Title:
Vacuum cleaner having a controllable cleaning brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vacuum cleaner comprises a suction port assembly having a suction inlet, a rotatable drum, a driving pulley that drives the rotatable drum, a driven pulley that is driven by a motor and a free-wheeling idler pulley that can rotate irrespective of the driven pulley. A drive belt between the motor and the driven pulley can be moved off the driven pulley and onto the free-wheeling idler pulley. When the drive belt from the motor rides on the idler pulley, the rotatable drum is disconnected from the motor, allowing it to stop. The drive belt is move onto and off of the idler pulley by a user-operable two-position guide member. In a first position, the drive belt is connected to the driven pulley. In the second position, the drive belt is directed onto the free-wheeling idler pulley. A user of the vacuum cleaner can selectively activate and deactivate the rotatable drum during cleaning thereby saving power, reducing wear on the rotating drum and its bristles and reducing noise.



Inventors:
Joung, Myoung-sun (Gwangju-city, KR)
Lee, Byung-jo (Gwangju-city, KR)
Moon, Joo-sung (Seoul, KR)
Moon, Dae-yeoun (Gwangju-city, KR)
Application Number:
11/036225
Publication Date:
09/29/2005
Filing Date:
01/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L5/30; A47L9/04; (IPC1-7): A47L5/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
REDDING, DAVID A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LADAS & PARRY LLP (224 SOUTH MICHIGAN AVENUE SUITE 1600, CHICAGO, IL, 60604, US)
Claims:
1. A vacuum cleaner comprising: a suction port assembly body having a suction inlet for drawing in dust on a surface being cleaned and connected to a body of the vacuum cleaner such that the suction inlet is fluidly communicated with the cleaner body; a rotatable drum mounted in the assembly body; a driven pulley that is connected to and drives the rotatable drum; a free-wheeling idler pulley that rotates freely with respect to the driven pulley; a driving source that supplies rotational power; a first drive belt that delivers the rotational power from the driving source to at least one of the driven pulley and the free-wheeling idler pulley; a guide member that moves between a first position and a second position, said guide member first position directing the first drive belt onto the driven pulley, said guide member second position directing the first drive belt onto the free-wheeling idler pulley.

2. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, further comprising a cam member, rotatably mounted in the suction port assembly body to move the guide member between said first and the second positions.

3. The vacuum cleaner of claim 2, further comprising a return unit for biasing the guide member toward at least one of the first position and the second position.

4. The vacuum cleaner of claim 3, wherein the return unit comprises a resilient spring.

5. The vacuum cleaner of claim 4, wherein the resilient spring member extends from the guide member to an inner wall of the suction port assembly body.

6. The vacuum cleaner of claim 5, wherein the guide member and the resilient spring member are plastic and integrally formed by molding.

7. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, further comprising a rotation knob which includes: a handle part rotatably mounted in a mounting hole of the suction port assembly body and exposed to the outside of the suction port assembly body; and a cam member disposed in contact with the suction port assembly body.

8. The vacuum cleaner of claim 7, wherein one of the mounting hole and the rotation knob comprises at least two fixing grooves, and the other one of the mounting hole and the rotation knob comprises a fixing projection elastically inserted in one of the at least two fixing grooves when the rotation knob is rotated to a predetermined position.

9. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, further comprising: a middle shaft having an axis and being rotatably mounted in the suction port assembly between the rotatable drum and the driving source, said driven pulley and said free-wheeling idler pulley rotating about the axis of said middle shaft; and a second drive belt delivering a rotational power of the driven pulley of the middle shaft.

10. The vacuum cleaner of claim 9, wherein the guide member is slidably mounted within the suction port assembly body to enable the guide member to move between the first and the second positions.

11. The vacuum cleaner of claim 10, further comprising: a cleaner body pivotably connected to the suction port assembly body; a projection protruded from a portion of the cleaner body, the portion adjacent to the suction port assembly body; and an auxiliary guide member for moving the guide member between its first and second positions when the cleaner body moves between its own first and second positions.

