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Publication numberUS3439372 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1969
Filing dateJul 10, 1967
Priority dateJul 10, 1967
Publication numberUS 3439372 A, US 3439372A, US-A-3439372, US3439372 A, US3439372A
InventorsCollier Donald C
Original AssigneeRucker Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Airplane washing device
US 3439372 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 22, 1969 D. c. COLLIER 3,439,372

` AIRPLANE WASHING DEVICE Filed July 10, 1967 sheet @f4 I N VENTOR. Dcr/w40 C. fou/I2 April 22, `1969 D. .c. COLLIER 3,439,372

AIRPLANE WASHING DEVICE Filed July 1o, 19e? f sheet 2 or 4 i rNvEN'roR. .5o/waa C (bz ui? Y j BY.

IrroRA/M D. C. COLLIER AIRPLANE WASHING DEVICE of 4j April 22, 1969 Sheet Filed July 10, 1967 INVENTOR. o/vam C', Cou/Ie ma WM United States Patent 3,439,372 AIRPLANE WASHING DEVICE Donald C. Collier, Walnut Creek, Calif., assignor to The Rucker Company, a corporation Filed July 10, 1967, Ser. No. 652,307 Int. Cl. B605 3/06; A47l 11/283; B241) 23/00 U.S. Cl. 15-21 7 'Claims ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLOSURE A device for washing airplanes has a vehicle carrying washing supplies and a rotatable turntable orientable to various positions and carrying an operators station and controls for an extensible boom on which a rotary power driven scrubbing brush is mounted. The brush mounting permits the brush to be variously oriented and includes means for maintaining a selected brush pressure against the surface being washed.

My invention relates to devices useful in washing surfaces of objects such as airplanes, large vehicles and the like particularly when the configuration or contour of the article being washed is composed of simple and compound curves and fiat surfaces and is ordinarily rather difficult to engage with washing materials and scrubbers unless extensive hand work is employed.

It is therefore an object of my invention to provide an airplane washing device which dispenses with hand work yet which can cover with a scrubbing motion all of the various configurations, whether simple or compound, of an airplane exterior or the exterior of a comparable body to be washed.

Another object of my invention is to provide an airplane washing device which is readily portable from place to place so that planes in different locations can be washed from time to time.

Another object of the invention is to provide an airplane washing device which can readily be controlled by a single operator not only as to the motion of the carrying vehicle, but also as to the operation of the Washing structure.

Another object of the invention is to provide an airplane washing device which is completely self-contained and can be utilized in a remote location to accomplish the desired purposes.

Another object of the invention is to provide an airplane washing device which is relatively simple in its construction yet which effectively accomplishes airplane washing.

Another object of the invention is to provide an airplane washing device in which the degree of contact between the washing device and the object being washed can be established and maintained at a desired value.

Another object of the invention is in general to provide an improved airplane washer.

Other objects together with the foregoing are attained in the embodiments of the invention described in the accompanying description and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of one form of airplane washer in washing engagement with an airplane;

FIGURE 2 is a side elevation to an enlarged scale of a portion of the structure shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a plan, with portions broken away, showing the lmechanism of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a side elevation to a greatly enlarged scale of the scrubbing brush portion of the airplane washing device;

FIGURE 5 is an end elevation of the structure illus trated in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is a side elevation of a modified form of airplane washer, a portion of the structure common to 3,439,372 Patented Apr. 22, 1969 the original modification being omitted to reduce the size of the figure, and the brushes being shown in operation on an airplane; and

FIGURE 7 is on the left half a side elevation of the 'brushstructure shown in FIGURE 6 and in the center and on the right is a cross section through the axis of rotation of a brush and attendant mechanism.

In a presently suitable form of the device useful in connection withan airplane 6, of generally recognized configuration, standing on the `ground 7, I provide a washing machine which includes a vehicle -8. This has a pair of drive wheels 9 at one end and a pair of steering wheels 11 at the other end, the vehicle also being provided with the customary power source, speed changing and drive mechanism (not shown). The vehicle is particularly provided with a jack cylinder 12 mounted on the vehicle 8 so as to be pivoted for swinging movement in a vertical longitudinal plane, the actual motion of the jack cylinder 12 being caused by a fiud expansible chamber mechanism 13 having a lower cylinder 14 appropriately mounted on the vehicle 8 and having a piston rod 16 connected by a pivot pin 17 to the jack cylinder 12. When the cylinder 14 is appropriately filled and emptied in accordance with standard practice, the jack cylinder 12 is swung in a vertical arc.

