Title:
Counter-rotational electric scrubber
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An electric scrubber includes a housing, an electric motor mounted within a housing, a pair of scrubbing blocks mounted to the housing for rotation about a common axis, and a torque transmission transmitting torque from the electric motor to the scrubbing blocks in such manner that the scrubbing blocks rotate simultaneously in mutually opposite directions about the common axis.



Inventors:
Cheah, Aik Pin (Wheelers Hill, AU)
Shek, Kwok Nam (Hong Kong, HK)
Application Number:
10/725998
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
12/03/2003
Assignee:
Chiaphua Industries Limited (Tai Po, HK)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/344
International Classes:
A47K11/10; B08B1/04; A46B13/00; (IPC1-7): A47L5/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SNIDER, THERESA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. An electric scrubber, comprising: a housing, an electric motor mounted within a housing, a pair of scrubbing blocks mounted to the housing for rotation about a common axis, and a torque transmission transmitting torque from the electric motor to the scrubbing blocks in such manner that the scrubbing blocks rotate simultaneously in mutually opposite directions about the common axis.

2. The electric scrubber of claim 1 wherein one of the scrubbing blocks has a circular array of inwardly directed teeth and the other of the scrubbing blocks has a circular array of outwardly facing teeth and wherein the torque transmission comprises a pinion meshing with both of said circular arrays of teeth.

3. The electric scrubber of claim 2 wherein the torque transmission further includes a worm gear in mesh with an intermediate gear with which the pinion shares a common shaft.

4. The electric scrubber of claim 2 wherein both circular arrays of teeth are mounted in a common plane.

5. The electric scrubber of claim 1 wherein each scrubbing block comprises surface-interactive elements mounted upon a common plane.

6. The electric scrubber of claim 1 wherein each scrubbing block comprises surface-interactive elements radiating from a common axis.

7. The electric scrubber of claim 1 further comprising a dispenser within the housing for delivering a liquid agent to at least one of the scrubbing blocks.

8. The electric scrubber of claim 1 comprising a handle detachable from the housing and encasing a rechargeable battery in circuit with the electric motor via terminals exposed upon detachment of the handle from the housing.

9. The electric cover of claim 8 wherein the handle comprises an elongate extension on which the terminals are located and wherein the housing comprises an elongate recess into which the extension is received.

10. The electric scrubber of claim 9, in combination with a recharging stand attachable to a source of main power and comprising an elongate recess into which the extension is received.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to electric motor-driven scrubbers. More particularly, although not exclusively, the invention relates to motor-driven scrubbers having a pair of scrubbing blocks that are driven to counter-rotate about a common axis. Such scrubbing blocks might support a plurality of tufts, polishing pads, scouring pads, sandpaper, cleaning sponges or other surfaces for cleaning, scrubbing, polishing or the like.

It is known to provide handheld motor-driven rotary brushing devices provided with a single flat tuft block from which parallel bristles extend. The tuft block in such devices rotates in one direction only. If such a device is left switched on when placed upon a bench for example, it can spin haplessly and run away across the bench. Also, the cleaning action provided by such known devices is limited by the unidirectional rotation of the bristles or other cleaning surface-interactive element.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to provide a counter-rotating scrubber aimed at overcoming or substantially ameliorating at least one of the above disadvantages.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

There is disclosed herein an electric scrubber, comprising:

    • a housing,
    • an electric motor mounted within a housing,
    • a pair of scrubbing blocks mounted to the housing for rotation about a common axis, and
    • a torque transmission transmitting torque from the electric motor to the scrubbing blocks in such manner that the scrubbing blocks rotate simultaneously in mutually opposite directions about the common axis.

Preferably one of the scrubbing blocks has a circular array of inwardly directed teeth and the other of the scrubbing blocks has a circular array of outwardly facing teeth and wherein the torque transmission comprises a pinion meshing with both of said circular arrays of teeth.

Preferably the torque transmission further include is a worm gear in mesh with an intermediate gear with which the pinion shares a common shaft.

Preferably both circular arrays of teeth are mounted in a common plane.

Preferably each scrubbing block comprises surface-interactive elements mounted upon a common plane.

Alternatively each scrubbing block comprises surface-interactive elements radiating from a common axis.

The electric scrubber might further comprise a dispenser within the housing for delivering a liquid agent to at least one of the scrubbing blocks.

In embodiments wherein the scrubber might be adapted for cleaning a toilet, or other hard to reach area, there might further be provided a handle detachable from the housing and encasing a rechargeable battery in circuit with the electric motor via terminals exposed upon detachment of the handle from the housing.

The handle might comprise an elongate extension on which the terminals are located and wherein the housing comprises an elongate recess into which the extension is received.

There is further disclosed herein a combination comprising the electric scrubber disclosed above and a recharging stand attachable to a source of mains power and comprising an elongate recess into which the extension is received.

Definition

As used herein, the word “scrubber” and its derivations such as “scrubbing” are intended to encompass any surface-interactive element that performs a scrubbing, brushing, polishing, sanding or cleaning function and the action performed thereby respectively.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred forms of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of a counter-rotational electric scrubber,

FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective cut-away illustration of the electric scrubber of FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of the scrubbing blocks and torque transmission of the electric scrubber of FIG. 1,

FIG. 4 is a schematic cross-sectional elevation of counter-rotational electric toilet scrubber,

FIG. 5 is a schematic cross-sectional elevation of the scrubbing blocks, electric motor and torque transmission of the toilet scrubber of FIG. 4,

FIG. 6 is a schematic cross-sectional end elevation of the components of FIG. 5 taken at VI-VI,

FIG. 7 is a schematic cross-sectional end elevation of the components of FIG. 5 taken at VII-VII,

FIG. 8 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of an alternative torque transmission for an electric scrubber,

FIG. 9 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of a further alternative torque transmission for an electric scrubber,

FIG. 10 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of still a further alternative torque transmission for an electric scrubber,

FIG. 11 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of yet a further alternative torque transmission for an electric scrubber,

FIG. 12 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of yet still a further alternative torque transmission for an electric scrubber,

FIG. 13 is a schematic cross-sectional elevation of an electric toilet scrubber, similar to that of FIG. 4, but having a detachable handle in which rechargeable batteries are housed,

FIG. 14 is a schematic cross-sectional elevation of the be electric toilet scrubber of FIG. 13 showing the handle detached,

FIG. 15 is a schematic elevation of the detached handle of FIG. 14 mounted upon a recharging stand, and

FIG. 16 is a schematic elevation of the detached handle and recharging stand of FIG. 15, with the handle lifted from the stand.

