US20120311811A1 - Wet/dry vacuum appliance, dust filtration attachment therefore, and methods of use - Google Patents

Wet/dry vacuum appliance, dust filtration attachment therefore, and methods of use Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120311811A1
US20120311811A1 US13156337 US201113156337A US2012311811A1 US 20120311811 A1 US20120311811 A1 US 20120311811A1 US 13156337 US13156337 US 13156337 US 201113156337 A US201113156337 A US 201113156337A US 2012311811 A1 US2012311811 A1 US 2012311811A1
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Prior art keywords
container
assembly
power head
vacuum
wet
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
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US13156337
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Robert R. Hollis
Matthew A. Williams
Mark J. Tomasiak
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Emerson Electric Co
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Emerson Electric Co
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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
    • A47L7/00Suction cleaners adapted for additional purposes; Tables with suction openings for cleaning purposes; Containers for cleaning articles by suction; Suction cleaners adapted to cleaning of brushes; Suction cleaners adapted to taking-up liquids
    • A47L7/0004Suction cleaners adapted to take up liquids, e.g. wet or dry vacuum cleaners
    • A47L7/0023Recovery tanks
    • 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
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/18Liquid filters
    • A47L9/181Separating by passing the air through a liquid bath
    • 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
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/18Liquid filters
    • A47L9/185Means for the mechanical control of flow of air, e.g. deflectors, baffles or labyrinths
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B08CLEANING
    • B08BCLEANING IN GENERAL; PREVENTION OF FOULING IN GENERAL
    • B08B5/00Cleaning by methods involving the use of air flow or gas flow
    • B08B5/04Cleaning by suction, with or without auxiliary action

Abstract

A wet/dry vacuum assembly is described which includes a powerhead assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of a container, the powerhead assembly including a housing, a motor, a fan, and air inlet, and an air exhaust port; and, a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end, and at least one sidewall there between, the container including a continuous handle member for carrying the container in a suspended position. Also described are water filter attachments having particle diffusing means formed therein, for use with the wet/dry to vacuum assembly for use in dust control when the vacuum assembly is used for vacuuming up fine particulate dust, such as dust generated from sanding drywall joint compound.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This patent application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/352,818, filed Jun. 8, 2010, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • Not applicable.
  • REFERENCE TO APPENDIX
  • Not applicable.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The inventions disclosed and taught herein relate generally to vacuum appliances, and more specifically are related to portable wet/dry utility vacuum cleaners having improved convenience and performance, and methods of use of such vacuum cleaners for debris collection and dust control applications, such as for controlling dust generated from sanding drywall joint compound and the like.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Utility vacuum cleaners, also referred to as wet/dry vacuum cleaners, are commonly used in basements, garages, workshops, on construction job-sites, and the like, for a variety of heavy duty cleaning tasks which are beyond the capabilities of the standard vacuum used to clean carpets and floors. While generally speaking these known wet/dry vacuums work for their intended purpose, such as cleaning up solid and liquid debris, there are a few drawbacks with the typical configuration.
  • One such drawback concerns the size and portability of many of the known wet/dry vacuum cleaners. Some vacuums are of such a size that their use in smaller areas or elevated areas, such as in attics, closets, and crawl spaces, is not readily possible due to size or weight issues, or is limited.
  • Another drawback concerns the collection drum used in containing the dirt, debris, and/or liquid material which is vacuumed up by the wet/dry vacuum appliance. In the typical wet/dry vacuum configuration, the vacuum includes a debris collection drum and a power head. During typical operation, solid and/or liquid debris are drawn up through a collection hose and into the collection drum via vacuum generated by a motor assembly within the power head, the solid and/or liquid debris being deposited within the collection drum. Thereafter, the user must empty the full collection drum. In some instances, such as when cleaning up certain types of particulate or liquid debris, e.g., drywall compound dust, fine sanding dust, or other fine particulate matter, the dust can be dangerous to the user, and due to the fine nature of the particulate matter being drawn into the vacuum, can in part make its way through the filters and re-enter the environment through the vacuum exhaust, thus reducing efficiency and subjecting the user to additional airborne particles. Further, when using a vacuum appliance to clean up select fine particulate matter, it can be difficult to fully remove all of the particulates from the collection drum after cleaning, due to static or other adherence to the inside walls of the collection drum. Thus, it would be preferable in situations like this to be able to simply dispose of the container itself, once full, while retaining the vacuum power head assembly for continued use.
