Title:
Cyclone-type vacuum cleaner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cyclone vacuum cleaner provides an improved capacity dust receptacle by structuring the cyclone body of the vacuum cleaner to be pivotally mounted to the vacuum cleaner body. The cyclone body is disconnected from the dust receptacle by rotating or “turning up” the cyclone body by rotating it about the pivotal mount. A dust receptacle removably mounted in the cleaner body and a cyclone body hinged on an upper part of the cleaner body are selectively separated and connected with respect to the dust receptacle.



Inventors:
Oh, Jang-keun (Gwangju-city, KR)
Han, Jung-gyun (Busan, KR)
Application Number:
11/115937
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
04/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/16; A47L9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOPKINS, ROBERT A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LADAS & PARRY LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cyclone vacuum cleaner comprising: a cleaner body; a dust receptacle removably mounted to the cleaner body; a cyclone body; and a hinge coupled between said cyclone body and said cleaner body, said hinge enabling the cyclone body to be lifted above dust receptacle whereby the cyclone body can be selectively connected to and disconnected from the dust receptacle by rotating the cyclone body about the hinge.

2. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein the cyclone body can be rotated about an axis of the hinge by angles between approximately 5˜90□.

3. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 2, further comprising: a first sloping part formed at an upper edge of the dust receptacle to be sloped upward in a direction of separating the dust receptacle from the cleaner body; and a second sloping part formed at a lower edge of the cyclone body to have corresponding slope to the first sloping part.

4. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 3, wherein the first sloping part of the dust receptacle has a sloping angle so that a highest portion thereof is not obstructed by the cyclone body when the cyclone body is turned up.

5. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 4, further comprising a mounting guide formed in the cleaner body to guide mounting and separation of the dust receptacle.

6. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein the cyclone body comprises a multi-cyclone dust separator.

7. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein a distance from the cyclone body to the hinge is determined such that the cyclone body moves substantially vertically with respect to the dust receptacle.

8. A cyclone vacuum cleaner comprising: a cleaner body having a hinged cover; a cyclone body mounted to the cover; and a dust receptacle, located in the cleaner body and operatively connected to the cyclone body by closing the cover and, disconnected from the cyclone body by opening the cover.

9. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 8, further comprising: a first sloping part formed at an upper edge of the dust receptacle to be sloped upward in a direction of separating the dust receptacle from the cleaner body; and a second sloping part formed at a lower edge of the cyclone body to have corresponding slope to the first sloping part.

10. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 9, wherein the first sloping part of the dust receptacle has a sloping angle so that a highest portion thereof is not obstructed by the cyclone body when the cyclone body is turned up.

11. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 10, further comprising a mounting guide part formed in the cleaner body to guide mounting and separation of the dust receptacle.

12. The cyclone vacuum cleaner of claim 8, wherein the cyclone body comprises a multi-cyclone.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(a) of Korean Patent Application No. 2004-93413, filed Nov. 16, 2004, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a vacuum cleaner. More particularly, the present invention relates to a cyclone-type vacuum cleaner that separates dust from drawn-in air using a cyclone dust collector.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It's well known that vacuum cleaners draw in dirt and dust-laden air by a suction force created by a fan or blower within the vacuum cleaner body. Most prior art vacuum cleaners separate and collect dirt and dust using a filtration bag that is commonly known as a dust bag. As the dust bag fills, the vacuum cleaner effectiveness decreases, necessitating frequent emptying or replacement of the dust bag. When replacing or emptying a dust bag, however, the user is required to handle the contaminated dust bag, which is unpleasant and unsanitary for the user.

In order to avoid the problems with prior art vacuum cleaner dust bags, cyclone dust collectors were developed and their use has become widespread. As is known, cyclone dust collectors provide high cleaning efficiency and semi-permanent use by simply removing a dust-collection bin and emptying its contents.

FIG. 1 illustrates a prior art cyclone dust collector in cross section, and its attachment or mounting to the main body of a vacuum cleaner. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the cyclone dust collector comprises a cyclone body 10 for separating the dust from the drawn-in air, a dust receptacle 20 for collecting the dust separated from the cyclone body 10, and a connection member 30 for connecting and separating the dust receptacle 20 with respect to the cyclone body 10.

