US 3705437 A
A cleaning device having a cleaning head for working over a surface to be cleaned. The head forms an elongated suction channel which is connected to a vacuum system. A high pressure liquid line is connected to a nozzle which directs a patterned jet of liquid to the cleaning surface through the suction channel. A shield assembly separates the liquid jet from the suction channel and is adjustable to correspond to the desired liquid jet pattern. The vacuum line and liquid line are removably attached to an outlet which connects the liquid line to a pumping station where cleaning and rinsing liquid are selectively supplied to the line in response to electrical signals from a set of dead man switches on the cleaning device, while the vacuum system is controlled by an on-off switch at the outlet.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Rukavina, Jr. et al.
[451 Dec. 12, 1972  COMBINATION HIGH PRESSURE WASHER AND VACUUM  Assignee: Cleaning Systems Industries, Inc.,
22 Filed: Aug. 17,1970
211 App]. No.: 64,314
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 381,256 l/1908 France ..l5/302 892,658 3/1962 GreatBritain ..l5/322 Primary Examiner-Walter A. Scheel Assistant Examiner-C. K. Moore Attorney-Andrus, Sceales, Starke & Sawall [5 7 ABSTRACT A cleaning device having a cleaning head for working over a surface to be cleaned. The head forms an elongated suctionchannel which is connected to a vacuum system; A high pressure liquid line is connected to a nozzle which directs a patterned jet of liquid to the cleaning surface through the suction channel. A shield assembly separates the liquid jet from the suction channel and is adjustable to correspond to the desired liquid jet pattern. The vacuum line and liquid line are removably attached to an outlet which connects the liquid line to a pumping station where cleaning and rinsing liquid are selectively supplied to the line in response to electrical signals from a set of dead man switches on the cleaning device, while the vacuum system is controlled by an on-off switch at the outlet.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures SHEET 1 0F 2 PATENTEU DEC 12 I972 INVENTORS LOUIS RUKAVINA JR. ROBERT L BROWER DANIEL J. LANE 7 ,7 -7 ,4n, 4; a, Attorneys PATENTEDflEc 12 I972 34705.43?
SHEET 2 BF 2 INVENTORS LOUIS RUKAVINA JR. ROBERT L. BROWER BY DANIEL J. LANE FIG-6 xwzmw Attorneys COMBINATION, men PRESSURE WASHER AND vacuum BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION otherareas; where the liquid can be quickly drained away, but the volume of liquid required generally precludes use of technique indoors, as standing liquid,
particularly dirty water, can be highly objectionable.
It has been proposed-to use-liquid jets for cleaning, and to follow the cleaning process with a vacuum pickup system for removalof-the liquid. This system is not acceptable for most .indoor applications, since j it develops considerable quantities of accumulated liquid. Further, this technique required at least two operations to complete the cleaning, and either one person cleaned only a small area at one time so that he could dispose of the liquid which quickly accumulated or a second person with a vacuum device followed the first person operating the high pressure washer. In view of this, such operations were both time consuming and generally ineffective for indoor applications.
It has also been proposed to combine a vacuum device with high pressure liquid cleaner, but because of 3 5 difficulties in combining the systems, it has been found that liquid would still accumulate unless the pressure and volume were lessened. This disturbs the main advantage of high pressure liquid cleaning, namely, the high pressure which enables effective soil removal without scrubbing. Further difficulties have been experienced in. that by combining the systems, the cleaning pattern of the liquid jet has been impaired. The vacuum tends to distort the jet pattern, especially when the pressure is low, and thereby lessens the effective.- ness of the characteristic high pressure jet action. Thus, combined high pressure cleaning andvacuum systems for indoor use have not been satisfactorily developed by the prior art.
