Title:
CONTOUR ADAPTING ACTIVE PARTICULATE COLLECTION SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A contour-adaptive particulate material collecting system and method of utilization thereof employed in a facility for the cleaning of an overhead support rail for overhead transport (OHT) vehicles, utilizing a cleaning apparatus which is coupled to an existing overhead transportation vehicle so as to be towed thereby, and wherein the apparatus removes foreign or contaminant materials (FM) from the overhead support rail, which is produced during operation of the facility and by normal wear from internal moving components of the OHT vehicle during operation of the latter.



Inventors:
Pinckney, David J. (Newton, CT, US)
Reyes, Ray A. (New Windsor, NY, US)
Schmoke, David L. (Verbank, NY, US)
Ziemins, Uldis A. (Poughkeepsie, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/161790
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
08/17/2005
Assignee:
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION (Armonk, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61F19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCULLY, SCOTT, MURPHY & PRESSER, P.C. (GARDEN CITY, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for cleaning an overhead support rail for an overhead transport vehicle being conveyed along said rail; said cleaning system comprising: a rail cleaner apparatus arranged on said overhead support rail for travel therealong proximate to said overhead transport vehicle, said rail cleaner apparatus including structure for cleaning debris and contaminants from said rail; and a coupling arrangement forming a connection between said overhead transport vehicle and said rail cleaner apparatus whereby movement of said overhead transport vehicle along said rail imparts a concurrent movement to said rail cleaner apparatus along said rail so as to simultaneously cause said rail cleaner apparatus to impart a cleaning action thereto.

2. A system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said rail cleaner apparatus comprises a trolley structure having wheels supporting said rail cleaner apparatus for rolling travel along said overhead transport rail, said trolley structure including vacuum-generating means for aspirating said debris and contaminants from said overhead transport rail.

3. A system as claimed in claim 2, wherein a support frame is connected to said trolley structure, said vacuum-generating means comprising a vacuum receptacle arranged in said support frames and a vacuum hose connecting said trolley structure with said receptacle.

4. A system as claimed in claim 3, wherein said trolley structure includes a sponge wiper contacting said overhead transport rail for wiping debris and contaminants from the surface of said rail.

5. A system as claimed in claim 4, wherein said trolley structure includes a vacuum nozzle proximate said sponge wiper, said vacuum hose communicating with an opening of said vacuum nozzle for aspiring said wiped debris and contaminants into said vacuum receptacle.

6. A system as claimed in claim 4, wherein said trolley structure includes a brush contacting said overhead transport rail for brushing debris and contaminants from the surface of said rail.

7. A system as claimed in claim 6, wherein said trolley structure includes a vacuum nozzle adjacent to said brush, said vacuum hose communicating with an opening of said vacuum nozzle for aspirating said brushed debris and contaminants into said vacuum receptacle.

8. A system as claimed in claim 2, wherein said vacuum-generating means is supplied with operating energy from a main power supply for said overhead transport vehicle.

9. A system as claimed in claim 2, wherein said vacuum-generating means is energized by a self-contained power supply from a rechargeable battery independently of said overhead transport vehicle.

10. A system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said coupling arrangement comprises a towing bar connecting said overhead transport vehicle and said rail cleaner apparatus for fixedly coupled travel along said overhead transport rail.

11. A method of cleaning an overhead support rail for an overhead transport vehicle being conveyed along said rail; said cleaning method comprising: arranging rail cleaner apparatus on said overhead support rail for travel therealong proximate to said overhead transport vehicle, said rail cleaner apparatus including structure for cleaning debris and contaminants from said rail; and providing a coupling arrangement forming a connection between said overhead transport vehicle and said rail cleaner apparatus whereby movement of said overhead transport vehicle along said rail imparts a concurrent movement to said rail cleaner apparatus along said rail so as to simultaneously cause said rail cleaner apparatus to impart a cleaning action thereto.

