Title:
POOL FILTER BAG WITH EXAGGERATED EXPANSION PORTIONS FOR IMPROVED FLOW AND DEBRIS COLLECTION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pool filter bag for use with a pool cleaner comprising an enclosure formed of a flexible panel substantially water-permeable material having a water inlet opening adaptable to be fitted to the outlet of the pool cleaner for receiving water passing therefrom, a divider seam interconnecting portions of the enclosure material at the water inlet opening and extending from the water inlet opening interiorly of the enclosure to define a water flow chamber and a debris collection chamber, wherein the debris collection chamber includes exaggerated lateral expansion portions for improved water flow characteristics and increased volumetric collection of debris passing from the water flow chamber



Inventors:
Anderson, James E. (Borrego Springs, CA, US)
Kushner, Bob (San Marcos, CA, US)
Surdam, Lisa (Escondido, CA, US)
Garcia, Luis (San Marcos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/672396
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
02/07/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/490
International Classes:
E04H4/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PRINCE JR, FREDDIE GARY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PROCOPIO, CORY, HARGREAVES & SAVITCH LLP (525 B STREET SUITE 2200, SAN DIEGO, CA, 92101, US)
Claims:
1. A pool cleaner filter bag for use with a pool cleaner having a water discharge mast, the filter bag comprising: (i) an enclosure formed of a substantially water-permeable flexible panel material having a water inlet opening adaptable to be fitted to the outlet of the pool cleaner for receiving debris-entrained water passing therefrom, and (ii) a divider seam interconnecting portions of the panel material to define a water flow chamber and a debris collection chamber in the enclosure, wherein the debris collection chamber includes exaggerated lateral expansion portions for improved water flow characteristics and increased volumetric collection of debris passing from the water flow chamber.

2. The filter bag of claim 1 wherein the panel material is formed of a substantially symmetric pattern having a median plane and lateral portions, which comprise laterally extending lower side portions selectively configured to define the enlarged lateral expansion portions of the debris collection chamber.

3. The filter bag of claim 2 wherein the panel material is folded about the median plane and is configured to urge the surfaces of the debris collection chamber in the direction of lateral expansion.

4. The filter bag of claim 1, which further comprises stitching means secured on each side of filter bag and extending from the lower peripheral portion of the debris collection chamber

5. The filter bag of claim 4 wherein the stitching means extends from the lower peripheral portion of the debris collection chamber to at least the mid-portion of the filter bag.

6. The filter bag of claim 4, wherein the stitching means selectively extends from the lower peripheral portion to the upper portion of the of the filter bag.

7. The filter bag of claim 4, wherein the stitching means secured on the sides of the filter bag further defines the exterior surface contours of the exaggerated side portions of the filter bag.

8. The filter bag of claim 7, wherein the exterior surface contours assume the shape of a ridge.

9. The filter bag of claim 1 wherein the porous material is a mesh type material.

10. The pool filter bag of claim 1, which further comprises hook-and-loop-type material releasably engageable secured on a peripheral portion of the filter bag to provide an access opening to the debris collection chamber.

11. The pool filter bag of claim 1 which further comprises a collar formed at the water inlet opening of the filter bag and mountable onto the water discharge mast of the pool cleaner.

12. The pool filter bag of claim 11, which further comprises a releasable clamp for securing the collar to the pool cleaner discharge mast.

13. The filter bag of claim 1, wherein the exaggerated side portions forms a pair of wing pockets.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/765,822 filed Feb. 7, 2006 under 35 U.S.C. 119(e). The drawings and disclosure of U.S. Application 60/765,822 are hereby incorporated by reference as though set forth in full.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to improvements in debris collection bags for use with pool cleaning devices and more particularly relates to an improved collection bag having lateral expansion portions.

2. Related Art

Residential and commercial swimming pools and spas include water filtration systems designed for removing dirt and debris from the pool water. Typically, filtration systems direct pool water through a cleaner, which holds a porous filter bag for trapping any sediment and debris, while discharging the filtered water.