  • Several approaches to solving this problem have been suggested to date. U.S. Pat. No. 6,083,307 describes a water filtration kit for drywall dust control for use in capturing and controlling dust generated from sanding drywall joint compound. The invention device includes a container. A lid portion secures to the open upper end of the container. The lid has a pair of apertures therethrough. A filtering tube is secured to one of the apertures of the lid and extends interiorly of the container.
  • In a further example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,616,733 describes a method and apparatus for filtering an air stream with an aqueous froth. According to the disclosure, the process includes passing a contaminated air stream through a diffusing sieve, into an aqueous solution in an expansion chamber; generating, maintaining, and containing an aqueous froth between the liquid-bath reservoir and a saturated fiber element; and continually saturating a coarse-fiber element with liquid from the aqueous solution. The froth is generated and maintained, and the fiber element is saturated, by controlling the dynamic interface between the contaminated air stream and the liquid-bath reservoir. The apparatus for filtering an air stream includes: an air filter device that incorporates a liquid-bath filter initial stage; an aqueous-froth filter second stage; a constantly saturated, coarse-fiber filter as a combined third stage and froth-limiter; and a moist, fine-fiber filter as the final stage.
  • In U.S. Pat. No. 7,297,188, a dust collecting apparatus is described that provides a vacuum system with a liquid filtering medium to collect dust produced during screening. A dust collection unit is also disclosed to collect and separate sawdust produced by sanding which can cause foaming of a liquid filter medium.
  • While all of these approaches seek to address the problems associated with vacuuming selected fine particulate materials, they suffer from being cumbersome to handle and move from area to area, as well as expense and similar related issues.
  • The inventions disclosed and taught herein are directed to an improved utility vacuum cleaner, particularly a wet/dry vacuum system, with improved portability while retaining the vacuum suction power, the vacuum system including a disposable debris collection container. Also disclosed herein are methods of use of such vacuum appliances in conjunction with a water filter kit, acting as vacuum-based dust removal units for fine particulate dust control which acts to capture and control dust generated from sanding drywall joint compound, fine sawdust, and the like within the disposable collection container.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Wet/dry vacuum appliances for use with disposable containers as debris collection drums are described, as well as methods and assemblies for the use of such vacuum appliances in both typical vacuum operations, and in the vacuum collection of fine particulate material, such as fine sawdust or gypsum dust.
  • In accordance with a first aspect of the present disclosure, a vacuum assembly is described, the vacuum assembly comprising a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end, and at least one sidewall there between, the container including a continuous handle member for carrying the container in a suspended position; a power head assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of the container, the power head assembly including a housing, a motor, a fan, an air inlet and an air outlet; and two oppositely spaced handle-latching assemblies, V- or U-shaped wherein the latching members are spaced on opposite sides of the lower outer rim of the power head assembly.
  • In accordance with a further aspect of the present disclosure, a water filter kit for a wet/dry vacuum assembly for dust control so as to capture and control dust generated from a construction-related process is described, wherein the kit comprises, in combination, a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end opposite the upper end, and at least one side wall extending therebetween, the container being capable of holding a predetermined quantity of water therein; a wet/dry vacuum assembly comprising a power head assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of the container, the power head assembly including a housing, a motor, a fan, an air inlet, an air outlet, and a filter cage; and a filtering assembly, the filtering assembly comprising: a filtering tube having an open proximal end and an oppositely spaced distal end, the proximal end being capable of securedly engaging the lower face of the power head assembly in an air-tight manner such that the distal end extends downwardly towards the interior of the container; and a mixer plate securable to the distal end of the filtering tube, the mixer plate extending substantially parallel to the lower end of the container. In further accordance with this aspect of the present disclosure, the container has a cylindrical configuration and a cylindrical side wall extending between the upper end and the lower end.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The following figures form part of the present specification and are included to further demonstrate certain aspects of the present invention. The invention may be better understood by reference to one or more of these figures in combination with the detailed description of specific embodiments presented herein.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary vacuum appliance in accordance with the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the vacuum appliance of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the vacuum appliance of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the vacuum appliance of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the vacuum appliance of FIG. 1, showing an exemplary dust filtration assembly in accordance with the disclosure.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a bottom view of the motor head assembly of the vacuum appliance disclosed herein.
  • FIG. 7A illustrates a top view of the proximal end of an exemplary downspout assembly.
  • FIG. 7B illustrates a partial bottom view of the motor head assembly with the downspout assembly attached.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of the assembly of FIG. 7B.
