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Publication numberUS3851349 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 3, 1974
Filing dateSep 26, 1973
Priority dateSep 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3851349 A, US 3851349A, US-A-3851349, US3851349 A, US3851349A
InventorsLowder D
Original AssigneeClarke Gravely Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Floor scrubber flow divider
US 3851349 A
Abstract
A floor scrubber having a pair of scrubbing brushes, a supply source for cleaning solution and a flow divider through which cleaning solution passes as it flows to the brushes. The flow divider includes an inlet chamber and a pair of outlet chambers. The inlet chamber has a plurality of outlet passageways into the outlet chambers arranged at different levels. The outlet passageways are of increasing diameters from the lower to the upper portions thereof to thereby cause the liquid solution to be evenly divided between the two outlet chambers for delivery to the brushes regardless of whether the rate of flow is relatively high or relatively low.
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llnited Mates Fatent [1 1 Lowder Dec.3,1974

Clarke-Gravely Corporation, Muskegan, Mich.

Filed: Sept. 26, 1973 Appl. No.: 400,955

Inventor:

Assignee:

us. ca 115/50 R, 222/478, 401 /35, 401/270 lnt. C1 A471 Ill/03 Field of Search 15/50 C, 50 R, 98, 320;

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Primary ExaminerEdward L. Roberts Attorney, Agent, or FirmPrice, Heneveld, Huizenga & Cooper 5 7] ABSTRACT A floor scrubber having a pair of scrubbing brushes, a supply source for cleaning solution and a flow divider through which cleaning solution passes as it flows to the brushes. The flow divider includes an inlet chamber and a pair of outlet chambers, The inlet chamber has a plurality of outlet passageways into the outlet chambers arranged at different levels. The outlet passageways are of increasing diameters from the lower to the upper portions thereof to thereby cause the liquid solution to be evenly divided between the two outlet chambers for delivery to the brushes regardless of whether the rate of flow is relatively high or relatively low.

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Ill/mm PATENTEL 35B 3 4 SHEEF 10F 2 FIG I PATENTEL 3.851349 sum HP 2 FLOOR scuuaaaa rtow urvrnun BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In prior art floor scrubbers, delivery of the scrubbing solution to the separate scrubber heads is typically done by allowing solution to flow from a reservoir into a divider chamber having separate outlets, each joined by a conduit to the separate scrubber brushes. In systerns of this type, when the flow of solution is quite high, the fluid is fairly evenly distributed to the brushes. However, frequently, the operator wants only a small flow of solution to the scrubber brushes and under these circumstances the solution tends to divide in the divider chamber quite unevenly. Indeed, the flow is typically relatively low in order to avoid flooding. Accordingly, more of the solution goes to one scrubbing brush than to the other.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention overcomes the problems existant in the prior art devices by providing a flow divider having separate outlet chambers, each outlet chamber being connected through suitable conduit to the scrub brushes. The flow divider has an inlet chamber which includes a number of symmetrical sets of fluid passageways, each of which sets empties into an outlet chamber. The passageways in each set are arranged vertically and the lowermost is the smallest with succeeding passageways increasing in flow area. When the flow of solution into the inlet is low, the fluid exits from the inlet chamber to the outlet chambers through only the lowermost small passageways. This causes the solution to be divided more evenly between the outlet chambers than would be the case if the passageways were large. If the passageways were large, it would be too easy for the bulk of the fluid to flow out through only one passageway rather than evenly through all. As fluid flow increases, it is allowed to flow through the larger diameter passageways as well as through the smaller. Thus, the flow is not impeded and yet it is still divided evenly between the outlet chambers.

