Title:
Cleaning Appliance
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleaning appliance has a main body and a hose attached thereto, the hose being attached to the main body by means of a connector. The connector is movable between a first position in which the hose is stored on the main body and a second position in which the hose provides a dirty airflow to the main body for cleaning purposes. When the connector is in the second position, the hose extends away from the main body in a plane which passes through the centre of the main body. This improves the balance of the main body during use.



Inventors:
White, William Robert James (Wiltshire, GB)
Application Number:
11/596321
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
04/21/2005
Assignee:
Dyson Technology Limited (Wiltshire, GB)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/00; A47L5/00; A47L5/32; A47L5/36; A47L9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCDONALD, SHANTESE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A cleaning appliance, comprising a main body and a hose attached thereto, the hose being attached to the main body by a connector which moves between a first position in which the hose is stored on the main body and a second position in which the hose conveys a dirty airflow to the main body for cleaning purposes, the connector being configured so that when the connector is in the second position, the hose extends away from the main body in a plane which passes through the centre of the main body.

2. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1, wherein, when the connector is in the second position, the hose extends away from the main body along a line which passes through the centre of mass of the main body.

3. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the connector comprises a curved member connected to the main body and to the hose.

4. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 3, wherein the connector is rotatably connected to the main body.

5. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 3, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is about 90°.

6. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 3, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is between 110° and 150°.

7. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 6, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is about 135°.

8. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the connector comprises a sleeve through which the hose passes.

9. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 8, wherein the hose is connected directly to the main body.

10. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 9, wherein the hose is connected to the main body in a rotatable manner.

11. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the hose is removably attached to the main body.

12. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein, when the connector is in the first position, the hose is wrapped around the main body of the appliance for storage purposes.

13. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the appliance is a vacuum cleaner.

14. (canceled)

15. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 4, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is about 90°.

16. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 4, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is between 110° and 150°.

17. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 16, wherein the angle through which the curved member turns is about 135°.

18. A cleaning appliance as claimed in claim 4, wherein the connector comprises a sleeve through which the hose passes.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a national stage application under 35 USC 371 of International Application No. PCT/GB2005/001531, filed Apr. 21, 2005, which claims the priority of United Kingdom Application No. 0410700.9, filed May 13, 2004, the contents of both of which prior applications are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a cleaning appliance, particularly but not exclusively to a vacuum cleaner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Vacuum cleaners are usually of the upright or cylinder type. Cylinder cleaners consist of a main body containing a motor and fan unit for drawing an airflow into the main body and separating apparatus for extracting dirt and dust from the airflow and retaining it for disposal. The separating apparatus can be a cyclonic arrangement, bags or filters or a combination of these. A hose and wand assembly is connected to the inlet of the main body and an accessory in the form of a floor tool having a suction opening is attached to the end of the wand remote from the main body so that the suction opening can be manoeuvred across the surface to be cleaned by the user. Upright cleaners commonly have a cleaner head permanently attached to the main body of the vacuum cleaner which is manoeuvred, together with the main body, across the surface to be cleaned. However, many upright cleaners can also be operated in the manner of a cylinder machine by having a removable or releasable hose and wand assembly provided to which an accessory such as a floor tool can be attached. In such cases, the hose and wand is stored on the main body of the vacuum cleaner. It is also becoming more popular to store the hose of a cylinder vacuum cleaner on the main body by wrapping it around the main body.

A disadvantage of the known arrangements for storing a hose on the main body of a vacuum cleaner is that the connection between the hose and the main body is designed to suit either the storage configuration or the in-use configuration. Designs which favour the storage configuration provide a connection between the hose and the main body which can make the machine unstable in use. Designs which favour the in-use configuration are awkward to store.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a cleaning appliance having a main body and a hose attached thereto, the hose being attached to the main body by means of a connector which is movable between a first position in which the hose is stored on the main body and a second position in which the hose is usable for carrying a dirty airflow to the main body for cleaning purposes, characterised in that, when the connector is in the second position, the hose extends away from the main body in a plane which passes through the centre of the main body.

The provision of a movable connector allows the hose to be aligned with the centre of the main body when the appliance is in use so as to maximise stability, and to be stored efficiently on the main body when the appliance is not in use. For upright machines, it is envisaged that the connector will form an elbow having a substantially right-angled bend and, for cylinder machines, the angle will be approximately 135°. The preferred arrangement for cylinders provides a particularly efficient solution when the hose is to be stored by wrapping around the main body.

