Title:
Steering assembly particularly for domestic and /or industrial cleaning machines
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A steering assembly, particularly for domestic and/or industrial cleaning machines, comprising a shaped tubular connector (15) to which one or more wheels (16) are pivoted; the connector has a first end (17) which can be connected to cleaning tools and a second end (18) which is rotatably coupled to the outlet of a duct located in the machine body (12).



Inventors:
Amoretti, Luigi (Mussolente, IT)
Application Number:
10/150000
Publication Date:
12/05/2002
Filing Date:
06/17/2002
Assignee:
AMORETTI LUIGI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/00; A47L9/24; A47L9/28; A47L11/34; (IPC1-7): A47L5/00; A47L9/02
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Primary Examiner:
SNIDER, THERESA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Modiano & Associati (Milano, IT)
Claims:
1. A steering assembly, particularly for domestic and/or industrial cleaning machines, characterized in that it comprises a shaped tubular connector to which one or more wheels are pivoted, said connector having a first end which can be connected to the cleaning tools and a second end which is rotatably coupled to the outlet of a duct located in the machine body.

2. The steering assembly according to claim 1, characterized in that sealing means, adapted to ensure passage without losses of fluids, are present between said tubular connector and said duct.

3. The steering assembly according to claim 1, characterized in that the internal surface of said second end which is proximate to the free rim of the connector is conical and tapers inward so as to form a conical and rotating coupling for sealing against a complementarily shaped edge surface of said duct which is fixed inside said machine body.

4. The steering assembly according to claim 1, characterized in that said connector has an outer surface which is shaped so as to form at least one seat for sealing means.

5. The steering assembly according to claim 1, characterized in that said connector is shaped at said second end so as to form a seat for an annular seal which is arranged opposite said header duct.

6. The steering assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it is shaped so as to form an annular seat for accommodating a lip-type gasket which is arranged opposite the internal wall of a tubular coupling which is fixed to said machine body.

7. The steering assembly according to one or more of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that said connector is shaped so as to form two seats for respective lip-type gaskets which are mutually opposite and act against the inside wall of a tubular coupling which is fixed to the machine body, the outlet of a steam conveyance connector being arranged between said gaskets, a connecting duct of said connector being integrated with the steering connector.

8. The steering assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said first end is shaped so as to have a wider cross-section than the rest proximate to the free rim of the connector, so as to form a cup-shaped seat for the coupling of a flexible hose for connection to said tools.

9. The steering assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that a steam hose is also integrated with said flexible hose and couples to a connector with which the connecting duct of the steering connector ends.

10. The steering assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that an electrical connection is provided by means of cables associated with the flexible hose and a plug and a socket on the is machine body.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a steering assembly, particularly but not exclusively useful for domestic and/or industrial cleaning machines.

[0002] It is known that nowadays almost all domestic, industrial or commercial cleaning machines and most of all trailing vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners are substantially constituted by a machine body with wheels which allow to tow and move the body so as to follow the cleaning tools handled by the operator.

[0003] The most common cases provide for machine bodies provided with four wheels, of which the two front ones are swiveling wheels and the two rear ones are large non-steering wheels; in other cases there are four castors or large non-steering wheels at the rear and a single smaller castor at the front.

[0004] The machine body is usually towed by the cleaning tools proper; for example, in vacuum cleaners or in steam cleaning machines said cleaning means are substantially constituted by a flexible suction hose which can be connected to different tools dedicated to various functions.

[0005] It is known that the above-cited solutions of wheels for moving the machine body all have the drawback of jamming, especially of the front wheels, when the user forces changes of direction, especially on high-friction surfaces such as carpets, fitted carpets or the like.

[0006] In the worst cases, further, the user, if he applies an excessive force, can break components of the machine body or the connection to the tools.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The aim of the present invention is to provide a steering assembly which solves the drawbacks noted above in conventional commercially available cleaning machines, and particularly eliminates completely the problem of jamming due to direction changes even on surfaces which are particularly difficult in terms of friction, such as carpets, fitted carpets (including thick-pile carpeting), et cetera.

[0008] Within this aim, an important object of the present invention is to provide a steering assembly which does not limit in any circumstance the functions of the machine.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a steering assembly which can be applied flexibly and in an optimum manner to substantially any type of wheeled cleaning machine.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to provide a steering assembly which can be perfectly integrated in the most disparate types of cleaning tools and can optionally be connected simply and rapidly to flexible elements for connection to such tools.

[0011] Another object of the present invention is to provide a steering assembly which can be manufactured with known technologies and equipment.

[0012] This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a steering assembly, particularly for domestic and/or industrial cleaning machines, characterized in that it comprises a shaped tubular connector to which one or more wheels are pivoted, said connector having a first end which can be connected to cleaning tools and a second end which is rotatably coupled coaxially to the outlet of a duct located in the machine body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] Further characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become better apparent from the following detailed description of two embodiments thereof, illustrated only by way of non-limitative example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0014] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a steering assembly according to the invention in a first embodiment, applied to a cleaning machine of the vacuum-cleaner type;

[0015] FIG. 2 is a view of a detail of the steering assembly of FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the steering assembly of FIG. 1;

[0017] FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a second embodiment of a steering assembly according to the invention; and

[0018] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an iron that can be coupled to the machine shown in FIG. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] With particular reference to FIGS. 1 to 3, a steering assembly particularly for domestic and/or industrial or commercial cleaning machines, according to the invention, is generally designated by the reference numeral 10 in a first embodiment.