During a pool cleaning process, the pool water and debris flow from the cleaner outlet to a pool filter bag. In a typical bag, the debris often gets trapped at the narrow opening of bag obstructing further flow of the pool water and debris, and thus decreasing the bag capacity for the collection of the debris.

Therefore, there remains a need in the art for an efficient pool vacuum filter bag that avoids accumulation of debris in undesired places and overcomes the significant problems found in the conventional systems described above.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides a pool filter bag for use with pool cleaners, which are commonly used to clean the bottom of swimming pools, spas and the like, and to remove debris therefrom. The invention provides a pool filter bag having expanded lateral portions, which substantially improves the debris filtering and collection performances.

The inventive pool filter bag is adapted for use with a pool cleaner having a water discharge mast. The filter bag is constructed of a water-permeable bag material to an enclosure with a water inlet opening adaptable to be fitted to the mast or outlet of the pool cleaner for receiving water passing through it. The filter bag has a divider seam, which interconnects portions of the bag material extending from the water inlet opening to the interior the enclosure to provide for a water flow chamber and a debris collection chamber. The debris collection chamber has expanded lateral sides for the increased volumetric collection of debris passing from the water flow chamber. At the same time, the expansion sections also improve the flow of the water through the bag by allowing debris settlement at the debris collection chamber thereby reducing flow restriction through the water flow path.

Other features and advantages will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The details of the present invention, both as to its structure and operation, may be gleaned in part by study of the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a partially expanded pool filter bag;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the pool filter bag;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the partially expanded pool filter bag;

FIG. 4 is a back view of the partially expanded pool filter bag;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a cutting template for the fabric for the pool filter bag;

FIG. 6 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the pool filter bag;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a cutting template for the fabric for the alternative embodiment of the pool filter bag;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a clamp for securing the pool filter bag onto a pool cleaner mast; and

FIG. 9 is an alternative clamp for securing the pool filter bag onto a pool cleaner mast.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the partially expanded pool filter bag generally indicated as 10. FIG. 2 is a side view of the pool filter bag 10.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pool filter bag 10 is adaptable for use with a pool cleaner having a water discharge mast (not shown). The filter bag 10 comprises an enclosure, which is made of a flexible panel substantially constructed of a water-permeable material. To facilitate understanding of the present invention, references are made to the leading periphery 12, the upper periphery 14, trailing or rear periphery 16, and the lower periphery 18 of the filter bag, as shown in the drawings.

In the embodiment as shown, the filter bag 10 is formed of two similarly or substantially identically shaped layers of a mesh material arranged to overlay each other and sewn together by stitches or seams as will be described in more detail below. A stitch divider 20 is provided, which fastens the layers of the enclosure material extending from stitch joint 22 at a lower periphery of the filter bag to approximately mid-section of the enclosure and dividing the enclosure into a water flow chamber 30 and a debris collection chamber 40.

The filter bag 10 incorporates a collar 50 disposed at the lower periphery 18 of the filter bag 10 and having an inlet opening 52 to receive water flow from the pool cleaner (not shown). Collar 50 is selectively dimensioned to fit the discharge outlet or mast of the pool cleaner. Collar 50 comprises a generally rectangular panel material having an upper periphery 54, a lower periphery 56 and two lateral end portions. The end portions are selectively fastened along the two end portions by stitches 58 to form a cylindrical collar and provide a collar tab 60. Collar 50 can be securely fitted to the mast of a pool cleaner by using a clamp or a compression ring such as those shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The tab portion 60 is formed to facilitate collar installation to the discharge mast of the pool cleaner. In the embodiments of the present invention, collar 50 is made of vinyl plastic material Other materials can be used, as known in the art.

