US20080307597A1 - Upright vacuum cleaner - Google Patents

Upright vacuum cleaner Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080307597A1
US20080307597A1 US11/761,961 US76196107A US2008307597A1 US 20080307597 A1 US20080307597 A1 US 20080307597A1 US 76196107 A US76196107 A US 76196107A US 2008307597 A1 US2008307597 A1 US 2008307597A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
pulley
vacuum cleaner
opening
brushroll
comprises
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/761,961
Inventor
Donald J. DAVIDSHOFER
Vincent Bobrosky
Brad Chenoweth
Ping Fai Fung
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Electrolux Home Care Products Inc
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Electrolux Home Care Products Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Electrolux Home Care Products Inc filed Critical Electrolux Home Care Products Inc
Priority to US11/761,961 priority Critical patent/US20080307597A1/en
Assigned to ELECTROLUX HOME CARE PRODUCTS, INC. reassignment ELECTROLUX HOME CARE PRODUCTS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FAI, FUNG PING, BOBROSKY, VINCENT, CHENOWETH, BRADLEY E., DAVIDSHOFER, DONALD J.
Publication of US20080307597A1 publication Critical patent/US20080307597A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/02Nozzles
    • A47L9/04Nozzles with driven brushes or agitators
    • A47L9/0427Gearing or transmission means therefor
    • A47L9/0444Gearing or transmission means therefor for conveying motion by endless flexible members, e.g. belts

Abstract

A vacuum cleaner brushroll having a pulley with a generally circular pulley surface surrounding at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface, and an elongated shaft passing through the central opening. The pulley may surrounds and be captured in place by a mounting portion of the elongated shaft that is formed as continuous single structure. A mounting portion of the shaft comprising a continuous structure having a reduced cross section into which the pulley fits may be located within and on either side of the pulley's central opening. A process for making a brushroll is also provided.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to features for use with vacuum cleaners, such as upright vacuum cleaners, wet extractors, stick vacuums, canister vacuums, central vacuums, and the like.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Vacuum cleaning devices, such as upright and canister vacuum cleaners, wet extractors, stick vacuums, electric brooms and other devices, are in widespread use as a tool to clean floors, upholstery, stairs, and other surfaces. Known vacuum cleaning devices have various features that are intended to improve their cleaning effectiveness. For example, a common feature on upright vacuums is a rotating brushroll, and numerous variations of such brushrolls are known in the art. Another feature is the provision of various types of filtration systems, such as vacuum bags, disposable or reusable filters, cyclone separators, and combinations thereof. Still other features relate to controlling the manner in which the vacuum cleaner addresses the surface being cleaned, such as nozzle height adjustment mechanisms.
  • While the prior art provides various features relating to cleaning effectiveness and user convenience, there still exists a need for improvement of and alternative designs for these and other features of vacuum cleaning devices.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In a first exemplary aspect, an embodiment of the invention provides a vacuum cleaner brushroll having a pulley with a generally circular pulley surface surrounding at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface, and an elongated shaft passing through the central opening. The pulley surrounds and is captured in place by a mounting portion of the elongated shaft. The mounting portion includes a continuous, single structure.
  • In another exemplary aspect, an embodiment of the invention provides a vacuum cleaner brushroll having a pulley with a generally circular pulley surface surrounding at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface. An elongated shaft passes through the at least one central opening. A mounting portion of the elongated shaft is located within and on either side of the central opening. The mounting portion includes a continuous structure having a reduced cross section into which the pulley fits.
  • In another exemplary aspect, an embodiment of the invention provides a vacuum cleaner brushroll manufactured by a process. The process includes forming a pulley having a generally circular pulley surface and at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface, and forming an elongated shaft from a continuous piece of material that passes through the at least one opening and at least partially surrounds the pulley to structurally interlock the pulley in place on the elongated shaft.
  • The recitation of this summary of the invention is not intended to limit the claimed invention, and examples of other aspects, embodiments, modification and features of the invention are described herein, and still other aspects, embodiments, modification and features of the claimed invention will be apparent to persons of ordinary skill in view of the disclosures herein. Furthermore, this recitation of this summary of the invention, and the other disclosures provided herein, are not intended to diminish the scope of the claims in this or any prior or subsequent related or unrelated application.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present invention is described in detail with reference to the examples of embodiments shown in the following figures in which like parts are designated by like reference numerals.
  • FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a upright vacuum cleaner.
  • FIG. 2 is a partially-exploded and fragmented view of a rear housing for a vacuum cleaner.
  • FIG. 3 is a fragmented and partially disassembled view of an accessory tool and vacuum cleaner housing mount for the accessory tool.
  • FIG. 4 is a fragmented isometric view of the rear housing of FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of a filter latch.
  • FIG. 6 is a cutaway view of the filter latch of FIG. 5, as shown along line VI-VI thereof, and as shown mounted to a vacuum cleaner housing.
  • FIG. 7 is a fragmented isometric view of a the filter latch of FIG. 5, as shown mounted to a vacuum cleaner housing.
  • FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a dirt separation system for a vacuum cleaner.
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram illustrating the airflow through the dirt separation system of FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded isometric view of a dirt cup and cam plate assembly.
  • FIG. 11 is an oblique front view of the dirt cup of FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 12 is an oblique from view of the dirt cup and cam plate assembly of FIG. 10.
  • FIGS. 13A, 13B and 13C are panoramic schematic diagrams illustrating the operation of a dirt cup and cam plate assembly.
  • FIG. 14 is an exploded isometric view of a vacuum cleaner base.
  • FIG. 15 is a partially cut away view of a wheel mounting arrangement for a vacuum cleaner base.
  • FIG. 16 is an exploded isometric view of a vacuum cleaner brushroll.
  • FIG. 17 is a fragmented and exploded isometric view of a vacuum cleaner brushroll.
  • FIG. 18 is an exploded isometric view of a vacuum cleaner base.
  • FIG. 19 is a cutaway view of a connection between a vacuum cleaner base and rear housing.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTIONS
  • The present disclosure provides numerous inventive features for vacuum cleaners. For brevity, a number of these features and alternative embodiments of the invention are described with reference to their exemplary use in an upright vacuum cleaner, such as the vacuum cleaner 100 shown in FIG. 1. It will be appreciated however, that the features described herein can be used in various other contexts. For example, the various features described herein can be used with canister vacuums, stick vacuums, portable and handheld vacuums, shop vacuums, wet extractors, central vacuum systems, and so on. Furthermore, the various features described herein may be used separately from one another or in any combination thereof. The present disclosure illustrating the use of the various inventions described herein are not intended to limit the inventions in any way.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, the exemplary vacuum cleaner 100 comprises a base 102 to which a rear housing 104 is pivotally mounted. The base 102 is supported for movement over the ground by a pair of rear wheels 106 and a front wheel carriage (not visible) which will be described elsewhere herein. A grip 108 is provided at the top of the of the rear housing, and is shaped to receive an operator's hand, as known in the art.