[0020] In particular, in this case the steering assembly 10 is applied to a vacuum cleaner 11 provided with a machine body 12 with non-steering rear wheels 13 and with a flexible hose 14 for connection to the cleaning tools, which are not shown and are of a per se known type.

[0021] The assembly 10 comprises, in this case, a longitudinally elongated tubular connector 15 which substantially forms an acute angle and to which two mutually opposite wheels 16 are pivoted.

[0022] The connector 15 has a first end 17 which can be connected to the flexible hose 14, while a second end 18 is rotatably connected to the machine body 12 so as to allow the steering action and connect the body to the tools.

[0023] There are also sealing means, described in more detail hereinafter, which are adapted to ensure passage without loss, in this case of suction air, through the connector 15.

[0024] More specifically, in this embodiment the second end 18 is vertical and the internal surface that lies proximate to the rim of the connector, designated by the reference numeral 19, is conical and tapers inward so as to form a rotating conical coupling for sealing against a complementarily shaped outlet surface 20 of a header duct 21 which is fixed within the machine body 12 and is arranged coaxially to the second end 18.

[0025] In this case, the connector 15 is also shaped so as to form an annular slot 22 adapted to accommodate, like a seat, a lip-type gasket 23 which faces the inside wall of a tubular coupling 24 being fixed to the machine body 12.

[0026] The first end 17, in this case, is instead shaped so as to have a wider cross-section than the rest proximate to the free end, so as to form a cup-shaped seat 25 for the coupling of the flexible hose 14.

[0027] The assembly 10 also comprises means for the reversible connection of the flexible hose 14 at the first end 17 which are substantially constituted by mutually opposite openings 26 for the insertion, with elastic flexing, of corresponding teeth 27 formed at the corresponding free end of the flexible hose 14.

[0028] With particular reference to FIG. 4, the steering assembly is generally designated by the reference numeral 110 in a second embodiment.

[0029] In particular, in this case the steering assembly 110 is applied to a steam cleaning machine 111 (also provided with a coupling for an iron 113) which has a machine body 112 and a flexible hose 114 for connection to cleaning tools.

[0030] In this case, the assembly 110 comprises a longitudinally elongated tubular connector 115 being shaped substantially so as to form an acute angle and to which two mutually opposite wheels 116 are pivoted.

[0031] The connector 115 has a first end 117 which can be connected to the flexible hose 114, while a second end 118 is rotatably connected to the machine body 112 so as to allow the steering action and connect the body to the tools.

[0032] There are also sealing means, described in greater detail hereinafter, which are adapted to ensure passage without loss, in this case of suction air, through the connector 115.

[0033] More specifically, in this embodiment the second end 118 is vertical and its internal surface proximate to the rim, designated by the reference numeral 119, is conical and tapers inward so as to form a rotary conical coupling for sealing against a complementarily shaped outlet surface 120 of a header duct 121 which is fixed within the machine body 112 and is arranged coaxially to the second end 118.

[0034] The connector 115, in this case, is also shaped so as to form two annular slots 122a and 122b adapted to accommodate respective lip-type gaskets 123a and 123b which are mutually opposite and act against the internal wall of a tubular coupling 124 being fixed to the machine body 112.

[0035] The outlet 128 of a steam conveyance connector 129 is arranged between the gaskets 123a and 123b, and a connecting duct thereof 130 is integrated with the connector 115.

[0036] A hose 131 for the steam is also integrated with the flexible hose 114 and couples to a connector 132 with which the connecting duct 130 ends.

[0037] If it is necessary to heat the resistor of a steam iron, it is necessary to provide an electrical connection by means of cables 133 which are associated with the hose 114, a plug 134 and a socket 135 on the machine body 112.

[0038] In practice it has been observed that the present invention has achieved the intended aim and objects.

[0039] It is in fact noted that the connector, by pivoting the wheels directly on the rotating part, substantially allows the hose or in any case the cleaning tools to rotate rigidly with said wheels, absolutely avoiding any jamming of the wheels.

[0040] When the user decides to turn the tools and change direction, he in fact automatically produces the rotation of the steering assembly rigidly with the tools, thus ensuring that the new direction taken by the user is followed without problems also by the machine body, which is thus already preset for the direction of travel.

[0041] It is also noted that the constructive simplicity of the present invention ensures its application to any wheeled cleaning machine.

[0042] It is also noted that the structure of the steering assembly according to the invention in no way has a negative effect on the performance and functions of the machine or on the simplicity of use of the machine for the user.

[0043] The present invention is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the inventive concept; in particular, it is possible to provide another annular seal at said second end in rotary contact with the header.

[0044] The machine can be different from the above-described vacuum cleaner and can provide for steam cleaning combined with suction or not.

[0045] The technical details can be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

[0046] The materials and the dimensions may be any according to requirements.

[0047] The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. PD2000A000031 from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.

[0048] Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.