US 3594842 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  lnventor Gaylord J. Clark P.0. Box 216, Coloma Township, Berrien County, Mich. 49038  Appl. No. 740,151  Filed June 26, 1968  Patented July 27, 1971  BOOM SUPPORTED BRUSH 6 Claims, 12 Drawing Figs.
52 u.s.c1 15/21  Int. Cl. 860s 3/04 . Field ofSearch 15/D1G. 2, 21.C, 21.0, 21.2, 53, 97,179,183,197 ,198, 320, 21,53,97; 198/173, 181
 References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 3,211,279 10/1965 Smith 198/181 846,003 3/1907 Brantley ..1 15/190 3,208,088 9/1965 Sulzbergeretal. 1s/21(c.o) 3,315,691 4/1967 Widner 15/CCP FOREIGN PATENTS I 1,413,671 8/1965 France l5/CCP 1,185,644 l/l965 Germany lS/CCP Primary Examiner-Edward L. Roberts Attorney- Woodhams, Blanchard and Flynn ABSTRACT: An upright post and attached boom are supported for movement along a path substantially around a zone on ,a surface for supporting a motor vehicle. The post and boom support spray nozzles connected to a source of liquid under pressure and arranged to direct liquid continuously at a vehicle supported in said zone as said post moves along said path. Brush means are mounted upon the post and/or boom and continuously urged against the surfaces of the vehicle toward which the liquid is discharged.
PATENTED Jum :91: 3,594 2 sum 1 or 4 INVENTOR.
G/IVMPD d 614% adw/ 17? PATENTED JUL27 1971 SHEET 2 BF 4 INVENTOR.
BOOM sur onrrzn BRUSH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to an installation for automatically washing a vehicle and, more particularly, to an apparatus having a post and boom from which cleaning liquid is discharged against the vehicle and having brush means for engaging the surfaces of the vehicle wetted by the liquid.
Automatic equipment for washing motor vehicles, and particularly passenger cars, has been improved steadily during recent years so that vehicles can be washed and dried almost completely automatically and, in many instances, just as efficiently as by hand and at no greater cost. Moreover, the cleaning operation can be performed by such equipment in a fraction of the time previously required. Thus, there are many high-speed carwashing operations which are kept busy almost continuously throughout each day. These operations are efficient, effective and profitable, but they depend upon high volume to produce a profit. There are many locations, such as small towns and peripheral suburban areas which cannot support a high volume, carwashing operation. That is, even a high volume, high-speed car wash operation requires some attendants to perform certain types of cleaning, such as within the passenger compartment, and to service the equipment, since substantial periods of nonoperation quickly absorb the profits.
In order to provide some type of mechanical car-cleaning equipment for outlying areas having small populations, attempts have been made to develop semiautomatic, self-service car wash apparatus which, in some instances, is coin operated. While an attendant may be available to give instructions and guard the equipment, for example, the washing operation must, as a rule, be performed either by the equipment or by a combination of the equipment and the operator ofthe vehicle. Frequently, this type of equipment is placed in unheated bays or carports which are readily accessible not only to the vehicles but also to the elements. Accordingly, this type of carcleaning installation has not been entirely satisfactory in cold climates during the late fall, winter and early spring. In fact, this type of equipment has not been suitable for use even in moderate climates where temperatures are normally above freezing during the daytime but sometimes drop below freezing at night. I
Specifically, it has been found that no electrical or other equipment sensitive to a combination of cold and moisture can be used satisfactorily in unheated car wash installations in the northern climates during the winter months. However, it has also been found that performance of the cleaning equipment is unsatisfactory to say the least where no motorized equipment is used on the vehicle.
Attempts have been made to avoid the foregoing problems by placing chemicals in the cleaning liquids, by causing the liquids to be impinged against the outer surface ofthe car with great force and by using large volumes of liquid. This procedure does not materially improve the cleaning performance, because it does not remove much of the road film, and it is costly, wasteful and tends to drive moisture into the passenger compartment.
It is well known that many brushes have been developed for the purpose of removing the road film and other dirt from the surfaces of motor vehicles effectively and quickly. However, insofar as I am aware, no procedure or means has been developed for adapting, inexpensively, existing car wash brushes to a car-cleaning apparatus or system in which the brush is not rotated or otherwise moved by some type of motor-driven device or its equivalent.
While the embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are directed primarily toward an installation for washing passenger vehicles, it will be recognized that the invention can be readily adapted for use, with other types of vehicles, such as trucks.
