|Title of Invention
A FLUID APPLICATOR
|A fluid applicator (10) comprises a head section (12) and a handle section (34) , wherein the head section (12) incorporates an integral fluid store (18) , a fluid dispensing section (24) and a fluid dispersing section (28) , wherein the fluid dispensing section (24) is operable to release fluid into the fluid dispersing section (28) upon application of pressure.
A FLUID APPLICATOR
This invention relates to a fluid applicator. The fluid applicator may be for applying a polish to a surface.
An existing method for applying polish to a floor is by using a mop. Devices are also known by which a user carries a back pack filled with polish, which back pack has a feed line to a mop to allow continuous supply of polish to the mop. This arrangement is disadvantageous in that the back pack is difficult to carry and store in a domestic setting. Also, refilling of the back pack is disadvantageously messy.
It is an object of the present invention to address the above mentioned disadvantages.
According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a fluid applicator comprising a head section and a handle section, wherein the head section incorporates an integral fluid store, a fluid dispensing section and a fluid dispersing section, wherein the fluid dispensing section is operable to release fluid into the fluid dispersing section upon application of pressure.
Preferably, the fluid store extends substantially across a width and/or length of the head section. Preferably, the fluid extends over substantially the full horizontal extent of the head section.
The head section may be triangular in plan view, preferably with rounded vertices.
The handle section is preferably joined to the head section at an upper face of the head section, preferably substantially centrally on the upper face. The handle section may be joined to the head section by a ball-and-socket joint, which is preferably centrally located on the head section, preferably on an upper side thereof, a socket of which preferably extends into the fluid store-The handle section may be joined to the head section by a hinge, which may be formed by a flexible web.
The fluid dispensing section is preferably located in a lower face of the fluid store, preferably substantially centrally in said lower face.
The fluid dispensing section preferably incorporates a fluid release valve biased to a closed position, which is operable to be opened by a downward pressure on the head section.
The fluid dispensing section is preferably operable to release fluid into an opening in the fluid dispersal section. The opening preferably, in use, leads to a surface on which the fluid applicator is to be used. Preferably, the opening is a substantially central opening. The fluid dispersal section preferably includes a pliable dispersing member, which is preferably made of a foam material, or may be a .sponge-type material. The dispersing member may be made of an open-celled foam material, or a closed-cell foam material, or a foam material comprising partly open cells and partly closed cells.
The dispersing member preferably surrounds the opening in the fluid dispersing section.
The dispersing member may incorporate at least one dispersal channel. The or each dispersal channel preferably has an open bottom and preferably extends from the opening towards an edge of the dispersing member. Preferably, the or each channel terminates before reaching an edge of the dispersing member. Preferably, a dispersal channel extends towards each vertex of the head section.
Preferably, the fluid store includes a filling neck, which may have a closure secured thereto.
Preferably, the closure can either be not removable if applicator is intended to be disposable, or removable and replaceable if applicator is intended to be refillable. Preferably, the fluid applicator is a floor treatment fluid applicator, more preferably a floor polish applicator. The fluid applicator may be a cleaning fluid applicator, a disinfecting fluid applicator, and/or a sanitizing fluid applicator.
A horizontal distance from a leading edge or vertex of the head section to a joint with the handle section may be given by X. A vertical distance from a base of the fluid dispersing section to an upper face of the fluid store may be given by Y, Preferably, the ratio X:y is greater than approximately 1.25, more preferably greater than approximately 1.35, more preferably greater than approximately 1.45.
The distance X may have a value depending on whether a stroke is a forward stroke or a backward stroke. Thus a distance X to a front leading edge may be different to a distance X to a rear leading edge, as in the example of a triangular head section.
The head section may include a cover section, operable to be placed over the dispersing section. The cover section preferably includes locating tabs to assist location relative to the dispersing member. The cover section may include a wall section adapted to abut the opening in the dispersing section. The wall may be ring shaped. The wall may define a cavity in the cover section, which cavity is .preferably beneath the dispensing section and may be operable to receive any drips or leaks of fluid from the fluid dispensing section.
The head section may be triangular in shape, and may have curved, rather than angular, vertices. The curved vertices may suitably reduce wear and tear in comparison to angular vertices.
All of the features described herein may be combined with the above aspect.
For a better understanding of the invention, and to show
how embodiments of the same may be carried into effect,
reference will now be made, by way of example, to the
accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a head section of a first embodiment of floor polish applicator;
Figure 2 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the head section of the floor polish applicator shown in Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a schematic view from below of the floor polish applicator with a cover section removed;
Figure 4 is a schematic side view of the floor polish applicator; and
A floor polish applicator 10 comprises a body or head section 12 and a cover section 14.
The body section 12 has a triangular shape in plan view with a filling point 16 for a reservoir 18 of the body section 12.