Collar 50 is attached to the filter bag 10 along its upper periphery 54 to the inlet opening 32 of the water flow chamber 30 with collar stitches 62. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, collar stitches 62 is run along the lower periphery 18 at the inlet opening 32 of the water flow chamber and meets at the stitch joint 22 where collar stitches 58 also meet.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the water flow chamber 30 has an inflow opening 32 in fluid communication with collar 50. The water flow chamber 30 has a top seam 28, which forms an upper periphery of the water flow chamber 30, which is also bordered by leading periphery 12 and the stitch divider 20. The stitch divider 20 channels the debris-entrained water from the water flow chamber 30 to the debris collection chamber 40. The debris collecting chamber 40 is defined by the top seam 28, the stitch divider 20, the trailing periphery 16 and the lower periphery 18 of filter bag 10.

As debris-entrained water passes from the pool cleaner through the collar 50 and the water flow chamber 30, debris is trapped and collected in the debris collection chamber 40. The debris collection chamber 40 is provided with exaggerated lateral portions or side pockets 62 for improved water flow performance and debris collection capacity. Each side pockets 62 has an upper surface 64 and a lower surface 66 as defined by a common ridge 68, which is articulated to extend laterally outward to the sides of the filter bag, as shown in FIGS. 1-4.

In the embodiments of the present invention, the side pockets 62 may assume a shape such as a cone, tetrahedron, ovoid, or other geometric shapes. The configuration and shape of the side pockets 62 can vary. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-7, for example, side pockets 62 are formed by providing extra fabric materials in the upper surfaces 64 and lower surfaces 66. The use of such extra fabric materials is illustrated in FIG. 5 where the filter bag panel material 70 is formed substantially of a symmetric pattern with side portions 72 and 74. These side portions further incorporate extended lower peripheral portions 76 and 78 selectively dimensioned and configured to provide for the exaggerated lateral side portions of the debris collection chamber.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a flat cutting template for the fabric material 70 of the embodiment of the pool filter bag as referenced above. In the illustrated embodiment, the water flow chamber 30 and the debris collecting chamber 40 are formed from a fabric panel cut along the side edges of the template. As shown in FIG. 5, the fabric panel 70 has left panel portion 72 and right panel portion 74. The left panel portion 72 and right panel portion 74 each have extended lateral portions 76 and 78 respectively. The left panel and right panel portions are generally symmetric about a median line 80 connecting points 92 and 93 on the panel. The left and right panel portions are cut along various edge configurations. For the left panel 72, top edge 82L extends in a curvilinear fashion from the median line 80 to an upper corner 94L where it extends as edge 84L to a lower corner 95L. From this corner, the extended lateral left portion 76 is formed and defined by the side edge 86L, between corners 95L and 96L, and edge 88L between corners 96L and 97L. From corner 97L, the lower periphery 18 of the filter bag 10 is formed by cutting along line 90L.

The right side panel is cut in a similar fashion. Top edge 82R extends in a curvilinear fashion from point 93 on the median line 80 to an upper corner 94R where it drops as an edge 84R to a lower corner 95R. From this corner, the extended lateral right portion 78 is formed and defined by the side edge 86R, between corners 95R and 96R, and side edge 88R between corners 96R and 97R. Likewise, the cut along line 90R forms the lower periphery 18 of the filter bag 10.

In construction, the fabric panel 70 is folded along median line 80 whereby one of the side panels is layered over the other side portion panel. In this arrangement, edges 82L and 82R are aligned and sewn together (where points 93, 94L and 94R are now aligned), which forms the leading edge 12 extending from a lower corner 24 to the upper rear corner 25 of the filter bag 10, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. Similarly, side edges 88L and 88R are aligned and sewn together. The extended portions 76 and 78 are then collected and tucked such that side edge 86L is aligned with side edge 84L, both of which are then stitched together. In a similar fashion side edge 86R is aligned with and stitched to side edge 84R. These stitches extend from corners 95L and 95R respectively along the line edges 84L and 84R to meet at the stitch joint 22 as shown in FIG. 1 and 4. As applied, the extended side portions 76 and 78 are urged to bulge, providing the extra volume for debris collection in the exaggerated side pockets.

Between stitch joint 22 and the leading edge 12, an opening is formed to accommodate collar 50. The edges are selectively dimensioned such that collar 50 is fitted between the edge fabric of 84L and 86R to ensure that debris-entrained water entering inlet 52 of the collar will be directed to the water flow chamber only and without escape. Collar 50 is placed and secured to the panel materials to the edges by stitches or other suitable means.