Accordingly, a primary object of this invention is the provision of a vehicle-washing apparatus and system in which an upright device by which the cleaning liquid is directed at the surface of the vehicle also supports a brush device which engages the wetted surface of the vehicle promptly after the liquid is applied to the vehicle as the upright device moves around the zone in which the vehicle is located during the cleaning operation.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a vehicle-cleaning apparatus, as aforesaid, which operates automatically without guidance or control by an attendant and which operates automatically without guidance or control by an attendant and which can be operated by any person capable of driving the vehicle into the zone around which the cleaning device moves.
A further object of the invention is the invention is the provision of an apparatus, as aforesaid, which is adapted to function efficiently and effectively on automotive vehicles having wide ranges of widths, lengths and heights and which can perform the cleaning function with a minimum of cleaning liquid and with a minimum of force urging the cleaning liquid against the vehicle.
A further object of the invention is the provision of apparatus, as aforesaid, in which the only power-driven components comprise the source of pressure for the liquid discharged against the vehicle and the drive moving the cleaning device around the zone in which the vehicle is located, both of which components can be, or already are, housed in weatherproof compartments spaced from the zone where the carwashing operation is performed.
A further object of the invention is the provision ofa brush device and mounting means therefor whereby car wash brushes can be adapted for use with existing equipment for discharging liquid against the vehicle.
A further object of the invention is the provision of apparatus, as aforesaid, which can be operated in cold climates in unheated, semiopen enclosures without exposing the equipment to damage from freezing.
Other objects and purposes of this invention will become apparent to persons familiar with equipment of this type upon reading the following descriptive material and examining the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. I is a top plan view of a car wash installation embodying the invention.
FIG. 2' is a front end elevational view of said installation.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line IIII II in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to that appearing in FIG. 3 with the brushin a different position of operation.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line V-V in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view similar to that appearing in FIG. 3 and illustrating a modified brush construction.
FIG. 7 is a fragment of FIG. 3 illustrating another modified brush construction.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along the line VIII-VIII in FIG. 1 and illustrating a further modification of the brush construction.
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the line IX-IX in FIG. 8.
FIG, 10 illustrates a modified support for the brush.
FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment of the invention including brushes for engaging both the top and sides of the vehicle.
FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along the line XIII-XIII in FIG. II.
For convenience in description, the terms upper, lower," left, right," front," rear" and words of similar import will have reference to the apparatus as appearing in FIG. 2 which discloses the front end of a vehicle in the cleaning zone. The terms inner," "outer and derivatives thereof will have reference to the geometric center of the cleaning apparatus and parts associated therewith.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The apparatus embodying the invention includes an upright cleaning frame supporting a plurality of nozzles connected to a source of pressurized cleaning liquid and arranged -to discharge said liquid against the outer surfaces, such as the top and sides, of a vehicle which is located in a cleaning zone. The upright cleaning frame is arranged for movement around the vehicle in the cleaning zone, and brush means is mounted upon the frame for engaging the top and/or sides of the vehicle, preferably in regions where the cleaning liquid has just been applied. The brushes are supported upon the frame so that they are yieldably urged into positions of engagement and, therefore, are automatically adapted for use on vehicles of varying sizes and shapes without intervening adjustment.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The vehicle-washing apparatus (FIGS. 1 and 2), which embodies the present invention, is normally installed in a bay, carport or an enclosed building having a floor 1 1. The vehiclewashing apparatus includes an upright frame which is moved along a predetermined, endless path around a zone 2 on the floor 11 in which the vehicle 12 is located for washing by the apparatus. The floor 11 (FIG. 8) has an elongated, endless recess 13 which defines the endless path followed by the upright frame 10. The slot 32 at the top of the endless recess 13 is formed by the adjacent edges of a pair of guide plates 16 and 17 for purposes hereinafter described.
The vehicle-washing apparatus includes, in addition to the frame 10, a drive mechanism 18 (FIGS. 2 and 8) and a brush assembly 23. The upright frame 10 is comprised of a carriage 19, a post 21 and a horizontal boom 22.
