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Publication numberUS3881215 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 6, 1975
Filing dateDec 19, 1972
Priority dateDec 19, 1972
Publication numberUS 3881215 A, US 3881215A, US-A-3881215, US3881215 A, US3881215A
InventorsKimzey Paul W, Krier Keith N
Original AssigneeTennant Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Surface cleaning apparatus
US 3881215 A
Abstract
A cleaning machine that includes a drive unit and a trailer unit joined by an articulated joint, the drive unit including a pick up assembly having a reversible power driven paddle wheel mounted in a housing to extend closely adjacent the surface to be cleaned, the housing including leaf flap mechanism mounted for movement between a downwardly extending position and an elevated position, a duct mounted on the drive unit frame and having an inlet for receiving raised material from the housing, an airstream outlet, and at a lower elevation than the airstream outlet, a heavy debris outlet opening to a heavy trash receptacle on the frame, the heavy trash receptacle having doors for discharging the heavy trash, a suction blower having an inlet fluidly connected to the duct airstream outlet and a door for selectively blocking fluid communication between the duct and suction blower, a motor for driving the drive unit and having a directly driven shaft with a brake disc thereon, and mechanism to move the housing to an elevated transport position; and that the trailer unit includes a frame having a dump container thereon, a discharge door at the rear of the container, the container having a top filter portion, a standard on the tractor frame for stationarily mounting one end of a duct for placing the container in fluid communication with the suction blower outlet when the container is in a debris receiving position, and a deflector adjacent the container inlet for deflecting air and debris downwardly.
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United States Patent [1 1 Krier et al.

[111 3,881,215 May 6,1975

[ SURFACE CLEANING APPARATUS [75] Inventors: Keith N. Krier, Hopkins; Paul W.

Kimzey, St. Louis Park, both of Minn.

[73] Assignee: Tennant Company, Minneapolis,

Minn.

[22] Filed: Dec. 19, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 316,457

2,913,744 11/1959 Gregersen.... 15/340X 3,093,853 6/1963 Tamny 15/83 3,300,807 l/1967 Berkowitz 15/340 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 83,257 9/1895 Germany 15/349 Primary ExaminerPeter Feldman Assistant ExaminerC. K. Moore Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Dugger, Johnson & Westman [57] ABSTRACT A cleaning machine that includes a drive unit and a trailer unit joined by an articulated joint, the drive unit including a pick up assembly having a reversible power driven paddle wheel mounted in a housing to extend closely adjacent the surface to be cleaned, the housing including leaf flap mechanism mounted for movement between a downwardly extending position and an elevated position, a duct mounted on the drive unit frame and having an inlet for receiving raised material from the housing, an airstream outlet, and at a lower elevation than the airstream outlet, a heavy debris outlet opening to a heavy trash receptacle on the frame, the heavy trash receptacle having doors for discharging the heavy trash, a suction blower having an inlet fluidly connected to the duct airstream outlet and a door for selectively blocking fluid communication between the duct and suction blower, a motor for driving the drive unit and having a directly driven shaft with a brake disc thereon, and mechanism to move the housing to an elevated transport position; and that the trailer unit includes a frame having a dump container thereon, a discharge door at the rear of the container, the container having a top filter portion, a standard on the tractor frame for stationarily mounting one end of a duct for placing the container in fluid communication with the suction blower outlet when the container is in a debris receiving position, and a deflector adjacent the container inlet for deflecting air and debris downwardly.

9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PMENTEDHAY 6l975 3.881.215 sum 10F 5 v PMENTEUHAY s 1975 SHEET 2 OF 5 PMENTEDHAY ems SHEET 3 BF 5 PATENTED um s 1975 SHEET U U? 5 SURFACE CLEANING APPARATUS RELATED APPLICATIONS Part of the apparatus disclosed in this application is more broadly disclosed in the copending application of Paul W. Kimzey, Donald L. Olson, Daniel A. Delmore and Keith N. Krier, Ser. No. 316,476, filed the same day as this application and assigned to the same assignee as this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A surface cleaning machine having a vacuumized pick up head for picking up debris and trash from streets, parking lots, parks and the like.

It is old in the prior art to provide an articulated machine having a cleaning head for cleaning areas such as lawns and parking lots, see US. Pat. No. 3,406,424 to Rush. However, such machines are not suitable for picking up relatively heavy trash; do not provide for separation of the relatively heavy picked up materials from the lighter materials and as a result both types of trash go through the suction blower which causes undue wearing of the fan housing and impeller; have relatively high air losses and a relatively low air velocity in housing adjacent the area of pick up for a given fan capacity; and require high flow rates of air and consequently relatively larger filter capacities. In order to overcome problems such as the above, this invention has been made.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A surface cleaning machine that includes a downwardly opening pick up head having an outlet and a paddle wheel rotatably mounted therein and selectively driven in either angular direction, a heavy trash receptacle, a light debris collection and filter container mounted for movement to a dumping position and a duct for separating heavier debris from lighter debris as the debris moves therethrough, said duct having an inlet fluidly connected to the head outlet, a light particle outlet branch, and a heavy trash outlet branch, and a suction blower having an inlet fluidly connected to the light particle outlet branch and an outlet fluidly connected to the container.

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a new and novel surfacing cleaning machine having a vacuumized pick up housing, and a paddle Wheel to reduce air losses, maintain a relatively high air velocity in the areas between the paddle wheel and surface being cleaned and the paddle wheel and the housing, and pick up and throw material upwardly into the housing, and direct heavy trash into one receptacle and light trash into a light trash container.

