100 is on the support portion 18 in the active position P (with respect to the suction mouth 12). The brushing roller 1070 comprises a first portion 10702 with spatulas arranged helically step-wise and a second portion 10704 with spatulas and bristles arranged helically step-wise. Therefore, the first portion and second portion are separated by the division ring 10700. The roller 1070 is coupled in an axially fixed and angularly revolving manner with the frame 10 in a known manner and can be rotated via an actuator 1071 carried laterally by said frame 10. In particular, said actuator is designed to rotate the roller 1070. Said rotation will be preferably continuous, but not limited to being continuous, during the operating phase of removing the dirt from the floor and preferably continuous, but not limited to being continuous, during operation in step mode once the vacuum cleaner 100 is in the position P on the interface 1 and in the outlet phase, as better described below.

It is useful to point out that the transducer assembly 11 is carried in a selectively removable manner by the support portion 18 between the outlet station 14 and the rest station 190. The vacuum cleaner 100 comprises a recharging battery 109 (figure 4b) and connection electrodes 108 which are electrically connected to the battery 109 and are designed to electrically couple with the recharging electrodes 42 carried at the top by the transducer assembly 11 and electrically connected to the power-supply members 40, which can be actuated in a known manner via a switch that forms part of the control unit 50. From the above description it is evident that the recharging electrodes 42 can be switched by means of the control unit 50 between a condition of active electrical connection, which occurs when in use the vacuum cleaner 100 is in the respective position P, and a condition of deactivated electrical connection, which occurs when the transducer assembly 11 detects the absence of the vacuum cleaner 100 in relation to the interface 1. With reference to figure 12, the tank 110 comprises a flow baffle 1101 inside the collection chamber 1100 provided with an attachment portion 11010 designed for butt coupling with the at least one division ring 10070.

Again with reference to figure 4b, the duct 16 comprises a regulating valve 20 for regulating the air flow between the suction mouth 12 and the outlet mouth 14; said valve 20 has control members 22 for the relative actuation. The control unit 50 is electronically connected to the control members 22 to selectively determine actuation of the respective valve 20 when, in use, the vacuum cleaner 100 is arranged in the active position P. In order to ensure said function even when the power-supply members 40 are not electrically active, the interface 1 comprises a capacitor 23 electrically connected to the power- supply members 40 for the respective recharging and to the control members 22 via the interposition of a switch 220 electronically controlled by the control unit 50.

Furthermore, the interface 1 comprises a capacitor 23 electrically connected to the power-supply members 40 and to the control members 22 through the interposition of a switch 230 electronically controlled by the control unit 50.

With reference to figures 3 and 5, the pipe 60 is longitudinally delimited by a first end 62, which is arranged to connect the pipe 60 fluidodynamically to the outlet mouth 14, and by a second end 64 which is arranged to connect the pipe 60 to any suction intake 1004. With particular reference to figures 13-15, the second end 64 comprises an elbow fitting 642 which is provided with a substantially cylindrical portion 6420 designed to be housed in a suction seat 10042 obtained in the intake 1004. The second end 64, furthermore, comprises electric remoting members 640 which comprise a pair of substantially C-shaped electrodes 644, particularly but not limited to a half-moon shape, as can be seen in figures 5 and 15, each of which is designed to electrically couple with one of the actuation electrodes 10040. Therefore, in use, when the second end 64 is coupled with a suction intake 1004, the pair of shaped electrodes 644 bridges the actuation electrodes 10040 and informs the control unit 50 of the short circuit that has occurred so that said control unit 50 is able to actuate the suction unit 1002 via a wired or wireless connection, based on the project specifications.

The use of the interface 1 and the respective vacuum cleaner 100 is evident from the above description and illustration and does not require further explanations . It is useful to point out that via the combination of interface 1 and vacuum cleaner 100 it is possible to implement a particularly effective method for discharging the tank 110 of the self- propelled vacuum cleaner 100 of the dirt collected during operation. Firstly, on the one hand it is evident that the continuous rotation of the roller 1070 maximizes the capacity of the roller 1070 to convey the dirt collected in movement by the vacuum cleaner 100 into the chamber 1100, but it is useful to point out that the step operation, therefore with pauses, of the roller 1070 is useful during the step of removing the dirt from the tank 110 through the duct 16 and the suction mouth 12. In fact, the air is sucked by the suction mouth into the recess 107 and from here to the chamber 1100 through the portion of the ejection mouth facing the first portion 10702 but the step rotation of the roller 1070 causes step rotation of the second portion 10704 (provided with bristles and spatulas) and, therefore, determines periodical pauses of said second portion 10704 in front of the ejection mouth 1102. This determines alternate vacuum situations inside the chamber 1100 since the pause of the second portion 10704 obstructs the supply of air to said chamber 1100. The succession of vacuums results in impulse actions inside the chamber 1100 which facilitate removal of the dirt through the ejection mouth 1102; said impulse actions have the purpose of multiplying the effect of the suction capacity of the unit 1002, with great benefit for the effectiveness of the action of removing the accumulated dirt, also when the latter contains filaments or hair, and is therefore particularly difficult to remove from the chamber 1100.

With reference to the method overall, it further comprises the steps of intercepting the vacuum cleaner 100 on the interface 1 in the position P determined with the recess 107 facing the suction mouth 12 through the transducer 11; a step of informing the electronic control unit 50 of the position P assumed by the vacuum cleaner 100 on the interface 1 through the transducer 11; a step of driving the outlet valve 20 through the control unit 50 to connect the vacuum cleaner 100 to the suction unit 1002. According to said method, the step of driving the outlet valve 20 precedes a step of enabling actuation of the suction unit 1002 through the pair of shaped electrodes 644; the step of enabling actuation of the suction unit 1002 being controlled by said control unit 50 in order to be of given duration and is followed by a step of controlling switch-off of the suction unit 1002; the step of enabling actuation of the suction unit 1002 being preceded by a step of actuating the roller 1070 in step mode.

The step of enabling actuation of the suction unit 1002 is delayed by the control unit 50 by a first given time interval with respect to the step of opening the outlet valve 20; the step of controlling switch-off of the suction unit 1002 is followed by a step of closing the outlet valve 20; said step being delayed by a second given time interval with respect to the step of controlling switch-off of the suction unit 1002, where the first interval and the second interval are equal.

It is useful to point out that the step of closing the outlet valve 20 is followed by a step of recharging the batteries 109 and that, considering that the control unit 50 controls the capacitor 23, once the control unit 50 has given the command for the step of enabling actuation of the suction unit 1002, the method comprises a step of providing a reserve of difference in potential to open and close the valve 20 when, in use, the mains power-supply is interrupted through the power-supply members 40.

Lastly it is clear that modifications and variations can be made to the interface 1 and to the vacuum cleaner 100 described and illustrated here without departing from the scope of the present invention. Based on what is described above, it is evident that the interface 1 and the vacuum cleaner 100 are perfectly able to solve the drawbacks of the above illustrated state of the art, in a simple inexpensive manner, given that they allow the use of domestic systems provided with the suction assembly 1000, said systems being already installed in many housing or working units.