Title:
Nozzle assembly with high efficiency agitator cavity
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vacuum cleaner includes a nozzle assembly, a canister assembly, a suction generator and a dirt collection vessel. The nozzle assembly includes a housing having a transverse axis and a bulkhead defining at least a portion of an agitator cavity in the housing. A suction port is provided in the bulkhead. An air guide carried on the housing has a portion curving toward an inlet end and a first side of the suction port. The bulkhead is angled away from a transverse axis of the housing toward the inlet end and a second side of the suction port.



Inventors:
Hafling, Danielle M. (Lancaster, KY, US)
Hitzelberger, Joel E. (Danville, KY, US)
Application Number:
10/909034
Publication Date:
02/03/2005
Filing Date:
07/30/2004
Assignee:
HAFLING DANIELLE M.
HITZELBERGER JOEL E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/384
International Classes:
A47L5/30; A47L9/02; A47L9/04; (IPC1-7): A47L9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, DUNG V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STITES & HARBISON PLLC (LEXINGTON, KY, US)
Claims:
1. A nozzle assembly for a floor cleaning apparatus, comprising: a housing including a transverse axis and a bulkhead defining at least a portion of an agitator cavity in said housing; and a suction port provided in said bulkhead in fluid communication with said agitator cavity, said suction port including a first side, a second side, an inlet end and an outlet end; said nozzle assembly being characterized by an air guide carried on said housing having a portion thereof curving toward said inlet end and said first side of said suction port and said bulkhead being angled away from said transverse axis toward said inlet end and said second side of said suction port.

2. The nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said first end has a cross sectional area A1 and said second end has a cross sectional area A2 and a ratio of A1 to A2 is between about 1:3 and about 1:4.

3. The nozzle assembly of claim 2, wherein A1 is between about 700 and about 900 mm2 and A2 is between about 3000 and about 3200 mm2.

4. The nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said curved portion of said air guide has a radius of curvature of between about 40 and about 50 mm.

5. The nozzle assembly of claim 4, wherein said bulkhead defines an included angle with said transverse axis of between about 2 and about 2.5 degrees.

6. The nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said bulkhead defines an included angle with said transverse axis of between about 2 and about 2.5 degrees.

7. The nozzle assembly of claim 1, further including a first rotary agitator carried in said agitator cavity on said housing.

8. The nozzle assembly of claim 7, further including a second rotary agitator carried in said agitator cavity on said housing adjacent said first rotary agitator.

9. The nozzle assembly of claim 8, wherein said second rotary agitator is provided between said first rotary agitator and said bulkhead.

10. The nozzle assembly of claim 9, wherein at least a portion of said air guide is provided on said housing above said first rotary agitator.

11. The nozzle assembly of claim 10, wherein said air guide has a height of between about 3.0 and about 4.0 mm.

12. The nozzle assembly of claim 1 wherein said housing includes an opening overlying said agitator cavity and a transparent agitator shield closing said opening.

13. The nozzle assembly of claim 12, wherein said air guide is carried on said agitator shield.

14. A vacuum cleaner, comprising: a nozzle assembly including a housing having a transverse axis and a bulkhead defining at least a portion of an agitator cavity in said housing; a canister assembly; a suction generator carried on one of said nozzle assembly and said canister assembly; a dirt collection vessel carried on one of said nozzle assembly and said canister assembly; said vacuum cleaner being characterized by; a suction port provided in said bulkhead in fluid communication with said agitator cavity and said suction generator, said suction port including a first side, a second side, an inlet end and an outlet end; and an air guide carried on said housing having a portion thereof curving toward said inlet end of said first side of said suction port and said bulkhead being angled away from said transverse axis toward said inlet end and said second side of said suction port.

15. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said first end has a cross sectional area A1 and said second end has a cross sectional area A2 and a ratio of A1 to A2 is between about 1:3 and about 1:4.

16. The vacuum cleaner of claim 15, wherein A1 is between about 700 and about 900 mm2 and A2 is between about 3000 and about 3200 mm2.

17. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said curved portion of said air guide has a radius of curvature of between about 40 and about 50 mm.

18. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said bulkhead defines an included angle with said transverse axis of between about 2 and about 2.5 degrees.

19. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14 including at least one rotary agitator in said agitator cavity of said nozzle assembly.

20. The vacuum cleaner of claim 19, wherein at least a portion of said air guide is provided on said housing overlying a first rotary agitator and a second rotary agitator is provided between said first rotary agitator and said bulkhead.

21. The vacuum cleaner of claim 20, wherein said air guide has a height of between about 3.0 and about 4.0 mm.

22. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14 wherein said housing includes an opening overlying said agitator cavity and a transparent agitator shield closing said opening.

23. The vacuum cleaner of claim 22, wherein said air guide is carried on said agitator shield.

24. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14 wherein said dirt collection vessel is a filter bag.

25. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said dirt collection vessel is a dirt cup.

26. The vacuum cleaner of claim 14, wherein said canister assembly is pivotally connected to said nozzle assembly.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/491,867 filed on Aug. 1, 2003.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the floor care equipment field and, more particularly, to a nozzle assembly incorporating an agitator cavity of unique design that functions to enhance airflow and, therefore, cleaning efficiency.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Upright, canister and hand-held vacuum cleaners have long been known in the art. Many such vacuum cleaners incorporate one or more rotary agitators that are held in an agitator cavity in the nozzle assembly. These rotary agitators are equipped with cleaning structures including but not limited to beater bars, wipers, brushes and bristle tufts. As the agitators are rotated relative to the floor being cleaned, these cleaning structures function to beat dirt and debris from the nap of an underlying carpet.

The present invention relates to a nozzle assembly explicitly designed to provide smooth and efficient airflow from the agitator cavity into the suction port leading to the suction generator of a floor cleaning apparatus such as a vacuum cleaner or extractor. Advantageously, the design of the housing and related structures functions to enhance the cleaning efficiency of the apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the purposes of the present invention as described herein, a nozzle assembly is provided for a floor cleaning apparatus. The nozzle assembly comprises a housing including a transverse axis and a bulkhead defining at least a portion of an agitator cavity in the housing. Additionally, the nozzle assembly includes a suction port provided in the bulkhead in fluid communication with the agitator cavity. The suction port includes a first side, a second side, an inlet end and an outlet end.

The nozzle assembly is characterized by an air guide carried on the housing. A portion of the air guide curves toward the inlet end and the first side of the suction port. Additionally, the bulkhead is angled away from the transverse axis toward the inlet end and the second side of the suction port. Together, the air guide and angled bulkhead function to reduce turbulence in the agitator cavity caused by the rotary agitators. As a result, air flows more smoothly and efficiently toward and into the inlet end of the suction port from which it is drawn through the floor cleaning apparatus by the suction generator.

More specifically describing the invention, the first end of the suction port has a cross sectional area A, and the second end of the suction port has a cross sectional area A2 and the ratio of A1 to A2 is between about 1:3 and about 1:4. More particularly, the cross sectional area A1 of the inlet end is between about 700 mm2 and about 900 mm2 and the cross sectional area of A2 of the outlet end is between about 3000 mm2 and about 3200 mm2.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention the curved portion of the air guide has a radius of curvature of between about 40 and about 50 mm. Additionally, the bulkhead defines an included angle with the transverse axis of the housing of between about 2 and about 2.5 degrees.

Still further, a first rotary agitator is carried in the agitator cavity on the housing. Optionally, a second rotary agitator may also be carried in the agitator cavity on the housing adjacent the first rotary agitator. The second rotary agitator is provided between the first rotary agitator and the bulkhead. In a two agitator arrangement, at least a portion of the air guide is provided on the housing above the first rotary agitator. Further, the air guide has a height of between about 3.0 mm and about 4.0 mm.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the housing includes an opening overlying the agitator cavity. A transparent agitator shield closes this opening. In one possible embodiment the air guide is carried on this agitator shield.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a vacuum cleaner is provided incorporating the above-described nozzle assembly. That vacuum cleaner may comprise an upright vacuum cleaner, the powerhead of a canister vacuum cleaner and/or a hand-held vacuum cleaner.

