US 3526015 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 1, 1970 J. J. NAPPI ENTRY RUG CLEANING MECHANISM 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May 22, 1968 t il INVENTOR.
JOHN J. NAPPI Sept. 1, 1970 J. J, MPH 3,526,015
ENTRY RUG CLEANING MECHANISM Filed May 22, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 'INVENTOR.
JOHN J. NAPPI QMWMPM ATTORNEYS Sept. 1, 1970 J. J. NAPPI- ENTRY RUG CLEANING MECHANISM 5 Sheets-Sheet Filed May 22, 1968 FIG. 6
INVENTOR. JOHN J. NAPPI ATTORNbYS United States Patent Office 3,526,015 Patented Sept. 1, 1970 3,526,015 ENTRY RUG CLEANING MECHANISM John J. Nappi, 80 Beckley Road, Berlin, Conn. 06037 Filed May 22, 1968, Ser. No. 731,127 Int. Cl. A47] 23/02; E04f 19/10 US. Cl. 15--36 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to entry way floor mats for cleaning the shoes of persons passing through an entry way and generally to mechanisms of the type which operate to remove dirt from the undersurfaces of shoes and dispose of the accumulated dirt. Prior art devices for this purpose have generally involved the use of disposable rugs or mats or a grating with an interleaved brushing mechanism for brushing the bottoms of the shoes as the person walks over the grating. These latter mechanisms are relatively complex and do not provide the cleaning and absorbing action of a good dry rug surface. In addition the presence of a metallic grating interrupts the decor of an entry way where carpeting is laid. For these and other reasons it has generally been the practice in most entry ways to provide a small piece of removable carpet material which can be periodically replaced and which at the end of each days traflic must be manually cleaned. Such arrangements provide relatively poor cleaning after the first few units of traflic have passed thereover since the accumulated dirt in the rug renders the surface relatively inefficient for cleaning. The aesthetic effect of such a dirty rug in an entry way in an otherwise modern, well-appointed establishment is also quite undesirbale since the effect of the floor carpeting is again lost if a segment is dirty and unsightly over a relatively large portion of the time.
While movable sidewalks and other such conveyancing.
mechanisms have been employed in the past, the arrangement of a conveyor for actually transporting persons is generally not desired at entry ways due to the alarm with which members of the general public view such devices when they are to be transported with the motion of a moving mechanism. Such devices cannot generally be installed without appropriate hand rails and other safety provisions and for safetys sake a fair proportion of the members of the public will not walk with their own stride upon such devices but will rather stand waiting to be transported by the conveyor, thereby limiting the rate of access to the entry way to that of the rate at which the device moves. Thus a high conveyance speed is indicated and this further inhibits members of the general public, especially those who are relatively unsure of their footing.
It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide an entry way rug cleaning mechanism which permits the entry way to maintain a substantially normal appearance corresponding to the carpeted area and at the same time to provide cleaning of the portion of the carpeted area which is subject to the most intense traflic. This cleaning is accomplished with a mechanism supporting an endless carpet with the portion corresponding to the tread surface exposed flush with the floor level and the remaining portion recessed beneath the floor for various cleaning and drying operations. The motion of the rug is made imperceptible or is programmed to occur during low traffic periods so that the public is able to use the entry way as if no such mechanism were installed and yet the mechanism achieves a substantially continuous cleaning cycle that maintains an acceptable clean tred surface in the high density tralfic lane approaching the entry way.
Accordingly, the principal object of the present invention is to provide a carpeted entry way which may be maintained and cleaned throughout a normal trafiic period by removing accumulated dirt and drying the absorbed moisture from the carpet before the entry way, while not introducing the elements of a conveyorized approach to the entry way to those using the installation. This and other objects of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an entry way served by a rug cleaning mechanism in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a rug transport made in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a right end elevation view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a left end elevation view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the cleaning mechanism associated with the rug transport of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is a side elevation perspective view of the cleaning mechanism of FIG. 6.
Referring now to FIG. 1, the general installation of the mechanism provides a flush surface rug 11 which is movable over the mechanism mounted therebeneath to be hereinafter described. The rug 11 is surrounded by edge moldings 12 of aluminum which preferably are only approximately 4 in thickness. A corresponding U-shaped end section of molding 13 is removably attached to the under-supporting frame to permit access to the roller at the end of the frame. At the opposite end of the frame a stationary portion of rug 14 fits between extensions 15 aligned with the moldings 12 and terminates in an end piece of molding 16. Between the movable and fixed rug surfaces 11 and 14 a transverse strip 17 extends. The strip 17 may be in the form of a flat piece of aluminum with or without bevelled edges.
