Title:
SYSTEM FOR MANAGING BUCKET-LESS WIPING AND MOPPING FOR CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for bucket-less wiping and mopping for controlled environments, includes a belt formed from a flexible, web-formed material having an adjustable buckle thereon to secure the belt around a user's waist. The belt includes at least one ring threaded onto the belt for securing a cleaning tool such as a dispensing bottle thereto. The system includes a pair or disposable bags mounted to the belt for holding fresh and used cleaning consumable items, respectively.



Inventors:
Bonnell, Karen F. (Montvale, NJ, US)
Johnson, Louisa K. (Encinitas, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/678816
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
02/26/2007
Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS, INC. (Glenview, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/682, 224/677
International Classes:
A45C1/04; A45F3/00; F42B39/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOMPKINS, ALISSA JILL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC (ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS) (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for bucket-less wiping and mopping for controlled environments, comprising: a belt formed from a flexible material, the belt having a buckle thereon; at least one ring threaded onto the belt for securing a cleaning tool thereto; and at least one bag mounted to the belt for holding one or more cleaning consumable items.

2. The system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the buckle is a size-adjusting buckle.

3. The system in accordance with claim 1 including a liquid dispensing bottle having a portion to hang the bottle from the at least one ring.

4. The system in accordance with claim 3 wherein the portion to hang the bottle is a trigger for dispensing liquid from the bottle.

5. The system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the bag includes at least to cooperating slits and wherein the belt is threaded through the slits to secure the bag to the belt.

6. The system in accordance with claim 5 including two bags mounted to the belt.

7. The system in accordance with claim 1 including two rings threaded onto the belt.

8. The system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the belt is formed from polypropylene, polyester or nylon.

9. The system in accordance with claim 8 wherein the belt is formed from a web material.

10. The system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the belt and the buckle are formed from a material that is sterilized using steam, ethylene oxide or dry heat.

11. A cleaning tool and implement management system, comprising: a web belt having a size adjustable, releasable buckle thereon; a pair of disposable bags mounted to the belt, one of the bags being for storing fresh consumables and the other bag being for storing used consumables, the bags being hung from the belt without additional hardware; at least one rigid ring threaded onto the belt; and a cleaning implement secured to the ring.

12. The system in accordance with claim 11 wherein the web belt is formed from polypropylene, polyester or nylon.

13. The system in accordance with claim 11 wherein the cleaning implement is a liquid dispensing bottle having a trigger, and wherein the bottle is hung from the ring by the trigger.

14. The system in accordance with claim 11 wherein the bags have vertical slits in an upper end thereof and wherein the bags are mounted to the belt by threading the belt through the slits, and wherein the bags are removable from and replaceable on the belt.

15. The system in accordance with claim 11 wherein the size adjustable buckle is formed from acetal, polypropylene or nylon.

16. The system in accordance with claim 11 wherein the belt and the buckle are formed from a material that is sterilized using steam, ethylene oxide or dry heat.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a system for managing bucket-less wiping and mopping for controlled environments. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a belt that is used to provide ready access for retrieving and storing cleaning implements and consumables for use in controlled environments.

Many of today's high technology and medical-related processes and functions are required to be carried out in controlled environments. For example, the manufacture and fabrication of precision instrument or electronics parts are be carried out in highly controlled environments or cleanrooms. Likewise, the production of pharmaceuticals or manufacture of medical instruments often require controlled environments as well.

In order to maintain the levels of cleanliness required, conventional methods for cleaning industrial and manufacturing facilities must be re-thought. That is, typical industrial and manufacturing facility cleaning devices and methods simply are not suited for use in such controlled environments.

For example, carts that are used to carry the cleaning devices, and the cleaning devices themselves, such as mops and buckets, are not the most efficient and practical cleaning devices to use. In fact, carts, buckets and mops can at times, create more contamination than they are able to clean.

As such, dry wipes, low-fluid wipes and the like have become more of the standard for cleaning many of these environments. However, even these cleaning tools can cause more mess and contamination if they cannot be properly contained and managed.

Accordingly, there is a need for a system to manage controlled environment cleaning. Desirably, such a system reduces the amount of materials needed to be brought into the controlled environment. More desirably, such a system provides for segregating fresh and used cleaning implements and consumables.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A system for bucket-less wiping and mopping is ideally suited for use in controlled environments, and especially confined spaces where floor space is limited. The system includes a belt formed from a flexible material, such as a polypropylene, polyester or nylon web. The belt has buckle thereon to permit adjusting the size of the belt to fit the user. A present buckle is a side release formed from an acetal, polypropylene or nylon material.

The belt includes at least one and preferably two (or more) rings threaded onto the belt for securing a cleaning tool thereto. A pair of disposable bags are mounted to the belt for holding one or more cleaning consumable items such as wipers, mop heads and the like. The bags are intended to store fresh and used items in a segregated manner.

A liquid dispensing bottle is included. The bottle has a portion to hang the bottle from one of the rings. The bottle trigger for dispensing liquid can be used as the belt hanger.

To hang the bags, the bags include cooperating slits at an upper end such that the belt is threaded through the slits to secure the bags to the belt. The bags may also be hung or suspended by rings or other attachments.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, in conjunction with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The benefits and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the relevant art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a system for managing bucket-less wiping and mopping for controlled environments;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a typical liquid dispensing bottle;

FIG. 3 is a top view of an exemplary buckle for use with the belt system; and

FIG. 4 is a threading illustration for the buckle of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings and will hereinafter be described a presently preferred embodiment with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiment illustrated.