An additional object of this invention is to provide in a surface cleaning machine having a pick up head, a new and novel leaf flap and paddle wheel combination that in operating the paddle wheel in one angular direction is especially adapted for picking up large, bulky, light materials including those in relatively large accumulations, and in the other angular direction for picking up lighter debris loads and small dense items such as rocks and pop bottles. In furtherance of the last mentioned object, it is another object of this invention to provide a leaf flap that may be selectively retained in an elevated position remote from the path of rotation of the paddle wheel.

A further object of this invention is to provide a new and novel debris deflector duct in a surface cleaning machine for separating heavier objects from lighter objects picked up by a vacuumized pick up head. With reference to the last mentioned object, it is another object of this invention to provide heavy trash receptacle having a new and novel trash discharge arrangement. An additional object of this invention is provide in a surface cleaning machine, a new and novel duct and heavy trash receptacle arrangement for reducing air flow rate requirements and the amount of air to be filtered, and also for separating heavy trash from lighter trash.

Further it is an additional object of this invention to provide a new and novel high dump arrangement for emptying a combination light particle collection receptacle and filter container, and a hydraulically operated discharge door assembly on the container. Another ob-.

ject of this invention is to provide in a surface cleaning machine, a new and novel combination filter-debris container having an inlet and a deflector for directing debris downwardly across the container and initially direct the air flow path away from the filter.

A different object of this invention is to provide on a surface cleaning machine, a new and novel ground engaging wheel driving and braking arrangement. An additional object of this invention is to provide a new and novel surface cleaning machine having a heavy trash receptacle, a suction blower, a vacuumized pick up head and a combination filter and light debris container arranged for good balance and weight distribution in a relatively compact machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of the apparatus of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal, cross-sectional view generally taken along the line and in the direction of the arrow 22 of FIG. 3 of the combination drive and pick up unit of this invention, various portions being broken away to show other structure;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the apparatus of this invention, portions of the vehicle body being broken away to show structure rearwardly thereof;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary right side view of the trailer unit of this invention with portions thereof broken away, said view showing the refuse container and container outlet door in a datum position in solid lines, the door in a dump position relative container in a datum position in dotted lines, and part of the container in the dumping position in dotted lines together with the linkage for moving the container to said dumping position;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary top view of the right side of the trailer unit, portions being broken away to more clearly illustrate the linkage for moving the container to a dumping position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the paddle wheel;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the differential drive motor and brake for the drive unit of this invention together with a schematic showing of other drive components; and

I FIG. 8 is a fragmentary vertical view generally taken along the line and in the direction of the arrows 88 of FIG. 4 to show the deflector that is rearwardly adjacent the container inlet port; and 7 Referring to FIG. I, the apparatus of this invention includes a combination pick up head and drive unit,

generally designated 11,'having a main frame, generally designated 12 on which there is mounted a pair of motor driven, ground engaging wheels 13. Connected to the drive unit by an articulated joint 14 is a trailer unit, generally designated 15, that mounts a pair of ground engaging wheels 17. Thus, the apparatus of this invention, includes an articulated vehicle. Since the manner of forming the articulated connection and the manner of steering the vehicle may be the same as that described in copending Application Ser. No. 255,612, filed May 22, 1972, details of the construction of the articulated joint and the steering mechanism will not be described herein.

Referring now in particular to FIGS. 2 and 3, the combination pick up head and drive unit 11 includes a downwardly opening, pick up head housing, generally designated H, that includes side walls 18 which have vertical lower portions, upwardly and transversely inwardly inclined intermediate portions and vertical top portions. The housing also includes a rear wall 19 and an upwardly and rearwardly inclined front wall 20, the walls 18-20 being joined to one another to form a generally rectangular rearward discharge opening 23. The lower terminal edge of the front wall 20 is at a substantially higher elevation than the lower terminal edges of walls l8, 19; there being provided a front panel 21 having its upper edge hingedly connected at 22 to the lower edge of the front panel for movement about a transverse axis. The movement of the front panel in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 2 is limited by abutting against the front edges of the side walls 18. The side walls dependingly mount resilient side skirts 25 while the rear wall mounts a downwardly and forwardly inclined rear skirt 24 that extends between the side wall skirts. Brackets 26 are secured to the lower edge of the front panel to mount a hinge member 33 that has a transverse hinge axis. The hinge member mounts a front flap (leaf seal) 27 that includes a flap portion 27a which in its lowermost (vertical) position has a lower terminal edge at about the same elevation as the lower terminal edge of skirts 24 and 25, a reversely bent flap portion 27b that resists rearwardly movement of flap portion 27a and a flap portion 270 that substantially forms a fluid seal between panel 21 and flap portion 27b. Advantageously the flap portions 27a, 27b are provided with vertical slits 27d to permit one part of a flap portion moving rearwardly relative the other, for example, if one of the parts between adjacent slits engages large objects, the loss of vacuum is minimized as the one part moves over the object from that which would have been lost 'if the slits were not provided.

In order to selectively pivot flap 27 about hinge 33 from the generally vertical position of FIG. 2 to an elevated, generally forwardly extending position, the sheath and adjustment nut portion 30b of a conventional push-pull cable assembly 30 are mounted by a bracket 28 that is fixedly attached to the front panel 21, portion 30b permitting downward movement of the cable operated rod portion 30a to a position the flap extends generally vertically. The rod portion is pivotally connected to a bracket 29 that is bolted to the hinge 33 opposite the hinge axis from the hing portion secured to panel 21. The push-pull cable may be operated to selectively move the flap 27 to its elevated position and retain the flap in said position, while a stop (not shown) is mounted on bracket 26 to limit the hing- Although it is preferred that a flap 27 such as disclosed be used, it is to be understood other flap constructions could be used. For example, a flexible laminated flap could be used wherein the front laminate extends the furthest downwardly and each successively rearward laminate lower edge terminates at a progressively higher elevation so that lowermost parts of the flap can more readily bend rearwardly than higher parts of the flap to aid in normally retaining the flap out of the path of movement of a paddle wheel 36.

