Title:
Tank cleaning apparatus
United States Patent 2332940


Abstract:
The present invention relates to tank cleaning apparatus, and more particularly to means for removing from liquid storage tanks such, for example, as storage tanks for fuel oil and other liquids, the sludge, sediment, or other refuse material which collects or is deposited therein during use....



Inventors:
Senke, Charles E.
Application Number:
US33359040A
Publication Date:
10/26/1943
Filing Date:
05/06/1940
Assignee:
Senke, Charles E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/50.1, 15/56, 15/104.2, 15/104.31, 15/104.33, 15/160, 15/236.01, 15/246.5, 15/314, 15/369, 15/401, 134/167R, 137/577.5, 138/106, 138/110, 174/28
International Classes:
B08B9/08
View Patent Images:



Description:

The present invention relates to tank cleaning apparatus, and more particularly to means for removing from liquid storage tanks such, for example, as storage tanks for fuel oil and other liquids, the sludge, sediment, or other refuse material which collects or is deposited therein during use. The present invention is a continuation in part of my copending application, Serial No. 136,306, filed April 12, 1937.

An object of my invention is to provide an efficient apparatus for rapidly and effectively cleaning fuel oil or gasoline tanks or tanks for containing other liquids, particularly that type of tank through which only a small opening is available for the insertion of cleaning tools.

Another object of my invention is to provide apparatus for scrubbing, scraping, and flushing substantially the entire inner side walls of a liquid storage tank so as to loosen and collect the sludge, sediment, or other refuse material, and thus render the refuse material capable of being sucked or drawn by the apparatus of my invention, from the tank.

Another object of my invention is to provide an efficient apparatus which can be readily inserted through the relatively small opening normally employed for filling fuel oil tanks or the like, and which can be readily manipulated to effectively remove scale, rust, sediment, sludge or water from the bottom and side walls of the tank.

A further object of my invention is to provide a tank cleaning apparatus in which various tools and arrangements of the apparatus are available so that a tank of substantially any size, shape and location may be effectively and expeditiously cleaned.

My invention further contemplates the provision of apparatus which, after insertion in the tank through the usual small filling opening therein, may be manipulated effectively to actuate any one of various tools, located at the end of the apparatus, to sweep the tools over substantially the entire bottom and side walls of the tank so as to flush the tank and loosen and remove scale, rust, sludge, sediment, water o0 other refuse materials from the tank.

Other objects and advantages of my inventior will be particularly pointed out in the claim: and will be apparent from the following descrip tion, when taken in connection with the accom. panying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is a sectional view illustrating an under ground tank with which the tank cleaning ap.

paratus of my invention, shown generally, is adapted to be used; Fig. 2 is an enlarged view, partly in section, showing a portion of the apparatus of Fig. 1, Sillustrating the manner in which the tool actuating structure is inserted and supported in the tank with the working or tool end of the apparatus on the bottom of the tank; Fig. 3 is a side elevation of a portion of Fig. 2, showing the tool, the flexible hose therefor, and the tool and hose actuating parts in their in line position; Fig. 4 is a view showing the suction tool and hose actuating mechanism, as viewed from the l5 top thereof; Fig. 5 is a view taken substantially on the line 5-5 of Fig. 4, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 6 is a view taken substantially on the line 6-6 of Fig. 4, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 7 is a view showing a section of the hose adjacent the tool end; Fig. 8 is a view, partly in section, taken substantially on the line 8-8 of Fig. 7, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 9 is a sectional view taken substantially on the line 9-9 of Fig. 7, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 10 is a sectional view of the flushing and suction tool adapted to be used in the apparatus of my invention; Fig. 11 is a view taken substantially on the line 11--11 of Fig. 10, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 12 is a view showing a brush for scrubbing the inside of the tank applied to a somewhat modified form of flexible tool actuating apparatus; Fig. 13 is a top view of Fig. 12; Fig. 14 is a horizontal sectional view of the flexible tool actuating apparatus of Fig. 12; Fig. 15 is a view taken substantially on the line 15-15 of Fig. 14, in the direction indicated by the arrows; Fig. 16 is an enlarged view of the brush of Fig. 12; Fig.. 17 is a top view, partly in section, of the brush and its supporting parts, showing the s 50 spring for holding the brush in the proper position for use; Fig. 18 shows a modified form of suction tool which may be used with the apparatus of my invention; - 56 Fig. 19 shows a modified form of my invention, particularly useful for cleaning tanks so locate that the head room is limited, as in a cellar tank Fig. 20 is a view, partly in section, showin the tool and flexible hose actuating apparatu of Fig. 19 on an enlarged scale; Figs. 21 and 22 show the complementary sec tions of tubing used in making up the tool an flexible hose actuating apparatus of Fig. 19; Fig. 23 is a view, partly in section, showing modified form of flexible hose which may be use with the tank cleaning apparatus shown in FiE 19; Fig. 24 is a sectional view taken substantiall on the line 24-24 of Fig. 23, in the direction in dicated by the arrows; Fig. 25 is a view showing another form of toe and flexible hose actuating apparatus; Fig. 26 is a view of the apparatus of Fig. 25 equipped with an extension for cleaning tank of greater depth; Fig. 27 is a view showing a modified form o tool and flexible hose actuating apparatus, havy ing mounted on the end thereof a combinec scraping, suction, and flushing tool; Fig. 28 is a sectional view showing the combined scraping, suction, and flushing tool of Fig 27; Fig. 29 is a perspective view showing the scraper bar assembly of the tool of Fig. 28; Fig. 30 is a view taken substantially on the line 30-30 of Fig. 28, in the direction indicatec by the arrows; and Fig. 31 is a view showing the tool of Fig. 3( in operation.

Sludge, sediment and other refuse materials accumulate on the bottom and side walls of tanks used for containing fuel oil, gasoline, and othei liquid materials. This sludge and sediment collects or is deposited, in particular, on the bottorr and side walls of fuel oil tanks and the invention will be described In this connection, although it will be understood that the apparatus has othei uses. This sludge consists of scale and rust which form on the inside of the tank and tend to gradually drop to the bottom of the tank. In addition, sediment accumulates from the oil.

Moreover, because of temperature changes, condensation occurs on the inside of the tank.