12. The vacuum cleaner of claim 11, wherein the auxiliary guide member comprises: an auxiliary guide body slidably mounted within the suction port assembly body; and an auxiliary guide projection projected from a side of the auxiliary guide body to come into contact with the guide member when the cleaner body is substantially upright.

13. A suction port assembly connected to a cleaner body for fluid communication to draw in dust on a surface being cleaned upon driving of a vacuum cleaner, the suction port assembly comprising: a suction port assembly body having a suction inlet for drawing in dust on a surface being cleaned and connected to the cleaner body such that the suction inlet is fluidly communicated with the cleaner body; a rotatable drum mounted in the assembly body to rotate; a driven pulley, operatively connected to the rotatable drum; an idler pulley rotating irrespective of the driven pulley; a driving source for supplying rotation power to the rotatable drum; a first drive belt for coupling rotational power from the driving source to one of the driven pulley and the idler pulley; a guide member having a guide part moved between a first position and a second position, the first position being where the first drive belt rides over the driven pulley and the second position being where the first drive belt rides over the idler pulley; and a cam, operatively coupled to the the suction port assembly body, said cam operating to move the guide member between the first and the second positions.

14. The suction port assembly of claim 13, further comprising a resilient spring member for biasing the guide member toward at least one of the first and the second positions.

15. The suction port assembly of claim 14, wherein the resilient spring member is extended from the guide member and contacts an inner wall of the suction port assembly body.

16. The vacuum cleaner of claim 13, further comprising a rotation knob which includes: a handle part rotatably mounted in a mounting hole of the suction port assembly body and exposed out of the suction port assembly body; and the cam disposed in contact with the suction port assembly body.

17. The suction port assembly of claim 13, further comprising: a middle shaft rotatably mounted between the rotatable drum and the driving source in the suction port assembly body and comprising the driven pulley and the idler pulley; wherein, when the driven pulley is driven in connection with the first drive belt, the rotatable drum is driven by rotational power at the middle shaft transmitted through a second drive belt.

18. The vacuum cleaner of claim 17, wherein the guide member is slidably mounted within the suction port assembly body to enable the guide part to move between the first and the second positions.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2004-21061, filed Mar. 29, 2004, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a vacuum cleaner, and more particularly, to a suction port assembly comprising a rotatable drum mounted at a suction inlet, and a vacuum cleaner having the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A general vacuum cleaner includes therein a vacuum source such that, when the vacuum source is driven, the vacuum cleaner draws in contaminants using a suction force generated at a suction inlet, thereby cleaning a surface being cleaned. Recently, a rotatable drum is further provided to the vacuum cleaner for more complete cleaning of stubborn dust or dust on a surface difficult to be cleaned simply by the suction force. The rotatable drum is generally mounted adjacent to a suction inlet and provided with a plurality of brush members on an outer periphery thereof. When the rotatable drum is driven, the brush members are moved in contact with the surface being cleaned, thereby cleaning stubborn dust and dirt on surfaces such as carpet and bedclothes.

However, as can be understood from the above, the rotatable drum is not always necessary. A vacuum cleaner that is capable of selectively using the rotatable drum according to the conditions of the surface being cleaned or the cleaning environment, would be an improvement over the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An aspect of the present invention is to solve at least the above problems and/or disadvantages and to provide at least the advantages described below. Accordingly, an aspect of the present invention is to provide a suction port assembly capable of selectively driving a rotatable drum according to conditions of a surface being cleaned, and a vacuum cleaner comprising the same.

In order to achieve the above-described aspects of the present invention, there is provided a vacuum cleaner body housing a vacuum source, a suction port on the vacuum cleaner body having a suction inlet for drawing in dust on a surface being cleaned and connected to the cleaner body such that the suction inlet is fluidly communicated with the cleaner body. A rotatable drum is mounted in the suction inlet to rotate by a driven pulley connected to the rotatable drum for power transmission. A free wheeling idler pulley that rotates without regard to the driven pulley. A driving source for supplying rotational power to the rotatable drum, drives a first drive belt for that can be selectively connected to either one of the driven pulley and the idler pulley. The first drive belt is moved from the driven pulley to the idler pulley by a guide member having a guide part that is moved between a first position and a second position, the first position being where the first drive belt is connected to the driven pulley and the second position being where the first drive belt is connected to the idler pulley. A cam member rotatably mounted to a suction port assembly having the suction inlet is moved to one of the first and the second positions by contact with the cam member to selectively drive the rotatable drum member.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the suction port assembly and the vacuum cleaner comprise a resilient spring member for elastically biasing the guide member toward any one of the first and the second positions.

