Patent application title: APPARATUS FOR COLLECTING DEBRIS FROM A TARGET SURFACE
Todd Mitchell Day (Bethel, OH, US)
William Michael Cannon (West Harrison, IN, US)
William Michael Cannon (West Harrison, IN, US)
Glenn Allen Bradbury (Mason, OH, US)
Glenn Allen Bradbury (Mason, OH, US)
Nicola John Policicchio (Mason, OH, US)
Mark John Steinhardt (Cincinnati, OH, US)
Mark John Steinhardt (Cincinnati, OH, US)
Vong Hoss (Hong Kong, CN)
IPC8 Class: AA47L2500FI
Class name: Brushing, scrubbing, and general cleaning implements adhesive lint remover
Publication date: 2011-06-23
Patent application number: 20110146011
An apparatus for removing debris from a target surface. The apparatus
comprises a hollow roller with a supply roll and take-up roll axially
rotatably disposed within the volume of the hollow roller. A sheet
material, such as adhesive tape, extends from the supply roll through a
slot, around the periphery of the roller at least 180°, back into
the slot and onto be take-up roll. A partition separates the supply roll
and take-up roll, reducing contamination of tape on the supply roll. An
index mechanism may be provided to advance the tape one path length from
the supply roll to take-up roll, the user does not overuse or underuse
1. An apparatus for removing debris from a surface, said apparatus having
a longitudinal axis and comprising: a roller, said roller having an
exterior periphery, a hollow space defining an interior volume, and a
slot between said interior volume and said exterior surface; said roller
having a longitudinal axis and at least one end cap generally orthogonal
thereto; said roller being able to receive a supply of sheet material
disposed in said interior volume of said roller, said sheet material
extending through said first slot to overlie said exterior periphery of
said roller and wrap around said periphery to subtend at least
180.degree. thereof; and reenter said interior volume through said slot
to a collection; whereby said sheet material can travel from said supply,
around said subtended portion of said periphery and into said interior
volume to said collection; a partition juxtaposed with said slot and
disposed within said interior volume, said partition being longitudinally
oriented and dividing said interior volume into two chambers, a first
chamber for containing a supply of sheet material and a second chamber
for receiving a collection of sheet material, said partition having a
width oriented generally radially to said end cap.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said slot subtends less than 30 degrees of said periphery.
3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said slot and said partition are generally longitudinally oriented and said sheet material subtends at least about 270.degree. of said exterior surface of said roller when provided thereon.
4. An apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said sheet material subtends at least about 340.degree. of said exterior surface of said roller when provided thereon.
5. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said supply comprises a supply roll disposed axially parallel to said longitudinal axis in said first chamber.
6. An apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said collection comprises a take-up roll disposed axially parallel to said longitudinal axis in said second chamber.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6 comprising a bistable partition, wherein said partition is initially oriented concave towards said take-up roll and inflects to become concave towards said supply roll in response to accumulation of material on said take-up roll.
8. An apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said axes of said supply roll and said take-up roll lie on a common diameter of said right-circular cylinder.
9. An apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said roller has two axially opposed end caps and further comprising an index mechanism, said index mechanism being disposed external to said end caps and operably coupled to one of said supply roll and said take up roll whereby activation of said index mechanism advances sheet material from said supply roll, across said subtended exterior surface of said roller, and onto said take up roll.
10. An apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said index mechanism comprises a ring manually and axially rotatable about said longitudinal axis, said ring driving a pinion lying on a common axis with and driving said take-up roll in response to manual rotational of said ring.
11. An apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said index mechanism comprises a toothed ring gear, and said pinion comprises a pinion gear in rotatable engagement therewith, said apparatus further comprising an axially rotatable crank, wherein an integer rotation of said crank advances sheet material one path length from said supply roll to said take-up roll.
12. An apparatus for removing debris from a surface, said apparatus having a longitudinal axis and comprising: a roller, said roller having an exterior surface, a hollow space defining an interior volume, and at least one slot for communication therebetween, said slot having two opposed edges, said edges being generally longitudinally oriented; an axially rotatable supply roll disposed in said interior volume, a take-up roll disposed within said interior volume and parallel to said longitudinal axis, a drive exterior to said roller and disposed longitudinally outboard of said slot and operably coupled to said take-up roll, wherein said take-up roll can receive material within the said internal volume and traveling from the exterior surface of said roller in response to advance of said drive and independently of axial rotation of said supply roll.