Other problems are, in general, that the prior systems have been inconvenient to use, difficult to handle and control and have not been adaptable for regular use in large, commercial establishments.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION against a surface to be cleaned and the vacuum system outdoors. A liquid jet can be employed which is of the pattern which best suits the application, and the liquid pressure and volume can be adjusted to suit. The vacuum does not adversely affect the desired shape of the liquid jet or stream, but continuously picks up spent liquid and dirt from the surface so that the liquid jet can continuously penetrate to sublayers of dirt with fresh liquid. v
The primary advantages of the invention are provided by a novel cleaning head construction, which combines a suction channel for vacuuming the cleaning liquid from the surface being cleaned, with a nozzle and shieldassembly. that confines a desired pattern of the liquid stream to the surface to be cleaned. The suction channel envelopes the nozzle and shield assembly, so that the high pressure liquid stream is'separated from the suction channel to impinge on the surface in the desired pattern and to :be immediately drawn up through the suction channel.
The head includes a-removable foot ring about its bottom perimeter for purposes of confining the liquid between the open end of the head and the surface to be cleaned. Various foot ring designsare adapted for use with different surfaces and permit air entry beneath the head while restricting the escape of the spent liquid. The various designs serve to control the air entering the suction channel in relation to the pressure and volume of liquid for any particular application. Thus, with high pressure jets of any desired pattern and with various foots to fit the head to any cleaning surface, pressure washing may be utilized on many surfaces including walls, ceilings, and carpets as well as floors and other substantially flat objects.
Shield assemblies of various shapes are adjustable within the suction channel in order to correspond to the desired cleaning pattern and to keep the proper relation between the combined systems so that the cleaning liquid is confined within the head. The invention thus is able to provide a liquid jet pattern without distortion by selection of the baffle which fits the jet pattern and by adjustment of the baffle assembly in relation to the suction channel.
The overall system of the invention includes a portable cleaning accessory supporting the head and foot, a vacuum line connected to the suction channel of the cleaning head, a high pressure liquid line connected to the nozzle in the head, and electrical connections connected to selector controls for supplying cleaning liquid or rinse liquid through the liquid line to the nozzle. The liquid and vacuum lines are removably connected to a multi-socket outlet which, in turn, connects each line to a pumping station, which may be in a remote room or on a movable dolly or truck as desired.
Further versatility is provided by the structure of the accessory device in which the head may be disconnectedfrom a handle which carries the vacuum and high pressure lines. Various shapes of heads and handles may thus be connected for use.
The controls for the invention are designed to avoid the accumulation of spent liquid which could result if the vacuum system was shut down before the washer was turned off. An on-off switch for the vacuum system is disposed at the outlet box, while dead man selector switches are provided on the accessory cleaning device as on the handle. The operator must depress a selector mama switch to obtain either cleaning liquid or rinse liquid. When the selector switches are released, the supply of liquid is cut off. To turn the vacuum off, the operator must operate the on-off switch at the outlet box. This prevents confusion for there is no vacuum operating switch on the portable accessory device itself.
The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated by the inventors for carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side diagrammatic view of the system of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an outlet box;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the cleaning head and handle;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the head, parts being in section;
FIG. 5 is a front elevation of the head; and
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the head.
DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a portable cleaning accessory 1 including an elongated hollow handle 2 and a pressure washer and vacuum head 3. A high pressure liquid line 4 is connected to the head 3, and a vacuum system is connected to the head through the hollow handle 2. The vacuum and pressure washer systems of the portable accessory I are releasably connected to a wall outlet 5 by a vacuum hose 6 and a high pressure liquid hose 7 respectively. Hoses 6 and 7 are flexible to permit operation of the device 1 in the manner of manual portable washer devices.
Connected through outlet box 5 to hoses 6 and 7, respectively, are a permanent high pressure liquid line 8 and a permanent vacuum line 9. Lines 8 and 9 are shown in this example to extend along the wall of the building and through the floor to a pumping station 10, which may be stationary or movable and disposed anywhere, such as in a basement. Lines 8 and 9 are connected to the various pumping and cleaning supply equipment comprising the pumping station.
Thus, portable cleaning accessory 1 may be connected to or disconnected from pumping station 10 by coupling or uncoupling hoses 6 and 7 from outlet box 5, as described in more detail later.