Although the jack cylinder itself affords a fair height of operation, it is preferred to extend the height of operation even more. For that reason, there is telescoped within the jack cylinder 12 a jack plunger 118 which can readily be actuated by hydraulic means so as to telescope almost completely within the cylinder 12 or extend a substantial distance therefrom. Means are provided (not shown) of a standard sort to prevent rotation of the jack plunger =18 within the jack cylinder 12.

Adjacent its upper end, the jack plunger .18 carries a fork 21 extending to a ring 22 in the nature of a gimbal ring. Pivot connections 23 secure the ends of the fork to the gimbal ring so that the gimbal and fork can pivot about a transverse horizontal axis with respect to each other. The particular relative location about that axis of the ring 22 is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder 24 and its accompanying plunger 26 connected by pivots 27 and 28 to their respective mouutings. When the cylinder 24 is operated in the customary way by the usual controls, the relative angularity between the gimbal ring 22 and the jack plunger 18 is fixed and held at any desired value.

Since the supervision of the mechanism and its operation is under the control of one man, and in order to afford him a convenient, comfortable and versatile station for his` activities, there is provided within the gimbal ring 22 a basket 31 of `generally circular cylindrical configuration mounted on bearings to rotate within the gimbal ring 22 about an axis normal to the general plane of the gimbal ring. The basket 31 is of adequate size to contain an operator 32 and has indicators and controls 33 available to the operator Within the basket. These controls not only govern the operation of the vehicle 8, but likewise govern the operation of all of the other instrumentalities involved in the airplane washer.

The basket 31 in one portion is provided with a base 36 affording a support for a boom 37 joined to the base 36 by an intervening bearing 38 so that the boom 37 can turn about a generally longitudinal, horizontal axis with respect to the basket 31. The boom 37 is preferably of skeleton construction and extends outboard of the basket 31 to provide a pair of journals 41 and 42 (FIGURE 3). Mounted to rotate within the journals 41 and 42 about a horizontal, transverse axis is a shaft 43 at one end extending into a hydraulic motor 44 effective when energized to rotate the shaft 43 through at least one hundred eighty degrees, or preferably somewhat more than that. Secured to the shaft 43 and rotatable therewith is a housing 46 on which one end of a hydraulic cylinder 47 is mounted,

the other end of the cylinder being freely cantilevered. When actuated by the usual control instrumentality, fluid is introduced into the cylinder 47, the piston rod 48 is projected therefrom and forms an extension of the boom 37. When the actuating fluid is reversed with respect to the cylinder 47, the boom extension is retracted. With this arrangement and with appropriate controls on the actuator 44, the boom extension 48 can be extended a substantial distance from the -basket 31 and can likewise be tilted at any desired angle so as to move along an axis intersecting the longitudinal axis of the boom 37.

The outboard end of the boom extension 48 carries clevis plates 51 and 52 (FIGURE 3) lying on opposite sides of a tongue 53 forming part of a fork 54. Since the tongue is rotatable with respect to the plates 51 and 52 through approximately one hundred eighty degrees, means are provided for selecting a position for the tongue 53 with respect to the boom extension 48 and for holding the parts in the selected locations. The tongue 53 is joined to both of the plates 51 and 52 by a pivot pin 56, and a locking pin 57 (FIGURE 2) engages both of the plates 51 and 52 and engages the tongue S3 in either one of three principal, eccentric locations so that, as shown particularly in FIGURE 2, the fork 54 can be pointed and held directly upwardly or can be pointed and held directly downwardly as departures from the usual central position as shown in FIGURE 2 in full lines.

To make sure that the plates 51 and 52 always retain their proper orientation despite the torque load thereon, a reinforcing and positioning rod 58 is secured at its outboard end to a lug 59 forming part of the plates 51 and 52 and at its other end slidably engages the housing 46 secured to the shaft 43.

