Title:
Bucket with foot pedal wringer mechanism and scrub board
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wringer is used to wring liquid from a substantially flat mop pad. The wringer includes a frame configured to hold a bucket at a bucket location and providing first and fourth pivot locations. An imaginary straight line is formed between the first and fourth pivot locations. The wringer also includes a foot pedal member that is configured to be actuated by a user's foot, The foot pedal member is connected to pivot about the first pivot location on the frame, and extends to a second pivot location. The foot pedal member has a foot engaging region located on a first side of the imaginary line. The second pivot location is located on a second side of the imaginary line. The wringer also includes a presser member configured to press a flat mop pad, the presser member being connected to pivot about the fourth pivot location on the frame. The presser member includes a presser pad configured to press liquid from a flat mop pad and being located on the first side of the imaginary line. The wringer also includes an intermediate member connected to the foot pedal member at a second pivot location and connected to the presser member at a third pivot location, which is located on the second side of the imaginary line. The second pivot location moves toward the imaginary straight line upon actuation of the foot pedal member by a user.



Inventors:
Van Landingham Jr., Alfred Reneau (Stephens City, VA, US)
Rogers, Craig (Stephens City, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/122227
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
05/05/2005
Assignee:
Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L13/59; (IPC1-7): A47L13/59
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MULLER, BRYAN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A wringer for a substantially flat mop pad, the wringer comprising: a frame configured to hold a bucket at a bucket location and providing first and fourth pivot locations, wherein an imaginary straight line is formed between the first and fourth pivot locations; a foot pedal member that is configured to be actuated by a user's foot, the foot pedal member being connected to pivot about the first pivot location on the frame, and extending to a second pivot location, the foot pedal member having a foot engaging region, wherein the foot engaging region is located on a first side of the imaginary line and second pivot location is located on a second side of the imaginary line; a presser member configured to press a flat mop pad, the presser member being connected to pivot about the fourth pivot location on the frame, the presser member including a presser pad configured to press liquid from a flat mop pad and being located on the first side of the imaginary line; an intermediate member connected to the foot pedal member at a second pivot location, which is located on the second side of the imaginary line, and connected to the presser member at a third pivot location, wherein the second pivot location moves toward the imaginary straight line upon actuation of the foot pedal member by a user.

2. The wringer of claim 1, wherein first and fourth pivot locations are fixed in position relative to the frame.

3. The wringer of claim 1, wherein the foot pedal member is configured to extend under the bucket location.

4. The wringer of claim 1, wherein the foot engaging region is located in front of the bucket location and the first pivot location is located behind the bucket location.

5. The wringer of claim 1, satisfying the equation:
FMOP=FPEDAL*L1*L3/(L2*L4*TAN (180−β)) where FMOP≧175 lbs. FPEDAL≦100 lbs. where FMOP: a force applied by the presser pad to the flat mop pad; FPEDAL: a force applied by a user to the foot engaging region; L1: a length of the foot pedal member from the foot engaging region to the first pivot location; L2: a length of the foot pedal member from the first pivot location to the second pivot location; L3: a length of the presser member from the third pivot location to the fourth pivot location; L4: a length of the presser member from the fourth pivot location to the presser pad; and β: an angle between the foot pedal member and the intermediate member after the foot pedal member has been actuated.

6. The wringer of claim 5, wherein: FMOP≧200 lbs.; and FPEDAL≦90 lbs.

7. The wringer of claim 5, wherein: FMOP≧250 lbs.; and FPEDAL≦84 lbs.

8. The wringer of claim 5, wherein β is within the range of 168<β<179.

9. The wringer of claim 5, wherein β is within the range of 170<β<175.

10. The wringer of claim 5, wherein β=172.06.

11. The wringer of claim 1, wherein the presser pad is configured to pivot relative to the presser member at a fifth pivot location.

12. The wringer of claim 1, further comprising a mop bucket configured to fit at the bucket location, wherein the mop bucket includes a scrub board.

13. The wringer of claim 12, wherein the scrub board includes a surface angled downward and ribs on the surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/567,794 (filed May 5, 2004), 60/637,440 (filed Dec. 21, 2004), and 60/646,986 (filed Jan. 27, 2005), which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

Flat mop pads can be used in a variety of applications. Some of those applications require the flat mop pads to be soaked in liquid, and excess liquid must then be removed by some means. Conventional wringer mechanisms may be suitable for string mops, but they are not desirable for flat mop pads (particularly a pad mounted on a rigid frame). Users often find it necessary to wring out flat mop pads by hand. Also, conventional string mop wringers can be less then desirable from an ergonomic standpoint, as the user often is required to bend over and press down on the wringer. Additionally, the conventional wringers do not provide a desired ability to remove dirt and debris that can accumulate on a flat mop pad.

