Title:
ASSEMBLY FOR WASHING BUILDING WINDOWS
United States Patent 3750686


Abstract:
A window washing assembly comprising an elongated spray bar suspended from a cable or the like along the side of a building by way of a pulley located at the roof of the building, and a ground control unit including a motorized cable reel for selectively positioning the spray bar by way of the support cable, and controls for selectively controlling the mixture of water and cleaning solution supplied to the spray bar by way of a delivery hose extending between the ground unit and the spray bar.



Inventors:
COOK H
Application Number:
05/202869
Publication Date:
08/07/1973
Filing Date:
11/29/1971
Assignee:
K & M ENTERPRISES INC,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/103, 134/112, 134/172
International Classes:
A47L1/02; B05B1/20; (IPC1-7): A47L1/02
Field of Search:
15/5R,5C,52,103,250.11,302,321 118
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3545459VEHICLE WASHING APPARATUS1970-12-08Phillips
3461476WINDOW WASHING APPARATUS1969-08-19North
3444580AUTOMATIC WINDOW CLEANING DEVICE1969-05-20Black
3088472Vehicle washer1963-05-07Haines
3056153Washing apparatus1962-10-02Laughter
2311670Method of cleaning buildings or the like1943-02-23Lamont
0750307N/A1904-01-26



Foreign References:
AU250862A
Primary Examiner:
Blum, Daniel
Claims:
What is claimed as new is as follows

1. A washing assembly for cleaning building windows, said assembly comprising a spray bar with a plurality of spray nozzles adapted to direct a liquid spray on window surfaces, support means including an elongated flexible support member for suspending said spray bar along the side of a building for cleaning its windows, a ground unit adapted to rest upon a surface adjacent to the base of the building, said ground unit including a motorized reel means for selectively reeling said elongated support member to vertically move and position said spray bar relative to the building, and a liquid delivery hose interconnecting said ground unit and said spray bar to supply a flow of liquid thereto, said ground unit further including liquid control means for selectively controlling the flow of liquid to said delivery hose and spray bar.

2. The assembly set forth in claim 1 wherein said ground unit is substantially heavier than said spray bar to maintain control thereover by way of said elongated flexible support member.

3. The assembly set forth in claim 2 wherein said motorized reel means includes control means for selectively raising and lowering said spray bar with brake means for automatically preventing movement of said elongated support member when said spray bar is not being raised or lowered.

4. The assembly set forth in claim 3 wherein said ground unit includes a reservoir of liquid cleaner, said liquid control means including means associated with said reservoir for selectively controlling the flow of liquid cleaner to said delivery hose.

5. The assembly set forth in claim 4 wherein said liquid control means includes means for selectively controlling the flow of water to said delivery hose.

6. The assembly set forth in claim 5 wherein said means for selectively controlling the flow of liquid cleaner includes a liquid cleaner pump, and said means for controlling the flow of water includes a solenoid valve.

7. A ground unit for use with a suspended window spray bar, said ground unit comprising a rigid frame, a hoist motor mounted to said frame, a cable reel rotatably supported on said frame and drivingly connected to said hoist motor for selectively positioning the spray bar, a liquid supply outlet associated with said frame for delivering liquid to said spray bar, a liquid cleaner reservoir mounted on said frame, a motorized liquid cleaner pump having an inlet communicating with said reservoir and an outlet communicating with said liquid supply outlet to furnish liquid cleaner to the spray bar, a water inlet carried on said frame and communicating with said liquid supply outlet, and first and second electric controls operatively connected to said motorized pump and said hoist motor respectively for selectively controlling each to provide convenient ground operation of the spray bar when washing windows.

8. The structure set forth in claim 7 wherein said ground unit includes an electric valve means between said water inlet and said liquid supply outlet, said valve means being connected to a third electric control for selectively controlling the flow of water to the liquid supply outlet.

9. The structure set forth in claim 8 wherein said ground unit includes normally closed electric brake means coupled to said cable reel for selectively preventing rotation of said cable reel.

10. The structure set forth in claim 9 wherein said second control means includes switch means to selectively energize said hoist motor to raise and lower the spray bar, said switch means being connected to said brake means to energize and release such upon energization of said hoist motor.

Description:
The present invention is generally related to window cleaning devices and, more particularly, to an improved window cleaning assembly for multi-story buldings, the assembly being conveniently controlled from a transportable ground unit adjacent to the base of the building.

