Title:
Foam-dispensing nozzle for pressurized fluid delivery apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a foam-dispensing nozzle adapted to receive a pressurized fluid from a pressurized fluid delivery apparatus. The foam-dispensing nozzle includes a one-piece molded body, having a quick-disconnect portion, a discharge portion extending from the quick-disconnect portion, a first passageway through the quick-disconnect portion, and a second passageway through the discharge portion in communication with the first passageway. The foam-dispensing nozzle also includes at least one aperture in the discharge portion communicating the second passageway with the exterior of the discharge portion, a diffuser positioned in the second passageway, and a retainer at least partially positioned within the second passageway adjacent the diffuser. Movement of the pressurized fluid through the first passageway and the second passageway draws air through the at least one aperture in the tubular portion to aerate the pressurized fluid.



Inventors:
Gansebom, Neil (Madison, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/294264
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
239/590
International Classes:
E03C1/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CERNOCH, STEVEN MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
(Briggs) (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A foam-dispensing nozzle adapted to receive a pressurized fluid from a pressurized fluid delivery apparatus, the foam-dispensing nozzle comprising: a one-piece molded body, including a quick-disconnect portion; a discharge portion extending from the quick-disconnect portion; a first passageway through the quick-disconnect portion; a second passageway through the discharge portion in communication with the first passageway; at least one aperture in the discharge portion communicating the second passageway with the exterior of the discharge portion; a diffuser positioned in the second passageway; and a retainer at least partially positioned within the second passageway adjacent the diffuser, wherein movement of the pressurized fluid through the first passageway and the second passageway draws air through the at least one aperture in the tubular portion to aerate the pressurized fluid.

2. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the quick-disconnect portion includes a male quick-disconnect fitting.

3. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the first passageway includes an inlet and an outlet, and wherein at least a portion of the first passageway between the inlet and the outlet is tapered to increase the speed of the pressurized fluid moving through the first passageway.

4. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the second passageway includes an inlet and an outlet, and wherein at least a portion of the second passageway between the inlet and the outlet is flared.

5. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the diffuser includes a screen.

6. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the body includes an interior wall at least partially defining the second passageway; a step in the interior wall against which the diffuser is positioned; one of an outwardly-extending tab and a slot; wherein the retainer includes the other of the outwardly-extending tab and the slot, and wherein the tab is engaged with the slot to secure the diffuser and the retainer in the body.

7. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the retainer is tubular, and wherein the pressurized fluid flows through the retainer.

8. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, wherein the body includes an interior wall at least partially defining the second passageway; one of a key and a keyway formed on the interior wall; wherein the retainer includes the other of the key and the keyway, and wherein the key is engaged with the keyway to orient the retainer relative to the body.

9. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 1, further comprising an overmold covering at least a portion of the body.

10. A foam-dispensing nozzle adapted to receive a pressurized fluid from a pressurized fluid delivery apparatus, the foam-dispensing nozzle comprising: a body including an inlet; an outlet; a passageway fluidly communicating the inlet and the outlet; an interior wall at least partially defining the passageway; a step in the interior wall; one of an outwardly-extending tab and a slot; at least one aperture in the body communicating the passageway with the exterior of the body; a diffuser positioned in the passageway adjacent the step; and a tubular retainer at least partially positioned in the passageway adjacent the diffuser, the retainer including the other of the outwardly-extending tab and the slot, wherein the tab is engaged with the slot to secure the diffuser and the retainer in the body.

11. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 10, wherein the body is a one-piece molded body including a quick-disconnect portion; and a discharge portion extending from the quick-disconnect portion.

12. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 11, wherein the passageway includes a first portion through the quick-disconnect portion; and a second portion through the discharge portion in communication with the first portion.

13. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 12, wherein the first portion is at least partially tapered to increase the speed of the pressurized fluid moving through the first portion of the passageway.

14. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 12, wherein the second portion is at least partially flared from the first portion.

15. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 10, wherein the diffuser includes a screen.

16. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 10, wherein the body includes one of a key and a keyway formed on the interior wall, wherein the retainer includes the other of the key and the keyway, and wherein the key is engaged with the keyway to orient the retainer relative to the body.