Referring now to FIG. 2, a side elevation of the portion of the mechanism underlying the moving rug 11 is shown. The mechanism consists of a frame made up of two parallel top angles 21 having outwardly extending flanges from which depend end plates 22 and 23 which support a pair of bottom angles 24 which have inwardly extending flanges. The right and left hand edge frames made up of angles 21 and 24 and depending plates 22 and 23 are connected by transverse channel members 25 to form a generally rectilinear open framework. At the top corners of the framework are located idler rollers 26 and 27 the surfaces of which project slightly beyond the perimeter of the frarmework. In the lower left of the view shown in FIG. 2 a somewhat larger diameter drive roll 28 is rotatably mounted with a drive belt connection 29 to a suitable motor gear reduction drive unit 31. The motor and gear reduction 31 is mounted on channel members 32 which extend between the angles 24 within the framework. As seen more clearly in FIG. 4, the drive roller 28 is separated into two parts with a toothed drive wheel 33 of somewhat smaller diameter engaging drive belt 29. With this arrangement the drive roller 28 can be driven from the internal position of drive motor 31 without having the belt 29 interfere with the passage of the rug over both sections of the drive roller 28. In this manner the drive of the rug is accomplished without extending the mechanism in width as would he the case with an end drive gear on the roller 28.
The fourth corner of the frame shown in FIG. 2 supports an idler roller 34 which is extendable along the line of supporting shaft 35 by means of a screw mechanism 36 driven by a bevelled gear 37 from a transverse shaft 38. As best seen in FIG. 3, the bevelled gears 37 operate at both ends of the shaft 38 to extend both journals for the shaft 34 in unison, the units 36 employing right and left hand threads to extend and retract the roller 34 an equal amount upon rotation of shaft 38. For convenience the shaft 38 may be rotated by means of a crank handle 39 or a suitable wrench fitting maybe provided atthe end of the shaft 38 if desired. Any suitable arrangement for the extension mechanism 36 may be employed. As shown in FIG. 2, the shaft 35 is slidably fitted within the housing 36 which is internally threaded to engage threads '41 on the shaft which mounts bevelled gear 37. In this fashion turning the shaft 38 to rotate bevelled gears 37 will extend the support shaft 35 or withdraw it so that the rug may be tensioned and removed respectively as required. If desired the support for roller 34 can be spring biased to provide compensation for stretching and shrinking of the rug 11. As shown in FIG. 2 this feature is achieved by providing the shaft 35 with an internal sliding rod within a helical spring 40 which compresses under the tension force from rugll.
In FIG. 2, an aluminum plate 42 is shown which is substantially coextensive with the exposed moving rug surface 11 of FIG. 1. This floating plate 42 is supported at a plurality of transverse positions by means of flat bars 43- which are spring-loaded to support the weight of the plate 42 and the tensioned rug thereabove slightly above the top surfaces of the transverse channels 25. As best seen in FIG. 5, the plate 42 rests on the support bars 43 which are movable up and down in guideways 44 and upwardly urged by a spring 45. The spring 45 bears against a pin 46 which is mounted to the adjacent channel 25 and the top surface of the support plate contacts the plate 42 at a plurality of projections 47. The plate 43 has a downward projection 48 which contacts the actuator 49 of a microswitch 51. With this arrangement the spring force from spring 45 holds the support 43 and the plate 42 in a position such that the projection 48 does not actuate the switch 51 to closed position. Whenever the weight of a user is imposed on the rug surface 11 the support bar 43 is depressed to actuate the switch 51 and this switch actuation may be utilized to deenergize the drive motor 31. Thus although the drive of the rug will ordinarily be geared to be so slow as tobe unobjectionable to a person walking thereon, all sensation of motion can be eliminated by utilizing the switch actuation to stop the motion whenever body weight is present on the rug 11.
FIG. also shows the arrangement of the mechanism for suspension from the outwardly extending flanges of angles 21 in a suitably recessed space beneath tread surface 52 of the adjacent floor. For this purpose a suitably shaped volume 53 is provided with bordering support inserts 54 to which the angles 21 may be bolted when the unit is installed. Before or after the installation the unit may be given a finished trim by the addition of bevelled frame members 12.
Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, the end frame unit for supporting the cleaning and drying mechanisms associated with the device will be described. The cleaning and drying mechanisms are housed in a frame extension which is constructed generally to correspond with the elements of the frame of the rug transport unit. This frame is adapted to be suspended in a recessed opening in the floor from the outwardly extended flanges of a top angle iron assembly 61 which supports from depending member 62 a bottom frame floor 63. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 the right hand edge of the frame supports a series of members which are in close proximity to the rug 11 as it passes over roller 26 and moves downwardly over drive roller 28. With this arrangement the rug transport unit can be independently installed and removed for rug replacement, while at the same time providing an interface between the surface of the rug 11 as it moves downwardly from roller 26 past the appropriate elements for performing the desired cleaning and drying tasks. This is accomplished without additional depth being required beneath the rug transport unit as shown in FIG. 2, thereby simplifying installations where a limited depth recess space is available.