The sludge or sediment produced by this mixture of materials is extremely difficult to remove from the tank bottom and walls, particularly in the case of a tank for the storage of fuel oil. The sludge or sediment should be removed from a fuel oil tank as it is likely to be drawn through the suction fuel line toward or to the burner, with the result that the suction fuel line strainer and the burner nozzle are likely to become clogged.

The apparatus of my invention has been developed for the purpose of removing such sludge, sediment, water or other waste materials accumulating in fuel oil, gasoline, or other liquid storage tanks.

A further difficulty encountered is that while tanks are usually installed horizontally, various factors, including frost in the case of ground tanks, tends to tip the tank perhaps in a direction away from the filling opening. Moreover, particularly in the case of gasoline tanks, water accumulates and, of course, settles at the lowest point in the tank. The apparatus of my invention is adapted to remove such refuse material, including water, from the portions of the tank most remote from the filling opening.

The storage tanks with which my invention is concerned may be variously located as underd ground or in a basement where head room is an ; important factor. Moreover, the tanks may be g of various sizes and shapes and the small openIs ings through which the tanks must be cleaned o may be arranged so that access thereto is diffi- cult. For this reason various arrangements of d apparatus must be available for meeting the variable conditions encountered. I, therefore, have a provided flexible apparatus for meeting these d 0 variable conditions so that a tank of most any . size, shape and location may be cleaned.

In Fig. 1 I have illustrated an underground y fuel oil supply or storage tank, generally indicated by the numeral 11. While I have shown l5 the invention, in this particular view, as applied l to an underground tank, it will be appreciated that this is merely for purposes of illustration and that the apparatus shown may be used with tanks s otherwise located. The tank may be of any desired size or shape, although usually fuel oil storf age tanks are cylindrically or somewhat ovally shaped. The apparatus, by way of illustration, S will be described, insofar as its operation is concerned, in connection with the cleaning of tanks - 25 having a bottom with upwardly curving side walls since this is the most usual type encountered.

When the tank is buried beneath the ground S level, the inlet opening 12 thereof is customarily provided with an inlet pipe 13 which projects 3O to or above the ground level. The pipe is normally covered by a cap (not shown) and enters the tank through, usually, a threaded boss 15.

The apparatus for removing the sludge, sediment, or other waste material from the tank comprises, in general, a flexible member or hose, generally indicated by the numeral 14, a flexible member or hose actuating apparatus, indicated as a whole by the numeral 16, and a tool 17 conL nected to the flexible member. The tool and the S40 flexible member or hose are adapted to be manipulated or moved over the bottom and portions of the side walls of the tank by the actuating apparatus 16.

The illustration in Fig. 1 is that of an apparatus for flushing the tank or sucking the sludge or sediment from the bottom and side walls of the tank and, therefore, the flexible member is in the form of a hose, a section of which is shown in Fig. 9. When the apparatus is to be ;o used merely to brush, scrape or scrub the inside of the tank, a flexible rod, to which a brush or other implement is attached, may be used instead of a hose. Since, however, the apparatus has been designed particularly for cleaning the 53 tank and removing the sludge from the inside of the tank, it is preferable that the flexible member 14 be hollow and in the form of a hose.

The outer end of the hose may be connected in any suitable manner, as shown in Fig. 1, to Go a combined suction and pressure pump 18. A pipe 19 is connected to the pump 18 and serves as an inlet for flushing materials, or as an outlet for the sludge. The pump is driven by a motor 21.

The pump may be of such type that, upon reversc.5 ing the direction of rotation of the motor, the pump may be used alternately as a vacuum or pressure pump. When used as a vacuum pump any suitable method may be employed to prime the pump as is well known in the pump art. The flexible member or hose (Figs. 2, 7, 8, and 9) comprises a flexible tube 27 of rubber or any other suitable flexible material and a series of pivotally connected, preferably metal, links 28.

One of the most important aspects of my invention is the arrangement of the links to hold the flexible member or hose rigid in one direction or in one plane, while permitting it to flex substantially freely in that plane. The importance of this arrangement in manipulating tools over the bottom of a tank will later appear. The links may be applied on the outside of the hose, as illustrated in Fig. 2, or may be applied on the inside of the hose, as shown in Figs. 23 and 24.

In the form of the invention shown in Figs. 2, 7, 8, and 9, the links are applied on the outside of the hose and are connected together by pivot pins 29. Preferably the links extend substantially the full length of the hose although, -as illustrated in Fig. 27, it is sometimes desirable to have only a short section of the hose or conduit flexible. As shown in Fig. 9, the pivot pins 29 extend through apertures formed in opposite sides of the hose. Mounted on each of the pivot pins on the inside of the hose is a bushing 32, preferably of somewhat shorter length than the internal diameter of the hose. The hose is drawn into oval form, as shown in Fig. 9, by applying nuts 33 to the ends of the pivot pins and drawing the nuts up tightly to squeeze the hose at the sides so that the inner side walls of the hose tightly engage 2. and seal against the ends of the bushing. By thus drawing the hose against the bushing a substantially air-tight pivot connection is formed so that a suction may be applied by the pump 18 without losing vacuum by leakage at the mar- 3( gins of the pivot pins. Moreover, I find it desirable in flushing the tank to sometimes use rather high pressure, perhaps as high as 100 pounds.

The sealing of the pivots prevents the loss of pressure. After the nuts are drawn up tightly e" so that the hose is in somewhat the shape shown in Fig. 9, the ends of the pivot pins, as indicated at 34, may be upset or peaned so as to lock the threads of the pivot pins with those of the nuts and hold the parts in the position shown. 41 The end of the hose is provided with a fitting 36 which may be secured to the end of the hose.

Rigid links 30 are provided, each of which has one end secured to the last of the series of pivot pins. The fitting 36, the rigid links 30, and the 4 hose are secured together by nut and bolt assemblies 37. The fitting 36 may be threaded, as shown at 35, for the reception of the tool 17.

Any one of various tools may be secured to the fitting. In Fig. 10 I have illustrated a tool which ,. may be used either to supply a flushing liquid to the tank or may be used to draw or suck sludge, or sludge together with a flushing liquid, from the tank.

