Title:
FIBROUS PAD FOR CLEANING/POLISHING FLOORS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleaning/polishing pad for cleaning or polishing stone, terrazzo or concrete floors comprises a flexible, disk-shaped pad body having an upper mounting surface and a lower working surface, the pad body comprising natural wool fibers. A plurality of resin segments spaced apart from one another and affixed adjacent the lower working surface of the disk-shaped pad body, the resin segments including diamond particles embedded therein, wherein each of the plurality of resin segments is affixed to the pad body in such a way that the majority of the resin segment stands proud of the pad body.



Inventors:
Popov, Georgi M. (Braselton, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/926735
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
10/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L13/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RACHUBA, MAURINA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARDNER GROFF & GREENWALD, PC (Marietta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cleaning/polishing pad for cleaning stone, terrazzo or concrete floors, the cleaning/polishing pad comprising: a flexible, disk-shaped pad body having an upper mounting surface and a lower working surface, the pad body comprising natural wool fibers; and a plurality of resin segments spaced apart from one another and affixed adjacent the lower working surface of the disk-shaped pad body, the resin segments including diamond particles embedded therein, wherein each of the plurality of resin segments is affixed to the pad body in such a way that the majority of the resin segment stands proud of the pad body.

2. A cleaning/polishing pad for cleaning stone, terrazzo or concrete floors, the cleaning/polishing pad comprising: a flexible, disk-shaped pad body having an upper mounting surface and a lower working surface, the pad body comprising wool fibers; and a plurality of resin segments spaced apart from one another and affixed adjacent the lower working surface of the disk-shaped pad body, the resin segments including diamond particles embedded therein.

3. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 2 wherein the resin segments are located from one another at predetermined, non-random distances.

4. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 3 wherein the resin segments are spaced apart from one another about 5-10 mm.

5. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 2 wherein the resin segments are arranged in concentric rings.

6. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 2 wherein each of the plurality of resin segments is affixed to the pad body in such a way that the majority of the resin segment stands proud of the pad body.

7. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 6 wherein the resin segments extend beyond the surface of the pad body between about 0.5 mm and about 12 mm.

8. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 7 wherein the resin segments extend beyond the surface of the pad body between about 0.5 mm and about 3 mm.

9. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 2 wherein at least some of the resin segments are located in close proximity to an outer edge of the cleaning/polishing pad.

10. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 2 further comprising a releasable attachment backing for securing the pad to a machine and secured adjacent the upper mounting surface of the flexible, disk-shaped pad body.

11. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 10 wherein the releasable attachment backing comprises hook and/or loop material.

12. A cleaning/polishing pad for cleaning stone, terrazzo or concrete floors, the cleaning/polishing pad comprising: a flexible, disk-shaped, fibrous pad body having an upper mounting surface and a lower working surface; and a plurality of resin segments spaced apart from one another and affixed adjacent the lower working surface of the disk-shaped pad body, the resin segments including abrasive particles embedded therein.

13. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein the disk-shaped pad body comprises wool.

14. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 further comprising a releasable attachment backing secured adjacent the upper mounting surface of the resilient, disk-shaped pad body.

15. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 14 wherein the releasable attachment backing comprises hook and/or loop material.

16. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein each of the plurality of resin segments is affixed to the pad body in such a way that the majority of the resin segment stands proud of the pad body.

17. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 16 wherein the resin segments extend beyond the surface of the pad body between about 0.5 mm and 3 mm.

18. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein at least some of the resin segments are arranged in circular arrays.

19. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein the resin segments are located from one another at predetermined, non-random distances.

20. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein at least some of the resin segments are located in close proximity to an outer edge of the cleaning/polishing pad.