In order to mount the housing H for movement between its datum position shown in solid lines in FIG. 2 and an elevated transport position, links 162 at their first ends are pivotally connected at 164 to a flange 19b secured to the housing rear wall 19, while the second ends of the links are pivotally connected at 163 to the lower front corner portions of the side walls 43. At a higher elevation than links 162, there are provided links 166 that are pivotally connected at 167 to the side walls 43 and at 168 to the flanges 19b. A stop is mounted for limiting clockwise movement of links 166 as shown in FIG. 2. As a result of the locations of the pivots 163, 164, 167, 168 and the lengths of the links 162, 166, the housing H is mounted for vertical transatory movement. In order to move the housing between its positions, one end of an arm 169 is pivotally connected at 170 to the housing front wall 20 adjacent the central upper edge portion thereof and the opposite end is pivotally connected at 171 to an intermediate portion of an operator control lever 172 that is operable by operator sitting on the seat 31. One end of the lever 172 is pivotally connected at 173 to the drive unit frame. Suitable latch mechanism (not shown) is provided for selectively retaining the lever in the housing elevated position.

A driven shaft 29 is rotatably mounted by the side walls 18 and inwardly of the side walls, the shaft being rectangular in cross section perpendicular to the central axis of elongation thereof. The shaft is extended through a rectangular tubular portion 36a of the paddle wheel 36 (see FIG. 6). Flap portions (spokes) 36a that are of about the same axial length as the paddle wheel have their one edges integrally joined to the tubular portions 36a and their opposite edges integrally joined to the circular cylindrical tube 36c of the paddle wheel, the flap portions 36b being substantially angularly spaced from one another. A plurality of axially elongated, radially extending flap portions 36d have their inner edges integrally joined to the tube. The flap portions 36d are substantially angularly spaced from one another with each pair being diammetrically opposed. The outer edges of the diammetrically opposed pair of flaps 36d in a horizontal position are spaced by a distance only slightly less than the horizontal spacing of the rear wall from the lower portion of the front panel in its datum position shown in FIG. 2 while when a pair of diammetrically opposed flaps 36d are in a vertical condition, the lower edge of the lowermost flap extends to about the same elevation as the lower terminal edges of skirts 24, 25, or to an elevation just slightly above the surface being cleaned. Thus flap portions 36d substantially form fluid seals with the housing as they are moved through horizontal planes to reduce the quantity of air drawn into the housing, the front panel 21 being curved to be closely adjacent a substantial portion of the outer periphery of the path of travel of the paddle wheel. Further skirt 24 is inclined at an angle to aid in the pick up of material when the paddle wheel is rotated in the direction of arrow 200 and minimize the amount of air drawn into the housing between it and the paddle wheel. The mounting member 36a, flap portions 36b, flaps 36d and cylindrical tube 36c are of substantially the same axial lengths.

The paddle wheel 36 is made of material sufficiently resilient that the cylindrical portion thereof may bulge radially inwardly when an object, for example a can, is moved between the housing and the cylindrical tube that has a greater dimension than the normal spacing therebetween, and will resiliently return to its original condition when the object has been moved upwardly into the housing. This aids in moving large objects upwardly in the housing. Advantageously there may be provided a plurality of paddle wheels 36 on each shaft 35 in edge to edge abutting relationship instead of a single paddle wheel extending substantially the transverse distance between the side walls 18. Further, if desired, the hollow space between members 36a, 36c may be filled with a flexible foam material.

Through the provision of the cylinder tube 36c that bisects the flaps at the juncture of flap portions 36b, 36d, which is at a location intermediate the axially extending terminal edges of the flap portions 36d and the tubular portion 36a, the volume of air lost as the paddle is rotating is minimized. That is, the tube 360 cuts down the air loss and keeps the air velocity moving faster in the areas between the tube 360 and the ground and the housing as the paddle wheel is rotated for picking up debris. As a result the total quantity of air drawn into the housing for picking up debris is substantially less from that which would be required if tube 36c were not provided. Further the flap portions 36d in moving angularly above a horizontal plane project or fling particles engaged thereby upwardly in the housing. Additionally, the tube 36c acts as a stabilizer and strengthener for the flaps and serve to control the stiffness of the flaps. The paddle wheel may be formed by molding and may be made of rubber, neoprene, urethane or other suitable flexible material. Since the tube is made of flexible material, the tube in rotating and engaging large objects between itself and the ground will start to move the object for pick up in either angular direction of rotation of the tube, and in rotating can flex inwardly to permit passage of objects of a greater longitudinal dimension than the normal corresponding dimension between the tube and the adjacent part of the housing front and rear wall respectively, depending on the direction of rotation.

In order to drive the paddle wheel in either one angular direction or in an angular direction opposite thereto, a hydraulic motor 39 is mounted on the housing H and has a sprocket (not shown) keyed to the motor shaft thereof for driving a chain 40 which in turn drives a sprocket (not shown) keyed to the paddle wheel shaft 35. Suitable hydraulic circuitry, including a control (not shown) located adjacent the operators seat 31, is provided for operating the motor 39 in the selected angular direction.

