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Publication numberUS20050060835 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/942,696
Publication dateMar 24, 2005
Filing dateSep 16, 2004
Priority dateSep 20, 2003
Also published asCA2482064A1
Publication number10942696, 942696, US 2005/0060835 A1, US 2005/060835 A1, US 20050060835 A1, US 20050060835A1, US 2005060835 A1, US 2005060835A1, US-A1-20050060835, US-A1-2005060835, US2005/0060835A1, US2005/060835A1, US20050060835 A1, US20050060835A1, US2005060835 A1, US2005060835A1
InventorsYasushi Kondo
Original AssigneeYasushi Kondo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bagless vacuum cleaner and dust container assembly
US 20050060835 A1
Abstract
The present invention is a floor cleaning apparatus including a housing, an intake opening in the housing, a suction generator carried on the housing and a dirt collection assembly carried on the housing. The dirt collection assembly is characterized by its unique construction including a partition, a filter assembly, a discharge conduit, a prefilter and a filter.
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Claims(20)
1. A floor cleaning apparatus, comprising:
a housing;
an intake opening in said housing;
a suction generator carried by said housing; and
a dirt collection assembly carried by said housing;
said dirt collection assembly being characterized by including;
a dirt container including a sidewall, an open first end, an open second end, a partition dividing said dirt container into an inlet manifold and a dirt collection chamber, at least one port in said partition providing fluid communication between said inlet manifold and said dirt collection chamber, a first inlet in fluid communication with said inlet manifold and a first outlet in said partition;
a filter assembly seated in said open second end of said dirt container, said filter assembly including a housing having a filter cavity, a second inlet and a second outlet;
a discharge conduit connecting said first outlet of said dirt container with said second inlet of said filter assembly;
a prefilter covering said first outlet; and
a filter received in said filter cavity.
2. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, further including an air guide carried on said partition adjacent said at least one port.
3. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, wherein said prefilter is a screen.
4. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, wherein said prefilter is a mesh.
5. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, wherein said prefilter is a perforated plastic filter element.
6. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, wherein said sidewall is cylindrical and said first inlet is tangentially directed with respect to said sidewall.
7. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 2, further including a second port in said partition and a second air guide carried on said partition adjacent said second port.
8. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, further including a lid closing said first end of said dirt container.
9. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 1, wherein said housing includes a nozzle assembly and a canister assembly.
10. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 9, wherein said canister assembly is pivotally connected to said nozzle assembly.
11. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 9, wherein said intake opening is provided in said nozzle assembly.
12. The floor cleaning apparatus of claim 11, further including at least one rotary agitator carried by said nozzle assembly adjacent said intake opening.
13. A dirt collection assembly, comprising:
a dirt container including a sidewall, an open first end, an open second end, a partition dividing said dirt container into an inlet manifold and a dirt collection chamber, at least one port in said partition providing fluid communication between said inlet manifold and said dirt collection chamber, a first inlet in fluid communication with said inlet manifold and a first outlet in said partition;
a filter assembly seated in said open second end of said dirt container, said filter assembly including a housing having a filter cavity, a second inlet and a second outlet;
a discharge conduit connecting said first outlet of said dirt container with said second inlet of said filter assembly;
a prefilter covering said first outlet; and
a filter received in said filter cavity.
14. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, further including an air guide carried on said partition adjacent said at least one port.
15. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, wherein said prefilter is a screen.
16. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, wherein said prefilter is a mesh.
17. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, wherein said prefilter is a perforated plastic filter element.
18. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, wherein said sidewall is cylindrical and said first inlet is tangentially directed with respect to said sidewall.
19. The dirt collection assembly of claim 14, further including a second port in said partition and a second air guide carried on said partition adjacent said second port.
20. The dirt collection assembly of claim 13, further including a lid closing said first end of said dirt container.
Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/503,835 filed on 20 Sep. 2003.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the floor care equipment field and, more particularly, to an upright or canister vacuum cleaner equipped with a novel dirt collection assembly and such a dirt collection assembly.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bagless vacuum cleaner technology has long been known in the art. Japanese Patent Applications 56-136642 and 56-136650 both published in 1981 disclose an upright vacuum cleaner with a dirt collection chamber that removably connects to an opening of the main unit to facilitate user convenience during the emptying of the cleaner. A removable filter fills an opening at the bottom of the dirt chamber and serves to separate dirt from air drawn through the vacuum cleaner by the fan and motor assembly.

