US 3678948 A
Apparatus for cleaning pipes such as sewer lines and the like in which the cleaning action is effected by jets of water issuing from a self-propelled cleaning tool nozzle assembly. The cleaning tool assembly includes axially spaced forward and rear nozzles from which rearwardly directed jets of water are emitted and a runner or guide structure located between the nozzles and adapted to guide the tool assembly as it is propelled through the pipe. The water jets emitted from the forward nozzle are directed rearwardly at a greater angle relative to the axis of the assembly than the water jets emitted from the rear nozzle.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Hedges 51 July 25, 1972  PIPE CLEANING APPARATUS  App]. No.: 14,316
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,222,330 8/1966 Germany ..134/167 C 1,409,744 10/1968 Germany ..134/167 C 1,020,398 2/1966 Great Britain 134/167 C Primary Examiner-Robert L. Bleutge Attorney-Strauch, Nolan, Neale, Nies & Kurz 57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for cleaning pipes such as sewer lines and the like from the rear nozzle.
6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures  U.S.Cl ..134/167 C,239/D1G. 13  Int. Cl  Field of Search ..134/22 C, 24,166 C, 167 C, 134/168 C, 169 C; 239/D1G. 13
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,587,194 6/1926 Sladden ..134/167 C 3,165,109 l/1965 Hammelmann ..134/167 C 1,803,425 5/1931 Cunningham ..134/24 UX 3,062,227 11/1962 Soderberg ..134/168 C 2,887,] 18 5/1959 Loeffler et a1 ..134/168 C X 27 I 2 i a Patented July 25, 1972 FIG. 2
INYENTOI ROBERT H. HEDGES ATTORN PIPE CLEANING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Generally two methods of cleaning pipes or sewers are now practiced. One method involves essentially mechanical apparatus by which obstructions and debris are mechanically cut away or dislodged from the interior of the pipe, with this debris then being removed from the pipes by mechanical equipment such as material handling conveyor buckets.
The second method and one with which this invention is concerned, involves hydraulic cleaning of sewer lines and normally includes a cleaning tool carried by a flexible hose through which water is pumped at high pressure. The tool is usually a nozzle provided with a forwardly directed jet and one or more rearwardly directed jets, the latter performing the dual function of cleaning and scouring the interior of the sewer line and propelling the nozzle through the line. The flexible hose is usually carried on a power operated reel mounted on a truck or trailer which also carries a high pressure pump, the associated motor or engine, and related controls which constitute a self-contained mobile unit.
This type of hydraulic equipment, which has been known and used on a limited scale for many years, has recently become increasingly popular primarily because of the availability of compact, lightweight and reliable equipment for pumping water to the nozzle at a relatively high pressure and flow rate necessary for effective cleaning action. It is now common, for example, to pump water to the nozzle at a pressure of 1,000 p.s.i. at a rate of about 50 to 75 gallons per minute. While the use of high pressure water at relatively high flow rates has improved cleaning efficiencies, it also materially increases the water requirements of the system. Quite often, the supply of water is carried on a truck mounted tank which, because of its thick bulk and weight, is limited in capacity. For example, a tank capable of holding about 1,200 gallons of water normally provides a sufficient capacity for about minutes of operation after which the cleaning operation must be discontinued and the tank refilled. Frequently, refilling the tank may interrupt the cleaning operation for one-half hour or more, since the cleaning nozzle, hose, and associated equipment must be removed from the sewer line and the truck must be moved, often a considerable distance, to an available water source such as a fire hydrant.
Accordingly, the use of hydraulic sewer cleaning equipment has continued to be restricted despite its efficiency and the relative mechanical simplicity of the equipment because of the high water requirements. Consequently, to make the hydraulic sewer cleaning equipment more acceptable, it is most desirable to utilize the high pressure water to its fullest advantage to gain optimum cleaning capacity and thereby reduce overall water requirements.
One particular area in which the hydraulic cleaning system may be improved is in the design and operation of the cleaning tool. As mentioned above, the cleaning nozzle is usually provided with a forwardly directed jet and one or more rearwardly directed jets, the latter of which perform the dual function of cleaning and scouring the interior of the sewer line and also propelling the nozzle through the line. Because of the dual function required of the single nozzle, the angle at which the water jets are directed rearwardly from the nozzle must be compromised, since for optimum cleaning and scouring efiiciency the angle should be relatively large so that the water jets may impinge on the walls of the sewer line, while for maximum propulsion the angle should be relatively small so that the water jets are directed rearwardly substantially along the axis of the nozzle. For this reason, existing cleaning nozzles require excessive quantities of water, thereby reducing the overall efficiency of the system.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, a primary object of the invention resides in the provision of novel hydraulic pipe cleaning apparatus capable of more efficiently scouring and cleaning a pipe by using high pressure water supplied thereto to its fullest advantage.