It should be further understood that the title of this section of this specification, namely, “Detailed Description Of The Invention”, relates to a requirement of the United States Patent Office, and does not imply, nor should be inferred to limit the subject matter disclosed herein.

Referring to the figures and in particular to FIG. 1 there is shown a system 10 for managing bucket-less mopping and wiping for controlled environments. The system 10 centers around a belt 12 that includes various appurtenances and secures or holds the cleaning tools needed as well as a segregated supply of fresh F and used U cleaning items, such as consumables.

The belt 12 is formed from a flexible material, preferably a webbed material such as polypropylene, polyester or nylon. For comfort, as well as integrity, the belt 12 is about 1 inch wide and about 0.050″ thick. The material can be a single ply or multiple ply material. To secure the belt 12 around the user's waist, the belt 12 includes a buckle 14, such as a side release buckle commercially available from ITW Nexus of Des Plaines, Ill. A preferred buckle 14 is formed from an acetal, polypropylene or nylon material and is the same width (1 inch) as the web. The buckle 14 is two-piece buckle of the size adjustable type and includes, on a first part 14a, a single loop 15 through which the belt 12 is threaded and sewn or sealed to itself (as seen at 16), and a second part 14b that includes a plurality of loop bars 18 through which the adjustable portion of the belt 12 is threaded (as seen in FIG. 4). Appropriate belt 12 and buckle 14 materials are capable of being cleaned and sterilized using steam, ethylene oxide (ETO), dry heat, or like cleaning materials and methods.

To facilitate maintaining segregation of the fresh or clean F and used or dirty U materials, the belt 12 includes at least two disposable bags 24. The bags 24 can be, for example, plastic bags that include slits or openings 28 through which the belt 12 can be threaded. The slits 28 are in an upper portion 30 of the bag 24, above the contents-retaining or storage areas 32. This retains the bags 24 attached to the belt 14 without the need for additional materials such as clips or the like. Extra bags 24 can also be included (e.g., in an additional bag mounted to the belt 12).

The belt 12 also includes at least one and preferably two (or perhaps more) D-rings or O-rings 34 through which the belt 12 is threaded or inserted. The rings 34 are permitted to slide along the belt 12 and are preferably not secured in place on the belt 12. This permits the user to configure or arrange the system 10 in a most preferred manner.

In a present system 10, a dispensing bottle 36, such as a liquid spray bottle is attached to the belt ring 34 for easy access. The bottle 36 can be of the type that includes a trigger handle 38. The rings 34 permit the bottle trigger 38 to be inserted into the ring 34 to thus hang or hold the bottle 36. Other cleaning implements and/or tools can be hung from the rings 34 as well. The rings 34 are also preferably formed from a suitable, cleanable/sterilizable material.

It is envisioned that fresh or clean mop covers or wipes F will be held in one of the bags 24a and after use, the used or dirty materials U will be contained in the other bag 24b. In this manner, cleaning can be carried out without placing anything down on a surface, for example a counter top, to by chance become contaminated or to spread contamination. A mop or other implement can also be carried on the belt (by inserting a hook or handle, not shown, into one of the rings 34), in such a manner as to not contact or rest on the floor unless for cleaning purposes, as necessary.

It will be appreciated that the present system 10 is specifically designed for use in controlled environments, and more specifically, in cleanrooms. Cleanroom maintenance requires cleaning all of the room's surfaces on a periodic basis (each shift, daily, weekly, monthly, and the like). In the past, floor surfaces have been cleaned with string mops, for example, using bucket and wringers, or in certain cases, bucket-less flat mop systems. Other surfaces such as wall, ceilings, windows, counters, and even tools and the like, must also be cleaned on a regular basis. Flat, bucket-less mop systems are ideal for these cleaning tasks.

However, bucket-less systems often require frequent trips to a central location to obtain cleaning solution, and to dispose of soiled mop covers and replace the covers with fresh covers. Multiple trips can result in lower productivity and can result in the spread of contamination. To reduce the frequency of trips, carts are often used. However, as will be appreciated, carts bring their own problems, such as space requirements, the spread of contaminants and the general issues that can arise with an additional piece of cleaning equipment. While this may not be problematic in larger open areas, in smaller or confined areas, a cart can be more of a problem than a solution. Moreover, even in larger, open areas, the bucket system moves throughout the area and can spread contamination. In addition, many areas, open and confined, contain fixed equipment around which the buckets cannot be easily maneuvered.

The present system 10 resolves many of these issues. In fact, the present system 10 is the only known system that is secured to a user's body for use in cleanrooms. The system 10 requires less floor space (and in fact no floor space) compared to known systems which use carts and buckets. Moreover, the present system 10 reduces contamination, eliminates the need for a bucket or cart (or ancillary equipment) in a cleanroom environment, and saves time and cleanroom space. In addition, it will be appreciated that buckets can be difficult to sterilize, whereas the present system 10 is easily cleanroom laundered and sterilized. Furthermore, the present system 10 uses disposable components F, U, 24 (the web belt 12 can be cleaned/laundered, recycled, or disposed of), and can be handily packaged for cleanroom use. It will also be appreciated that the system 10 and its components can be stored in the cleanroom, requiring minimal shelf space or, if hung, minimal wall space (and no shelf space).

All patents referred to herein, are hereby incorporated herein by reference, whether or not specifically done so within the text of this disclosure.

In the present disclosure, the words “a” or “an” are to be taken to include both the singular and the plural. Conversely, any reference to plural items shall, where appropriate, include the singular.

From the foregoing it will be observed that numerous modifications and variations can be effectuated without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the present invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific embodiments illustrated is intended or should be inferred. The disclosure is intended to cover by the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the scope of the claims.