Title:
PAD PRESSURE CONTROL DEVICE FOR A FLOOR BURNISHER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floor burnisher has a base portion with a rotatable pad. A lower portion of a handle post is pivotally connected to the base portion. A lower portion of a spring rod assembly is pivotally connected to the base portion and an upper portion of the spring rod assembly is connected to an upper portion of the handle post. The pressure at which the pad contacts a floor surface may be selectively adjusted. The handle post may be pivoted about the base portion so that a spring within the assembly is compressed. The force from the compressed spring is communicated to the base portion to pivot the base portion with respect to a floor surface.



Inventors:
Rupp, Mark N. (Delaware, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/245838
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/06/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Attention Stephen P. Evans (Toledo, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A floor burnisher, comprising, a base portion having a pad connected for rotation to a motor; a handle post having an upper portion and a lower portion, wherein the lower portion is pivotally connected to the base portion; a spring rod assembly having an upper portion and a lower portion, wherein the lower portion is pivotally connected to the base portion and wherein said upper portion is pivotally connected to the upper portion of the handle post.

2. The floor burnisher of claim 1, wherein the uppermost end of said handle post has laterally extending operator bars.

3. The floor burnisher of claim 1, wherein a first clamp is provided about said upper portion of said handle post, said spring rod assembly being pivotally connected to said first clamp.

4. The floor burnisher of claim 3, wherein said first clamp is selectively and slidably engaged with said handle post.

5. The floor burnisher of claim 1, wherein the spring rod assembly comprises an upper rod connected to a piston, said piston connected to a spring located within a spring housing, wherein said spring housing is connected to a lower rod that is pivotally connected to said base portion.

6. The floor burnisher of claim 5, wherein a second clamp selectively secures said upper rod from moving with respect to said spring housing.

7. A floor burnisher, comprising: a spring rod assembly comprising an upper rod and a lower rod and a spring located between said rods; a handle post having a lower portion connected to a base portion of said burnisher and an upper portion connected to said spring rod assembly by a selectively releasable clamp, wherein said upper rod is connected to said clamp; wherein said lower rod is pivotally connected to said base portion to pivot a selectively rotatable pad on said base portion into and out of engagement with a floor surface.

8. The burnisher of claim 7, wherein a piston is connected to an end of said upper rod, said piston selectively compressing said spring within a spring housing, said lower rod being connected to said spring housing.

9. The burnisher of claim 7, wherein said handle post and said spring rod assembly are both pivotally attached to a rear portion of said base portion, said spring rod assembly being pivotally attached outboard of said handle post.

10. The burnisher of claim 7, wherein said base portion comprises a motor positioned above a set of main wheels, a burnishing pad cover located forward of said main wheels, said pad cover housing said pad.

11. A method selectively changing the pressure at which a burnishing pad located on a base portion of a burnishing machine contacts a floor surface, comprising: selectively engaging an upper rod of a spring rod assembly with a handle post by tightening a first clamp; pivoting said handle post about said base portion so that a piston connected to said upper rod compresses a spring within a spring housing, wherein said spring urges said spring housing and a lower rod connected to both said spring housing and said base portion downward toward said floor surface; pivoting said base portion away from said floor surface in response to said downward motion of said lower rod.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein after said handle post is pivoted, said upper rod is selectively secured against motion with respect to said spring housing via a second clamp.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein compression on said spring can be selectively released by releasing said first clamp.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein both said first clamp and a second clamp are selectively released to permit said burnishing machine to operate in a float mode wherein the full weight of the machine is applied to the burnishing pad.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein a spring force of said compressed spring is communicated through said lower rod to a connection point of said lower rod to said base portion, said connection point located rearward from a set of main wheels, to pivot said base portion about a center of gravity located forward of said main wheels.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein prior to pivoting said handle post both said first clamp and a second clamp that selectively secures said upper rod against motion with respect to said spring housing are relaxed.

17. The method of claim 11, wherein beyond a predetermined angle of rearward pivot of said handle post, the spring force from said spring fails to pivot said base portion away from said floor surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a pad pressure control device for a floor burnisher.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Consumers often appreciate establishments that have clean, bright and gleaming floors. Certain establishments, such as stores, have extensive floor areas that may cover tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of square feet. Much, if not all, of the floor surface must be swept, scrubbed and/or burnished to keep it in a safe and appealing condition for consumers.

Floor burnishers are well-known devices used for cleaning and polishing a floor, such as the floor in a retail store. A floor burnisher is a machine that burnishes the floor finish to a high state of gloss and enables its operator to cover large areas of floor in a limited amount of time. However, because of the large square footage some stores now have, it is particularly critical for a burnisher to operate efficiently and to be comfortable for the operator.