Supported along the right hand edge of the frame as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 is a header 64 containing a plurality of nozzles 65 for dispensing a cleaning fluid directly onto the surface of the rug 11. This cleaning fluid is preferably dispensed as a foam generated from a suitable liquid in a fluid reservoir 66 and an electrically operated foaming pump 67 which is energized simultaneously with the other drive units of the mechanism. Directly above and below the nozzles 65 are squeegee blades 68 which press lightly against the surface of the rug 11 as it moves downward past the foaming nozzles 65, thereby confining the foam and working it into the nap of the rug surface.
Extending across the full width of the rug 11 is a vacuum nozzle 71 having a slot opening 72 which extends to press against the rug 1 1 at a position where it is not supported by either of the rollers 26 or 28. The nozzle 71 is connected by conduit 73 to a vacuum chamber 74 energized by the usual motor 75 and having a suit-able dust filter for entraping entrained dust pulled from the rug 11. In order to assure a good vacuum contact between the slot 72 and the rug 11, the nozzle 71 may be pivot mounted by off-center supports 76 so that the weight of the unit urges the slot 72 into contact with the rug 11.
Journalled in the end plates of the nozzle 71 is a heater brush 77 which is driven by a motor 78 resting on a platform extension 79 supported from the nozzle 71. The weight of the motor 78 further adds to the force urging the slot 72 in contact with the mug 11 and by means of a belt drive 81 rotates the beater brush to sweep and beat the rug surface 11 as it is subject to the vacuum across the slot 72. As previously described the motor 78 may be energized along with the other drive motor mechanism.
To dry the rug after washing or when it becomes wet from the rain or snow absorbed from the feet of the users who pass thereover an electric heater 91 and blower 92 supply heated air to a set of nozzles 93. The nozzles 93 direct hot air onto the rug 11 after it has been cleaned to evaporate the absorbed moisture therefrom.
The electrical energization of the various motors and heater 91 is preferably under the control of a timer 94 which permits rug rotation, vacuum cleaning, foam spraying and heat drying to take place on any desired time schedule. Such time program controllers are well known and the details thereof are not part of the present invention. Each motor and the heater 91 are connected to the timer 94 which may be set to energize the various units simultaneously or in any desired sequence or combination. Thus in winter when the rug at a particular installation may be wet from rain and snow conditions the blower 92 and the heater 91 may be programmed for more frequent operation than is used when only a normal foam wash cycle is required. Similarly in heavy trafiic installations or where severe dirt accumulation exists the vacuum unit 74 may be operated as often as desired. In light duty areas, such as at the entry way of a bank, an
hourly vacuum cycle and a wash cycle once each night will usually be adequate.
It will be apparent that when any cleaning or drying operation is in progress the rug 11 will be running due to the rotary drive of the roller 28. Thus the motor 31will be energized to run with any or all of the various .Other units. In order to permit rug rotation around the roller frame to be stopped when a person steps on the tread surface of rug 11, the motor 31 has a relay control 95 energized through the series circuit which includes normally closed cont-acts in each of the switches 51. Thus whenever a switch 51 is actuated to open its normally closed contacts the relay 95 is deenergized and the motor 31 stops. I
As shown in FIG. 6, the energy supply from the .t imer 94 to the motor 31 and relay 95 is supplied on a line which includes a multicontact cable connector 96 located at the interface between the rug frame unit and the cleaning unit, thus the separate installation and removal of. these units is possible for maintenance, rug replacement,- etc. As shown in FIG. 7, the cleaning unit is covered by a top plate 97 which can be covered with a stationary piece of nug 14 or any other fioor mat or covering.
Referring again to FIG. 2, a modification for applying antiseptic solution to the cleaned rug is showna This feature is particularly desirable in hospital operating rooms where it is desirable to steilize the under surfaces of shoes and the tread surfaces of tires on the wheeled tables as the attendants and patients pass into the operating room. For this purpose a set of three rollers 101, 102 and 103 are journalled in end plates 104 which are attached to the lower edges 24 of the frame. Roller 101 guides the rug downward around the outer surface of roller 102 and through the nip formed between the rollers 102 and 103. As shown the roller 102 can be partially immersed in a pan 105 containing germicidal liquid 106 and the excess liquid squeezed from the rug as it passes through the nip between rollers 102 and 103. For installing the rug 11 one of the end plates 104 can be removed to expose the ends of the rollers 101, 102 and 103 to permit the endless rug to be slid onto the roller path.