As is known, the cyclone body 10 has a drawn-in air flow path or “drawing path” (not shown in FIG. 1 for clarity) at one side thereof, which is in fluid communication with a suction brush (not shown). Dust-laden air is drawn into the cyclone body 10 through the drawn-in air path from a surface being cleaned. The drawn-in air path is preferably configured so that the dust-laden air is drawn in tangentially with respect to the cyclone body 10 side walls to assist in the creation of a cyclonic air flow inside the cyclone body 10. The air drawn in through the drawing path flows along an inner wall of the cyclone body 10 and thereby forms a whirling air current that separates dust and dirt by the centrifugal force exerted on suspended particles as they rotate in the cyclone body 10.

The cyclone body 10 has an air discharge path 12 in fluid communication with the vacuum generator (not shown). After centrifugally separating dust and dirt from the drawn-in air in the cyclone body 10, the filtered air is discharged to the outside of a vacuum cleaner body 1 through the air discharge path 12 and the vacuum generator. Dust and dirt separated from the drawn-in air in the cyclone body 10 is collected in the dust receptacle 20 connected to a lower part of the cyclone body 10.

As the dust receptacle 20 fills with dust and dirt, vacuum cleaner efficiency deteriorates. In order to maintain the vacuum cleaner's efficiency, the dust receptacle 20 needs to be emptied. In order to empty the dust receptacle 20, the connection member 30 disposed below the dust receptacle 20 is first pivoted or rotated to allow the dust receptacle 20 to be separated from the cyclone body 10. Once the dust receptacle 20 is separated from the cyclone body, 10, a user can withdraw the dust receptacle 20 from the cleaner body 1 and dispose of the contents of the dust receptacle 20.

To remount the dust receptacle 20 to the cleaner body 1 after it's emptied, the dust receptacle 20 is re-assembled to the connection member 30 and the connection member 30 is pivoted in the opposite direction. Therefore, the dust receptacle 20 can be connected to the lower part of the cyclone body 10.

A problem with the foregoing structure is that the dust receptacle 20 is separated by moving it vertically from the cyclone body 10. Therefore, space is needed for the vertical movement of the dust receptacle 20 to allow its removal and installation. The need to allow the dust receptacle to move vertically increases the needed size of the vacuum cleaner. In case of a cyclone body 10 having a dirt filtration or separation grill much more vertical space is required to move the dust receptacle 20, such that the dust receptacle 20 is not obstructed by the grill part during separation thereof. Accordingly, the installation space of the cyclone dust collector is increased. To make a vacuum cleaner that uses the prior art cyclone body 10 small yet having a reasonable dust collection capacity requires compromise between size and dust capacity.

Although they are not shown, some canister-type vacuum cleaners have a structure in which a dust receptacle can be mounted or separated without a vertical movement. However, in such a case, the filtration grill should not protrude from the cyclone body in order to prevent obstruction by the grill part during separation of the dust receptacle. Therefore, the dust receptacle is compactly sized.

In prior art cyclone dust collector bodies 10, when the dust receptacle 20 capacity is small, the dust receptacle 20 needs to be emptied frequently. It is therefore preferable that the dust receptacle 20 have as large a capacity as possible. However, to increase volume of the dust receptacle 20, the whole size of the cleaner body 1 needs to be increased accordingly. A cyclonic vacuum cleaner that provides increased dust collector capacity but which also reduces overall vacuum cleaner size would be an improvement over the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is provided a cyclone vacuum cleaner comprising a cleaner body; a dust receptacle removably mounted within the cleaner body; and a cyclone body that is hingedly attached to an upper part of the cleaner body and which can pivot about an axis of the hinge that attaches the cyclone body to the cleaner body. The cyclone body can be selectively connected to and disconnected from, i.e., “separated” from the dust receptacle by rotation of the cyclone body about the pivot or axis of the hinge. When the cyclone body is connected to the dust receptacle, it can be disconnected from the receptacle by rotating it about the aforementioned axis by as little as 5° to as many as 90° depending on the geometry of the cleaner body.