In a preferred embodiment, the connector forms a sleeve through which the hose passes. The hose is then connected directly to the main body of the appliance, preferably in a rotatable manner so that the movement of the connector is accommodated by the hose. This avoids the need to provide a separate hose or conduit between the connector and the main body and so has cost benefits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cylinder vacuum cleaner according to the present invention showing the hose in a storage position (only part of the hose being shown for purposes of clarity):

FIG. 2 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 1, showing the hose in an operational position;

FIG. 3 is a top view of a connector forming part of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 on an enlarged scale;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of an upright vacuum cleaner according to the present invention showing the hose in a storage position: and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 4, showing the hose in an operational position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The vacuum cleaner shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is a cylinder cleaner 10. As is commonly known, the vacuum cleaner 10 has a main body 12 which houses a motor (not shown) for drawing an airflow into cyclonic separating apparatus 14. The main body 12 has wheels 16 which allow the main body 12 to be manoeuvred across a surface to be cleaned during cleaning operations. The motor is positioned in the main body between the wheels 16. The cyclonic separating apparatus 14 shown in the embodiment uses centrifugal forces to spin the dirt and dust particles out of the airflow passing through the vacuum cleaner. However, the cyclonic separating apparatus 14 shown here could easily be replaced by other separating apparatus such as filters, bags or a combination of the two. The nature of the separating apparatus is immaterial to the present invention and will not be described any further here.

The vacuum cleaner 10 also has a hose 20 which is connected to an inlet 18 of the cyclonic separating apparatus 14. The hose 20 is normally attached to a wand (not shown) by means of which a floor tool or other cleaning accessory can be manoeuvred across the surface to be cleaned. In use, dirt and dust is picked up by the floor tool or other accessory and carried along the wand and hose to the inlet 18. It is then separated from the airflow in which it is entrained in the cyclonic separating apparatus 14 before being passed across the motor for cooling purposes and then exhausted to atmosphere.

The invention concerns with the connection between the hose 20 and the main body 12. Although the hose 20 communicates with the inlet 18 of the cyclonic separating apparatus 14, a connector 30 for holding and guiding the hose 20 is provided on the main body 12 close to the forward end of the main body 12. This connector 30 is supported on the main body 12 by a projecting arm 22 which is rigidly fixed to or formed integrally with the main body 12 and has a cylindrical collar 24 formed at the end thereof. The connector 30 and the collar 24 are shown together in FIG. 3.

The connector 30 comprises a curved member 31 which has a first cylindrical end 32 adapted to fit inside the collar 24 so that the first cylindrical end 32 can rotate with ease within the collar 24. The first cylindrical end 32 and the collar 24 thus have a common axis 34. The curved member 31 also has a second cylindrical end 36 which has an axis 38. The axes 34, 38 intersect at an angle a. Between the first and second cylindrical ends 32, 36, the curved member 31 follows a smooth curved path. The interior of the curved member 31 is dimensioned so as to be able to receive the hose 20 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The curved member 31 thus takes the form of a sleeve through which the hose 20 passes.

The first cylindrical end 32 incorporates a resilient catch 40 by means of which the first cylindrical end 32 is held inside the collar 24. This connection allows the first cylindrical end 32 to rotate within the collar 24 but axial movement is prevented unless the catch 40 is released. The second cylindrical end 36 incorporates apertures 42 used to locate means for gluing the hose 20 to the connector 30 so that, following the gluing process, no relative movement is permitted between the hose 20 and the connector 30.

The connection between the hose 20 and the inlet 18 is a simple friction fit which permits relative rotation between the end of the hose 20 and the inlet 18. Hence, if the hose 20 were to be twisted about its longitudinal axis, the end thereof located in the inlet 18 would also twist without becoming disconnected therefrom.

The connector 30 is movable, by means of the rotation of the first cylindrical end 32 within the collar 24, between a first position in which the hose is stored on the main body of the machine, as shown in FIG. 1, and a second position in which the hose is usable for carrying a dirty airflow to the main body for cleaning purposes, as shown in FIG. 2. In the first position, although only part of the hose 20 is shown in FIG. 1, it can be seen that the hose 20 is wrapped around the main body 12 of the vacuum cleaner 10 for storage. The shape of the connector 30 and the position of the collar 24 allow the hose 20 to wrap neatly around the front of the main body 12 and to follow the shape thereof so that, when the hose 20 is stored, the vacuum cleaner is compact and tidy.

When the vacuum cleaner 10 is to be used for cleaning purposes, the hose 20 is released from its storage position shown in FIG. 1. The in-use position is illustrated in FIG. 2 from which it can be seen that the hose 20 extends generally forwardly of the main body 12. In order to bring the hose 20 to this position, the connector 30 moves with respect to the collar 24, simply by means of the first cylindrical end 32 rotating with respect to the collar 24 about the axis 34. The second cylindrical end 36 is thereby moved into the position shown in FIG. 2 with the axis 38 extending directly forward of the main body 12 and passing through the centre of the main body 12. To be more specific, the axis 38 lies in a vertical plane passing through a point midway between the wheels 16. This balances the main body 12 during normal use, which involves the main body 12 being manoeuvred across a surface by the user applying a pull-force to the hose 20. The central positioning of the axis 38 along which this pull-force is applied reduces the possibility of the machine becoming unbalanced.

It is even more advantageous if the axis 38 passes through the centre of mass of the main body. In many cases, the centre of mass is determined to a large extent by the position of the motor, which is usually the heaviest component within a vacuum cleaner main body. In the embodiment shown, the motor is positioned between the wheels 16 as has been mentioned above. Thus the alignment of the plane in which the axis 38 lies with the centre of mass of the main body 12, as determined by the position of the motor, is preferred.

