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Title:
SUPPORT BASE FOR AN IRONING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/038605
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Support base for an ironing apparatus (12) comprising a base body (13) provided with an upper portion (15) configured to support an iron (11), ironing apparatus comprising a support base (10) and an iron (11), and method to clean an ironing apparatus (12).

Inventors:
GIROTTO RICCARDO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT2020/050195
Publication Date:
March 04, 2021
Filing Date:
August 04, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DE LONGHI APPLIANCES SRL (IT)
International Classes:
D06F79/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016030299A12016-03-03
Foreign References:
JPH03106399A1991-05-02
GB2156864A1985-10-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETRAZ, Davide Luigi et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Support base for an ironing apparatus (12) comprising a base body (13) provided with an upper portion (15) configured to support an iron (11) both during the pauses in the ironing operations, and also during the execution of the cleaning and/or washing cycles, and with a housing compartment (28) disposed below said upper portion (15), characterized in that said upper portion (15) comprises at least one discharge aperture (18) configured to drain water and/or steam and/or limescale residues emitted by the iron (11) and a tank (22) for collecting the water and/or limescale disposed in said housing compartment (28) and connected to said discharge aperture (18).

2. Support base as in claim 1, characterized in that said upper portion (15) is inclined with respect to a horizontal plane, so that a front part (13 a) of said base body (13) is positioned higher than a rear part (13b) thereof and said discharge aperture (18) is disposed in proximity to the rear part (13b).

3. Support base as in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that said upper portion (15) comprises a housing seating (14) delimited by a bottom wall (29) and by external edges (30) and configured to house at least the plate of the iron (11), and said discharge aperture (18) is disposed in said housing seating (14).

4. Support base as in claim 3, characterized in that said housing seating (14) has a depth increasing from a front part (13a) toward a rear part (13b) of said base body (13), and said discharge aperture (18) is positioned in the zone that has the greatest depth.

5. Support base as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that it comprises a mat (17) on which to rest the iron made at least partly of heat-resistant material, which at least partly coats said upper portion (15) and is conformed to define a support surface for the iron (11).

6. Support base as in claim 5, characterized in that said mat (17) comprises at least one protruding supporting rubber pad (20), configured to define said support surface, wherein said rubber pad (20) is conformed so as to delimit a specific zone of said mat (17), preventing the passage of water and exhaust steam through it.

7. Support base as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that it comprises a discharge collector (21) connected to said discharge aperture (18), through which water and/or steam and/or limescale residues are conveyed toward said collection tank (22).

8. Support base as in claim 7, characterized in that it comprises a conveyor pipe (23) located between said discharge collector (21) and said collection tank (22), comprising a connection portion (24) suitable to be attached to the discharge collector (21) and an end portion (25) is conformed to connect to an entrance (26) of said collection tank (22), and is able to constitute, together with the entrance (26), a sealed hydraulic circuit.

9. Support base as in claims 5 and 7, characterized in that said discharge collector (21) is integrated in said mat (17).

10. Support base as in claims 5 and 8, characterized in that said discharge collector (21) and said conveyor pipe (23) are integrated in said mat (17).

11. Support base as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that it comprises a tank (27) suitable to contain clean water, disposed in said housing compartment (28) and separated from said collection tank (22).

12. Support base as in claim 11, characterized in that said collection tank (22) is disposed below said tank (27) for clean water.

13. Ironing apparatus comprising a support base (10) as in any claim hereinbefore and an iron (11) connected to said support base (10) by means of a feed pipe (32).

14. Method to clean an ironing apparatus (12) as in claim 12, characterized in that it provides to:

- position the iron (11) on an upper portion (15) of a base body (13) of the support base (10);

- activate a cleaning cycle to feed clean water from said support base (10) to a steam generating chamber or boiler of said iron (11) and heat the water in said chamber in order to generate thermal shocks suitable to remove possible limescale deposits;

- expel the water and the steam, together with possible solid residues from said iron (11) toward said upper portion (15);

- remove the water, steam and solid residues emitted by said iron (11) from said upper portion (15) through a discharge aperture (18) and convey them toward a tank (22) for collecting the discharge water disposed inside a housing compartment (28) in said base body (13).

