Title:
Floor cleaning machine, particularly for industrial applications
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floor cleaning machine, particularly for industrial applications, comprising a chassis that supports in a downward region at least one brush, which can be actuated with a rotary motion, and at least one floor wiper, which is arranged to the rear of the brush along the travel direction of the machine and is arranged substantially transversely to the travel direction of the machine, the floor wiper being freely rotatably associated with the chassis about a substantially vertical oscillation axis.



Inventors:
Ruffo, Massimiliano (Verona, IT)
Application Number:
11/062627
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
02/23/2005
Assignee:
COMAC S.p.A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/04; A47L5/30; A47L7/00; A47L9/06; A47L11/16; A47L11/30; (IPC1-7): A47L11/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GUIDOTTI, LAURA COLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO & ASSOCIATI (MILANO, IT)
Claims:
1. A floor cleaning machine for industrial applications, comprising a chassis; at least one brush supported at said chassis in a downward region thereof so as to be actuatable with a rotary motion; and at least one floor wiper, which is arranged rearwardly with respect to said at least one brush, along a travel direction of the machine and substantially transversely to said travel direction of the machine; said at least one floor wiper being associated with said chassis so as to be freely rotatable about a substantially vertical oscillation axis.

2. The machine of claim 1, wherein said at least one brush is supported at said chassis so as to be rotatable about a substantially vertical rotation axis, said oscillation axis of said at least one floor wiper substantially coinciding with said vertical rotation axis of said at least one brush, at least when said at least one brush and said at least one floor wiper are in an active position.

3. The machine of claim 1, comprising connecting means for connecting said at least one floor wiper to said chassis, said connecting means being adapted to vary on command a gap distance between said at least one floor wiper and said chassis along a substantially vertical direction in order to lift and lower said floor wiper with respect to a surface of a floor.

4. The machine of claim 3, comprising motor means that are functionally connected to said at least one brush, and a base, said at least one brush being associated with said base, which is connected to said chassis and supports said motor means.

5. The machine of claim 4, further comprising interconnection means located, between said base and said chassis, which can be operated in order to vary a spacing distance of said base from said chassis along a substantially vertical direction.

6. The machine of claim 5, wherein said floor wiper comprises a supporting body, and a blade made of elastically flexible material detachably fitted on said supporting body, said blade being adapted to engage the surface of the floor, said supporting body being detachably associable by snap coupling with said connecting means.

7. The machine of claim 6, wherein said connecting means comprise: a connecting element that is connectable with said supporting body of said floor wiper; a bush that is rotatably coupled to a rotation pivot, which is supported in a downward region of said chassis and is orientated coaxially to a substantially horizontal oscillation axis; at least one pair of connecting bars which are arranged on a substantially vertical plane so as to be substantially parallel to each other and spaced, said connecting bars being coupled at first ends thereof, for oscillation about said substantially horizontal axis, with said connecting element and, at second ends thereof, with said brush.

8. The machine of claim 5, wherein said interconnection means comprise lever means, and a control pedal, connected to said lever means and operatable by a user.

9. The machine of claim 7, comprising further snap-action quick anchoring means for detachably coupling said supporting body of said floor wiper to said connecting element.

10. The machine of claim 1, wherein said at least one floor wiper is substantially shaped like a circular arc and lies in a region that is located around said at least one brush.

Description:

The present invention relates to a floor cleaning machine, particularly for industrial applications.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Floor cleaning machines are known which generally comprise a box-like structure that forms, in a downward region, a chamber that is open toward the floor and accommodates a nozzle for dispensing a washing liquid and a rotating brush that performs a mechanical action for deep cleaning of the floor. To the rear of the brush along the direction of travel of the machine, there is usually a floor wiper, substantially constituted by a strip or blade made of rubber, which is pressed elastically against the floor and is arranged substantially transversely to the direction of travel of the machine. The wiper is designed to collect the washing liquid and the dirt removed from the floor by the action of the brush so that they can be recovered by an appropriate suction intake, thereby leaving the floor clean and dry.