A duct, generally designated D, has side walls 43, and a bottom wall 44 that is upwardly and rearwardly inclined at a relatively steep angle, for example over 45, and located in substantially the same plane as the rear inclined portion 19a of the housing wall 19 when the housing is in a datum surface cleaning position of FIG. 2, wall 44 and wall portion 19a being substantially parallel to the housing front wall 20. The perpendicular spacing of wall portion 19a from wall 20 is substantially less than the diameter of the tube 36c. Further, the duct includes a top wall 42, that is predominately horizontal in a rearward direction and initially curves upwardly and subsequently downwardly, walls 42-44 being joined together to form an opening of substantially the same size and shape as opening 23 to receive material discharged through opening 23. Joined to the rear edge of the top wall 42 to extend upwardly therefrom is a wall 47, the wall 47 being located longitudinally rearwardly of the upper transverse edge of wall 44. A bottom wall 49 has its front edge joined to the upper edge of the wall 44 and is downwardly and rearwardly inclined along portion 49a, then extends downwardly and rearwardly along section 49b, and thereafter has a generally vertical portion 49c. The duct also includes a rearwardly and downwardly inclined top wall 50 in overlying relationship to the rearward part of wall portion 49a and the front part of section 49b.

The upper front transverse edge of wall 50 is a substantial distance rearwardly of wall 47 whereby walls 50, 47 in connection with the adjacent parts of the side walls 43 form a suction port 52. The front edge of wall 50 is located closely adjacent the plane of wall 44.

In order to selectively close the suction port to prevent movement of fluid or other material therethrough, there is provided a door 54 having an upper edge hingedly connected at 55 to the front portion of wall 50 so that the door, in its open, depending position, is located a substantial distance rearwardly of the junction of walls 44, 49, and has its lower terminal edge a substantial distance above the vertically adjacent part of wall 49. An arm 56 has one end pivotally connected at 57 to the mid-portion of the door 54, an intermediate portion slidably extended through a narrow slot in wall 50, and an opposite end pivotally connected at 58 to one end of an arm 59. The mid-portion of arm 59 is pivotally connected at 60 to bracket 61 that is mounted on the exterior surface of wall 50. The opposite end of arm 59 is connected through a suitable linkage (not shown) to be operated by an operator sitting on the seat 31. The connections of the arms 56, 59 to one another and to the door are loose to permit the door pivoting a limited amount in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 2 to minimize damage to the door when hit by heavy debris.

Located rearwardly of the duct D is a heavy trash receptacle, generally designated R, that in part is formed by the rearward portions of the side walls 43 of the duct D and wall portions 490, and the rearward part of wall portion 49b. Further, the heavy trash receptacle R includes a top wall 62 that has a front edge joined to the lower rear edge of wall 50, a bottom framework 63 and a rear wall (not shown). Thus walls 50, 62 adjacent the juncture thereof, wall portion 49b and the adjacent parts of the side walls form a throat that serves as an inlet to the trash receptacle R. The framework 63 provides a plurality of discharge openings (not shown), each discharge opening being closed by a door 65 that has a front end portion hingedly connected at 66 to the framework to permit the doors to be hingedly moved toward an open position extending in a downard and forward direction. Other than for the inlet throat and the discharge openings, the receptacle is closed.

In order to move the doors between their open and closed positions, the mid-portions of each of the transverse opposite edges of the doors has the lower end of an arm 67 pivotally connected thereto at 68, the opposite end of each arm being pivotally connected at 69 to a horizontal bar 70. To each bar 70 there is pivotally connected at 72, the one ends of parallel arms 71, the opposite ends of the parallel arms being pivotally connected at 80 to the side walls 43. The front pivots 69 are slidably extended through elongated slots 74 in the control arms 73 to form a lost motion connection. The ends of the control arms opposite the slots 73 are pivotally connected at 76 to the side walls while the midportion of one of the arms is pivotally connected at 77 to a control rod 78 that extends upwardly to adjacent the operator seat 31.

Through the above mentioned structure, the doors 65 may be pivoted from their discharge opening closing position (solid line position of F IG. 2) to a downwardly and rearwardly or even forwardly extending opening position by moving the control rod 78 to pivot the control arms 73 in a counterclockwise direction about pivot 76 as viewed in FIG. 2. As the control arms are pivoted in a counterclockwise direction, the horizontal bars 70 are forced rearwardly and at the same time pivot in a counterclockwise direction about the respective pivot 80 whereby the horizontal arms 70 moves to a lower elevation. As the arms 70 move to progressively lower elevations, the doors are pivoted downwardly and forwardly and may be pivoted to positions that the doors extend downwardly and forwardly from their respective pivot 66 as viewed in FIG. 2. Thus, the plurality of doors 65 are simultaneously movable between a closed position and an open position. Advantageously resilient gaskets are provided around the discharge openings of the receptacle R or on the doors to form the fluid seals between the doors and the bottom wall 63.

A suction blower, generally designated B is mounted on the main frame and has an inlet 82 that opens into the suction port 52. A vacuum take off duct 83 opens to the inlet 82 and extends transversely outwardly to permit attachment of suitable devices to be operated by the vacuum. A closure (not shown) is provided for closing the duct 83. The suction blower B has an outlet 84 that is fluidly connected to the forward end of the corrugated fluid conduit 85 which extends rearwardly to be in fluid communication with the inlet port 86 of the debris container C of the trailer unit 15 (See FIG. 4). The port 86 is provided in the front wall 91 of the container C, a resilient gasket 88 being provided around the port to form a matching fit with the discharge opening of the duct 89 on which rearward end of the conduit 85 is mounted. The duct 89 is mounted at the upper end of a vertical standard 90, the lower end in turn being mounted on the main frame 16 of the trailer unit in a stationary position. In this connection, the adjacent surfaces of duct 89 and the front wall are sloped upwardly and forwardly to permit the container C being moved to an emptying position without having to disconnect the duct 85 as will become more apparent hereinafter. The front wall 91 of the container C is provided with a vertically elongated front slot 91a in which the standard 90 extends when the container is in its datum position.