The tool 17 may be generally cylindrical or any other suitable shape and may be provided with a threaded end, as shown at 38, for reception in the end of the fitting 36. The threaded end of the tool is provided with a bore 39 which opens into a chamber 41. The bottom of the tool is preferably provided with feet 42 adapted to hold the tool just slightly off the walls of the tank and permit the tool to be movedr slid or ver the walls. The chamber is provided preferably with a bottom suction opening 43 normally closed by a plate or valve 44. The plate 44 is held in closed position against the margins of the bottom opening by springs 46. The springs may be retained in position in any suitable manner, as by elements 45 (Fig. 11) threaded into the walls of the tool and in the plate 44.

When a suction is applied through the hose the reduced pressure in the chamber 41 causes the plate 44 to rise against the action of the springs so as to permit sludge or other refuse material, together with liquid, to be drawn through the opening 43 into the chamber 41 and thence through the suction hose to the pump 18. The tool 17 may also be employed for the purpose of supplying a flushing liquid to the tank. For this purpose preferably the forward end of the tool is provided With a bored fitting 47 threaded into a wall 48 of the chamber 41. The fitting 47 is provided with a flapper valve 49 which is pivotally mounted and is normally held in closed position by gravity. In addition, the valve 49 is held in closed position by the suction in the chamber 41 when the tool is being used for withdrawing sludge from the tank. When, however, the apparatus is being used to supply a flushing liquid to the tank, the pressure of the liquid opens the valve 49 and permits the discharge of flushing material into the tank. The bored fitting then serves as a nozzle through which the flushing liquid may be sprayed on the walls under pressure. The end or nose of the tool is preferably rounded, as indicated at 51, for a purpose which Will later appear.

The apparatus 16 for manipulating the flexible i member or hose so as to move the tool over the bottom and side walls of the tank is shown most clearly in Figs. 2, 3, and 4. This apparatus comprises a tubular member 52 of somewhat larger diameter than the hose so that the hose may be readily moved therethrough, as indicated in Fig.

2. The tube is provided at its lower end with an elongated longitudinally extending opening 53 (Fig. 4), and has pivoted at its lower end, as at 54, a tubular guide member 56. The guide memSher has an opening or cut-away portion 57 which merges into the opening 53 when the parts are bent into the relationship shown in Fig. 2. The cut-away parts permit the hose to occupy a more smoothly curved position than the right angle Sposition of the tubular member 52 with respect to the tubular guide member 56 shown in Fig. 2.

It will be appreciated that in inserting the tubular members 52 and 56 into the tank, the members pivot with respect to each other so as to move from the straight line position of the parts, Sshown in Fig. 3, to the angular position of Fig. 2.

When in their angular position the edges of the tubular members butt aginst each other at 60 so that they are substantially rigid with respect ,o to each other.

The tubular members 52 and 56 may be connected together by a strap 61 riveted to the tubular guide member 56, as shown at 62, and pivoted to the tubular member 52 by a pivot pin 63. The pivot pin 63, in order to reinforce the pivot, may be tapered and bent toward its ends, as shown in Fig. 6, and the end swaged against the sides of the tube as shown. An extension 64 of the tubular guide member 56, when the parts are in their Sstraight line position, engages a stop pin 66 carried byth the tubular member 52. The extension 64 engages the stop pin 66 so as to pervent the parts from swinging beyond their straight line position shown in Figs. 3 and 5.

In setting up the apparatus for use and before inserting the apparatus in the tank opening, the flexible member or hose, without the tool 17 applied thereto, is first threaded through the tubular members or sections 52 and 56 which constitute the actuating apparatus for the hose and tool. With the hose in a position extended beyond the end of the tubular member 56, the tool is applied to the end of the hose. The parts then occupy the straight line position shown in Fig. 3. With the parts in this.position the-tubular members, together with the hose and tool carried thereby, are inserted in the inlet pipe 13 to the tank.

When the nose 51 of the tool engages the bottom of the tank, because of the rounded shape of the nose, a force exerted on the protruding end of the apparatus causes the tool to be deflected so as to move along the bottom of the tank upon further feeding the tubular sections into the tank.

The deflection of the tool will cause the tubular guide section 56 to swing at 54 about the pivot pin 63. Upon continuing to advance the tubular sections within the tank the hose will tend to bend at a point opposite the pivotal point 54 of the sections and will allow the tubular guide section 56 to assume a position parallel to and adjacent the bottom of the tank, as shown in Fig. 2.

With the parts in the approximate position shown in Fig. 2, the tubular section 52 is preferably lifted slightly so as to raise the lower end 71 of the tubular section 52 slightly above.the bottom of the tank. The parts may be held in this position by applying a collar 72 on the tubular member 52 and tightening it in position by means of a set-screw 73, so that the collar rests on the top of the inlet pipe 13. The collar is then rigid with the tubular member 52 and forms a bearing on the protruding end of the inlet pipe when the apparatus is operated, as will be presently described. A handle 74, shown more clearly in Fig. 4, is applied to the protruding end of the tubular member 52 for the purpose of swinging the tubular member 52 about a vertical axis. The handle 74 may be formed by two semi-circular portions 76 having handle extensions. The semicircular portions extend around the tubular member and are clamped to the tubular member by means of thumb-screws 77 or any other suitable means.

To facilitate movement of the hose through the supporting and guiding tubular sections 52 and 56, as shown in Fig. 2, small rollers 78 are mounted in position in the tubular member 52 preferably just above the top of the elongated opening 53. The rollers are supported by pins carried by the tubular member 52 and the rollers are in a position to contact the hose as the hose is fed through the tubular members. The rollers not only facilitate feeding of the hose, but also prevent wear on the hose, as it will be appreciated that the hose by reason of the bending thereof tends to bear against the upper margins of the elongated opening 53.

Means are provided for protecting the exposed bent portions of the hose, lying opposite the pivot point 54 of the tubular sections, when withdrawing the cleaning device from the tank. This means comprises a guard 79 which may be pivoted on the same pin which carries the lower of the two rollers 78. The guard may be of any G suitable shape and overlies the bent portion of the hose, as shown in Fig. 2. If the apparatus were withdrawn from the tank without employing a guard, the bent portion of the hose would, in all probability, come in contact with the mar- 6 gins 81 of the tank opening and would, in the course of time, become damaged by rubbing at this point. However, in withdrawing the apparatus this is avoided by the guard which engages the margins 81 of the tank inlet opening. Upon 7 engagement, the free end of the guard will be forced inwardly by the margins of the opening against the hose and serve to straighten out the same and swing the tubular guide member 56 about the pivot point 54 into alinement with the 7 tubular member 52. Thus the guard serves, in withdrawing the apparatus from the tank, not only to straighten out the hose, but also to bring the tubular guide member 56 into alinement with the tubular member 52.

