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United States Patent Application 20180140150
Kind Code A1
Carter; Daniel William ;   et al. May 24, 2018

SURFACE CLEANING APPARATUS

Abstract

A surface cleaning apparatus having a dirt collection container which is removable from a remainder of the apparatus. The dirt collection container is held in a stored position relative the remainder of the apparatus by a holding device. The holding device includes a first co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the dirt collection container, a second co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the remainder of the apparatus. Movement of the dirt collection container towards its stored position engages the first and second co-operating members with each other and effects either rotation of the first co-operating member relative to the dirt collection container and/or rotation of the second co-operating member relative to the remainder of the apparatus.


Inventors: Carter; Daniel William; (West Midlands, GB) ; Harries; Thomas Robert; (West Midlands, GB) ; McGovern; Francis; (West Midlands, GB) ; Pougher; Simon Matthew; (West Midlands, GB) ; Wilson; May; (West Midlands, GB) ; Holmes; Darren David; (West Midlands, GB)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

TECHTRONIC INDUSTRIES CO. LTD.

Hong Kong

CN
Family ID: 1000003136433
Appl. No.: 15/539404
Filed: September 28, 2015
PCT Filed: September 28, 2015
PCT NO: PCT/GB2015/052808
371 Date: June 23, 2017


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47L 9/1691 20130101; A47L 9/009 20130101; A47L 9/1463 20130101
International Class: A47L 9/16 20060101 A47L009/16; A47L 9/00 20060101 A47L009/00; A47L 9/14 20060101 A47L009/14

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Dec 23, 2014GB1423137.7

Claims



1. A surface cleaning apparatus having a dirt collection container which is removable from a remainder of the apparatus, wherein the dirt collection container is held in a stored position relative the remainder of the apparatus by a holding device, said holding device including: a first co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the dirt collection container; and a second co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the remainder of the apparatus, wherein movement of the dirt collection container towards its stored position engages the first and second cooperating members with each other and effects either: rotation of the first co-operating member relative to the dirt collection container: and/or rotation of the second co-operating member relative to the remainder of the apparatus.

2. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the first co-operating member is held relative to the dirt collection chamber and the second co-operating member is moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, relative to the remainder of the apparatus.

3. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the second co-operating member is moveable between first and second conditions, and the apparatus includes a device for biasing the second co-operating member to its second condition.

4. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 3 wherein when the second co-operating member is in its second condition the dirt collection container is held in its stored position.

5. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the second co-operating member is held relative to the remainder of the apparatus and the first co-operating member is moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, relative to the dirt collection container.

6. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the first co-operating member is moveable between first and second conditions, and the apparatus includes a device for biasing the first co-operating member to its second condition.

7. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 6 wherein when the first co-operating member is in its second condition the dirt collection container is held in its stored position.

8. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the first co-operating member is moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, relative to the dirt collection chamber and the second co-operating member is moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, relative to the remainder of the apparatus.

9. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 8 wherein the first and second co-operating members are moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, in directions opposite or substantially opposite to each other.

10. A surface cleaning apparatus according to claim 9 wherein the first and second co-operating members are moveable between first and second conditions, and the apparatus includes a device(s) for biasing the first and second co-operating members to their respective second conditions.

11.-40. (canceled)
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a U.S. National Phase of International Application PCT/GB2015/052808, filed Sep. 28, 2015, which claims priority to UK Patent Application No. 1423137.7, filed Dec. 23, 2014, the entire contents all of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

[0002] This invention relates to a surface cleaning apparatus. In particular, this invention relates to a surface cleaning apparatus which utilises a source of suction to draw dirt etc. from a surface being cleaned and to store said dirt in a chamber which can be emptied by a user. Such surface cleaning apparatus are often referred to a "vacuum cleaners".