15. Method as in claim 14, characterized in that it provides to extract said collection tank (22) from said housing compartment (28), remove the water and the possible solid residues, and once again insert the collection tank (22) in the housing compartment (28).

Description:
SUPPORT BASE FOR AN IRONING APPARATUS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns a support base for a steam ironing apparatus, for domestic or professional use, suitable to support a steam iron both during the normal steps of non-use during ironing and also while the cleaning and limescale removal operations are carried out. The support base in particular is configured to collect the water and/or steam generated by the iron during the washing operations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Steam ironing apparatuses for domestic use are known, generally comprising an iron and a support base for the iron, connected together.

Ironing apparatuses are usually divided into two groups, generally called “hot” or “cold”. In “hot” ironing apparatuses, the support base acts as a boiler and the steam is generated inside it and subsequently fed to the iron, while in “cold” ironing apparatuses the support base contains water at room temperature, which is fed into a boiler or steam generation chamber inside the iron, in which it is transformed into steam in contact with a heated plate.

It is known that, with use, in steam ironing apparatuses, limescale formations are generated in the boiler and/or in the steam generation chamber. Limescale can compromise the functioning efficiency of the iron, or damage the garments to be ironed, in the event that the incrustations and limescale deposits come out through the holes in the plate.

This problem occurs mainly in cold ironing apparatuses, in which the most frequent cause of malfunctions is the obstruction of the steam generation chamber and/or the water inlet area.

To solve this problem, solutions are known to clean the plate and in particular the steam generation chamber, to remove possible limescale deposits and/or foreign substances, thus preventing the occlusion of the steam outlet holes.

For example, ironing apparatuses are known which provide a cleaning and/or washing cycle which comprises heating cycles and subsequent injections of cold water into the boiler or steam generation chamber, to generate thermal shocks which have the function of breaking the encrustations of limescale and subsequently expelling them, through the plate or through a suitable discharge aperture.

During these operations, a large quantity of hot water and steam is expelled through the holes provided in the heating plate of the iron.

The user must therefore carry out the cleaning operation so that the water and the condensed steam collect in a container, or carry out the cleaning in a suitable place to prevent spillages of water and damage to delicate parts due to water and/or steam.

It must also be considered that the time for the cleaning cycle to end is not negligible.

Furthermore, while the cleaning operations are being carried out, it is necessary to keep all the nozzles or the outlet holes of the plate free, to allow the steam to escape from all the ducts and prevent them from clogging.

To facilitate the user while the cleaning operations are being carried out, preventing him/her from having to support the iron manually, containers are known that are suitable to function as a support for the iron, consisting of a little tank made of thermoplastic material, suitable to collect the hot water and possibly the condensed steam inside it, which are delivered by the plate of the iron during the cleaning operations.

These known containers are impractical for a user, as they are distinct and separate accessories from the ironing apparatus and need their own storage space when not in use.

Consequently, the user may not have the accessory available whenever he/she performs a cleaning operation, or may not find it, or even the container may be accidentally thrown away, or it may break or be damaged, thus entailing a delay in the execution of the cleaning cycles.

Furthermore, known containers, in order to be transported for their subsequent emptying, require a certain waiting interval to allow the hot water to cool down at the end of the cleaning cycle. Furthermore, having at least one upper portion that is completely open, they are not very practical to transport, since during transport there may be spillages of the hot water which can cause inconvenience or safety problems for the user, who could come into contact with the hot and dirty water contained in them. Document WO-A-2016/030299 describes an accessory that can be used to carry out the descaling and washing operations of an iron, which comprises a tank to collect the washing water, and a support surface defined by an upper edge on which the iron rests during use.