Preferably the apparatus, whether used for flushing or sucking sludge and sediment from the tank, is positioned initially so that the tool lies only slightly beyond the end of the tubular guide member 56, as shown in Fig. 2. By means of the handle 76 the tubular member 52 is swung about a longitudinal or vertical axis with most of the weight of the tubular sections and a large proportion of the weight of the hose being carried by the collar 72 and the tank inlet pipe 13.

The tubular guide member 56 is circular in cross section, resulting in a rounded portion at the forward end 82 of the bottom, so that it may readily move over the bottom of the tank when the tubular section 52 is swung about its longitudinal or vertical axis. The swinging of the tubular guide member 56 carries with it the hose and the tool 17 so as to sweep the tool over the walls of the tank. It will be appreciated that the links 28 serve to hold the tool and the hose substantially rigidly in alinement with the tubu!ar guide member as the tool is moved over the tank wall.

Thus the tool may be operated, when in operating position, as though the tool were rigidly connected to the tubular guide member 56.

Should the tank be cylindrical or have walls which round upward from the bottom, as is usually the case, the tool may be swept up the side walls of the tank and the feet of the tool will remain in contact with the tank wall. In moving the tool up the curved side walls, the links will pivot slightly on each other so as to permit some flexing of the hose, but the tool and hose will still be retained in a plane common with a plane passing through the long axis of the tubular member. It is desirable that the tool be weighted sufficiently so that it will tend to flex the hose and not ride on its nose up the curved side walls of the tank.

After swinging or rotating the tool over the bottom of the tank so as to reach as much of the tank surface as can be reached from the initial position of the tool, the tool may be advanced by the inward feeding of the hose, a distance substantially equal to its length to another operating position. This distance is substantially equal to the length of two of the links 28, the combined length of which is preferably made slightly less than the effective cleaning length of the tool. In other words, the links constitute a measuring means by which the operator can readily determine how far to advance the tool after each swinging or rotating operation has i0 been completed.

The operations are performed step by step until the tool has been advanced from one end of the tank to the other. There are, of course, certain areas of the tank which cannot be 5 reached. However, since most of the sludge and sediment lodges against the bottom and lower portions of the side walls of the tank, the tank may be effectively cleaned. The point 82 of the tubular guide member 56 is preferably reinforced 0 by welding a shoe onto the tube at this point as this is the bearing point which receives most of the wear. Moreover, it will be noted that the forward end of the tubular guide member is cut away at 80 so that when the apparatus is 5 removed from the tank, the hose or conduit may buckle slightly at the cut away portion 80. The slight buckling occurs by reason of the tool engaging the bottom of the tank. As soon as the parts are lifted sufficiently to raise the tool ofi the bottom of the tank the parts will properly line up.

In cleaning some tanks it may not be necessary, if the sludge is loose, to brush or scrape and flush the tank. However, in the large majority of cases it is desirable to flush the tank with a suitable liquid. For the purpose of flushing the tank I have found oil to be particularly effective. The oil tends to suspend the sludge or sediment in it so that when suction is applied on the tool, the sludge and sediment, together with the flushing oil, are effectively removed. It will be understood that in employing the apparatus to suck the flushing oil and sludge from the tank, it is desirable that the pump and suction hose be first primed. Moreover, in cleaning most tanks it is desirable, after the tank has been flushed, to brush or scrape the walls of the tank so as to loosen the scale, rust, sludge and sediment from the walls of the tank so as to permit this material to be suspended in oil or other flushing liquid. In addition at times it is desirable first to brush or scrape the tank; then effectively move the tool over the walls of the tank in a step by step operation, as described above, while supplying a flushing oil under pressure; then further brush and scrape the tank walls by the step by step operation above described; and then apply suction and remove the sludge and sediment together with the flushing liquid in the manner above described. For the purpose of brushing and scraping the inner side walls of the tank the apparatus shown in Figs. 12 to 17 may be employed. The brush, generally indicated by the numeral 91, comprises a head 92 in which are mounted a multiplicity of heavy bristles 93 of preferably steel wire or other suitable material. The head may be weighted so that it will exert a pressure on the walls of the tank. Moreover, to maintain the nose of the brush in a downward position 4i the forward end of the brush, as at 94, may be heavily weighted with lead.

The brush is carried by a pair of arms 96 located one on each side thereof which are connected by a pin 91. The pin lies in a bore 98 ex- 5 tending through the brush in which the pin is free to move. A coiled spring 99 having one end secured, as shown at 101, to one of the arms 96, and its other end secured to the brush, as shown at 102, serves to aid the weight 94 at the nose 5 of the brush and swing the rearward end of the brush in an upward direction, as viewed in Fig. 12.

A strap 103 extends over the top of the brush and is connected to the arms 96 on opposite sides thereof and limits the upward movement of the e rear end of the brush. The arms 96 are rigidly connected by means of pins 104 to the end of a flexible hose member which may be similar to that above described. However, I have found it preferable to employ a separate and somewhat different type of flexible member for use with the brush.

The modified form of flexible member may comprise a flexible hose or tubular member 105 of rubber or other suitable material through which are extended pivot pins 106 for the reception of the ends of links 101. The links are similar to those described above, and serve to maintain the flexible member rigid in a direction perpendicular to the pins 109 while permitting the member to flex about the axes of the pins. Between the pins are inserted weights 18 which may be of lead or other suitable heavy material. Rigid links 109 may be connected to the last of the series of pivot pins 106.

A similar weight III may be provided in the forward end of the flexible member which has bores for the reception of the pins 104. The pins 104 also extend through the rigid links and the arms, and the arms are therefore rigidly connected to the end of the flexible member. Thus the end of the flexible member is heavily weighted so as to exert an appreciable pressure on the bristles of the brush so that the bristles may be effective to scrape and scrub scale, rust, and sludge from the bottom and side walls of the tank.

It will be understood that in assembling the structure the weights, pivot pins and links are successively assembled in the hose. After the last weight is applied, a cap 112 may be placed on the end of the flexible member. The weighted flexible hose is fed into the tank in the manner above described, and step by step moved over the bottom and side walls of the tank as previously described. The hose, in use, becomes worn usually more on one side than the other and by removing the pins 104 the hose may be reversed with respect to the brush.