The resilient spring member is extended from the guide member and contacted by its free end with an inner wall of the suction port assembly body. The guide member and the resilient spring member are preferably formed from molded plastic.

The suction port assembly and the vacuum cleaner further comprise a rotation knob, which includes a handle part rotatably mounted in a mounting hole of the suction port assembly body and exposed out of the suction port assembly body, and the cam member disposed in contact with the suction port assembly body. One of the mounting hole and the rotation knob comprises at least two fixing grooves, and the other one of the mounting hole and the rotation knob comprises a fixing projection elastically inserted in one of the at least two fixing grooves when the rotation knob is rotated to a predetermined position.

The suction port assembly and the vacuum cleaner according to an embodiment of the present invention further comprise a middle shaft rotatably mounted between the rotatable drum and the driving source in the suction port assembly body and comprising the driven pulley and the idler pulley, and a second drive belt for connecting the middle shaft to the rotatable drum, and wherein, when the driven pulley is driven in connection with the first belt, the rotatable drum is driven by power transmitted through the second drive belt. The guide member is slidably mounted within the suction port assembly body to enable the guide part to move between the first and the second positions.

The vacuum cleaner includes therein a driving source for generating a suction force in the suction inlet and further comprises a cleaner body pivotably connected to the suction port assembly body, a projection protruded from a portion of the cleaner body, the portion adjacent to the suction port assembly body, and an auxiliary guide member for moving the guide member, being moved by contact with the projection, when the cleaner body is pivoted and postured in a certain position with respect to the suction port assembly body.

The auxiliary guide member comprises an auxiliary guide body slidably mounted within the suction port assembly body, and an auxiliary guide projection projected from a side of the auxiliary guide body to come into contact with the guide member when the cleaner body is postured in a certain position, thereby moving the guide part.

Accordingly, when applying an embodiment of the present invention to an upright-type vacuum cleaner, the driving of the rotatable drum is automatically controlled according to posture of a cleaner body which is pivotably connected to the suction port assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The above aspect and other features of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein;

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exterior of a vacuum cleaner according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view schematically showing an inner structure of a suction port assembly of FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 3 and 4 are a perspective view and a bottom view, respectively, showing the operation of main parts of an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, an embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.

In the following description, reference numerals are used for the same elements even in different drawings. The matters defined in the description such as a detailed construction and elements are nothing but the ones provided to assist in a comprehensive understanding of the invention. Thus, it is apparent that the present invention can be carried out without those defined matters. Also, well-known functions or constructions are not described in detail since they would obscure the invention in unnecessary detail.

FIG. 1 shows an upright-type vacuum cleaner 100. The vacuum cleaner 100 comprises a cleaner body 110 and a suction port assembly 150.

As shown in FIG. 2, the cleaner body 110 includes therein a vacuum source (not shown for brevity but well known to those of ordinary skill in the art) that is driven by a motor 120 and a dust-collecting chamber (not shown). The cleaner body 110 and the suction port assembly 150 are connected to each other such that a suction inlet 161 (FIG. 2) formed at a bottom of the suction port assembly 150 fluidly communicates with the vacuum source and the dust-collecting chamber. As the vacuum source operates, it provides or generates a suction force at the suction inlet 161. Dust on a surface being cleaned is thereby drawn into the collecting chamber with surrounding air by the suction force through the suction inlet 161. The vacuum source may be mounted within the suction port assembly 150.

