Title:
Steam cleaner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A steam cleaner includes a main body, a water supply system, a connecting member, a support member, a connector, a dust cleaner, and a cleaning unit. Thus, the steam cleaner provides washing, cleaning, dusting and recovery effects simultaneously, thereby enhancing the versatility of the steam cleaner. In addition, the push button is locked by the locking block, so that the water supply system is operated successively, thereby facilitating the user operating the steam cleaner. In addition, the liquid is filtered by the filter before entering the heater to prevent the metallic material contained in the liquid from being attached to the heater, thereby enhancing the lifetime of the steam cleaner.



Inventors:
Wu, Lian-bao (Taichung, TW)
Application Number:
11/317469
Publication Date:
06/28/2007
Filing Date:
12/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F75/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
REDDING, DAVID A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mayer & Williams, P.C. (Morristown, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A steam cleaner, comprising: a main body; a water supply system including a container, a filter mounted on an end portion of the container to filter a liquid contained in the container, a conveying pipe having a first end connected to the filter, a pumping member to supply the filtered liquid from the filter into the conveying pipe, a power supply to supply an electric power to the pumping member, a heater exposed from the main body and connected to a second end of the conveying pipe to vaporize the liquid from the conveying pipe to produce an atomized steam, and a nozzle connected to the heater to inject the steam from the heater outward from the main body.

2. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 1, wherein the water supply system further includes a mounting portion mounted in the main body and enclosed around the nozzle, and the steam cleaner further comprises a connecting member detachably mounted on a bottom of the main body and provided with a guide tube mounted in the mounting portion and connected to the nozzle.

3. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 2, wherein the steam cleaner further comprises a support member mounted on a bottom of the connecting member and having a plurality of outlet holes connected to the guide tube, so that the steam from the nozzle and the guide tube is injected outward from the outlet holes.

4. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 3, wherein: the water supply system further includes two flexible holding members protruded from a bottom of the main body, and two plugs protruded from the bottom of the main body; the connecting member has a receiving chamber to receive the heater, the connecting member is made of an insulating material to prevent heat from being transmitted to the main body, the connecting member has two clamping holes to clamp the holding members and two plug holes to receive the plugs; the support member is made of a metallic material and provided with a protruding heat conductive portion contacting the heater to increase a temperature of the support member by heat conduction.

5. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 2, wherein the water supply system further includes a rotation lock rotatably mounted on a tapered wall of the main body and rotatable to press a tapered wall of the connecting member to secure the connecting member to the main body.

6. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 2, wherein the connecting member has an inside formed with a recovery channel having a first end provided with a mounting terminal and a second end provided with a snapping terminal, and a guide channel having a first end connected to the guide tube and a second end provided with an inner nozzle connected to the mounting terminal of the recovery channel.

7. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 6, further comprising a dust cleaner connected to the connecting member and provided with a shoulder strap to facilitate a user carrying the dust cleaner, an electric cord connected to a back socket of the power supply so that the dust cleaner and the main body have a common power supply, and a first coupler connected to a connecting pipe which is connected to a second coupler which is mounted on the snapping terminal of the recovery channel to connect the dust cleaner to the recovery channel of the connecting member.

8. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 6, further comprising a connector connected to the connecting member, wherein the connector has a first end provided with an insertion terminal inserted into and locked in the mounting terminal of the recovery channel by a snapping member and a second end provided with a spraying terminal, the connector has an inside formed with a spraying conduit having a first end provided with a connection connected to the inner nozzle of the guide channel and a second end connected to the spraying terminal, and a recovery conduit having a first end connected to the recovery channel and a second end connected to the spraying terminal.

9. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 8, further comprising an end cap mounted on the connector and having an inside formed with a first hole connected to the spraying conduit of the connector and a second hole connected to the recovery conduit of the connector.

10. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 9, wherein the connector has a periphery provided with a plurality of serrated portions extending from the insertion terminal to the spraying terminal, and the end cap is mounted on the spraying terminal of the connector and provided with a hook portion hooked onto the serrated portions of the connector.

11. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 6, further comprising a connector connected to the connecting member, wherein the connector has a first end provided with an insertion terminal inserted into and locked in the mounting terminal of the recovery channel by a snapping member and a second end formed with a neck portion having a distal end transversely provided with a elbow section, the connector has an inside formed with a spraying conduit having a first end provided with a connection connected to the inner nozzle of the guide channel and a second end provided with an outer nozzle connected to the elbow section, and a recovery conduit having a first end connected to the recovery channel and a second end connected to the elbow section.

12. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 11, further comprising a cleaning unit mounted on the connector, wherein the cleaning unit includes a substantially V-shaped scraper mounted on and protruded from the connector, and a base having a periphery formed with a plurality of protrusions rested on the scraper and a plurality of recovery grooves located between the protrusions and connected to the recovery conduit of the connector and having inside formed with a closed chamber having a first end face provided with a connecting tube connected to the outer nozzle of the spraying conduit and a second end face formed with a plurality of injection holes.

13. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 12, wherein the elbow section of the connector has a periphery formed with a receiving space, and the base of the cleaning unit is mounted in the receiving space of the elbow section and has two sides each provided with a press member having a snapping portion snapped onto a wall of the receiving space.

14. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 11, wherein the connector has a periphery provided with a plurality of serrated portions.

15. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 11, further comprising a cleaning unit mounted on the connector, wherein the cleaning unit includes a mounting frame mounted on the elbow section of the connector and having inside formed with a closed chamber having an end face formed with a plurality of injection holes, a connecting pipe mounted on the mounting frame and connected to the outer nozzle of the spraying conduit and the closed chamber by a hose, and a dusting opening formed in a bottom of the mounting frame and connected to the recovery conduit of the connector.

16. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 15, wherein the elbow section of the connector has a hollow oblong shape and has two sides each provided with a retractable shaft, and the mounting frame of the cleaning unit is provided with two pivot seats each mounted on the respective retractable shaft of the elbow section of the connector and each formed with a shaft hole to receive the respective retractable shaft.

17. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 15, wherein the mounting frame of the cleaning unit has a side provided with a neck support to support the neck portion of the connector.

18. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 1, wherein the main body includes a housing, and a hollow handle mounted on an upper portion of the housing and provided with a locking block, and a push button, wherein the push button is retractably mounted on the handle so that when the push button is pressed by a external force, the power supply of the water supply system is turned on to start operation of the water supply system, and the push button is restored to the original state after the external force is removed, so that the power supply of the water supply system is turned of to stop operation of the water supply system.

19. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 18, wherein when the push button is pressed and the locking block is pushed to rest on the push button simultaneously, the push button is locked by the locking block, so that the power supply of the water supply system is turned on constantly and the water Supply system is operated successively until the push button is released from the locking block.

20. The steam cleaner in accordance with claim 1, wherein the filter is mounted on the container by a locking member, and the water supply system further includes a back socket mounted on the power supply and protruded from the main body.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a steam cleaner and, more particularly, to a steam cleaner having multiple cleaning functions.

2. Description of the Related Art

A conventional steam cleaner comprises a heater to vaporize a liquid to form an atomized steam which is injected outward from a nozzle to wash the surface of an article, such as a clothing. However, the conventional steam cleaner does not have a recovery function to recover the dirt produced after washing, thereby limiting the cleaning effect. In addition, when the user has to use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust, the vacuum cleaner and the steam cleaner do not have a common power supply and have electric cords respectively, so that the user is easily tangled with two many electric cords. Further, the liquid contains metallic material, such as calcium or magnesium, which is easily deposited onto the heater, thereby decreasing the lifetime of the steam cleaner. Further, the conventional steam cleaner only has a washing function and cannot functions as a smoothing iron, thereby limiting the versatility of the conventional steam cleaner.

The closest prior art reference of which the applicant is aware was disclosed in his U.S. Pat. No. 6,879,776B1, entitled “Steam cleaner having cooling air passage”.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a steam cleaner, comprising a main body, and a water supply system including a container, a filter mounted on an end portion of the container to filter a liquid contained in the container, a conveying pipe having a first end connected to the filter, a pumping member to supply the filtered liquid from the filter into the conveying pipe, a power supply to supply an electric power to the pumping member, a heater exposed from the main body and connected to a second end of the conveying pipe to vaporize the liquid from the conveying pipe to produce an atomized steam, and a nozzle connected to the heater to inject the steam from the heater outward from the main body.