12. A method as claimed in claim 11, wherein said rail cleaner apparatus comprises a trolley structure having wheels supporting said rail cleaner apparatus for rolling travel along said overhead transport rail, said trolley structure including vacuum-generating means for aspirating said debris and contaminants from said overhead transport rail.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein a support frame is connected to said trolley structure, said vacuum-generating means comprising a vacuum receptacle arranged in said support frames and a vacuum hose connecting said trolley structure with said receptacle.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13, wherein said trolley structure includes a sponge wiper contacting said overhead transport rail for wiping debris and contaminants from the surface of said rail.

15. A method as claimed in claim 14, wherein said trolley structure includes a vacuum nozzle proximate said sponge wiper, said vacuum hose communicating with an opening of said vacuum nozzle for aspiring said wiped debris and contaminants into said vacuum receptacle.

16. A method as claimed in claim 14, wherein said trolley structure includes a brush contacting said overhead transport rail for brushing debris and contaminants from the surface of said rail.

17. A method as claimed in claim 16, wherein said trolley structure includes a vacuum nozzle adjacent to said brush, said vacuum hose communicating with an opening of said vacuum nozzle for aspirating said brushed debris and contaminants into said vacuum receptacle.

18. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein said vacuum-generating means is supplied with operating energy from a main power supply for said overhead transport vehicle.

19. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein said vacuum-generating means is energized by a self-contained power supply from a rechargeable battery independently of said overhead transport vehicle.

20. A method as claimed in claim 11, wherein said coupling arrangement comprises providing a towing bar connecting said overhead transport vehicle and said rail cleaner apparatus for fixedly coupled travel along said overhead transport rail.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a contour-adaptive particulate material collecting system employed in a facility for the cleaning of an overhead support rail for overhead transport (OHT) vehicles, utilizing a cleaning apparatus which is coupled to an existing overhead transportation vehicle so as to be towed thereby, and wherein the apparatus removes foreign or contaminant materials (FM) from the overhead support rail, which is produced during operation of the facility and by normal wear from internal moving components of the OHT vehicle during operation of the latter. In particular, the apparatus provides for the cleaning, and maintaining of the cleanliness of the overhead support rail through the novel incorporation and interaction of brushes, sponges and a power filtered vacuum in the apparatus, and which is coupled to the existing OHT vehicle for maintaining the cleanliness of the facility in which the OHT vehicle is employed for the transport of various items, and wherein the facility must be maintained in a state of absolute cleanliness.

Moreover, the invention is also directed to a novel method of maintaining the cleanliness of overhead support rails for overhead transport (OHT) vehicles which have a tendency to produce foreign materials or debris of a particulate nature due to normal wear from the internal moving components thereof, and wherein such debris, upon falling from the overhead rail, could adversely affect the cleanliness and integrity of therebeneath located articles being processed or manufactured and the functioning of work tools and operating components in a facility.

The presence of foreign particles or items of contaminating debris which are produced and deposited on an overhead support rail from overhead transport vehicles (OHT) conveyed back and forth along the extent thereof frequently causes such foreign particles to fall down and potentially contaminate worktools and equipment, or articles which are being processed or manufactured in a facility, whereby such worktools may be delicate precision instruments and the articles may be in the nature of expensive high-precision electronic components which demand an absolutely clean environment in the facility during the implementing of manufacturing, processing and assembling procedures. Such foreign materials or debris of a particulate nature on the overheard rail are caused by the operation of the OHT vehicle over an extended period of time, and although possibly not always readily visibly noticeable, upon falling from the overhead rail carrying the OHT vehicle, in effect, create contaminated conditions in the facility which is deleterious to the quality and integrity of the articles being manufactured and pose a threat to the functioning of worktools and equipment being employed in the facility at locations beneath the overhead rail.