Figure 5 is schematic cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of floor polish applicator.
Figure 6 is a view from below of the floor polish applicator with core section removed and with shaped channels.
Figure 7 is a schematic front view of the hinge and connector component in close-up.
Figure 8 is a schematic side view of the hinge and connector component in close up.
Figure 9 is a schematic cross-sect ion viewed from above the hinge and connector component in close-up.
Figure 10 is a schematic profile view viewed from above the hinge and connector component in close-up.
A ball and socket pivot joint 2 0 is located centrally on an upper surface of the body section 12. The pivot joint 20 incorporates an internally threaded sleeve 22, in which is received a correspondingly threaded pole handle 34 (see Figure 4) of the usual type supplied with mops etc.
The reservoir 18 communicates with a dispensing section 24 of the body section 12.
The dispensing section 24 incorporates a valve 26 through which polish or the like held in the reservoir 18 is dispensed as described below. The valve 2 6 may be of a known type which is biased by a spring to a closed position and in which application of pressure to the valve 26 causes opening thereof.
An applicator sponge section 28 is located beneath the reservoir 18. The sponge section 2 8 surrounds the valve 26, with the valve 26 being in a central opening in the applicator sponge section 28.
The applicator sponge section 28 incorporates channel sections 30a, b, C; (see Figure 3) which allow propagation of polish material from the valve 26 to edges of the applicator sponge section 2 8. The channels extend from a central opening in the applicator sponge section towards the vertices of the triangular body section 12.
Channel sections 30 a, b, c may have any profile suitable for propagation of polish material. Figure 3 shows 3
channels of rectangular profile. In a further embodiment it has been found that propagation of polish material is further enhanced if the channels have a wider profile at the point nearest the central opening in the applicator sponge. Such a profile has the added advantage of lessening the narrowing of the channels caused by swelling of the foam distribution material on saturation with the polish material, A particular example of this is shown in Figure S, where the channels 3 0 a, b, c have a wider curved profile at the centre of the applicator device, tapering (narrowing) to a rectangular profile at the apices of the device.
The cover section 14 is arranged to fit over the applicator sponge section 28 and to engage by a snap fit action with the body section 12. The cover section 14 engages with the side walls of the reservoir 18. The cover section 14 also includes tab sections or dividing walls 32 a/b which allow location of the cover section 14 relative to the applicator sponge section 2 8 and also provide a seal from the atmosphere for the applicator sponge section 2 8 to prevent drying and hardening of floor polish material held in the applicator sponge section 28. A wall section 32a surrounds the central opening in the applicator sponge section 28 which provides space for a valve 26, Peripheral wall sections 32b are provided as tabs to provide means for locating the cover section 14 as mentioned above.
In a particular embodiment cover section 14 engages by snap-fit action with the body section 12 by means of an inter-engaging mechanism located on the dividing walls 32 a/b of the cover section and inter-engages by a snap-fit
with matching protrusions on the applicator situated concentrically with the valve 26. An advantage of this mechanism is that it retains the cover section 14 more efficiently whilst at the same time protecting the valve opening 27 from being activated during transport or storage of the applicator device.
The body section 12 measures approximately 22 0mm across each side of the triangular shape. The reservoir 18 has a height of approximately 30mm and has a volume providing space for approximately 500ml of polish material. The cover section has a height of approximately 25mm, Thus, the height of the floor polish applicator 10, with the cover removed is approximately 55mm,
Given that the floor polish applicator 10 has a generally triangular shape and given that the pivot j oint 2 0 is centrally located within the body section 12 of the distance from the pivot joint 2 0 to the middle of one side of the body section is approximately 8 0mm i,e. for a forward stroke. The distance from the middle to one of the vertices, i,e. for a backward stroke, is approximately 100mm.
The area presented by the applicator sponge section 28 to a surface to be cleaned is approximately 2 50cm^.
The floor polish applicator is provided to end users with the reservoir 18 filled with a polish material. The filling point 16 is not removable but is permanently fixed to the reservoir 18 after filling of the reservoir 18 during manufacture.
In use, the user would remove the cover section 14 from the floor polish applicator 10 to expose the applicator sponge section 28. A user would then place the applicator sponge 28 on a surface to be polished by holding on to the handle section 34 as described above. The user applies pressure to the handle and thus to the floor polish applicator 10 which pressure causes the valve 26 to contact the surface and push a valve seat 2 7 to an open position against a force of a spring element 29, The opening of the valve 26 allows polish material held within the reservoir 18 to exit down on to the surface on which the floor polish applicator 10 is located. The central opening within the applicator sponge section 2 8 forms an enclosure in which the polish material is received. The sponge section 28 typically compresses about 10mm when pressure is applied.