The twin arms of the fork 54 at their outboard ends engage pivot pins 61 in turn engaging a gimbal ring 62 so that the gimbal ring can oscillate freely about a generally horizontal transverse axis with respect to the fork 54. The gimbal ring also carries pins 63 engaged in appropriate lugs extending from a casing 64. With this gimbal mounting the casing 64 can occupy any one of a number of different inclined or adjusted positions relative to the boom extension. In order to hold the casing 64 in any selected position with respect to the fork 54, the casing has a number of lugs 66 to which pvot pins 67 connect the piston rods 68 of a plurality of hydraulic cylinders 69. The cylinders are connected by pivot pins 71 to the base of the fork 54. Upon appropriate actuation of the various cylinders 69, the casing 64 can be given any desired orientation with respect to the fork 54 since there is relative rocking motion between the casing 64 and the fork 54 by virtue of the interposed gimbal ring 62.

The casing within its contines carries a hydraulic motor 72 under appropriate control and having a pinion 73 meshing with a gear 74 designed to turn a quill or sleeve 76 appropriately mounted in suitable bearings and at its forward end enlarged to afford a ange 77 to which is connected the ange 78 of a flexible and collapsible bellows 79. A similar flange 81 at the forward end of the bellows engages and is secured to a flange 82 on which the hub 83 of a brush 84 is disposed. Preferably the brush hub is offset or has its axis displaced from the general rotational axis of the bellows 79. The brush 84 includes a back 86 and likewise has a number of bristles 87 extending from the back and terminating approximately in a plane.

With this mechanism and since the motor 72 is supplied with appropriate actuating fluid under standard control at the operators station, when the motor revolves, the quill is likewise revolved and this also rotates the flexible bellows 79 so that the bellows serves as a torque transmitting member and causes the brush 84 to rotate Substantially in accordance with the rotation of the bellows but also in an orbital path since their axes are somewhat displaced in a radial direction.

Particularly in accordance with this invention, I provide means for maintaining a selected relationship between the brush 84 and the casing 64 so that the pressure exerted by the brush against the airplane, for example, is kept very closely within decided limits. For that reason, there is provided on the flange 82 a connection 88 to one end of a plunger 89 axially movable within a sleeve 91 coaxially arranged and mounted at its inboard end on the end of the housing `64. The plunger and sleeve represent a transducer.

Thus as the brush 84 is rotated in its orbital path and is forced against a surface to be washed, as shown in FIGURE l, the bellows 79 collapses more and more as more and more pressure is exerted, and by the same token the plunger 89 is likewise forced farther into the sleeve 91. This displacement inwardly is effective upon an appropriate controller (not shown) to vary the fluid supply to the cylinder 47 so that the brush 84 operates at an appropriate pressure despite the change in position. The brush as well as the intervening bellows 79 move toward and away from the casing 64 as irregularities in the surface are encountered, but by operation of the sensing mechanism, the plunger 89, the sleeve 91 and their appurtenant parts, the pressure exerted by the brush against any contacting surface is maintained within narrow limits substantially at an optimum or desired value.

Preferably the vehicle 8 carries one or more tanks 92 containing appropriate supplies for the washing brushes, the supplies being in the nature of water and detergent. While the device is principally used for washing, it is also suitable for use as a polisher. In that case, a supply of polish on the Vehicle is also made available. The tank 92 is connected to the vicinity of the brush by appropriate flexible hoses 93 (FIG. 1), only some portions of which are shown to avoid cluttering and obscuring the drawings. The flexible hoses are arranged to accommodate all of the various positions the brush can occupy with respect tothe carriage 8.

In the use of this structure, the operator at his station initially operates suitable controls to bring the vehicle 8 to a desired station alongside the airplane 6. The operator in his basket 31 by operating appropriate controls therein stops the vehicle and extends the piston rod 16 to position the jack cylinder and the jack plunger at the desired angle and extension. The operator then starts the brush revolving and through the exible hose supplies it with water and cleaning material such as detergent. The operator traverses the brushes in various different ways, depending upon the shape of the surface being washed, either by moving the vehicle 8 forward or backward or by traversing the boom extension or by operating the jack plunger 18 within the jack cylinder 12.