13. An apparatus according to claim 12 wherein, said supply roll and said take-up roll are axially parallel and have a fixed distance therebetween.
14. An apparatus according to claim 13 wherein said roller is shaped like a right-circular cylinder and the said axes of said supply roll and the said take-up roll lie on a common diameter of said right-circular cylinder, said axis of said supply roll and said axis of said take-up roll being equally spaced from said longitudinal axis.
15. An apparatus according to claim 14 further comprising a partition dividing said interior volume into two chambers to minimize contamination therebetween, said partition comprising a substantially flat plate bisecting and generally perpendicular to said common diameter.
16. An apparatus according to claim 15 wherein said flat plate has a distal edge, said distal edge being radially disposed outward from said longitudinal axis at a position juxtaposed with said exterior surface of said roller.
17. An apparatus according to claim 14 further comprising a handle joined to said roller.
18. An apparatus according to claim 17 further comprising a longitudinally oriented, axially rotatable idler roll juxtaposed with one edge of said slot.
19. An apparatus according to claim 12 further comprising an axially rotatable crank, wherein an integer rotation of said crank advances sheet material one path length from said supply roll to said take-up roll.
20. An apparatus according to claim 19 wherein said integer is one.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The invention relates to devices will removing debris from a target service, and more particularly to devices which internally contain such debris.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Devices for removing debris from a target surface are well known. Certain types of debris, such as lint and pet hair, have specialized devices for removing and disposing of such debris.
 Early attempts to make such devices included simple rollers with adhesive-coated sheets. The user rolled the sheets across the target surface, contacting and simply picking up the debris therefrom. However, such attempts have not been satisfactory. The user must remove the sheet it becomes contaminated. The sheet may not be properly separated from the balance of the roll--due to the need to have sufficient adhesion on the next sheet in order to pick up debris from the target surface. As the diameter of the roll becomes smaller, due to successive removal of the outer sheets, contamination occurs more quickly in the cycle repeats itself. Examples of such attempts are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,905,337; 5,027,465; 6,763,977; 6,688,464; and 7,186,207.
 One attempt to overcome the problems associated with the simple roller devices is found in US publication 2006/0265823. This attempt shows a device or cleaning a fabric surface of debris having to rollers selectively in contact with one another and a central opening therebetween. However, this attempt teaches a dirt collection chamber which must be emptied.
 Yet other attempts are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,083,075; 6,735,806; 6,859,976. These attempts disclose apparatus having a cleaning material disposed between a supply roll and take-up roll. A portion of the cleaning material is configured to create a particle trap. The supply roll, take-up roll and cleaning material may be included as a unit in a removable cartridge. However, this attempt makes no provision to prevent cross-contamination between the take-up real and supply roll.
 Attempts to overcome the problems associated with the foregoing, include placing the supply roll and take-up roll internal to a cylindrical housing. One attempt includes U.S. Pat. No. 4,575,890 which interposes a rotatable gear between the reels, promoting contamination of the supply roll. Other attempts with a cylindrical housing include U.S. Pat. No. 4,640,539; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,397.
 Yet another attempt is shown in US 2006/0254017. This attempt utilizes a supply roll and take-up roll, but fails to utilize either a cylindrical housing or the housing periphery to carry the cleaning material. However, the need for improved cleaning apparatus continues.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention comprises an apparatus for removing debris from a surface. The apparatus has a longitudinal axis and comprises a roller having an exterior periphery. The roller can receive a supply of sheet material therein. The sheet material can extending through a slot to overlie the periphery of the roller, and wrap around said roller to subtend at least 180° thereof; and reenter said interior volume through the slot to a collection chamber.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus according to the present invention, with the roller omitted for clarity.
 FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the drive mechanism omitted for clarity
 FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a bistable partition.
 FIG. 4 is an exploded frontal view of the drive mechanism of the apparatus of
 FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of an optional caddy for the apparatus of the claimed invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Referring to FIG. 1, the invention comprises an apparatus 10 having a housing 11 and a roller 15 therein. The housing 11 may have a handle 12 attached thereto for ergonomic convenience.