The primary objective of the present invention is to provide a steam cleaner that provides washing, cleaning, dusting and recovery effects simultaneously, thereby enhancing the versatility of the steam cleaner.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a steam cleaner, wherein the dust cleaner is provided with a shoulder strap to facilitate a user carrying the dust cleaner, so that the steam cleaner is portable, thereby facilitating the user operating the steam cleaner.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a steam cleaner, wherein the dust cleaner and the main body have a common power supply without having to provide other electric cords additionally, thereby preventing the user from being tangled with too many electric cords.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a steam cleaner, wherein the push button is locked by the locking block, so that the water supply system is operated successively, thereby facilitating the user operating the steam cleaner.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a steam cleaner, wherein the liquid is filtered by the filter before entering the heater to prevent the metallic material contained in the liquid from being attached to the heater, thereby enhancing the lifetime of the steam cleaner.

Further benefits and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after a careful reading of the detailed description with appropriate reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a steam cleaner in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view showing a locking block and a push button of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic operational view of the locking block and the push button of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a side plan cross-sectional view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of a main body of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5A is a bottom plan view of a connecting member of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5B is a bottom plan view of a support member of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of a steam cleaner in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of a steam cleaner, in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is another plan cross-sectional view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of a steam cleaner in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a partially perspective view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a partially perspective assembly view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 14 is a partially side plan cross-sectional view of a steam cleaner in accordance with another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a partially exploded perspective view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is a partially perspective view of the steam cleaner as shown in FIG. 14.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings and initially to FIGS. 1-5, a steam cleaner in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a main body 10, and a water supply system 11.

The main body 10 includes a housing 13, and a hollow handle 14 mounted on an upper portion of the housing 13 and extending upwardly in an oblique manner. The handle 14 is provided with a snapping hole 15, a locking block 16, a push button 17, a rotation knob 18, and a lamp 19. The snapping hole 15 allows insertion of an elongated bar (not shown) to extend the height of use of the handle 14. As shown in FIG. 2, the push button 17 is retractably mounted on the handle 14 so that when the push button 17 is pressed by a external force, the power supply of the water supply system 11 is turned on to start operation of the water supply system 11, and the push button 17 is restored to the original state after the external force is removed, so that the power supply of the water supply system 11 is turned of to stop operation of the water supply system 11. As shown in FIG. 3, when the push button 17 is pressed, and the locking block 16 is pushed to rest on the push button 17 simultaneously, the push button 17 is locked by the locking block 16, so that the power supply of the water supply system 11 is turned on constantly and the water supply system 11 is operated successively until the push button 17 is released from the locking block 16. The rotation knob 18 is used to control the flow rate of the water supply system 11. The lamp 19 is used to indicate the operation condition of the water supply system 11.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the water supply system 11 includes a container 12 protruded outward from the main body 10, a filter 122 mounted on a first portion of the container 12 by a locking member 123, a removable lid 121 mounted on an opened second portion of the container 12, a supply pipe 124 mounted in the container 12 and having a first end connected to the container 12 and a second end extended through the container 12 and connected to the filter 122 to convey a liquid contained in the container 12 to the filter 122 which filters the liquid, a conveying pipe 112 mounted in the main body 10 and having a first end connected to the filter 122, a pumping member 111 mounted in the main body 10 to supply the filtered liquid from the filter 122 into the conveying pipe 112, a power supply 115 mounted on the main body 10 to supply an electric power to the pumping member 111, a back socket 116 mounted on the power supply 115 and protruded from the main body 10, a heater 113 mounted in and exposed from the main body 10 and connected to a second end of the conveying pipe 112 to vaporize the liquid from the conveying pipe 112 to produce an atomized steam, a nozzle 114 mounted in the main body 10 and connected to the heater 113 to inject the steam from the heater 113 outward from the main body 10, a mounting portion 117 mounted in the main body 10 and enclosed around the nozzle 114, two flexible holding members 118 protruded from a bottom of the main body 10, two plugs 119 protruded from the bottom of the main body 10, and a rotation lock 120 rotatably mounted on a tapered wall of the main body 10.

As shown in FIGS. 4-7, the steam cleaner further comprises a connecting member 20, and a support member 30.

The connecting member 20 is detachably mounted on the bottom of the main body 10 and provided with a guide tube 21 mounted in the mounting portion 117 and connected to the nozzle 114. The connecting member 20 is made of an insulating material and has a receiving chamber 23 to receive the heater 113, two clamping holes 22 to clamp the holding members 118 and two plug holes 24 (see FIG. 5A) to receive the plugs 119. The rotation lock 120 is rotatable to press a tapered wall of the connecting member 20 to secure the connecting member 20 to the main body 10.