  • FIG. 8A illustrates an expanded view of the cage engagement interface shown in FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 8B illustrates a detailed view of the cage engagement interface.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a bottom view of an exemplary mixer plate assembly in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.
  • FIG. 9A illustrates a partial top view of the mixer plate assembly of FIG. 9.
  • FIG. 9B illustrates a detailed bottom view of the mixer plate assembly of FIG. 9.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a further exemplary mixer plate assembly in accordance with aspects of the disclosure.
  • FIG. 11 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary fine particle filtration system according to the present disclosure in use as a dust removal unit, with portions of the vacuum system broken away for purpose of clarity.
  • FIG. 12 illustrates a side-view of a further exemplary filtration system in accordance with the disclosure.
  • FIG. 13 illustrates a more detailed side-view of the filtration system of FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 14 illustrates a bottom view of the filtration system of FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 15 illustrates a perspective bottom view of the filtration system of FIG. 12.
  • While the inventions disclosed herein are susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, only a few specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are described in detail below. The figures and detailed descriptions of these specific embodiments are not intended to limit the breadth or scope of the inventive concepts or the appended claims in any manner. Rather, the figures and detailed written descriptions are provided to illustrate the inventive concepts to a person of ordinary skill in the art and to enable such person to make and use the inventive concepts.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The Figures described above and the written description of specific structures and functions below are not presented to limit the scope of what Applicants have invented or the scope of the appended claims. Rather, the Figures and written description are provided to teach any person skilled in the art to make and use the inventions for which patent protection is sought. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that not all features of a commercial embodiment of the inventions are described or shown for the sake of clarity and understanding. Persons of skill in this art will also appreciate that the development of an actual commercial embodiment incorporating aspects of the present inventions will require numerous implementation-specific decisions to achieve the developer's ultimate goal for the commercial embodiment. Such implementation-specific decisions may include, and likely are not limited to, compliance with system-related, business-related, government-related and other constraints, which may vary by specific implementation, location and from time to time. While a developer's efforts might be complex and time-consuming in an absolute sense, such efforts would be, nevertheless, a routine undertaking for those of skill in this art having benefit of this disclosure. It must be understood that the inventions disclosed and taught herein are susceptible to numerous and various modifications and alternative forms. Lastly, the use of a singular term, such as, but not limited to, “a,” is not intended as limiting of the number of items. Also, the use of relational terms, such as, but not limited to, “top,” “bottom,” “left,” “right,” “upper,” “lower,” “down,” “up,” “side,” and the like are used in the written description for clarity in specific reference to the Figures and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention or the appended claims.
  • Applicants have created a wet/dry vacuum assembly which includes a power head capable of sealingly engaging a separate, disposable collection container. This vacuum assembly may be used in typical wet/dry vacuum operations, or may be used in conjunction with a dust filter attachment for use as a dust removal unit.
  • Turning now to the figures, FIG. 1-FIG. 4 are illustrations of various views of an exemplary wet/dry vacuum assembly 10 in accordance with the present disclosure. FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary, non-limiting vacuum assembly 10 in accordance with the present disclosure. FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the vacuum assembly 10 of FIG. 1, showing the air inlet port 20. FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the vacuum assembly 10 of FIG. 1, illustrating the latching of the power head assembly 12 to a container 14 by way of at least a handle on the container. FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the vacuum assembly 10 of FIG. 1. These Figures will now be discussed in combination.
  • Vacuum assembly 10 is shown in FIG. 1 in a perspective view as a completed unit with a power head assembly 12 attached to a collection container 14. The power head 12 typically comprises an upper motor cover and opposite, lower lid 11 having a plurality of reinforcing ribs 31, 33 and 35, and includes a motor, a fan (not shown), and a filter assembly, and a mounting flange or plate 17 to which the motor, impeller or fan, and filter assembly are coupled. The lower lid 11 also includes an outer, annular ring 13 (see, FIG. 6) sized and configured to the appropriate diameter to seal the open top of the collection container 14, thus joining vacuum assembly 10 in a sealing engagement with container 14. The attachment of the motor cover of the power head assembly 12 to the lower lid 11 may be accomplished by a plurality of fasteners, including, but not limited to, a set of screws. Power head assembly 12 releasably attaches to a collection container 14 by latches 18 a, 18 b, the collection container 14 housing any fluid or debris (wet or dry) introduced by the vacuum assembly 10 into the container during normal suction operations. The lower lid 11 on the power head isolates the vacuum motor and associated impellers from the container 14 so as to prevent contamination or damage to the motor from liquid and debris entering the vacuum during normal operation.