The many important objects and advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated by those skilled in the art upon reading the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred and an alternate embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating the flow divider connected between a supply source and the surface treatment elements, with everything but the flow divider being shown schematically;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the flow divider shown in FIG. I;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the flow divider taken along the plane III-III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the flow divider taken along the plane IV-IV of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the flow divider.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIGS. 1-4 of the drawings, the flow divider of the invention, generally designated by the numeral 10, is adapted for positioning between a supply source 12 and at least a pair of scrubber brushes or surface treatment elements 14 and 16. Suitable conduit 18 and 19 connects the supply source through ametering valve 20 to an inlet chamber 50 formed in a central portion of the flow divider. Outlet chambers 60 and 60' formed in the flow divider on each side of inlet 50 are connected by conduits 22, 24, respectively to outlets in the vicinity of scrubber brushes 14 and 16, respectively. Inlet chamber 50 includes a set of holes on each side thereof, one set comprising holes 53 and 54 and the other comprising 53 and 54', one of which sets empties into outlet chamber 60 and the other of which Outlets 54 and 54 in each set are positioned above outlets 53 and 53' and are larger in flow area.

Flow divider 10 is generally rectangular in shape having a front wall 40, a pair of side walls 42 and 42', bottom wall 44 and a back wall 46. A divider wall 48 is centrally disposed between side walls 42 and 42' and extends from front wall 40 toward back wall 46. Divider wall 48 flares outwardly having a thickened portion adjacent back wall 46 in which inlet chamber 50 comprising generally a vertical hollow column is formed. Inlet chamber 50 is machined downwardly from an upper portion of the housing and is threaded at its upper end to receive a plug 56 (FIG. 1). A fluid inlet passageway 52 is formed through rear wall 46 and into the upper portion of chamber 50. Inlet chamber 52 is adapted by means of suitable connecting means (not shown) for connection to the previously described conduit 19 for connection to the fluid supply source 12.

Wall 48 divides the housing into a pair of independent outlet chambers and 60'. The outlet chambers are defined by the front, back, side, bottom and divider walls of flow divider 10. Each outlet chamber 60 and 60' includes an outlet opening 64 and 64', respectively, each of which is adapted to receive connecting means as a nipple or the like (not shown) for connection to conduits 22 and 24, respectively.

Rear wall 46 includes a pair of spaced-apart bosses 49 which may be machined as by drilling and tapping as required to facilitate the mounting of flow divider 10 within the scrubber apparatus. Since these bosses per se form no part of the present invention, they will not be described in further detail.

At inlet chamber 50, flow control means is provided for evenly dividing and distributing the fluid from the inlet chamber to each of outlet chambers 60 and 60. The flow control means includes a pair of outlet passages 53 and 54 opening from chamber 50 into outlet chamber 60 and similar outlet passageways 53' and 54' opening from chamber 50 to outlet chamber 60. Each of these passageways are of graduated proportions to permit an increase of fluid flow from inlet chamber 50 to each of the outlet chambers 60 and 60' as the liquid level in the inlet chamber increases. Specifically, these passageways are located in walls 48a and 48b forming the sides of inlet chamber 50 and are located at predetermined levels above bottom surfaces 62 and 62' of the outlet chambers at a distance established from the top of the housing to prevent splashing. The lowermost openings 53 and 53' are on the same level, each having a relatively small diameter. Upper openings 54 and 54 are in alignment with each other at a second level and are also located a predetermined distance above lower surfaces 62 and 62' and are located above openings 53 and 53'. Since openings 54 and 54 have a larger diameter or effective flow area than do lower openings 53 and 53' they serve to admit greater quantities of fluid from inlet chamber 50 to outlet chambers 60 and 60' as the flow and consequently the fluid level rises in chamber 50. For convenience in machining these openings, an opening is provided in side wall 42 which is closed by a plug member 58 after the passageways are drilled and prior to actual use of flow divider 10.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the lowermost smaller openings 53 and 53' each have a diameter of approximately 3/32 of an inch which provides an effective flow area at each opening of approximately 0.0069 square inches. The upper larger openings 54 and 54' have a diameter of 3/16 of an inch thereby providing a flow area of approximately 0.0276 square inches.