  • The vacuum cleaner 100 may be powered by an electrical cord (not shown) or batteries (not shown), as known in the art. One or more power controls 110 are provided on the vacuum cleaner. Such controls 110 may be located anywhere on the vacuum cleaner, such as on the rear housing 104, the base 102, or on an associated power cord (not shown). The exemplary power control 110 is provided on the rear housing 104 at a position approximately half way up the housing, which allows the grip 108 and a portion of the rear housing 104 connected to the grip 108 to be easily removed from the vacuum cleaner 100 to make it more compact for shipping. In the shown embodiment, the power control is used to operate a vacuum motor (not shown), but other controls may be provided such as a separate brushroll motor control, wet extractor fluid deposition controls, and the like.
  • The vacuum cleaner 100 also includes a dirt collection system. Typical vacuum cleaner dirt collection systems include bags, cyclone chambers, and filters, and any such device may be used with various embodiments of the invention. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the dirt collection system comprises a removable dirt cup 112 and cyclone chamber 802 (FIG. 8) that are located on the rear housing 104. Alternatively, the dust collection bin 112 and/or cyclone chamber 802 may be replaced by another type of device, and may be partially or entirely mounted on the base 102. For example, a suitable alternative dust collection device would be a bag chamber or external bag that is mounted on the base 102 or rear housing 104.
  • A suitable vacuum fan and motor 902 (FIG. 9) are provided in the base 102 or rear housing 104, as known in the art. Such vacuum fans and motors typically comprise an electric motor that operates a suction fan to generate a working airflow through the vacuum cleaner 100. The working airflow picks up debris from a surface being cleaned, and deposits such debris in the dirt collection system. In some cases, the working airflow passes through the suction fan before it is deposited into the dirt collection system (in which case the dirt collection system operates at higher than atmospheric pressure), and in other cases the working airflow passes through the dirt collection system before it passes through the suction fan (in which case the dirt collection system operates a lower than atmospheric pressure). Embodiments of the invention may be used with either type of system.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, the details of an embodiment of a rear housing 104 are shown and described in more detail. As may be seen in FIG. 2, the rear housing shown in this embodiment is generally the same as the embodiment of FIG. 1, but differs in that this embodiment comprises a dual control system having a first control 110A that is used to provide primary power to the machine and a second control 110B that is used to control only a brushroll motor that is located in the base housing. Such a brushroll motor is described subsequently herein.
  • Located at the top of the rear housing 104 (or elsewhere on the vacuum cleaner 100) is an optional accessory cleaning tool 202. The tool 202 fits within a corresponding recess 204 in the rear housing 104. An exemplary manner in which the accessory cleaning tool 202 can be mounted to the rear housing 104 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. Here, it can be seen that the accessory cleaning tool 202 is provided with an opening 302 located on the rear portion of the tool housing 306, and this opening 302 fits over a pair of snap fingers 304 located within the recess. The snap fingers 304 and opening 302 are shaped and sized such that one or both of the snap fingers 304 must be flexed towards one another to fit into the opening 302, and, once inserted, are held in place by corresponding ridges or other shapes on the fingers 304 and/or opening 302. The accessory cleaning tool 202 is installed in the rear housing 104 by resting a front portion of the tool 206 into a corresponding lower portion 208 of the recess 204 and pressing the accessory cleaning tool 202 into the recess 204 to engage the opening 302 snaps with the snap fingers 304.
  • The accessory cleaning tool 202 may comprise any conventional accessory tool for a vacuum cleaner, such as a crevice tool, upholstery brush, duster, or floor brush. In the present case, the accessory cleaning tool 202 comprises what is known as a turbo tool, which is an accessory tool that uses a turbine that is operated by the suction air flow from the vacuum cleaner to drive a brushroll located in the tool. The turbine can use clean air drawn from above the surface being cleaned, or dirty air drawn from the surface itself. Such devices are generally known in the art, however, the present invention provides a unique divergence from conventional designs. In particular, the accessory cleaning tool 202 comprises a housing 306 having an inlet at one end 206, and an outlet 308 at the other end, as known in the art, but the outlet 308 is shaped as a receptacle into which a corresponding accessory suction hose telescopically fits. This differs from typical prior art constructions, in which the outlet is formed as a receptacle that protrudes from the end of the housing 306. The present stemless construction is expected to provide a number of advantages over conventional turbo tool designs. For example, the stemless turbo tool is more compact than conventional devices, and can be better integrated into a recess 204 in the vacuum cleaner housing. In addition, the outlet 308 and recess 204 may be shaped such that the stemless outlet 308 provides an opening 114 into which a user can insert a finger to help remove the accessory cleaning tool 202 from the housing 104, as best seen in FIG. 1.
  • Referring again to FIG. 2, in the shown exemplary embodiment, the vacuum cleaner includes a cyclonic-type primary dirt separation system having a cyclone chamber 802 located above a dirt cup opening 210 into which the dirt cup 112 can be selectively installed. The opening 210 is provided on the front face of the rear housing 104, but it will be understood that the opening 210 can be located on other sides of the housing 104, on the back of the housing 104, or on the base 102. In addition, while the opening 210 is shown as a hollow recess into which the dirt cup 112 fits, it may instead comprise a shelf-like structure onto which a dirt cup 210 fits. This latter construction is sometimes used when a cyclone chamber is provided as an attachment to the top of the dirt cup 210, or when the dirt cup 210 itself forms a cyclone chamber. These alternative constructions are, of course, possible with embodiments of the present invention. As suggested before, the present disclosure also contemplates that the cyclone and dirt cup 210 can be replaced by a vacuum bag contained in the opening 210 by a removable cover or chamber in other embodiments.
  • Located at the bottom of the dirt cup opening 210 (or bag chamber) is a filter chamber 214 into which an optional pre-motor filter 212 can be installed. The pre-motor filter 212 is provided between the primary dirt collecting system and the vacuum fan, and serves as an additional dirt filtration stage. In the shown exemplary embodiment, air exiting the cyclone 802 and dirt cup 112 enters the filter chamber 214 through an inlet 238 located at the rear of the chamber 214, passes through the filter 212, and exits to the vacuum fan through an outlet 240 located at the bottom of the chamber 212. The outlet 240 may include a grate-like structure to help prevent large particles from passing to the vacuum fan if the filter 212 catastrophically fails, or if the vacuum cleaner 100 is operated without the filter 212 in place.