The drive mechanism 18 (FIG. 8) includes an endless chain 26 which is disposed in the recess 13 and guided therealong by sprockets, such as the sprocket 25. The drive mechanism 18 also includes a rigid rod 27 which extends through the slot 32 between the plates 16 and 17 and is attached to the endless chain 26 and the carriage 19 thereby providing driving engagement between the chain 26 and the carriage 19. The connecting rod 27 supports a pair of rollers 28 and 29 which engage the lower surfaces of the guide plates 16 and 17. The sprocket 25, which is located in an opening 32 adjacent the recess 13, is connected to power means (not shown) and drivingly engages the endless chain 26 for moving the carriage l9.
The carriage 19 is supported on the floor 1 1 by a plurality of rollers 33 for movement along the path defined by the endless recess 13. Stability of the carriage 19 is provided by the engagement of the rollers 33 with the supporting surface 11 and engagement of rollers 28 and 29 with the lower surface of the guide plates 16 and 17, respectively.
The post 21, which is supported on the carriage 19, and the horizontal boom 22, which is secured to the upper end of the post 21, are hollow and communicate with each other at their adjacent ends. A hose 36 connects the boom 22 to a source 31 of washing liquid, such as water or a solution of water and cleaning materials. The source 31 is preferably located above the center of the zone Z and is controlled by valve 35. The post 21 and the horizontal boom 22 have a plurality of spaced spray nozzles 37 through which the cleaning fluid is directed onto the outer surface of the vehicle 12. The post 21 and the boom 22 are preferably made of lightweight metal through which the liquid flows to the nozzles 37 The brush assembly 23 is supported upon post 21 and is comprised of a brush 40, the support bracket 41 connected to the brush, support bars 42 on the post 21, hinges 43 and a spring 44.
The U-shaped support bars 42 are welded, for example, to the post 21 and there are two in this instance. The bars 42 extend away from the direction of movement of the post 21 and are connected to the bracket 41 by the hinges 43. Thus, since the nozzles 37 are directed either perpendicularly against the sides of the vehicle or slightly ahead in said direction of movement, the brush 40 will not interfere with the liquid discharged from the nozzles 37.
The spring 44 is connected between the part of the bar 42 attached to the post 21 and the support bracket 41 for urging the brush 41 in a direction toward the center of the zone Z.
The construction of brush 40 may be substantially as disclosed in my copending patent application, Ser. No. 711,614. Specifically, brush 40 (FIG. 5) includes a pair of circular end members 51 and 52 having annular flanges 53 and 54, respectively, extending toward each other. The brush 40 has a plurality of slats 56, 57, 58 and 59 which extend between and are secured to the end members 51 and 52 by bolts 62. One or more circular intermediate members 60 may be provided between the end members 51 and 52 to brace the slats 56- 59. The slats 56- 59 may be identical and therefore only slat 56 will be described in detail.
The slat 56 (FIG. 4) has an H-shaped cross section with an inner flange 63 having a plurality of small openings 64 spaced therealong. An outer flange 65 is connected to flange 63 and has a plurality of large openings 67 spaced therealong and preferably aligned axially with the relatively smaller openings 64. Plural clusters of bristles 68 extend through each of the openings 67 and are held securely against the inner flange 63 of slot 56 by a cord or wire 69 which extends'through the openings 64. The bristles 68 in each cluster are preferably of two types, namely, short bristles 72 which are relatively stiff and long bristles 73 which are more flexible. The short bristles 72 provide support for the longer bristles 73, which engage the vehicle. However, it will be recognized that other bristle arrangements can be used.
The support bracket 41 (FIG. 5) has an upper arm 76 secured to the end member 51, a lower arm 78 secured to the lower end member 52, and an intermediate arm 77 attached to the intermediate member 60. The circular members 51, 52 and 60 may be secured to the arms 76, 77, and 78 by welding or bolts.
OPERATION Although the operation of the apparatus embodying the invention will be apparent to skilled persons from the foregoing description, a summary thereof will now be set forth.
The vehicle 12 is first driven into position as shown in FIG. 1 after which the power-driven components of the vehiclewashing apparatus is made operative, as by closing the necessary electrical switches and opening appropriate valves (not shown). This could be accomplished in a conventional manner by an attendant or by depositing a coin in a switch box. The cleaning liquid is urged from hose 36 into the horizontal boom 22 and the post 21 and then forced outwardly as a spray through nozzles 37 which are directed at the vehicle 12. The sprocket 31, driven by conventional power means (not shown), drives the endless chain 26, thereby causing the carriage 19, post 21, boom 22 and brush assembly 23 to move along the predetermined path around the vehicle 12. During such movement, the vehicle will first be engaged by the cleaning liquid following which the bristles 68 of the brush will be dragged across the wetted surfaces on the vehicle.