According to the cyclone vacuum cleaner of the present invention, since the cyclone body is hinged upon the cleaner body and opened upward, the dust receptacle can be heightened without being obstructed by the grill part. As a result, dust collecting capacity can be increased compared to a conventional art, without enlarging the size of the vacuum cleaner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The above aspect and other features of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein;

FIG. 1 schematically shows a cyclone dust collector as mounted to a cleaner body in a conventional prior art cyclone vacuum cleaner;

FIG. 2 illustrates the concept of a pivotally mounted cyclone dust collector of a cyclone vacuum cleaner according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 schematically shows a pivoting cyclone dust collector as mounted to a cleaner body according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a dust receptacle of a cyclone vacuum cleaner according to an embodiment of the present invention, being increased in height as compared to a conventional vacuum cleaner;

FIG. 5 shows a cyclone dust collector mounted in a cleaner body of a cyclone vacuum cleaner according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a cyclone body of the cyclone dust collector of FIG. 5, being pivoted upwardly by a certain angle as shown;

FIG. 7 shows the cyclone dust collector of FIG. 6 with the dust receptacle being separated by moving it sideways;

FIG. 8 shows a cyclone dust collector mounted in a cleaner body of a cyclone vacuum cleaner according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 shows a cover of the cyclone dust collector of FIG. 8, being opened by pivoting upwardly by a certain angle;

FIG. 10 is a side-sectional view of a canister-type vacuum cleaner as an example of the cyclone dust collector of FIG. 8; and

FIG. 11 schematically shows a multi-cyclone dust collector mounted in a cleaner body of a vacuum cleaner according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, certain embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawing figures. The matters defined in the description such as a detailed construction and elements are examples to assist in understanding of the invention. Well-known functions or constructions are not described in detail since they would tend to obscure the invention in unnecessary detail.

FIG. 2 illustrates the concept of a cyclone dust collector of a cyclone vacuum cleaner according to an embodiment of the present invention. Since the structure of a vacuum cleaner body of a vacuum cleaner is well known to those of ordinary skill in the art and not germane to the invention disclosed and claimed herein, the structure of a vacuum cleaner body is mostly omitted from the figures for clarity and additional description of a vacuum cleaner is omitted for brevity.

In the structure shown in FIG. 2, a dust receptacle 102 is removably mounted to a cyclone body 101, which is in turn, mounted to a vacuum cleaner body (not shown) via a pivot point or hinge 103 that is located away from the cyclone body 101 by a predetermined spacing L. By rotating the cyclone body 101 (clockwise as shown) about the pivot point or hinge 103, the dust receptacle 102 can be attached to and separated from the cyclone body 101.

Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that as shown in the figures, for a given angle θ, as measured between the plane of the cyclone body top 106 and horizontal 107, the cyclone body 101 is “lifted” above the dust receptable 102 by rotating the cyclone body 101 about the axis of the hinge that couples the cyclone body 101 to the vacuum cleaner body. The vertical distance 104 that the cyclone body 101 rises or can be “lifted” above the dust receptacle 102 is approximated by the trigonometric expression, L×(sin θ). Thus it can be seen from this expression that for a given rotation angle θ, increasing the distance L by which the cyclone body 101 is away from the pivot point 103, increases the vertical rise 104 or “lift” of the cyclone body 101 above the dust receptacle 102 to provide easy mounting and separation of the dust receptacle 102 from the cyclone body 101.

As described above, since the cyclone body 101 pivots on the hinge 103 mounted to the cleaner body, the dust receptacle 102 is not obstructed by a grill part 105 protruded from the center of the cyclone body 101 during mounting and separation of the dust receptacle 102 to and away from the cyclone body 101. Accordingly, the dust receptacle 102 can be made larger than would otherwise be possible using prior art structures shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a cyclone dust collector as mounted to a cleaner body according to a first embodiment of the present invention. In this figure, a cyclone dust collector 100 is mounted to a receiving portion in the cleaner body 1 and a vacuum generator (not shown) is disposed at one side of the cyclone dust collector 100. The cyclone dust collector 100 comprises a cyclone body 110 for separating dust from drawn-in air, and a dust receptacle 120 for collecting the dust separated by the cyclone body 110.

The cyclone body 110 is attached to a partition 2 of the cleaner body 1 by a two-part hinge 113. The partition 2 constitutes the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1.

