|Publication number||USRE39473 E1|
|Application number||US 10/752,485|
|Publication date||Jan 23, 2007|
|Filing date||Jan 6, 2004|
|Priority date||Jan 13, 2000|
|Also published as||CA2406265A1, CA2406265C, CN1162122C, CN1394126A, DE60112545D1, DE60112545T2, EP1248551A1, EP1248551B1, US6341404, WO2001050938A1|
|Publication number||10752485, 752485, US RE39473 E1, US RE39473E1, US-E1-RE39473, USRE39473 E1, USRE39473E1|
|Inventors||Robert A. Salo, Charles J. Thur, Paul D. Stephens, Mark E. Cipolla, Michael F. Wright|
|Original Assignee||Royal Appliance Mfg. Co.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (22), Referenced by (14), Classifications (20), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to the vacuum cleaner arts. More particularly, the present invention relates to upright vacuum cleaners that are used for suctioning dirt and debris from carpets and floors.
Upright vacuum cleaners are well known in the art. Two types of upright vacuum cleaners are a soft bag-type vacuum cleaner and a hard shell-type vacuum cleaner. In a conventional soft bag-type vacuum cleaner, a vacuum source generates the suction required to pull dirt from the carpet or floor being vacuumed through a suction opening, through a motor/fan housing, and into a filter bag housed within a soft bag secured to a handle portion of the vacuum cleaner. The cleaned air is then exhausted through the porous walls of the filter bag and soft bag. In a conventional hard shell-type vacuum cleaner, a vacuum source generates the suction required to pull dirt from the carpet or floor being vacuumed through a suction opening and into a filter bag housed within a hard shell upper portion of the vacuum cleaner. Cleaned air travels through the porous walls of the filter bag, through the motor/fan housing, and is then exhausted to the atmosphere.
To avoid the need for vacuum filter bags altogether, and the associated expense and inconvenience of replacing filter bags, a third type of upright vacuum cleaner utilizes cyclonic airflow, rather than a filter bag, to separate the majority of the dirt and other particulates from the suction air stream. After separating debris from the air stream, the air is typically filtered to remove any residual particulates. The filtered air then travels through the motor/fan housing and is exhausted.
For many of the known cyclonic airflow-type vacuum cleaners, the process of emptying a dirt collection container is inconvenient and often results in the spillage of the container contents. Further, in some cyclonic airflow-type vacuum cleaners, the exhaust air is not sufficiently free of residual contaminants. Because the cyclonic action of such conventional cyclonic airflow-type vacuum cleaners does not completely remove all dust, dirt and other contaminants from the suction air stream, it is necessary to include an exhaust filter downstream from the motor. As a result, some cyclonic airflow-type vacuum cleaners incorporate a final filter stage such as a substantially rectangular or cartridge-type exhaust filter positioned on one side of the vacuum cleaner upright housing section. Such cyclonic airflow-type vacuum cleaners incorporating cartridge-type exhaust filters tend to have profiles that are bulky and less maneuverable for the user.
Accordingly, it has been deemed desirable to develop a new and improved upright vacuum cleaner having an optimized airflow pathway that overcomes the foregoing difficulties and others while providing better and more advantageous overall results.
According to the present invention, a new and improved upright vacuum cleaner is provided.
In accordance with the first aspect of this invention, a vacuum cleaner includes a cyclonic airflow chamber that facilitates the separation of contaminants from a suction airstream. The airflow chamber includes a chamber inlet and a chamber outlet. The chamber inlet is fluidically connected with a nozzle base suction opening. An exhaust filter housing includes a suction airstream duct and an exhaust airstream plenum. The suction airstream duct communicate s with the chamber outlet. An airstream suction source includes a suction inlet and a suction outlet. The suction inlet communicates with the suction airstream duct, and the suction outlet communicates with the exhaust airstream plenum. A primary filter assembly is positioned between the cyclonic airflow chamber and the suction source for filtering contaminants from the suction airstream.
In accordance with another aspect of this invention, an upright vacuum cleaner includes an upright housing section including a handle, and a nozzle base section hingedly interconnected with the upright housing section. The nozzle base section includes a main suction opening formed in an underside thereof. A cyclonic airflow chamber is defined in the upright housing section for separating dust and dirt from a suction airstream. The cyclonic airflow chamber includes an chamber inlet and a chamber outlet. A suction source is located in one of the upright housing section and the nozzle base section and has a suction airflow inlet and an exhaust airflow outlet. The suction airflow inlet is positioned remote from the chamber outlet. An exhaust filter housing is positioned below the cyclonic airflow chamber and includes a suction airstream duct in fluid communication with the chamber outlet and the suction airflow inlet. A main filter assembly is located between the cyclonic airflow chamber and the suction source for filtering residual dust and dirt from a suction airstream as it flows through the cyclonic airflow dust and dirt separating chamber.