The present invention relates to an improved dirt collection assembly for an upright or canister vacuum cleaner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a floor cleaning appliance or apparatus that comprises a housing, an intake opening in the housing, a suction generator carried by the housing and a dirt collection assembly carried by the housing. The dirt collection assembly is characterized by having a dirt container including a sidewall, an open first end, an open second end and a partition dividing the dirt container into an inlet manifold and a dirt collection chamber. The partition includes at least one port that provides fluid communication between the inlet manifold and the dirt collection chamber. Additionally a first inlet is provided in fluid communication with the inlet manifold and a first outlet is provided in the partition.

The dirt collection assembly also includes a filter assembly seated in the open second end of the dirt container. The filter assembly includes a housing having a filter cavity, a second inlet and a second outlet. A discharge conduit connects the first outlet of the dirt container with the second inlet of the filter assembly. A prefilter covers the first outlet and a filter is received in the filter cavity.

In accordance with additional aspects of the present invention, the dirt collection assembly further includes an air guide carried on the partition adjacent each port. Further the prefilter may take the form of a screen, mesh or perforated plastic filter element. Still further the sidewall of the dirt container may be cylindrical in shape and the first inlet may be tangentially directed with respect to the sidewall. Such a structural arrangement allows for cyclonic airflow which functions to provide more efficient separation between entrained dirt particles and the airstream.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the dirt collection assembly includes a second port in the partition. Further the dirt collection assembly may include a second air guide carried on the partition adjacent the second port. Still further the dirt collection assembly may also include a lid closing the first end of the dirt container.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a dirt collection assembly is provided. The dirt collection assembly comprises a dirt container including a sidewall, an open first end and an open second end. A partition divides the dirt container into an inlet manifold and a dirt collection chamber. At least one port is provided in the partition to furnish fluid communication between the inlet manifold and the dirt collection chamber. A first inlet is also provided in fluid communication with the inlet manifold and a first outlet is provided in the partition. A filter assembly is seated in the open second end of the dirt container. The filter assembly includes a housing having a filter cavity, a second inlet and a second outlet. A discharge conduit connects the first outlet of the dirt container with the second inlet of the filter assembly. A prefilter covers the first outlet and a filter is received in the filter cavity. The dirt collection assembly also includes the additional features described above with regard to the dirt collection assembly provided in the floor cleaning apparatus.

In the following description there is shown and described a preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration of one of the modes best suited to carry out the invention. As it will be realized, the invention is capable of other different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description will be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of this specification, illustrate several aspects of the present invention, and together with the description serve to explain certain principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the upright vacuum cleaner of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partially schematical and cross-sectional view of the dirt collection assembly of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the partition of the dirt collection assembly illustrated in FIG. 2.

Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, an example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference is now made to FIG. 1 generally illustrating the floor cleaning apparatus 10 of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment the floor cleaning apparatus 10 takes the form of an upright vacuum cleaner. It should be appreciated that the floor cleaning apparatus 10 may just as easily assume the configuration of a canister vacuum cleaner, a handheld vacuum cleaner or even an extractor.

The apparatus 10 comprises a housing 12 including a nozzle assembly 14 and a canister assembly 16. In the illustrated upright vacuum cleaner apparatus 10, the canister assembly 16 is pivotally connected to the nozzle assembly 14. Of course, in an alternative embodiment such as a canister vacuum cleaner the canister assembly 16 and nozzle assembly 14 would be connected together by a flexible hose.