At this time, manual cleaning techniques which are employed in some manufacturing and processing facilities which employ containing overhead transport rail and conveyor systems, require the use of ladders and necessitate personnel to climb up the ladders and manually wipe and clean the overhead rails from the presence of contaminants thereon at specified and occasionally request time intervals. Such manual overhead rail cleaning techniques are not always adequate to produce and maintain the desired conditions of overhead rail cleanliness, are extremely time consuming to implement in requiring as much as numbers of hours on a daily or short-term interval basis. This results in manufacturing downtime by having to cease production during the cleaning periods and impacting the economies of manufacture of the facility. Furthermore, such manual cleaning techniques are also potentially hazardous to personnel by requiring the extensive use of ladders and dangerous electrical extension cords for the cleaning equipment leading from the ground or floor up to the elevation of the overhead support rail. Moreover, manual cleaning procedures require extreme care in wiping or cleaning the overhead support rail in order to prevent any contaminants or particulate debris materials deposited thereon due to such foreign materials having been generated by OHT vehicles, from falling down onto processing tools, precision instruments and/or product being manufactured or processed located therebeneath, which again requires downtime in having to clean the facilities in order to render these usable under requisite standards of cleanliness.

DISCUSSION OF THE PRIOR ART

The use of cleaning devices which are supported on overhead conveyor rails or endless conveyors for movement therealong in order to impart cleaning actions to the surfaces of the overhead rails without causing the falling or dropping down contaminants or debris which may result in contaminating the areas of the workspace located therebeneath, is widely employed in diverse industries. Although widely utilized in the most different types of facilities, such cleaning devices are of particular importance in the food processing industry, such as meatpacking plants wherein any contaminating foreign material dropped from an overhead support conveyor or transport rail will result in failure to meet prescribed health safety standards and regulations, and necessitate articles being processed, for instance, such as food and meat items, to be immediately condemned, and destroyed, thereby causing significant economic losses to be sustained by the manufacturer or processor. In order to alleviate the foregoing, various types of cleaning devices and apparatus have been developed in the cleaning technology which will readily clean and also assist in efforts to maintain the cleanliness of overhead rail or conveyor rail systems in an essentially automated manner, while concurrently preventing contaminants or items of debris which have been deposited and collected on the overhead rail or conveyor from dropping down and either polluting the environment or causing contamination of the processing equipment and/or the product or articles being processed or manufactured in the facilities. However, all of the currently known overhead rail cleaning devices and apparatus are extremely complex in construction and generally require their own or therewith integrated separate power supplies which render them expensive and difficult to use, while normally necessitating the overhead transport vehicles which are supported on the rails to remain inactive during periods of cleaning the overhead rails, thereby necessitating significant production downtimes.

Martone, et al., U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0154120 A1 discloses a tool rail cleaning apparatus wherein a pair of cylindrical brushes are adapted to roll along a tubular rail structure of an overhead rail transport system, and which concurrently contact a venturi-type vacuum device for aspirating particulate matter and contaminants which has been picked up by the brushes from the rail surfaces as the apparatus is conveyed therealong. In effect, this particular apparatus requires a separate power system for actuating the rotating movement of the brushes and vacuum device, and during implementing of a cleaning cycle, the tool holders and transport units which are located on the overhead rail structure must be maintained in an inoperative condition during the intervals within which the rails are cleaned. This is a relatively complex system requiring a separate power arrangement for actuation of the cleaning apparatus in addition to power supply units required for moving the tool supporting devices, while necessitating operational downtime of the facility.

Bowman U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,302 discloses an apparatus for cleaning conveyors, in which a system of brushes is adapted to contact the surfaces of various endless conveyors and whereby any particulate matter brushed from the conveyors is dropped into a collection box arrangement. This is a relatively basic cleaning structure which is not adapted to be utilized in conjunction with overhead transport vehicles of the type provided for by the present invention, and also necessitates a shutting down of overhead vehicles or worktool operation during implementation of the cleaning cycles.

Bowman, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 4,678,075, also discloses a brush arrangement for contacting the surfaces of overhead rail conveyor systems and is also adapted to brush particular material into receptacles which may be provided beneath the brush arrangement, and operates in a manner similar to the Bowman U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,302 system of cleaning.

Dugle, et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,033,285, discloses an overhead rail cleaner and oiler arrangement, wherein a system of brushes is adapted to contact the surfaces of an overhead conveyor rail by means of independently driven wheels riding the rail and having a carrier supported thereon with opposed rotatable brushes. The foregoing requires a complex structure and power system for activating the operation of the brush arrangement while concurrently any overhead vehicle or transport structure on the rail is required to remain inoperative during the cleaning cycles. Again, as in the previous prior art, this does not concern itself with the use of overhead transport vehicles having a cleaning system of the type pursuant to the present invention which coupled thereto so as to be towed thereby and wherein rail travel power is provided by the OHT vehicle.