Document EP-A-2 410 088 describes a steam ironing apparatus comprising a support base in which there is a water tank and a boiler, which is connected by means of a three-way valve on one side to the iron to feed steam into it, and on the other side to an external container. The support base described in EP-A-2 410 088 allows to carry out cleaning operations on the boiler, but is not suitable to be used for cleaning and descaling operations on an iron positioned above it.

Document GB-A-2 156 864 describes a steam generation apparatus for domestic use, comprising a box-like body to which an iron can be connected, and in which a sleeve is provided which can be connected in a removable and sealed manner to the plate of the iron in order to receive the steam emitted through the holes on the plate and convey it through a duct toward the outside of the box-like body.

The Applicant therefore set himself the problem of how to improve support bases for ironing apparatuses in order to overcome the disadvantages of the state of the art as seen above.

In particular, one purpose of the present invention is to provide a multifunctional support base for an iron, which can be used to support the iron both during the normal steps of non-use during ironing and also during the cleaning and maintenance operations.

Another purpose of the present invention is to provide a support base which does not require any separate and distinct accessory in order to be able to carry out the cleaning and maintenance operations.

Another purpose is to provide a support base that allows to clean the iron and collect the water and limescale residues during the cleaning cycle of the ironing apparatus in a simple and fast way.

Another purpose of the present invention is to provide an ironing apparatus that allows to perform the cleaning of the iron in the times necessary to keep the ironing apparatus in good condition, thus allowing to effectively clean the limescale from the iron. Another purpose of the present invention is to provide an ironing apparatus that can be transported by the user immediately after the end of the cleaning cycle, safely and without the risk of spillages of hot water.

The Applicant has devised, tested and embodied the present invention to overcome the shortcomings of the state of the art and to obtain these and other purposes and advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is set forth and characterized in the independent claim. The dependent claims describe other characteristics of the invention or variants to the main inventive idea.

In accordance with the above purposes, embodiments described here concern a support base for an ironing apparatus suitable to support a steam iron both during the normal steps of non-use during ironing, and also during the cleaning and maintenance operations, also allowing to collect and contain steam and hot water and/or limescale.

According to some embodiments, the support base comprises a base body provided with an upper portion configured to support an iron.

The base body is at least partly hollow and defines a housing compartment below the upper portion.

According to one aspect of the present invention, the upper portion comprises at least one discharge aperture able to drain water and/or steam and/or limescale residues generated during the cleaning of the ironing apparatus toward means for collecting the discharge water.

In particular, the support base comprises a tank for collecting the discharge water, disposed in the housing compartment and connected to the discharge aperture.

According to some embodiments, the collection tank can be removed from the base body in order to allow to eliminate the discharge water safely.

According to some embodiments, the support base also comprises, inside the housing compartment, a tank suitable to contain water, and feed means configured to feed water and/or steam to the iron.

The support base according to the invention is suitable to carry out a number of different functions. In fact, as well as safely and stably housing the iron during the ironing operations, it advantageously allows to support the iron also during the cleaning and maintenance operations, preventing the user from having to use separate and distinct accessories for these operations.

Furthermore, the support base according to the invention has the further advantage that the support element is always available to the user each time the iron is used. In this way, it is possible to efficiently clean the limescale from the ironing apparatus in a timely manner.

According to some embodiments, the support base can comprise a discharge collector, through which water and/or steam and/or limescale residues produced during the cleaning of the ironing apparatus are moved away from the at least one discharge aperture and conveyed into the collection tank.

According to some embodiments, the support base can also comprise a conveyor pipe located between the discharge collector and the collection tank, consisting of a portion for connection to the discharge collector and an end portion.

The end portion can be conformed to connect, also by means of gaskets, to an entrance of the collection tank, and is able to constitute, together with the entrance, a sealed hydraulic circuit.

In accordance with the purposes as above, embodiments described here also concern an ironing apparatus comprising a support base according to the invention and an iron.