The nozzle assembly 14 includes an outer body shell 18. A portion of the body shell 18 is cut away in FIG. 1 in order to show the intake opening 20 provided in the nozzle assembly 14. As shown a rotary agitator 22 is carried by the nozzle assembly 14 adjacent to the intake opening 20. In fact, the illustrated rotary agitator 22 extends fully across the intake opening 20. Of course, the rotary agitator 22 may include bristle tufts 24 or other cleaning structures for brushing and beating dirt and debris from a nap of an underlying carpet during the cleaning operation.

The canister assembly 16 includes a body shell 26 with a cavity 28 for receiving and holding a dirt collection assembly generally designated by reference numeral 30. In addition, the canister assembly 16 includes a control stalk 32 equipped with a hand grip 34. A control switch 36 conveniently located adjacent the hand grip 34 allows the operator to turn the apparatus 10 off and on. A suction generator 38 is provided in an internal compartment in the canister assembly 16 beneath the cavity 28.

The suction generator 38 comprises a fan and motor assembly. The motor of the suction generator 38 may be connected by means of a transmission (not shown) to drive the rotary agitator 22. Alternatively, a separate, independent motor may be provided to drive the rotary agitator 22 if desired. The switch 36 allows the operator to control the operation of the suction generator 38 and the dedicated rotary agitator drive motor (if provided). Power is provided by an electrical cord from a standard wall outlet and/or by means of batteries carried on the apparatus 10.

As further shown in FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 includes wheels 40 connected to the housing 12 in order to allow the apparatus to be moved smoothly across the floor being cleaned. In the illustrated embodiment two wheels 40 are connected to the canister assembly 16 (only one is visible) and two additional wheels (not shown) are connected to the nozzle assembly 14. An actuator 41 operates a height adjustment mechanism in a manner known in the art in order to allow the height of the rotary agitator 22 to be varied relative to the surface being cleaned. The pivotal connection of the canister assembly 16 to the nozzle assembly 14 allows the operator to freely move the apparatus 10 back and forth and direct the apparatus during the cleaning operation. A spring loaded, foot operated latch 42 functions to secure the canister assembly 16 in the upright position relative to the nozzle assembly 14 as illustrated in FIG. 1 when not in use.

During vacuum cleaner operation, the bristle tufts 24 or other cleaning structures on the rotary agitator 22 function to brush and beat dirt and debris from a nap of an underlying carpet being cleaned. That dirt and debris is entrained in an airstream being drawn into the intake opening 20 by the simultaneous operation of the suction generator 38. Next the air entrained with dirt and debris is drawn into the dirt collection assembly 30 where the dirt and debris is captured. Clean air is then drawn over the motor of the suction generator 38 before being exhausted through a final filter (not shown) and the exhaust port 44 into the environment.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 2 and 3 which illustrate the dirt collection assembly 30 of the present invention in detail. The dirt collection assembly 30 includes a dirt container 46 having a sidewall 48 and a partition 50 dividing the dirt container into an inlet manifold 52 and a dirt collection chamber 54. A lid 56 closes the open first end of the sidewall 48 and seals the inlet manifold 52.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the partition 50 includes a first port 58 that provides fluid communication between the inlet manifold 52 and the dirt collection chamber 54. Additionally, the partition 50 may include a second port 60 that also provides fluid communication between the inlet manifold 52 and the dirt collection chamber 54. An inlet 62 in the sidewall 48 allows dirt and debris to be drawn into the inlet manifold 52. An outlet 64 is provided in the partition 50. A prefilter 66 in the form of a metal or plastic mesh or screen, or a perforated plastic filtering element covers the outlet 64.

The dirt collection assembly 30 also includes a filter assembly, generally designated by reference numeral 70. The filter assembly 70 is seated in or on the open second end of the dirt container 46. More specifically, the filter assembly 70 includes a housing 72 including an inlet 74 and a cooperating housing lid 76 including an outlet opening 78. A filter 80 such as a filter cartridge with a pleated filter media 82 is held in a cavity 84 in the filter assembly 70. A discharge conduit 86 connects the outlet 64 of the partition 50 with the inlet 74 of the filter assembly 70. As should be appreciated, the discharge conduit 86 may be cylindrical in shape and extend through the middle of the dirt collection chamber 54.