  • The pre-motor filter 212 may comprise any suitable filtration medium or media. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the pre-motor filter 212 comprises a foam first filter layer 212′ and a paper or non-woven second filter layer 212″ that may be mounted in a filter tray 213. One or both of the layers 212′, 212″ may be removable from the tray 213 to allow them to be cleaned separately. Any suitable filter media may be used, such as open-cell foams, electrostatic filters, and high efficiency (HEPA, ULPA, etc.) filters, and such filters may be shaped in any suitable way, such as being flat, pleated, conical, cylindrical, and so on.
  • The filter tray 213 is provided to give structural support to the filter layers 212′, 212″. In addition, the pre-motor filter tray 213 may be provided with features to help control the airflow in the filter chamber 214 to ensure that the air generally passes through the filter 212 instead of going around it. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the filter tray 213 includes an opening 242 that corresponds with the inlet 238 into the pre-motor filter chamber 214 to provide airflow to the filter 212. An overmolded perimeter seal 213′ surrounds the opening 242 and fits against the pre-motor filter chamber inlet 238 to seal airflow therethrough. The perimeter seal 213′ (or a separate seal, if desired) also extends around the filter tray 213 to seal against the internal walls of the filter chamber 214 and help prevent air from bypassing the filter 212 on its way to the chamber outlet 240. Thus, the filter tray seal 213 provides two seals to prevent air from bypassing the filter 212. Of course, other types and configurations of seals may be used, if desired.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, the filter camber 214 is open towards the dirt cup opening 210, and the filter 212 is inserted into the chamber 214 by removing the dirt cup 112 and placing the filter into the chamber 214. The top of the filter chamber 214 is closed by a trap door 216, which fits over and encloses the filter 212 when it is installed. The trap door 116 may be pivotally mounted by pivots 216′ that fit, for example, into corresponding bosses in the dirt cup opening 210 or filter chamber 214. In such an embodiment, the trap door 216 can be pivoted upward to insert or remove the pre-motor filter 212. In order to ensure that the user is aware of the presence for the pre-motor filter, the trap door 216 may be provided with suitable markings and/or made from a transparent material that allows the user to see the filter.
  • The exemplary trap door 216 also includes a door seal 216″ that is molded into or adhered to the bottom of the trap door 216 to seal against the top of the filter tray 213. This forms a seal that prevents air from leaking into the filter 212 through the trap door 216, which could decrease the efficiency of the vacuum cleaner 100. To further help with sealing, the dirt cup 112 might also be equipped to press down on the trap door 216 and filter tray 213 when it is installed, which will help the tray perimeter seal 213′ and door seal 216″ form airtight seals.
  • Other arrangements for the pre-motor filter may, of course, be used with other embodiments. For instance, the trap door 216 may be installed or mounted in other ways, such as by being provided as a simple removable cover that fits over the filter 212 after it is installed. As another example, the filter tray 213 may include an integral or removable cover to replace the trap door 216. Such a cover would seal over the top of the filter 212 and provide an enclosed air path from the tray opening 242 to the chamber outlet 240. In such a case, the filter tray 213 may be held in place by fasteners or by being pressed down by the dirt cup 112 when the cup 112 is installed. Other arrangements for mounting pre-motor filters are known in the art, and may be used with other embodiments of the present invention, as will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the present disclosure.
  • The pre-motor filter 212, filter tray 213, chamber 214 and/or trapdoor 216 may be equipped with a lockout feature that prevents the vacuum cleaner 100 from operating when the filter 212 is removed. Electrical microswitches that detect the presence of the filter 212 and spring-loaded mechanical locks that prevent insertion of the dirt cup 112 when the filter 212 is absent are examples of such devices. These and other devices are generally known in the art.
  • Also located on the rear housing 104 is an optional post-motor filter 218 for filtering air that exits the vacuum fan. The post-motor filter 218 may be any suitable type, shape, or performance grade. An exemplary pleated HEPA (“high efficiency particle air”) filter is shown. The post-motor filter 218 fits into a post-motor filter recess 220 located, in the exemplary embodiment, towards the bottom of the rear housing 104 and immediately adjacent the vacuum fan outlet 244.
  • A post-motor filter cover 222 may be provided to fit over the post-motor filter 218 and hold it in place in the second recess 220. As shown, the post-motor filter cover 222 may comprise an assembly of multiple parts 222A, 222B that are assembled together to provide the required structure and/or aesthetic appearance. Of course, the multiple parts may instead be formed as a single molded or formed part. Furthermore, the cover 222 may be attached to the filter 218, or formed as part of the filter 218 itself. The post-motor filter cover 222 is held in place at its bottom end by a tab 224 that fits into a corresponding notch 226 located in the second recess 220 (or vice-versa). At its top, the post-motor filter cover 222 is attached to the rear housing by a filter latch 228. The filter latch 228 compresses the filter cover 222 against the post-motor filter 218 to help seal the post-motor filter 218 against the vacuum fan outlet 244. This seal helps ensure that air exiting the vacuum cleaner 100 is filtered before exhausting to the atmosphere.
  • Referring to FIGS. 4 through 7, the construction and operation of the exemplary filter latch are described in greater detail. As shown in FIG. 4, the filter latch is located at the bottom of the pre-motor filter recess 214, but it may located elsewhere. FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the filter latch 228, FIG. 6 is a cut-away side view of the filter latch as seen along line VI-VI of FIG. 5 and at is appears when installed in the housing, and FIG. 7 is a partially cut-away isometric front view of the portion of the filter recess 214 at which the filter latch 228 mounts.
  • As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the filter latch comprises a generally circular device having a handle 502 extended from its perimeter. The handle 502 may, of course, be replaced by any suitable gripping structure. The filter latch 288 has a generally dome-like shape that opens downwardly, and a number of protrusions that extend downward generally within the dome-like structure. The first protrusion is a boss 504 that is used to pivotally mount the filter latch 228 to the housing in the filter recess 214. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the housing 214 has a corresponding hole 702 into which the boss fits and, when so installed, a screw 604 is threaded into the bottom of the boss 504 to fix the latch 228 in place. The screw 604 is tightened enough to hold the latch 228, but does not clamp the latch 228 against the wall of the recess 214. This can be accomplished by making the boss 504 protrude slightly beyond the thickness of the recess wall, as shown, providing a shoulder on the screw 604, or by other suitable means. Once installed, the filter latch can pivot back and forth through an arc of travel as shown by the arrow in FIG. 7. The range of this rotational travel is limited by a pair of protrusions 704 that extend up from the surface of the filter recess 214.