The prior art devices typically have handles for the operators to guide the burnisher along the floor. The handles may be located at a fixed height. It can be readily appreciated that the fixed height handles of these machines can be difficult for all operators to comfortably grasp. In these situations, the ability of the operator to control the machine and achieve an ideally polished floor is greatly diminished.

Some floor burnishers have adjustable handles that can be secured into a particular position for each operator. A key missing feature of these machines, however, is the ability to change the pressure the pad asserts on the floor.

Those skilled in the art know that adjustable pad pressure is important to machine performance. Specifically, a higher pad pressure might be needed at isolated floor locations with significant scuffing while only a lighter pad pressure should be used for general floor polishing.

The prior art designs also have another significant disadvantage relating to both comfort and safety. Namely, to achieve the highest possible pad pressure the handle must be in a vertical or near vertical orientation, with respect to the floor. It can be readily appreciated that this handle position can be extremely uncomfortable for the operator. A vertical, or near vertical, handle orientation also makes the device very difficult to control, thus putting the operator and property at risk.

In view of the foregoing, it would be advantageous for a floor burnisher to have a handle that could be readily adjusted for operator comfort so that a desired pad pressure can be consistently maintained.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a floor burnisher. The burnisher may have a base portion with a rotatable pad. A handle post, having an upper portion and a lower portion, is provided where the lower portion is pivotally connected to the base portion. The burnisher may also have a spring rod assembly with an upper portion and a lower portion. The lower portion of the spring rod assembly is pivotally connected to the base portion and the upper portion of the spring rod assembly is connected to the upper portion of the handle post.

The structure utilized above may be used to selectively change the pressure at which the pad contacts a floor surface. In one embodiment, the handle post may be pivoted about the base portion so that a spring within the assembly is compressed. The force from the compressed spring is communicated to the base portion to pivot the base portion with respect to a floor surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above, as well as other advantages of the present invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic cutaway side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 in one orientation;

FIG. 3 is a partial schematic cutaway side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 in yet another orientation; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic exploded view of a component of the device of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

It is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions, directions or other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.

Turning now to FIGS. 1 and 2, one embodiment of a floor burnisher 10 is depicted. The burnisher has a base portion 12 with a pad 14 connected for rotation to a motor 16. The pad 14 is located within a pad cover 18. The pad cover 18 substantially covers the pad 14 except that the cover 18 is open on its underside to permit the pad 18 to contact a floor surface 20.

The pad cover 18 is connected to a burnisher frame 22. In this embodiment, the pad cover 18 is mounted beneath the burnisher frame 22.

The motor 16 may be mounted on the burnisher frame 22. The motor 16 is connected to the pad 14 to selectively rotate the pad 14. The motor 16 may be connected to the pad 14 by gearing and/or belts.

The motor 16 may be such as an electric motor. The electricity may be provided by one or more batteries, but in this embodiment the motor 16 is connected to an electrical outlet. Other sources of rotational energy, such as internal combustion engines powered by propane, or other combustible fluids, may be used as well.

A set of main wheels 24 is rotationally attached to the frame 22. Preferably the main wheels 24 are located below the burnisher frame 22 and rearward of the pad cover 18 and the pad 14. The motor 16 may be located at least partially over the wheels 24 so as to make the burnisher 10 easier to maneuver and to operate.

The burnisher frame 22 extends rearward of the main wheels 24. Behind the main wheels 24, a handle post 26 is pivotally attached to the frame 22. The pivotal attachment may be accomplished such as by a pin 28 located through apertures 30 in a lower portion 32 of the handle post 26. The pin 28 extends into a rearward portion 34 of the frame 22. The pin 28 may be mounted in bushings.

The handle post 26 has an upper portion 36 connected to the lower portion 32. The upper portion 36 is depicted as unitary with the lower portion 32, but the upper 36 and lower portion 32 may be comprised of two separate sections that may be secured together.

The upper portion 36 of the handle post 26 comprises handle bars 38 that extend from the post 26 to create a T-shape. The handle bars 38 are for the operator to grasp to control and direct the machine 10. An on-off switch may be located on the handle bars 38, as well as other controls for the burnisher 30. An electrical cord 40 may be located at the upper portion 36 for connection with an extension cord going to an electrical outlet.

With additional reference to FIG. 4, a spring rod assembly 42 is attached to the burnisher 10. In the depicted embodiment, the assembly 42 is substantially parallel to the handle post 26.

The assembly 42 has an upper portion 44 and a lower portion 46. The lower portion 46 is pivotally connected to the base portion 12. In the depicted embodiment, the lower portion 46 has a fork 48. A pin 50 may extend through each leg of the fork 48. The pin 50 is pivotally mounted with the frame 22 to permit the lower portion 46, and thus the entire spring rod assembly 42, to pivot with respect to the base portion 12. The pin 50 may be mounted in bushings to facilitate pivotal motion. It can be appreciated that the lower portion 46 may be pivotally attached to the base portion 12 via means other than the fork.

