Title:
Mop bucket closure assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a novel mop bucket cover assembly, wherein a fully removable lid is tightly secured to a mop bucket by several clamps. The clamps may be changed in an infinite amount of locations around a rim of the mop bucket to provide a superior seal. This cover assembly serves to keep the contents of the bucket from spilling out during transport, while also offering the additional safety of retaining chemical contents within the bucket when the bucket is tipped over. This invention is useful to those in the custodial business, as well as the suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers of groups in this trade.



Inventors:
Outlaw, Donald (Hampton, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/399896
Publication Date:
10/11/2007
Filing Date:
04/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D45/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CASTELLANO, STEPHEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bradley D. Goldizen (Maysville, WV, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A combination mop bucket and cover assembly comprising: a mop bucket having sidewalls and a bottom, said sidewalls defining an opening, a lip extending from said sidewalls and surrounding the opening; a lid comprising a planar surface and having edges, said lid extending across the opening such that the edges overlap said lip; and, a plurality of clamps having a pair of jaws, a pair of handles attached to the jaws and a coiled spring arranged between said pair of jaws to bias the jaws toward a closed position, a surface area of the jaws being longer than a surface area of the handles, said clamps each comprising a pair of jaws that are substantially planar, each jaw being connected to a handle such that each pair of jaws are opened by squeezing a pair of handles together; wherein the plurality of clamps are removably arranged around the edge of the lid to pinch the edges of the lid against the lip to cause a seal.

2. The combination mop bucket and cover assembly of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises an inert, plastic material.

3. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, said front region includes a curved edge, connected to a pair of straight edges arranged in the central region, each straight edge attaches to a curved edge that extends outward from a center of the opening, said central region comprising a straight edge attaching to curved edge and extending from the central region to the rear region and attach to curved corners, said curved corners attaching to a curved edge in the rear region.

4. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the front region including a first straight edge and having curved corners, said curved corners connecting to extensions in the central region, wherein the back region is a mirror image of front region.

5. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a back region, the front region and back region being mirror images of one another and including a straight edge connected to curved corners, each of said curved corners connecting to an extension.

6. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the front region including a curved section centrally located within the front region with two curved corners located on either side of the curved section, each curved corner connecting to an oblique edge that extends away from one another such that a distance between the oblique edges is greater in the rear region than in the front region.

7. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the lid comprising a first curved edge attached to a first curved corner in the front region. Said corner attaches to a straight edge that attaches to a curved edge, the curved edge connecting at an opposite end to a second curved corner in the rear region.

8. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein each clamp comprises a pair of jaws that are substantially flat and having a smooth, interior surface.

9. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein each clamp comprises a spring that includes a coiled region and ends extending from opposite sides of the coiled region.

10. The combination mop bucket of claim 1 wherein each jaw comprises an ear having a through-hole, and a pin extending through each through-hole such that the pin extends through the spring to bias the handles in opposite directions.

11. A combination mop bucket and cover assembly comprising: a mop bucket having sidewalls and a bottom, said sidewalls defining an opening, a lip extending from said sidewalls and surrounding the opening; a lid comprising a planar surface and having edges, said lid extending across the opening such that the edges overlap said lip; a plurality of clamps having a pair of jaws, each jaw comprising a handle attached thereto and a coiled spring arranged between said pair of jaws to bias the jaws toward a closed position; and, wherein the plurality of clamps are arranged around the edge of the lid to pinch the edges of the lid against the lip to cause a seal, said clamps each comprising a pair of jaws that are substantially planar, each jaw being connected to a handle, such that each pair jaws are opened by squeezing a pair of handles together; and, wherein each clamp comprises a pair of jaws that are substantially flat and having a smooth, interior surface.

12. The combination mop bucket and cover assembly of claim 11 further comprising a lid comprising an inert, plastic material.

13. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, said front region includes a curved edge, connected to a pair of straight edges arranged in the central region, each straight edge attaches to a curved edge that extends outward from a center of the opening, said middle region comprising a straight edge attaching to curved edge and extending from the central region to the rear region and attach to curved corners, said curved corners attaching to a curved edge in the rear region.

14. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the front region including a first straight edge and having curved corners, said curved corners connecting to extensions in the central region, wherein the back region is a mirror image of front region.

15. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the front region and back region being mirror images of one another and including a straight edge connected to curved corners, each of said curved corners connecting to an extension.

16. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the front region including a curved section centrally located within the front region with two curved corners located on either side of curved section, oblique edges that extend away from one another such that a distance between the oblique edges is greater in the rear region than in the front region, straight edges arranged between the angled edges and the curved edges, straight edges being arranged between a back and the curved edges.

17. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein the lid comprises a front region, a central region and a rear region, the lid comprising a curved edge attached to a curved corner, said curved corner attaching to a straight edge that attaches to a curved edge, the curved edge connects at an opposite end to curved corner which is attached to a curve.

18. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein each clamp comprises a spring that includes a coiled region and ends extending from opposite sides of the coiled region.

19. The combination mop bucket of claim 11 wherein each jaw comprises an ear having a through-hole, and a pin extending through each through-hole such that the pin extends through the spring to bias the handles in opposite directions.

20. A combination mop bucket and cover assembly comprising: a mop bucket having sidewalls and a bottom, said sidewalls defining an opening, a lip extending from said sidewalls and surrounding the opening; a lid comprising a planar surface and having edges, said lid extending across the opening such that the edges overlap said lip; and, a plurality of clamps having a pair of jaws, each jaw comprising a handle attached thereto and a coiled spring arranged between said pair of jaws to bias the jaws toward a closed position, each clamp comprises a spring that includes a coiled region and ends extending from opposite sides of the coiled region; wherein the plurality of clamps are arranged around the edge of the lid to pinch the edges of the lid against the lip to cause a seal, said clamps each comprising a pair of jaws that are substantially planar, each jaw being connected to a handle, such that each pair jaws are opened by squeezing a pair of handles together; and, wherein each jaw comprises an ear having a through-hole, and a pin extending through each through-hole such that the pin extends through the spring to bias the handles in opposite directions.

Description:

There are no related patent applications.

This application did not receive federal research and development funding.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a mop bucket, a planar lid and quick attachment means that prevents spillage of internal liquids from a mop bucket to which the lid is attached. More particularly, the invention is a combination mop bucket, mop bucket lid and a plurality of readily attachable/detachable clamps that secure the lid to the mop bucket. By securing the lid, the user does not invite water and chemical spills that frequently occur when transporting mop buckets during use and cleaning processes.

2. Description of Prior Art

Maintaining the cleanliness of commercial, industrial, institutional and public buildings is a task that needs constant attention. The cleanliness of these areas is of utmost importance because of the large numbers of people that are frequently exposed to these areas. To that end, any inventions that improve both the safety and efficiency of these tasks are significant.

One particular facet of custodial work involves mopping floors. Over the years, certain mop buckets have been introduced that have helped to increase the efficiency of the mopping process. One such improvement was placing the mop buckets on wheels to allow the user to easily move the bucket as work is performed. However, despite these improvements, little development has been made toward enhancing the safety of mopping or preventing spillage of liquids from the mop bucket.

Mop buckets typically contain hot water, ammonia, detergents, bleach, phosphates and similar compounds that can cause sever injury either by contact with the skin or eye, or by slipping on them. Moreover, spillage of these caustic liquids may cause deterioration of wax that has been applied to a cleaned floor necessitating the re-application of wax to the affected area and leading to inefficient use of resources.

These safety and inefficient use of resource concerns have been greatly ignored by the prior art. U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,175 introduced a mopping system with an open-topped bucket on which a drain was attached. While such a design helps with productivity, the danger of tipping over the bucket and its contents, or easily spilling the harmful contents remains. In similar fashion U.S. Pat. No. 6,431,217 discloses a cleaning system for aiding in the mopping of floors. This system includes a water tank with an attached dispenser as well as a cleaning-liquid dispenser.