17. The foam-dispensing nozzle of claim 10, further comprising an overmold covering at least a portion of the body.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to pressurized fluid delivery apparatus, and more particularly to foam-dispensing nozzles for pressurized fluid delivery apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Detergents are commonly used with pressure washers to provide a pressurized soap solution to be sprayed on a surface to be cleaned. To increase the cleaning effectiveness of the soap solution, foamer accessories are used in place of standard soap nozzles to aerate the soap solution, which causes the soap solution to foam. When sprayed onto a surface to be cleaned, the foam adheres to the surface, allowing the detergents in the soap solution to more thoroughly clean the surface. Such roamer accessories typically include many assembled components, and as a result are complex and often expensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides, in one aspect, a foam-dispensing nozzle adapted to receive a pressurized fluid from a pressurized fluid delivery apparatus. The foam-dispensing nozzle includes a one-piece molded body having a quick-disconnect portion, a discharge portion extending from the quick-disconnect portion, a first passageway through the quick-disconnect portion, and a second passageway through the discharge portion in communication with the first passageway. The foam-dispensing nozzle also includes at least one aperture in the discharge portion communicating the second passageway with the exterior of the discharge portion, a diffuser positioned in the second passageway, and a retainer at least partially positioned within the second passageway adjacent the diffuser. Movement of the pressurized fluid through the first passageway and the second passageway draws air through the at least one aperture in the tubular portion to aerate the pressurized fluid.

The present invention provides, in another aspect, a foam-dispensing nozzle including a body having an inlet, an outlet, a passageway fluidly communicating the inlet and the outlet, an interior wall at least partially defining the passageway, a step in the interior wall, and one of an outwardly-extending tab and a slot. The foam-dispensing nozzle also includes at least one aperture in the body communicating the passageway with the exterior of the body, a diffuser positioned in the passageway adjacent the step, and a tubular retainer at least partially positioned in the passageway adjacent the diffuser. The retainer includes the other of the outwardly-extending tab and the slot. The tab is engaged with the slot to secure the diffuser and the retainer in the body.

Other features and aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pressurized fluid delivery apparatus including a foam-dispensing nozzle of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an operator using the pressurized fluid delivery apparatus and foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a reverse perspective view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an exploded, reverse perspective view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1 along section 7-7 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 7, illustrating a diffuser held in place by a retainer.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1 along section 9-9 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1, illustrating a male quick-disconnect fitting on the nozzle connected to a female quick-disconnect fitting on a wand.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the foam-dispensing nozzle of FIG. 1, illustrating the male quick-disconnect fitting on the nozzle disconnected from the female quick-disconnect fitting on the wand.

Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a pressure washer assembly 10 including a power unit 14 to provide a pressurized liquid to a rigid conduit, or wand 18. The power unit 14 may include an engine 22, an electric motor, or other power unit 14. A pump 26 is operatively coupled to the power unit to provide the pressurized liquid. As understood in the art, the pump 26 may receive a supply of low-pressure fluid (e.g., water from a garden hose), pressurize the fluid, and discharge the pressurized fluid to the wand 18. The wand 18 is coupled to a gun assembly 30 and acts as an extension to the gun assembly 30. The gun assembly 30 includes a hand grip 34 for a user to grasp with one hand, and the gun assembly 30 or wand 18 includes a handle 38 to grasp with the other hand (see FIG. 2). A trigger 42 is located near the hand grip 34 to allow the user to selectively operate the gun assembly 30. The gun assembly 30 is fluidly connected with the pump 26 by a flexible hose 46, which allows the power unit 14 and pump 26 to remain in one place while the user moves around and operates the gun assembly 30. Any number of conventional fluid couplings may be used to fluidly connect and secure the hose 46 to the pump 26 and to the gun assembly 30, respectively. Further, the power unit 14 and pump 26 may be transportable by a wheeled cart 50. However, the cart 50 is not an essential component of the pressure washer assembly 10.

Although not shown in FIG. 1, the pressure washer assembly 10 may include a detergent injection system that draws concentrated detergent or soap solution from a container for mixing with the pressurized fluid exiting the pump 26. The resultant pressurized, diluted soap solution may then be used to clean a surface which requires cleaning.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a fluid accessory in the form of a foam-dispensing nozzle 54 is shown coupled to the wand 18 by a female quick-disconnect fitting 58. As shown in FIGS. 3-7, the foam-dispensing nozzle 54 includes a one-piece molded body 62 having a quick-disconnect portion 66 formed on one end of the body 62, and a discharge portion 70 extending from the quick-disconnect portion 66. Particularly, the quick-disconnect portion 66 includes a male quick-disconnect fitting 74 that is selectively engageable with the female quick-disconnect fitting 58. The body 62 may be made from a plastic material using an injection molding process. Alternatively, the body 62 may be made using any of a number of other molding processes.

With reference to FIG. 7, the body 62 generally includes an inlet 78, an outlet 82, and a passageway 86 communicating the inlet 78 with the outlet 82. Particularly, the passageway 86 may be divided into a first portion or a first passageway 90 through the quick-disconnect portion 66, and a second portion or a second passageway 94 through the discharge portion 70. As such, the pressurized, diluted soap solution may enter the first passageway 90 via the inlet 78 and be discharged from the first passageway 90 into the second passageway 94 via an outlet 98 that coincides with an inlet 102 of the second passageway 94. As discussed in more detail below, foamed soap solution is discharged from the second passageway 94 via the outlet 82.

