Title:
CLEANING VEHICLE
United States Patent 3830430


Abstract:
A cleaning vehicle for cleansing the internal surfaces of a totally or partially enclosed chamber. The vehicle includes a base frame having a plurality of wheels driven by a reversible drive mechanism. The vehicle is adapted to be displaced reversibly in a longitudinal direction contiguous to a base surface. A spray mechanism is mounted to the base frame for ejecting liquid to the internal surfaces of the enclosing chamber. The spray mechanism is rotatively moveable with respect to the base frame in at least two planes of motion. A pair of guide mechanisms are mounted on opposing sides of the base frame for aligning the vehicle with respect to opposing transverse walls of the enclosing chamber during the longitudinal displacement of the cleaning vehicle.



Inventors:
HARTU IAN C
Application Number:
05/316128
Publication Date:
08/20/1974
Filing Date:
12/18/1972
Assignee:
HARTUNIAN C,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/50.3, 15/88.4, 134/45, 239/227
International Classes:
B08B9/08; (IPC1-7): B05B3/18
Field of Search:
15/1,7,21R,5R,21E,5C,56,98,53 134
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3534746PORTABLE CLEANER FOR TRAILER INTERIORS1970-10-20Posner
3477178CYLINDER TREATER APPARATUS1969-11-11Hulbert, Jr.
3326468Tank cleaning machine employing a piston actuated hydraulic clutch1967-06-20Bristow et al.
2923954N/A1960-02-09Babcock



Primary Examiner:
Roberts, Edward L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Maleson, Paul Rosenberg Morton J.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A cleaning vehicle adapted to translate in a longitudinal direction contiguous with a base surface comprising:

2. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 1 including means for rotating said spray means in a plane substantially parallel said base surface defining a base plane.

3. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 2 wherein said means for rotating said spray means includes a tube member mounted to and rotatable with respect to said base frame, said tube member extending substantially vertical to said base frame and defining a vertically directed through passage, said tube member being secured to said spray means for providing concurrent rotation of said tube member and said spray means.

4. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 3 wherein said tube member is rigidly secured to a pulley member passing contiguous on external boundary wall of said tube member, said pulley member passing in a plane substantially parallel said base surface and operatively connected to said drive means.

5. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 3 including means for rotating said spray means in a plane substantially normal said base surface.

6. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 5 wherein said means for rotating said spray means in a plane substantially normal said base surface includes:

7. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 6 wherein said first bevel gear is fastened to a vertically extending rod passing internal said through passage of said tube member and fixedly secured to said base frame.

8. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 7 wherein said spray means includes:

9. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 8 wherein said fluid transportation means includes a swivel joint element secured to an upper surface of said tube member, said swivel joint element connected on opposing ends thereof to said fluid forcing means and a liquid supply external said enclosed chamber.

10. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 9 wherein said means for forcing said liquid external said vehicle includes:

11. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 10 wherein said sprayheads include tubular extensions passing from said pipe member at a predetermined angle with respect to said vertically directed tube member defining a vertical direction.

12. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 11 wherein said tubular extensions approximate an angle of 15° with respect to a plane passing normal said pipe member.

13. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 1 including liquid container means mounted on said base member for holding said liquid prior to ejection through said spray means.

14. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 1 wherein said guide means includes a pair of four bar linkage mechanisms mounted to said base frame on opposing transverse sides thereof, said mechanisms being rotatable about an axis coincident with said longitudinal direction.

15. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 14 wherein each of said four bar mechanisms include a pair of rollers pivotally mounted to said mechanisms for contacting said opposing transverse boundary walls, said rollers extending in said transverse direction beyond that of any individual component of said linkage mechanisms.

16. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 15 wherein each of said mechanisms includes base link means for longitudinally varying the length of each of said mechanisms with respect to said base frame.

17. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 16 wherein said base link means inclues:

18. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 1 including actuation control means mounted on said base frame for reversing said longitudinal translation of said vehicle when a boundary wall is sensed, said actuation control means being operatively connected to said drive means.

19. The cleaning vehicle as recited in claim 18 wherein said actuation control means includes:

20. A truck body cleaning assembly adapted to wash the interior surfaces of a truck body, comprising:

21. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 20 including means for rotating said fluid ejection means in a plane substantially parallel said floor surface of said truck body.

22. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 21 wherein said means for rotating said fluid ejection means includes a tube member passing substantially vertical said floor surface and rotatively mounted to said base frame, said tube member having a predetermined internal diameter defining a through passage.

23. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 22 wherein said rotation means for said fluid ejection means includes a pulley member securely fastened to an outer wall of said tube member and rotational in a plane substantially parallel said floor surface, said pulley member being operatively connected to said motor means through an endless belt.

24. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 22 including means for rotating said fluid ejection means about an axis passing substantially parallel said floor surface of said truck body.

25. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 24 wherein said means for rotating said fluid ejection means about said axis includes gear actuation means connected to said tube member within said through passage of said tube member.

26. The truck body cleaning assembly as recited in claim 25 wherein said gear actuation means includes a pair of meshed bevel gears having axes of rotation substantially normal each other, said pair of bevel gears defining a first bevel gear secured to said base frame and a second bevel gear for rotating about an axis substantially normal to the axis of said first bevel gear.

27. The truck cleaning assembly as recited in claim 26 whrein said second bevel gear is secured to said means for ejecting fluid, said second bevel gear and said means for ejecting fluid having coincident axis of rotation for rotating said fluid injection means about said axis passing substantially parallel said floor surface of said truck body.

28. The truck cleaning assembly as recited in claim 20 including means for aligning said assembly between opposing transversely opposed sidewalls of said truck body during displacement of said assembly in said longitudinal direction.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention pertains to cleaning vehicles. In particular, this invention relates to cleaning vehicles having spray mechanisms for ejecting cleansing compounds to the internal surfaces of a totally or partially enclosed chamber. More in particular, this invention pertains to a cleaning vehicle adapted to translate in a predetermined direction within the enclosing chamber while being aligned with respect to opposing transverse walls of the enclosure.

2. Prior Art

Cleaning vehicles are known in the prior art. However, many prior cleaning devices do not provide spray mechanisms which are rotatively moveable in at least two planes of motion when spraying the internal surfaces of an enclosing chamber. These mechanisms do not reach all areas of the internal surfaces needing a cleansing action and therefore result in a partially cleaned inner surface area.

Other systems for cleaning internal wall surfaces provide for manual drive. Where an operator is needed to drive the cleaning mechanism, the temperature and corrosive nature of the cleansing compound is necessarily restricted. Additionally such cleaning apparatus is costly to operate in light of the added labor costs.

In prior cleaning mechanisms alignment problems are found where the mechanism deviates from a predetermined path restriction. Such cleaning apparatus do not provide for guide mechanisms which maintain the vehicle path movement within a predetermined contour.

Additionally, other cleaning vehicles may be automatically driven through a motor drive mechanism. However, such vehicles do not provide reverse cycles in order that the vehicle may be driven through the cleaning area a plurality of times. Such prior cleaning apparatus tend to leave certain internal wall surfaces dirty thereby lowering overall cleaning effectiveness.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus adapted to cleanse the inner surfaces of a partially or totally enclosed chamber.

Another object of the instant invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which systematically cleanses all surfaces of an enclosing chamber.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which is automatically operable within an enclosing chamber.

Another object of the instant invention is to provide a cleaning apparatus which includes a spray mechanism mounted to the apparatus base frame and rotatively moveable in at least two planes with respect thereto.

A cleaning vehicle which is adapted to translate in a longitudinal direction contiguous with a base surface. The vehicle includes a base frame having a plurality of wheel members for translating the cleaning vehicle. A drive mechanism is mounted to the base frame and is operatively connected to the wheel members. A spray mechanism is mounted to the base frame and ejects liquid to the surrounding environment of the vehicle. The spray mechanism is rotatively moveable with respect to the base frame in at least two planes in motion. Guide mechanisms mounted to the base frame align the vehicle transverse the longitudinal direction with respect to opposing transverse boundary walls external to the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of the cleaning apparatus showing the vehicle contacting a front wall of an enclosing chamber;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the cleaning vehicle showing the vehicle in spaced relation to the front and opposing transverse sidewalls; and,