As can be seen, the cyclone body 110 is attached to (or in an alternate embodiment comprises) a first part 111 of the hinge 113 that is located (or formed) at one side of the cyclone body 110. A second hinge supporting part 112 of the hinge 113 is attached to (or in an alternate embodiment comprises) part of the partition 2 of the cleaner body 1. The first hinge part 111 and the hinge supporting part 112 are positioned so that the dust receptacle 120 does not obstruct an outer periphery of the cyclone body 110 and the grill part 115 formed in the cyclone body 110 when the dust receptacle 120 is separated by rotating the cyclone body 110 about the axis of the hinge 113 by a predetermined angle. More specifically, the first hinge part 111 and the hinge supporting part 112 are sized, located and arranged so that the cyclone body 110 can be rotated about the axis of the hinge 113 by approximately 5˜90° with respect to the plane in which top opening of the dust receptacle 120 lies. The rotation angle of the cyclone 110 is determined according to the structures of the cleaner body 1 mounting the cyclone dust collector 100 and of the dust receptacle 120.

Although it's not shown in FIG. 3, the cyclone body 110 comprises a drawn-in air path in fluid communication with a suction brush of a vacuum cleaner that runs over or contacts a surface to be cleaned. An air discharge path is in fluid communication with the vacuum generator. Therefore, dust-laden air drawn in by the suction brush from a surface to be cleaned, is guided into the cyclone body 110 through the drawn-in air path. The air, from which the dust is centrifuged in the cyclone body 10, is discharged to the outside of the cleaner body 1 through the discharging path and the vacuum generator. Since the structure of the cyclone body 110 for drawing in the dust-laden air, separating the dust and discharging the cleaned air is not the essential matter of the present invention, detailed description thereof will be omitted hereinafter.

The dust receptacle 120 is connected to a lower part of the cyclone body 110 so as to collect the dust separated from the dust-laden air through the cyclone body 110. The dust receptacle 120 is removably mounted to the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1 below the cyclone body 110. When the cyclone body 110 is turned up, i.e., rotated clockwise about the hinge 113 axis, an upper part of the dust receptacle 120 is separated from the cyclone body 110. Also, by turning down the cyclone body 110, i.e., rotating counter-clockwise, the upper part of the dust receptacle 120 can be easily re-connected to the lower part of the cyclone body 110.

At a lower support stand 3 of the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1, to which the dust receptacle 120 is mounted, a mounting guide part 130 may be provided to guide the mounting and separation of the dust receptacle 102 and stabilize a position of the dust receptacle 120.

By configuring the cyclone body 110 to be fixed to the cleaner body 1 and pivotable around an axis so that it's rotation about the axis causes the cyclone body to rise, as shown in FIG. 4, a total height of the dust receptacle 120 can be lengthened by a distance ‘h’ compared to that which is possible using the prior art cyclone dust collector shown in FIG. 1. Accordingly, capacity of the dust receptacle 120 can be increased.

For FIG. 5 shows a second embodiment of the invention, which provides even greater capacity dust receptacle 120′ and which enables the dust receptacle 120′ to be detached from the cyclone body 110′ at smaller inclination angles of the cyclone body 110′ around the axis of the hinge 113. In FIG. 5, the top opening 127 of the dust receptacle 120′ and the bottom opening 117 of the cyclone body 110′ are canted or inclined with respect to each other as shown. The bottom opening 117 of the cyclone body 110′ of the dust collector 100′ is inclined at an angle that matches the inclination of the top opening 127 of the dust receptacle 120

A distinctive feature of the second embodiment shown in FIG. 5 is that the cyclone body 110′ comprises a sloping bottom opening 117 the pitch or inclination of which matches the pitch or inclination of the opening 127 of the dust receptacle 120.′

The top opening, which is also referred to herein as a first sloping part 127, is slanted “upward” in the direction away from the cleaner body 1. The dust receptacle 120′ can thereby be separated from the vacuum cleaner body 1 for emptying by moving it horizontally to the “left” as shown, away from the vacuum cleaner body 1 in the direction of ‘A’ in FIG. 5.

As is also shown, the sloping bottom opening 117 formed at the lower edge of the cyclone body 110′ has a corresponding slope that matches the first sloping part 127, such that the cyclone body 110′ and the dust receptacle 120′ can be in tight contact with each other. A sloping angle of the first sloping part 127 is determined so that a highest portion of the dust receptacle 120′ (the left side of the first sloping part 127 with respect to FIG. 5) is not obstructed by the cyclone body 110′, and especially by the grill part 115 formed in the center of the cyclone body 110′.