The container includes a lower, metal receptacle portion G and an upper filter portion F, lower debris receptacle portion G having a bottom wall 94. Dependingly secured to the rear comer portions of the bottom wall are transversely spaced brackets 95, longitudinally elongated arms 96 each having one end pivotally connected at 97 to the brackets and an opposite end pivotally connected at 98 to the frame 16 forwardly of the wheels 17 but rearwardly of the container front wall 91. A second set of arms 102 are pivotally connected to the brackets at locations that are forwardly and above pivots 97 when the container is in its solid line datum position, the forward ends of the arms 102 being pivotally connected to the frame 16 at 104. The pivot axis of the pivots 104 is at a substantially higher elevation and forwardly of the pivots 98. A piston cylinder combination has a piston rod 108 pivotally connected at 109 to a transverse member 102a that has opposite ends secured to arms 102 at a location that is longitudinally intermediate pivots 103 and 104, and a cylinder 110 that is pivotally connected to the frame 16 at 1 1 1. Pivot member 11 1 is located below and generally transversely between pivot members 98. Due to the location of the pivotal connections, the arms 96, 102 and the piston cylinder combination relative to each other and the frame and the container, as the piston rod is moved toward its extended position, arms 102 are pivoted about pivot members 104 in the direction of the arrow 112 while arms 96 are pivoted in a corresponding direction about pivots 98. Since this results in pivot members 103 moving vertically upwardly at a slightly faster rate than pivot members 97 are moved vertically upwardly, the brackets 95 pivot about pivot members 103 in a direction of arrow 115 while said brackets pivot in a corresponding direction about pivot members 97. That is, as viewed in FIG. 4, as the arms are pivoted in a clockwise direction about the pivot members connecting said arms to the frame, the container pivots about pivot members 97, 103 in the counterclockwise direction. Accordingly, since the arms in the container datum position extend predominantly horizontally, the initial movement of the container is predominantly vertical while upon the piston rod approaching its extended condition, the container is pivoted in a counterclockwise direction at progressively increasingly larger angular increments for the same increments of progressively vertical movement of the pivot 97. As a result, upon container reaching the elevated dumping dotted line position of FIG. 4, the floor of the container is inclined at a substantial angle downwardly and rearwardly with the rear end of the floor being rearwardly of the frame 16 which terminates adjacent rear portion of the wheels 17.

In order to facilitate dumping the container, there is provided a door 119 for removably closing the bottom discharge opening provided in the rear wall 120 of the container receptacle. In order to mount the door for movement between its solid line closed position and its dotted line open position illustrated in FIG. 4, a bracket 122 is mounted within the receptacle on the rear wall, a pivot member 123 mounted by the bracket pivotally mounting one end of the somewhat U-shaped arm 124. An intermediate portion of the arm has a piston rod 125 pivotally connected thereto at 127. The piston rod forms part of a piston cylinder combination 125, 126 that includes a two-way acting cylinder 126 and is pivotally attached to the bracket 122 at 128. In the door closed position, the pivot 127 is located vertically and longitudinally intermediate pivots 123, 128. The opposite end of the arm 124 is welded to the upper rear portion of the door 119. Upon applying fluid under pressure to the upper end of cylinder 126, pivot 127 is swung through a downwardly extending arc while the door is swung through an arc in a rearward and upward direction, the foregoing assuming the receptacle in its datum solid line position of FIG. 4. By the above described structure, the door can be retained in its closed position till the container C has been moved to its dumping position, and then fluid under pressure applied to one end of the cylinder for moving the door relative the receptacle to open the discharge outlet of the receptacle. Thereafter, fluid under pressure may be applied to the opposite end of the cylinder for moving the door to its closed position and retaining the door in the closed position.

A generally rectangular frame 131 is attached to the upper peripheral edge of the receptacle for mounting the fabric filter 132 to extend thereabove and in fluid sealing relationship with the receptacle. Suitable support members (not shown) may be provided to prevent collapse of the fabric filter when air under pressure is not being discharged into the container. Other filters can be used, for example, an envelope filter.

In order to prevent debris in the airstream from directly impinging on the filter, to diffuse the air flow and to deflect the debris to spread throughout the receptacle so as not to bunch in one pile, there is provided a deflector 175. Advantageously the deflector may be made from a single sheet of flexible material, for example, rubber, that has vertical slits to form upper edge portions 175a that are secured to the container front wall vertically above the container inlet port 86. The remainder of the deflector depends from the upper edge portion to have a lower terminal edge at a substantially lower elevation than the inlet port, the deflector being of a substantially greater width than the inlet port. When air under pressure is discharged from duct 85, the deflector lower end portion is forced further away from the container inlet 86 to direct the airstream generally downwardly and transversely outwardly, the degree of flexibility and weight of the deflector being such to prevent the deflector from bending to a position in which the airstream could flow directly rearwardly from the inlet port 86.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the drive and brake mechanism, generally designated 140 will now be set forth. The mechanism 140 includes a hydraulic motor 141 having a motor shaft 141a to which there is keyed a shaft 142, the shaft being rotatably mounted in the differential casing 143. To the opposite end portion of the shaft 142 there is keyed a brake disc 145 that extends within the confines of an axially movable brake housing 147 The brake housing is mounted for axial movement by conventional mechanism 148 that includes mechanical and/or hydraulic linkages to the brake pedal adjacent the operators seat for moving the brake housing to brakingly engage the brake disc.

The intermediate portion of the shaft 142 is provided with teeth for driving a larger diameter gear 150 that is rotatably mounted by the casing 143, the gear in turn driving the gear 151 that is bolted to the differential 152 that drives the front axle 152a. The axle 152a in turn has the drive unit wheels 13 mounted thereon for being driven by the axle. With the aforementioned structure, the braking action is directly applied to the motor driven shaft, rather than to the wheel axle 152a, for increasing the braking efficiency.