In the following description there is shown and described a preferred embodiment of this invention, simply by way of illustration of one of the modes best suited to carry out the invention. As it will be realized, the invention is capable of other, different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions will be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The accompanying drawing incorporated in and forming a part of this specification, illustrates several aspects of the present invention, and together with the description serves to explain certain principles of the invention. In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vacuum cleaner incorporating the nozzle assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partially schematical and cross sectional view of the vacuum cleaner shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a detailed perspective view of the inside of the first or upper section of the housing of the nozzle assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a detailed perspective view of the inside surface of the agitator shield that fits in the opening in the first or upper housing section illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a detailed perspective view of the inside surfaces of the first or upper section of the housing with the agitator shield positioned therein to close the opening; and

FIG. 6 is a detailed perspective view of the inner surface of the second or lower section of the housing of the nozzle assembly.

Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, an example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference is now made to FIG. 1 illustrating an upright vacuum cleaner 10 incorporating the nozzle assembly 12 of the present invention. The vacuum cleaner 10 also includes a canister assembly 14 that is pivotally connected to the nozzle assembly 12. The canister assembly 14 includes a cavity 16 for holding a removable dirt cup 18 for collecting dirt and debris. The dirt cup 18 may or may not include structures to produce cyclonic airflow in order to assist in separation of dirt from the airstream as it passes through the vacuum cleaner. A filter 19 is provided behind the dirt cup 18 (see also FIG. 2). In the alternative, the cavity 16 may simply house a state-of-the-art bag filter of a type well known in the art behind an access door or cover.

As illustrated the canister assembly 14 also includes a control handle 20 equipped with a hand grip 22 and an actuator switch 24 for turning the vacuum cleaner on and off. The canister assembly also includes an internal chamber 26 for housing the suction generator 28 comprising a fan and motor assembly (again, see FIG. 2). The vacuum cleaner 10 is powered from an electrical wall outlet via a power cord (not shown). Alternatively, the vacuum cleaner could, of course, include one or more onboard batteries as a source of power.

The nozzle assembly 12 includes a housing 32 including a first or upper section 34 and a cooperating second or lower section 36 that may be secured together by fasteners to define an agitator cavity 38. The first housing section 34 includes an opening 60 that overlies the agitator cavity 38 (see FIGS. 1-3). The agitator shield 62 illustrated in FIG. 4 is received in the first housing section 34 and closes the opening 60. The agitator shield 62 is made from transparent plastic material in order to allow the operator to view the agitators 40, 42 in the agitator cavity 38 when operating the vacuum cleaner 10. This allows the operator to conveniently confirm proper operation of the agitators 40, 42 during the vacuuming operation and/or the presence of a jam should one develop.

In the illustrated embodiment, two rotary agitators 40, 42 are carried on the housing 32 in the agitator cavity 38 (see FIG. 2). As illustrated, the first rotary agitator 40 is provided in front of and adjacent to the second rotary agitator 42. The rotary agitators may be driven to rotate relative to the housing 32 by a power transmission connected either to the motor of the suction generator 28 or a separate, dedicated agitator drive motor.

A first set of ground engaging wheels 44 are carried at the bottom of the canister assembly 14. A second set of ground engaging wheels 46 are carried on the lower section 36 of the housing 32. The wheels 46 are connected to a height adjustment mechanism, of a type well known in the art, to allow the height of the nozzle assembly 12 to be adjusted relative to the floor being cleaned by manipulation of an actuator 47. A foot latch 30 is carried on the nozzle assembly 12. The foot latch 30 functions to lock the canister assembly 14 relative to the nozzle assembly 12 in the upright position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The foot latch 30 may be depressed to release the canister assembly 14 and allow it to be pivoted relative to the nozzle assembly 12 as the vacuum cleaner 10 is manipulated by the operator back and forth across the floor during cleaning.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3-6, the housing 32 of the nozzle assembly 12 includes a bulkhead 48 that defines at least a portion of the agitator cavity 38. In the illustrated embodiment, the bulkhead 48 defines the rear wall thereof. More specifically, in the illustrated embodiment, a portion of the bulkhead 48 is provided on the second housing section 36 (see FIG. 6) and another portion of the bulkhead is provided on the agitator shield 62 (see FIGS. 4 and 5). The two portions of the bulkhead 48 are connected together when the housing sections 34, 36 are joined together with the shield 62 to complete the housing 32.

