Title:
Equipment for cleaning the grooved steps of escalators and other grooved surfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The equipment comprises in combination: a floor cleaning machine with cylindrical rotary brushes (10) composed of essentially radial bristles (10A); and, on the side of this machine, a series of guide members—such as shoes with runners and/or spaced-out rollers (16), with annular ridges (16B)—that are able to engage in the grooves (3) of the step, in order to guide the floor cleaning machine while the bristles (10A) pass into said grooves.



Inventors:
Scarselli, Renzo (Signa Firenze, IT)
Application Number:
10/472372
Publication Date:
06/17/2004
Filing Date:
09/17/2003
Assignee:
SCARSELLI RENZO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B66B31/00; (IPC1-7): A47L11/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, GARY K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCGLEW & TUTTLE, PC (SCARBOROUGH, NY, US)
Claims:
1. Equipment for cleaning tread surfaces with parallel grooves typical of escalator steps and moving walkways and for equivalent uses, including: a floor cleaning machine with a cylindrical rotary brush (10) composed of essentially radial bristles (10A); and guide means that engage and fit into a groove so as to guide the floor cleaning machine while the bristles pass into the grooves of said surfaces, thus preventing side skidding, characterized in that said cleaning machine includes two rotary brushes, and that said guide means include guide members (16; 116) engaged on a side of said machine.

2. Equipment according to claim 1, characterized in that said guide members (16; 116) are supported on a removable plate (20) which can fitted and removed on and from said machine.

3. Equipment according to claim 1, characterized in that guide members engaging in at least one groove include at least two spaced-out rollers (16), each with at least one ridge and/or one annular slot, so that the rollers (16) are able to engage in the annular grooves (3A) and/or in the annular ridges (1A) of said tread surfaces of the steps or equivalent.

4. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that guide members include shoes with runners (116) for fitting into and sliding in one or more grooves.

5. Equipment according to claims 3 and 4, characterized in that guide members of roller type (16) and runner shoe type (116) are combined.

6. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the bristles (10A) of the brushes (10) are arranged in circumferential rows separated by spacing adapting to the spacing between the grooves (3) of the grooved tread surfaces, the roller type (16) and/or runner shoe type (116) guide members being arranged in the same way.

7. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the guide members (16 and/or 116) are situated at a level such that the bristles (10A) of the brushes (10) flex slightly against the bottoms (3A) of the grooves (3) of the steps (1, 1A).

8. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises, next to the brushes (10), at least three rollers (16) so as to ensure the engagement of at least two rollers in the grooves (3) of the steps (1, 1A) during operation.

9. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the rollers (16) have two annular slots (16A) and three annular ridges (16B).

10. Equipment according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the floor cleaning machine is of reversible type, so as to operate right up to the two lateral edges of each step.

Description:

DESCRIPTION

[0001] The object of the invention is to solve the problem of cleaning the surfaces of the steps of escalators, which have a dense series of grooves oriented in the direction of motion of the escalator. The invention also solves other similar problems, e.g. for the surfaces of grooved moving walkways, whether endless and made of rubber, or divided up into belts, and for other uses.

[0002] The grooves of the steps of escalators have always been a problem and required expensive upkeep due to the heavy daily traffic, the need to keep the grooves clear, and the need to reduce stoppages for maintenance and cleaning and the like to a minimum.

[0003] The invention solves these problems in a thoroughly effective manner, using a simple and inexpensive piece of equipment.

[0004] The equipment in question, which is for the abovementioned objects and for equivalent uses, essentially comprises in combination: a floor cleaning machine with cylindrical rotary brushes composed of essentially radial bristles; and, on the side of this machine, guide members that engage in the grooves, which guide members fit into one or more grooves so as to guide the floor cleaning machine while the bristles pass into the grooves of said surfaces; this prevents side skidding and procures an operation that is simple, fast, non-fatiguing and satisfying in the highest degree.

[0005] The guide members may be at least two spaced-out rollers, each with at least one ridge and/or one annular slot, so that the rollers are able to engage in the grooves and/or in the ridges of said tread surfaces of the steps.

[0006] As an alternative to the rollers or in combination with the rollers, guide members may be shoes with runners for fitting into and sliding in one or more grooves.

[0007] The bristles of the brushes are preferably arranged in circumferential rows separated by spacing adapting to the spacing between the grooves of the tread surfaces of the steps; the same arrangement is provided for the annular ridges of the rollers that fit into the grooves of the steps.