The hydraulic motor 141 is a fluid driven, bidirectional, in line, variable piston motor with a two positioned swash plate lever control for selectively operating the motor to drive the shaft 142. For driving motor 141 and the suction blower, there is provided an engine 156 on the drive unit frame that has a pulley 157 on the engine shaft for driving the V-belt 158. The V- belt drives the variable volume, over-center, in-line piston pump 159 which through suitable hydraulic circuitry 160 drives the motor 141 at variable speeds and in either angular direction.

In using the apparatus of this invention for collecting deep or high accumulations of bulky material, in the preferred type of operation the leaf seal flap 27 is moved to and retained in its elevated position by the push-pull cable assembly 30 and the paddle wheel motor rotates the paddle wheel in the direction of the arrow 200. At this time, as the unit moves forwardly into the pile of debris, the paddle wheel flaps 36d and the flexible tube 36c will start accelerating material to initially wedge the material between the tube and the ground and thence push it around and up the skirt 24 and into the airstream provided by operating the suc tion blower. The airstream is of a sufficiently high ve locity to convey most of the debris thrown upwardly into the housing H by the paddle wheel to move said debris rearwardly of the upper edge of plate 44, the general trajectory of the debris being indicated by the arrows 201. The very light debris flows upwardly through port 52 with the airstream without contacting door 54. However the trajectory of the other material is such to strike door 54, the heavy thence falling downwardly to wal 49 and into the heavy trash receptacle while the remainder of the material striking the door is air conveyed through the suction port 52. For example, large light objects such as popcorn boxes frequently would be of sufficient weight not to be carried directly into port 52, but rather would strike door 54, and thereafter would be carried by the airstream upwardly through port 52. This mode of operation especially lends itself to picking up large, bulky and light material. However, this mode of operation does not do as good a job of picking up heavier objects as when the flap 27 is in its solid line position of FIG. 2 and the paddle wheel is rotated in the direction opposite arrow 200.

When the leaf seal 27 is lowered to its solid line position of FIG. 2 and the paddle wheel rotated in the direction opposite arrow 200, upon moving the machine across surface having debris thereon, the objects that pass under the leaf seal 27 are engaged between the flaps of the paddle wheel and are carried up the back side of the leaf seal between the paddle wheel and the leaf seal and panel 21 to be thrown by the paddle wheel into the airstream. The flexible tube 360 can engage large objects and carry them around the back side of the leaf seal and adjacent panel 21, and in part the throwing action of the paddle wheel tends to throw the objects upwardly between walls 42, 44 of the ducts, the trajectory of the material being generally along and adjacent the front wall 20 indicated by arrows 202. As a result, this mode of operation is better for heavy objects than that described in the preceding paragraph. lf sufficiently large debris items are encountered on the surface so as to cause the leaf seal to bend backwardly into the path of travel of the flaps 36 d of the paddle wheel, the panel 21 and leaf seal attached thereto will hinge about the axis of the clearing hinge 22 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 2 to move the leaf seal upwardly sufficiently to clear the leaf seal from engagement with a large object. Thereupon the panel and leaf seal returns to the vertical position under the action of gravity. As a result the clearing of the leaf seal is automatic. To be noted is that the cable assembly permits the flap 27 and panel 21 pivoting as a single unit. The rotation of the paddle wheel in the direction opposite arrow 200 and leaf seal in the datum position of FIG. 2 is not only good for picking up light debris loads but also for picking up small dense items such as rocks, nuts, bolts and pop bottles.

The debris in moving upwardly through the housing and into the duct D will result in a separation of the heavier objects from the lighter particles, the lighter particles being carried up to port 52 and into the suction blower housing to be discharged from the outlet 84. Material passing through the outlet 84 passes through the conduit 85 and into the container C. In the container, the debris laden airstream in passing beneath deflector 17S and in expanding deposits the heavier debris carried in the stream over the floor 94 while the lighter debris is retained in the container by filter F as the air passes outwardly through the filter. The heavier objects moving into the duct D either strike the door 54 to fall downwardly onto the wall 49 and thence pass into the heavy debris receptacle R or pass between the door in its open position and the bottom wall 49. As a result, a separation of the heavier and lighter materials takes place in the duct D.

Ribs 54a are provided on the door 54 (forward side of the door in an open position) to permit air to flow behind objects such as paper and thereby discourage the large light articles such as paper or cardboard from becoming attached thereto. During the time the apparatus of this invention is being moved from one location that has been cleaned to another location, the door 54 advantageously is closed and the lever 172 pivoted for moving the housing to its elevated position. Also, it is advantageous to close the door 54 during the dumping of debris from the container C to prevent an airstream flowing into the container and blower material in the container into the area exterior of the container when the container is dumped. Further, if it is desired to use the vacuum for another device that is connected to the duct 83, the door 54 is advantageously moved to its closed position.

At the time it is desired to empty the receptacle R, the lever 78 is operated to move the arms 70 and thereby the doors to their open condition in the manner previously described.

It is to be understood that the container C may be mounted for dumping by conventional mechanism in place of that described herein; and that other mechanism may be used for mounting the door 119.

It is to be understood that wall 49 could be vertical and the receptacle R located further forwardly than that shown in FIG. 2 as long as the modified wall 49 was rearwardly of wall 44 and forwardly of door 54. Further it is to be understood that in place of door 54, the duct D could be provided with a generally vertical impact wall at the location of door 54 in its open position. However door 54 is preferred as it may be used to closed port 52 for reasons previously set forth.

Instead of making the paddle wheel with portions 36d axially across tube 36c substantially parallel to a plane of the axis of rotation of the paddle wheel, the flap portions may be a spiral configuration. However, flap portions that are substantially parallel to said plane are preferred as they cut down the air losses.