  • With continued reference to the Figures, and in particular FIG. 4, a top view of vacuum assembly 10 is shown. According to embodiments of the present disclosure, vacuum assembly 10 includes a power head 12 with a motor cover, lid, power cord (not shown for purposes of clarity), suction inlet port 20, air outlet port 22, and a power actuating switch 24. Other features of the power head assembly not shown in the figures may include exhaust doors, motor exhaust ports (26), noise dampening means, and the like, as appropriate. During typical operation, a flexible vacuum collection hose (not shown) is connected to the suction inlet port 20, via a locking attachment, twist attachment, friction-fit attachment, threaded attachment, or the like, and allows the user to vacuum up debris while leaving the vacuum assembly 10 in a stationary position.
  • With reference to the cross-sectional view of FIG. 5, Included with vacuum assembly 10 and collection container 14 may be one or more of a float, filter cage 40, filter, and muffling device, each of which may be installed by the consumer, or during the manufacturing process. Filter cage 40 may be connected to the bottom face of the power head 12, specifically to the bottom face of the plate 17 on the lower lid 11, by a plurality of fasteners—for example notches on the collector plate may connect with mating tabs or the equivalent on filter cage 40. Filter cage 40 preferably includes a plurality of rings 42 oriented horizontally about (and substantially perpendicular to) a central, longitudinal axis of the filter cage, and two or more vertical ribs (longitudinal supports) 44 which are substantially parallel to the central axis of filter cage 40, and which are coupled to the plurality of rings 42, so as to form a plurality of open spaces between the rings and the supports. A filter (not shown) may be optionally placed snugly over the outside of filter cage 40, as appropriate and depending on the material to be cleaned with the vacuum assembly 10. Filters suitable for use with the present disclosure include paper filters, bag filters, pleated filters, HEPA-type filters, and filters made of either paper or non-natural fiber, such as polymers or polymer/paper mixtures or other appropriate synthetic materials suitable for such application.
  • With continued reference to FIGS. 1-5, the assembly 10 further includes a separate debris collection container 14, the container having an open upper end, an opposite closed lower end 15, and at least one sidewall there between, the container preferably (but not necessarily) including a continuous handle member 16 for carrying the container in a suspended position. The handle member 16 may be of a generally curved shape, as shown, or may have a specific shape, such as a V-shape formed in the middle portion (not shown), to allow the vacuum assembly 10 to be hung from an elevated position, e.g., from a ladder hook while the user works atop a ladder. In non-limiting example, the container 14 may be a cylindrical container having a cylindrical configuration and a cylindrical side wall extending between the substantially circular-shaped upper end and the lower ends. Alternatively and equally acceptable, the container 14 may be square, rectangular, ovoid, or any other appropriate shape, the only restriction being that the container must be capable of sealingly engaging the power head 12 of the vacuum assembly 10. The container 14 is preferably a bucket, pail, or similar container being capable of holding a predetermined quantity of water therein, such as a 5-gallon or 10-gallon plastic bucket.
  • In a typical manner of operation, power head 12 is sealingly attached to the open end of container 14 via latches 18 positioned on the lower, circumferential edge of the power head, and which are preferably spaced about 180-degrees apart as illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 4. Each of the latches 18 has an upper hinged portion 29 which is capable of biasing the latches 18 a, 18 b upward and downward, and two ears 28 a, 28 b which are oriented substantially perpendicular to the body of the latch, the latter of which is generally perpendicular to the central axis of the vacuum assembly 10, or the wall(s) of the container 14. Ears 28 a, 28 b of latches 18 in combination form a V- or U-shaped groove 27 therebetween, the groove 27 being capable of receiving handle 16 associated with container 14. In typical operation, the user orients the power head 12 over container 14 having the handle 16 in a lowered (not vertical position), such that latches 18 a, 18 b are substantially aligned with the direction of the handle 16 when it is raised to a 90-degree angle (parallel with the central axis of the container 14), biases the latches 18 upward toward the top of the power head 12, and then pushes the power head down over the upper lip 19 of the open end of the container 14. The handle 16 of the container is then raised from the lowered position to an upright vertical position (as shown in FIGS. 1-3), and is fit into the groove 27 formed between ears 28 a, 28 b of each latch. Latches 18 a and 18 b are then biased downward via hingeable rotation about hinged portion 29 until the latches are tight against the outer wall of the container 14. At this point, the vacuum appliance 10 is ready to for operation by the user.