[0008] In practice there may be at least three or even more rollers.

[0009] The guide members—rollers and/or shoes with runners—may be situated at a level such that the bristles of the brushes flex slightly against the bottoms of the grooves, thus ensuring complete cleaning of these grooves.

[0010] The presence of at least three rollers-and the geometry of the rollers with two annular slots and three annular ridges and/or the presence of longitudinally extended runner shoes, ensure engagement in the grooves during operation, and hence guide the movements of the machine in the direction of the grooves.

[0011] Given that the floor cleaning machine is preferably of reversible type, it is possible and easy to work right up to the two lateral edges of the grooved surfaces, even if there are solid balustrades on either side.

[0012] When used for cleaning escalators, the operator can simply hold the machine in position at the bottom where the escalator starts, and reposition it in successive transverse positions so as to cover the full surface of the steps. For cleaning moving walkways, the operator can hold the machine at the beginning of the walkway.

[0013] A clearer understanding of the invention will be gained from the description and attached drawing, the latter showing a practical, non-limiting embodiment of the invention. In the drawing:

[0014] FIG. 1 is a view-and partial cross section of a floor cleaning machine equipped with guide rollers and placed on the grooved surface of one step of an escalator;

[0015] FIG. 2 is a side view from plane II-II as marked in FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 3 is a schematic view, partly in plan view and partly in section;

[0017] FIG. 4 is a cross section through an escalator with the fitted machine in the position of maximum displacement to the right when viewing the drawing;

[0018] FIG. 5 is a plan view of a floor cleaning machine in two different positions for cleaning the two opposite edges of two adjacent steps;

[0019] FIG. 6 is an enlarged detail of the working area of a brush inside one groove of a step of an escalator or similar; and

[0020] FIGS. 7 and 8 show diagrammatically a side view and a cross section on VIII-VIII as marked in FIG. 7 of a solution with guide means in the form of shoes with runners.

[0021] In the drawing the reference 1 denotes the structure of the floorplate of one step of an escalator, the tread surface of which step—marked 1A—is composed of a plurality of grooves 3 running in the direction of movement of the escalator or at any rate in a direction that is perpendicular to the height of a step. The problem to be solved is how to clean the step 1, particularly the grooves 3 of said step. A similar structure, endless or belted, is that of a moving walkway.

[0022] To carry out the above, the invention involves using a floor cleaning machine, especially a floor cleaning machine of a type known in the trade under the trade name “Duplex” from the applicant, to which is added an auxiliary feature that makes it easy to clean the steps of an escalator or the grooved surface of a walkway or equivalent equipment.

[0023] A floor cleaning machine is outlined in the drawing and comprises a cowling suitably shaped to contain, on the sides 6, containers holding a detergent for dispensing, and, in the center, a tank 8 in which the dirty liquid is recovered. This is auxiliary to the action of the rotating brushes which are shown schematically at 10 and are positioned beneath the containers 6 and partly exposed on the underside so as to act on the surface on which the machine is moved. The brushes 10 essentially project out from a side structure 6A of the cowling 6; hinged at 12 to the top of the portion 6A is a handle 14 which can be tilted either side of the plane of symmetry of the machine, so that the machine can be worked backwards and forwards for an alternating movement in the direction of displacement of the machine in opposite directions. The brushes 10 project a small amount in the downward direction so as to make contact with the surface of a floor or the like that requires cleaning. In this particular case, the bristles 10A of the brushes 10 are laid out in circumferential alignments, which may preferably be spaced apart at the same pitch as the grooves 3 of the steps 1. The bristles 10A of the circumferential alignments can penetrate into the grooves 3 and then bend against the bottom 3A of the grooves 3 (see FIG. 6 in particular), thereby efficiently cleaning the grooves both on the bottom and against the sides against which the bristles brush in order to carry out the cleaning. Cleaning can be assisted also by detergents supplied in a manner known per se from the containers 6 and delivered to the brushes in order to carry out the cleaning, while suitable arrangements return the dirt-laden liquid carried by the bristles back to the container. The brushes 10 are end-mounted into the side structure 6A of the cowling, and are rotated in a manner known per se. At the unsupported end, the brushes 10 terminate in practice with a circle of end bristles for cleaning any corner between a surface to be cleaned and a wall—in this particular case in order to clean the steps 1A right up to the balustrades 1C (FIG. 4) of the escalator. To clean the opposite edges of a step 1, the machine can be used, as shown in FIG. 5, in at least two stages in which the handle 14 is reversed and the machine itself is reversed to present the free ends of the brushes 10 to one or other of the balustrades 1C delineating the escalator.