 Referring to FIGS. 2-3, the roller 15 is hollow, may be generally cylindrical, elliptically shaped, etc. and may have two longitudinally opposed end caps 13. The periphery 16 of the roller 15 has been axially extending slot 20 therethrough. The slot 20 allows for passage of tape 40 between the internal volume 17 and the external for a free of the roller 15. The slot 20 further allows for collection of debris from the target surface to the internal volume 17 of the roller 15.
 Inside the roller 15 is a supply roll 22 and optionally a take-up roll 24. The supply roll 22 and optional take-up roll 24 maybe cantilevered from one end cap 13 or, as shown, may be rotatably joined to each end cap 13. A tape 40 extends from the supply roll 22 to the take-up roll 24.
 The roller 15, supply roll 22 and/or take-up roll 24 may be made of kraft grade cardboard. This arrangement provides a relatively inexpensive manufacture for that assembly. Such assembly, including the tape 40 may then be supplied as a unitary cartridge. The cartridge may be discarded after a single use or the tape 40 therein may be replenished.
 The tape 40 in a subsequent use may be the same as or different than the discarded tape 40. Alternatively or additionally, the tape 40 may have different zones with different properties. The different zones may be spaced across the width of the tape 40. For example, the outboard zones of the tape 40 may have different adhesive properties than the center section. Alternatively or additionally, the tape 40 may have different zones with different properties spaced serially throughout its length. This arrangement automatically provides for different debris removal properties throughout the life of the tape 40.
 The tape 40 may be relatively thin, the increase the supply available before it si necessary to replenish. The tape 40 may have a thickness of less than or equal to about 0.1 mm. The carrier film of the tape 40 may be made of synthetic material, such as PE. The synthetic carrier film minimizes fold-over and may provide a static charge which also attracts debris.
 A partition 30 is disposed intermediate the supply roll 22 and the take-up roll 24. The partition 30 has opposed first and second ends. Either or both end may be joined to its respective end cap 13. The partition 30 further has an internal side edge 32 and an external side edge 34 opposed thereto. The partition 30 may be generally planar as shown, or, alternatively, may be curved.
 The partition 30 may bisect the interior volume of the roller 15 into two chambers or may be offset relative to the supply roll 22 and take-up roll 24. The partition 30 may be coincident a radius of the roller 15 or may be angularly disposed relative to a radius of the roller 15.
 Likewise, the partition 30 may conceptually divide a single slot 20 into two slots: a first slot 20 associated with a first chamber 18, through which the tape 40 exits the volume of the roller 15 and a second slot 20 through which the tape 40 re-enters the volume of the roller 15 into a second chamber 19.
 The external side edge 34 of the partition 30 may extend to the periphery 16 of the roller 15 or the external side edge 34 may be internal to the periphery 16 of the roller 15, as shown. The internal side edge 32 of the partition 30 may be juxtaposed with, and in a degenerate case, coincident the center of the roller 15. If desired, the partition 30 may extend through the center of the roller 15 approximating a diameter. However, if the partition 30 is attached to the inside wall of the roller 15 generally opposite slot 20, the partition 30 must allow for the passage of tape 40 between the two chambers 18, 19 of the roller 15.
 The partition 30 may be stationary, to prevent contamination associated with movement thereof. The partition 30 may be generally planar. If the partition 30 is generally planar, it may be oriented generally perpendicular to a line connecting the axes of the take-up roll 24 and the supply roll 22. This geometry maximizes the area presented to contamination on the take-up roll 24. Alternatively, the partition 30 may be oriented generally concave towards the take-up roll 24 so as to hold contamination away from the supply roll 22.
 Referring to FIG. 3A, the partition 30 may be concave and bistable. A bistable partition 30 may initially be oriented concave towards the take-up roll 24 or the chamber 19 where spent tape 40 and debris accumulates. As material accumulates in that chamber 19 the pressure of that material against the partition 30 may invert to be oriented concave towards the supply roll 22. This arrangement provides the advantages of shielding the supply roll 22 from debris in the other chamber, and accommodating the increase in volume of tape 40 on the take-up roll 24 with the concomitant decrease in volume of the supply roll 22.