The outlet passageways are on the same level, the level being parallel to the top of housing 10. All of the outlet passageways are spaced downwardly from the top of the housing to prevent splashing of the fluid passing therethrough. In the preferred embodiment, the centers of the upper larger openings 54 and 54' are spaced downwardly from the top about one and onequarter inches. The smaller lower openings 53 and 53' are spaced downwardly about 1 5/16 inches from the top.

In operation, fluid from supply source 12 flows through conduit 18 where its flow rate is adjusted by control valve 20. From the control valve 20, the fluid passing through conduit 19 enters inlet passageway 52 and inlet chamber 50. When the flow of fluid into chamber 50 is quite low, it exits through outlet passageways 53 and 53' into outlet chambers 60 and 60'. From thence it passes through openings 64 and 64' and conduits 22, 24 where it is deposited in the vicinity of brushes l4 and 16. Because outlet passageways 53 and 53' are quite small, they cause the fluid in chamber 50 to be divided evenly between chambers 60 and 60'. As fluid flow from the source increases as controlled by valve 20, the fluid rises in chamber 50 and flows additionally through outlet passageways 54 and 54' into each of the outlet chambers. Thus, the flow is not impeded and yet is still divided evenly between chambers 60 and 60,

ALTERNATE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION In FIG. 5, an alternate embodiment of the invention is illustrated wherein the main components therein are identified by reference numerals similar to those used in the previous embodiment but prefixed by the numeral 1. Basically housing 110 includes front wall 140, side walls 142 and 142, bottom wall 144, back wall 146 and divider wall 148. These walls cooperatively form a pair of outlet chambers 160 and 160'. Outlet nipples 164 and 164' extend through front wall 140 for connection to suitable conduit to direct the fluid to scrubber elements. In this embodiment, rear wall 146 is somewhat higher than the side, front and divider walls forming the outlet chambers and may be secured by fastening means 70 passing therethrough to the framework 72 of the floor treatment apparatus.

The inlet chamber 150 formed at the juncture of the divider wall 148 and rear wall 146 also extends upwardly with rear wall 146 above the level of the walls forming chambers 160 and 160'. An inlet passageway 152 to the upper part of chamber 150 is adapted for connection to a fluid supply source.

A set of outlet passageways (only one set is shown) 153, 154, and 74 are provided at three different levels along and through each of the walls 148:: and 148b, opening into the outlet chambers. In this embodiment as in the previous embodiment, the outlet passageways through chamber walls 148a and 14% progressively increase in size from the smaller lowermost passageway 153, intermediate passageway 152 to the largest passageway 74 at the upper level.

Operation of this embodiment is essentially identical to the previously described embodiment except that an additional higher level of passageways 74 is provided. The use of an additional passageway 74 may be used to accommodate either (1) a greater overall flow rate of the fluid as compared to the first embodiment or (2) alternately a greater control over the same flow rate. For the first alternative, the bottom two passageways, 153 and 154, in each set would have the same effective flow area as passageways 53 and 54. The top passageway 74 could be somewhat larger. For the second alternative, the bottom passageways 153 and 154 would be smaller than their counterparts 53 and 54, while top larger passageway 74 could be sufficiently large that the set of three holes, 153, 154 and 74, would be of as great an overall flow area as the two passageways 53 and 54.

From the foregoing description and drawings, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the cleaning apparatus and flow divider of the present invention provides a means for fairly evenly dividing fluid at even low rates of fluid flow while still facilitating the division and handling of greater fluid flow rates. Although a specific and an alternate embodiment of the invention have been described and illustrated in detail, those skilled in the art will also appreciate that other modifications can be made in light of the foregoing disclosure. These modifications accordingly are to be considered as included in the appended claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In a surface treating device having at least a pair of surface treating elements, and a supply source of liquid for distribution to said surface treating elements, apparatus for distributing liquid from the supply source into at least said pair of associated surface treating ele' ments, said distribution apparatus comprising:

a housing having an inlet chamber adapted for connection to said source to receive fluid therefrom;

a pair of fluid outlet chambers in said housing, each of said outlet chambers adapted to receive a portion of the liquid from said inlet chamber and direct the same to one of said surface treating elements; and

flow control means between said inlet chamber and each of said outlet chambers, said flow control means including a set of a plurality of outlet passageways formed between said inlet chamber and each of said outlet chambers, said passageways being of graduated proportion to permit an increase of fluid flow from said inlet chamber to each of said outlet chambers as the fluid flow in said inlet chamber increases.