SUMMARY

An aspect of the present invention relates to a wringer for a substantially flat mop pad. The wringer includes a frame configured to hold a bucket at a bucket location and providing first and fourth pivot locations. An imaginary straight line is formed between the first and fourth pivot locations. The wringer also includes a foot pedal member that is configured to be actuated by a user's foot. The foot pedal member is connected to pivot about the first pivot location on the frame, and extends to a second pivot location. The foot pedal member has a foot engaging region located on a first side of the imaginary line. The second pivot location is located on a second side of the imaginary line. The wringer also includes a presser member configured to press a flat mop pad, the presser member being connected to pivot about the fourth pivot location on the frame. The presser member includes a presser pad configured to press liquid from a flat mop pad and being located on the first side of the imaginary line. The wringer also includes an intermediate member connected to the foot pedal member at a second pivot location and connected to the presser member at a third pivot location, which is located on the second side of the imaginary line. The second pivot location moves toward the imaginary straight line upon actuation of the foot pedal member by a user.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are merely exemplary of the invention, and are intended to provide an overview or framework for understanding the nature and character of the invention as it is claimed. The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate various embodiments of the invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles and operation of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a first embodiment of a wringer according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the wringer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of a first embodiment of a mop bucket according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a rear, cross-sectional, perspective view of the mop bucket of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the wringer of FIG. 1 and mop bucket of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 6 is a side view of the wringer of FIG. 1 with certain features removed for clarity and a cross-sectional view of the mop bucket of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Presently preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the drawings. An effort has been made to use the same or like reference numbers throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

A first embodiment of a wringer 10 and a mop bucket 70 for a substantially flat mop pad according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1-6. The wringer 10 includes a frame 20, a foot pedal member 40, a presser member 50, and an intermediate member 60.

The frame 20 is configured to hold the mop bucket 70. Preferably, the frame 20 includes a base 21 and uprights 22. The base 21 can be made, for example, of plastic. The uprights 22 can be made, for example, of metal. The frame 20 preferably includes a bucket location 23 that is defined by a depression in the base 21. As shown in FIG. 5, the bucket 70 fits into the bucket location 23 for use. In this preferred embodiment, the bucket 70 is detachable and is merely temporarily held at the bucket location 23. The bucket 70 could, however, be fixed to the frame 20 or even integral with the frame 20.

The uprights 22 of the frame 20 include crossbar members 24, 25 that can be, for example, steel bars connected to the uprights 22 by conventional means. The crossbar members 24, 25 provide a first pivot location 26 for the foot pedal member 40 and a fourth pivot location 27 for the presser member 50. Preferably, the first and fourth pivot locations 26, 27 are fixed in position relative to the frame 20 behind the bucket location 23 (see FIGS. 5 and 6). An imaginary straight line 28 (see FIG. 6) is defined by and extends between the first and fourth pivot locations 26, 27. The significance of this line 28 will be explained below.

The frame 20 can be made mobile by providing rolling members 29. The rolling members 29 can be, for example, conventional swiveling casters. The preferred embodiment can be moved by the user placing the mop in the bucket 70 on the wringer 10 and pushing the mop and wringer 10. If desired, however, a waist high handle could be mounted on the frame 20, such as on the uprights 22, to facilitate moving the wringer 10.

The foot pedal member 40 is configured to be actuated by a user's foot. The foot pedal member 40 is connected to the frame 20 so as to pivot about the first pivot location 26 when actuated by the user. More particularly, the user can step down onto the foot pedal member 40 to move it from the location shown in FIG. 5 to the location shown in FIG. 6. A torsion spring 48 can be provided in a conventional manner to automatically return the foot pedal member 40 from the location shown in FIG. 6 to the location shown in FIG. 5. Other mechanisms could be used instead of the torsion spring 48, such as an extension spring, a compression spring, a flat spring, or a counterweight (all not shown).

The foot pedal member 40 has a foot engaging region 41. The foot engaging region 41 preferably is located on a first side of the imaginary line 28 and, more preferably, in front of the bucket location 23. The foot engaging region 41 can be, for example, a plastic member.