The ironing apparatus, thanks to the conformation of the support base, can be transported by the user immediately after the end of the cleaning cycle, when it contains hot water and/or limescale particles, safely and without hot water leaks, in order to eliminate the water collected.

In accordance with the purposes as above, embodiments described here also concern a method to clean an ironing apparatus.

ILLUSTRATION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects, characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of some embodiments, given as a non-re strictive example with reference to the attached drawings wherein: - fig. 1 is a top view of a support base according to embodiments described here;

- fig. 2 is a section view of the support base of fig. 1 along section line (II-II);

- fig. 3 is a schematic lateral view of the support base of fig. 1 and fig. 2 associated with an iron in a configuration of use.

To facilitate comprehension, the same reference numbers have been used, where possible, to identify identical common elements in the drawings. It is understood that elements and characteristics of one embodiment can conveniently be incorporated into other embodiments without further clarifications.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

We will now refer in detail to the possible embodiments of the invention, of which one or more examples are shown in the attached drawings. Each example is supplied by way of illustration of the invention and shall not be understood as a limitation thereof. For example, the characteristics shown or described insomuch as they are part of one embodiment can be varied or adopted on, or in association with, other embodiments to produce another embodiment. It is understood that the present invention shall include all such modifications and variants.

Embodiments described here with reference to the attached drawings concern a support base 10 for a steam ironing apparatus 12, suitable to support an iron 11.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 and the iron 11, connected to each other, together define the ironing apparatus 12.

According to the invention, the support base 10 supports the iron 11 both during the normal steps of non-use during ironing, and also during the cleaning and maintenance operations, and collects the water and/or steam and/or limescale residues generated during these operations.

The support base 10 according to the invention is suitable to be applied mainly, although not exclusively, to “cold” ironing apparatuses 12, in which the steam is generated directly inside the plate of the iron 11.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 comprises a base body 13 which has a front part 13a, disposed, during use, in correspondence with the tip of the iron 11, and a rear part 13b opposite the front part 13 a.

According to some embodiments, the base body 13 is provided with an upper portion 15 suitable to support the iron 11, and a lower portion 16 configured to allow the support base 10 to rest on a work surface. According to some embodiments, the upper portion 15 can be inclined with respect to a horizontal plane, so that the front part 13a is positioned higher than the rear part 13b.

For example, the support surface for the iron 11 can have an angle of inclination a comprised between 10° and 30°.

According to some embodiments, the base body 13 is at least partly hollow and defines, below the upper portion 15, a housing compartment 28.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 comprises, inside the housing compartment 28, a tank 27 able to contain clean water, which, during use, is connected to the iron 11 by means of a water feed pipe 32.

The tank 27 can be of the fixed or removable type.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 can also comprise a plurality of electrical and/or electronic components 31 disposed inside the housing compartment 28 of the base body 13, able to move the water and/or steam, such as for example electronic cards, pumps and suchlike, possibly connected to the iron 11 by means of electric cables, for example integrated in a single cord together with the water feed pipe 32.

According to some embodiments, the upper portion 15 comprises at least one discharge aperture 18 able to drain water and/or steam and/or limescale residues during the cleaning of the ironing apparatus 12 toward means 21, 22 for collecting the discharge water.

According to some embodiments, the upper portion 15 has a substantially continuous surface which delimits the base body 13 at the upper part.

The discharge aperture 18 can be made as an eyelet, or a slit made through through the upper portion 15, which has much smaller sizes than the extension of the upper portion 15 itself.

By way of example, it can have a width, measured along a longitudinal median plane of the base body 13, comprised between about 1 and about 5 cm.

The extension of the discharge aperture 18 in the transverse direction to the median plane can be comprised between 20% and 50% of the width of the base body 13.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 comprises a collection tank 22 connected to the discharge aperture 18, into which water and/or steam and/or limescale residues are directed and made to flow.

The collection tank 22 can be disposed in the housing compartment 28, below the upper portion 15.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 can have, in its upper portion 15, a housing seating 14 suitable to house at least the plate of the iron 11.