Pumping station 10 has a water pressure pump 11 which is connected to a hot and cold water supply, not shown, by water supply conduit 12 and is connected to a cleaning solution tank 13 by a conduit 14. Tank 13 is used for storing a cleaning solution. For this purpose, concentrated cleaning liquid is stored in a supply container 15 and is drawn through a tube 16 to tank 13 by operation of the pump 11. Water is mixed with the concentrate by a mixer valve 17 to which tube 16 is connected. Also connected to valve 17 is a water line 18 for supplying water to mix with the concentrate at valve 17. The mixture enters tank 13 through a pipe 19 from valve 17. The operation of such mixer valves is well known, and generally serves to draw a portion of the concentrate from container 15 to the valve where it mixes with a controlled amount of water, and discharges into tank 13.
Tank outlet 14, extending into tank 13, is connected to pump 11 through a control valve assembly 20, which is disposed at the inlet of pump 11. Valve 20 is operated to selectively supply cleaning solution or rinse water to the pump, and for this purpose, water supply conduit 12 is also connected through valve 20. The valve assembly 20 has a suitable, well known, solenoid valve structure which may selectively open and close the pump inlet to conduits l2 and 14 in response to an electrical signal. Power for the pump motor is supplied in a conventional manner and is illustrated as connecting through a second power circuit for the vacuum system which is described later.
The solenoid valves in valve assembly 20 are controlled by selector switches on handle 2, including a rinse water selector switch 21 and a cleaning liquid selector switch 22. Electrical connection to the control valve assembly 20 is established by a plug-in control cable 23 which connectsswitches 21 and 22 to terminals in outlet box 5. At outlet box 5, cable 23 is electrically connected through a standard plug-in connection to cable 24 which leads through the wall to junction box 25 at the pump station 10 and ultimately to the solenoid valves of valve assembly 20 and to pump 11, so that each selector switch 21 and 22 is connected in an electrical circuit with the pump 11 and with the corresponding solenoid valve in valve assembly 20.
Switches 21 and 22 may be spring loaded button switches or other spring loaded switches, which are normally open, and are depressed to close the contacts to operate pump 11 and open the corresponding valves in valve assembly 20 to supply either rinse water or cleaning liquid to the pump. Thus, the selector switches serve as dead man switches and will automatically open their respective circuits when the buttons are released. Opening the circuits, in turn, closes the valves in valve assembly 20 to shut off both-liquid supplies and stop the pump.
Thus, the operator depresses one of switches 21 or 22 and obtains a high pressure jet of either cleaning solution or rinse water. It is contemplated that only one switch would be closed at one time and when both switches are released, all circuits are open to tenninate the flow of high pressure water.
In the invention, the vacuum system is operated simultaneously with the pressure washer system. From handle 2, vacuum hose 6 is connected by line 9 to a vacuum apparatus 26 at pumping station 10. There, vacuum line 9 is coupled by a suitable connector to an inlet of wet vacuum pump 27, which draws water from line 9 and discharges it through an outlet into a vacuum tank 28. Tank 28 collects the dirty water and drains it through a drain hose 29 that leads to a suitable drain, not shown.
In the arrangement of the vacuum apparatus 26 illustrated in FIG. 1, vacuum pump 27 is supported by tank 28 and has a pump motor 30 which drives a centrifugal impeller assembly 31. Pump motor 30 is energized through a lead 32 which connects control box 33 to the motor 30. Control box 33 has conventional switching equipment which closes contacts in order to provide current through lead 32 from a suitable power source. Also, pump 11 may be connected through box 33 to be energized from the same power source.
The switch in box 33 for controlling vacuum pump 27 is in turn, operated by a manual on-off switch 35 in wall outlet box 5. Switch 35 is electrically connected to control 33 by a lead 36 and serves to operate vacuum "mam pump 27 or stop the pump in accordance with the setting of switch 35. Thus, to start or stop the vacuum system, the operator must go to outlet box 5' to throw switch 35, generally requiring the operator to release selector switches 21 and 22, thereby shutting down the pressure washer system before the vacuum system is turned off.