  • A latching arm 506 also extends downwardly from the bottom of the filter latch 228. The latching arm 506 extends through a corresponding slot 706 through the bottom of the filter recess 214. The slot 706 is generally arcuate in shape and extends far enough to allow the latch arm 506 to move unobstructed as the filter latch 228 is rotated to the limits of its travel. The latch arm 506 is shaped and positioned to engage with a corresponding hook 230 located on the top of the post-motor cover filter 222 (see FIG. 2). When the filter latch 228 is rotated to its counterclockwise position, the latch arm 506 clears the hook 230, and allows the post-motor filter cover 222 to be removed from the rear housing 104. When the filter latch is in its full clockwise position, the latch arm 506 engages the hook 230 and holds the post-motor filter cover 222, and thus the filter 218, against the housing 104. The hook 230 and/or the latch arm 506 may be provided with a cam surface or ramp-like shape that causes the latch arm 506 to apply progressively greater force to pull the hook 230 (and thus the cover 222) against the housing 104. The use of this filter latching arrangement allows the user to use relatively little effort to press the post-motor filter 218 into place with a relatively large amount of force. This is an improvement over prior art post-motor filters and filter covers that required the user to exert a relatively great amount of force to lock the filter in place and form a seal between the filter and the vacuum outlet.
  • The filter latch 228 is also provided with a feature that snaps it into the locked position. In one embodiment, this feature can simply comprise a detent located on the camming surfaces (either the hook 230 or the latch arm 506). In another exemplary embodiment, shown in FIG. 7, this feature comprises a third protrusion 508 extending from the bottom of the filter latch 228, which protrusion 508 is positioned to engage with a corresponding protrusion 708 extending from the bottom of the filter recess 214. When the filter latch 228 is rotated in the far clockwise position, the cam lock protrusion 508 snaps over filter recess protrusion 708 and holds the filter latch 228 in position. Of course, any other suitable detent or holding device may be used instead.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, the filter latch 228 is located within the pre-motor filter recess 214, which is subjected to the negative pressure generated by the vacuum fan when it is operating. In contrast, the latch arm 506 extends through the wall of the recess 214 to an area that is at ambient pressure. Thus, there may be a tendency for air to bleed through the slot 706 or the hole 702 from the atmosphere into the post-motor filter chamber 214 vacuum, and thence into the vacuum fan. Such an air leak might reduce the efficiency of the vacuum cleaner 100. To counteract such air bleeding, the filter latch is provided with an annular facing seal 602 that is arranged to surround both the screw boss 504 and the latch arm 506. The seal 602 engages a corresponding cylindrical wall 710 that extends slightly upwards from the filter recess 214 and helps prevent air from passing through the boss hole 702 and latch arm slot 706. Of course, other seal arrangements may be used instead, and the seal 602 may be omitted if the filter latch 228 is positioned to be at a location where air bleeding is not an issue, such as on the exterior of the housing 104.
  • Referring back to FIG. 2, the rear housing 104 also includes, at its lower end, various features to allow it to be mounted to the base 102. For example, the rear housing 104 may include a cylindrical mounting boss 236 that pivotally engages a corresponding structure on the base 102. While a conventional mounting arrangement may be used in some embodiments, the present disclosure also provides an example of a novel pivoting mounting arrangement that may be used with the boss 236 subsequently herein. Located radially outward form the mounting boss 236 are a first protrusion 232 and a second protrusion 234. The protrusions 232, 234 are positioned to engage the protrusion 1436 of a corresponding handle release mechanism 1434 (FIG. 14) to lock the rear housing 104 in a full upright position and a reclined position relative to the base 102, as generally known in the art or described elsewhere herein.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9 an embodiment of one dirt separation system that may be used with the vacuum cleaner of the present invention is described in detail. In the shown embodiment, the dirt separation system comprises a cyclonic separator having a removable dust bin located below it. As noted before, other types of cyclone separators, multi-stage cyclone separators, water filtration separators, wet extractor recovery tanks, dust collection filtration bags, and the like, may be used. The exemplary cyclone separation system comprises a cyclone chamber 802 having an inlet 804 that can be connected to one or more suction inlets on the vacuum cleaner 100. The inlet 804 extends into the cyclone chamber by way of a helical ramp 806, which induces a downward motion to the incoming air and, because the inlet 804 enters the cyclone chamber 802 in a tangential manner, also induces a swirling motion in the airflow. Alternatively, the inlet may be perpendicular to the cyclone chamber 802, in which case it may be desirable to include an airflow diverting structure to initiate cyclonic airflow motion within the cyclone chamber 802. A gasket 824 may be provided at the bottom of the cyclone chamber to seal against the top of the dirt cup 112.
  • As shown by the arrows in FIG. 9, the air enters the cyclone chamber and begins a cyclonic motion therein. Located below the cyclone chamber is the dirt cup 112. As the air circulates within the cyclone chamber 802 and the dirt cup 112, dirt and other entrained solids fall out of the airstream and are deposited in the dust collection chamber 112. The air then circulates up and around a cyclone filter 816 which is mounted over the cyclone outlet 808. As shown, the cyclone filter 816 comprises a perforated shroud 816′ having a disk-like plate 816″ attached to its bottom end. The plate 816″ helps prevent particles and objects from rising up and covering or entering the shroud 816′. It will be appreciated that the disk-like shroud may be removed or modified in other embodiments, and the filter itself may be shaped in a non-cylindrical shape or may be replaced with other devices such a pleated filter or the like. Such variations will be understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art.
  • After passing through the cyclone outlet 808, the air passes through a first outlet tube 810, a second outlet tube 812, and a third outlet tube 814. These separate outlet tubes are connected to one another by respective gaskets 818, 820, and 822 to help prevent air from leaking into the working airflow at the tube junctions. In a preferred embodiment the third outlet tube 814 is positioned in the dirt cup opening 210, and can be removed by the user if it becomes clogged. To help assess whether a clog exists, the third tube 814 also may be made from a transparent material. It will be understood that the foregoing arrangement of three tubes is exemplary, and the multiple outlet tube shown herein may be consolidated into a single tube, into two tubes or into various other numbers of tubes.
  • As best shown in FIG. 9, the third outlet tube 814 is fluidly connected with the recess 214 into which the pre-motor filter 212 is installed, and the airflow passes from the third tube 814, through the pre-motor filter chamber inlet 238, and then through the pre-motor filter 212. Next, the airflow enters through the vacuum fan 902, and exhausts through the post-motor filter 218 to the atmosphere.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 10-12 an exemplary embodiment of a dirt cup 112 is described in detail. As shown in FIG. 10, the dirt cup 112 has a generally cup-like structure to which a handle 1002 is attached to facilitate removing and carrying the dirt cup 112. If desired, the handle 1002 also may be suitable for lifting the entire vacuum cleaner 100. In the exemplary embodiment, the handle 1002 is provided as a separate part that is attached to a corresponding opening 1004 located at the front of the dirt cup 112 by ultrasonic bonding, adhesives, or the like. Of course, the handle 1002 may be omitted or modified in other ways, if desired.