In accordance with yet another aspect of this invention, an upright vacuum cleaner includes a separation chamber that facilitates the separation of debris from a suction airstream; an exhaust filter housing including an exhaust filter; a suction source housing including a suction source, wherein the separation chamber, the exhaust filter housing, and the suction source housing cooperate to define an airflow pathway that i) extends axially downward from the separation chamber through the exhaust filter housing and into the suction source housing, ii) extends laterally across the suction source, iii) extends axially upward from the suction source housing into the exhaust filter housing, and iv) extends radially outward through the exhaust filter.
One advantage of the present invention is the provision of a new and improved vacuum cleaner.
Another advantage of the invention is found in the provision of the vacuum cleaner with a cyclonic airflow chamber through which the suction airstream flows for separating dust and dirt from the airstream and for depositing the separated dust and dirt into an easily and conveniently emptied dirt cup.
Still another advantage of the present invention resides in the provision of a cyclonic airflow upright vacuum cleaner with a main filter that effectively filters residual contaminants from the suction airstream between the cyclonic airflow chamber an the motor assembly without unduly restricting airflow and without premature clogging.
Yet another advantage of the present invention is the provision of a cyclonic airflow upright vacuum cleaner in which a direct air path is provided between an airflow outlet from a main filter chamber and a vacuum source. Preferably, the vacuum source is positioned beneath the suction airflow outlet.
Still yet another advantage of the present invention is the provision of an upright vacuum cleaner with an approximately annular exhaust filter located downstream from the suction motor assembly for filtering the exhaust airstream immediately prior to its exhaustion into the atmosphere.
A further advantage of the present invention is the provision of a vacuum cleaner with a radial dirty air inlet into a dust separation chamber and an axial cleaner air outlet from the dust separation chamber, wherein the outlet is separated from the inlet by a filter. Preferably, the dirty air inlet is located at an upper end of the dust separation chamber and includes a diverter for directing the inlet air along a tangential course within the chamber.
A yet further advantage of the present invention is the provision of a vacuum cleaner with a main filtration chamber positioned directly above an exhaust filter housing wherein the suction airstream flows axially downward to a motor/fan housing through a central duct extending through the exhaust filter housing, and flows from the motor/fan housing axially upward back into the exhaust filter housing before flowing radially outward through an annular exhaust filter.
A yet further advantage of the present invention is the provision of a vacuum cleaner with a main filtration chamber defined by a removable dirt cup and a removable lid secured to the dirt cup, the dirt cup housing a removable main filter element.
Still other benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those of average skill in the art upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed description.
The invention may take form in certain components and structures, a preferred embodiment of which will be illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein:
Referring now to the FIGURES, wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating preferred embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same,
During vacuuming operations, the nozzle base C travels across the floor, carpet, or other subjectant surface being cleaned. With reference to
The upright vacuum cleaner A includes a vacuum or suction source for generating the required suction airflow for cleaning operations. With reference now to
The motor/fan assembly airflow exhaust outlet 36 is in fluid communication with a final filter assembly F for filtering the exhaust airstream of any contaminants which may have been picked up in the motor/fan assembly E immediately prior to its discharge into the atmosphere. The motor/fan assembly suction inlet 32, on the other hand, is in fluid communication with a cyclonic suction airflow dust and dirt separating stage G via a central suction duct 38 of an annular, final filter assembly housing 40, to generate a suction force in the dust and dirt separating stage G.
The cyclonic suction airflow dust and dirt separating stage G, housed in the upright section B, includes a cyclonic airflow chamber 42 defined by a dirt cup, container, or housing 44 which is pivotally and releasably connected to the upright housing section B. A suction airstream from the nozzle base section C passes through a suction duct 46 of a rear panel 48 and enters an upper portion of the cyclonic dust and dirt separation chamber 42 through a generally radial suction airstream inlet 50. The inlet 50 includes an aperture 52 through the container sidewall 44, and a diverter 54 that is attached to the rear panel 48 and passes through the aperture 52 when the container 44 is secured to the upright housing section B.
As best shown in
With reference now to
The dirt container 44 includes an integral handle 64 (
The filter element K is engaged in an interface fit with the cage 66 so that the filter is releasably yet securely retained in its operative position, even when the dirt cup 44 is removed from the vacuum cleaner and inverted, with the id 58 removed, for purposes of emptying the contents thereof. Thus, over the entire height of the dirt cup 44, an annular cyclonic airflow passage is defined between the main filter K and the dirty cup 44.
In the embodiment being described the main filter element K includes a pleated filter medium 67a generally taken in the form of a hollow right cylinder. The main filter element K also includes an annular upper tray 67b and an annular lower tray 67c positioned (e.g. adhesively bonded, etc.) at opposing axial ends of the filter medium. The upper and lower trays 67b, 67c can be formed from a material different from that of the filter medium, such as plastic, metal, carboard, etc.