Referring now to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, outlet 5 is advantageously constructed to contain .a conventional male connector 37 for connecting vacuum line 9 tov vacuum hose 6, which has'a complementary female coupling 38 at its end. Similarly, permanent high pressure line 8 is provided with a threaded coupling 39, and hose 7 has a complementary threaded coupling sleeve 40 toengage the coupling 39. Also in outlet box 5 is a junction box 41 which includes a socket 42 forreceiving a plug 43 on the end of control cable 23 Through socket 42, cable23 is releasably connected to cable 24. Also disposed on junction box 41 is an on-off switch 35, described above. I
Outlet box 5 contains the various system connections, which connect to the pumping station whether the station is stationary or on a movable dolly. Box 5 is formed of an open-faced casing 44 which is secured to the wall. Casing 44 has a hinged door 45 for fitting over the open face, and the door is locked bya snap lock 46 which snaps behind the outer face wall of the casing. To close vacuum receptacle 37 when hose 6 is disconnected, door 45 has a plug 47 on its inside surface. Plug 47 is positioned to swing with door 45 and meet receptacle 37, and is circularly. shaped to fitover the open end of the receptacle. Plug 47 has an annular seal ring 48 which seals the vacuum opening when door 45 is snapped shut. Thus, by merely closing door 45, the vacuum in tank 28 is maintained after vacuum hose 6 is disconnected.
In the invention, the pressure washer and vacuum systems are combined in portabledevice 1 for simultaneous operation over a cleaning surface. Pressure washer and vacuum head 3, as shown best in FIGS. 3-6, is therefore constructed to make this combined operation possible, providing the desired cleaning pattern, yet confining the water to the head and the area of the cleaning surface at the head. I
l-lollow handle 2 has a hand gripping end which curves into the body of the handle. At the other end, handle 2 is curved oppositely from the gripping end and is provided with a threaded coupling 49 which is received by a threaded opening 50 in the neck 51 of head 3. Head 3 may thus be removed from handle 2 and replaced. The high pressure liquid connection is also releasably coupled to the head, with the end of line 4 having a coupling 52, which is threaded and engaged with the end of a nozzle 53 on the top of neck 51. By this means, the high pressure liquid system can also be disconnected from head 3 for removal of the head.
The vacuum system operates through handle 2 and neck 51 to suction dirty water from a cleaning surface through a suction channel 54formed by the flared walls 55 of head 3. From neck 51, walls 55 flare out to provide the head with an elongated, rectangular cross section and a flange on wall 56 extends around the periphery of the outer end of walls 55, thus defining an effective venturi in the suction channel and defining a rectangular opening forsuction channel 54 at the bottom of head 3.
In order that the liquid stream is confined within head 3, the head has a removable foot ring 57 that has varied constructions in accordance with the particular application. For the head shown, foot 57 has a rectangular configuration, somewhat larger in area than the bottom of the head, and has a resilient peripheral member 58 formed of bristles, felt, rubber, plastic or the like. Foot 57 and member 58 are open from top to bottom, thus defining a continuance-of suction channel 54 by means of a top wall 59 attached to flange 56 as by bolts or the like, and two longitudinal flanges 60 extending downward from the top wall. Member 58 is secured within foot ring 57 by set screws 61 which extend through openingsin flanges 60. Designed in this example for flat, hard surfaces, member 58 provides a flexible bottom edge for the suction channel around the bottom periphery of head 3, permitting the head to fit the contour of cleaning surfaces which are not entirely flat; The suction of the vacuum system will draw air from beneath the edges of the brush, while the dirty liquid from the pressure washer is confined within the brush by the pressure difference between the ambient and the suction channel. In operation, the airy flow beneath the foot sweeps spent liquid from the surface and carries the liquid with the volume of air as it is sucked through channel 54. With the proper relation between the vacuum system and high pressure system, this assures that the cleaning liquid is picked up immediately after impinging upon the surface, so that fresh liquid is continuously impinging directly to the surface.