  • While the vacuum assembly 10 described above may be used for carrying out both wet and dry cleaning operations of various debris types in a variety of areas, particularly hard-to reach or areas of limited confinement (e.g., attics or crawlspaces), due to the fact that the assembly uses a disposable and easily replaceable container 14 (such as a 5-gallon bucket) as the collection drum, it can also be used to vacuum up fine particulate dust and similar materials, using the particle diffusion assemblies shown in FIGS. 5-15. As used herein, the term fine particulate dust material refers to material of fine particle size, including but not limited to sawdust from sanding operations (typically on the order from about 50 μm to about 1000 μm), and dust particles from drywall installation, particularly those gypsum dust particles which result from sanding the joint compound on the drywall between the seams (typically on the order of less than about 0.1 μm to about 5 μm), and which can contain dust particles that are known to cause respiratory health hazards, such as calcite, gypsum, talc, silica, asbestos, fiberglass, and mica dust particles. As shown in FIG. 5, the power head 12 of a vacuum assembly 10 may be further modified to include an air-filter assembly 60 insertable into the container 14 and which may be lockably mounted to the bottom face 11 of the power head, the assembly 60 being in fluid communication with inlet 20, and so as to be free of rotation. The air-filtration assembly 60 comprises at least an inlet pipe or downspout 50 and a diffusion assembly, such as diffusion plate 70, 80, or 100, which will be described in more detail herein, and which is spaced apart from the inlet 20. Downspout 50 is a shaped, hollow tube of any appropriate cross-sectional geometry (circular, square, or the line) and material, such as blow-molded plastic or the like, having a proximal end 52 and an oppositely-spaced distal end 54. Proximal end 52 has a shaped region sized to mate tightly with the opening 20′ of inlet 20 in the bottom face 11 of the lid portion of power head 12, via either friction or threaded attachment means. Downspout 50 extends from the inlet aperture 20′ on the bottom face lid 11 in a substantially downward direction (toward the bottom 15 of the container), where it terminates above the bottom of the container in a deflector portion 56 at its distal end. Deflector portion 56 may be curved, such as will be described in accordance with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 12-15, or it may include radially inward curving side walls, as illustrated generally in FIG. 9B and FIG. 10. As a result of the curvilinear, angled or tapered shape of deflector 56, a fluid stream directed in through inlet aperture 20 (as illustrated by the fluid flow arrows A in FIGS. 5 and 9) is deflected in a direction dictated by the shape of the deflector 56, preferably across the bottom face of a diffusion plate 70, 80 or 100.
  • Attachment and securement of the downspout 50 (and the rest of assembly 60) to the vacuum assembly 10 is by a combination of base insert 32 and cage attachment means 62, both of which will be described in more detail herein, and as shown in FIGS. 7-8.
  • As shown in FIG. 7A, a base insert 32 is fit over the proximal end 52 of downspout 50, via an orifice 34 in the insert 32 sized to receive downspout 50. Base insert 32 is substantially planer is shape, having sides 36, 38 shaped so as to allow the base insert 32 to substantially match the shape found on the underside of the lid 11 at the inlet exit area 20′, such shape being defined by at least the outer wall/annular flange 13 of the bottom face of lid 12, the outer wall of cover 17, and reinforcing ribs 31 and 31′ extending downward from the bottom face of the lid 11 and outwardly from bottom cover 17, the combination thereof penning in the inlet exit area 20′. This is shown most clearly in FIG. 6. The shape of the sized base insert 32 at the proximal end of pipe 50 is so as to prevent the attachment from rotating or slipping free by a twisting motion during operation of the assembly. This can be seen in FIG. 7B, illustrating the downspout 50 and associated base plate 32 attached to the lower face of the lid 11 and extending downwardly, away from the vacuum powerhead 12.