In Figs. 23 and 24 I have shown a linkage means for maintaining the flexible hose rigidly in one plane while permitting flexure thereof in that plane which linkage may be located on the inside of the flexible hose. Each of the links ! 6 is circular in cross section at its central portion, and has its ends cut out at 117 at each end so that, at each end thereof, the links taper toward points 118. The adjacent substantially pointed ends of adjacent links are connected together by pivot pins I 19 so as to provide a continuous linkage. In order that the linkage shall have a substantially constant external diameter the ends of alternate links are bent inwardly slightly, as shown at 120.

The links may be forced through the inside of the hose longitudinally thereof and will permit flexure of the hose in the direction of a plane perpendicular to the axis of the pivots 119 while holding the hose rigid against deformation or flexure laterally out of such plane. The end of 0 the hose may be connected to a fitting 35 by means of rivets 122, the fitting 36 being similar to that previously described and being for the purpose of receiving the tool 17 or any other desired tool. The primary advantage of placing 5 the links on the inside of the hose is so that the external surface of the hose may be smooth and uninterrupted.

Particularly in the case of cellar tanks and especially when the tanks are employed in a gravity i0 oil feed system to the burner, the head room is usually insufficient to permit the apparatus thus far described to be used. For such purposes I have developed the apparatus shown in Figs. 19 to 22, inclusive. While this structure is essen65 tially the same as that previously described, the tubular member, corresponding to the tubular member 52 of Fig. 2, is made up of built up separable sections. One of the sections has been shown in Fig. 21, and is indicated by the nu70 meral 126, while its complementary section has been shown in Fig. 22, and is indicated by the numeral 127.

The section shown in Fig. 21 is circular in cross section, and has at each end thereof a cut-out 75 portion or notch 128. The complementary section 127 has its internal circumference cut away so as to provide a ledge 129 extending part way around the inner circumference of the section.

Spaced inwardly from the ledge 129 is a ledge 131, which also extends part way around the circumference of the inside of the section and on the opposite side of the section from that of the ledge 129. The other end of the section 127 is similarly formed with ledges 129 and 131.

The cut-out portions 128 in the section 126 and the ledges 129 and 131 in the section 127 are formed complementary to each other so that the end of the section 126 may be interfitted with the end of the section 127. Preferably the cutouts 128 and the ledges 129 and 131 each are substantially semi-circular.

It will be appreciated that the external diameter of the section 127 is larger than that of the section 126 so that the section 126 may telescope within the section 127. When the sections are assembled, as shown in Fig. 20, it will be appreciated that the cut-outs 128 form abutments 132 at each end thereof, while the ledges 129 and 131 form abutments 133 on the iner circumference of the sections 127. The engagement of the abutments 132 and 133 formed in the sections enables the assembled tube to be rotated by means of a handle 134 as though it were a continuous piece of tubing.

In this arangement a tubular guide member 136, similar to the tubular guide member 56 of Fig. 2, may be provided to which is pivotally secured, as shown at 137, a short tubular section 138 which is similar to the lower portion of the tubular member 52 of Fig. 2. The hose is assembled with relation to these two tubular parts and lowered into the tank, as shown in Fig. 19. In this arrangement the tubular members are not supported on the tank opening by a collar similar to the colar 72, but instead the tubular guide section 136 lies on the bottom of the tank. The top of the tubular section 138 is provided with a cut-out notch at its upper end similar to the notch 128 in the tubular section 126, shown in Fig.

21. The notch thus formed is adapted to receive the lower end of a section similar to that shown in ig. 22.

The separate sections 128 and 127, forming the operating tube for the tool 17 and flexible hose, may be assembled by supporting the tool 17, the tubular sections 136 and 137, and the hose adjacent the top of the tank while the tubular sections 126 and 127 are moved into position over the hose and interfitted with each other. As each section 126 or 127 is added the assembly may be lowered slightly. Thus the interfitting of the sections may be accomplished just above the inlet to the tank without a great deal of head room being required. In Fig. 19 I have illustrated what may 6 be a cellar beam 139, to indicate the cramped space in which it is sometimes necessary to work in order to clean a tank.

In the apparatus shown in Fig. 19 I have employed a hose with the pivoted links on the inside 6 of the hose. However, it will be understood that, if desired, the hose may be provided with links pivoted on the outside of the hose, as shown in Fig. 7, or may be provided with the links shown in Figs. 23 and 24. After the parts are assembled, 7 as shown in Fig. 19, the apparatus is operated in substantially the same manner as above described. It will be appreciated that rotation of the handle 134 will, through the abutments 132 and 133 on the tubular sections 126 and 127, 7 swing the tubular guide section 136 so as to swing the tool over the bottom and side walls of the tank. It will further be appreciated that the apparatus shown in Fig. 19 may be employed to operate the brush, illustrated in Figs. 12 to 17, inclusive.

When head room will permit in cleaning a cellar tank, a tool and hose operating member, similar to that shown in Fig. 25 may be employed. This operating member comprises a tube 141, to the lower end of which is pivotally secured a tubular guide member (Fig. 26) similar to the guide member 136. At its upper end the tube 141 is provided with a cut-out notch similar to the notch 128 (Fig. 21). The upper end of the tubular member 141 is interfitted with a tubular section 143 which has ledges similar to the ledges 129 and 131 and an abutment similar to the abutment 133 of the section 127, shown in Fig. 22. The section 143 may be provided with a handle 142 for rotating the tube.

When it is necessary, because of the depth of the tank, to employ a longer operating member or tube, an additional section 144 may be applied to the end of the tubular member 143, as shown in Fig. 26. The section 144 has at its lower end, as indicated in dotted lines, a cut-out 146 similar to the cut-out 128 provided in the section 126.

The handle 142 in this arrangement is removed from the tubular section 143 and placed on the tubular section 144.

In Fig. 27 I have illustrated a simplified apparatus which may be employed in cleaning some types of tanks. The apparatus comprises a series of sections of tubing 146, which are assembled together by means of threaded couplings 147. To the lower of the sections 146 there Is secured, as indicated at 148, a section of hose 149. The hose or flexible member 149 may be provided with external links, as shown in Figs. 2 and 7, or with internal links, as shown in Figs. 23 and 24. The tool is operated by manually manipulating the protruding end of the apparatus so as to sweep the tool, indicated by the numeral 151, over the bottom and portions of the side walls of the tank.