With regard to Vogt U.S. Pat. No. 3,935,610, this discloses an overhead rail cleaning system wherein a power cart and vacuum unit is positioned on the floor of a facility and travels in conjunction with the displacement of a cleaning unit which is mounted on the overhead rail. This is a complex system requiring cleaning components to be arranged in a power-driven cart driven on the floor of the facility, which also incorporates a vacuum structure for removing particulate material and which may form an obstruction to personnel during cleaning cycles, while also requiring any overhead transport vehicle to remain inoperative during the cleaning cycles.

Finally, Brunel et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,786,779 discloses an overhead rail cleaner and oiler in an arrangement which is similar to that described in Dugle et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,033,285 and is subject to the same limitations in the operation. Thereof. Although the overhead rail or conveyor cleaning devices and systems pursuant to the prior art generally implement cleaning actions which may avoid contamination of work tools and articles situated beneath the overhead rail transport system, these are subject to drawbacks in the cleaning devices must be separately powered from the energy supply which powers the carriers transport vehicles and tool which are employed for the conveyance of various work tools, product or other objects along the rail, and whereby during use of the cleaning devices, the transport vehicles or tool carriers must remain in an inoperative or inactive condition. This results in necessitating extensive downtimes for the operation of the facility in which the devices are employed, and concurrently the cleaning devices are generally of a relatively complicated and expensive nature to construct, operate and maintain.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel and unique cleaning apparatus for the surfaces of overhead support rails for overhead transport (OHT) vehicles, which is coupled to an overhead transport vehicle so as to be towed by the latter during the operation thereof. In effect, the unique rail cleaning apparatus thus obviates the need for the provision of a separate power supply to facilitate the conveyance thereof along the rail, while concurrently traveling in conjunction with the movement of the OHT vehicle along the support rail, thereby enabling cleaning of the rail without having to shut down or deactivate the operation of the overhead transport vehicle. This signifies that during the cleaning cycle, the operation of the OHT vehicle in the movement thereof along the overhead support rail may remain in a continuous manner thereby eliminating the need for any downtime for the facility caused by the cleaning system, with the only exception being when the latter has to be serviced or components of the overhead system need to be replaced.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the invention to provide an overhead rail cleaning system or apparatus, which is coupled to and towed by an OHT vehicle during the operation of the OHT vehicle traveling along an overhead support rail so as to concurrently clean the overhead rail.

Another object of the invention is the provision of an overhead support rail cleaning apparatus which utilizes a unique combination of brush, sponge and vacuum attachment for removing particulate material or contaminants from the surface of the overhead rail, which are produced during the operation of the OHT vehicle traveling along the overhead support rail.

Still another object of the invention resides in the provision of an overhead support rail cleaning apparatus device of the type described, in which the latter utilizes the movement of an OHT vehicle along the rail to which the apparatus is coupled, to concurrently clean the surface of the overhead transport rail from the presence of particulate contaminants which are aspirated into a suitable vacuum receptacle forming a component the rail cleaning apparatus.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a method of cleaning overhead transport rails for OHT vehicles traveling while supported on the rails while employing the overhead support rail cleaning device in a concurrent rail-cleaning operation therewith.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference may now be made to a detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings; in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates, generally diagrammatically, a front perspective representation of a section of an overhead support rail mounting an OHT vehicle with a rail cleaning apparatus being coupled to the OHT vehicle for towed movement in conjunction therewith along the overhead support rail;

FIG. 2 illustrates, in a perspective view, a section of an overhead transport rail with a novel trolley of the cleaning apparatus connected thereto showing the guide wheels and the attachment of the cleaner vacuum assembly;

FIG. 3 illustrates, in a view somewhat similar to FIG. 2, the novel trolley of the rail cleaning apparatus, with the guide wheels for movement along the overhead transport rail shown installed in an extended and operative position;