The pressure washer system also is confined within head 3 and includes a jet spray nozzle 62 at the inside end of nozzle head 53 which extends into vacuum head 3 at neck 51. Nozzle 62 may be of a conventional variety with discharge opening designed to accomplish the desired spray pattern. The nozzle shown has an elongated discharge opening which establishes a high pressure water stream or jet in the form of a thin sheet. The jet is directed through chamber 54 and spreads out lengthwise within the chamber, to spray at the cleaning surface generally across the lengthwise center line of the open bottom of the head. g
In accordance with the invention, the stream of high pressure water is separated from vacuum channel 54 except at the outlet or bottom of the head 3. For this purpose, a shield assembly 63 is mounted within the vacuum head and is attached as by snapping on to the end of discharge nozzle 62. Shield 63 is, for the example shown, a flattened funnel shaped to correspond to this particular jet spray pattern, with two generally triangular walls 64 extending lengthwise of head 3. End walls 65 and top wall 66 complete the shield structure, leaving a spray channel between walls 64, and providing an elongated, open bottom through which the high pressure jet is discharged. Top wall 66 has a suitable opening for fitting over nozzle 62. This connection also helps to support the shield on the nozzle in amanner permitting pivotal movement.
The open end of shield assembly 63 is spaced above the outermost edge of foot 57, but preferably extends beyond the opening in the top wall 59. Additionally, end walls 65 are spaced from the walls 55, so that the suction channel 54 generally surrounds shield assembly 63. The spray jet is therefore separated from the vacuum system except at the bottom or outlet end of head 3. With this structure, the spray pattern will not be appreciably altered by action of the vacuum systems. No water accumulates beneath the open end of shield 63, since suction channel 54 surrounds the shield. The jet of high pressure liquid will impinge on the cleaning surface and be completely and immediately removed by the vacuum system. Further, as the desired pattern of the jet is protected by shield 63, the cleaning action can be accomplished with a lesser volume of liquid, to further, assist the complete vacuuming of the spent cleaning liquid.
To hold and adjust the position of shield 63 within channel 54, a series of adjusting screws 67 and 68 extend through suitable holes in wall 55 and engage the shield 63 at suitable recesses. By threading down screw 68 and loosening screws 67, or vice versa, the shield assembly can be removed from or shifted within the head. The connection of nozzle 62 to shield 63 permits easy removal and has sufficient swivel action to allow changing the angle. Shield walls 64 are constructed of a relatively hard, but flexible, plastic or metal, so that when both screws 67 and 68 are tightened down, the shield spray channel is narrowed.
Thus, shield assembly 63 may be adjustable or replaceable to correspond to a variety of spray angles or patterns in accordance with specific requirements of the cleaning application.
OVERALL OPERATION When the system is assembled, with head 3 attached to handle 2, liquid line 4 connected to nozzle head 53, and with hoses 6 and 7 and control cable 23 plugged into outlet box 5, the operator starts the cleaning operation by throwing switch 35 to the on position. This starts vacuum pump 27 so that the vacuum system is continuously operating.
Portable cleaning accessory I is then operated as in usual vacuuming operations, placing the open end of head 3 against the surface to be cleaned, the weight of the accessory being sufficient to hold foot 57 to the surface. Selector switch 22 on handle 2 is depressed to start pressure pump 11 and open valve 20 to draw cleaning liquid from tank 13. Pump 11 discharges a high pressure stream of the liquid through nozzle 62, and shield 63 to the surface being cleaned.
Simultaneously, the spent cleaning liquid is drawn from the cleaning surface by the sweep of air from around the edges of foot 57 through channel 54 and hoses 6 and 9 to vacuum tank 28. From this tank, the dirty water will drain or be pumped out by a sump pump, not shown, and only fresh liquid is ever used for the cleaning operation.
The device 1 is worked back and forth, keeping head 3 against the surface and holding switch 22 down. To obtain maximum advantage of the invention, the head, nozzle, shield and foot should be of the variety best suited for the surface and cleaning application. For example, the varieties illustrated are contemplated as best suited for flat floor operations. By trial and error adjustments or replacements, the best spray pattern can be chosen, and the proper shield and foot can be found. The shield may be adjusted to permit use of the highest possible volumes and pressures without permitting escape of liquid from beneath the head.