The housing seating 14 is delimited at the lower part by a bottom wall 29.

The housing seating 14 is advantageously delimited laterally by external edges 30 which delimit the area in which the iron 11 can rest, so that it is not positioned incorrectly, possibly decreasing the stability of the ironing apparatus 12.

Preferably, the external edges 30 extend over the entire perimeter of the bottom wall 29. In this way, during use, the holes for the steam and/or cleaning and washing water to exit are positioned inside the housing seating 14, so that the water and/or the steam exiting from the holes is at least partly collected in the housing seating 14, preventing it from exiting laterally.

The at least one discharge aperture 18 can be positioned in a zone advantageously disposed in order to be at the lowest point of the housing seating 14, such as for example at one end thereof facing toward the rear part 13b.

In this way, water and/or steam and/or limescale residues produced during the cleaning of the ironing apparatus 12 which are drained from the plate of the iron 11 can be conveyed into the discharge aperture 18 by gravity. According to some embodiments, the housing seating 14 can have a depth increasing from the front part 13a toward the rear part 13b, and the discharge aperture 18 can be positioned in the zone that has a greater depth, so as to facilitate the conveying of water toward it.

Preferably, the discharge aperture 18 is made through in the bottom wall 29, in the proximity of an external edge 30.

According to some embodiments and with reference to fig. 2, the support base 10 can comprise, in its upper portion 15, a mat 17 on which to rest the iron 11, conformed to support the iron 11.

The mat 17 can be made, at least partly, of heat-resistant material.

The mat 17 can substantially cover the entire upper portion 15 of the support base 10, or at least the housing seating 14.

The mat 17 can be able to support the iron 11 both during the steps of non-use during ironing, and also during the cleaning operations.

According to some embodiments, the at least one aperture 18 is made through in the mat 17.

According to some embodiments, the mat 17 can have a raised conveying edge 19, in correspondence with its end positioned close to the discharge aperture 18, so as to convey water and/or steam and/or limescale residues into the discharge aperture 18, preventing them from flowing outside of the housing seating 14.

According to some embodiments, the upper portion 15 can comprise one or more support rubber pads 20 made of heat-resistant material, for example silicone rubber, which protrude from an upper surface thereof, the tops of which can define a support plane P of the iron 11.

The support rubber pads 20 are preferably positioned inside the housing seating 14, protruding with respect to the bottom wall 29.

According to some embodiments, the support rubber pads 20 can be shaped and disposed so as to delimit a specific zone, in the vicinity of the discharge aperture 18, so as to prevent the water exiting from the pate of the iron 11 during the cleaning operations from wetting and/or dirtying the entire surface of the mat 17 itself.

By way of example, fig. 2 shows two rubber pads 20 distanced from each other along the longitudinal axis of the support base 10.

In the example case, the two rubber pads 20 are C-shaped and are disposed in a position opposite each other, with the free ends facing respectively toward the front part 13a and the rear part 13b, so as to provide a stable support for the plate of the iron 11.

The rubber pads 20 can also be in greater number, and have different shapes and conformations.

The rubber pads 20 can be attached to the mat 17, for example by gluing or other, or be made in a single body with the mat 17.

According to possible variants, it can also be provided that the housing seating 14 itself is made of heat-resistant material and is itself provided with rubber pads 20 or other support elements suitable to support the plate of the iron 11.

According to some embodiments, the collection means comprise a discharge collector 21, connected to the discharge aperture 18, through which water and/or steam and/or limescale residues produced during the cleaning of the ironing apparatus 12 can be moved away from the upper portion 15 of the support base 10.

According to some embodiments, the discharge collector 21 is disposed in the housing compartment 28 inside the base body 13.

According to possible alternative solutions, it can be provided that one or both of the collection tank 22 and the discharge collector 21 are disposed at least partly outside the base body 13.

