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Publication numberUS3803658 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 16, 1974
Filing dateJan 10, 1972
Priority dateJan 14, 1971
Also published asDE2201758A1, DE2201758C2
Publication numberUS 3803658 A, US 3803658A, US-A-3803658, US3803658 A, US3803658A
InventorsRaubenheimer J
Original AssigneeRaubenheimer J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cleaning devices
US 3803658 A
Abstract
The invention concerns a cleaning device for cleaning a surface and which comprises at least one cleaning head to fit against the surface to be cleaned. The head has an inlet for permitting suction to be applied through a suction pipe so that liquid can be sucked from the surface through the head into the suction pipe. Automatic means is provided for enabling the suction periodically to be cut off. The automatic means is such that if there is a cluster of more than one head, suction to all the heads in the cluster is cut off substantially simultaneously.
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United States Patent [191 Raubenheimer CLEANING DEVICES [76] Inventor: Johann Nicolaas Raubenheimer, 46

Kloof Rd., Bedfordview, Transvaal, South Africa [22] Filed: Jan. 10, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 216,603

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Jan. 14, 1971 South Africa 71/231 Feb. 17, 1971 South Africa 71/1024 [52] US. Cl l5/ l.7, 15/379, 15/404 [51] Int. Cl E04h 3/20 [58] Field of Search .L 15/319, 357, 382, 379, 15/401, 415, 404,1.7

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 2,499,933 3/1950 Smul 15/401 X 2,910,717 11/1959 Raymond 15/404 X Apr. 16, 1974 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 340,684 5/1904 France 15/379 853,819 12/1939 France l5/404 494,500 3/1930 Germany 15/404 Primary Examiner-Edward L. Roberts Attorney, Agent, or FirmKar1 W. Flocks [5 7] ABSTRACT The invention concerns a cleaning device for cleaning a surface and which comprises at least one cleaning head to fit against the surface to be cleaned. The head has an inlet for permitting suction to be applied through a suction pipe so that liquid can be sucked from the surface through the head into the suction pipe. Automatic means is provided for enabling the suction periodically to be cut off. The automatic means is such that if there is a cluster of more than one head, suction to all the heads in the cluster is cut off substantially simultaneously.

5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures mEmEnAPR 1 1w SHEET 2 BF 2 CLEANING DEVICES The present invention provides a cleaning device, which comprises at least one cleaning head adapted to fit against a surface to be cleaned, an inlet into said head for permitting suction to be applied through a suction pipe to said head, and automatic means for enabling the suction periodically to be cut off and reapplied, with the proviso that, if there is more than one adjacent head, then the heads are in suction connection with each other.

The cleansing device is suitable for cleaning surfaces covered by liquid, especially underwater surfaces, e.g., the floor and sides of swimming pools, boats hulls, harhour or lock walls, etc.

There may be a single head, or a plurality 'of adjacent heads (e.g., three) in the form of a cluster. In this latter case, the heads in the cluster are in suction connection with'each other.

The head(s) may beof any desired shape for example, substantially triangular, rectangular or circular in plan view. Conveniently, the head has sides defining the face which can makesubstantially suction-tight contact with the surface to be cleaned. The contacting parts may have a flexible rim (e.g., of rubber or a plastics material). The liquid covering the surface to be cleaned (and which is usually water) must be able to pass through the cleaning head and down the suction pipe. In order that the liquid can pass into the head, the rim may be cut away in places to provide passages for a'current of the liquid'to flow into the head and over the surface to be cleaned. The head may have brushes mounted therein at such positions that they will contact the surface to be cleaned.

Conveniently, the means for automatically enabling the vacuum to be cut off and re-applied may be mounted on the head. This meansvmay comprise a gate which automatically opens and closes the vacuum line to the head according to a regular or irregular pattern. Thus, a chamber maybe provided having an inlet to the head(s),- an outlet tothe suction source anda gate for closing the suction inlet and/or outlet of the chamber, the gate being adaptedto be-o'penedand/or closed, by liquid which is sucked through the chamber.

- In one embodiment, a flywheel is mounted to be freely rotatable in the chamber on a device having a single head, the flywheel having circumferential vanes adapted to be impinged on by the liquid sucked through the chamber, and a gate for closing the suction inlet positioned around the circumference of the flywheel. j

In another embodiment, there may be a main head and a plurality of subsidiary heads in suction connection with each other, the chamber being mounted on the main head and containing a freely rotatable flywheel having circumferential vanes adapted to be impinged on by the liquid sucked through the chamber, theflywheel also having a gate for closing the suction inlet positioned around the circumference of the flywheel. The main head may include a buoyancy means, e.g., of expanded polystyrene.