For improved fluid flow and debris collection performance, lengths of stitches or spines 67 are selectively applied onto the surfaces of the side pockets. Spines 67 increase the stiffness of the panel material on the side pockets 62, which articulate the expansion side pockets laterally and define the shape of the side pockets in application. As shown in FIGS. 1-4, the lengths of stitches or spines 67 extend from joint 22 rearwardly along the lateral sides of the debris collecting chamber 40 and end at tips 69. In one construction of the embodiment, the exaggerated side portions forms a pair of wing pockets The stitching is done during the manufacture of the filter bag where the fabric material is collected and sewn together. As will be discussed in more detail below, in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, stitches 67 may extend from the lower periphery 18 to the top periphery 18 along the fabric surfaces of the collection chamber 40. Instead stitching, the expansion seams can also be formed by thermally treating each of the sides of the debris collecting chamber 40 until a pouch is formed on each side of the chamber 40.

A closure 103 on the trailing periphery 16 of the filter bag is fastened to the filter bag 10 along peripheral edge portions 88L and 88R of the panel material to enable access to the interior of the filter bag. Closure 103 extends from the top rear corner to the lower rear corner of the rear peripheral. Closure 103 can be constructed of hook-and-loop-type material to facilitate easy access to the interior of the filter bag. An example of the hook-and-loop-type material is a Velcro® material. A strip of Velcro® material can be affixed to the opposite internal sides of the closure 103. When the Velcro™ strips, are brought together, they are connected to engage with each other to form the relatively firm. For access to the interior portion of the enclosure, the strips are pulled away from each other to allow for an easy access to the interior of the bag 10 and removal of debris from it.

As provided above, collar 50 is adapted to be coupled to the mast of the pool cleaner to enable fluid communication between the water discharge and the water flow chamber 30. From the pool cleaner, water carrying the debris flows into the water flow chamber 30. As the inflow passes though the water flow chamber 30 into the debris collection chamber 40, the sides of the debris collection chamber 40 expand due to the water flow and the settling of the debris. This causes the side pockets 62 to expand while the debris is disbursed. With increased filtering surfaces provided to the side pockets, fluid flow through the fabric material is reduced in speed whereby the debris carried by the water is settled easily toward the lower and side portions of the debris collection chamber 40 while filtered water can pass through the bag material with reduced instances of obstruction.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate another embodiment of the present invention. This embodiment is similar to the embodiment first described above, and like reference numerals have been used for like parts. In this embodiment, added material is provided to the filter bag 110 for the expansion side pockets, which further increases their debris collection capacity. Instead of providing a spine or length of stitches to pre-shape the side pockets, the surface contour of filter bag 100 is free to accommodate the flow condition, which may change due to the speed, volume and the content of the water flow. In the alternative embodiment, the lower periphery of the filter bag 110 is selectively dimensioned and sewn to maximize the debris collection capacity.

As in the embodiment first described above, the filter bag 110 of this alternative embodiment is formed of two substantially identically shaped layers of a mesh material as shown by the exemplary fabric shown in FIG. 7. A stitch divider 20 is provided, which fastens the layers of the enclosure material extending from stitch joint 22 at a lower periphery of the filter bag to approximately mid-section of the enclosure and dividing the enclosure into a water flow chamber 30 and a debris collection chamber 40.

As shown in FIG. 7, the fabric panel 70 has left panel portion 72 and right panel portion 74. The left panel portion 72 and right panel portion 74 have extended lateral portions 76 and 78 respectively. In the embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7, the extended lateral portions 76 and 78 are provided with additional fabric material.