Another object resides in the provision of sewer cleaning apparatus including a novel cleaning tool assembly which comprises a pair of spaced axially aligned nozzles and a runner device positioned between the nozzles for guiding longitudinal movement of the cleaning tool in the sewer line. The rear nozzle emits rearwardly substantially axially directed jets of water which produce the primary forward propulsion force for the tool assembly and the forward nozzle emits rearwardly directed water jets which more directly impinge on the scour the walls of the sewer line and effect a hydraulic raking action forcing debris downstream through the line as the cleaning tool assembly is pulled back and removed from the line.
Still another object resides in the provision of a novel cleaning tool assembly as described above particularly useful in high velocity, hydraulic sewer cleaning equipment and including a forward nozzle from which water jets are emitted at an angle of about 35 to the axis of the tool assembly, a rear nozzle from which the water jets are emitted at about a l5 angle, and a plurality' of guide fins axially positioned between the nozzles to function as runners for the tool assembly within the pipe. The water jets emitted from the rear nozzle produce the primary forward propulsion force for propelling the tool assembly upstream in the sewer line, while the water jets from the forward nozzle more directly impinge on and severely scour the walls of the sewer line. In addition, the water jets from the forward nozzle perform the important function of creating a hydraulic raking action which flushes debris in a downstream direction of the line as the tool is pulled back through the line.
These and other objects and advantages will become more apparent from reading the following detailed description of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like parts are indicated by like numerals.
' BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary elevation view of a vehicle mounted sewer cleaning apparatus incorporating the novel cleaning tool assembly of the invention as it is positioned within a sewer line;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal elevation view of the novel tool cleaning assembly of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now more particularly to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a typical mobile sewer cleaning apparatus indicated generally at 10 of the type with which the present invention has particular utility. Such a unit typically includes a water storage tank I2 from which water is delivered by a high pressure pump (not shown) to the flexible hose l4 normally carried on a reel (not shown) positioned in the rear vehicle compartment l6 and reversibly driven by a suitable motor. A pipe cleaning tool assembly 18 is connected to the outer end of flexible hose l4 and is positionable within a sewer line 20 and movable therethrough for cleaning the line.
Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, the novel tool assembly 18 of the invention comprises spaced axially aligned, forward and rear hollow nozzles 22 and 24 having internal chambers 25 and 26, respectively. The nozzles are threadedly connected to a tubular pipe section 27 by which chambers 25 and 26 are fluid communicated, with the rear nozzle 24 suitably threadedly connected to the end of flexible hose 14. A plurality of guide or runner fins 30 are equiangularly spaced and weldedly secured to pipe section 27 and function to provide a runner support for tool assembly 18 as it moves through the pipe.
The forward hollow nozzle 22 has a plurality of equiangularly spaced openings 32 extending through its rear wall 34 at an angle of about 35 to a horizontal line parallel to the axis of tool assembly 18. The forward wall 36 may be provided with an opening 38 if desired.
Rear nozzle 24 is of the same. general construction as nozzle 22 except that its rear wall 40 is provided with a plurality of openings 42 positioned at an angle of approximately l5 to a horizontal line parallel to the axis of the tool assembly. The forward wall of nozzle 24 is, of course, coupled to pipe section 27 and has no forward opening corresponding to opening 38 of front noule 22.
In a typical construction of the cleaning tool assembly, the threaded inlet end of rear nozzle 24 which is connected to hose 14 may be about 1 inch in diameter and the tubular pipe section 27 may be about one-half inch in diameter and 12 inches long.
In operation of the system of the invention, the hose 14 will be lowered into the sewer line 20 and the cleaning tool assembly 18 will be positioned in an upstream direction within line 20. Water at a pressure in the neighborhood of about 1,000 pounds per square inch and a flow rate of approximately 60 gallons per minute will then be delivered through hose 14 into chamber 26 of rear nozzle 24, through pipe section 27 and into chamber 25 of forward nozzle 22. The high pressure water in nozzle 24 will be emitted through openings 42 in rearwardly directed jet streams at an angle of about 15 to the axis of the tool. These low angle water jets produce a thrust which forms the primary propellant force by which the entire tool assembly 18 is propelled in a forward direction upstream through the sewer line 20.