The support member 30 is mounted on the bottom of the connecting member 20 and has a plurality of outlet holes 31 (see FIG. 5B) connected to the guide tube 21, so that the steam from, the nozzle 114 and the guide tube 21 is injected outward from the outlet holes 31. The support member 30 is made of a metallic material and provided with a protruding heat conductive portion 32 contacting the heater 113 to increase the temperature of the support member 30 by heat conduction. In addition, the connecting member 20 is made of an insulating material to prevent the heat from being transmitted to the main body 10.

When in use, the water supply system 11 of the steam cleaner produces an atomized steam which is injected outward from the nozzle 114 and the outlet holes 31 to simultaneously wet and heat an article, such as a clothing or the like, so that the steam cleaner functions as a smoothing iron for directly ironing the clothing without having to wet the clothing previously.

As shown in FIG. 8, the steam cleaner further comprises a connecting member 40 mounted on the bottom of the main body 10, and a dust cleaner 50 connected to the connecting member 40.

The connecting member 40 is provided with a guide tube 41 mounted in the mounting portion 117 and connected to the nozzle 114. The rotation lock 120 is rotatable to press a tapered wall of the connecting member 40 to secure the connecting member 40 to the main body 10. The connecting member 40 has an inside formed with a recovery channel 42 having a first end provided with a mounting terminal 43 and a second end provided with a snapping terminal 44, and a guide channel 45 having a first end connected to the guide tube 41 and a second end provided with an inner nozzle 46 connected to the mounting terminal 43 of the recovery channel 42.

The dust cleaner 50 is provided with a shoulder strap 5 1 to facilitate a user carrying the dust cleaner 50, an electric cord 54 connected to the back socket 116 of the power supply 115 so that the dust cleaner 50 and the main body 10 have a common power supply, and a first coupler 53 connected to a connecting pipe 52 which is connected to a second coupler 530 which is mounted on the snapping terminal 44 of the recovery channel 42 to connect the dust cleaner 50 to the recovery channel 42 of the connecting member 40.

As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the steam cleaner further comprises a connector 60 connected to the connecting member 40, and an end cap 68 mounted on the connector 60.

The connector 60 has a first end provided with an insertion terminal 62 inserted into and locked in the mounting terminal 43 of the recovery channel 42 by a snapping member 64 and a second end provided with a spraying terminal 65. The connector 60 has a periphery provided with a plurality of serrated portions 61 extending from the insertion terminal 62 to the spraying terminal 65. The connector 60 has an inside formed with a spraying conduit 66 having a first end provided with a connection 63 connected to the inner nozzle 46 of the guide channel 45 and a second end connected to the spraying terminal 65, and a recovery conduit 67 having a first end connected to the recovery channel 42 and a second end connected to the spraying terminal 65.

The end cap 68 is mounted on the spraying terminal 65 of the connector 60 and provided with a hook portion 681 hooked onto the serrated portions 61 of the connector 60. The end cap 68 has an inside formed with a first hole 680 connected to the spraying conduit 66 of the connector 60 and a second hole 682 connected to the recovery conduit 67 of the connector 60.

When in use, the atomized steam produced by the water supply system 11 is guided through the guide channel 45 of the connecting member 40, the spraying conduit 66 of the connector 60 and the first hole 680 of the end cap 68 and is sprayed outward from the first hole 680 of the end cap 68 to provide a washing effect. At the same time, the dust cleaner 50 is started to produce a vacuum suction force in the recovery channel 42 of the connecting member 40, the recovery conduit 67 of the connector 60 and the second hole 682 of the end cap 68 to provide a dusting and recovery effect.

Accordingly, the steam cleaner provides washing, cleaning, dusting and recovery effects simultaneously, thereby enhancing the versatility of the steam cleaner. In addition, the dust cleaner 50 is provided with a shoulder strap 51 to facilitate a user carrying the dust cleaner 50, so that the steam cleaner is portable, thereby facilitating the user operating the steam cleaner. Further, the dust cleaner 50 and the main body 10 have a common power supply, without having to provide electric cords additionally, thereby preventing the user from being tangled with too many electric cords. Further, the push button 17 is locked by the locking block 16, so that the water supply system 11 is operated successively, thereby facilitating the user operating the steam cleaner. Further, the liquid is filtered by the filter 122 before entering the heater 113 to prevent the metallic material contained in the liquid from being attached to the heater 113, thereby enhancing the lifetime of the steam cleaner.