In construction, the fabric panel 70 is folded along median line 80 whereby one of the side portion panels is layered on the other side portion. In this arrangement, edges 82L and 82R are aligned and sewn to form the leading edge extending from location 24 to the upper rear corner 25 as shown in FIG. 6. Similarly, side edges 86L, 86R, 88L and 88R are aligned and sewn together such that corners 95L, 95R, 97L and 97R form the stitch joint 22. The extended portions 76 and 78 are then collected and tucked such that side edge 89L is aligned and stitched together with side edge 89R. As applied, the extended side portions 76 and 78 are articulated to bulge, providing the extra volume in the exaggerated side pockets. As in the first embodiment, a collar 50 is affixed to the opening defined by edges 84L and 84R and closure material is provided on the rear edge portions of the filter bag for emptying the debris collected.

In the alternative embodiment, the peripheral edges of the fabric panels can be selectively dimensioned to provide various capacities for the flow performance and debris collection while the filter bag is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to produce. For example, edges 86L (86R) and edges 88L (88R) are approximately in length, which provides a simplistic appearance in construction. By changing the lengths of lines 86L(R), 88 L(R), 89 L(R) and 90 L(R), one can provide for different shapes and volumes for the filter bag.

Optionally lengths of stitches can be provided from the lower periphery of the filter bag toward the upper rear corner of the filter bag 110, providing a diagonal spine to articulate the surface contour of the expansion pockets. The diagonal spine can generally follows the imaginary line 110 as shown in FIG. 7, which approximates the orientation of the ridge 106 as shown in FIG. 6.

In application, the filter bag of the present invention can be mounted onto the discharge outlet or mast of the pool cleaner. FIGS. 8 and 9 shows two examples of clamps which can be used to secure the collar 50 to the mast (not shown). Each of the exemplary clamps comprises a flexible strip of material, either pre-stressed or spring-loaded for the application of force to the collar.

As shown in FIG. 8, the clamp 120 comprises a strip of spring-like material which is shaped in the form of a prong having opposite wavering sections. Clamp 120 has a bridge 122 for use as a handle. The wavering sections include two pairs of opposite arcuate sections 124 and 128, each of which defines the spaces 129 and 131 respectively. Spaces 129 and 131 are different in sizes to accommodate the dimensions (diameters) of the pool cleaner mast. At the distal portions 130 of the clamp, the strip material is open to facilitate the seating of the clamp against the collar when installed on the pool cleaner mast. Depending on its dimension, the mast can be fitted in either space 129 or 131 and secured by the spring-loaded clamp. Distal portions 130 is spaced apart in close proximity to ensure that the clamp will not be dislodged easily from the collar once installed.

FIG. 9 shows a variation of the clamping device, which can also be used to secure the filter bag onto the mast. Clamp 140 comprises a clip, which is constructed of a strip of spring-loaded material. Clamp 140 includes pair of opposite spaced-apart arms defining a space where the collar and the mast can be fined. The arms have distal end portions 142 having restrictions 144 to facilitate the seating of the clamp against the collar when installed on the pool cleaner mast.

As previously described, in the embodiments of the present invention, the filter bag comprises exaggerated side portions or side pockets, which provide improved filtering performance and debris collection capacity. The description of the disclosed embodiments is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make or use the invention. Various modifications to these embodiments will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles described herein can be applied to other embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. For example, the porous material can be substantially porous or just partially porous. The examples of the porous materials include a variety of permeable materials and fabrics, such as, mesh materials, plastic materials with openings, woven fabrics, etc. Moreover, the debris collecting chamber (especially the bottom of the chamber) does not have to be made out of the porous material. For example, the bottom of the chamber can be made out of a non-porous or even non-permeable material. In the embodiments of the present invention, the filter bags (excluding the collar 50) are selectively constructed from a one-piece construction. Alternatively to the one-piece construction, the filter bag can be formed from a plurality of fabric panels stitched, molded or fused together to form the shapes and configurations substantially similar to those of the template depicted in FIG. 5 and FIG. 7.

Thus, it is to be understood that the description and drawings presented herein represent a presently preferred embodiment of the invention and are therefore representative of the subject matter which is broadly contemplated by the present invention. It is further understood that the scope of the present invention fully encompasses other embodiments that may become obvious to those skilled in the art and that the scope of the present invention is accordingly limited by nothing other than the appended claims.