  • Downspout 50, and associated air filtration assembly 60, is also secured by way of a filter cage attachment means, 62, as illustrated in FIGS. 8-8B. FIG. 8 illustrates this attachment in a side view. FIG. 8A illustrates detail of the section “A” within FIG. 8. FIG. 8B illustrates a detailed view of attachment means 62 engaging the filter cage 40 from a front perspective. These figures will be discussed in combination. The filter cage attachment means 62 acts to secure the downspout 50 into position proximate the filter cage 40, thereby preventing accidental disassembly during operation of the system. Filter cage attachment means 62 includes a first, upper securement arm 61 and a second, lower securement arm 63, both securement arms extending substantially perpendicular to the central axis of downspout 50, and being spaced apart both vertically, and horizontally by a distance d1, as shown in FIG. 8B. The vertical and horizontal spacing between arms 61 and 63 is such that they fit around a vertical rib 44 of the filter cage 40, and between either two rings 42 of the filter cage, or between a ring 42 and the bottom face 46 of the filter cage 40. Preferably, at least a portion of the lower edge 65 of both arms extends past the inner plane of the interior of the rigs and rings, as shown in FIG. 8B. Lower securement arm 63 may further include a ramped portion 67 along its bottom edge 65′, so as to aid the attachment means 62 in slidably engaging a rib 44 and rings 42 of the filter cage 40. This attachment feature forces the assembly 60 up and into the bottom face of the vacuum power head/lid, thus creating an air-tight seal between the base plate 32 and proximal end 52 of the downspout and the air inlet 20′. Additionally, this attachment feature acts to prevent the assembly 60 from being pulled side-to-side during operation, and allows for the accessory to be assembled in an easy, no-tool fashion.
  • As shown in FIG. 9, particle diffusion plate 70 is installed at the distal end 54 of downspout 50, and the two pieces connect via a twist-lock engagement, as shown in detail in FIG. 9A, wherein the plate 70 includes an opening 79 formed therethrough which is sized to accommodate downspout 50, the plate 70 further including a twist-lock engagement means 69 formed in the top face 75 of the diffusion plate 70. Diffusion plate 70 may have a variety of designs in order to maximize extraction of dust particles from the air stream during operation. For example, in FIGS. 9 and 9B, the diffusion plate 70 includes a plurality of semi-circular walls 73, 75 extending between the arcuate outer wall 74 of the plate 70, and oriented generally perpendicular to the deflector 56 at the distal end 54 of downspout 50, the walls 73, 75 being of increasingly shorter height as the walls extend outward away from the downspout 50 toward the front edge 76 of the diffusion plate 70. This arrangement of stepped walls of differing heights forces the air entering the container 14 via downspout 50 to cascade over the walls, thus allowing for increased particle extraction from the air stream as it flows.
  • Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 10, the shaped diffusion plate 80 may include a plurality of flow channels “C” formed on the bottom face of the diffusion plate 80 by a series of radiating walls 81, 83 and 85 extending from the back wall 84 of the diffusion plate 80 toward the front edge 82 of the diffusion plate, preferably in a tapered manner as they extend radially outward toward the front edge. For example, as shown in FIG. 10, a channel “C” is formed between radiating walls 81 and 83, and between walls 83 and 85. These radiating walls may be formed and used alone, or in combination with a plurality of openings 88 of varying sizes formed in and through the top of the diffusion plate, which act to provide an even volume of bubbles across the bottom surface of diffusion plate 80, thereby improving the particle extraction by the water during operation.
  • An example method of operation is now described, illustrating use of the systems of the present disclosure with diffusion plate 80, although it will be understood that any of the diffusion plate assemblies described herein may be used. Once the air-filtration assembly 60 has been positioned within the vacuum assembly 10 such that the downspout 50 of assembly 60 is in an in-line orientation with the vacuum air stream, extends downward into the debris collection container 14 as described above, and the operator has filled the container with liquid to a predetermined level above the diffusion plate but below the filter cage 40, thereby forming a liquid reservoir 90 as shown in FIG. 11, the vacuum assembly 10 can be powered on such that the vacuum power can be used to clean up particulate dust and debris and decontaminate the vacuum stream simultaneously during operation. During the typical use, the vacuum brings contaminated air (that is, air containing fine, particulate dust particles) into the inlet 20 of the power head 12, and this air stream is then introduced below the surface of the liquid reservoir 90 through the mixer plate/diffusion means 80 attached at the distal end of the downspout 50. The contaminated air stream, containing fine particulate matter or the like, is then exposed to the water surface during the initial interface with the water, directed across the bottom face of the diffusion plate 80 by deflector 56 at the distal end of downspout 50, and a plurality of air bubbles are diffused through the upper reservoir via orifices 88 in the plate 80. The majority of the fine particulate contaminants are thus removed from the air stream during this filtration process. The lower portion of the liquid reservoir 90 remains relatively calm, thereby allowing most of the heavier contaminants (the dust particles) to settle out into a sludge layer 92 on the bottom of the container 14. The turbulence created by the air stream considerably increases the surface area available to remove the contaminants from the air stream, and allows the now clean air stream to be drawn through the filter cage 40 and up and out through the exhaust port 22 in the power head assembly.