For some cleaning opeations, a brush could be rotatably mounted in housing H. A brush would be better for picking up debris such as sand, but would not be nearly as good as the paddle wheel of this invention for picking up debris such as leaves and paper.

Also, in place of the paddle wheel a rotary rake may be mounted in the housing H. A rake would be better for picking up objects such as cans, pop bottles and paper in relatively tall grass than the paddle wheel of this invention. However, for cleaning areas such as parking lots, paddle wheel 36 is preferred.

With this invention, the heavy trash falls into the receptacle R. As a result the heavy trash does not pass through the suction blower, and accordingly there is less wearing of the blower impeller and blower housing. Further, as the heavy trash is not air conveyed to the container C, a lower rate of air flow is required for picking up heavy trash than if both heavy and lighter trash were air conveyed to container C. As a result, there is less air to be filtered and less power is required for driving the blower.

Since the trash in container C is generally of relative light nature, for example paper and leaves, after being dumped, it may be easily compacted, the receptacle C being of a substantially larger capacity than the receptacle R. The trash in receptacle R is generally of a dense, heavy nature.

With this invention, the housing H is located forwardly of the axis of rotation of the front wheels 13 while the heavy trash receptacle is located rearwardly of said axis and the suction blower is located above the heavy trash receptacle. With the heavy trash receptacle being between the trailer unit and the axis of rotation of the front wheels, part of the weight of the receptacle is supported by the rear wheels. As a result, the power unit is of a shorter length and the front wheels of a smaller size than if both the heavy trash receptacle and the pick up unit were located forwardly of the axis of rotation of said wheels. Additionally with the heavy trash receptacle being on the opposite side of the axis of rotation of the front wheels from the pick up unit, a good balance and weight distribution, part on each side of the axis, is obtained, and the machine is more maneuverable than if both were located forwardly of said axis. The center of gravity of the container C in its datum position is located above the rear wheels. Additionally with the trailer unit and a power unit being connected by an articulated joint, the vehicle is particularly suitable for use over relative rough terrain.

We claim:

1. A surface cleaning machine comprising a mobile vehicle having a frame, a downwardly opening debris pick up housing, said housing having a debris outlet, first means for mounting said housing on the frame, a power driven surface cleaning tool rotatably mounted in the housing adjacent the surface to be cleaned for raising debris from the surface, a combination filter and light debris collection container, second means for mounting the container on the frame, a suction blower having a discharge outlet and an inlet, third means for fluidly connecting the blower outlet to the container, a

heavy trash receptacle mounted on the frame and having an inlet, and duct means for deflecting material passing therethrough to separate heavier material from lighter material, said duct means including a duct inlet fluidly connected to the housing outlet, a duct first outlet fluidly connected to the blower inlet, a second duct outlet at a lower elevation than the first duct outlet opening to the trash receptacle inlet, a bottom wall sloped upwardly and rearwardly of the housing inlet, a duct branch having the second duct outlet, 21 bottom wall and a top wall sloped downwardly and rearwardly from the first duct outlet, the first duct outlet being at a substantially higher elevation than the first mentioned bottom wall and extending rearwardly thereof, a transverse, vertically extending impact surface member adjacent the duct first outlet on the opposite side thereof from the duct inlet, extending to at least substantially the same elevation as the duct first outlet, and having a lower edge at a higher elevation than the lowermost part of the trash receptable inlet, and means hingedly mounting the impact member on the top wall to depend therefrom to permit pivoting of the impact member for minimizing damage to the door when hit by heavy debris.

2. A surface cleaning machine normally driven in a forward direction, comprising a mobile vehicle having a frame, a downwardly opening debris pick up unit having a debris outlet, first means for mounting the unit on the frame, a combination filter-debris container mounted on the frame, and second means, including a suction blower, fluidly connected to the unit outlet for drawing air and air entrained debris from the unit and discharging the air and entrained debris in the container, the unit including a housing having front, rear and side walls joined together, a rear skirt dependingly mounted on the rear wall, side skirts dependingly mounted on the side walls, a front panel having an upper edge portion hingedly connected to the front wall for movement between a depending position abutting against the side walls and a forwardly extending position, a leaf flap, third means dependingly hingedly connecting the leaf flap to the front panel for movement between a generally vertically extending position and a generally forwardly extending position, control means mounted on the housing for selectively retaining the leaf seal in its generally horizontal extending position, and power driven rotary means mounted in the housing adjacent the surface for moving material upwardly into the housing.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 further characterized in that the leaf flap in its generally vertical position includes a reversely bent, transversely extending first flap portion, and a generally vertical second flap portion abutting against the first flap portion on the forward side thereof and extending to a substantially lower elevation than the first flap portion, said first and second flap portion having transversely spaced, vertical slits extending through the lower parts thereof.