In the past, severl devices have been proposed for automatically cleaning windows on large office buildings and the like. Such devices, for the most part, have required special guide rails and other equipment which must be permanently mounted to the building structure. Such a conventional device is disclosed by the Wolfe U.S. Pat. No. 3,298,052, issued Jan. 17, 1967. Such installations are often impractical to make on existing building structures. Also, the cost of the permanent equipment, such as guide rails, is difficult to justify in view of the fact that it is used only periodically during the year for a few minutes at a time. More recently, radio-controlled cleaning devices have been proposed. However, such constructions are complex in nature and relatively expensive to manufacture and maintain.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to povide a novel transportable window washing assembly which may be used with existing multi-story buildings without the need for modifying the building structure, thereby providing a relatively low-cost window cleaning assembly.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a versatile window washing assembly comprising a cable-supported spray bar, a support pulley for the cable adapted to be positioned on the rooftop of the building being cleaned, and a ground unit for controlling both vertical movement of the spray bar via the cable and the mixture of cleaning solution and water dispensed by the spray bar, whereby only two workers are required to quickly and conveniently operate the assembly on almost any building structure.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a unique window washing assembly which is rugged, transportable, and which may be easily operated to efficiently clean windows on almost all building structures, yet, which is relatively simple in overall construction, utilizes standard commercial components, and is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and maintain.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the window washing assembly of the present invention mounted along one side of a typical multi-story building structure.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the movable support pulley associated with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a partial plan view of the spray bar associated with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a partial elevation of the spray bar as shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along section 5--5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along section 6--6 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along section 7--7 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the ground control unit associated with the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of the ground control unit shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of the electrical control circuitry associated with the ground unit illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9.

Referring now, more particularly, to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the window washing assembly of the present invention is illustrated as it would be utilized to clean the windows of a typical multi-story building structure generally indicated by the numeral 10. The assembly includes an elongated spray bar 12 suspended from a flexible cable or rope 14 which passes around a pulley 16 located near the top of the building and extends down to a ground control unit generally indicated by the numeral 18. The ground control unit is effective to vertically position spray bar 12 by way of cable 14 to clean the windows along its vertical path of travel. Water and cleaning solution is supplied from the ground control unit by way of liquid delivery hose 20 which is connected to the spray bar and is of sufficient length to permit unhindered movement of the spray bar to the top row of windows. The ground unit is provided with a container or reservoir 22 which furnishes a supply of detergent or other cleaning solution, as hereinafter explained. Water is supplied to the ground unit by way of a conventional hose 24 connected to a source of supply, preferably, located on the building rooftop. Of course, if desired, the water supply hose may be connected to other sources of supply located within a convenient distance of the ground control unit. Power is provided to the ground control unit by way of an electrical cord 26 which may be plugged into any convenient receptacle, such as that indicated at 28. Selective control over the function performed by the ground control unit is provided by way of an electrical control box indicated at 30.

A pair of elongated stabilizing poles 32 are mounted at opposite ends of spray bar 12 and are made of relatively rigid, resilient material to effectively cushion undesired movement of the spray bar due to the reaction forces imparted to the spray bar during operation or due to high winds or similar undesirable conditions. During operation of the assembly, the windows are systematically cleaned in vertical columns, The support pulley 16 being manually repositioned upon completion of each column of windows.

Referring to FIG. 2, the pulley assembly associated with the present invention may be seen in more detail and includes an elongated support member 34 of rigid material such as aluminum with support pulley 16 rotatably connected to one of its ends. The end portion of support member 34 adjacent to pulley 16 is adapted to rest upon the roof ledge 36 associated with the building structure. Movement of the support member is prevented by way of an anchor weight 38 fastened to or resting upon the opposite end of the support member. A handle member 40 associated with the support member provides a means of conveniently positioning the pulley assembly by a worker located on the rooftop of the building structure. Of course, it will be appreciated that the size or shape of the support member 34 or its connection with support pulley 16 may be modified in order to accommodate various roof constructions and still permit unhindered movement of the support cable and spray bar.

Referring to FIGS. 3-7, the construction of the spray bar associated with the present invention may be more fully appreciated. A support harness 42 is provided for connecting the spray bar to the cable by way of a shackle 44 or similar fastening means. Preferably, the support cable aligns with the center of gravity of the spray bar in order to maintain it in a substantially horizontal orientation during its operation. An elongated rigid support frame 46 is fastened to harness support member 42 by welding at 48, or similar fastening means. An elongated, hollow tubular member 50 is carried by the support frame and is provided with a plurality of longitudinally spaced spray nozzles 52 having outlet holes communicating with the hollow interior of the tubular member. The tubular member is further provided with an end cap or plug 54 at each end and a centrally located inlet 56 to furnish a supply of water and cleaning solution to be dispensed through nozzles 52. A plurality of longitudinally spaced guide wheels 58 are mounted to the support frame and are adapted to engage the side surfaces of the building structure being cleaned in order to prevent damage to the spray nozzles during operation of the assembly. The position of each guide wheel may be adjusted by an adjustment screw 60 associated with the support frame. The spray bar may be further provided with bumper guards 62 spaced along the length of the spray bar at various points to further prevent damage due to contact with the building surfaces or objects protruding therefrom. Of course, the exact location or number of guide wheels or bumper guards may be varied, as required, dependent upon the particular application.