FIG. 3 is a front view of the cleaning vehicle showing the guiding mechanisms in operational displacement and in a stored mode as depicted in the phantom line drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 there is as shown a cleaning vehicle or truck cleaning assembly 10 for cleansing the interior boundary walls of a completely or partially enclosed container. In particular, cleansing vehicle 10 is used to clean the interior of a truck body comprising base plane, surface, or floor 20, forward vertical wall 30, opposing transverse vertical walls 40, 50, as well as the standard ceiling section of any enclosing member or truck body. As will be described in the following paragraphs, vehicle assembly 10 is adapted to translate in longitudinal direction 60 contiguous with base surface or floor 20. During traverse of a predetermined cyclical path, assembly 10 provides a high pressure stream of liquid, steam, detergent material or like cleaning composition for cleansing the interior walls 20, 30, 40, and 50 of the enclosing chamber. Additionally, truck cleaning assembly 10 will be seen to accomplish a scrubbing action as well as a high pressure spray action on floor or base plane 20 during a longitudinal traverse. Cleaning vehicle 10 will automatically high pressure wash or generally clean the interior of large trailers and smaller delivery trucks which become contaminated and is of special use in those truck bodies transporting meat and general food products. Although not of critical importance to the invention, the overall dimensions of vehicle 10 approximate: 3.5 feet longitudinally, 2.5 feet transversely and 4 feet in vertical height.

Base frame 90 includes a series of horizontal and vertical tubular members 100 welded or otherwise securely fastened as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, in order to provide a suitable mounting assembly for the various components of vehicle 10. Tubular members 100 are constructed of stainless steel, steel pipe or some like material sufficient in structural integrity to maintain the weight of the various components to be described in the following paragraphs. A pair of rear wheels 110, as shown in FIG. 2, are rigidly mounted to rear wheel shaft 130 which is rotatively connected to opposing transverse sides of a pair of longitudinally directed tubular members 100. Forward wheels 120 are similarly mounted to forward wheel shaft 140 as is shown. In this manner, vehicle 10 may be displaced in longitudinal direction 60 in either a forward or rearward motion.

Actual automatic displacement of vehicle 10 is provided through drive means, motor mechanism, or reversible DC motor 150. Motor shaft 170, adapted to rotate in a horizontal plane, is rigidly secured to displacement pulley 160 as is shown in FIG. 1. Pulley 160, also rotating in the horizontal plane, is attached to intermediate pulley 180 through endless belt 190. Intermediate pulley 180 is adapted to rotate in a plane normal to the rotation plane of displacement pulley 160. Pulley 180 is rigidly mounted through bolts or some like techniques to intermediate pulley shaft 200 which is rotatively moveable with respect to base frame 90. As is seen, pulley shaft 200 is mounted to opposing transverse tubular members 100 at transverse bearing ends 210, as is seen in FIG. 2. Secondary displacement pulley 220 is securely mounted to intermediate pulley shaft 200 in a manner similar to that seen for intermediate pulley 180. Pulley 220 is operatively connected to wheel shaft pulley 240 through endless belt 230. Wheel shaft pulley 240 in turn, is mounted to rear wheel shaft 130 in a constrained manner. As is seen, pulley members 180, 220, and 240 all rotate in parallel planes substantially normal to base surface 20. In the manner shown, actuation of a motor mechanism, or reversible DC motor 150 thus results in a corresponding rotation of rear wheels 110 to drive assembly 10 in a longitudinal direction 60 in either a forward or rearward displacement.

Spray mechanism 80 for ejecting liquid, fluid, high pressure vapor or other cleaning compositions to the surrounding boundary environment of vehicle 10 is mounted to base frame 90 and rotatively moveable in at least two planes with respect thereto. Actuation of spray mechanism or fluid ejection means 80 is initiated through rotation of spray drive pulley 250 which is rigidly attached to motor shaft 170. Rotation of motor shaft 170 causes a similar plane rotation of drive pulley 250 which correspondingly operates tube pulley 270 through connecting belt 260. Rotation of tube pulley 270 in a plane substantially parallel to base surface 20 forces a corresponding rotation of tube member 280. Pulley 270 is rigidly secured to tube member 280 in order to cause corresponding rotation between these elements. Element 280 is vertically mounted and rotatable with respect to base frame 90 at a lowermost end thereof. Tube member 280 extends substantially vertical from base frame 90 and defines the vertically directed tube through passage 290, as is shown. As has been described, pulley member 270 therefore passes contiguous to an external boundary wall of tube member 280 and is rigidly secured thereto in order to provide corresponding rotation in both members. Vertical rod member 300 passes substantially central to tube through passage 290 in a vertical manner as is shown. Further, rod member 300 is substantially constrained with respect to base frame 90. Therefore, rotation of member 280 does not cause a corresponding rotation of vertical rod member 300. First bevel gear 310 is secured to an upper end of rod member 300 and is thus fixedly secured to base frame 90. Second bevel gear 320 is meshed to gear 310 and is rotationally moveable in a plane substantially normal to base surface 20. Bevel gear 320 is secured to spray mechanism 80 in order to now provide rotation of mechanism 80 in two planes.