Removing the dust receptacle 120′ and replacing it is simple. When the dust receptacle 120′ is filled with dust and needs to be emptied, a user lifts the cyclone body 110′ upward, pivoting the cyclone body 110′ by way of the hinge 113 by a predetermined angle, as shown in FIG. 6. When the cyclone body 110′ is turned or rotated upwardly, the dust receptacle 120′ is not obstructed by the cyclone body 110′. Therefore, the user is able to empty the dust receptacle 120′ simply by sliding the dust receptacle 120′ sideways or horizontally, in the direction shown by the arrow shown in FIG. 7.

After emptying the dust receptacle 120′, the user re-mounts the dust receptacle 120′ to the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1 by simply sliding the dust receptacle toward the right and into the position shown in FIG. 6. A mounting guide part 130 formed at the lower partition 3 of the cleaner body 1 where the dust receptacle 120′ helps to align the dust receptacle 120′ directly beneath the cyclone body 110′ when the cyclone body 110′ is pivoted downwardly. When the user lowers or turns down the cyclone body 110′, after the dust receptacle 120′ is replaced, the second sloping part 117 of the cyclone body 110′ is engaged with the first sloping part 127 of the dust receptacle 120′, as shown in FIG. 5, thereby enabling reuse of the vacuum cleaner.

FIG. 8 shows a third embodiment of a cyclone dust collector mounted in a cleaner body of a cyclone vacuum cleaner. With reference to FIG. 8, a cyclone dust collector 100″ comprises a cyclone body 110″ and a dust collector 120″. As shown in FIG. 8, the cyclone body 110″ is mounted to the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1 to separate dust from drawn-in air. A dust receptacle 120″ below the cyclone body 110 collects separated dust.

As can be seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, the cyclone body 110″ is mounted to a hinged cover 5. The hinged cover 5, being hingedly attached to the cleaner body 1 by a hinge 113″, allows it to pivot or “lift” upwardly by an amount that is proportional to the angle to which the cover is rotated. Therefore, by opening the cover 5 with respect to the cleaner body 1, as shown in FIG. 9, the cyclone body 110″ is separated from the dust receptacle 120″. By closing the cover 5, the cyclone body 110″ is connected to the dust receptacle 120″, as shown in FIG. 8.

The dust receptacle 120″ is connected to a lower part of the cyclone body 110″ and removably mounted in the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1 below the cyclone body 110″. As the cover 5 is opened up, an upper part of the dust receptacle 120″ is separated from the cyclone body 110″. As the cover 5 is closed, the upper part of the dust receptacle 120″ is connected to the lower end of the cyclone body 110″.

On the lower partition 3 of the receiving portion of the cleaner body 1, where the dust receptacle 120″ is mounted, the mounting guide part 130 fixes the position of the dust receptacle 120″ as it's slid out of and back into the lower partition 3.

FIG. 10 shows a canister-type vacuum cleaner employing the cyclone dust collector according to the third embodiment of the present invention. When performing cleaning work, a suction force generated by the vacuum generator 7 draws dust-laden air is drawn into the cyclone body 110″ through a suction brush (not shown) fluidly connected with a suction pipe 9. The dust-laden air, being drawn into the cyclone body 110″, forms a whirling air current and separates out the dust that is included in the air. The separated dust drops to the dust receptacle 120″ connected to a lower part of the cyclone body 110″. The air from which the dust is separated through the cyclone body 110″ is discharged out of the cleaner body 1 through the vacuum generator 7.

When the dust receptacle 120″ becomes full of the dust through the above processes, the dust receptacle 120″ should be separated from the cleaner body 1 to be emptied.

For this, the user opens the cover 5 of the cleaner body 1, thereby separating the cyclone body 110″ from the dust receptacle 120″. In this state, the user can withdraw the dust receptacle 120″ from the cleaner body 1, remove the dust collected in the dust receptacle 120″ and remount the dust receptacle 120″ to the cleaner body 1. Then, by closing the cover 5, the cyclone body 110″ is connected with the dust receptacle 120″, as shown in FIG. 8, and therefore, the user can perform the cleaning work again. In other words, the user can connect and separate the cyclone body 110″ with respect to the dust receptacle 120″ simply by opening and closing the cover 5.

FIG. 11 schematically shows a multi-cyclone dust separator as a fourth embodiment of the present invention, as mounted in a vacuum cleaner. Except for the employment of the multi-cyclone dust collector 200, the other structures, such as hinge-connection between a cyclone body 210 and the cleaner body 1 through a hinge 211 and mounting and separation structure of a dust receptacle 220, are the same as those of the previous embodiments. Therefore, this embodiment will not be described in detail.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.