FIG. 4 illustrates, in a perspective representation, a rear view of the nozzle trolley of the rail cleaning apparatus;

FIG. 5 illustrates a bottom perspective view of the nozzle trolley;

FIG. 6 illustrates, generally diagrammatically, an upper and front perspective view of the nozzle trolley with the upper guide rails having been retracted and the safety pins removed therefrom; and

FIG. 7 illustrates, in a generally diagrammatic representation, the projected installation and/or removal of the nozzle trolley from an overhead transport rail.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring in more specific detail to the inventive construction of the cleaning apparatus 10, illustrated in FIG. 1 is a section of an overhead transport rail 12, which is essentially of a C-shaped configuration, as illustrated, and an essentially self-powered OHT vehicle 14 is shown as being essentially in a downwardly depending inverted ā€œUā€ shape, although other configurations may be readily contemplated for overhead track transport vehicles or carriers which are adapted to be displaced along the overhead transport rail 12. In that connection, the OHT vehicle 14 includes sidewalls 16 depending from a horizontal upper structure 18 which has upstanding support brackets 20 connected to an OHT track 22, including roller wheels (not shown) which are adapted to be guided in the lower interior portion of the C-shaped transport rail 12 in a manner which is generally well known in the rail transport art. These upper brackets 20 may be supported from the OHT track 22 so as to enable the OHT vehicle 14 to travel along the rail 12 for either picking up or delivering worktools, equipment or product which is to be manufactured in a facility or manufacturing plant.

In order to clean particulate contaminants and other debris which may have been deposited on the surface of the OHT support rail 12, especially on the surface portions thereof on which the OHT vehicle 14 travels, there is provided the overhead rail cleaner apparatus 10 pursuant to the invention, which is also arranged for travel along the overhead transport rail 12 in a manner similar to the arrangement thereon of the OHT vehicle.

Hereby, in order to facilitate the displacement or travel of the OHT rail cleaner apparatus 10 along the length of the OHT rail 12, the cleaner device or apparatus 10 is coupled by a suitable tow bar 28 to one of the brackets 20 of the OHT vehicle 14. This causes the tow bar to constitute a towing mechanism for pulling the cleaner apparatus 10 therealong in the respective directions through which the OHT vehicle 14 is conveyed on the OHT support rail 12.

As illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the overhead rail cleaner apparatus 10 comprises a vacuum nozzle trolley structure 30 which is mounted so as to be rollable in a freely displaceable manner by means of rollers or wheels traveling within the confines of the C-shaped overhead rail 12. The trolley structure 30 includes a housing 32 with an upstanding bracket portion 34 extending in a plane which is generally coplanar with the support brackets 20 employed for suspension of the OHT vehicle, and with the tow bar 28 extending between and being connected at opposite ends thereof to, respectively, the bracket portion 34 of the trolley structure 30 and one of the upstanding brackets 20 of the OHT vehicle 14.

The upstanding bracket portion 34 for the support of the nozzle trolley structure 30 on the rail 12 is fastened to the upper end of the housing 32, which is a box-shaped frame having at least one open side 36 enabling access to the interior thereof, and which contains a vacuum unit 38 including a receptacle 42 for receiving particulate matter or debris which is aspirated by the vacuum unit from the surface of the overhead transport rail 12. The aspirating action for cleaning the overhead rail surface by the vacuum unit 38 is effected through a suitable hose 40 which is connected to, respectively, the receptacle 42 of the vacuum assembly and to a suctioning nozzle aperture provided on the nozzle trolley structure 30, and which travels in the interior space of the C-shaped overhead transport rail 12, as elucidated further on hereinbelow.

As illustrated in FIG. 2 the drawings, showing a representative section of the OHT support rail 12, the nozzle trolley structure 30 comprises a block-shaped element 50 having a first pair of guide rollers or wheels 52 rotatably journaled on a suitable support shaft (not shown), and traveling within the lower confines of the C-shaped OHT rail in contact with the rail surface 54. The block element 50 further contains additional guide wheels 56, which travel in contact with the lower front surface 58 of the OHT support rail 12 and engage the surface in a generally close guiding manner in cooperation with guide wheels 52.