SUMMARY

[0003] According to the invention we provide a surface cleaning apparatus having a dirt collection container which is removable from a remainder of the apparatus, wherein the dirt collection container is held in a stored position relative the remainder of the apparatus by a holding device, said holding device including:

a first co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the dirt collection container; and a second co-operating member provided in, provided on or connected to the remainder of the apparatus, wherein movement of the dirt collection container towards its stored position engages the first and second co-operating members with each other and effects either: rotation of the first co-operating member relative to the dirt collection container: and/or rotation of the second co-operating member relative to the remainder of the apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of an apparatus according to the present invention;

[0005] FIG. 2 is a further perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0006] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a dirt collection container and holding device of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0007] FIG. 4 is a further perspective view of the component parts shown in FIG. 3;

[0008] FIG. 5 is yet a further perspective view of the components parts shown in FIG. 3;

[0009] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the components parts shown in FIG. 3, viewed from an opposite end of the container;

[0010] FIG. 7 is a further view of the component parts shown in FIG. 6;

[0011] FIG. 8 is a yet further view of the component parts shown in FIG. 6;

[0012] FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 is a side cross-sectional views of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the dirt collection container in a stored condition;

[0013] FIG. 10 is a side cross-sectional views of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the dirt collection container in a stored condition;

[0014] FIG. 11 is a side cross-sectional views of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the dirt collection container in a stored condition;

[0015] FIG. 12 is a side cross-sectional views of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the dirt collection container in an ejected condition;

[0016] FIG. 13 is a side cross-sectional views of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the dirt collection container in an ejected condition;

[0017] FIG. 14 is a perspective views of a dirt collection container and holding device of a second embodiment of an apparatus in accordance with the invention;

[0018] FIG. 15 is a perspective views of a dirt collection container and holding device of a second embodiment of an apparatus in accordance with the invention;

[0019] FIG. 16 is a perspective views of a dirt collection container and holding device of a second embodiment of an apparatus in accordance with the invention;

[0020] FIG. 17 is a side view of the component parts shown in FIG. 14 with the container in a stored condition;

[0021] FIG. 18 is a side view of the component parts shown in FIG. 14 with the container in a stored condition;

[0022] FIG. 19 is a side view of the component parts shown in FIG. 14 with the container in an ejected condition;

[0023] FIG. 20 is a side cross-sectional view of the second embodiment of apparatus with the dirt collection container in a stored condition;

[0024] FIG. 21 is a side cross-sectional view of the second embodiment of apparatus with the dirt collection container in an ejected condition;

[0025] FIG. 22 is a perspective view of component parts of the first embodiment of apparatus, with the dirt collection container in an ejected condition; and

[0026] FIG. 23 is an end view of the first embodiment of apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0027] Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 through 13, these show a first embodiment of an apparatus 10 according to the present invention. The surface cleaning apparatus 10 is of the kind typically known as a vacuum cleaner. In this embodiment, although it is not essential, the apparatus 10 is generally cylindrical and includes first and second wheels 40, 42 each positioned at respective ends of a housing 11 of the apparatus 10. Each wheel 40, 42 includes an annular member 43 which is supported for rotation by an exterior surface of a part of a housing 11. In use, the housing 11 is pulled across a floor surface by a user, with the wheels 40, 42 rolling thereover.

[0028] As shown in FIGS. 9 through 13, the apparatus 10 is generally symmetrical about a plane X which extends midway through an axis A extending through the wheels 40, 42.

[0029] The apparatus 10 includes a source of suction, in this example a motor 140 and fan 150 for drawing dirt-entrained air into the apparatus 10 through a primary air inlet 120. The primary inlet 120 connects to a tube/hose and then to a floor head, which may include a motor driven brush bar, as is known in the art.

[0030] In this example, although it is not essential, the dirt is separated from the air drawn in to the apparatus 10 by a cyclonic separator indicated generally at 90. In other embodiments second or subsequent stages of singular or multiple cyclonic separators or a dirt collection bag or the like may be used. The cyclonic separator 90 includes an inlet 91 which communicates with the primary air inlet 120, and a dirt outlet 92 which communicates with a dirt collection container 12. An end of the dirt collection container 12 which sits within the wheel 40 includes a moveable lid 17 which is pivotally movable about a hinge 17a. The dirt collection container 12 includes a locking mechanism 17b which permits a user to open the lid 17 to empty the contents of the container 12.