  • FIGS. 12-15 are illustrations of various views of a further particle filtration assembly 100 for use with wet/dry vacuum assembly 10 in accordance with the present disclosure. FIG. 12 illustrates a side view of an exemplary, non-limiting particle diffusion assembly 100 in accordance with the present disclosure, in association with a wet/dry vacuum assembly 10. FIG. 13 illustrates a side view of the diffusion assembly 100 alone. FIG. 14 illustrates a bottom view of the diffusion assembly 100 of FIG. 13, illustrating the details of the scroll design. FIG. 15 illustrates a bottom perspective view of the assembly 10 of FIG. 12. These Figures will now be discussed in combination.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13, the diffusion assembly 100 attaches in generally the same manner as the previously-described embodiments of the disclosure, and the base-plate 101 of the assembly attaches to the downspout 50 in a similar manner, e.g., via an attachment means 32 at the proximal end of the downspout, and via a cage engagement assembly 62, allowing stabilization of the assembly by providing a means for securement to filter cage 40. The diffusion assembly 100 is generally circular or ovoid in shape, and includes a downwardly-extending skirt region 106 which circumscribes substantially all of, or alternatively the entire circumference of the base-plate 101. Base-plate 101 further includes an opening 109 formed in and extending through the top face 104 of the base-plate, the opening being optionally circumscribed by a raised collar 102. The opening 109 is oriented in the base-plate such that when the assembly 100 is attached to the vacuum appliance 10, the opening 109 is positioned substantially directly below the filter cage 40. In this manner, any liquid splash through the opening 109 that may be generated during operation of the system is reflected back to the water reservoir within the container 14, rather than being sucked into the motor intake of the vacuum appliance. In accordance with further aspects of this embodiment, a mesh or similar cover (not shown) could be included to cover opening 109 so as to further reduce liquid splash and/or any foaming of the liquid within the container 14, the only requirement for such a cover being that it is permeable to air.
  • FIG. 14 illustrates a bottom view of the underside of particle diffusion assembly 100, showing a centrifugal force-generating means, such as a general scroll shape as formed on the underside of the base-plate 101. As may be seen therein, the downspout 50 terminates at its distal end 54′ at a deflection angle of approximately 90°, relative to the central axis of the downspout itself. This angled distal end acts to direct the airstream during use of the system into the scroll-shaped diffusion area of the assembly 100, the diffusion area having at least one diffusion wall 110 extending downward from the bottom face 108 of the base-plate 101, substantially perpendicular to the bottom face 108. Diffusion wall 110 may be separate from, or a continuation of, outer skirt 106. During operation, particles enter the diffusion assembly 100 via downspout 50, and are driven into the walls 106 and 110 of the scroll by centrifugal force, while clean air escapes through the provided opening 109. This “cyclonic-cleaning” using centrifugal force is further enhanced by the presence of water within the container 14, as described above in accordance with the other embodiments of this disclosure, as the water will both serve to capture and contain the fine particulate material, and also clean the surfaces of the interior walls of the container 14 during operation of the unit. FIG. 15 illustrates a bottom perspective view of the particle diffusion assembly 100 in association with the vacuum assembly 10.
  • The size, shape and geometry of the scroll within the bottom face of the assembly 100 is limited only by physical factors, and as such variations on wall placement (e.g., placement of diffusion wall 110, or the addition of further diffusion walls) may be included without detracting from the present disclosure. The size of the plate 100 is limited by the bucket diameter at that area. The scroll may be defined by first picking a circular path that allows the air flow from the downspout 50 sufficient room (that is, small enough that the air flow didn't intersect the downspout, but not so small it left insufficient clearance to the exit hole 109). Diffusion wall 110 may then be defined by an arc of the same diameter and made tangent to the inner and outer circles at the defined areas. In this way, the air flow into the base-plate 101 is forced into the walls at all points within the scroll, so as to aid in the particle separation. Alternatively, the diffusion walls of the assembly may be arranged in a logarithmic or non-logarithmic spiral, as appropriate.
  • Other and further embodiments utilizing one or more aspects of the inventions described above can be devised without departing from the spirit of Applicant's invention. For example, the mixer plates associated with the filter attachment may include a combination of increasingly shorter deflection walls and air channels of varying sizes, or alternatively may include a coarse, fine, or coarse and fine filter element associated with the lower face of the mixer plate to act as a pre-filter. Further, the various methods and embodiments of the present disclosure can be included in combination with each other to produce variations of the disclosed methods and embodiments. Discussion of singular elements can include plural elements and vice-versa.