A user then moves the applicator 10 around the surface to be cleaned or polished. This causes the floor polish material to be spread across the surface by the applicator sponge section 28. The channels 30a, b, c allow the floor polish to propagate more quickly and effectively through the sponge section 28 to achieve a good spread of polish material. The spread of material across the sponge section 28 allows the greater surface area of the sponge section 2 8 to be used to apply the polish material to the surface.
When moving the applicator 10 across the surface it has been found that friction can occur between the surface and the applicator 10, causing greater difficulty in pushing the floor polish applicator 10 across the surface. It is a realisation of the invention embodied in the floor
polish applicators described herein that the friction between the surface and the movement of the floor polish applicator creates a moment about the leading edge or leading vertex of the applicator. When pushing the polish applicator 10 forwards there will be a tendency of the applicator body section 12 to rotate about the leading edge or vert ex. Figure 4 is a s chema t i c di agram indicating this tendency. In Figure 4 the leading edge of the applicator 10 is marked A. The pivot joint 2 0 is marked at B. It is assumed that a handle 34 is pushed from right to left as seen in Figure 4 there will be a tendency for the pivot joint at the point marked B to rotate along the line marked C about point A. As mentioned above the moment is about the point A, but results from force exerted along the handle 34.
It has been advantageously realised that by increasing the horizontal separation between the points marked A and B in Figure 4 and/or decreasing the vertical separation between the points marked A and B then the rolling or tipping effect discussed above can be reduced. The effect of the horizontal separation and the vertical separation of points A and B can be combined into the ratio of horizontal separation (X) to vertical separation (Y) of the points A and B. A reduced rolling effect is observed as the ratio X/Y increases. Thus, a ratio of 1 is thought to still provide a pronounced rolling/tipping effect. However, a ratio of X over Y of 2 has advantageously reduced rolling. The ratio in the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 3 is approximately 2.75. Thus, a ratio of X over Y greater than approximately 1.75 is thought to have a beneficial reduced rolling effect.
when a vertex is forwardmost as the head section is moved along the surface the measurement of X should be taken from the vertex to the joint. The rolling/tipping effect is also observed on a baclcwarcl stroke, in which case the measurement X would be taken as the horizontal distance between points B and D on figure 4. In other respects the ratio and tipping effect apply as described above.
The ball and joint socket, joint 20 may advantageously be recessed into the body section 12 to reduce the value of Y, where Y is measured from the point at which the handle 34 exerts pressure on the body section section 12 to the lower* face of the sponge section 28.
When a user has spread sufficient polish material over the surface then the cover section 14 is replaced in order to maintain the quality of the sponge section 28, which may otherwise dry out and harden. The hardening is typically caused by evaporation of elements of the polish .material, which evaporation is prevented or significantly reduced by the cover section 14 having a snap fit closure with the body section 12.
Figure 5 shows a second embodiment of floor polish applicator. This embodiment has many features in common with the first embodiment and like reference numerals have been used for like parts.
The second embodiment differs mainly in the construction of the joint to the handle 34 and the construction of the valve 26.
The joint comprises a flattened ring-shaped base section 60 from which a cone 62 extends upwards. The cone 62 has a linear upper ridge 64 that provides a linear hinge S6 in the form of a web connected to an inverted cone 68 having a corresponding linear ridge. The inverted cone 68 opens out to the internally threaded sleeve 22.
The hinge 66 allows flexure of the sleeve 22 and handle 34 relative to the body section 12. The relative flexure is allowed in a , forwards and backwards direction, whereas sideways flexure is deterred. This hinge 66 has the benefit of low manufacture and production costs compared to the ball and socket joint 2 0 of the first embodiment. Also, the joint has been found to be sufficiently durable to allow exhaustion of the reservoir 18 before failing. The reservoir 18 is not intended to be refilled. Typically, three normal-sized rooms could be treated with polish before the reservoir 18 is exhausted.
The base section 60, the sponge section 28 and the valve 26 are secured in position with adhesive.
In the second embodiment the valve 26 has a cylindrical collar 70 that extends up into the reservoir 18 and has at least one side opening 72. The valve seat 27 and the spring element 2 9 are different to the first embodiment in that the valve seat 27 extends further downwards towards a floor to be cleaned, so that less pressure is required on the sponge section ■ 28 to cause actuation of the valve. The valve seat 2 7 is approximately 8mm long, but it will be appreciated that the length should be matched to the thickness . of the sponge section 28, so that compression thereof causes activation of the valve seat 27.
The shape, size and material composition of the linear hinge €S have been found to influence the perforinance of the device in use, in particular with respect it its tendency to tip and the level and ease of manoeuvrability. In a lateral direction hinge 66 is formed at the junction of core 62 (which extends from the base section 60) and cone 68 which connects to handle 34. This is shown in detail in Figures 7 to 10. Whilst in this embodiment hinge 66 as shown is substantially linear, it may also have a slight curvature.