The advantage of this arrangement lies primarily in the fact that the parts may be preassembled and work commenced when the job is reached merely by inserting the apparatus in the tank. However, if desired, the separate sections 146 may be assembled together, by means of the couplings, as the apparatus is lowered into the tank.

It will be appreciated that the use of the apparatus of Fig. 27 requires sufficient head room to enable the apparatus to be inserted in the tank and the protruding end to be rotated so aso sweep the tool over the tank walls. While a tool similar to that previously described, or a brush similar to that shown in Figs. 12, 13, and 16 may 10 be employed with the apparatus shown in Fig. 27, I prefer to use with this apparatus a special tool.

The tool is shown in Figs. 28 to 31, inclusive.

The tool 151 comprises a head 152 which has a threaded bore 153 for reception in a fitting 154 5 on the end of the flexible member or hose 149.

The head 152 is preferably circular in cross section, as shown in Figs. 30 and 31, and has cut therein an elongated opening 156 which terminates just short of the ends of the head so as 0 to provide feet 157. Opposite the elongated opening 156 and threaded into the wall of the head, as indicated at 158, are a pair of supporting pins 159. The pins 159 are provided with enlarged heads 161 which may be provided with suitable 5 means, such as screw driver slots, for removing the pins from the head or adjusting the position of the pins.

Carried by the pins are members 163 and 164, shown most clearly in Fig. 29. The member 164 is a scraper bar and is provided with rather sharp scraping edges 166 extending longitudinally of the member. Member 164 is provided with a pair of enlarged bores 167, would decrease in diameter so as to form ledges 168 adapted to receive the heads 161 of the pins 159. The member 163 is provided with a pair of bores 169 for the reception of the pins. The diameter of the bores is such that the members 163 and 164 are loosely supported by and may shift with respect to the pins. The member 163, in particular, is a heavy element and may be made of lead and exerts its weight upon the scraper bar 164. It will be appreciated that the element 163 is supported by the element 164 and is free to shift with respect thereto, while the element 164 is supported by the pins so that it protrudes through the elongated opening 156 so that the longitudinal edges 16S thereof may scrape upon the bottom and side walls of the tank.

The tool 151 is a combined flushing, scraping and suction tool. When the tool 151 is moved over the walls of the tank, with suction applied through the hose 149, it will be appreciated that the resistance to movement offered by the tank wall when the tool is moving to the left, as viewed in Fig. 31 and as indicated by the arrow A, will cause the scraper bar to shift to the right with respect to the head and the sludge and sediment to accumulate or pile up adjacent the point 171 and in front of the scraper bar edge. The suc- -5 tion in the chamber formed in the head (52 will draw the sludge and sediment, together with the flushing oil, from the tank upwardly into the head and thence into the hose 149, so that it may be discharged by the suction pump. When the direction of movement is reversed, from that indicated by the arrow A, the scraper will remain stationary until the lost motion is taken up, after which the scraper bar edge 166 at the right of Fig. 31 will be effective to scrape material from the bottom of the tank. A space will then exist along this scraper bar edge through which the suction is effective to draw the refuse material into the head. It will be appreciated that the 5 members 163 and 164 are floating on the pins and that the weight of the bar 163 is such as to maintain the scraping edges in scraping position on the bottom of the tank.

In Fig. 18 I have illustrated a modified form of 5 flushing and suction tool, generally indicated by the numeral 181. This tool is particularly designed for light liquids such as gasoline. The tool is provided with a bore 182 which opens into a chamber 183. The chamber is of maximum 6 cross sectional area adjacent the bore 182, as indicated at 184, and gradually decreases in cross sectional area towards its forward end, as shown at 185. The suction opening 186 is maintained slightly above the bottom of the tank by feet 187. G The forward end of the tool may be provided with a nose 188 shaped so as to permit the tool to be deflected when lowered into the tank upon striking the bottom thereof. The tool, if desired, may be weighted with lead to maintain it in contact 7 with the tank wall. The arrangement shown, wherein the cross sectional area of the chamber 183 gradually decreases toward the forward end of the tool, causes a substantially equal suction to be effective throughout the area of the suction 7 opening 186. The tool is thus more effective to pick up light fluids such as gasoline.

While I have shown various tools which may be employed in cleaning a tank and have shown various ways in which a flexible member or hose can be made, and also have shown various arrangements for actuating the tool and the flexible member or hose, it will be appreciated that various other arrangements may be employed, and that, in particular, changes may be made in the form and relation of parts. It is desirable in a complete system for cleaning tanks that most of the equipment described above and shown in the drawings be available, as various sizes and shapes of tanks are encountered, and also the tanks are differently mounted and the openings therein differently located. With the equipment shown and described the proper tool will be available for cleaning substantially any tank which may be encountered. It is intended that the claims shall embrace not only the apparatus and various arrangements of the equipment shown herein, but equivalents thereof, such as are within the spirit of the invention.

I claim: 1. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a flexible member having a free end section adapted for insertion through said opening and for movement downwardly within the tank to the bottom wall thereof and with at least a portion thereof lying a distance along said bottom, means associated with said section and serving to stiffen it in one plane to restrain flexing thereof in said plane while permitting substantially free flexure of said section in a plane at right angles to said first mentioned plane, and means associated with said section within the tank for operating said section to swing the bottom portion thereof over the tank walls.

2. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a flexible member having a free end section adapted for insertion through said opening and for movement Sdownwardly within the tank to the bottom wall thereof and with at least a portion thereof lying a distance along said bottom, means associated with said section and serving to stiffen it in one plane to restrain flexing thereof in said plane 0 while permitting substantially free flexure of said section in a plane at right angles to said first mentioned plane, and supporting and guiding means for said section extending within the tank through said opening, said flexible member being movable on said supporting and guiding means to progressively advance the free end of said section along the tank wall to predetermined positions thereon, and said supporting and guiding means engaging said free end section and being operable 0 to swing it laterally over the tank wall.

3. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a flexible hose having a free e-d section adapted for insertion through said opening and for movement 3 downwardly within the tank to the bottom thereof and with at least a portion thereof lying for a distance along said bottom, means associated with said section of the hose and serving to stiffen it in one plane to restrain flexing thereof ,) in said plane while permitting free flexure of said section in a plane at right angles to said first mentioned plane, said means comprising a series of pivotally connected links extending along two sides of the hose, and means associated with said .5 section within the tank for operating said section to swing the horizontal portion thereof over the tank walls.

4. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through a relatively small opening near the top thereof, said apparatus comprising a flexible hose having one end section adapted for insertion through said opening into the tank to extend downwardly to the bottom thereof and thence to extend approximately horizontally for a distance along said bottom, means associated with said section of 1 said hose and extending lengthwise thereof for stiffening said section to tend to restrain flexure thereof out of an approximately vertical plane defined by the downwardly extending and horizontally extending parts of said hose section 1 while permitting substantially free flexure thereof within said plane, and means insertable into said tank through said opening for swinging said horizontally extending part of said hose laterally approximately around the axis of said down- , wardly extending part thereof.

5. Apparatus for clencing a tank through a relatively small opening near the top thereof, said apparatus comprising an elongated relatively stiff member for insertion downwardly into said tank through said opening, a, second relatively stiff member pivotally connected to said first mentioned member near the bottom end thereof so that said second member may be placed in approximate alinement with said first member : for insertion into said tank and may be swung laterally after insertion to a position at a substantial angle to said first member, and a hose guided by and movable longitudinally with respect to both of said members, said hose flexing when said :i second member is swung laterally with respect to said first member and the end of said hose being progressively advanced along the bottom of the tank farther and farther from said second member when force is applied to an accessible portion 4( of the hose above the tank to move it downwardly with respect to said first member, rotation of said first member about its longitudinal axis being effective to swing said second member and thereby to cause lateral movement of the advance end 4, of the hose to various portions of the tank.

6. In apparatus of the class described, a device for cleaning a liquid supply tank and adapted for insertion through an opening in a wall thereof, said device comprising a flexible member having a 5u head, and supporting sections for the flexible member extending longitudinally thereof and connected to swing one upon another, said device during advancement within the tank having a portion acted upon by a wall of the tank to bend u5 the flexible member and to swing one of the sections upon another to enable movement of the head to a predetermined position within the tank, the flexible member being movable upon the sections to progressively advance the head along the o0 bottom of the tank to other predetermined positions, and the sections being operable to move the head over the tank walls from said predetermined positions.

7. In apparatus of the class described, a device u5 for cleaning a liquid supply tank and adapted for insertion through an opening in a wall thereof, said device comprising a flexible hose having a head and supporting sections for the hose extending longitudinally thereof and connected to swing one upon another, said device during advancement within the tank having a portion acted upon by a wall of the tank to bend the hose and to swing one of the sections upon another to effect movement of the head to a predetermined position within the tank, and means on the hose serving to restrain flexing thereof in a plane transverse to the plane in which it is 'bent, the hose being adapted for a step by step movement on said sections to successively advance the head from said predetermined position to other predetermined positions, said sections being rotatable to move the suction head from said predetermined positions over the tank walls.

0 8. In apparatus of the class described, a device for withdrawing sludge from a liquid supply tank and adapted for insertion through an opening in a wall thereof, said device comprising a flexible hose having a suction head, normally alined sup5 porting sections for the hose extending longitudinally thereof and connected to swing one upon another, means operable from the exterior of the tank during advancement of said device therein to swing one of the sections within the tank to a :J position at a substantial angle to another to effect movement of the suction head to a predetermined position on the bottom of the tank, the hose being movable upon the sections to progressively advance the suction head to other predetermined :' positions on the bottom of the tank and the sections being operable to move the suction head over the tank walls from said predetermined positions.

9. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a flexible suction hose having a free end section adapted for insertion through said opening and for movement downwardly within the tank toward the bottom Sthereof, means including a member operable from ' the exterior of the tank for bending said free end section to position it substantially horizontally over said bottom, means associated with said section of the hose and serving to stiffen it in a plane transverse to the plane in which it is bent, and means associated with said section within the tank for operating said section to swing the horizontal portion thereof over the tank walls.

10. In tank cleaning apparatus, a flexible suction hose having a liquid inlet opening at its free end, inner and outer tubular supporting sections for the hose extending longitudinally thereof and pivotally connected one with another and through which the free end of the hose is extended, said hose and the sections thereon being insertable within a liquid holding tank through an opening in the wall thereof to a predetermined position at which the outer tubular section will extend in angular relation to the inner section and over the bottom of the tank, said hose supporting sections being rotatable within the tank to move the suction end of the hose over the bottom surface thereof, said sections each being cut away at one side thereof adjacent its point of connection with the other section to permit the hose to bend opposite said point during movement of the sections and the hose to said predetermined position within the tank, and a guard connected with said inner section and adapted to engage the bent portion of the hose when the sections are at said predetermined position, said guard engaging a portion of the tank surrounding said opening during withdrawal of the sections from the tank to prevent the bent portion of the hose from contacting with said tank wlhen b:ei:ng retrajted through said opening.

11. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a tube for rotation within said opening, a flexible member having a free end section movable longitudinally through the tube into the tank to a position at which it will project laterally from the tube and over the bottom of the tank, and means effective upon rotation of the tube to swing the free end section of the hose over the tank walls. 12. Apparatus for cleaning a tank through an opening in a wall thereof, comprising a flexible member having a free end section adapted for insertion through said opening and for movement downwardly within the tank to the bottom there- ii of and substantially horizontally for a distance on said bottom, and supporting and guiding means for said section extending within the tank through said opening, said flexible member being movable on said supporting and guiding means i to progressively advance the free end of said section along the bottom of the tank to predetermined positions thereon and said supporting and guiding means engaging the flexible member and being operable to swing the horizontal por- 2 tion of the section from said predetermined positions over the tank walls.

13. In apparatus for cleaning a tank having an opening, in combination, a flexible suction conduit having a free end adapted for insertion 2 through said opening, means on the outer end of the conduit for producing a suction in the conduit for drawing waste material from the tank, and means associated with the conduit for stiffening it against deflection out of one plane while 3 permitting substantially free flexure thereof in said plane.