  • The exemplary dirt cup 112 also includes an elevator lock system 1006. The elevator lock 1006 includes a cam plate 1008 that is rotatably mounted to the bottom of the dirt cup 112 by a cap 1010. The cap 1010 is affixed to the bottom of the cup 112 by a screw 1014. When assembled, the cap 1010 passes through a hole 1012 through the center of the cam plate 1008, and is shaped and sized such that it holds as a cam plate 1008 close to the dirt cup 112, but allows the cam plate 1008 to rotate through an arc of travel. A knob 1024 or other gripping surface is provided on the cam plate 1008 to facilitate its rotation. The knob 1024 is positioned in a slot 1022 on the lower end of the dirt cup 112 to limit the cam plate's range of movement, but other blocking members may be used to control the cam plate's range of movement, if desired. Such other mechanisms will be readily appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art in view of the present disclosure.
  • The cap 1010 is also shaped and sized to allow the cam plate 1008 to move vertically with respect to the bottom of the dirt cup 112. A spring 1015 may be positioned between the cap 1010 and the cam plate 1008 to bias the cam plate 1008 upwards towards the dirt cup 1012.
  • The exemplary cam plate 1008 has one or more ramp-like cam surfaces 1016 on its upper surface. These cam surfaces 1016 are arranged in a pattern around the circumference of the cam plate 1008 and positioned to engage corresponding protrusions 1102 extending from the bottom of the dirt cup 112, as best shown in FIG. 11. As the cam plate 1008 is rotated, the cam surfaces 1016 engage the protrusions 1102 to move the cam plate 1008 away from the bottom of the dirt cup 112. The operation of the cam plate 1008 is illustrated in FIGS. 13A through 13C. In these three figures, the cam plate and the protrusions extending from the bottom of the dirt cup 112 are shown in a panoramic view—that is, they are shown as they would appear to a person viewing them from the center of the cam plate 1008. FIG. 13A depicts the cam plate 1008 when it is arranged with the cam surfaces 1016 disengaged from the protrusions 1102, in which case the cam plate 1008 is biased towards the dirt cup 112 by the spring 1015, and the overall height of the dirt cup 112 and cam plate 1008 assembly is at a minimum. In this position, the dirt cup 112 can be freely removed from or inserted into the opening 210 (FIG. 2). Turning to FIG. 13B, once the dirt cup and elevator lock are inserted into the opening 210, the cam plate 1008 is rotated, and the cam surfaces 1016 begin to engage the protrusions 1102 to move the cam plate 1008 away from the dirt cup 112. If desired, the cam surfaces 1016 and/or protrusions 1102 may be provided with detents or matching surfaces 1302, 1304 that allow the cam plate 1008 to remain in a partially-extended position. As shown in FIG. 13C, when the cam plate 1008 is fully rotated, it continues to move away from the dirt cup 112 until it reaches its fully rotated position, as shown. In this position, the overall height of the dirt cup 112 and cam plate 1008 assembly is maximized, and the dirt cup 112 is pressed against the gasket 824 (FIG. 8) to seal it to the cyclone chamber 802. In addition, if a trap door 216 is used to contain a pre-motor filter 212, the dirt cup 112 and cam plate 1008 also may press down on the trap door 116 to help seal the airflow passing through the pre-motor filter 212.
  • Locking features may be provided to hold the cam plate 1008 in one or both of the retraced (FIG. 13A) or extended (FIG. 13C) positions. Resilient tabs, detents, or other devices may be used for this purpose. In the exemplary embodiment, the cam plate 1008 includes a resilient tab 1018 that extending from its upper surface, and the dirt cup 112 has two additional protrusions 1104, 1106 extending down from it. As shown in FIGS. 13A and 13C, the resilient tab 1018 engages one protrusion 1106 when the cam plate 1008 is in the fully retracted position, and the other protrusion 1104 when it is in the fully extended position. Of course, one or both of these locking features may be removed or modified in other embodiments.
  • It will be understood that the drawings of FIGS. 13A through 13C are schematic representations of the operation of the device. In this exemplary representation, the protrusions 1102, 1104, 1106 are shown in a serial arrangement, as are the cam surfaces 1016 and resilient tab 1018. In alternative embodiments, such as the one shown in FIGS. 10 through 12, the cam surfaces, resilient tab, and/or the protrusions may be arranged around different circumferential radii of the cam plate. For example, it can be seen in the embodiment of FIG. 10 that the cam surfaces 1016 are located closer to the central rotating axis of the cam plate 1008, whereas the resilient tab 1018 is located further from the cam plate 1008 axis. Thus, the cam plates, resilient tab, and protrusions can be arranged either around the same circumferential radius in a serial pattern, or may be arranged at various locations around the cam plate 1008 and dirt cup 112. it will also be appreciated that the rotating cam plate 1008 may be replaced by a linearly-actuated cam, or other cup elevating and locking devices, and such devices may be mounted on the dirt cup 112, as shown, or on the rear housing 104.
  • Referring now to FIG. 14, an embodiment of a base 102 that may be used with the present invention is described. The exemplary base 102 comprises a lower base frame 1402 to which an upper base frame 1404 is removably attached. When attached, the lower and upper base frames 1402, 1404 form an enclosure that retains and supports the working parts of the base 102. It will be understood that any suitable alternative construction for the base may be used in other embodiments.
  • As previously noted, a pair of wheels 106 support the base 102 for movement over the ground. While conventional wheels may be used in various embodiments, the wheels 106 in the shown exemplary embodiment comprise hard plastic hubs 106′ having resilient coatings 106″. The resilient coatings 106″ may comprise a urethane coating having a hardness of about 78 A to 82 A, which is expected to provide suitable low-slip contact with typical household surfaces and help absorb shocks that might be transmitted to the user during use. It is also desirable, but not required, for the wheels 106 to have a minimum diameter of about 72 millimeters, and more preferably of about 95 millimeters. Both wheels sizes, but the latter diameter in particular, are believed to be suitable for use with upright vacuum cleaners to help the vacuum cleaner roll over common household obstacles. The wheels 106 are mounted to conventional stub axles or to a solid wheel axle 1406 by respective sets of two bearings 1408, and retained by a threaded fastener, a push nut 1410 or other known devices. A washer 1412 may be provided inboard of each of the wheels 106 to limit their movement and prevent interference with the base frames 1402, 1404. The exemplary washers 1412 slide over the axle 1406 or stub axles, and engage protrusions 1414 that limit the movement of the washers and wheels towards the center of the base 102. A hubcap 1416 may be provided to cover the push nut 1410, bearings 1408, and axle 1406.