The foot pedal member 40 preferably also includes a first extending portion 42 that is configured to extend under the bucket location 23 (see FIG. 5). The foot pedal member 40 can also include a second extending portion 43 that extends upwards to the first pivot location 26. The angle between the first extending portion 42 and the second extending portion 43 can be, for example, approximately 90 degrees. At the first pivot location 26, the crossbar member 24 extends through a hole (not shown) in the foot pedal member 40, to allow the foot pedal member 40 to pivot relative to the frame 20. The foot pedal member 40 can also include a third extending portion 44 that extends backwards and upwards to a second pivot location 45 (see FIG. 6). The second pivot location 45 is located on a second side of the imaginary line 28. The angle between the second extending portion 43 and the third extending portion 44 can be, for example, approximately 158 degrees. The material of the first, second, and third extending portions 42, 43, 44 are preferably steel stampings providing with ribbing to increase their strength.

The presser member 50 is configured to press liquid from a flat mop pad 80 (see FIG. 6). The presser member 50 can include a presser pad 51 that is configured to press against the flat mop pad 80. The presser pad 51 can be located on the first side of the imaginary line 28 (see FIG. 6). The presser member 50 also can include a first extending portion 53 that extends in a substantially straight line from the presser pad 50 to a third pivot location 54 on the second side of the imaginary line 28. The first extending portion 53 is pivotally connected to the frame 20 at the fourth pivot location 27. For example, at the fourth pivot location 27, the crossbar member 25 extends through a hole (not shown) in the presser member 50, to allow the presser member 50 to pivot relative to the frame 20. The first extending portion 53 can be a member made of steel with ribbing for increased strength.

The presser pad 51 preferably has a substantially flat surface for engaging the mop pad 80. The presser pad 51 can be configured to pivot relative to the pressure member 50 about a fifth pivot location 55. For example, the presser pad 51 can include a crossbar member 56 that extends through a hole (not shown) in the first extending portion 53 to allow the presser pad 51 to pivot relative to the first extending portion 53. This pivoting action can provide efficient wringing even if using mop pads 80 of different sizes, because it allows the substantially flat surface of the presser pad 51 to fully engage the mop pad 80. As shown in FIG. 1, for example, the presser pad 51 can include a gap 52 in its middle to accommodate connecting hardware on a mop (not shown).

The intermediate member 60 is connected to the foot pedal member 40 at a second pivot location 45 and is connected to the presser member 50 at a third pivot location 54. The connections can be conventional connections that allow the components to pivot relative to one another. The intermediate member 60 can be an member made of steel that extends in a substantially straight line and having ribbing to increase strength. The wringer 10 can be constructed such that the second and third pivot locations 45, 54 are on the second side of the imaginary straight line 28 (see FIG. 6).

In this preferred embodiment, the wringer 10 includes sets of two of each of the first extending portion 42, second extending portion 43, third extending portion 44, torsion spring 48, intermediate member 60, and first extending portion 53. This configuration provides a preferred degree of robustness and stability. These sets of members each could be connected by cross linking devices (not shown) to further enhance their robustness and stability. The wringer 10 could, however, be configured with only one of each of those members.

The mop bucket 70 is configured to be retained in the bucket location 23 of the frame 20. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the mop bucket preferable includes a wringer member 71 with a plurality of holes 72. Preferably, the wringer member 71 is angled downward from a rear wall 73 at an angle of approximately 60 degrees relative to vertical to provide additional clearance at the front of the mop bucket 70 (see FIG. 4). If the wringer member 71 extended in only the horizontal direction, it would occupy additional space in the horizontal direction. By providing the downward angle, additional space is made available in the horizontal direction for inserting, removing, and scrubbing the mop pad 80 in the bucket 70.

The mop bucket can also include a scrub board 74 having a series of ribs 75. The scrub board 74 allows a user to scrub debris off of the mop pad 80 while rinsing the mop pad 80 in the liquid in the mop bucket 70. The surface of the scrub board 74 angles downward from a front wall 76 at an angle of approximately 32 degrees relative to vertical. The user can rub the mop pad 80 up and down along the ribs 75 (preferably while the mop pad is mounted on the mop pad support) to remove dirt and debris from the mop pad 80. The ribs 75 facilitate the scrubbing. Some of the ribs 75 can be wider than others to serve as volume level indicators for the liquid in the mop bucket 70. The mop bucket 70 can be, for example, made of plastic.

As shown in FIG. 5, the wringer 10 of the present invention is advantageous because, for example, it can be configured to provide a clearance between the presser pad 51 and the mop bucket 70 (see FIG. 5). When a user removes force from the foot pedal member 40, the torsion spring 48 returns the foot pedal member 40 to its upper position (FIG. 5), which raises the presser pad 51 above the rim of the bucket 70. It is important that the presser pad 51 clear the rim of the bucket 70 to allow easy insertion of the mop pad 80 and to allow easy removal of the bucket 70 from the frame 20 for emptying and cleaning.