21. A cleaning/polishing pad as claimed in claim 12 wherein the abrasive particles comprise diamond particles or diamond-like particles.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application is a Continuation-in-Part and claims the priority benefit of U.S. Non-Provisional Ser. No. 11/844,137, filed Aug. 23, 2007, entitled “FIBROUS PAD FOR CLEANING/POLISHING FLOORS, and the specification thereof is incorporated herein by this reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to pads for use with floor cleaning machines for cleaning and polishing stone, terrazzo, and/or concrete floors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Scouring, cleaning and polishing pads are widely known and used to clean and restore stone, terrazzo, and/or concrete floors and surfaces. Often, such pads are disk-shaped and fitted to a conventional floor-cleaning machine of a conventional type. Typically, floor-cleaning machines apply pressure to the disk-shaped pads and rotate or gyrate the pads against the floor to be cleaned/polished. It is widely known in the art for a user to apply a cleaning/polishing paste or solution to the floor before applying the disk-shaped pads thereto, to aid the pads in successfully removing dirt and/or residue from the floor. Generally, these pastes or solutions often include abrasive particles therein to aid in scouring and grinding the stone/concrete floor.

Recently, cleaning pads have been introduced that include abrasive particles within the pads so that additional cleaning solutions/pastes are generally no longer needed or their need has been minimized. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,204,745 discloses a disk-shaped cleaning element comprised of a nylon scouring material having a plurality of recesses distributed across the element's active cleaning surface, wherein the recesses contain grinding elements therein. However, these cleaning elements only apply the abrasive particles to the surface to be cleaned when the cleaning element is compressed against the same with force. In this manner, a user must apply additional pressure to the conventional floor-cleaning machine if the user wants the abrasive particles of the cleaning element to engage the cleaning surface. Additionally, it has been found that nylon scouring elements are not well-suited for retaining a sufficient quantity of abrasive particles, resulting in a very short pad life span. Moreover, the abrasive particles that are retained within nylon scouring elements are often easily detached therefrom. Finally, it has been found that nylon does not polish stone, terrazzo, concrete, etc. very well.

Thus it can be seen that needs exist for improvements to cleaning/polishing pads for polishing or cleaning the surface of stone, terrazzo, concrete, and the like, the pad having abrasive particles located within/on the pad. Additionally, it can be seen that needs exist for improvements in the materials used in the construction of cleaning/polishing pads that offer longer life spans and improved polishing qualities. It is to the provision of a cleaning and polishing element that meets these needs and others that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a cleaning/polishing pad for cleaning stone, terrazzo or concrete floors. The cleaning/polishing pad includes a flexible, disk-shaped, fibrous pad body having an upper mounting surface and a lower working surface. A plurality of resin segments are affixed to the pad body, are spaced apart from one another and are affixed adjacent the lower working surface of the disk-shaped pad body. Advantageously, the resin segments include diamond particles embedded therein.

Preferably, the fibrous pad body comprises a natural fiber, and most preferably the disk-shaped pad body comprises dense natural wool. The inventor has found that a natural wool pad body does an excellent job of adhering the resin segments thereto, improving the life and reliability of the cleaning/polishing pad.

With the cleaning/polishing pad having a strong, reliable adhesion between the resin segments and the fibrous pad body, long-lasting, normally costly, abrasives can be employed rationally. Indeed, the strength of the bond between the resin segments and the wool pad body is particularly well-suited to the use of industrial diamond as the abrasive. The resulting cleaning/polishing pad exhibits outstanding cleaning and polishing performance, while at the same time providing very long life (good economy).

Optionally, the resin segments are spaced regularly apart from one another at pre-determined distances. Optionally, the resin segments are arranged in a concentric ring pattern. Alternatively, the resin segments can be arranged in other patterns, including a gradual spiral.