Hot water, or other cleaning compositions at high temperature levels or under high pressure are introduced into spray mechanism 80 through fluid composition pipe 342. Fluid composition pipe 342 is connected to hose reel 344 which is mounted to base frame 90 as is shown. High pressure hose 346 is wrapped on reel 344 and extends to a remote area where the high temperature, high pressure or other cleaning composition is being pumped to spray mechanism 80. Hose reel 344 allows movement of vehicle 10 while maintaining hose 346 in an area which will preclude vehicle interruption if hose 346 were allowed to simply be played out on floor 20. Additionally reel 344 may be rotatively operated in conjunction with drive mechanism 150 in order to wrap or unwrap hose 344 dependent on the motion direction of vehicle 10.

Cleaning fluid may be contained within container or tank 340 mounted to base frame 90 as is shown, or may be brought in from external sources. As is shown, fluid may pass through fluid hose 350 into swivel joint 360 which is rotatively mounted to an upper end of tube member 280. Similarly, detergent or other material contained within tank 340 may be incorporated directly into fluid transport conduit 330 or fluid pipe 342 at another point, not important to the invention. In other cases, container 340 may be removed from the main body of vehicle 10 to allow mixing with incoming fluid at a site remote from the enclosing chamber. In this manner, spray mechanism 80 may rotate without causing an entanglement of mechanism 80 within the fluid hose 350. Swivel joint 360, is well known in the art and not part of the inventive concept as herein described. Fluid passing through swivel joint 360 is forced through fluid transport hose 370 and into fluid transport conduit 330 as is shown clearly in FIG. 1. Connection between fluid transport hose 370 and fluid transport conduit 330 may be provided through a second swivel joint 380 to allow independent rotation of transport conduit 330 with respect to hose 370. Therefore, rotation of bevel gear 310 in a plane substantially parallel to base surface 20 causes a rotation of meshed second bevel gear 320 in a plane substantially normal to the rotation plane of tube member 280. Since gear 320 is rigidly secured to transport conduit 330, it is seen that conduit 330 is also rotated around an axis coincidence with the axis of rotation of bevel gear 320.

Fluid passing through fluid pipe or conduit 330 is forced to ejection through a plurality of spray heads 390 as is shown. The plurality of spray heads 390 in combination with the fluid pipe 330 therefore form the basic fluid ejection mechanism. Spray heads 390 form an angle approximating 15° to a plane perpendicular to the axis of pipe or conduit 330. Spray heads 390 may be tubular members as is shown, or may be tubular conduits containing nozzles to aid in the high pressure disbursement of liquid passing through the entire system. In this manner, it is seen that spray heads 390 rotate in essentially two planes; one plane having an axial normal to base surface 20 and a second plane which is parallel to base surface 20. This combined rotation, in conjunction with high pressure fluid being passed through vehicle 10 provides a cleansing action to base surface 20, opposing transverse vertical walls 40, 50 and a ceiling section of any enclosing chamber.

Guide or alignment mechanisms 400 are provided on opposing transverse sides of base frame 90 as is shown clearly in FIGS. 2 and 3. Mechanisms 400 align vehicle 10 in transverse direction 70 with respect to opposing transverse boundary walls 40 and 50. Mechanisms 400 essentially include a pair of four bar linkage mechanisms mounted to base frame 90 with the entire mechanism 400 being rotatable about an axis coincident with longitudinal direction 60. Each of mechanisms 400 includes a guide frame 410 comprising a series of welded tubular or rod members which are rotatably mounted to base frame 90 through rotatable bearings 420 as is shown in FIG. 2. In this manner, guide mechanisms 400 may be rotated about an axis coincident to longitudinal direction 60 as is shown in the phantom line drawing of FIG. 3. The ability of mechanism 400 to be rotated in the manner described, provides the ability of guide mechanism 400 to be placed adjacent to vehicle 10, thereby decreasing the overall transverse dimension of assembly 10 when not in use. This ability further permits vehicle 10 to be placed within a confining chamber such as a truck body prior to operation and to then be rotated to mechanisms 400 extended transverse position for guidance of vehicle 10 in longitudinal direction 60.