The lower portion 46 also comprises a tube 52 extending upwardly from the fork 48. The tube 52 may be hollow, or solid. While a tube 52 has been disclosed, other shapes such as triangular and other multi-sided polygons are within the scope of the invention.

The tube 52 is connected to a spring housing 54. A coil spring 56 and a piston 58 are located within the housing 54. The piston 58 is connected the upper portion 44 of the spring rod assembly 42. More particularly, the piston 58 is connected to an upwardly extending tube 60, similar to the tube 52 of the lower portion 46. The piston 58 is connected to the tube 60 at one end. The other end of the tube 60 comprises a fork 62. The spring 56 normally biases the piston 58 and thus the upper portion 44 of the spring rod assembly 42 upward.

The fork 62 is attached to a first clamp 64. Preferably, the fork 62 is pivotally attached to the first clamp 64. A pivotal attachment may be achieved by locating a pin 66 through the fork 62 and through the first clamp 64. A nut 68 may be used to secure the pin 66 in place.

The first clamp 64 is releasably and slidably secured to the upper portion 36 of the handle post 26. In the depicted embodiment, the first clamp 64 is comprised of three components: two halves 70, 72 and a tightening fastener 74. Curved surfaces 76, 78 in the two halves 70, 72 permit them to be located about the tubular handle post 26. The tightening fastener 74 extends through the two halves 70, 72. A nut 80 may be located on one end of the fastener 74. A handle 82 connected to the fastener 74 may be rotated to draw the nut 80 into engagement with one of the halves 70 or 72, thus bringing both of the halves 70, 72 into tightening engagement with the handle 82.

A second clamp 84 is provided at the top of the spring housing 54 and about the tube 60. The second clamp 84 is also comprised of three components: two halves 86, 88 and a tightening fastener 90. Curved surfaces 92, 94 in the two halves 86, 88 permit them to be located about the tube 60. The tightening fastener 90 extends through the two halves 86, 88. A nut 96 may be located on one end of the fastener 90. A handle 98 connected to the fastener 90 may be rotated to draw the nut 96 into engagement with one of the halves 86 or 88, thus bringing both of the halves 86, 88 into tightening engagement with the tube 60.

A method for selectively changing the pressure at which the burnishing pad 14 located on the base portion 12 of the burnishing machine 10 contacts the floor surface 20 preferably comprises the following steps. In one embodiment, the first clamp 64 is tightened and the second clamp 84 is relaxed while the handle post 26 is in a substantially perpendicular orientation with respect to the base portion 12 (FIGS. 1 and 2).

As seen in FIG. 3, the handle post 26 is pivoted about the base portion 12, such as rearwardly. While the handle post 26 is pivoted, the relaxed second clamp 84 permits the upper tube 60 to move with respect to the spring housing 54. The upper tube 60 pushes the piston 58 in the spring housing 54 in a downward direction. The spring 56 within the housing 54 is compressed.

The spring force is transferred through the lower tube 52 and into the base portion 12 by virtue of the connection of the lower tube 52 with the base portion 12. More particularly, the spring force is transferred to the base portion 12 at a point behind the main wheels 24. The spring force opposes the weight of the burnisher 10, which is applied substantially through the center 100 of the rotating pad 14. Thus, the rearward portion 34 of the frame 22 is biased downwardly toward the floor 20. This has the effect of pivoting a forward portion 102 of the base portion 12 upward, and thus the pad 14, away from the floor surface 20.

It can be appreciated that by selectively moving the handle post 26 up and down the amount of force applied to the rearward portion 34 of the frame 22, and thus the extent to which the pad 14 contacts the floor 20, can be readily adjusted. This mode of operation permits a new, relatively inexperienced user to operate the burnisher 10 with a much lower risk of damaging the floor 20 because of inappropriate pad pressure.

In yet another mode of operation, both the first and the second clamps 64, 84 can be secured to the handle post 26 and the upper tube 60, respectively. This configuration effectively locks the handle post 26 into any configuration desired by the operator which permits the operator to apply more force to the rotating pad 14 than can be provided by the weight of the machine 10 alone. This mode of operation can be useful when the operator wants to remove heavy scuff marks from hard floor treatments.

In yet another mode of operation, both the first and the second clamps 64, 84 can be released. It can be appreciated based on the foregoing that in this mode, the full weight of the floor burnishing machine 10 can be applied to the rotating pad 14.

In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the present invention has been described in what is considered to represent its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its spirit or scope.