The spring 44 continuously urges the brush 40 into engagement with the vehicle 12, thereby causing the bristles 68 to loosen the dirt on the vehicle which is thereafter removed by the liquid when the carriage makes its second trip around the vehicle. The brush 40 is spaced behind the post 21, in the direction of post movement so that it does not obstruct the spray from the nozzles 37. The brush 40 also serves to remove excess liquid from the vehicle surfaces.
ALTERNATE CONSTRUCTION with the suffix A added thereto. The alternate brush assembly 81, which may be mounted on a post 21A, identical to the post 21, includes a brush 82 which is rotatably mounted upon, and between, upper and lower support arms, the upper arm appearing at 83. The upper arm 83 is connected to the upper end member 86 by a bearing 84 and similar structure is provided at the lower end of the brush so that it can rotate around a vertical axis. The upper arm 83, as well as the lower arm, is part of a bracket 85 which is mounted upon support bars, such as bar 42A, by hinges 43A. The support bar 85 is mounted upon the post 21 as by welding. The spring 44A extends between the bar 42A and the bracket 85, and urges the brush 82 inwardly against the vehicle 12 being washed.
The upper end member 86 has a plurality of rotor blades 88 mounted thereon. A hose 89 communicates with, and extends from, post 21 for directing a stream of liquid against the rotor blades 88 for rotatably driving the brush 82. The direction of rotation is preferably such that it will take advantage of the rolling engagement between the brush and the vehicle.
The operation of the alternate brush assembly 81 is substantially identical to the operation above described for the brush 40. However, the alternate brush assembly 81 rotates with respect to the surface of the vehicle 12 being washed thereby providing increased agitation, but without using electrical apparatus which can become inoperative in cold weather.
The brush assembly 23 and the alternate brush assembly 81 may, if desired, be provided with resilient bumpers 92 and 93, respectively (FIGS. 7 and 6). The bumpers 92 are mounted upon the slats 56-59 of brush assembly 23 between the rows of bristles. The bumpers 93 on the alternate brush assembly 81 (FIG. 6) are mounted upon the end members between the slats 90. The bumpers 92 and 93 are arranged and constructed to prevent contact of the slats 56-59 or slats 90 with the vehicle 12.
The brush assembly 23, which provides a single brush 40 for washing the entire side of the vehicle, may be replaced with the brush assembly 95 (FIG. 8) which is comprised of a plurality of brushes which are independently urged toward the vehicle. The brushes 96-99 may be identical and therefore only brush 97 will be described herein.
The brush 97 may be substantially identical to brush 40, but of shorter axial length. The brush 97 is attached to a support bracket 102 which is pivotally mounted on the support bar 101 by the hinge 103. The support bracket 102 (FIG. 9) is urged toward the vehicle 12 by the coil spring 104 which overlies the hinge 103.
The operation of brush assembly 95 is substantially identical to the above-described operation of the brush assembly 23. However, the brushes 9699 are independently mounted so that the brush assembly 95 will conform more closely to the contour of the side of the vehicle 12.
The alternate brush assembly 108 (FIG. is comprised of a brush 109 that may be identical to the brush 41. However, the support bars 110 and 111, and the support bracket 112 are arranged and constructed so that the common axis of the hinges 113 and 114 diverges upwardly with respect to the post 116 in a direction toward the vehicle 12. Thus, the brush 109 is urged into a position of engagement with the vehicle by gravitational force, thus eliminating the need for any spring means.
The alternate vehicle-washing apparatus 120 (FIG. 11) may be similar to the vehicle-washing apparatus 10, however, it includes a brush assembly 121 mounted upon the horizontal boom 22A for engaging the top of the vehicle. A pair of support arms 122 are secured to the boom 22 by clamps 123 and extend upstream of the boom movement. Each support arm 122 has a cylindrical portion 124 at its extended end which pivotally engages a cylindrical member 125 attached by a rod 126 to the bristle-supporting bar 127 of the brush 128. The
I bar 127 may be similar to the slat 56 and supports plural clusters of bristles 130 which extend downwardly to engage the top of the vehicle as the washing apparatus 120 moves around the vehicle.