Preferably, the spray bar is further provided with stabilizing poles 32, as mentioned above,which are fastened to the opposite end portions of support frame 46 by way of mounting sleeves 64 welded or otherwise fastened thereto. The effective length of each stabilizing pole may be adjusted somewhat by way of screw fasteners 66 associated with each mounting sleeve. The spray bar may be further provided with a pair of loops or eyelets 68 welded to opposite ends of the support frame and adapted to accommodate guy wires, or similar means to aid in control of the spray bar when operated under high winds, or the like. The tubular member may be fastened to support frame 46 by way of mounting plates 70 welded to the support frame in a manner which compressibly deforms the tubular member as indicated at 72 to firmly hold it in position.

Referring now, more particularly, to FIGS. 8 and 9, it may be seen that the ground control unit 18 is provided with a cable reel or drum 74 rotatably supported between a pair of bearings 76 and 78 connected to a base or frame 80. An electric hoist motor 82 is drivingly connected to cable reel 74 by way of a gear reducer 84 and chain drive 85. A solenoid operated brake 86, of a conventional type, is provided to prevent rotation of the cable reel unless the proper signal is provided, as hereinafter explained. A second electric motor 88 is mounted to base 80 and is drivingly connected to a liquid cleaner pump 90 of a conventional type with an inlet communicating with reservoir 22 by way of a pipe 92. Pump 90 is provided with an outlet fitting 94 communicating with a liquid supply outlet 96 adapted to be connected to delivery hose 20. It will be appreciated, that the total weight of the ground control unit is substantially greater than the spray bar and suspended hose combined.

Water is delivered to the ground control unit by way of hose 24 connected to an inlet fitting 98 communicating with outlet fitting 96 by way of a manual shut-off valve 100 and a solenoid operated valve 102, of a conventional type. In addition, manual valves may be provided at 104 and 106, as well as check valves 108 and 110, to control the flow of liquid cleaner and water, respectively. Electrical power, preferably 120 VAC, may be provided by way of a conventional plug or connector 112 and a circuit breaker 114. The ground control unit is further provided with a set of wheels 116 which permits easy movement and manipulation along the ground by an individual worker during use of the assembly.

Referring to FIG. 10, the circuitry associated with the present invention is adapted for use with 120 VAC by way of line 118. Of course, the equipment may be adapted for use with other voltages or may include a control transformer or similar devices as would be apparent to those skilled in the art. Power is fed to circuit breaker 114 by way of terminal board 120, the load side of the circuit breaker being connected to control box 30 by way of line 122. Preferably, the control box is provided with a conventional On-Off switch 124 which permits manual shut-off by the ground worker in the event of a malfunction, or the like. A first push button switch 126 is provided to energize the hoist motor in a direction to raise the spray bar. The Raise switch is a single-throw, double pole type, such that actuation thereof is effective to simultaneously energize brake solenoid 128 and hoist motor 82 by way of lines 130 and 132, respectively. Similarly, release of the Raise switch 126 simultaneously de-energizes the brake solenoid and hoist motor, whereby brake 86 is effective to lock the cable reel in position to prevent further movement of the spray bar. A second switch 134 is provided to lower the spray bar and is similar to switch 126, but operates the hoist motor in the opposite direction by way of line 136.

Control box 30 is further provided with Wash and Rinse controls which are effective to energize the water valve solenoid 102 and detergent pump motor 88. Preferably, these controls include a 3-position, double pole, double-throw switch, such as that indicated at 138. In the Rinse position, the switch is effective to energize the valve solenoid through line 140 to permit the passage of water to the spray bar when the appropriate manual valves are opened. Detergent pump 88 is energized through line 142 when switch 138 is in the Wash position. When the switch is in its center position, neither the valve solenoid nor the pump motor are energized. This position would normally be utilized when relocating the pulley assembly to begin cleaning a column of windows. Preferably, control box 30 is provided with sufficient length of cable extending from the circuit breaker and conduit box to permit the operator to move about the ground control unit to properly oversee the operation and position of the spray bar.

From the foregoing description, it will be appreciated that the window washing assembly of the present invention is provided with standard commercially available components which are reliable, long lasting and relatively maintenance free. The use of the ground control unit which is physically connected to the spray bar assures proper control at all times and significantly reduces the probability of a malfunction or loss of control by more complex assemblies such as those utilizing transmitter-receiver radio control circuitry. It should also be noted that since brake 86 locks the cable reel against movement unless the associated brake solenoid is energized, the brake will automatically engage in the event of a power failure or other malfunction which de-energizes the brake solenoid. If desired, a water pump may be provided to assure sufficient spray pressure particularly when cleaning the windows of taller buildings. Also, it would be possible to provide a pressurized source of detergent or cleaning solution, if desired.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.