The operator can also rotate the boom 37 and can not only project and retract the boom extension but can also make it rotate into a suitable position about the axis of the shaft 43. The operator can from time to time make a manual setting on the interconnection between the clevis plates 51 and 52 and the tongue 53. Further, the casing 64 can move resiliently Within the gimbal ring 62 and the brush can flex the bellows in various directions. Thus, the operator can move the brush 84 with its bristles 87 into tight engagement with any adjacent surface of the plane, whether at or of single curvature or of compound curvature. The pressure of the brush on the surface being washed is automatically maintained by the in-built corrective action. The flexible bellows 79 not only acts as a driving mechanism, but also accommodates the brush to any desired angle or pressure value. By appropriate manipulation of the various controls at his central station, the operator 32 can, as shown by various dotted line disclosures in the drawings, move the brush in various different Ways to accommodate the undulatory surfaces of the plane. Since the pressure against the plane is substantially constant, the scrubbing effect is as drastic as desired and can be made elective to remove grime and dirt under widely dilferent conditions so that a satisfactory washing job is readily accomplished on all of the airpl'anes exposed surfaces.

In some instances it is desired to arrange the airplane washing mechanism to take care of surfaces which are very close to the ground, the actual clearance available being less than three feet. Under those circumstances, an arrangement such as shown in FIGURES 6 and 7 is preferred. All of the vehicle or carriage construction is the same as previously described except that the jack plunger, formerly 18 and now 101, is provided with a forked end 102 carrying opposite pins 103 supporting the base member 104 of a turntable. Appropriate hydraulic mechanism (not shown) sets and holds the desired angularity between the turntable base 104 and the fork arms 102.

Rotatably mounted on the turntable base 104 is a turntable platform 106 carrying a partially reclined seat 107 at the operators station and having various controls 108 and 109 to govern the various instrumentalities. With this arrangement the base 104 can be tilted up and down and the platform 106 can be rotated about a generally vertical axis at the control of the operator.

To the forward end of the platform 106 there is connected a clevis 111 held by a pivot pin 112, the clevis being part of a frame 113 which can be moved about the axis of the pins 112 by a hydnaulic jack mechanism 114 having standard connections. Included in the frame 113 is the non-circular telescopic base portion of a boom 116 within which is slidably mounted a boom extension 117 likewise of non-circular cross section. The parts 117 and 116 can telescope with respect to each other in a longitudinal direction but do not have relative rotation about the longitudinal axis. Longitudinal displacement is controlled by an interior hydraulic cylinder 118 at its base secured to the frame 113 and carrying a piston rod 119 at its forward end secured to a clevis body 121 at the leading end of the boom extension 117. When the cylinder 118 is appropriately actuated, the boom extension is moved into and out of the boom. The clevis 121 has pins 122 and 123 (FIGURE 7) in transverse alignment, the pins 122 and 123 both being secured `to a yoke 124 designed to rotate about the transverse axis of the pins 122 and 123 under the urgency of a hydraulic motor 125 installed on one of the arms of the clevis 121.

Mounted on the yoke 124 for rotation about the axis of a pin 126 is a fork frame 12.7, the fork frame and pin being fastened together and being connected to the drive shaft of a hydraulic motor 128, so that the fork frame 127 can -be rotated about the pin axis with respect to the yoke 124. The fork frame extends outboard and includes a housing portion 129. The housing portion is symmetrical and on opposite sides of the center has inclined faces 131 and 132 on which interior housings 133 and, 134 are disposed. Since both sides lare similar, the description of the right side applies also to the left side. Within the housings 133 and 134 are mounted dihedrally arranged drive shafts' 136 carried by bearings 137 and 138. Each shaft is connected to a respective one of a pair of bevel gears 139 and 141 both meshing with Ia bevel pinion 146 at the end of a shaft 147 passing through the housing portion and being appropriately rotated at relatively high speed by a hydraulic motor 148 on the adjacent portion of the yoke housing.

The shaft 136 is rotated las a driver. Also, the shaft 136 carries a part of the weight of a brush shell 151 concentric with the shaft 136. The shell 151 rests on a bearing 152 at one end and is carried by the shaft at the other end so that the shell rotates with the shaft 136. Means are provided for affording a special brush mounting and brush construction. The brush itself is preferably a highly pliable or flexible rubber-like outer conical bag 153 having ibristles 154 mounted in it and extending radially from it. At one end the flexible conical envelope 153 is merged with a conical end wall 156 secured by a rim mechanism 157 to the shell 151. At the other end the sleeve 153 has a conical wall 158 secured by a locking ring 159 on the tube or shell 151. Additionally, the shaft 136 at its end carries a block 162 from which bristles 163 project so as to afford a substantially uninterrupted brush surface. The conicity of the brush shells and the dihedral angle of the shafts are such that the brushes present substantially a continuous surface for scrubbing.