DESCRIPTION OF THE TO A A THE THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIG. 1 of the accompanying drawings there is depicted schematically an electric body scrubber for use in the shower or bath comprising a housing provided by a cover 7 and a base 3. The cover 7 houses a plate 8 on which there is mounted an electric switch 6 activatable upon depression of a sealed pushing pad 71 on the cover.

There is an electric motor 501 attached to a frame 9 that is in turn secured to a base 3. A rechargeable battery pack 4 is fitted upon the base 3 and provides power to the electric motor 501 when the switch 6 is depressed. The housing is sealed against the ingress of water from the outside.

A worm gear 503 is secured to the output shaft of the electric motor 501. The frame 9 supports the worm gear 503 as well as an intermediate gear 502 with which the worm gear 503 meshes The depending shaft from the intermediate gear 502 passes through the base 3. At the bottom side of the base, a pinion 504 is secured to the intermediate gear shaft so as to rotating in unison with the intermediate gear 502 at all times that the motor 501 is activated.

There is a pair of scrubbing blocks 1 and 2 mounted rotatably about a common axis A to the base 3. The scrubbing block 1 surrounds the scrubbing block 2 and comprises a circular array of inwardly facing teeth 11. The scrubbing block 2 has a circular array of outwardly facing teeth 22. The pinion 504 meshes with both of the teeth arrays 11 and 22 to effect counter-rotation of the scrubbing blocks 1 and 2.

There is a detergent reservoir 20 fitted within the housing between the cover 7 and base 3. It has a lid 10 accessible via an opening 72 in the cover 7 which can be removed to poor liquid detergent into the reservoir. A flexible hose 13 extends from a coupling 12 at the bottom of the reservoir 20 through the base 3 to the scrubbing block 2.

An alternative embodiment of the invention is depicted in FIGS. 4 and 5. This embodiment is a toilet scrubbing brush 400 having a handle 409 and counter-rotating scrubbing blocks 402 and 403 mounted to rotate in opposite directions about an axis A. A pair of batteries 411 is housed within the handle 409 and electrical contacts 410 and 412 convey current via a switch 413 and conductor 414 to an electric motor 405. The batteries might be rechargeable or dry cell batteries. The scrubbing blocks 402 and 403 are driven to counter-rotate in the same nanner as described with reference to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 3. To this end, the electric motor 405 drives a worm gear 417 that in turn drives an intermediate gear 418 upon a common shaft with pinion 419 in mesh with inwardly and outwardly directed circular arrays of teeth.

Alternative motor-to-scrubbing block torque transmission arrangements are shown in FIGS. 8, 9, 10 and 11. In FIG. 8, the electric motor 501 is still mounted transversely, but its output pinion 503 meshes with a crown wheel 502. A pinion 504 is connected to the crown heel 502 and drives the scrubbing blocks 1 and 2.

In the embodiment depicted in the FIG. 9, instead of providing a circular array of teeth and a pinion, output torque of the intermediate gear 502 is transferred by a wheel 504 that might be formed of rubber or other high-grip material that rolls upon high-grip surfaces 101 and 201 respectively. This arrangement would provide some degree of slippage in the transmission.

FIG. 10 shows an arrangement wherein the motor 501 is mounted longitudinally, having a reduction gearbox 502. The pinion 503 is mounted directly upon the output shaft of the reduction gearbox 502.

FIG. 11 shows a similar arrangement to that of FIG. 10, however the output shaft of the reduction gearbox 502 directly drives the inner-most scrubbing block 2. In this case, the pinion 503 would be mounted upon a shaft that is fixed with respect to the housing to transfer rotation to the scrubbing block 1.

In FIG. 12, there is depicted a belt-drive arrangement in which the electric motor 501 has an output pulley 503 about which a belt extends. The belt passes around a pulley 502 to which the pinion 504 is attached.

In FIGS. 13 and 14, a toilet scrubbing brush having a detachable handle 9 is shown. Rechargeable batteries 11 are housed within the handle 9. The handle includes a longitudinal protrusion 130 that is received in interlocking manner within a longitudinal recess 131 of the main body 6. There might be electric terminals upon the protrusion 130 and correspondingly within the recess 131 by which power is conveyed from the batteries to the electric motor.

The batteries 11 can be recharged by placing the handle 9 upon a recharging stand 140 as shown in FIG. 16. The recharging stand 140 is attached electrically to a transformer plug pack 23 and includes a recess 21 into which the protrusion 130 of the handle 9 is received. There is a plug 141 received within a socket 142 as shown. The batteries 11 might received electric current via direct terminal-contact or via a pair of interacting coils (not shown)—one within the protrusion 130 and another about the recess 21.

It should be appreciated that modifications and alterations obvious to those skilled in the art are not to be considered as beyond the scope of the present invention. For example, where bristles such as 401 are depicted in the drawings, polishing pads, scouring pads, sponge pads, sandpaper or other scrubbers can be used depending on the required application of the scrubber.