A further device aimed at alleviating some of the safety concerns associated with mopping is directed towards child safety. U.S. Pat. No. 4,288,000 discloses a child-resistant lid for a pail that features a small opening for a mop. However, the lid used in this invention is difficult to remove and reattach to ensure that a child could not open it. Thus, the bucket lid actually worked against efficiency and may actually contribute to a spillage because of the difficult nature of removal of the lid from the bucket. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,441 discloses another child-safe mop bucket. This patent also has a child-safe lid that is difficult to remove along with a small slot for the mop. Thus, this patent was designed for home use, and is inapplicable to the productivity needs of places open to the public. Because of the difficulty in removing the lid, this patent does not aid in preventing spillage of liquids from within the mop bucket.

It is obvious that there is vast room for improvements in this field of invention. No mop bucket has simultaneously made improvements in both efficiency and safety. While mop buckets for home use do not necessitate extreme efficiency, mop buckets for use in commercial building and public areas having large floor surfaces require both safety and efficiency. The present invention addresses these concerns by presenting a novel system for increasing both safety and efficiency for commercially used mop buckets.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention at hand features important improvements in the safety, versatility and efficiency of mopping. Today the shape of most buckets makes transporting water and chemicals a difficult task. Some of the buckets include odd-shaped sidewalls that adversely affect the ability of the user to prevent splashing of any liquid from an interior of a bucket. Thus, these mop buckets are good for cleaning as long as the bucket is not moved during the process. The present invention alleviates this problem. It comprises a lid comprising a planar, inert material impervious to water and chemicals. The lid is cut to be sized and shaped to perfectly match one of the seven most common mop buckets on the market today. This lid is placed onto the mop bucket and then held in place by typically two to four clamps that include an engagement jaw assembly that pinches an exterior surface of the lid against an upper edge of sidewalls of the bucket to close an opening in the bucket that is used for accessing an interior of the bucket. While these clamps effectively hold the lid on the bucket, they are also easily removed to ensure that they do not impede efficiency. Thus, the lid is formed to a particular shape and thereafter may be used to prevent water or other chemicals contained within an interior of the bucket from being accidentally spilled or splashed from the bucket.

The instant invention provides additional efficiency improvements as compared to the prior art. Most importantly the lid eliminates water and chemical spillage that occurs when transporting the bucket to different locations. When custodial staff must mop large areas, they frequently have to transport the bucket with them. Eliminating any potential spills that occur during their task helps by ensuring that the custodians do not have to waste any time or money mixing additional chemicals or cleaning up spills.

The lid also aids in efficiency because it offers the user the option of saving their cleaning solution for later use. By merely placing and securing the lid onto the bucket, the user may save the contents, thereby saving time and operating costs.

The present invention is an improvement over the prior art because of its versatility. All of the previous art was designed to fit onto a particular mop bucket; often the mop bucket's size was part of the patent. In contrast, the present invention is custom designed to fit any one of seven of the most commonly used mop buckets on the market. Thus, this allows the user to use their existing buckets, and then attach the matching lid thereto. Additionally, even the clamps may be provided in various sizes to guarantee at tight-fitting lid. Therefore the flexibility of the present invention allows numerous users to gain from its efficiency without requiring them to purchase an entirely new mopping system.

Finally the present invention features new safety enhancements. First, the lid is made of chemical resistant material that serves to help contain chemical odors. Also, the clamps fasten the lid securely over the mop bucket and its contents, such that the invention prevents spills that occur during transport. The invention prevents harmful chemical spills that people can either slip on, or accidental release of caustic liquids that may cause deterioration of wax that has been applied to a cleaned floor necessitating the re-application of wax to the affected area and leading to inefficient use of resources. Consequently, the present invention presents novel advancements in efficiency, versatility, and safety.

The above explanations are provided to illustrate the utility of the invention. And, by no means necessary were these explanations intended to limit the application of this invention to other purposes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a prospective view of the mop bucket cover assembly, including the clamps and the lid, as attached to a mop bucket. FIG. 1B is a partial view of the lid, clamp and lip taken from line D-D.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a prior art type of mop bucket.

FIG. 3 is plan view of a first individual lid design.