[0031] As can be seen from the figures, the dirt collection container 12 is removable from the remainder of the apparatus 10 in a direction which is parallel/coaxial with the rotational axis A of the wheels 40, 42. It will also be noted that the dirt collection container 12 is removable through an opening of the end of the housing 11 which sits within the space surrounded by the annular member 43. As mentioned previously, the dirt collection container 12 is removable from the remainder of the apparatus 10 so that the contents of dirt therein can be emptied, once the lid 17 is moved to its open condition.

[0032] The apparatus 10 includes a holding device for holding the dirt collection container 12 in a stored position (i.e. within the housing 11) relative to the remainder of the apparatus 10. The stored position of the container 12 in the present embodiment is that corresponding to its position shown in FIG. 1 where it sits within an end of the housing 11. In this position a clean air outlet 93 from the separator 90 communicates through a disc shaped filter element 80 and passage 50 to the motor 140 and fan 150. It should be appreciated that in other embodiments different forms of filter may or may not be utilised and the flow of clean air from the separator to the motor 140 and fan 150 need not necessarily be directed through a cable rewind system 160 (as is shown in the present embodiment).

[0033] The holding device includes a number of component parts formed in or connected to the dirt collection container 12 and the remainder of the apparatus 10. An advantage of a holding device in accordance with the present invention is that movement of the dirt collection container 12 towards its stored position (e.g. by a user pushing the container 12 into the end of the housing 11) engages co-operating members of the holding device with each other which lock/hold the container 12 in a stored condition. Thus, it is not necessary for the user to place the container in its stored position and then press any kind of additional member or lock to hold the device therein.

[0034] Before discussing the working components of the holding device of the apparatus 10, it should be noted that in the present embodiment the dirt collection container 12 is only moveable towards the remainder of the apparatus 12, i.e. towards its stored position, in one rotation orientation thereof. In other words, the dirt collection container 12 can only be inserted into the open end of the housing 11 in one rotational position. This ensures that the dirt collection container 12 is only moveable linearly, in this embodiment axially along the axis A, relative to the remainder of the apparatus 10 as it is moved towards its stored position. Thus, in this embodiment there is no relative rotation between the dirt collection container 12 and the remainder of the apparatus 10, although embodiments are envisaged where such relative rotation could be provided for.

[0035] In order to prevent or at least inhibit rotation of the dirt collection container 12 as it is moved towards its stored condition, the apparatus 10 includes one or more formations or recesses engageable with a corresponding one or more recesses or formations on the remainder of the apparatus 10. The formations and recesses permit the dirt collection container 12 only to be inserted in the housing 11 in one orientation of the container 12, but also prevent relative rotation of the container 12 relative to the remainder of the apparatus 10.

[0036] In this embodiment the relevant formations and recesses are shown in FIGS. 22 and 23. Here it can be seen that the exterior surface of the container 12 is provided with formations 201a, 201b which are different widths, and opposite each other. These formations engage with corresponding recesses 202a, 202b in the interior surface of the housing 11 which is surrounded by the wheel 40. Because the recesses 202a, 202b are sized according to their respective formations 201a, 201b, it is not possible for the user to insert the dirt collection container 12 in an incorrect rotational position. Furthermore, the recesses 202a, 202b include generally parallel walls which extend into the housing 11 and thus guide the dirt collection container 12 in a linear/axial path towards its stored position. Advantageously each recess 202a, 202b includes curved guiding walls 203a, 203b at the entrances thereof which assist in guiding the dirt collection container 12. The curved guiding walls 203a, 203b permit there to be minor rotational misalignment of the dirt collection container 12 with the remainder of the apparatus when the user pushes the container 12 to its stored position.

[0037] It should be noted, of course, that other configurations/locations of projections/recesses may be utilised. Likewise the projections could be provided on the interior surface of the housing 11, with recesses provided on the dirt collection container 12.

[0038] As mentioned above the apparatus 10 includes a holding device for holding the dirt collection container 12 in a stored position relative to the remainder of the apparatus 10. In this embodiment the holding device includes a plurality (three in this example, although there could be more or fewer) first co-operating members 18 which are provided on an exterior surface of the container 12. The first cooperating members 18 are positioned substantially at 120.degree. from each other about the axis A and are wedge-shaped in side view, the purpose of which will become apparent later. The members 18 taper in the same rotational direction, that being a clockwise direction when viewing the apparatus 10 from the end with the wheel 40. The tapered surface 18a of each member 18 faces axially inwardly towards the motor 140.