As another example, the wringer 10 of the present invention is advantageous because it can be configured to provide a desired amount of wringing pressure on the mop pad 80 in response to a particular amount of actuation force by a user on the foot pedal member 40. It has been determined through experimentation that, with a configuration like the embodiment shown in the drawings, a pressure of approximately 2 lbs. per square inch from the presser pad 51 onto a typical mop pad 80 on the wringer member 71 is needed to remove a desired quantity of liquid. Beyond 2 lbs. per square inch of pressure, the amount of liquid removal is less significant. A typical mop pad 80 has a plan area of about 125 square inches. The force (FMOP) at the pressure pad 51 therefore is most preferably at least FMOP=P (pressure)×A (area)=250 lbs. As the present invention could be used in less optimal configurations, FMOP could be at least 175 lbs. or, more preferably, at least 200 lbs.

With regard to the force (FPEDAL) applied by the user to the foot pedal member 40, it also has been determined that a user who has to exert more than 75% of their body weight may find it difficult to actuate the foot pedal member 40. As some users may be upwards of 140 lbs., preferably FPEDAL≦100 lbs. As some users may only be upwards of 120 lbs., it is more preferable that FPEDAL≦90 lbs. As some users may only be upwards of 112 lbs., it is even more preferable that FPEDAL≦84 lbs.

The wringer 10 of the present invention can be configured to provide the desired force at the presser pad 51 in response to the available force on the foot pedal member 40. In particular, movement of at least the second pivot location 45 toward the imaginary straight line 28 upon actuation of the foot pedal member 40 by a user causes an increase in force applied by the presser pad 51. More specifically, the wringer 10 preferably satisfies the following equation when the foot pedal member 40 is fully actuated:
FMOP=FPEDAL*L1*L3/(L2*L4*TAN (180−β))

where

    • FMOP: a force applied by the presser pad to the flat mop pad, and preferably FMOP≧175 lbs., more preferably 200 lbs., and even more preferably 250 lbs.;
    • FPEDAL: a force applied by a user to the foot engaging region, and preferably FPEDAL≦100 lbs., more preferably 90 lbs., and even more preferably 84 lbs.;

L1: a length of the foot pedal member 40 from the foot engaging region to the first pivot location, and in the preferred embodiment L1=16.66 inches;

    • L2: a length of the foot pedal member 40 from the first pivot location to the second pivot location, and in the preferred embodiment L2=7.30 inches;
    • L3: a length of the presser member 50 from the third pivot location to the fourth pivot location, and in the preferred embodiment L3=1.06 inches;
    • L4: a length of the presser member 50 from the fourth pivot location to the presser pad 51 (preferably a mid region of the presser pad 51), and in the preferred embodiment L4=5.83 inches; and
    • β: an angle between the foot pedal member 40 (preferably the third extending portion 44) and the intermediate member 60 after the foot pedal member 40 has been actuated

As the second pivot location 45 moves toward the imaginary straight line 28 upon actuation of the foot pedal member 40 by a user, the angle β increases. The amount of force exerted by the pressure pad 51 on the flat mop pad 80 increases as the angle β increases, as shown in the table below, which is based on the preferred embodiment of the present invention:

β (degrees)FPEDAL (lbs.)FMOP (lbs.)
16884164
168.7384175
16984179
17084198
170.1184200
17184220
17284248
172.0684250
17384284
17484332
17584398
17684498
17784665
17884998
179841997

The clearance between the presser pad 51 and mop pad 80 decreases as angle β nears 180 degrees. For this reason, the preferable value for β is the minimum value that results in a desirable force FMOP. While not detrimentally affecting the clearance of the presser pad 51 relative to the mop pad 80 in the non-actuated position. Thus, angle β is preferably within the range of 168<β<179, more preferably angle β is within the range of 170<β<175, and even more preferably β=172.06.

A wringer in accordance with the present invention thus can be configured to be foot operated, which relieves the stress and pain of having to wring out a mop bending over by hand. Additionally, the wringer can be configured to provide the desired force on the mop pad in response to a desired amount of force applied by the user's foot. The scrub board in the mop bucket also provides the ability to remove dirt and debris that accumulates on the flat mop.

The wringer 10 of the present invention can be used with many flat mop pads and flat mop pad supports. Preferably, it is used with a flat mop pad disclosed in a patent application to be concurrently filed by Judy Cline entitled “Color Coded Mop Pads and Method of Color Coding Same” (Ser. No. ______; Attorney Docket Number 086554-1178), the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference. Preferably, the wringer 10 is used with the flat mop pad support disclosed in a patent application to be concurrently filed by the present inventor entitled “Mop Having Ergonomic Handle and Joint” (Ser. No. ______; Attorney Docket Number 086554-1179), the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.