The inventor has found that placing the resin segments on the working surface of the pad body (so that the resin segments stand proud thereof) is superior to imbedding abrasive-bearing resin in openings formed in a pad. This is so because having the resin segments extend above the surface of the pad body keeps the resin (and the abrasive therein) continually exposed despite progressive wear on the resin segments during use. Indeed, in this way nearly all of the resin (and nearly all of the abrasive) can be consumed before the cleaning/polishing pad becomes unusable due to wear. This construction thus makes economical use of diamond particles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cleaning pad according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the cleaning pad shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is side view of the cleaning pad shown in FIG. 1 depicted with several of the resin segments removed for clarity.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a single resin segment as shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawing figures, which form a part of this disclosure. It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the specific devices, methods, conditions or parameters described and/or shown herein, and that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments by way of example only and is not intended to be limiting of the claimed invention. Also, as used in the specification including the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include the plural, and reference to a particular numerical value includes at least that particular value, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from “about” or “approximately” one particular value and/or to “about” or “approximately” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent “about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment.

Referring now to the drawing figures, FIGS. 1-3 depict a cleaning/polishing pad 10 according to an example embodiment of the present invention. Generally, the cleaning pad 10 comprises a pad body 20 and a plurality of resin segments 30 affixed thereto. The pad 10 can be received by a conventional floor-cleaning machine for direct application to a floor or other surface to be cleaned and/or polished. Typically, the pad 10 of the present invention can be used to clean and polish hard surfaces, such as stone, terrazzo, concrete, and/or other similar surfaces, as desired by a user.

In example embodiments, the pad body 20 is generally disk-shaped and has a circular hole 22 formed in the center of the pad body to accommodate a conventional floor-cleaning machine. However, in other embodiments, the pad body 20 can be rectangular, elliptical, or other shapes as desired. The disk-shaped pad body 20 can be produced in multiple sizes to accommodate different conventional floor-cleaning machines, the pad body ranging from about 3 inches to more than 30 inches in diameter. Additionally, the thickness of the pad body 20 can vary as desired, and for example can range from about ¼ inch to over 1 inch. In one exemplary commercial embodiment, the pad body 20 is approximately 9 inches in diameter and about ⅜ inch thick. In other exemplary commercial embodiments, the pads can be about 15 or 16 inches in diameter. In still other commercial embodiments, the pads can be about 5, 7, 8, 10¾, 12, 14, 17, 18, 24, or 27 inches in diameter. It is preferred, but not required, that the pad body 20 can be constructed from any flexible, fibrous, and/or resilient material, although in commercial embodiments, the body is formed from natural wool fiber. It has been found that pad bodies 20 constructed from natural wool display the appropriate amount of both resiliency and flexibility and are particularly adept at adhering to the resin segments described below. Other natural fibers can be employed in the pad body, such as cotton or sisal. However, the use of wool is preferred.

The pad body 20 can better be defined as having an upper mounting surface 24 and lower working surface 26. The upper mounting surface 24 is received by a conventional floor-cleaning machine and affixed thereto. The mounting surface 24 can be secured to a floor-cleaning machine with epoxy, glue, snaps, hook and loop material (VELCRO®), or other conventional means of the achieving the same. In commercial embodiments, the mounting surface 24 includes a loop backing 28 for releasable engagement with a plurality of hooks located on a corresponding receiving surface of a conventional floor-cleaning machine.

The lower working surface 26 is the pad body's active cleaning/polishing surface, which a user works against the floor or other surface to be cleaned. The working surface 26 has a plurality of resin segments 30 affixed thereto. The resin segments 30 are generally much more abrasive than the underlying pad body 20 and, as seen in FIG. 4, comprise both cured (solidified) resin 32 and abrasive particles 34, such as diamonds, diamond-like materials, diamond simulants, silicon, garnet, glass, etc. The resin 32 binds the abrasive particles 34 (diamond or otherwise) to the pad body 20, which promotes the long-term adherence of the abrasive particles to the same. In commercial embodiments, the use of wool for the body 20 permits a very strong adhesion between the pad body and resin segments 30, as the resin 32 is believed to be infused into the closely-knit fibers of the wool and create a strong bond thereto.