In the preferred embodiment, the suction port assembly 150, as shown in FIG. 2, comprises an assembly body 160, a rotatable drum 170, a middle shaft 180, a first drive belt 220, a second second drive belt 220, a guide member 190 and a rotation knob 200. The rotatable drum 170 is mounted adjacent the suction inlet 161 and has several brush members 171 (FIG. 3) on an outer periphery thereof. The rotatable drum 170 is driven by the rotational power of a driving source through one or more drive belts. For the driving source, a turbine (not shown) rotated by the air drawn into the cleaner body 110, and the motor 120 used as the vacuum source may be adopted. In this embodiment, the motor 120 is adapted for the driving source.

The driving motor 120 is mounted in the cleaner body 110 so that rotation of the motor's shaft 121 is exposed into the suction port assembly 150 when the cleaner body 110 is connected to the suction port assembly 150. The driving motor 120 also functions to drive the vacuum source.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the middle shaft 180 is rotatably mounted in the assembly body 160 between the rotatable drum 170 and the driving motor 120. The middle shaft 180 comprises a driving pulley 182 that drives the rotatable drum 170 through a second second drive belt 220. The assembly body 160 also includes a driven pulley 181, so named because it is driven by rotational power supplied to it from the motor 120 through a first drive belt 220. An idler pulley 183 lies alongside, i.e., adjacent to the driven pulley 181 so that the first drive belt 220 can be selectively directed to ride over either the driven pulley 181 or the idler pulley 183. As shown in FIG. 3, all three of these pulleys 181, 182 and 183 rotate about the same axis, which coincides with the middle shaft 180 axis of rotation. Accordingly, the driving pulley 182 and the driven pulley 181 are driven by the motor 120 about the middle shaft 180. The idler pulley 183 is mounted on the middle shaft 180 so that it can freely rotate about the middle shaft 180. The idler pulley 183 is therefore considered to be “free wheeling” meaning that it can freely rotate about the middle shaft 180, irrespective of the driving and the driven pulleys 181 and 182. Rotation of the idler pulley 183 requires little or no energy, i.e., only the energy required to overcome frictional losses of the pulley's bearings.

Depending on the position of the guide member 190, the driven pulley 181 and the idler pulley 183 are selectively connected to the motor 120 through the first drive belt 220. The driven pulley 181 and the driving pulley 181 are fixed to the middle shaft 180, however, such that both pulleys 181 and 182 rotate together, through the middle shaft 180. The second drive belt 220 therefore delivers power to the rotatable drum 170 from the driving pulley 182, which is in turn driven by the middle shaft 180. Since the driving pulley 182 and the driven pulley 181 are effectively locked to the middle shaft 180, the driving pulley 182 is driven by the driven pulley 181. The driven pulley 181 is in turn driven by the motor 120 through the first drive belt 220. Power from the motor 120 can be removed from the driven pulley 181 and therefore removed from the rotatable drum 170 by moving the first drive belt 220 from the driven pulley 181 onto the idler pulley 183 instead. The first drive belt 220 is moved sideways to ride over the idler pulley 183 by movement of the guide member 190 in the direction of the arrow “A” as shown in FIG. 3.

The guide member 190 translates as shown by the arrow “A” and directs the first drive belt 220 to run over either the driven pulley 181 or the idler pulley 183. The guide member 190 includes a belt guide part 195 for restraining flank sides of the first drive belt 220. The guide member 190 is slidably mounted in the assembly body 160 such that the guide part 195 is slid between a first position, where the first drive belt 220 and the driven pulley 181 are connected, and a second position, where the first drive belt 220 and the idler pulley 183 are connected, along a direction A of FIG. 3, as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 3.

A rotation knob 200 is provided on the top of the suction port assembly 150 for moving the guide member 190 according to a user's operation, so that the guide part 195 is placed in one of the aforementioned first and the second positions. To do this, the rotation knob 200 as shown in FIG. 3 is rotatably mounted through a mounting hole 163 (FIG. 1), which is formed through an upper surface of the assembly body 160. The rotation knob 200 comprises a handle part 201 formed at an upper part thereof and exposed out of the assembly body 160, and a cam member 205 formed at a lower part thereof and disposed in the assembly body 160. The cam member 205 contacts with one side of the guide member 190 and has a non-circular transection. When the cam member 205 is rotated by operating the handle part 201, the guide member 190 is moved by the contact with the cam member 205 in a manner that a first slide projection 165 slides along a slide slot 193. By the movement of the guide member 190, the first drive belt 220 is connected to one of the first driving pulley 181 and the idler pulley 183.