Various modifications of the invention will now be apparent from the present teaching and should be considered as within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
1. An entry rug cleaning mechanism for supporting an elongated rug tread surface at a door or entry way and cleaning the rug while it is installed for use comprising:
a first elongated frame supporting a plurality of parallel rollers the surfaces of which extend from said first frame to provide rolling supports for an endless rug which when installed encircles said first frame;
a support plate on said first frame extending between two of said rollers and underlying said tread surface of said rug to support the weight of a person walking thereon;
means for supporting said first frame with said support plate substantially flush with said tread surface and the remainder of said first frame recessed below said tread surface;
tension means associated with said first frame operable to change the peripheral path length for said endless rug encircling said rollers thereby permitting installation and removal of said endless rug by sliding axially along said rollers;
means for driving at least one of said rollers to move said endless rug along said peripheral path over said rollers, said driving means being mounted on said first frame;
a second end frame located generally as an end extension of said first elongated frame; and
vacuum cleaning means mounted on said second end frame for contacting and cleaning said rug as it moves across the end of said first elongated frame beneath said tread surface.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 in which said cleaning means comprises:
a transverse vacuum nozzle supported in said second end frame with an elongated suction opening positioned to contact said rug as said rug moves along the end of said first elongated frame;
vacuum power means coupled to said vacuum nozzle and operable to maintain suction air flow from the surface of said rug into said nozzle as said rug passes in contact with said suction opening; and
in which said driving means includes a motor mounted within said first frame so as to be encircled by said endless rug.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 in which said driven roller has a reduced diameter drive engaging wheel positioned at a point within said rug peripheral path and said driving means includes a driving element mechanically coupling said motor and said reduced diameter drive engaging wheel.
4. An entry rug cleaning mechanism for supporting an elongated rug tread surface at a door or entry way and cleaning the rug while it is installed for use comprising:
an elongated frame supporting a plurality of parallel rollers the surfaces of which extend from said frame to provide rolling supports for an endless rug which when installed encircles said frame;
a support plate on said frame extending between two of said rollers and underlying said tread surface of said rug to support the weight of a person walking there on;
means for supporting said frame with said support plate substantially flush with said tread surface and the remainder of said frame recessed below said tread surface;
tension means associated with said frame operable to change the peripheral path length for said endless rug encircling said rollers thereby permitting installation and removal of said endless rug by sliding axially along said rollers;
means for driving at least one of said rollers to move said endless rug along said peripheral path over said rollers;
an end frame located generally as an end extension of said elongated frame;
a transverse vacuum nozzle supported in said end frame with an elongated suction opening positioned to contact the outer surface of said rug as said rug moves along said peripheral path beneath said tread surface;
vacuum power means coupled to said vacuum nozzle and operable to maintain suction air flow from the surface of said rug into said nozzle as said rug passes h in contact with said suction opening;
a'" driven rotary beater brush positioned within said Vacuum nozzle for agitating the surface of said rug as said rug passes in contact with said suction opening; and
fluid dispensing means in said end frame operable to apply fluid to said rug before said rug passes said suction openmg.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 in which said fluid dispensing means applies a foam cleaner to the surface of said rug and including'a squeegee blade means positioned in said end frame for contacting said rug between said fluid dispensing means and said vacuum nozzle to work said foam into said rug.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5 in which said squ egee blade means includes a blade above and below said fluid dispensing means for confining the dispensed fluid.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6 and including heating means for drying said rug after said rug passes said suction opening.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 and including a program controller adapted for selectively energizing said vacuum power means, the drive means for said rollers and beater brush, said fluid dispensing means and sai heating means.
9. Apparatus according to claim 4 and including a set of rollers mounted on the bottom of said frame, said rollers forming a nip through which said rug passes, and means for passing said rug through a liquid treatment hath before passing through said nip.
10. Apparatus according to claim 1 which further includes switch means adapted to be actuated by the weight of a person walking on said tread surface, said switch means being coupled to said driving means to de- References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,019,769 3/1912 Dalton c g 15-36 2,533,781 12/ 1950 Fallowfield 15-36 3,348,252 10/1967 Lightowler 15--311 FOREIGN PATENTS 54,222 2/ 1948 France.
(Addition to No. 914,435) 575,533 4/1958 Italy.
ROBERT W. MICHELL, Primary Examiner US. or. X.R.
actuate said driving means in response to the weight of a 15 15 3()2, 306, 311; 68 13 person walking on said tread surface.