14. In apparatus for cleaning a tank having an opening, in combination, a flexible suction conduit having a free end adapted for insertion e through said opening to extend downwardly within the tank to the bottom thereof and substantially horizontally for a distance along said bottom, means in connection with said conduit for deflecting the conduit and causing the free 4 end to be projected horizontally as the conduit is fed into the tank, means associated with the conduit for stiffening it against deflection out of one plane while permitting free flexure thereof in said plane, and means on the outer end of the conduit for producing a suction in the conduit for drawing waste material from the tank.

15. In apparatus for cleaning a tank through a relativeltey small opening adjacent the top thereof, in combination, a flexible conduit having a free end adapted for insertion through said opening to extend downwardly to substantially the bottom of the tank and thence to extend at an angle to the direction of insertion along the bottom thereof, a pair of rigid elements connected together at an angle to each other and associated with the conduit, said elements extending longitudinally of the conduit and with respect to which the conduit is longitudinally movable, means externally of the tank for swinging said elements to thereby swing the conduit, and means extending longitudinally of the conduit for retaining at least the portion of the conduit adjacent the free end rigid in planes approximately parallel to the bottom of the tank so that the free end of the conduit may be swung across the bottom of the tank upon swinging said elements.

16. In a structure of the character described a conduit of flexible material, a plurality of members extending lengthwise of the conduit, and elements extending through the conduit to the external ends of which said members are p'votally connected, said members and elements cooperating to stiffen the conduit against deflection out of one plane while permitting it to flex substantially freely in said plane.

17. In a structure of the character described a conduit of flexible material, a plurality of members extending lengthwise of the conduit, elements extending through the conduit to the external ends of which said members are pivotally connected, said members and elements cooperating to stiffen the conduit against deflection i out of one plane while permitting it to flex substantially freely in said plane, and means for sealing the conduit at the points where said elements extend through the conduit.

18. In a structure of the character described a conduit of flexible material, a plurality of members extending lengthwise of and being located within the conduit, and means for pivotally connecting ad me said members, said members stiffening the conduit against deflection out of one plane Swhile permitting it to flex substantially freely in said plane by pivotal movement of said members with respect to each other.

19. A tool for use with an apparatus of the character described, said tool comprising an elongated body, a multiplicity of scrubbing elements Scarried by said body, an elongated member pivotally connected adjacent one end to said elongated body and having sufficient lateral stiffness to serve as a handle for manipulating said body ,0 laterally over a surface to be cleaned, the pivotal connection between said body and said member being so arranged that said body may be approximately alined with said i ai member and form a prolongation thereof, the cross sectional outline of said body when in said alined position being not substantially larger than the cross sectional outline of said handle member, and means including a spring tending to return said body to said alined position when it is displaced there60 from.

20. A tool for use with an apparatus for cleaning tanks of the character described, said tool comprising a body section having an opening therein, a scraper bar mounted on said body sec45 tion and projecting through said opening, said bar being non-rigidly mounted with respect to said body section for lateral movement within the limits of said opening and being narrower than the width of the opening so that whenever said 50 bar is moved to a position substantially against one side of said opening an open inlet space will remain adjacent the other side of said opening, whereby upon moving said tool laterally over a sludge-covered surface, said bar will occupy a 55 position substantially against the trailing side of said opening and the sludge will be scraped by said bar and accumulate in front of said bar to be drawn into said body section through the open inlet space adjacent the leading side of said S6 opening.

21. In a structure of the character described, an elongated flexible member, a tool adapted to be moved over the walls of a tank and connected to one end of said flexible member to be actuated 65 thereby, the end portion of said flexible member adjacent said tool being weighted to tend to press the tool into firm engagement with the tank wall, and means for maintaining said flexible member substantially rigid against lateral deformation 70 out of one plane while permitting it to flex in said plane.

22. In an apparatus for cleaning tanks having an opening therein, a flexible conduit, a plurality of tubular members with respect to which said 75 flexible conduit is movable, said tubular members having complementary interfltting parts to enable the conduit to be extended through thetank opening and the tubular members interfitted in surrounding relation to the conduit as the conduit is fed into. the tank, and means in connection with the tubular members for actuating the conduit from the outside of the tank through said tubular members after the tubular members are assembled.

23. A flexible member for insertion into a tank through a relatively small opening therein, to operate a cleaning member within said tank, said flexible member including a flexible element, rigid links extending lengthwise of said element in closely associated relation with two exteriorly opposite sides only of said element and pivotally connected' for oscillation relatively to each other about axes which are all substantially parallel to each other so that said links and said flexible element may flex within a plane perpendicular to said pivotal axes and are held against substantial deflection laterally out of said plane, the other sides of said flexible member which form the inner and outer surfaces of a curve when said member is flexed'presenting relatively smooth and unbroken surfaces in a longitudinal direction so that the flexible member may be readily withdrawn from said tank through said small opening, and means for attaching a cleaning tool to one end of said flexible, member for actuation thereby.

24. A tank-cleaning tool for insertion into a tank through a relatively small opening therein, said tool including an elongated handle portion, an elongated working head pivotally secured to said handle portion for oscillation about a pivotal axis substantially perpendicular to the directions of elongation of both said handle portion and said working head, so that said working head may swing about said axis to various angular positions relative to said handle portion, said axis being located substantially at the extremity of said handle portion, and means for swinging said head c about said axis to aline it with said handle portion, said head and said handle portion when alined with each other both having relatively small cross sectional outlines so that said handle portion and said head may be readily withdrawn from said tank through said small opening.

25. A construction as described in claim 24, in which said means for swinging said head comprises a spring constantly tending to turn said head relatively to said handle portion in one dil3 rection, and abutment means limiting the swinging thereof in said direction to a position in which said head is substantially alined with said handle portion.

26. A flexible member for insertion into a tank 2o through a relatively small opening therein, to operate a cleaning member within said tank, said flexible member including a flexible element, rigid links arranged interiorly of said flexible element and extending lengthwise thereof, said links being pivotally connected for oscillation relative to each other about axes which are all substantially parallel to each other so that said links and said element may flex within a plane perpendicular to said pivotal axes and are held against substantial deflection laterally out of said plane, the exterior sides of said element which form the inner and outer surfaces of a curve when said element is flexed presenting relatively smooth and unbroken surfaces in a longitudinal direction so that said member may be readily withdrawn from said tank through said small opening, and means for attaching a cleaning tool to one end of said member for actuation thereby.

CHARLES E. SENKE.