In example embodiments, the resin segments 30 are attached to the exterior of the pad body 20, and thus it has been found that pads according to the present invention can contain a larger quantity of abrasive particles 34 per pad than other cleaning/scouring pads presently known in the art. Moreover, by having the resin segments stand proud of the pad body, as the resin segments are worn away through use, abrasive (preferably diamond) particles remain exposed for use by virtue of the segments being proud of, instead of in, the pad body.

Example embodiments can utilize many different types of resin 32 to bind the abrasive particles 34 therein, such as one or more types of epoxy resin. In commercial embodiments, epoxy resin is preferred. As previously discussed, the resin segments 30 project vertically beyond the working surface 26 of the pad body 20 when the body is in a non-pressurized state, as best seen in FIGS. 3-4. The distance that the resin segments can project vertically beyond the working surface 26 ranges between about 0.5 mm and about 12 mm, although in commercial embodiments, the resin segments extend out between about 0.5 mm and 3 mm. It has been found that if the resin segments 30 extend too far beyond the pad working surface 26, the resin 32 and abrasives 34 can break off from the same in use, particularly when meeting a seam in a floor. So the resin segments should not be made to stand too tall in relation to the surface of the pad body. On the other hand, making the resin segments shorter limits the effective life of the pad.

In alternative embodiments, some abrasive particles can also be contained within the pad body 20. In the commercial embodiment, the resin segments are attached to the pad body by pouring liquid resin (containing diamond particles) onto the pad body and allowing the resin to cure (set up and solidify). Before the resin cures, some of the resin is absorbed into the fibers of the pad body and becomes infused therein, resulting in a stronger adhesion than if the resin segments remained merely completely external to the pad body.

The segments 30 can be applied to the working surface 26 in multiple configurations including: circular arrays, concentric circles, a continuous spiral, or other configurations as desired, and can extend from the inner hole 22 to the outer edge of the pad body 20 to ensure that the entire pad can be utilized. Regardless of the exact configuration and layout of the segments 30, it is preferred that the segments are spaced apart from each other in some manner. The segments 30 can be spaced apart between about 2 mm and more than 10 mm apart. In an exemplary commercial embodiment, each segment 30 preferably is spaced between about 5 mm and 10 mm apart from the adjacent resin segments. The spacing between the segments 30 provides room for the flexible pad body 20 to contact the surface to be cleaned in a complementary fashion to the abrasive filled resin segments. It also provides a handy space for dust, dirt, stone residue, cleaning residue, etc, to collect and be expelled without interfering with the contact between the resin segments and the floor.

In commercial embodiments, it has been found a wool pad body 20 has the right flexibility to conform to the gap between the resin segments 30, gently adding to the polishing of the floor by allowing a slight, low-force contact between the pad body and the floor surface.

In operation, a user desiring to clean/polish a stone, terrazzo, and/or concrete surface can affix a cleaning pad 10 according to an example embodiment to a corresponding surface of a conventional floor-cleaning machine. The user can then operate the floor-cleaning machine in a conventional manner, (e.g., through powered rotation), such that the working surface 26 of the cleaning pad 10 is applied and worked against the floor surface to be cleaned. As the pad 10 is pressed against the floor surface to be cleaned, the resin segments 30 scour and polish the surface. Because the resin segments 30 are vertically projected beyond the pad body 20 (when the body is in a relaxed state), the segments are constantly engaged with the surface to be cleaned. However, the pressure from the floor-cleaning machine can cause the flexible and fibrous (e.g., wool) pad body 20 to conform to the gaps between each resin segment 30, whereby the surface to be cleaned is worked and polished by both the resin segments, containing the abrasive particles, and the fibrous pad body. Additionally, because the pad body 20 is flexible, the pad 10 is able to conform to any undulations or surface irregularities in the floor to be cleaned. The pads 10 can be used dry or wet, although in commercial embodiments it is recommended that the pads be used dry, as the need for a wetting agent or paste is minimized or obviated by the abrasive particles 34 protruding from the pad body 20.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred and example embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications, additions and deletions are within the scope of the invention, as defined by the following claims.





 
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