The block element 50 is equipped with further upper guide wheels 60, as shown in FIG. 3, which are horizontally orientated and are rotatably journaled on a vertical shaft structure 62 so as to travel within the upper recess 64 of the OHT rail 12. These guide wheels 60 are adapted to contact the interior of upper front wall or flange 66 of the OHT rail 12 so as to provide a secure guidance for the nozzle trolley structure 30 in all orientations within the OHT support rail during travel of the apparatus 10 and of the OHT vehicle 14 along the rail.

As illustrated, FIG. 4 of the drawings is showing a rear perspective view of the block element 50, the bottom surface 68 of the block, which rides interiorly of the confines of the C-shaped OHT rail 12, is equipped with a sponge wiper 70, as also shown in the perspective bottom view of FIG. 5 of the drawings. Further provided is a nozzle 72 and a brush 74 which are located at one side of the sponge wiper 70 along the axis of movement of the cleaner apparatus 10 on the OHT rail 12

The nozzle 72 with the brush 74 is connected to a hollow passageway 76 in the block element 50 leading to a nozzle assembly opening 78 which provides for a hose connection in the front surface of the nozzle trolley structure 30, as shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings, and with the hose connection opening 78 having the hose 40 leading therefrom to the vacuum assembly receptacle 42, the latter of which may be connected to a source of electrical energy, such as a main power supply or to a battery (not shown), such as a rechargeable battery for a self-contained energy supply, for producing a suitable vacuum operation and aspirating into the receptacle 42 any particulate matter, debris and contaminants from the surface of the OHT rail 12 which is contacted by the sponge wiper 70 and by the nozzle and brush arrangement 72, 74 during the travel of the OHT vehicle 14 and concurrently the OHT rail cleaner apparatus 10 which is towed by the former.

As also represented in FIG. 6 and 7 of the drawings, in FIG. 6 the upper guide wheels 60 are shown in a lower retracted position in block element 50 and safety pins 80 of the arrangement have been removed for a purpose, whereby this facilitates the removal and/or installation of the nozzle trolley structure 30, respectively, from or into the recess or interior space of the C-shaped OHT rail 12 as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 7.

The foregoing rail cleaner apparatus 10 upon being assembled, as represented in FIG. 1 of the drawings, provides a novel independently operating rail cleaning system which travels in conjunction with the movement of the OHT vehicle 14 by being towed thereby so as to be able to continually clean the contacting surface of the OHT rail 12 from the presence thereon of debris and other contaminant matter by wiping from the rail surface and aspirating it into the vacuum receptacle 42 during the traveling movement of the OHT vehicle 14 and cleaner apparatus 10 along the rail 12. This, in effect, eliminates any downtime required for cleaning the OHT support rail 12, and allowing for continuous operation of the OHT vehicle 14 while preventing the dropping down of debris and contaminants which have formed on the surface of the OHT rail, and which would pose a risk of contamination by particles of debris of falling into the work area of the facility located therebeneath.

The various components of the OHT support rail cleaner apparatus 10 may be constituted either of metal, such as aluminum, or suitable plastic components, or combinations of such materials as may be required, and in effect provide an inexpensive and novel particulate removal system for the cleaning of the overhead transport rail.

From the foregoing, it becomes readily apparent that the entire system comprising the overhead transport rail cleaner apparatus 10 is of a simple and inexpensive construction which is fully functional in conjunction with the operation of the OHT vehicle 14 during travel along the overhead transport support rail 12, thereby maintaining the rail in a constantly cleaned condition without necessitating any significant downtime in the operation of the facility, which at most would only be required infrequently to enable servicing or replacement of components which are supported on the OHT rail.

In summation, the inventive rail cleaner apparatus facilitates composite vacuum and chemical wiping/brushing cleaning is an automated and consistent manner while the transport vehicle remains in full operation. There is no necessity for modifying the transport vehicle or its controls, and the cleaner apparatus is easily installed and maintained on the rail.

While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with respect to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in forms and details may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention. It is therefore intended that the present invention not be limited to the exact forms and details described and illustrated, but fall within the scope of the appended claims.