In the illustrated construction of the nozzle 54, a portion of the first passageway 90 between the inlet 78 and the outlet 98 is tapered to increase the speed of the pressurized, diluted soap solution moving through the first passageway 90. Alternatively, the first passageway 90 may be substantially cylindrical. Also, In the illustrated construction of the nozzle 54, a portion of the second passageway 94 is flared from the outlet 98 of the first passageway 90. Specifically, the flared portion of the second passageway 94 defines a draft angle D1 of about 2 degrees. Alternatively, the second passageway 94 may be substantially cylindrical.

With reference to FIGS. 7 and 8, the second passageway 94 is defined by an interior wall 106 having a step 110 formed therein. The second passageway 94 also includes a keyway 114 and a plurality of slots 118 formed in the interior wall 106 (see FIGS. 5 and 9). In the illustrated construction of the nozzle 54, the portion of the second passageway 94 upstream of the plurality of slots 118 is flared, while the portion of the second passageway 94 downstream of the plurality of slots 118 is substantially cylindrical.

As shown in FIGS. 3-7, the foam-dispensing nozzle 54 also includes two opposing apertures 122 in the discharge portion 70 of the body 62. The apertures 122 communicate the second passageway 94 with the exterior of the body 62. Alternatively, more or less than two apertures 122 may be used. The function of the apertures 122 is discussed in more detail below.

With reference to FIG. 5, the foam-dispensing nozzle 54 further includes a diffuser 126 positioned in the second passageway 94 and a retainer 130 positioned in the second passageway 94. In the illustrated construction, the diffuser 126 includes a stainless steel screen 134 having an open area of about 50 percent. Alternatively, the screen 134 may be made from any of a number of corrosion-resistant materials, and the screen 134 may have an open area more or less than about 50 percent.

With reference to FIGS. 5 and 7, the retainer 130 is substantially tubular, and includes an outer periphery 138 and an interior passageway 142 having a draft angle D2 of about 1 degree. Sizing the draft angle D2 to be smaller than the draft angle D1 facilitates the insertion of the retainer 130 into the second passageway 94. In addition, the transition from the draft angle D1 to the draft angle D2 straightens the flow of foam moving from the second passageway 94 to the interior passageway 142. A portion of the outer periphery 138 of the retainer 130 and a portion of the interior passageway 142, approximately along length dimension L, is substantially cylindrical or has draft angle of about zero degrees. The transition from the draft angle D2 to a zero degree draft angle further straightens the flow of foam as it is discharged from the outlet 82.

With reference to FIG. 5, the retainer 130 also includes an outwardly-extending key 146 configured to engage the keyway 114, and a plurality of outwardly-extending tabs 150 configured to engage the plurality of slots 118 in the body 62. In an alternate construction of the nozzle 54, the body 62 may be formed with the key 146, and the retainer 130 formed with the keyway 114. In another alternate construction of the nozzle 54, the body 62 may be formed with the tabs 150 and the retainer 130 may be formed with the slots 118.

To assemble the nozzle 54, the screen 134 is first positioned in the second passageway 94 against the step 110 in the interior wall 106 (see also FIGS. 7 and 8). The retainer 130 is then positioned in the second passageway 94 such that the keyway 114 in the interior wall 106 of the body 62 slidably receives the key 146 on the outer periphery 138 of the retainer 130. Because the retainer 130 has a single key 146 and the body 62 has a single keyway 114, the engagement of the key 146 and keyway 114 rotationally orients the retainer 130 relative to the body 62, such that the plurality of tabs 150 on the outer periphery 138 of the retainer 130 align with the plurality of slots 118 in the interior wall 106 of the body 62. The retainer 130 is inserted into the second passageway 94 until the end of the retainer 130 abuts the screen 134 and the plurality of tabs 150 engage the plurality of slots 118. The tabs 150 are located along the length of the retainer 130 such that when the tabs 150 engage the slots 118, the screen 134 is tightly secured between the step 110 and the retainer 130, and no portion of the retainer 130 extends outside the second passageway 94. However, in alternate constructions of the nozzle 54, the retainer 130 may extend outside the second passageway 94 and act as an extension.

With reference to FIGS. 3-7, the nozzle 54 further includes an overmold 154 covering a portion of the body 62. Specifically, with reference to FIG. 9, the overmold 154 covers the slots 118 in the interior wall 106 of the body 62 to substantially block access to the tabs 150. As such, once the tabs 150 engage the slots 118, the retainer 130 is substantially permanently connected to the body 62, and the screen 134 is substantially permanently secured between the step 110 and the retainer 130. In the illustrated construction, the overmold 154 is made from an elastomeric material. Alternatively, the nozzle 54 may not include the overmold 154.