In order for the connector 30 to move from the first position shown in FIG. 1 to the second position shown in FIG. 2, the connector 30 is simply rotated with respect to the collar 24. Because the hose 20 is glued to the connector 30, as has been described above, the movement of the connector 30 results in a twisting movement of the hose 30 about its longitudinal axis. The simple connection between the inlet 18 to the cyclonic separating apparatus 14 and the end of the hose 20 closest to the main body 12 allows this twisting movement to be accommodated by rotation of the hose 20 in the inlet 18. No torsion is thus created in the hose 20 between the connector 30 and the inlet 18.

The gluing of the hose 20 to the connector 30, and the axial fixing of the connector 30 to the collar 24, means that any pull-forces applied to the hose 20 are transferred to the main body 12 via the projecting arm 22. No axial forces are transmitted along the hose downstream of the connector 30 as a result of the user pulling on the hose 20. This is advantageous because it allows the connection between the hose 20 and the inlet 18 to be kept as simple as possible and this reduces costs. The fact that the hose 20 passes through the interior of the connector 30, which essentially forms a sleeve around the relevant part of the hose 20, means that a single length of hose can be used between the wand carrying the floor tool or other accessory and the inlet 18. This reduces the number of parts required which minimizes the risk of leaks occurring in the machine. Also, the fact that the connector 30 is releasably attached to the collar 24 means that, by releasing the catch 40, the hose 20 and connector can together be released from the main body 12 for packaging, storage or blockage removal if required.

In the case of the cylinder vacuum cleaner shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the angle a between the axis 34 and the axis 38 is considerably greater than 90° but less than 180°. The ideal angle a would be substantially 135° if the hose 20 were required to wrap symmetrically about the main body 12. However, it is not always necessary for the hose 12 to wrap symmetrically about the main body 12 and so some variation in the angle a is acceptable. In the embodiment shown, the angle a is substantially 115°. It is envisaged that the angle a could be varied between 110° and 150° without affecting the suitability of the connector 30 to carry out the function required of it.

A second embodiment is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. In this embodiment, the appliance is an upright vacuum cleaner 50 having, as is well known, a main body 52 including a motor housed in a motor casing 53, cyclonic-separating apparatus 54 and a cleaner head 55 rotatably mounted on the motor casing 53. Wheels 56 are also mounted on the motor casing 53 on either side of the motor. A releasable hose and wand assembly 57 is provided on the main body 52. When the cleaner 50 is to be used as an upright cleaner as shown in FIG. 4, the hose and wand assembly 57 is stored on the main body 52 so that the wand forms a handle 59 by means of which the cleaner 50 can be manoeuvred across the surface to be cleaned. When the cleaner 50 is to be used in cylinder mode for above the floor cleaning as shown in FIG. 5, the hose and wand assembly 57 is released from the main body 52 in a known manner.

The hose 60 of the hose and wand assembly 57 is attached to the main body 52 by way of a connector 70. The upstream end of the connector 70 is connected to the downstream end of the hose 60. This connection can be rigidly formed or can be rotatable so as to allow relative rotation between the hose 60 and the connector 70. The downstream end of the connector 70 is rotatably connected to the main body via an inlet 58 which communicates with the cyclonic separating apparatus 54. The connection between the downstream end of the connector 70 and the inlet 58 permits the connector 70 to rotate relative to the inlet 58 about an axis which defines the direction of flow of air through the downstream end of the connector 70. This permits the connector 70 to move between a first position, in which the hose is stored on the main body 12 as shown in FIG. 4, and a second position in which the hose is usable for cleaning purposes as shown in FIG. 5. The hose 60 can be releasably connected to the connector 70 if desired. Furthermore, the connector 70 can be releasably connected to the inlet 58.

The location of the connector 70 is such that, when the hose and wand assembly 57 is released for above-the-floor cleaning, the hose 60 extends away from the main body in a plane which bisects the main body 12. The centre of gravity of the main body 52, which is dictated primarily by the position of the motor, also lies in this plane. This configuration means that, when a user applies a pulling force to the hose 60, the direction of that force passes through the plane of the centre of gravity of the main body 52 which reduces the risk of the main body 52 turning unintentionally about its vertical axis or becoming unbalanced.

As can be seen from FIG. 4, the connector 70 consists essentially of a curved member which turns through an angle of substantially 90°. The axis about which the connector 70 rotates with respect to the inlet 58 is thus substantially horizontal whilst the hose 60 lies in a substantially vertical position when it is in the stored position. The connector 70 can be formed as a simple curved conduit which forms a continuation of the hose 60.

It is anticipated that the connectors 30, 70 described above will be formed economically from a plastics material by injection moulding.

It will be appreciated that the invention is not intended to be limited to the precise details of the embodiments described above. Variations and modifications will be apparent to a skilled reader. For example, the nature of the separating apparatus used in the vacuum cleaners need not be cyclonic and any suitable type of separating apparatus can be used. It is also envisaged that a wrap-around hose storage system of the type shown in FIG. 1 to 3 could be used on an upright vacuum cleaner if desired.