As shown in FIGS. 11-13, the steam cleaner further comprises a connector 70 connected to the connecting member 40, and a cleaning unit 80 mounted on the connector 70.

The connector 70 has a first end provided with an insertion terminal 72 inserted into and locked in the mounting terminal 43 of the recovery channel 42 by a snapping member 74 and a second end formed with a neck portion 75 having a distal end transversely provided with a elbow section 76. The elbow section 76 of the connector 70 has a hollow oblong shape and has two sides each provided with a retractable shaft 760. The elbow section 76 of the connector 70 has a periphery formed with a receiving space 761. The connector 70 has a periphery provided with a plurality of serrated portions 71. The connector 70 has an inside formed with a spraying conduit 77 having a first end provided with a connection 73 connected to the inner nozzle 46 of the guide channel 45 and a second end provided with an outer nozzle 771 connected to the elbow section 76, and a recovery conduit 78 having a first end connected to the recovery channel 42 and a second end connected to the elbow section 76.

The cleaning unit 80 includes a substantially V-shaped scraper 82 mounted on and protruded from the connector 70, and a base 81 having a periphery formed with a plurality of protrusions 814 rested on the scraper 82 and a plurality of recovery grooves 815 located between the protrusions 814 and connected to the recovery conduit 78 of the connector 70 and having inside formed with a closed chamber 811 having a first end face provided with a connecting tube 813 connected to the outer nozzle 771 of the spraying conduit 77 and a second end face formed with a plurality of injection holes 812. The base 81 of the cleaning unit 80 is mounted in the receiving space 761 of the elbow section 76 and has two sides each provided with a press member 83 having a snapping portion 831 snapped onto a wall of the receiving space 761.

When in use, the atomized steam produced by the water supply system 11 is guided through the guide channel 45 of the connecting member 40, the spraying conduit 77 of the connector 70 and the closed chamber 811 of the cleaning unit 80 and is sprayed outward from the injection holes 812 of the cleaning unit 80 to provide a washing effect. At the same time, the scraper 82 of the cleaning unit 80 provides a scraping and cleaning effect, while the dust cleaner 50 is started to produce a vacuum suction force in the recovery channel 42 of the connecting member 40, the recovery conduit 78 of the connector 70 and the recovery grooves 815 of the cleaning unit 80 to recover the dirt scraped by the scraper 82 to provide a dusting and recovery effect.

As shown in FIGS. 14-16, the steam cleaner further comprises a cleaning unit 90 mounted on the connector 70.

The cleaning unit 90 includes a mounting frame 91 mounted on the elbow section 76 of the connector 70 and having inside formed with a closed chamber 94 having an end face formed with a plurality of injection holes 941, a connecting pipe 93 mounted on the mounting frame 91 and connected to the outer nozzle 771 of the spraying conduit 77 and the closed chamber 94 by a hose 931, a dusting opening 95 formed in a bottom of the mounting frame 91 and connected to the recovery conduit 78 of the connector 70, and two rollers 96 rotatably mounted on the bottom of the mounting frame 91. The mounting frame 91 of the cleaning unit 90 has a side provided with a neck support 910 to support the neck portion 75 of the connector 70. The mounting frame 91 of the cleaning unit 90 is provided with two pivot seats 92 each mounted on the respective retractable shaft 760 of the elbow section 76 of the connector 70 and each formed with a shaft hole 921 to receive the respective retractable shaft 760.

When in use, the atomized steam produced by the water supply system 11 is guided through the guide channel 45 of the connecting member 40, the spraying conduit 77 of the connector 70 and the closed chamber 94 of the cleaning unit 90 and is sprayed outward from the injection holes 941 of the cleaning unit 90 to provide a washing effect. At the same time, the dust cleaner 50 is started to produce a vacuum suction force in the recovery channel 42 of the connecting member 40, the recovery conduit 78 of the connector 70 and the dusting opening 95 of the cleaning unit 90 to recover the washed dirt to provide a dusting and recovery effect.

Although the invention has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiment(s) as mentioned above, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claim or claims will cover such modifications and variations that fall within the true scope of the invention.