  • In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the wheel axle 1406 comprises a rod that extends wholly or partially across the width of the base. Both wheels 106 are mounted to the axle. The axle 1406 is bent along its length to form a generally U-shaped structure. It has been found that this construction allows the rear housing (not shown in FIG. 14) to pivot downwardly and rearwardly with respect to the base 102 further than would be possible if the axle 1406 extended straight between the two wheels 106. Referring to FIG. 15, one embodiment of how the bent axle 1406 can be attached to be base frame 1402 is shown. Here, the bent axle 1406 is fitted into a groove that extends along the width of the lower base frame 1402. The axle 1406 may be retained by snap fitment or additional fasteners. For example, as shown a retaining plate 1418 is provided at each end of the axle 1406, and each retaining plate 1418 is attached to the lower base frame 1402 by a pair of screws 1420. When assembled, the retaining plates 1418 capture the axle 1406 in place against the lower base frame 1402. Of course, the axle 1406 may be attached to the upper base frame 1404 and/or other parts of the base, if desired, and other variations may be made to the foregoing exemplary embodiment.
  • It has been found that using a bent, full-width axle (that is, an axle having a bent portion to accommodate the rear housing movement and to which both wheels are attached) provides an advantage over conventional stub axles that are used to mount wheels to vacuum cleaner bases. In particular, the bent axle allows the rear housing to be made both wider and with less plastic material because it is no longer necessary to provide a large boss into which to mount the stub axle. Such large bosses were required in the prior art because the stub axles were mounted in a cantilevered arrangement into the sides of the base, and loads applied to the wheels, particularly impact loads, applied a high bending moment to the stub axles that would cause them to pull out of the housing if there was insufficient support. With a bent, full-width axle, the bending moments are absorbed by the axle material, rather than the base material, and the vacuum cleaner may have improved dimensional tolerances and stability.
  • Referring back to FIG. 14, the base may also be provided with an adjustable height wheel carriage 1422. The wheel carriage 1422 is provided on the bottom of the lower base frame 1402, and mounted by pivots 1424. The wheel carriage 1422 has a pair of front wheels 1426, that support the front of the base 102. The wheel carriage 1422 can be adjusted to raise and lower the height of the base 102 relative to the ground to accommodate vacuuming over different types of surface, as known in the art. For example, it may be desirable to raise the base 102 when vacuuming over long-pile carpets, and lower the base 102 when vacuuming over relatively short-pile carpets or uncarpeted floors. In the shown embodiment, this height adjustment is accomplished by using a rotating cam 1428 that engages a protrusion 1430 that extends from the upper surface of the wheel carriage. Such rotating cam height adjustment mechanisms are well known in the art, and this or other types of height adjusting mechanisms may be used interchangeably.
  • The wheel carriage 1422 also may have with additional protrusions 1432 that engage the rear housing 104 when the rear housing 104 is raised to the full upright position. When the rear housing 104 is fully raised, surfaces on the rear housing 104 press against the protrusions 1432, thereby pressing down and lowering the wheel carriage 1422. This is particularly useful in so-called single-motor vacuum cleaner designs in which the vacuum fan motor located in the rear housing directly drives a brushroll in the base by way of a belt. When the protrusions 1432 are pressed down to lower the carriage 1422 and raise the base 102, it prevents the brushroll from abrading the carpet when the vacuum cleaner is operated while it is upright. In other embodiments, other devices, such as a belt clutch, may be used to prevent the brushroll from damaging the carpet or floor when the vacuum is tilted to the upright position. Such alternatives are known in the art.
  • The exemplary base 102 also includes a brushroll chamber 1433 located at the front of the base 102 and formed, in the shown embodiment, by the assembled lower and upper base frames 1402, 1404. The brushroll chamber 1433 is open towards the bottom of the base 102 through a brushroll slot, as known in the art, and is fluidly connected to the vacuum source by way of a connecting hose 1434 that extends out the back of the brushroll chamber 1433. A brushroll, such as those described subsequently herein or others, is rotatably mounted in the brushroll chamber 1433 and driven by a motor shaft (not shown) extending through the rear housing 104 by way of a belt (not shown). If desired, the upper and/or lower housing 1404, 1402 may include one or more windows 1450 through which the brushroll may be viewed during operation, and such windows may be provided with a light to help see the brushroll. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the windows 1450 are provided at or near the ends of the brushroll chamber 1433, but such windows 1450 may be located elsewhere. Such windows 1450 may be constructed in various ways, such as by being pre-molded and inserted into the mold for the upper base frame to have the upper base frame 1404 molded around the windows 1450 to lock them in place.
  • Still referring to FIG. 14, the base 102 may also have a handle release mechanism 1434. The handle release mechanism 1434 is pivotally mounted to the base 102, and includes a protrusion 1346 that extends from the mechanism 1434 to engage corresponding locking protrusions on the rear housing 104, such as the first and second protrusions 232, 234 shown on the exemplary rear housing in FIG. 2. In the shown embodiment, the handle release mechanism 1434 is pivotally mounted on one side of the base 102 by a pivot pin 1437, and a return spring 1438 is provided to bias the handle release mechanism 1434 into the engaged position. This or other handle release mechanisms may be used in embodiments of the invention.
  • The lower base frame 1402 also comprises structures to pivotally mount the rear housing. In the shown exemplary embodiment, these mounting structures comprise a conventional retainer strap 1440, which mounts to a cylindrical boss located on one side of the rear housing 104. At the other side, the rear housing 102 is attached to the lower base frame 1402 by a mounting plate 1442. The mounting plate 1442 comprises a base plate 1444 that is mounted to the lower base frame 1402 by screws 1446, and an upwardly extending structure that has a collar 1448 extending from it. The collar 1448 fits over the cylindrical boss 236 that extends from the side of the rear housing 102, as seen in FIG. 2. An embodiment of this construction is described in more detail subsequently herein.
  • Turning now to FIGS. 16 and 17, two embodiments of brushrolls 1600 are shown. The first embodiment, shown in FIG. 16, comprises an elongated shaft 1602 to which bristles (not shown) are attached. An example of a typical bristle pattern is to have two helical rows of bristles extending at approximately right angles from the shaft 1602, but other patterns may be used. In the embodiment of FIG. 16, edge cleaning bristles 1614 are mounted to each end of the shaft 1602. The edge cleaning bristles 1614 are arranged in a radial pattern around the shaft 1602, and extend away from the pulley 1604 at angles of about 45 to 80 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of the shaft 1602. These bristles 1614 are oriented to clean at or near the ends of the brushroll. The edge cleaning bristles 1614 may also be mounted on a beveled end portion 1616 of the shaft 1602, which may facilitate inserting the bristles and promote improved wear or cleaning performance.