Base link member 440 as is seen in FIG. 2 is secured to guide frame 410 and includes a through passage sufficient to allow insertion of a pair of link rods 430 moveable in longitudinal direction 60. Opposing link rods 430 may be moved within the through passage of base link member 440 independent of each other. Side linkages of 450 are pivoted with respect to link rods 430 at the pivot points of 470. Similarly, side linkages 450 are mated to outermost link 460 at pivot connections 480. A pair of freely rotatable rollers 490 are attached to each of guide mechanisms 400 at pivot connection points 480 as is shown. Springs 500 pass respectively between pivots 470 and 480 to maintain the entire four bar linkage type mechanism in compression loading. In the manner described, it can now be seen that guide mechanisms 400 may be elongated in longitudinal direction 60 by movement of link rods 430 passing through base link member 440. Similarly, linkage mechanism 400 may be transversely displaced by movement of link rods 430 to any preset displacement. Rollers 490 contact opposing transverse vertical walls 40, 50 and being freely rotatable, merely guide vehicle 10 during a longitudinal displacement.

Automatic actuation of vehicle 10 when approaching a forward boundary wall 30 may be accomplished through a number of techniques well known in the art. Actuation control mechanism 510 may include a longitudinally extending rod 520 which is moveably mounted to base frame 90 through a forward section thereof. As is seen in FIG. 2 extending rod 520 extends beyond the forward section of vehicle 10 in order that rod 520 would contact or sense wall 30 prior to the main body of assembly 10. Cam element 540 is attached to a rear portion of rod 520 and, as seen, movement of rod 520 through contact with wall 30 causes movement and actuation of contact switch 530. Actuation of contact switch 530 then causes a reversal of drive mechanism 150 through incorporation of circuitry well known in the art and not part of the inventive concept as herein described. Reversal of drive mechanism 150 then causes a displacement of assembly 10 in a rearward direction. Where a back wall exists a similar mechanism such as the actuation control mechanism 510 may be incorporated into the rear section of assembly 10. Where there is an open area such as the open end of a truck body, a similar control mechanism may be utilized wherein a sensing rod 550 passing contiguous to base surface 20 senses that there is no longer floor 20 contact and moves to provide actuation of another contact switch to once again reverse motor mechanism 150, thereby driving the vehicle 10 in a reversable forward direction.

In order to provide a complete cleansing action of base plane or floor 20, vehicle 10 is equipped with forward brush 560 and rear brush 570 mounted on transverse bars 590 passing in transverse direction 70 to base frame 90. Additionally, transverse bars 590 contain through openings with spray heads 580 attached in order to permit a spraying action on floor 20 during a predetermined portion of the reciprocal displacement of vehicle 10. Bars 590 include through openings connected to either containers 340 or to some external source of high pressure liquid or steam not important to the inventive concept. Additionally, forward and rear brushes 560 and 570 respectively may be raised or lowered to base surface 20 during predetermined portions of the cycle through circuitry well known in the art and not part of the invention as herein detailed. In the manner described, the vehicle or assembly 10 provides the cleansing action for all internal portions of a chamber through automatic or manual manipulation.

In typical operation, an operator manually wheels or otherwise transports cleaning vehicle 10 to the back of a truck body to be cleaned. Guide mechanisms 400 are extended, as shown in FIG. 3, until rollers 490 are contiguous with opposing walls 40 and 50. Extension of mechanisms 400 in this manner serve to keep vehicle 10 centered during the longitudinal translation of the operating phase. the operator may then select the number of wash and rinse cycles needed for a particular operation (not part of the invention). The start button for drive mechanism 150 is actuated and vehicle 10 begins a forward translation in longitudinal direction 60.

As movement of vehicle 10 proceeds in forward longitudinal direction 60, spinning head or spray mechanism 80 applies high pressure, hot soapy water, detergent, or some like cleaning composition to the internal surfaces of the partially enclosed container. During this cycle, sprayheads or conduits 390 are spinning or rotating about an axis substantially normal to the vertical extension of spray tube member 280. Additionally, the entire spray mechanism 80 is rotating about the vertical axis of tube member 280.

The total cleaning cycles (at the option of the operator), may be several high pressure wash and rinse cycles and once set may be completed in a time approximating ten minutes. Sources of hot water and power may be supplied from a remote area of the enclosing chamber while cleaning and sanitizing chemicals may be contained on the main body of vehicle 10, as has been described.

A number of modifications and variations of the present invention as herein before set forth may be made without departing from the spirit and skill thereof, and therefore only such conditions should be imposed as are indicated by the appended claims.