In operation, air entrained with dirt and debris is drawn by the suction generator 38 of the apparatus 10 into the inlet manifold 52 through the inlet 62 (note action arrow A). An air guide or deflector 88 is provided on the partition 50 adjacent the first port 58. Air entrained with heavy dirt and debris moves along the sidewall 48 of the inlet manifold 52 and with the assistance of the air guide 88 is directed through the first port 58 into the dirt collection chamber 54 (note action arrow B in FIG. 2). In a similar manner an air guide or deflector 90 is provided on the partition 50 adjacent to the second port 60. Thus, air entrained with dirt and debris is directed by the sidewall 48 and deflector 90 through the second port 60 into the dirt collection chamber 54 (note action arrow C in FIG. 3). The dirt and debris D is heavier than the air and collects in the bottom of the dirt 92 collection chamber 54. The relatively clean air then returns to the inlet manifold 52 from the dirt collection chamber 54 through a screen covered went 92. The size and shape of the vent 92 may be altered to influence air flow.

That air, now devoid of the heaviest dirt and debris, is drawn through the prefilter 66 where any remaining particles are screened and particle passage is prevented. The air is then drawn through the outlet 64 and the discharge conduit 86 to the inlet 62 of the filter assembly which is in communication with the filter cavity 84. The air is then subjected to a final filtration by the media 82 of the filter 80 before being discharged through the outlet opening 78 and drawn into the suction generator 38 of the apparatus 10 (note action arrow E in FIG. 2).

The prefilter 66 may be serviced by removing the lid 56. The dirt collection chamber 54 may be emptied by opening the second end of the dirt container 46: that is, by removing the filter assembly 70. The filter 80 may be serviced by removing the housing lid 76.

As illustrated, the sidewall 48 of the dirt container 46 is cylindrical. Additionally, the inlet 62 is tangentially directed with respect to that sidewall 48. Further, the discharge conduit 86 includes a cylindrical outer wall that is concentrically received in the middle of the dirt container 46. Accordingly, in this embodiment cyclonic airflow is generated in both the inlet manifold 52 and the dirt collection chamber 54. It should be appreciated, however, that the dirt collection assembly 30 may also be designed to include a sidewall 48 that is other than cylindrical in shape, an inlet 62 that is other than tangentially directed and a discharge conduit 86 with outer wall that is other than cylindrical in shape.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of this invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. For example, while only one rotary agitator 22 is illustrated, the apparatus 10 could include two or more. Further, while a “clean air” system is illustrated with the suction generator 38 downstream from the dirt collection assembly 30, a “dirty air” system is also contemplated with the dirt collection assembly 30 downstream from the suction generator 38. Further, while the filter assembly 70 is illustrated as being received and carried in the sidewall 48 of the dirt container 46, the filter assembly 70 may be a completely separate structure from the dirt container 46 that is mounted to and carried on the canister assembly 16.

The embodiment was chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled. The drawings and preferred embodiment do not and are not intended to limit the ordinary meaning of the claims and their fair and broad interpretation in any way.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8060980 *Mar 28, 2008Nov 22, 2011Panasonic Corporation Of North AmericaFloor care appliance equipped with break-over protected latch assembly
US20130133155 *Nov 28, 2011May 30, 2013Julio C. PerezVacuum cleaner incorporating noise suppression system
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/347
International ClassificationA47L9/00, A47L9/16, A47L9/10
Cooperative ClassificationA47L9/1683, A47L9/1666, A47L9/165, A47L9/102
European ClassificationA47L9/16F, A47L9/16D, A47L9/10B, A47L9/16E2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 18, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, NEW JE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KONDO, YASUSHI;REEL/FRAME:015390/0622
Effective date: 20040903