A suction port 50 is provided in the bulkhead 48. More specifically, part of the suction port 50 is formed in each of the agitator shield 62 and second housing section 36. The suction port 50 includes an inlet end 52, an outlet end 54, a first side 56 and a second side 58.

The inlet end 52 has a cross sectional area A1 and the outlet end has a cross sectional area A2 where the ratio of A1 to A2 is between about 1:3 and about 1:4. Further, the cross sectional area A1 is between about 700 mm2 and about 900 mm2 and the cross sectional area A2 is between about 3000 mm2 and about 3200 mm2.

As best illustrated in FIG. 6, it should also be appreciated that the bulkhead 48 is angled away from the transverse axis TA of the housing 32 toward the inlet end 52 and second side 58 of the suction port 50. Specifically, the bulkhead 48 defines an included angle ⊖ with the transverse axis TA of between about 2 and about 2.5 degrees.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, an air guide 64 is provided on the agitator shield 62 and is therefore carried on the housing 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the air guide 64 takes the form of an elongated vane including an arcuate portion 66 having a radius of curvature of between about 40 and about 50 mm. As illustrated, the arcuate portion 66 curves toward the inlet end 52 and first side 56 of the suction port 50. A gap 68 of between about 10-20 mm in width is provided between the end 70 of the arcuate portion 66 and the inlet end 52 of the suction port 50. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the relatively straight, elongated portion 72 of the air guide 64 overlies the first agitator 40 in the agitator cavity 38. The air guide 64, like the agitator shield 62, may be made from a transparent material so as not to obstruct the view of the underlying agitator 40.

Advantageously, the air guide 64 and the angled bulkhead 48 function together to reduce air turbulence in the agitator cavity 38 produced by the rotary agitators 40, 42 so that air is more smoothly and efficiently directed into the suction port 50. More particularly, a first air path is provided along the front wall 74 of the air guide 64. More specifically, the airstream follows the first air path smoothly flowing along the front wall 74 around the arcuate portion 66 and through the gap 68 into the inlet end 52 of the suction port 50 adjacent the first side 56 (see action arrow F1in FIG. 4).

Simultaneously, a second air path is provided along the rear wall 76 of the air guide 64. The airstream flowing along the second air path flows along the rear wall 76 and is directed by the arcuate portion 66 into the center of the suction port 50 (see action arrow F2 in FIG. 4).

Simultaneously, a third air path is provided along the bulkhead 48. The airstream in the third air path flows along the bulkhead 48 to the inlet end 52 of the suction port 50 adjacent the second side 58 (see action arrow F3 in FIG. 4). As should be appreciated, all three air paths flow smoothly into the suction port 50 where they are then drawn through a conduit system into the dirt cup 18 by the suction generator 28. Dirt and debris becomes entrapped in the dirt cup 28 and the associated filter 19. Clean air is then drawn into the internal compartment 26, washes over the motor of the suction generator 28 to provide cooling and then it is exhausted through a final filter (not shown) and an exhaust port 78 into the environment.

In summary, numerous benefits result from employing the concepts of the present invention. Advantageously, the nozzle assembly 12 incorporates a unique air guide 64 and angled bulkhead 48 arrangement that reduces turbulence and smooths airflow from the agitator cavity 38 into the suction port 50. This results in overall enhanced cleaning efficiency.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of this invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiment was chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled. The drawings and preferred embodiment do not and are not intended to limit the ordinary meaning of the claims and their fair and broad interpretation in any way.