[0039] The holding device includes a second co-operating member in the form of an annular part 16 which is supported relative to the remainder of the apparatus. The annular part 16 is supported by and is rotatable relative to the housing 11. The annular part 16 includes three elongate openings 61 which receive projections 62, the latter of which is connected to the housing 11. The projections 62, which are substantially cylindrical, sit within respective elongate openings 61 and permit, but limit, rotational movement of the part 16 about the axis A relative to the housing 11.

[0040] As can be seen in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the annular part 16 includes three further openings 63. Each opening 63 is positioned adjacent a respective one of the openings 61, and in use received as respective one of the members 18. An entrance to the openings 63 includes a sloped circumferentially extending part 63a, which tapers in a circumferential direction opposite to that of the tapering surfaces 18a of the members 18. As will be discussed in detail later, when the container 12 is moved to its stored position, the sloped surfaces 18a, 63a, engage each other and effect rotation of the part 16 about the axis A.

[0041] Each opening 63 is substantially L shaped and it includes an entrance 63c which is connected to a circumferentially extending portion 63d. The portion 63d of the opening 61 extends in circumferential direction opposite to that of part 63a.

[0042] As can be seen from FIGS. 3 to 6, the apparatus 10 includes a bin ejection button 100 which is movable in directions D and E parallel to the axis A (although it need not necessarily be moveable in that direction). In the present embodiment the button 100 is biased by a spring (not shown) in the direction E. Extending downwardly from the button 100 towards the axis A is a projection 101 an end of which engages in an angular opening 64 in the annular part 16. The opening 64 extends at an angle to the axis A such that as the button 100 is moved in the direction D the parts 101 and 64 act as cam and cam follower to effect rotation of the part 16 about the axis A.

[0043] In the present embodiment the apparatus includes a biasing device 30 for biasing the dirt collection container 12 away from its stored position. FIGS. 2, 10, 12 and 13 show the biasing device of the present embodiment in more detail. The biasing device includes an annular member 35 which is positioned within the housing 11. The annular member 35 is supported relative to the housing 11 by a plurality of spring-biased supports 32, 33 which permit the annular member 35 to be displaced towards the motor 140, whilst the annular member 35 is biased away therefrom to an extended position (that shown in FIG. 2). An opening 34 within the annular member 35 provides space to receive the inwardly facing end of the dirt collection container 12 such that the filter 80 passes through that opening 34 when the container 12 is in its stored condition. The annular member 35, when the container 12 is moved to its stored condition, engages an axially facing surface 12a of the container 12.

[0044] Operation of the holding device will not be described in more detail. In FIGS. 3 and 6 the dirt collection container 12 is shown in its stored condition, with the co-operating members 18 each positioned in the part 63d of each respective opening 63. In this position the dirt collection container 12 is held in its stored position relative to the remainder of the apparatus 10. When a user wishes to remove the container 12 so as to empty the contents thereof, or to obtain access through the filter 80, the user moves the button 100 in the direction of the arrow D, which in turn effects rotation of the part 16 in the direction of the arrow R.sub.2 (see FIG. 3). As the button 100 is moved in the direction D the part 16 is rotated to the position shown in FIGS. 4 and 7. In this position the rotational movement of the part 16 has meant that the parts 18 no long sit within the portions 63d of the recesses 63. In other words, there is now no engagement between the members 18 and the parts 16 which means that the container 12 will be biased outwardly by the annular member 35. This makes it easier for the user to grasp the outwardly projecting end of the container 12 to assist in its full removal from the remainder of the apparatus 10.