2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said passageways in each said set are arranged vertically at different levels between said inlet and outlet chambers, the lowermost passageway in each said set being smallest in flow area with succeedingly higher passageways increasing in flow area size at succeeding levels.

3. The apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said plurality of sets of passageways are symmetrically arranged between said inlet and said outlet chambers, each said set having a passageway at the same level as a passageway in another set, and those passageways at corresponding levels having the same flow area.

41. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 and further including wall means dividing said housing into said outlet chambers, each said outlet chamber having an open top, said outlet passageways opening into said outlet chambers below the level of the top of said outlet chambers.

5. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said inlet chamber is vertically oriented in said housing and said outlet chambers are arranged thereabout.

6. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein each said set includes two of said outlet passageways.

7. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein each said set includes three of said outlet passageways.

8. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 and further including wall means dividing said housing into two outlet chambers, said wall means including an enlarged portion which is hollow to define said inlet chamber,

one set of said passageways being formed in said wall means on one side of said inlet chamber and the other set being formed in said wall means on the other side of said inlet chamber.

9. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 and further including wall means dividing said housing into said outlet chambers, each said outlet chamber having an open top, said outlet passageways opening into said outlet chambers below the level of the top of said outlet chambers.

10. In a surface treatment apparatus having fluid supply source, at least a pair of surface treatment elements, means connecting said source to outlet at said elements, and a flow divider for evenly distributing the fluid from said source at said elements, the improvement in said flow divider comprising:

a housing;

means in said housing forming an inlet chamber and at least a pair of outlet chambers;

flow control means between said inlet chamber and each of said outlet chambers, said flow control means including a set of outlet passageways formed between said inlet chamber and each said outlet chamber, said passageways in each said set being arranged at different levels, each said passageway in each said level having a flow area of increasing graduated proportion to permit an increase of fluid flow from said inlet chamber to each said outlet chamber as the liquid flow from said source increases and rises in said inlet chamber.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1927225 *Apr 13, 1927Sep 19, 1933Julia E WoodsFloor finishing machine
US3241174 *Jan 27, 1964Mar 22, 1966Lucian B SicilianoCorner trowel
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4088148 *Oct 26, 1976May 9, 1978Clarke-Gravely CorporationFloor scrubber solution valve
US5699939 *Oct 20, 1994Dec 23, 1997Biochlor (Proprietary) LimitedMetering of liquids
US5867857 *Jul 9, 1996Feb 9, 1999The Hoover CompanyCarpet extractor fluid supply system
US7389156Aug 19, 2005Jun 17, 2008Irobot CorporationAutonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning
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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/50.1, 401/35, 401/270, 222/478
International ClassificationA47L11/00, A47L11/14
Cooperative ClassificationA47L11/145, A47L11/408
European ClassificationA47L11/40N, A47L11/14A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 28, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CLARKE INDUSTRIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:005271/0420
Effective date: 19890412
Apr 28, 1989AS06Security interest
Owner name: CLARKE INDUSTRIES, INC.
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.
Effective date: 19890412
Jan 12, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., 1001 FANNIN, SUITE 4000,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., A OH. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004657/0666
Effective date: 19870108
Owner name: COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., A CORP. OF DE.,TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., A OH. CORP.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100528;REEL/FRAME:4657/666
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., A OH. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004657/0666
Nov 8, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC., 1001 FANNIN, HOUSTON, TEX
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:MCGRAW-EDISON COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004475/0965
Effective date: 19851104