FIG. 4 is a a plan view of a second lid design having a different size and shape than that of the design shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is plan view of a third lid design.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of a fourth lid design.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a fifth lid design.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a clamp t for use in practicing the invention. FIG. 8B is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a clamp that may be used to practice the invention.

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a first spring embodiment used in the clamp shown in FIG. 8A. FIG. 9B is a perspective view of a second spring embodiment of the second clamp shown in FIG. 8B.

FIG. 10 is an elevated side view of a clamp and having arrows showing the compressive forces exerted by a pair of jaws.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is an elevated prespective view of the mop bucket cover assembly, including the clamps 2 and the lid 1, as attached to a mop bucket 4. The mop bucket lid 1 is comprised of a rigid, planar material and may be shaped as shown in FIGS. 3 through 7. The planar material is lightweight such that it may be commercially provided in a single sheet and cut to an appropriate shape for a uniquely shaped opening in a mob bucket. The variable shapes shown in these Figures correspond to commercially available mop buckets. A surface area of the lid 1 is slightly larger than an opening 33 of a mop bucket 4 shown in FIG. 2. Typically, lid 1 overlaps a lip 3 that surrounds an edge of opening 33. A plurality of clamps 2 are arranged around the lip 3 to exert a first pressure onto an upper surface 50 of the lid 1, while simultaneously exerting an second pressure opposite to the first pressure, as shown in FIG. 10. By overlapping the edge 52 of the lid 1, a lower surface of the lid (not shown), firmly seals against an upper surface 35 of the lip 3. A plurality of clamps 2 is positioned around the lid 1 to ensure that a complete seal between the lower surface of the lid and the upper surface 35 of the entire lip 3 is accomplished.

FIGS. 1 and 2 depict mop bucket 4. Mop bucket 4 is comprised of a closed bottom 32, sidewall 31, and an opening 33. Mop bucket 4 typically comprises swiveling castors 34 that include wheels and one attached to bottom 32. A bucket handle 99 fastens to opposite sides of bucket 4. Mop bucket lid 1 covers mop bucket 4 when lid 1 is arranged on top of bucket 4 so that the outer edge of lid 1 is aligned with the edge of mop bucket lip 3. A removable clamp 2 comprises an upper clamp half 45 and a lower clamp half 46 as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. A coil spring 37 is arranged between the upper and lower clamp halves 45, 46, as more clearly shown in FIGS. 8 and 10. Each half 45, 46 includes a respective jaw 35, 36 connected to a handles 38. Jaw 35 exerts a downward pressure; whilst jaw 36 exerts an upward pressure as more clearly shown by the force diagram of FIG. 10. Arrow A and B represent the respective forces of each jaw when in a closed position used to secure lid 1 to bucket 4. The clamps are easily removed by squeezing handles 38 together to release the opposing pressure of the jaws 35, 36.

Lid 1 is secured to bucket 4 when the user places clamp 2 on the outer edge of the bucket and lid assembly so that the upper jaw 35 secures the upper surface 50 of lid 1 onto to the bucket 4 by the application of downward pressure by spring 37, and the lower jaw 36 secures bucket lip 3 to lid 1 by the application of upward pressure by spring 37.

FIGS. 3 through 7 are plan views of different lid designs for the present invention. Each of these lids are aimed at fitting a particular bucket of a prior art device. FIG. 2 is representative of one of these prior art buckets. FIG. 7 is a lid that is directed towards covering opening 33 of FIG. 2. In each of FIGS. 3 through 7, broken lines “F” represents delineation between a front region 70 and side region 71. Broken lines “B” represent a demarcation between side region 71 and back region 72. Broken lines “C” represent a center line interesting each of the front, side, and back regions to provide a “left” and “right” region of each lid. It should be noted that in all the lids of FIGS. 3 through 7, the left side is a mirror image of the right side.

FIG. 7 depicts a first embodiment of a mop bucket lid comprised of a planar material with a surface area of a larger size than the opening of a mop bucket. This lid may be used to cover the opening 33 shown in FIG. 2. As can more clearly be seen in FIG. 1B, sidewall 31 includes a lip 3. The planar material comprising the lid is waterproof and chemical resistance, preferably of an inert, plastic, material. In this embodiment, the front region 70 includes a curved edge 5, connected to straight edges 6 arranged in the side region 71. Each straight edge 6 attaches to a curved edge 7 that extends outward from a center of the opening 33. A straight edge 8 attaches to curved edge 7 and extends from the side region 71 to the back region 72 and attach to curved corners 9. Curved corners 9 attaches to curved edge 10, as shown.