The width 'a' of the hinge is preferably between 10 and 50mm, more preferably between 15 and 35 mm. In a preferred embodiment, the width is between 25 and 3 0 mm. In a further embodiment, the width is between 15 and 20 mm.
The thickness 'b' of the hinge is preferably between 0.5 and 2.0. mm, more preferably between 0.9 and 1.5 mm, especially between 1.0 and 1.4 mm. Typically this thickness results from the thickness of the mould used to form the whole joint component 70. It has been found that a further benefit is conferred if the component 70 is subjected to one or more flexes immediately following forming and prior to the component fully setting.
Component 70, and particularly hinge 66, are preferably formed from a resilient plastics material, preferably a polyolefin, especially polypropylene. Differing grades and types of polypropylene may be used for component 70. Three primary types of polypropylene commonly used are
• Homopolymer (isotactic) which is made in a single
reactor with propylene and catalyst.
• Random copolymer (homophasic copolymer) which is made
in a single reactor with a small amount of ethylene
• Impact copolymer (heterophasic copolymer) which is made
in a two reactor system where the homopolymer matrix is
made in the first reactor and then transferred to the
second where ethylene and propylene are polymerized to
create ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) in the form of
microscopic nodules dispersed in the homopolymer matrix
The reservoir 18 in both embodiments is preferably made by
a blow moulding procedure. The reservoir 18 may be made
of any suitable plastic material, such as polyethylene, in
particular high density polyethylene. The valve 2 6 is
suitably made of any plastics material, such as
polyethylene. The handle and/or hinge may be made up of
any suitable plastics material, preferably polyethylene or
Floor polish formulations that may be used with the device include .aqueous styrene acrylic emulsion floor polishes, cleaning compositions, polishing compositions, liquid coatings for gloss finishes all of which should be free-flowing liquids.
In view of the above tendency towards rolling the height of the reservoir 18 has been minimized and its lateral extent maximized in order to provide a broad thin reservoir that provides a beneficial X over Y ratio as defined above.
The invention has been described in relation to floor polish applicators. The invention could equally apply to a cleaning fluid applicator, or a fluid applicator
generally. The fluid applicator could apply other protective coverings, such as a varnish or paint.
Attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.
All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) , and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive-
Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.
The invention is not restricted to the details of the
foregoing embodiment (s) . The invention extends to any
novel one, or any novel combination, of the features
disclosed in this specification (including any
accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any
novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any
method or process so disclosed.'
1. A fluid applicator comprising a head section and a handle section, wherein the head section incorporates an integral fluid store, a fluid dispensing section and a fluid dispersing section, wherein the fluid dispensing section is operable to release fluid into the fluid dispersing section upon application of pressure, in which the fluid dispersal section includes a pliable dispersing member, the latter incorporating at least one dispersal channel -
2. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 1, in which the or each dispersal channel has an open bottom.
3. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, in which the or. Each dispersal channel extends towards an edge or vertex of the dispersing member and terminates before reaching said edge or vertex of the dispersing member.
4. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the fluid store extends over substantially the full horizontal extent of the head section.
5. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, in which the head section is triangular in plan view.
6. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the handle section is joined to the head section at an upper face of the head section.
7. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the fluid dispensing section is located in a lower face of the fluid store.
8. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the fluid dispensing section incorporates a fluid release valve biased to a closed position, which is operable to be' opened by a downward pressure on the head section.
9. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the fluid dispensing section is operable to release fluid into an opening in the fluid dispersal section.
10. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 9, in which the opening, in use, leads to a surface on which the fluid applicator is to be used.
11. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 9 or claim 10, in which the dispersing member surrounds the opening in the fluid dispersing section.
12. A fluid applicator as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 11, in which the or each dispersal channel extends from the opening towards an edge of the dispersing member.
13. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the fluid applicator is a floor treatment fluid applicator.
14. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, in which a horizontal distance from a leading edge or
vertex of the head section to a joint with the handle section is given by X, a vertical distance from a base of the fluid dispersing section to an upper face of the fluid store is given by Y and the ratio X:Y is greater than approximately 1.25.
15. A fluid applicator as claimed in any preceding claim,
in which the head section includes a cover section,
operable to be placed over the dispersing section,
16. A fluid applicator as claimed in claim 15, in which
the cover section includes a wall section adapted to abut
the opening in the dispersing section, wherein the wall
defines a cavity in the cover section operable to receive
drips or leaks of fluid from the fluid dispensing section.
17. A fluid applicator substantially as described herein
with reference to the accompanying drawings.
|Indian Patent Application Number
|PG Journal Number
|Date of Filing
|Name of Patentee
|RECKITT BENCKISER (UK) LIMITED
|103-105 BATH ROAD SLOUGH BERKSHIRE SL1 3UH
|PCT International Classification Number
|PCT International Application Number
|PCT International Filing date