FIGS. 10 and 11 illustrate, respectively, the foam-dispensing nozzle 54 connected to the female quick-disconnect fitting 58 on the wand 18, and the foam-dispensing nozzle 54 disconnected from the female quick-disconnect fitting 58. The female quick-disconnect fitting 58 includes an internally-threaded portion 158 that is threadably engageable with an externally-threaded portion 162 of the wand 18. The female quick-disconnect fitting 58 has an opening 166 shaped to receive the male quick-disconnect fitting 74 therein, and a hexagonal outer surface 170 to be grasped by a conventional wrench or socket to tighten the female quick-disconnect fitting 58 onto the wand 18.

With continued reference to FIGS. 10 and 11, the female quick-disconnect fitting 58 also includes a locking assembly 174 configured to lock the male quick-disconnect fitting 74 to the female quick-disconnect fitting 58. The locking assembly 174 includes a plurality of ball bearings 178, which may be actuated between a locked position (see FIG. 10), in which the ball bearings 178 protrude radially inwardly to engage a recessed outer surface 182 formed on the male quick-disconnect fitting 74 to lock the fittings 58, 74, and an unlocked position (see FIG. 11), in which the ball bearings 178 are allowed to move radially outwardly to disengage the recessed outer surface 182 to allow the male quick-disconnect fitting 74 to be released from the female quick-disconnect fitting 58.

The female quick-disconnect fitting 58 further includes a sleeve 186 to selectively actuate the locking assembly 174 between the locked position and the unlocked position. The sleeve 186 includes a raised inner surface 190 that, in part, functions as a ramp to selectively actuate the locking assembly 174 between the locked and unlocked positions. In the locked position (see FIG. 10), the raised inner surface 190 is located over the ball bearings 178. As a result, the raised inner surface 190 substantially prevents the ball bearings 178 from moving radially outwardly, so that the ball bearings 178 are maintained in engagement with the recessed outer surface 182 of the male quick-disconnect fitting 74. A spring 194 is utilized to bias the sleeve 186 toward the locked position.

In the unlocked position (see FIG. 11), the raised inner surface 190 is located adjacent the ball bearings 178. As a result, the ball bearings 178 are no longer prevented from moving radially outwardly, thereby allowing the male quick-disconnect fitting 74 to be disengaged or pulled from the female quick-disconnect fitting 58.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the female quick-disconnect fitting 58 includes a circumferential groove 198 formed therein to receive a retaining clip 202. The retaining clip 202 substantially prevents the sleeve 186 from being removed. In the locked position, the raised inner surface 190 abuts the retaining clip 202 to substantially prevent movement of the sleeve 186 past the retaining clip 202.

During operation of the pressure washer assembly 10 with the foam-dispensing nozzle 54, the pressurized, diluted soap solution flows through the wand 18 when the operator depresses the trigger 42 on the gun assembly 30. From the wand 18, the pressurized, diluted soap solution enters the first passageway 90. The speed of the pressurized, diluted soap solution is increased as it moves through the tapered portion of the first passageway 90. The pressurized, diluted soap solution is then discharged from the outlet 98 of the first passageway 90 into the second passageway 94. The apertures 122 in the discharge portion 70 of the body 62 are positioned close enough to the outlet 98 of the first passageway 90 such that the spray of diluted soap solution discharged from the outlet 98 impacts the interior wall 106 of the second passageway 94 downstream of the apertures 122.

The movement of the pressurized, diluted soap solution through the second passageway 94 creates a pressure differential between the second passageway 94 and the exterior of the body 62. The pressure differential draws air through the apertures 122 to aerate the pressurized, diluted soap solution, which causes it to foam. The foam passes through the screen 134 and the interior passageway 142 of the retainer 130, which together straighten the discharge of the foam, before it is discharged from the outlet 82 of the body 62.

The foam-dispensing nozzle 54 of the present invention includes only three components: the one-piece molded body 62, the diffuser 126, and the retainer 130. As a result, the present invention provides a simplified assembly process, which is facilitated by integrally molded features such as the key 146, keyway 114, tabs 150, slots 118, and the step 110. This stands in sharp contrast to conventional roamer accessories, which may include over ten different components that require just as many assembly steps and several tools with which to assemble the components. By reducing the number of components and assembly steps involved, the present invention also provides a foam-dispensing nozzle 54 that can be manufactured at a reduced cost compared to conventional roamer accessories.

Various features of the invention are set forth in the following claims.