Although not illustrated, in an alternate embodiment the guide member 190 may be mounted to pivot about a pivot shaft (not shown).

In another alternate embodiment not illustrated, the first driven 181 and the idler pulley 183 may be formed directly on the rotatable drum 170. In this case, the structure of the suction port assembly 150 can be simplified by omitting the middle shaft 180.

When the rotation knob 200 moves the guide member 190, the guide member 190 and the cam member 205 are preferably in constant contact with each other. A resilient spring member 191 is therefore provided in the preferred embodiment, that biases the guide member 190 against the cam member 205. In the preferred embodiment, the resilient spring member 191 extends from one side of the guide member 190 to contact by a free end thereof, an inner wall of the assembly body 160 not shown in FIG. 3. The resilient spring member 191 may be integrally formed with the guide member 190. The resilient spring member 191 is preferably formed by molding a synthetic resin.

When rotation of the rotatable drum 170 is controlled by assistance of the resilient spring member 191, as described above, noise and vibration can be caused by the first drive belt 220 as it rotates. To reduce noise and vibration, at least two fixing grooves 209 are formed on an outer circumference of the rotation knob 200, and an fixing projection 169 is protruded from an inner circumference of the mounting hole 163 (FIG. 1), which corresponds to the outer circumference of the rotation knob 200. According to this structure, once the rotation knob 200 is rotated so that the fixing hole 209 is engaged with the fixing projection 169, movement of the guide member 190 can be prevented until the rotation knob 200 is forcibly rotated by a user, thereby restraining noise and shiver.

Application of the suction port assembly 150 shown in the figures is not limited to an upright-type vacuum cleaner 100. Although not illustrated, a canister-type vacuum cleaner in which a suction port assembly is separately disposed from a cleaner body may employ the suction port assembly 150, expecting the same function and effect.

When the suction port assembly 150 is applied to the upright-type vacuum cleaner 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention, rotation of the rotatable drum 170 is controlled according to a posture of the cleaner body 110. Especially when an auxiliary suction tool (not shown) is used instead of the suction port assembly 150 in a state that the suction port assembly 150 connected to the cleaner body 110, noise from the rotatable drum 170 unnecessarily rotated in the suction port assembly 150 needs to be prevented. For this, the vacuum cleaner 100 of this embodiment comprises a projection 115 and an auxiliary guide member 210. The projection 115 protruded on the main body 110 adjacent to the suction port assembly 150. The auxiliary guide member 210 comprises an auxiliary guide body 211 mounted in the assembly body 160 to slide along a direction B of FIG. 3, and an auxiliary guide projection 215 projected from a side of the auxiliary guide body 211. The auxiliary guide projection 215 engages and displaces the guide member 190 to move the belt 200 onto the idler pulley 183 when the cleaner body 110 is in a certain position with respect to the suction port assembly 150. In a preferred embodiment, when the cleaner body 110 is upright with respect to the suction port assembly 150, the auxiliary guide projection 215 is moved to contact and displace the guide member 190 as shown by arrow B. As the cleaner body 110 becomes upright, and when the suction port assembly 150 is therefore not in use, the auxiliary guide projection 215 gradually moves the guide member 190 until the first drive belt 220 is moved onto the idler pulley 183.

As can be appreciated from the above description of the vacuum cleaner 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention, driving of the rotatable drum 170 can be selected by a simple operation of the rotation knob 200. Accordingly, the cleaning work can be adaptively performed according to conditions of the surfaces being cleaned.

Especially in the upright-type vacuum cleaner applying an embodiment of the present invention, the driving of the rotatable drum 170 is automatically controlled according to the posture of the cleaner body 110, thereby enabling a convenient cleaning work.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.