  • The shaft 1602 may be driven by one or both ends, or may be driven at some point between its ends by a belt (not shown). When a belt is used to drive the shaft 1602, the shaft 1602 preferably includes a pulley to receive and be driven by the belt. In some embodiments, the pulley can be integrally formed with the shaft, but in the exemplary embodiments, a pulley 1604 is provided as a separate part that fits over the shaft 1602. In one such embodiment, the pulley 1604 has a generally circular outer pulley surface 1604′ that is adapted to engage a drive belt or gear, and a central opening 1604″ passing through the pulley 1604. In the shown embodiment, the pulley surface 1604′ has a crowned profile suitable for use with flat belts, ribbed belts (“poly-V” belts) and possibly cogged belts, but other surfaces may be used, such as a helical or straight gear tooth surface.
  • The pulley 1604 can be placed over the shaft 1602 in a number of ways. For example, the pulley 1604 can be made from two semi-circular parts that are placed around the shaft 1602 and attached to one another by snap fitment, fasteners, adhesives, or other mechanisms. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the pulley 1604 is provided as a ring-shaped cast plastic or metal part and the shaft 1602 is molded directly into the pulley 1604. In this embodiment, the pulley 1604 is captured in place at a portion of the shaft 1602 having a reduced cross-section 1602′. The pulley 1604 may include ribs 1604′″ or a non-circular profile that fits over corresponding slots 1602″ or non-circular profile on the reduced cross-section portion 1602′ of the shaft to prevent the pulley 1604 from rotating on the shaft 1602. Alternatively, ribs and slots may be located on the opposite structure. As other alternatives, or the pulley 1604 may be rotationally fixed to the shaft 1602 by friction, bonding with the shaft, mechanical fasteners, welding, axially-extending protrusions, replacing the single opening 1604″ with multiple separate openings, or by other mechanism and means.
  • An example of a process that may be used to accomplish this is a two-part molding process in which the pulley 1604 is molded separately, then placed into an empty brushroll mold, after which the brushroll material is injected in to the brushroll mold to conform to the pulley 1604. Using this process, the pulley 1604 can be captured in place on the brushroll by a portion of the brushroll that is formed as a continuous single structure—that is, a portion of the brushroll that does not have to be assembled from multiple parts to capture the pulley in place. The resulting brushroll has a pulley 1604 that is structurally interlocked with the shaft 1602, at least with respect to axial movement, and no fasteners are needed to position the pulley 1604 on the shaft 1602. In addition, although no fasteners may be needed to interlock the pulley 1604 with the shaft 1602, a fastener (such as a pin or screw) may be inserted to pass through the pulley 1604 and shaft 1602 to help prevent the pulley 1604 from rotating on the shaft 1602. This latter embodiment would be useful if the pulley 1604 and/or shaft 1602 is provided without ribs or another non-circular profile. Of course, in this or other embodiments, other additional parts may be added to the brushroll or pulley after the molding process. While the foregoing embodiments illustrate the pulley 1604 as being a continuous surface that extends entirely around the shaft 1602, this is not strictly required, and one or more slots or grooves may be formed in the pulley 1604 to allow for stress relief or thermal expansion or contraction, or for other reasons. Such slots or grooves may extend all the way to the central opening 1604″.
  • This two-part pulley and shaft brushroll construction can provide several advantages. For example, in many instances a brushroll is provided with felt seals on either side of the pulley and belt to prevent dirt and debris from becoming entrapped between the belt and the pulley. The use of such seals is helpful to prevent the inclusion of dirt, but the felt seals often rub against the pulley surface and generate heat by friction. As such, the pulley must be manufactured from a material that can withstand this heat without becoming damaged during use, such as a material with a relatively high melting point. Such materials may be relatively expensive. As such, the present construction allows the pulley 1604 to be made out of a relatively expensive heat-resistant material but allows the shaft 1602 to be made out of a relatively inexpensive material that may have all of the proper properties for use as a brushroll but may have a relatively low melting point (e.g., lower than the melting point of the pulley) or otherwise be unsuitable to withstand the temperature created by the friction between the felt seals and the pulley.
  • Another example of how this construction may be advantageous is shown in the embodiment of FIG. 17. Here it is shown that the pulley 1702 is provided as a toothed gear pulley 1702. Such as gear pulley 1702 might, like the previous embodiment, require high temperature resistance because it may rub against felt seals during use. In addition, the gear pulley 1702 may need to made from a relatively strong material to withstand driving forces. As with the prior embodiment, the gear pulley 1702 may be constructed from a relatively expensive material that has the thermal and strength properties required for its use, but the pulley shaft 1704 may be constructed out of a relatively less expensive material that may not satisfy the strength and temperature requirements required at the location of the pulley. Furthermore, even if there is no requirement from a heat resistance or strength standpoint to form the pulley 1702 separately from the shaft 1704, it may still be economical to form the gear pulley 1702 separately in a higher-precision molding process to ensure that the teeth are properly dimensioned to receive the corresponding toothed drive belt.
  • The brushroll 1600 may be mounted to the base in any suitable way. In the shown exemplary embodiments, the brushroll 1600 is mounted by a bearing 1606 at each end of the shaft 1602. Each bearing 1606 is mounted on a end cap 1608 by a pin 1609 that fits in the inner race of the bearing 1606. The end caps 1608 fit within correspondingly-shaped slots on either side of the brushroll chamber 1432, as known in the art. The outer races of the bearings 1606 are mounted to the brushroll shaft 1602 by cups 1610, which are inserted to hollow ends of the shaft 1602 and staked in place by pins 1612. A felt seal 1611 and/or other seals may be provided between each end cap 1608 and the brushroll shaft 1602 to help prevent dirt and other contaminants from contacting the bearings 1606.
  • Referring to FIG. 18, an embodiment of another base 1802 is provided. The base 1802 includes a separate brushroll motor 1804 that can be used to drive a brushroll independently of the operation of the vacuum motor. Such vacuum cleaner constructions are typically referred to as two-motor vacuum cleaners. The brushroll motor 1804 is operated by the main power supply or an alternative energy source, and may have a motor switch 1806 that turns the brushroll motor 1804 off when the rear housing is raised to the upright position. Such a switch 1806 may be provided adjacent the mounting plate 1442 and be operated by a protrusion 1808 that extends from the rear housing. A reset button 1810 also may be provided in the power circuit to the brushroll motor 1804 to operate as a circuit breaker should the brushroll motor 1804 become locked or overheat during use. In addition, a motor indictor light 1812 may be provided to indicate the status of the brushroll motor 1804 to the operator. The exemplary motor indicating light 1812 is visible through an opening 1814 through the upper base frame 1404. Suitable reset buttons 1810, motor switches 1806, and motor indicator lights 1812 are generally known in the art.