A drawback that is observed in this type of machine arises from the fact that unless a wiper is provided that has a considerable width with respect to the width of the box-like structure of the machine and a powerful suction system connected to the suction intake, these machines are not capable of ensuring optimum floor drying if a turn is made as the machine travels.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aim of the present invention is to solve the problem noted above by providing a floor cleaning machine, particularly for industrial applications, that can perform deep cleaning of the floor so as to avoid, if the machine turns, leaving residues of dirty liquid on the floor, without having to use bulky floor wipers or powerful suction systems.

Within this aim, another object of the present invention is to provide a machine that is structurally simple and can be provided at competitive production costs.

This aim and these and other objects that will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a floor cleaning machine, particularly for industrial applications, according to the invention, comprising a chassis that supports in a downward region at least one brush, which can be actuated with a rotary motion, and at least one floor wiper, which is arranged to the rear of said at least one brush along the travel direction of the machine and is arranged substantially transversely to the travel direction of the machine, characterized in that said at least one floor wiper is freely rotatably associated with said chassis about a substantially vertical oscillation axis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the machine according to the invention, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a machine according to the invention, with parts omitted for the sake of simplicity;

FIG. 2 is a schematic sectional view of the machine of FIG. 1, taken along a vertical plane, with the brush and the wiper in the operating or active condition;

FIG. 3 is a schematic sectional view of the machine, taken along a vertical plane, in an inactive or idle condition of the brush and of the wiper;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the machine of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the examples of embodiments that follow, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other examples of embodiments.

Moreover, it is to be noted that anything found to be already known during the patenting process is understood not to be claimed and to be the subject of a disclaimer.

With reference to the figures, the floor cleaning machine particularly for industrial applications according to the invention, generally designated by the reference numeral 1, comprises a chassis 2, which supports in an upward region several service devices of the machine, such as for example means for dispensing the washing liquid, means for aspirating the washing liquid, and means for the electrical and/or mechanical actuation of said machine, all of which are of a per se known type and are not illustrated for the sake of simplicity.

As clearly shown, the chassis 2 may have a box-like shape, which forms a chamber 3, which is open on its side directed toward the floor 4 and in which there is at least one brush 5, which can be actuated with a rotary motion about a respective rotation axis 5a, which is preferably substantially vertical.

In a region of the chamber 3 that is arranged to the rear of the brush 5 along the direction of travel 6 of the machine during use, there is at least one floor wiper 7, which lies substantially transversely to the travel direction 5 and is designed to collect, in cooperation with an appropriate suction intake (not shown in the figures) arranged between the brush 5 and the floor wiper 7, the washing liquid dispensed by appropriately provided nozzles (also not shown), which are also arranged in the chamber 3, and the dirt removed by the action of the brush 5.

The peculiarity of the invention consists in that the floor wiper 7 is freely rotatably associated with the chassis 2 about a substantially vertical oscillation axis 7a. In this way, the floor wiper 7 is in fact capable of rotating automatically about its oscillation axis 7a if the machine turns, due to the friction caused by its sliding on the floor 4, so as to be able to follow the machine in every change of direction thereof and avoid leaving on the floor regions that have not been dried by the floor wiper 7.

Advantageously, at least when the machine according to the invention is in the active condition with the floor wiper 7 and the brush 5 acting on the floor 4, the oscillation axis 7a of the floor wiper 7 substantially coincides with the rotation axis 5a of the brush 5. It has in fact been noted that in practical use, with this arrangement of the rotation axis 5a with respect to the oscillation axis 7a, a better rotation response of the floor wiper 7 following a turn of the machine is achieved.

Conveniently, the floor wiper 7 is connected to the chassis 2 by connecting means 8, which allow to vary on command, i.e. upon actuation by a user, the gap distance between the floor wiper 7 and the chassis 2 in a substantially vertical direction and therefore to lift or lower the floor wiper 7 with respect to the surface of the floor 4.

Substantially, the connecting means 8 allow, when lifted, to position the floor wiper 7 in an inactive condition, in which it does not engage the floor 4 and therefore does not act thereon to collect the dirt and detergent and, when lowered, to arrange it in an active position, optionally with the possibility to adjust its preloading against the floor 4 and compensate for any play caused by wear.

Advantageously, the brush 5 is associated with a base 9, which is connected to the chassis 2 and supports motor means 10, which are constituted for example by a known type of electric motor and are designed to rotationally actuate the brush 5.