In both embodiments, the gate can be a solid block extending out from the circumference of the flywheel and counterbalanced by a weight within the flywheel. The inlet from the head(s) conveniently is above the lowest point of the chamber.

In another embodiment, the gate can be mounted on a plunger which is reciprocatable in a cylinder due to the action of suction of liquid in one direction and due to bias pressure in the other direction. For example, the plunger can be biassed towards causing the gate to close, e.g. by means of a springoperating on the rear of the plunger. In this embodiment, a by-pass pipe leads from the suction chamber to the rear of the plunger. When the gate is open, the pressure on the rear of the plunger no longer is less than that on the front and the gate starts to close. It has beenfound desirable for a flexible gas (e.g., air) filled bag to be provided at the rear of the plunger.

Conveniently, a flexible hoseleads from the suction chamber of the above embodiments to the suction source. When in use for cleaning a swimming pool, the hose becomes filled with water and the continuous opening and closing of the gate causes the hose to jerk. As the suction against the surface is momentarily released each time the gate closes, the jerks of the hose causes the head to move over the surface to be cleaned. The movement may be completely random, may be guided or may be between these two extremes. The head appears to walk along the surface to be cleaned. It can be left unattended. The invention is particularly suitable for cleaning swimming pools, and various means may be employed for inducing the head to move at random over all the surfaces to be cleaned. For example, the flexible hose may float partly on the surface of the water and be weighted at a distance from the head so that the weighted part remains on the floor of the pool but is jerked from point to point. It is found that the head tends to move radially around each point.

Additionally, the hose may be in two parts coupled together by a coupling which includes a pawl fast with one part and a ratchet fast with the other part. Weights on the hose may be used to prevent the head from working too high up the walls of the pool where air may enter the system and de-prime the suction action through theautomatic suction cut off. The heads may comprise inverted cups with flexible rims. If desired, the head may have means for mounting an abrasive material (e.g., sandpaper) thereon for cleaning marbelite, or the like. Alternatively,,the head may include a knife edge for scraping the surface to be cleaned. In a further embodiment a brush may be attached to a weighted part of the flexible hose. As the hose moves, the brush can assist in cleaning the surface adjacent to the hose.

The invention is further illustrated by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a section through one embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a section through another embodiment;

FIG. 3 shows a flexible coupling;

FIG. 4 is an inclined plan view of another embodiment; and

FIG. 5 is a section along VV of FIG. 4.

In FIG. 1, a cleaning head 10 has a serrated rubber lip 12 in contact with the pool floor 14. The serrations allow liquid to pass into the head. An inlet 16 leads from'the head 12 to circular suction chamber 18 in which a flywheel 20 is mounted. The flywheel 20 has vanes 22, 22.1 etc., mounted around its edge, as well as block 24. A flexible hose 26 is connected to the suction chamber 18 at inlet 28.

When the flywheel is caused to rotate by the water sucked through the head to the flexible hose 26, the block 24 closes inlet 16 once per revolution, momentarily cutting off the suction to the head. The consequent flexing of the water-filled hose 26 causes the head to move before the suction is reapplied. The movement ofthe head enables the pool floor l4.to be cleaned.

In FIG. 2, a head 40 has inlet passage 42 leading to suction: chamber 44 which is connected to flexible hose 46 at- 48. Gate 50 is mounted on plunger 52 and closes the inlet passage 42. The plunger 52 is mounted in cylinder 54 biassed to the closed position by spring 56. A bypass pipe 58 leads from the vacuum chamber 44 to the cylinder 54.'

An air-filled flexible bag 59 is positioned in chamber 60 which isin suction contact with the cylinder 54.

When suction'is applied, the plunger 52 is sucked to the right; opening the gate 50 and causing the head 40 to attach'itself: to the poolwall 62. The gate 50 then closes momentarily before reopening. The water in the flexible hose 46 causes itto jerk, moving the head 40 along the wall 62--before the vacuum is reapplied.

-The hoses 26 land 28 canxbe connected through. the vacuum pump .(not shown) to the pool filtersystem so that the water is returned to the pool.

In FIG. 3, hoses 70, .72 are coupled together to be rotatable with respect to one another. Ratchet wheel 74 is fast with hose 70 and ratchet76 is fast with hose 72. The hose 72 ,islocatedto move in a plane below that of hose 70. small float (not shown) is located above both hoses. The jerking (as explained above) of the hose 72 which leads to the cleaning head causes the ratchet 76 to move round the wheel 74, thus causing the hose 72 to take up a different position and pass this movement onto the head.