4. A surface cleaning machine comprising a mobile vehicle having a frame, a downwardly opening debris pick up housing, said housing having a debris outlet, first means for mounting said housing on the frame, a power driven surface cleaning tool rotatably mounted in the housing adjacent the surface to be cleaned for raising debris from the surface, a combination filter and a light debris collection container, second means for mounting the container on the frame, a suction blower having a discharge outlet and an inlet, third means for fluidly connecting the blower outlet to the container, a heavy trash receptacle mounted on the frame and having an inlet, and duct means for deflecting material passing therethrough to separate heavier material from lighter material, said duct means including a duct having an inlet fluidly connected to the housing outlet, a duct first outlet fluidly connected to the blower inlet and a second duct outlet at a lower elevation than the first duct outlet opening to the trash receptacle inlet, a bottom wall sloped upwardly and rearwardly of the housing inlet, and a duct branch having the second duct outlet, a bottom wall sloped downwardly and rearwardly from the first mentioned bottom wall and a top wall sloped downwardly and rearwardly from the first duct outlet, the first duct outlet being at a substantially higher elevation than the first mentioned bottom wall and extending rearwardly thereof, said tool comprising a paddle wheel, said housing including a front wall, a front panel having an upper edge portion and a lower edge portion fourth means connecting the upper edge portion to the front wall for mounting the panel for limited pivotal upward movement from a datum position, said fourth means comprising first hinge means having a transverse hinge axis for mounting the front panel for movement, a flexible front flap, and fifth means for dependingly mounting the front flap on the panel lower edge portion to extend closely adjacent and normally forwardly of the path of angular movement of the paddle wheel; said front flap being of sufficient flexibility to be bendable into said path of movement by relatively heavy debris on the surface being cleaned as the machine moves forwardly, said fifth means comprising second hinge means having a transverse hinge axis for mounting the front flap for movement between a depending position and a generally horizontally extending position, and sixth means mounted on the housing for selectively retaining the front flap in the generally horizontally extending position.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 further characterized in that the sixth means includes a mounting bracket mounted on the front panel and means mounted by the bracket and connected to the front flap to permit a force being transmitted from the paddle wheel to the front flap to pivot both the front flap and front panel as a single unit about the front panel hinge axis.

6. A surface cleaning maching normally driven in a forward direction, comprising a mobile vehicle having a frame, a downwardly opening debris pick up unit having a debris outlet, first means for mounting said unit on the frame, a combination filter-debris container mounted on the frame, and second means fluidly connected to the unit outlet for drawing air and air entrained debris from the unit and discharging the air and entrained debris in the container, said unit including a housing having said debris outlet, said housing including joined side, rear and front walls, a rear skirt mounted on the rear wall to extend downwardly and forwardly thereof, side skirts mounted on the side walls, and leaf seal means mounted on the front wall, the leaf seal means including a front panel, third means to hingedly connect the front panel to the front wall for movement between a predominantly downwardly extending datum position and a substantially more forwardly extending position, a resilient leaf flap, fourth means for dependingly hingedly mounting the leaf flap on the front panel for movement between a generally downwardly depending position and a generally forwardly extending position, and fifth means mounted on the housing for selectively retaining the leaf flap in its generally forwardly extending position, said front wall being inclined upwardly and rearwardly, the rear wall having an upper wall portion inclined at about the same angle as the front wall, said first means including a duct having an inlet branch in fluid communication with the unit outlet, said inlet branch having a bottom wall in substantially the same plane as the housing rear wall portion, an airstream outlet port having a rear edge located substantially rearwardly and above the inlet branch bottom wall and closely adjacent the plane of the inlet branch bottom wall, and a heavy trash outlet branch having a bottom wall extending downwardly of the outlet port, a heavy trash receptacle opening to the heavy trash branch, a paddle wheel made of resilient material and having diametrically opposed flap portions that in a horizontal position have outer edges spaced slightly less than the corresponding horizontal spacing of the rear wall and the leaf seal mean, and means including a shaft mounted in the housing for mounting the paddle wheel adjacent the surface to be cleaned and drivingly rotating the paddle wheel, and power means drivingly connected to the shaft for rotating the shaft, the second means including a suction blowerhaving an inlet fluidly connected to the outlet port, a door for closing the blower inlet and means for mounting the door to hingedly depend adjacent the outlet port rear edge and said door being selectively movable to close said blower inlet.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 further characterized in that the leaf flap has a lower portion bendable into the path of rotary movement of the paddle wheel, the fourth means hingedly connecting the flap to the front panel to move the front panel and leaf flap as a single unit about the third means hinge axis in a direction away from the paddle wheel when the paddle wheel engages the lower portion and is rotating in a direction that the lower part of the paddle wheel is rotating toward the flap.

8. The apparatus of claim 6 further characterized in that said power means is bi-directional for selectively rotating the shaft in either angular direction.

9. A surface cleaning machine comprising a mobile vehicle having a frame, a downwardly opening debris pick up housing, said housinghaving a debris outlet, first means for mounting said housing on the frame, a power driven surface cleaning tool rotatably mounted in the housing adjacent the surface to be cleaned for raising debris from the surface, a combination filter and light debris collection container, second means for mounting the container on the frame, a suction blower having a discharge outlet and an inlet, third means for fluidly connecting the blower outlet to the container, a heavy trash receptacle mounted on the frame and having an inlet, and duct means for deflecting material passing therethrough to separate heavier material from lighter material, said duct means including a duct inlet fluidly connected to the housing outlet, a duct first outlet fluidly connected to the blower inlet, a second duct outlet at a lower elevation than the first duct outlet opening to the trash receptacle inlet, a bottom wall sloped upwardly and rearwardly of the housing inlet, a duct branch having the second duct outlet, a bottom wall and a top wall sloped downwardly and rearwardly from the first duct outlet, the first duct outlet being at a substantially higher elevation than the first mentioned bottom wall and extending rearwardly thereof, a transverse, vertically extending impact surface member adjacent the duct first outlet on the opposite side thereof from the duct inlet, extending to at least substantially the same elevation as the duct first outlet, and having a lower edge at a higher elevation than the lowermost part of the trash receptacle inlet, means hingedly mounting the impact member on the top wall to depend therefrom, said impact member comprising a door for closing the first duct outlet to block the flow of debris therethrough, and means for selectively moving the door between a position depending relative the top wall and a position closing the first duct outlet, the last mentioned means being connected to the door to permit limited hinged movement thereof when the door is in depending relationship to the top wall.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/340.1, 15/230.16, 15/83, 15/347
International ClassificationE01H1/08, E01H1/00
Cooperative ClassificationE01H1/0854
European ClassificationE01H1/08C3