FIG. 3 depicts a second embodiment of the mop bucket lid comprising a different design than FIG. 7. As in the first embodiment, the mop bucket lid comprises a planar material having a surface area of a larger size than the opening of a mop bucket. Typically, lid 1 comprises a front region 70 that includes a straight edge 11 having curved corners 12, as shown. Curved corners 12 connect to extensions 13 in a side region 71. Extensions 13 are arranged on either side of straight edge 14. The back region 72 is a mirror image of front region 70.

FIG. 4 depicts a further embodiment of a differently shaped lid for a mop bucket. As in the previous embodiments, the lid comprises a planar material with a surface area slightly larger or substantially equal to the opening of a mop bucket. The lid 1 comprises a front region 70, a side region 71 and a back region 72. The front region 70 and back region 72 are mirror images of one another and include a straight edge 15 connecting to curved corners 16. Curved corners 16 connect to extensions 17 on either side.

FIG. 5 depicts a further lid design. In this embodiment, the lid includes all of the aforementioned elements that are common in nature to FIGS. 3 and 4. The planar material is formed in a capital “a-shape” and also includes a front, back and central region defined by respective lines “F”, “B” and “C”. The front region 70, includes a curved section 18 centrally located within the front region and having a middle that is intersected by center line “C”. Two curved corners 19 are located on either side of curved section 18. Oblique edges 20 intersect lines “F” and “B” such that a distance along line “F” is less than the distance along line “B” from edge to edge in the respective front and back regions. Straight edges 21 interact angled lines 20 at an oblique angle and attached to curved edges 22 or an opposite end. Straight edges 23 are arranged between back 24 and curved edges 22, as shown.

FIG. 6 depicts a further embodiment of the lid for use with a differently shaped mop bucket. In this embodiment, the lid comprises a planar material having all of the respective common properties mentioned previously. The lid comprises a curved edge 25, attached to a curved corner 26. Curved corner 26 attaches to straight edge 27 which in turn attaches to a curved edge 28. Curved edge 28 connects at an opposite end to curved corner 29 which attaches to curve 33. Back 30 is sandwiched between curves 33 such that center line “C” intersects it in the center.

FIGS. 8A and 10 correspond to a first embodiment of the clamp 2; whilst FIG. 8B depicts a second embodiment of the clamp 2. In both embodiments, jaws 35 and 36 are substantially flat and smooth to allow them to easily extend across an edge of the lid and the lip to cause them to be pinched together. This pinching action creates a seal, as shown in FIG. 1B. This seal exists between the lid 1 and the lip 3 thereby preventing fluids from being spilled or splashed from the bucket as it is moved. In each embodiment, the jaws are larger in surface area than the pinching handles 38 to ensure that a larger surface area of the lid is covered and sealed against the lip of the bucket.

FIGS. 9A and 9B correspond to the clamps shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, respectively. As can easily be appreciated by the skilled artisan, the springs are arranged either wholly or partially internal to the clamp. As shown in in FIGS. 8A and 9A, spring 37 comprises a coiled region 65 and having ends 69 extending from each end thereof. Ends 69 extend across or near a central region of the clamp and may be offset towards either the handles 38 or jaws 35, 36. Spring 37 is arranged such that jaws 35, 36 are biased together.

In FIG. 9B, each half of the spring comprises a includes an ear 55 having a through hole 54 therethrough. A pin 58 extends through the first ear 55 and into the second ear 55 and is arranged there between such that the overlapping ears are coupled together such that the pin 54 extends through the central barrel 65 of either of the springs shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. Spring 37 bias the handles 38 in opposite directions.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the exact construction illustrated and described above, but that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.





 
Previous Patent: Storage container lid

Next Patent: Enclosed bathtub liner