In a modification (not shown) of the device of FIG. 1, an articulation joint may be situated in inlet 16, a weight being provided on the hose 26.

In. FIGS. land 2, the head may be corrugated Where it contacts the pool floor 14 orwall 62.

.InEIGS. 4 and 5, there is a main head 80 and a pair of subsiduary heads 82, 84 in suction contact therewith by {means of flexible suction-hoses 86, 88. All three heads are in contact with pool floor 90-. Mounted on the main head 80, is a chamber 92 of generally circular internal cross-section. The main head 80 makes substantially water tight cont act with the pool floor. The subsiduary heads 82, 84 permit the entry of water under their leading edges ,(i .e., the bevellededge facing A'flywheel 94 is freely rotatable on spindle 96 within the chamber 92- and has vanes 98, 98.1, etc. mounted on its circumference. Also mounted on the circumference is a gate 100 adapted to close inlet 102 between the main head 80 and the chamber 92. Outlet 104 from the chamber 92 leads to a connection 106 for a flexible suction pipe (not shown). A foamed polystyrene buoy the main head in FIG, 5)-

ancy member 108 surrounds the outside of the connecvanes 98, 98.1, etc. causes the flywheel 94 to rotate, thus causing the gate 100 to make and break once per revolution the suction connection between the chamber 92 and the inlet 102. This causes flexing of the pipe 114 and hence movement of the head along the pool. Due to the weight of water in the flexible hoses 86, 88, the subsiduary heads 82, 84 have been found to move at a slightly different time to the movement of the main head 80. The movement of the heads causes cleaning of the pool. Variability of the suction effect in the three heads, due to uneveness of the pool floor, assists in-randomising the overall direction of movement.

What is claimed is:

l. A cleaning device for cleaning a surface beneath the level of a liquid, said device comprising at least one cleaning head having an open mouth to fit against the surface to be cleaned, said head being provided with an outlet for receiving a flexible suction pipe to permit suction to be applied through the outlet to said head to suck liquid from the mouth into and along the flexible pipe, and automatic means for enabling the suction periodically to be cut off and re-applied to said mouth whereby, when suction is applied, the liquid passes along the flexible suction pipe from the head with said head in suction contact with the surface, and when suction is cut off liquid no longer passes from the mouth to the pipe thereby causing the flexible pipe containing liquid to flex and so move said head along the surface before suction is re-applied. v

2. A cleaning device according to claim 1, wherein there is a single head and wherein-the automatic means comprises a chamber mounted on the head, the mouth of the head leading into the chamber, and the chamber having an outlet leading to the flexible suction pipe, a flywheel mounted for free rotation in the chamber, vanes on the circumference of the flywheel for causing the flywheel to rotate under the action of moving liquid on applying suction through the suction pipe, and a gate also on the circumference of the flywheel, said gate being adapted periodically to close the mouth and- /or outlet of the chamber as the flywheel rotates.

3. A cleaning device for cleaning a surface beneath v the level of a liquid, said device comprising a main head and a plurality of subsiduary heads, the subsiduary heads being spaced'from the main head and being in suction connection therewith by flexible conduit means, each head having an open mouth to fit against the surface to be cleaned, the main head being provided with an outlet for receiving a flexible suction pipe to permit suction to be applied through the outlet and suck liquid from the mouth into and along the flexible pipe, and automatic means for enabling the suction to be cut off and reapplied to the mouths, whereby when suction is applied the liquid passes along the flexible suction pipe with the heads in suction contact with the surface, and when suction is cut off liquid no longer passes from the mouth through to the outlet thereby causing the flexible pipe to flex and so move the main head, with the subsidiary heads following, along the surface beforesuction is reapplied.

4. A cleaning device according to claim 3, wherein there is a main head and two subsiduary heads connected thereto by flexible conduit means, the automatic means being mounted on the main head.

5. A cleaning device according to claim 4, wherein the automatic means comprises a chamber mounted on the suction pipe, and a gate also on the circumference of the flywheel, said gate being adapted periodically to cut off the flow of liquid into the chamber as the flywheel rotates.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/1.7, 15/379, 15/404
International ClassificationB63B59/00, E04H4/00, E04H4/16, B63B59/08
Cooperative ClassificationB63B59/08, E04H4/1663
European ClassificationE04H4/16C1, B63B59/08
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