[0045] In order to re-engage the container 12 with the remainder of the apparatus 10 and move it back to its stored position (for example after emptying the contents thereof), all the user needs to do is position the container 12 such that the formations 201a, 201b thereof are aligned correctly with the formations 202a, 202b. The user then moves the dirt collection container 12 axially towards the remainder of the apparatus 10 which eventually causes the sloped surfaces 18a, 63a to engage each other. Further movement of the container 12 into the housing 11 causes the part 16 to rotate, with the surfaces 18a, 63a sliding past each other. Thus the part 16 is caused to rotate in the direction R.sub.2 until the sloped surfaces 18a, 63a no longer engage each other. Further movement of the container 12 into the housing 11 moves the parts 18a towards the bottom of the recesses 63 and eventually adjacent the portion 63d. As the button 100 is biased in the direction of arrow E, this creates a biasing rotational force to the part 16 causing it to return towards its original position, namely to rotate in the direction R.sub.1 (see FIG. 5). Thus, once the parts 18 reach the bottom of the recesses 63, the part 16 rotates in the direction of R.sub.1 which results in the parts 18 being positioned in the portions 63d of the recesses 63 (as shown in FIGS. 3 and 6). In this position the container 12 is held in the stored position, with the first and second co-operating members 18 and 16 engaging each other.

[0046] Thus, the above embodiment is configured such that as the dirt collection container 12 is moved towards its stored position the part 16 is caused to rotate relative to the dirt collection container 12 and, in this particular embodiment, relative to the housing 11. In other embodiments, it is envisaged that the part 16 or equivalent thereof may be provided on the container 12 itself, with parts 18 or equivalents thereof being provided on or connected to the housing 11.

[0047] The holding device of the present invention permits for easy docking and undocking of the container 12 by a user because all that is required is for a user to move the button 100 in the direction of arrow D, and when reconnecting the container 12 simply push the container 12 axially into the end of the housing 11. The relative rotation of the parts 16, 18 ensures effective locking of the container 12 in its stored condition.

[0048] Whilst is not shown in this particular embodiment, it may be that the first and second co-operating members may each be moveable, preferably rotationally moveable, in directions opposite or substantially opposite to each other, with the members each being biased towards their positional conditions which ensure locking of the container within the apparatus.

[0049] FIGS. 14 to 21 show a second embodiment of an apparatus in accordance with the present invention. Features in common or similar to those in the first embodiment have been given the same reference numeral with the addition of a prime symbol (') and will not be discussed in further detail herein. In a similar fashion to the first embodiment, the apparatus 10' includes a holding device with an annular member 16' rotationally supported relative to the housing 11' by a plurality of supports 62'. A user actual button 100' includes an axially projecting peg 101' which engages in an arcuate channel 64' in the annular part 16'. The container 12' is provided with three substantially equally spaced apart wedge shaped portions 18' each with a tapering surface 18a'.

[0050] FIGS. 14 and 17 show the container 12' in its stored condition with the parts 18' positioned inwardly of the annular member 16'. Their engagement with the inwardly facing surface of the annular member 16' ensures that the dirt collection container 12' is held in its stored condition. Depression of the button 100' by the user rotates the annular member 16' in the direction R.sub.2', which aligns openings 63 in the part 16' with the formations 18'. This ensures that the dirt collection container 12' is free to be removed from the apparatus. In this particular embodiment a biasing device 30' acts to eject the dirt collection container 12a from the remainder of the apparatus 10' upon full depression of the button 100'. This can be seen in FIGS. 15 and 18.

[0051] When a user wishes to move the dirt collection container 12' back to its stored condition (e.g. after emptying) the user moves the dirt collection container 12' axially towards the interior of the apparatus 10'. FIGS. 16 and 19 show how the sloping surfaces 18a' and 65' engage with each other. Axial movement of the dirt collection container 12' into the housing 11' effects rotation of the annular member 16' in the direction of Arrow R.sub.1' allowing the members 18' to pass through the openings 63 in the annular part 16' until they reach the position as shown in FIGS. 13 and 17. As with the first embodiment, a spring 130' is provided to bias the button 100' to its un-depressed position, which has the effect of providing a biasing force to rotate the annular member 16' in the direction arrow R.sub.2', which effects locking of the dirt collection container 12' within the apparatus 10'.

[0052] When used in this specification and claims, the terms "comprises" and "comprising" and variations thereof mean that the specified features, steps or integers are included. The terms are not to be interpreted to exclude the presence of other features, steps or components.

[0053] The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or the following claims, or the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for attaining the disclosed result, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilised for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.

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