These adjustments and choices can be determined only in relation to the particular high pressures, volumes and vacuum capabilities employed. The pressure washer system discharges a volume of liquid in the order of 0.1 to 15 gallons per minute, in a pressure range of 200 to 1,000 psi. The vacuum system must be of corresponding capacity, so as to pick up that volume of water. The jet pattern and position should be selected to facilitate the pick up, and foot 57 must permit sufficient air low to correspond to the vacuum, while restricting liquid flow from escaping.
After working over a portion of the surface with the cleaning liquid, the operator releases switch 22 and depresses selector switch 21 to close valve 20 to tank 13 and open the valve to rinse water supply conduit 12. Rinse water is thus discharged through the pressure washer system. With the vacuum system still operating, the surface area is then rinsed by again working head 3 over the surface, the rinse water being likewise continuously and immediately drawn up and discharged into tank 28. Fresh rinse water only is used in this system. 1
If desired, the surface may be further dried after the rinse by releasing switch 21 and again working head 3 over the surface. As the vacuum system is still operating, this serves to draw remaining moisture off of the cleaned surface. After the surface has been cleaned by repetitive operation over its entire area, the operator goes to turn switch 35 to the off position to shut off the vacuum pump. In locations where numerous outlet boxes 5 would be provided, the portable accessory I may be moved to any location and coupled to a second outlet box to begin operation there.
In summary, the structure of the invention combines the features of high pressure washing and vacuum pick up in a manner which does not impair the cleaning pattern of the pressure washing, and avoids the accumulation of dirty liquid on the surface being cleaned. The structure of the invention is versatile so that the optimum system can be provided to assure that cleaning and rinsing occurs continuously with fresh liquid and the spent liquid is immediately swept away from the surface so that the high pressure jet continuously impinges directly onto the surface being cleaned.
The described embodiment is an example of the concepts of the invention.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims, which particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. In a cleaning system having a high pressure washing system and a vacuum system, a portable accessory for combining said washing and vacuum systems and for working over a surface to be cleaned; the portable accessory comprising: a vacuum head connected to said vacuum system, said head having an open bottom and defining a suction channel from said bottom to said vacuum system; a high pressure liquid spray nozzle on said head and connected to said washing system, said nozzle having a discharge opening positioned to direct a high pressure spray of liquid through said suction channel to said open bottom of said head; a shield within said head and in communication with the discharge opening of said nozzle to receive said spray,
the walls of said shield-being spaced inwardly from the walls of said head, whereby said suction channel encompasses said shield, a high pressure cleaning liquid being discharged through said discharge opening and said shield to said surface and the spent cleaning liquid being removed through said suction channel, and adjusting means movably mounted through said head and engaging said shield walls for adjusting said shield walls with respect to said head.
2. The structure of claim 1, and including a foot ring secured about the periphery of said open bottom of the head, said foot ring forming an extension of said suction channel and being permeable to the flow of air to permit air flow into said suction channel.
3. The structure of claim 1, wherein said shield is mounted for pivotal movement with respectto the nozzle.
4. In a cleaning system having a high pressure washing system and a vacuum system, a portable accessory for combining said washing and vacuum systems and for working over a surface to be cleaned; the portable accessory comprising: a vacuum head connected to said vacuum system, said head having an open bottom and defining a suction channel from said bottom to said vacuum system; a high pressure liquid spray nozzle on said head and connected to said washing system, said nozzle having a discharge opening positioned to direct a high pressure spray of liquid through said suction channel to said open bottom of said head; a shield within said head and in communication with the discharge opening of said nozzle to receive said spray, the walls of said shield being spaced inwardly from the walls of said head, whereby said suction channel encompasses said shield, a high pressure cleaning liquid being discharged through said discharge opening and said shield to said surface and the spent cleaning liquid being removed through said suction channel, said shield being elongated in cross section and having a substantially greater length than width; and means for varying the width of said shield to thereby adjust the spray pattern of the cleaning liquid being discharged from said shield.
' 5. The structure of claim 4, whereby said shield is formed of a relatively flexible material and said means for varying the'width of the shield comprises an adjusting member extending through said head and engaged with said shield.
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