[0024] Operations of this kind with the conventional machine are not easy, because the machine has been observed to have a rather marked tendency to side skid erratically while cleaning a step, or other grooved surface. To prevent these problems and enable the grooves to be cleaned quickly and easily, it is arranged to equip the side structure 6A of the cowling of the machine with an accessory comprising—as indicated in FIGS. 1 to 6—three rollers 16, each having—in accordance with the drawing—two slots 16A and three ridges 16B that define the slots 16A. The ridges 16B are separated by gaps equal to the pitch between the channels 3, and the thickness of the annular ridges 16B is less than the width of the grooves 3 of the steps 1, 1A. The rollers 16 are mounted idly on respective journals 18, which are parallel to the axes of rotation of the brushes, and in practice can be mounted on a shaped plate 20 equipped with screw means for application to the flank of the side structure 6A of the cowling 6. Rollers of different geometries will be replaceable for adaptation to the geometry of the grooved surfaces 1, 1A.

[0025] The accessory 20, 18, 16 can in practice be fitted and removed rapidly using screws 22 for mounting the plate 20 at the time of use on the side part 6A of the cowling 6 when the floor cleaning machine is to be used for the above-indicated purposes of cleaning grooved surfaces such as those of the steps 1, 1A of escalators.

[0026] To use the floor cleaning machine together with its accessory, the machine is positioned so that, in any condition of movement of the machine along the line of the grooves 3, the ridges 16B of the rollers 16, or at least two of the rollers, can get into the grooves 3. The outer edges of the ridges 16B of the rollers 16 can rest on the bottoms 3A of the grooves, or the bottoms of the annular slots 16A may rest on the projecting tops of the walls of the grooves 3, which basically represent the walking surface of the steps or other surfaces. Either way the guidance provided by the rollers 16 having their ridges 16B engaged in the grooves 3 prevents any side skidding of the machine when cleaning steps with alternating movements in the direction of said grooves 3. The machine can subsequently be placed in various positions across the width of each step. 1 to continue its cleaning, and turned completely around as shown schematically in FIG. 5 to clean up to the lateral edges of the steps against the (usually fixed) escalator balustrades 1C, between which the steps all move for the use of the public.

[0027] The position of the machine, at least in the vicinity of the side rollers 16, is defined by the outer edges of the ridges 16B, or by the bottoms of the annular grooves 16A to allow for a bending of the bristles 10A as they touch the bottoms 3A of the grooves 3, as shown clearly in FIG. 6, ensuring that the bristles 10A clean completely down to the bottoms 3A of the grooves 3.

[0028] The bristles can have an arrangement with a central section of bristles that are longer than the outer sections of the bristles in the circumferential rows of bristles, to ensure that the sides of the grooves 3 are cleaned as well as the bottoms 3A.

[0029] To clean the steps of an escalator, the operator can simply position and hold the machine (turn on) where the steps emerge at the bottom of the escalator. This will clean the various steps as they emerge, optionally repeating steps that reemerge after traveling full circle; the machine is then moved to clean another area of the steps; and the machine is turned around to clean the lateral edges of the steps. The same applies to cleaning longitudinally grooved moving walkways.

[0030] FIGS. 7 and 8 show a variant in which the rollers 16 are replaced by one or more shoes with runners 116. These can be made of suitable materials, including relatively flexible synthetic resins (such as that known as nylon®) and of suitable geometry to facilitate their insertion into the grooves and to adapt within certain limits to the pitch between the grooves 3, 3A of the surfaces to be cleaned. Each of these runner shoes 116 may be a single whole or made up of adjacent sections.

[0031] Another variant can be a combination of rollers 16 and runner shoes 116 present in each groove 1A, and an alternative to that would be to have rollers 16 in one groove 3, 3A, and runner shoes 116 in an adjacent groove 3, 3A.

[0032] It will be understood that the drawing shows only an example purely as a practical demonstration of the invention, which latter can be varied in its shapes and arrangements without thereby departing from the scope of the concept on which the invention is based. The presence of any reference numbers in the appended claims is for the purpose of facilitating the reading of the claims with reference to the description and to the drawing, and does not limit the scope of protection represented by the claims.