  • The order of steps can occur in a variety of sequences unless otherwise specifically limited. The various steps described herein can be combined with other steps, interlineated with the stated steps, and/or split into multiple steps. Similarly, elements have been described functionally and can be embodied as separate components or can be combined into components having multiple functions.
  • The inventions have been described in the context of preferred and other embodiments and not every embodiment of the invention has been described. Obvious modifications and alterations to the described embodiments are available to those of ordinary skill in the art. The disclosed and undisclosed embodiments are not intended to limit or restrict the scope or applicability of the invention conceived of by the Applicants, but rather, in conformity with the patent laws, Applicants intend to fully protect all such modifications and improvements that come within the scope or range of equivalent of the following claims.

Claims (7)

  1. 1. A vacuum assembly comprising:
    a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end, and at least one sidewall there between, the container including a continuous handle member for carrying the container in a suspended position;
    a power head assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of the container, the power head assembly including a to housing, a motor, a fan, an air inlet and an air outlet; and
    two oppositely spaced handle-latching assemblies, having V- or U-shaped notches formed by two latching ears, wherein the latching members are spaced on opposite sides of the lower outer rim of the power head assembly.
  2. 2. A wet/dry vacuum assembly comprising:
    a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end, and at least one sidewall there between, the container including a continuous handle member for carrying the container in a suspended position;
    a power head assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of the container, the power head assembly including a housing, a motor, a fan, an air inlet and an air outlet; and
    two oppositely spaced handle-latching assemblies having V- or U-shaped notches formed by two latching ears, wherein the latching members are spaced on opposite sides of the lower outer rim of the power head assembly.
  3. 3. A wet/dry vacuum power head assembly capable of being removably attached to a container/receptacle having a handle for carrying the receptacle portion in a suspended position, the handle being a single, continuous member, wherein the power head assembly comprises:
    a motor;
    an air inlet port;
    an air outlet exhaust port oriented substantially 180-degrees from the air inlet port; and
    two oppositely spaced handle-latching assemblies, having V- or U-shaped notches formed by two latching ears, wherein the latching members are spaced on opposite sides of the lower outer rim of the power head assembly.
  4. 4. The wet/dry vacuum powerhead assembly of claim 3, wherein the assembly is sized to be removably attached to a container having a cylindrical configuration.
  5. 5. A water filter kit for a wet/dry vacuum assembly for dust control so as to capture and control dust generated from a construction-related process, the kit comprising, in combination:
    a container having an open upper end, a closed lower end opposite the upper end, and at least one side wall extending therebetween, the container being capable of holding a predetermined quantity of water therein;
    a wet/dry vacuum assembly comprising a power head assembly capable of removable attachment to the open upper end of the container, the power head assembly including a housing, a motor, a fan, an air inlet, an air outlet, and a filter cage; and
    a filtering assembly, the filtering assembly comprising:
    a filtering tube having an open proximal end and an oppositely spaced distal end, the proximal end being capable of securedly engaging the lower face of the power head assembly in an air-tight manner such that the distal end extends downwardly towards the interior of the container; and
    a diffusion plate securable to the distal end of the filtering tube, the diffusion plate extending substantially parallel to the lower end of the container.
  6. 6. The water filter kit of claim 5, wherein the container has a cylindrical configuration and a cylindrical side wall extending between the upper end and the lower end.
  7. 7. A method of filtering vacuum air streams comprising sub-micron particulate contaminants from a contaminated vacuum air stream, the method comprising:
    a wet/dry vacuum assembly of claim 2; and
    a water filter kit for use with the wet/dry vacuum assembly.
US13156337 2011-06-09 2011-06-09 Wet/dry vacuum appliance, dust filtration attachment therefore, and methods of use Abandoned US20120311811A1 (en)

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US20140008289A1 (en) * 2008-07-04 2014-01-09 Emerson Electric Co. Vacuum Appliance Filter Assemblies and Associated Vacuum Systems
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US9675225B2 (en) 2008-07-04 2017-06-13 Emerson Electric Co. Filter cage for wet/dry vacuums
US20140008289A1 (en) * 2008-07-04 2014-01-09 Emerson Electric Co. Vacuum Appliance Filter Assemblies and Associated Vacuum Systems
US9510718B2 (en) 2008-07-04 2016-12-06 Emerson Electric Co. Wet/dry vacuum cleaner filter for wet material collection
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Effective date: 20110706