High pressure water is emitted from forward nozzle 22 in the form of rearwardly directed jets issuing from openings 32 at an angle of about 35 to the axis of the tool and these high angle jets more directly impinge upon the walls of line 20 as the cleaning tool is propelled therethrough. If the forward wall of nozzle 22 is provided with an opening 38, an axial, forwardly directed high pressure water jet will be emitted through the opening to loosen and scour any debris within the pipe which may be positioned in the path of the tool.
As the cleaning tool is propelled through the sewer line, the fins 30 engage the walls of the pipe and-act as runners for the tool, with the nozzles 22 and 24 being thereby maintained within the opening of the line.
After the cleaning tool 18 has been propelled the permitted or desired distance upstream through the sewer line, flexible hose 14 will be rewound on its take-up reel and thereby cause the tool to be retracted through the line while flow of the high pressure water is continued. The high angled water jets emitted from openings 32 in forward nozzle 22 will produce a hydraulic raking action against the walls of the sewer line and will flush loosened debris in a downstream flow direction within the sewer line.
it is apparent, therefore, that the cleaning tool assembly 18 of the invention provides a simple but yet very efiective solution to problems associated with prior art nozzle assemblies. The rear nozzle from which high pressure water jets are emitted at a relatively low angle of about 15 enable a maximum forward thrust to be obtained which will reduce the hydraulic propulsion energy requirements for the cleaning tool. At the same time, the forward nozzle from which the high pressure water jets are emitted at a larger angle of about 35 provides a more direct scouring action on the walls of the sewer line and produces a hydraulic raking and flushing action within the line as the tool is pulled back through the line. Consequently, there is no need in the invention to comprise between obtaining a maximum propulsion force and optimum cleaning efficiency as has to be done in the prior art single nozzle systems. The invention permits one to obtain both a high propulsion force generated by the rearwardly directed low angle jets and an optimum cleaning or scrubbing action on the sewer line caused by the relatively high angle high pressure jets emitted from the forward nozzle.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefor to be considered in all respects as illustrative and restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent 1. Apparatus for cleaning a pipe or the like comprising a liquid source, a conduit having one end connected to said source for receiving pressurized liquid therefrom, a selfpropelled cleaning tool adapted to move through said pipe, said cleaning tool comprising a forward cleaning nozzle, and a rearward propelling nozzle connected to the other end of said conduit, a rigid tubular conduit connecting said nozzles and conducting to the cleaning nozzle a portion of the fluid delivered to the propelling nozzle, said cleaning nozzle having means for directing said fluid in a plurality of outwardly and rearwardly flowing cleaning jets against the interior of said pipe, said propelling nozzle having means for directing said fluid in a plurality of propelling jets rearwardly along said pipe, the cleaning jets being directed rearwardly from said cleaning nozzle at a first angle with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit and the propelling jets being directed rearwardly from said propelling nozzle at a second angle with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit, and said first angle being greater than said second angle.
2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, together with a plurality'of radial fins mounted on said tubular conduit providing runners for said tool assembly, as said assembly is propelled through said pipe.
3. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the cleaning jets are emitted from said cleaning nozzle at an angle of about 35 and the propelling jets are directed from said propelling nozzle at an angle of about 15.
4. A self-propelled cleaning tool assembly for cleaning pipes and the like comprising a propelling nozzle adapted to receive a pressurized liquid, a rigid tubular conduit extending forward from said propelling nozzle, a cleaning nozzle carried by the opposite forward end of said tubular conduit, said propelling nozzle having means for directing a portion of the fluid delivered to said propelling nozzle in a plurality of fluid propelling jets extending rearwardly away from said propelling nozzle. the remaining fluid delivered to said propelling nozzle passing through said conduit to said cleaning nozzle, and said cleaning nozzle having means for directing the remaining fluid in a plurality of outwardly and rearwardly flowing cleaning jets adapted to impinge on the interior surfaces of the surrounding pipe, the cleaning jets being directed rearwardly from said cleaning nozzle at a first angle with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit and the propelling jets being directed rearwardly from said propelling nozzle at a second angle with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit, and said first angle being greater than said second angle.
5. A cleaning tool as defined in claim 4, wherein the jets are emitted from said cleaning nozzle at an angle of about 35 with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit and the jets are emitted from the propelling nozzle at an angle of about 15 with respect to the axis of said tubular conduit.
6. A cleaning tool as defined in claim 4 together with a plurality of radial fins carried by said tubular conduit, said radial fins extending radially outwardly therefrom beyond the periphery of said propelling and cleaning nozzles.