A preferred medium for the filter element K comprises polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) a polymeric, plastic material commonly referred to by the registered trademark TEFLON®. The low coefficient of friction of a filter medium comprising the PTFE facilitates cleaning of the filter element by washing. Most preferably, the pleated filter medium is defined substantially or entirely from GORE-TEX®, a PTFE-based material commercially available from W. L. GORE & ASSOCIATES, Elkton, Md. 21921. The preferred GORE-TEX® filter medium, also sold under the trademark CLEANSTREAM® by W. L. GORE & ASSOCIATES, is an expanded PTFE membrane defined from billions of continuous, tiny fibrils. The filter blocks the passage of at least 99% of particles 0.3 μm in size or larger. Although not visible in the drawings, the inwardly and/or outwardly facing surface of the CLEANSTREAM® filter membrane is preferably coated with a mesh backing material of plastic or the like for durability since it enhances the abrasion-resistance characteristics of the plastic filter material. The mesh may also enhance the strength of the plastic filter material somewhat.
Alternatively, the filter element K comprises POREX® brand, high-density polyethylene-based, open-celled, porous media available commercially from Porex Technologies Corp. of Fairburn, Ga. 30212, or an equivalent foraminous filter media. This preferred filter media is a rigid open-celled foam that is moldable, machinable, and otherwise workable into any shape as deemed advantageous for a particular application. The preferred filter media has an average pore size-in the range of 45 μm to 90 μm. It can have a substantially cylindrical configuration as is illustrated in
The dust and dirt cup or container 44 has a substantially closed lower end 68 having a centrally positioned aperture 70 that defines an outlet of the chamber 42. In the embodiment being described, the aperture 70 is defined by a stem 69 comprising a first wall portion 69a and a second wall portion 69b. The stem 69 substantially surrounds aperture 70. Second wall portion 69b is shown as having a smaller diameter than first wall portion 69a. The first portion 69a is shown protruding from a raised area or pedestal 73 defined in the lower end or base wall 68. Stem 69 is shown extending in substantial alignment with an axis of the container 44. Lower tray 67c of filter element K engages stem 69 such that at least a portion of stem 69 extends along and is located within the filter cage 66 supporting filter element K on container 44 within chamber 42. An inside wall 67d of lower tray 67c engages first wall portion 69a of stem 69. The final filter assembly housing 40 is positioned beneath and supports the dirt cup 44. With reference again to
The suction airstream is drawn through the secondary filter 76 and central suction duct 38 and into the inlet 32 of the fan/motor housing 34a, 34b, where the suction airstream cools the fan/motor assembly E prior to being discharged from the fan/motor housing 34a, 34b through the outlet 36 thereof. The exhaust air is discharged into an annular exhaust plenum or chamber 80 formed between the sidewall defining the central suction duct 38 and the final-stage exhaust filter 82.
The final-stage exhaust filter medium is preferably a high-efficiency particulate arrest (HEPA) filter element that is bent, folded, molded, or otherwise formed into a generally annular or arcuate C-shape. As such, those skilled in the art will recognize that even if the motor/fan assembly causes contaminants to be introduced into the suction airstream downstream from the main filter stage G, the final filter assembly F will remove the same such that only contaminant-free air is discharged into the atmosphere.
Thus, as is evident from
With reference to the present invention, dirty air flows into the inlet 50 and thus into the cyclonic chamber 42 defined within the dirt cup 44. As illustrated by the arrows 84 (
Those skilled in the art will certainly recognize that the term “cyclonic” as used herein is not meant to be limited to a particular direction of airflow rotation. This cyclonic action separates a substantial portion of the entrained dust and dirt from the suction airstream and causes the dust and dirt to be deposited in the dirt cup or container 44.
The main filter element K can be cleaned by simply rinsing it off. Alternatively, if the main filter element K is made from POREX® material, it can be washed either manually or in a dishwater—since it is dishwasher-safe—to remove dust or dirt particles adhering to the filter element. The secondary filter 76 can be cleaned by manual washing. It is, however, important that the primary and secondary filters be dried before they are used again. The final filter media of the filter assembly F, however, cannot be cleaned and must be replaced when it becomes clogged.
The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is integrated that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.
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|U.S. Classification||15/353, 15/352, 55/337, 55/DIG.3, 15/350|
|International Classification||A47L9/20, A47L9/10, A47L9/16, A47L9/12, A47L5/30, A47L5/28|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S55/03, A47L9/127, A47L9/1666, A47L5/28, A47L9/20|
|European Classification||A47L5/28, A47L9/20, A47L9/12D, A47L9/16E2|
|Jul 1, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jul 29, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12