Although particular preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed above in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of such disclosures, which lie within the scope of the appended claims, are fully contemplated.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An apparatus for washing an automotive vehicle located in a washing zone on a supporting member having an upper supporting surface, comprising:
guide means disposed near said surface and forming a loop around a substantial portion ofsaid washing zone;
frame means movable along saidguide means and having a first portion extending upwardly from said support surface and a second portion connected to said first portion adjacent the upper end thereof and extending inwardly over a portion of said washing zone, said first portion of said frame means consisting of an upright hollow pipe, said second portion of said frame means consisting of a substantially horizontal hollow pipe having one end thereof fixedly connected to the upper end of said upright hollow pipe, said upright and horizontal pipes being in communication with one another for providing a flow path for a cleaning liquid;
drive means for effecting movement of said frame means along said guide means;
source means for supplying the cleaning liquid under pressure; first spray nozzle means mounted on the upright hollow pipe of said frame means and connected to said source means for discharging said cleaning liquid directly against the side surfaces ofa vehicle located in said washing zone;
second spray nozzle means mounted on the horizontal pipe of said frame means and connected to said source means for discharging said cleaning liquid directly against the upper surfaces of the vehicle located in the washing zone;
said frame means including carriage means fixedly secured to said upright pipe at the lower end thereof, said carriage means adapted to be supported on said support surface so that said frame means is supported and guided solely at the lower end ofsaid upright pipe;
brush means mounted on said frame means and disposed for engagement with the wetted side surfaces of the vehicle immediately behind the portions thereof contacted by the discharged liquid as said frame means moves along said guide means; and
means mounting said brush means on said upright hollow pipe for pivotal movement about a substantially upright axis into and out of a position of engagement with said vehicle, said upright axis being laterally offset from said upright hollow pipe to locate said brush means laterally offset from said discharging cleaning liquid, said mounting means causing said brush means to be yieldably urged toward said washing zone for causing said brush means to engage the vehicle located within said washing zone.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said upright and horizontal pipes respectively having said first and second nozzle means formed therein and directed inwardly and downwardly, respectively, toward said washing zone.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2, further including second brush means pivotally mounted on said frame means above said zone for movement around a substantially horizontal axis for engagement with the top surface of said vehicle; and
wherein said source means of cleaning liquid is connected to one of said pipes, and said source means includes valve means adapted to control the flow of liquid into said pipe.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said mounting means comprises bracket means secured to said upright pipe and extending laterally outwardly therefrom and having means defining said upright axis located adjacent the outer free end ofsaid bracket means.
5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said bracket means includes a bracket member secured to said upright pipe and a lever member pivotally interconnected adjacent one end thereof to said bracket member, said brush means being stationarily secured to said lever member adjacent the other end thereof.
6. An apparatus for washing an automotive vehicle located in a washing zone on a supporting member having an upper supporting surface, comprising:
guide means disposed near said supporting surface and extending around a substantial portion ofsaid washing zone;
frame means extending upwardly from said supporting surface and movable along said guide means, said frame means having a first portion extending upwardly from said supporting surface and a second portion fixedly secured to said first portion and extending inwardly over a portion of said washing zone, said second portion being spaced upwardly a substantial distance from said supporting surface for enabling a vehicle to be positioned thereunder;
drive means for causing movement of said frame means along said guide means;
source means for supplying cleaning liquid under pressure;
spray nozzle means in communication with said source means and mounted on the first and second portions of said frame means for discharging said cleaning liquid directly against the side and top surfaces of a vehicle located in said washing zone;
first brush means movably mounted on said frame means and disposed for engagement with the wetted side sur faces of the vehicle immediately behind the portions thereof contacted by the discharged liquid as said frame means moves along said guide means;
first means mounting said first brush means on said frame means for pivotal movement about a substantially upright axis into and out of a position of engagement with said vehicle, said first mounting means causing said first brush means to be yieldably urged toward said zone for causing said first brush means to engage the side surfaces of the vehicle located within said washing zone;
second brush means movably mounted upon said frame means for engagement with the wetted top surfaces of the vehicle immediately behind the portions thereof engaged by the discharged liquid as said frame means moves along said guide means;
second means mounting said second brush means on said frame means for pivotal movement about a substantially horizontal axis toward and away from a position of engagement with said vehicle, said second mounting means causing said second brush means to be yieldably urged toward said zone for causing said second brush means to engage the top surfaces of the vehicle located within said zone; and
said first and second brush means each including a bristle support means and a plurality of bristles secured to and extending from said bristle support means for engagement with the vehicle surfaces.