The interior of the mounted brush envelope 153 or bag is substantially airtight and the wall 156 is provided with an air-inflation stem 164 of the usual sort to admit air of the desired pressure. With this mechanism the brush can be advanced against the surface to be cleaned and will flex considerably to accommodate minor irregularities and curvatures in the surface. With |a given pressure against the surface to be cleaned, the bag will deform or deflect. The deflection will be a known or predetermined amount depending upon the air pressure within the brush bag 153. In the event grossly excessive pressure is imposed upon the brush envelope 153, the two end walls 156 and 158, being conical or dished, tend to collapse toward the rotational axis and permit the brush to deform very materially. When the pressure again relaxes, the resiliency of the parts is sucient to restore them to the locations shown in FIGURE 7.

The mechanism as so far described is often entirely sufficient to accommodate the brushes to most irregular surfaces. However, under some circumstances it is preferred to provide a pressure fand deflection sensitive servo mechanism for operating the hydraulic controls of the boom so as to maintain the desired contact between the brush and the surface being cleaned. To that end, there is disposed on the rotating shell 151 a piezoelectric mechanism 168 having the property of varying an electrical output in laccordance with the imposed pressure. The piezoelectric cell 168 has leads 169 and 171 extending to collector rings 172 and 173 in turn joined by wires 174 on the stationary part of the structure. The conductors 174 connect to a control for the cylinder 118 or the cylinder pack 114 or both of them.

In the attitude of the brush shown in FIGURE 6, extra pressure of the brush against the surface increases the air pressure within the envelope 153. This increase is de tected by the piezoelectric device 168, which sends a signal through the conductors 174 to the control for the cylinder jack 114. Thus by changing the action of the cylinder jack 1:14, the precise amount. of pressure of the brush against the surface can be regulated. If, however, the member 124 and its appurtenances happens to be rotated approximately ninety degrees from the position shown in FIGURE 6 to work against a vertical surface, then the extra pressure is in a generally axial or longi tudinal direction and the response is by the cylinder `118.

In this form of the device, the brush can be supplied with cleaning material such as water and detergent or with polishing materials and operates in about the same Way as the previous embodiment. In this instance, the brush itself has a great deal more flexibility.

What is claimed is:

1. An airplane washer comprising a mobile main frame, a turntable, means for mounting said turntable on said main frame for rotation about a vertical axis, a boom on and extending from said turntable, a boom extension, means for mounting said boom extension for projection and retraction on said boom, a brush carrier, means for mounting said brush carrier on said boom extension for movement relative to said boom extension, means for moving said brush carrier relative to said boom extension, a rotary brush, means for resiliently mounting said brush for rotation on said brush carrier, means for rotating said brush, and means responsive to said resilient mounting means for positioning said brush relative to said brush carrier.

2. An airplane washer as in claim 1 in which said boom and said boom extension project and retract along a boom axis and said brush carrier is rotatable relative to said turntable about said boom axis.

3. An airplane Washer as in claim 1 in which means are provided for mounting said brush carrier on said boom extension for relative pivotal movement about a transverse horizontal axis.

4. An airplane washer as in claim 1 in which means are provided for mounting said boom extension for pivotal movement about a transverse horizontal axis relative to said turntable.

5. An airplane washer as in claim 1 in which an operator and control station is provided on said turntable.

6. An airplane washer as in claim 5 in which said main frame is a self-propelled vehicle and controls for said vehicle are located at said operator and control station.

7. An airplane Washer as in claim 1 in which said frame is part of a vehicle, a wash material tank on said vehicle, and ilexible means for conducting wash material from said tank to said relatively movable brush.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,559,295 7/1951 Grossenbacher 15-98 2,892,439 l6/1959 Dynia 15-98 X 3,099,852 8/1963 Grant. 3,104,406 9/1963 Rhodes 15-2-1 3,268,935 8/1966 Ungeheuer 15--21 3,310,824 4/1966 Beer.

FOREIGN PATENTS 1,038,924 8/1966 Great Britain.

EDWARD L. ROBERTS, Primary Examiner.

U.S. Cl. X.R. 15-50; 5l--180

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U.S. Classification15/53.1, 451/354, 15/53.2, 15/50.1
International ClassificationB66F11/04
Cooperative ClassificationB66F11/046
European ClassificationB66F11/04B2