More particularly, the base 9 is rigidly coupled to the chassis 2 with the interposition of interconnection means 11, which conveniently can be operated in order to allow to vary the spacing distance of the base 9 from the chassis 2 along a substantially vertical direction. Thanks to the interconnection means 11, it is therefore possible to move the brush 5 from a raised inactive position, in which it is spaced upwardly from the floor 4, to a lowered active position, in which the brush 5 can apply its mechanical cleaning action to the floor 4, and vice versa.

Preferably, the floor wiper 7 comprises a supporting body 12, which is detachably associable by snap coupling with the connecting means 8 and on which a blade 13 made of elastically flexible material, such as for example rubber, is detachably fitted; said blade is designed to engage in a known manner the surface of the floor 4 in order to allow to recover the washing liquid and the dirt. In a preferred example of embodiment, the blade 13 can be associated with the supporting body 12 by means of anchoring devices (not shown), constituted by toothed levers, which are rotatably associated with a first portion of the supporting body 12 and cooperate with traction members associated with a second portion of the supporting body 12, in order to move the second portion closer to the first portion so as to stably and rapidly fasten the blade 13 between them.

Advantageously, the connecting means 8 comprise at least one pair of connecting bars 14, which are arranged side by side and superimposed so that they are substantially parallel and spaced with respect to each other on a substantially vertical plane. The connecting bars 14 are associated so that they can oscillate, about a substantially horizontal axis, at one of their ends, with a connecting element 15, which is designed to be coupled to the supporting body 12 of the floor wiper 7, and are associated, at their other end, with a bush 16, which is rotatably coupled to a rotation pivot 17 that protrudes downwardly from the chassis 2 and is orientated coaxially to the oscillation axis 7a. Appropriate control means are further conveniently provided which act on the connecting means 8 and allow to control and actuate the lifting/lowering of the floor wiper 7.

The interconnection means 11 are preferably constituted by lever means, which are for example functionally connected to an actuation or control pedal 18, which can be operated by the user in contrast with elastic return means in order to lift the brush 5 with respect to the floor 4.

In an example of embodiment, the supporting body 12 of the floor wiper 7 can be detachably coupled to the connecting element 15 by way of snap-acting quick-coupling means, which are constituted for example by at least one pivot 20, which is associated with the supporting body 12 and can be inserted in a receptacle, which is formed in the connecting body 15 and at which a pivoted lever 21 acts, said lever being elastically loaded in order to engage by snap action, by way of an engagement end, an engagement region formed on the pivot 20, said lever being actuatable, at its other end, so as to allow quick assembly and disassembly of the floor wiper 7.

It should be noted that the floor wiper 7 is advantageously shaped substantially like a circular arc and lies in a region around the brush 5, so as to surround it at least in its rear part and preferably at least partially also laterally with respect to the travel direction 6 of the machine.

For the sake of completeness in description, it should be noted that the chassis 2 can be provided with free wheels in order to facilitate movement of the machine or with motorized driving wheels 22 for mechanical propulsion of said machine.

Operation of the machine according to the invention is as follows.

If deep cleaning of the floor 4 is required, the machine is equipped with the floor wiper 7, which is arranged in the active condition, while the brush 5 is arranged into the lowered active position and rotated about the rotation axis 5a.

Travel of the machine along the direction 6 causes the floor wiper 7 to collect the washing liquid and the dirt removed by the brush 5. If the travel direction of the machine is changed, for example by steering, the floor wiper 7 orientates itself automatically, by rotating about the oscillation axis 7a, in a position that is substantially transverse to the new travel direction of the machine by way of the friction caused by its sliding on the floor 4.

All the characteristics of the invention described above as advantageous, convenient or the like may also be omitted or be replaced with equivalents.

The individual characteristics described with reference to general teachings or particular embodiments may all be present in other embodiments or may replace characteristics in these other embodiments.

The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

In practice it has been observed that the invention achieves its aim and objects in all of its embodiments.

In practice, the materials used, as well as the contingent shapes and dimensions, may be any according to requirements.

All the details may further be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. VR2004A000082 from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.