According to some embodiments, the collection tank 22 is disposed in a lower zone with respect to the height of the discharge aperture 18, so that water and/or steam and/or limescale residues collected are made to flow into the collection tank 22 by effect of the force of gravity.

According to some embodiments, the collection tank 22 can be disposed below the tank 27 for the clean water in correspondence with the front part 13a, in such a way as to occupy the portion of the housing compartment 12 with a greater volume, and to optimize the spaces, while the movement components 31 can be disposed in correspondence with the rear part 13b, also to facilitate the connection with the iron 11.

According to some embodiments, inside the base body 13, between the discharge collector 21 and the collection tank 22, there is located a conveyor pipe 23 comprising a connection portion 24 suitable to be attached to the discharge collector 21 and a terminal portion 25 conformed to connect to the collection tank 22.

In correspondence with the terminal portion 25 of the conveyor pipe 23, the collection tank 22 can have an entrance 26 conformed so that it can connect, also by means of some gaskets, to the terminal portion 25, so as to constitute a hydraulic circuit as sealed as possible, so as to prevent water spills during transport of the entire ironing apparatus 12.

Advantageously, the discharge collector 21, the conveyor pipe 23 and the collection tank 22 can be easily cleaned by means of flexible cleaning accessories of suitable diameter, such as, for example, pipe cleaners.

Advantageously, the collection tank 22 can be washed separately, once extracted from the ironing apparatus 12, for example in order to pour the water and limescale collected.

According to some embodiments, the collection tank 22 can have, in the portion facing the front end 13a, a recessed portion 34 configured to facilitate the grip by a user when gripping the collection tank 22 and extracting it from the base body 13.

According to a variant, not shown, the discharge collector 21 can be integrated in the mat 17.

According to another variant, not shown, both the discharge collector 21 and also the conveyor pipe 23 can be integrated in the mat 17. According to a further variant, not shown, the discharge collector 21 and the conveyor pipe 23 can be made in a single piece.

According to a variant, not shown, the collection tank 22 may not be present, and the discharge collector 21 may be configured to convey water and/or steam and/or limescale residues produced during the cleaning of the iron 11 to the outside of the support base 10, for example through a designated aperture.

According to some embodiments, the support base 10 can comprise a control and command unit, not shown in the drawings, configured to control and command the functioning of the ironing apparatus 12.

According to some embodiments, the control and command unit can also be connected to one or more user interfaces 33, positioned for example on the iron 11 or on the support base 10.

Through said one or more user interfaces 33, a user can set the functioning parameters of the ironing apparatus 12, such as for example the temperature of the plate and/or the type of steam delivery, or other, and/or check the functioning of the ironing apparatus 12, for example by means of a light that indicates the iron 11 is switched on or that the iron 11 is heating up or is ready for use, and possibly start a cleaning cycle.

Embodiments described here also concern a method to clean an ironing apparatus 12 comprising the support base 10 and an iron 11. The method according to the invention provides to position the iron 11 on an upper portion 15 of the support base 10, to start a cleaning cycle by activating movement components 31 to feed clean water from a tank 27, comprised in the support base 10, to a steam generation chamber, or boiler, inside the iron 11, and heating devices to heat the water in the iron 11 and generate thermal shocks suitable to remove possible limescale encrustations, expel the water, steam and possible solid residues from the iron 11 toward the upper portion 15 and convey them through a discharge aperture 18 made in the upper portion 15 toward the tank 22 for collecting the discharge water inside the base body 13.

It is clear that modifications and/or additions of parts and/or steps may be made to the support base 10 suitable to support the steam iron 11, to the ironing apparatus 12 comprising the support base 10 and the iron 11 and to the method to clean an ironing apparatus 12 as described heretofore, without departing from the field and scope of the present invention.

It is also clear that, although the present invention has been described with reference to some specific examples, a person of skill in the art shall certainly be able to achieve many other equivalent forms of support base 10, ironing apparatus 12 and cleaning method, having the characteristics as set forth in the claims and hence all coming within the field of protection defined thereby.