  • The exemplary base 1802 is also illustrated having an alternative mounting structure for the rear housing 102. As shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, one side of the rear housing 1902 (FIG. 19) is mounted by a mounting plate 1442, such as the one described previously herein, or by a conventional strap or clip. The other side of the rear housing 1902 is mounted by a mounting cap 1816. The mounting cap 1816 has a cylindrical body 1816′ and a pair of integrally-formed screw bosses 1816″. The cylindrical body 1816′ fits into a corresponding opening 1820 on the base 1802, and the two bosses 1816″ attach at corresponding mounting posts 1822 on the base 1802. The mounting cap 1816 pivotally mounts the rear housing 1902 to the base 1802, and provides a passage 1906 for electrical wires, vacuum hoses, and/or other devices extending from the rear housing 1902 to the base 1802. In the shown exemplary embodiment, the mounting cap 1816 provides a conduit for a vacuum hose (not shown) extending between the brushroll motor 1804 and the vacuum fan 1904. This vacuum hose conveys motor dust, such as carbon dust and other debris that may be generated by the motor, into the vacuum fan to be cleaned from the air stream. To facilitate the operation of such a vacuum hose, the motor 1804 may be covered by a separate motor cover 1818 that seals the motor 1804 except for ventilation slots located through the cover. This helps direct the airflow across the motor and into the vacuum hose so that it may be passed through one or more of the vacuum cleaner filters to be cleaned before being exited to the ambient air. In addition, electrical cables or wires for the brushroll motor 1804 or other devices in the base 1802 may be passed through the mounting cap passage 1906. The use of the mounting cap 1816 with a passage through it helps direct wires, hoses, and other flexible elements (such as extractor fluid supply lines) from the rear housing 1902 to the base 1802 in an efficient and safe manner.
  • The manner in which the exemplary mounting plate 1442 mounts the rear housing 1902 to the base 1802 is also shown in FIG. 19. Here it is shown that the mounting plate 1442 includes a collar 1448 that extends axially into the side of the rear housing 1902 by a distance X, and slips over a corresponding mounting boss 1908 that is recessed into the side of the rear housing 1902 to pivotally mount the rear housing 1902. This construction is facilitated by offsetting the mounting collar base plate 1444, and thus the mounting screws 1446, axially (distance Y) from the collar 1448. In contrast, conventional mounting straps locate the mounting screws in the same plane as the strap, and this construction typically requires the entire rear housing mounting boss to extend from the side of the rear housing to allow access to the screw or screws that are used to secure the mounting strap. In addition, the base plate 1444 and mounting screws 1446 may be radially offset (distance R) from the collar 1448, which allows the width of the base to be reduced at the location of the mounting boss 1908. This feature allows the base to be provided with a more streamlined appearance, may allow the rear housing 1902 to be made wider relative to the base 1802, and may contribute to weight savings.
  • The present disclosure describes a number of new, useful and nonobvious features and/or combinations of features that may be used alone, with upright vacuum cleaners, canister vacuum cleaners or other types of cleaning device, or in other ways. The embodiments described herein are all exemplary, and are not intended to limit the scope of the inventions in any way. It will be appreciated that the inventions described herein can be modified and adapted to different uses, and all such modifications and adaptations are included in the scope of this disclosure.

Claims (20)

1. A vacuum cleaner brushroll comprising:
a pulley comprising a generally circular pulley surface surrounding at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface; and
an elongated shaft passing through the central opening;
wherein the pulley surrounds and is captured in place by a mounting portion of the elongated shaft that comprises a continuous single structure.
2. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the pulley comprises a material having a relatively high melting point, and the mounting portion comprises a material having a relatively low melting point.
3. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the at least one opening comprises radially-extending ribs that extend into corresponding slots in the mounting portion.
4. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the at least one opening comprises a plurality of openings.
5. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the at least one opening comprises a non-circular profile.
6. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the pulley surface comprises a crowned surface adapted to receive a flat belt or a ribbed belt.
7. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the pulley surface comprises a plurality of teeth that are adapted to receive a cogged belt.
8. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 1, wherein the pulley surface comprises a continuous surface that extends entirely around the elongated shaft.
9. A vacuum cleaner brushroll comprising:
a pulley comprising a generally circular pulley surface surrounding at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface; and
an elongated shaft passing through the at least one central opening;
wherein a mounting portion of the elongated shaft located within and on either side of the central opening comprises a continuous structure having a reduced cross section into which the pulley fits.
10. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, wherein the pulley comprises a material having a relatively high melting point, and the mounting portion comprises a material having a relatively low melting point.
11. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, wherein the at least one opening comprises radially-extending ribs that extend into corresponding slots in the mounting portion.
12. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, further comprising:
an opening located at a first end of the elongated shaft;
a bearing cup that at least partially fits within the opening;
a bearing that at least partially fits within the opening; and
one or more pins at least partially positioned within the opening and between the opening and an outer surface of the bearing cup to thereby hold the bearing cup in the opening.
13. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of edge cleaning bristles protruding from the elongated shaft and away from the pulley at an angle of about 45 degrees to 80 degrees relative to the central axis of the elongated shaft.
14. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 13, wherein the edge cleaning brushrolls protrude from a beveled end portion of the elongated shaft.
15. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, wherein the pulley surface comprises a crowned surface adapted to receive a flat belt or a ribbed belt.
16. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, wherein the pulley surface comprises a plurality of teeth that are adapted to receive a cogged belt.
17. The vacuum cleaner brushroll of claim 9, wherein the pulley surface comprises a continuous surface that extends entirely around the elongated shaft.
18. A vacuum cleaner brushroll manufactured by a process comprising:
forming a pulley having a generally circular pulley surface and at least one opening located radially inward of the pulley surface;
forming an elongated shaft from a continuous piece of material that passes through the at least one opening and at least partially surrounds the pulley to structurally interlock the pulley in place on the elongated shaft.
19. The vacuum cleaner brushroll manufactured by the process of claim 18, wherein the pulley comprises a material having a relatively high melting point, and the elongated shaft comprises a material having a relatively low melting point.
20. The vacuum cleaner brushroll manufactured by the process of claim 18, further comprising forming radially-extending ribs in the at least one opening.
US11/761,961 2007-06-12 2007-06-12 Upright vacuum cleaner Abandoned US20080307597A1 (en)

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GB0810720A GB2450240A (en) 2007-06-12 2008-06-11 Agitator arrangement for a vacuum cleaner
CN 200810131500 CN101322627A (en) 2007-06-12 2008-06-11 Vertical vacuum cleaner
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AU2008202592A1 (en) 2009-01-08

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