 If desired, the tape 40 may have a relatively low release adhesion against the partition 30. The partition 30 may be made of kraft grade cardboard and have a release coating or may be made of low friction plastic, such as LDPE. The partition may provide less than 280 grams per 2.54 centimeters adhesion, less than 140 grams per 2.54 centimeters adhesion, or less than 28 grams per 2.54 centimeters adhesion against tape 40. This arrangement prevents the tape 40 from unduly sticking to the partition 30. The tape 40 may have a greater pickup adhesion against the target surface. An adhesion of at least 113 grams per 2.54 centimeters, least 170 grams per 2.54 centimeters, or least 226 grams per 2.54 centimeters as measured against stainless steel according to ASTM D333. This arrangement provides sufficient adhesion to remove debris from the target surface, but interfere with operation of the apparatus 10.
 Referring back to FIGS. 2-3, alternatively, the partition 30 may be hinged, to float with increasing accumulation of material in the chamber receiving debris and used tape 40. The hinge may be proximate the external side edge 34 of the partition 30.
 The desired circumferential width of the slot 20 may be adjusted to provide the desired amount of contact of the periphery 16 of the roller 15 with the contact surface. As the subtended angle of the slot 20 increases, there is less contact area of the tape 40 available to remove debris from the target surface. As the subtended angle of the slot 20 decreases, there is less room for debris and tape 40 to pass therethrough.
 The slot 20 may be parallel the axis of the roller 15 as shown. Alternatively, the slot 20 may have a slight chevron shave, to accommodate differences in tension between the ends and center of tape 40. If desired, prophetically the roller 15 may have a slight barrel shape, to improve tracking of the tape 40. Alternatively, a slight hourglass shape may be used for the roller 15.
 If desired, a rotatable idler roll 38 may be juxtaposed with either or both edges 32, 34 of the slot 20. The idler roll 38 can minimize tearing of the tape 40 against the edges of the slot 20 and provide for smoother transmission of the tape 40. The idlers rolls 36 may be joined to either or both end caps 13.
 In operation the tape 40 follows a predetermined path from the first chamber 18, containing the supply roll 22, to the second chamber 19 containing the take-up roll 24. Particularly, the tape 40 may unwind from the supply roll 22 and, under tension, be transported to the edge of the slot 20, and any idler roll 38 juxtaposed there with. The tape 40 then wraps around the periphery 16 of the roller 15 and reenters the volume of the roller 15 at the other edge of the slot 20. The tape 40 particularly reenters the roller 15 into the second chamber 19. If a take-up roll 24 is not present, the tape 40 may simply accumulate in the second chamber 19 and later be discarded.
 When wrapped around the periphery 16 of the roller 15, the tape 40 may subtended an angle on the exterior surface of the roller 15 of at least about 180°, 270°, 300°, 330° or 350°. As the subtended angle increases, more tape 40 is presented to the target service. As the subtended angle decreases, the width of the slot 20 becomes more significant, potentially allowing collected debris to fallout of the second chamber 19 and be redeposited on the target surface if such debris is not adequately captured by the tape 40 adhesive.
 In use, the tape 40 is stationary while removing debris from the target surface. When the tape 40 becomes too contaminated to be efficacious, the tape 40 may be indexed on a path length. A path length is the distance from the supply roll 22, around the subtended periphery 16 to the take-up roll 24. The path length is expected to remain relatively constant throughout the life of the tape 40 supply. As tape 40 is depleted from the supply roll 22 an approximately corresponding amount of tape 40 will be added to the take-up roll 24. If desired, the take-up roll 24 may be provided with a manual knob, to provide for properly tensioning the tape 40 web, as needed.
 Referring to FIG. 4, the apparatus 10 may comprise an index mechanism for indexing the tape 40 supply one path length. This index mechanism assures relatively constant and path length is used during the life of the tape 40 supply. The index mechanism also provides convenience for the user, to prevent a partial path length from being utilized and reuse of contaminated tape 40 or more than a path length from being used and wasting unused tape 40.
 The index mechanism may be disposed outboard of either end cap 13. If desired, the index mechanism may be contained in a pod, to minimize contamination of moving parts and prevent a pinch hazard.
 The index mechanism may comprise a rotatable crank 50 for advancing the tape 40 path. Optionally, the crank 50 may articulable between a cranking position and an in-use position. The in-use position may provide for the crank 50 to be tucked against an end cap 13 and ergonomically out of the way while the apparatus 10 is in-use and collecting debris from a target surface.
 The crank 50 may rotatably advance a drive shaft 52. The drive shaft 52, in turn, is not coincident the centerline of the roller 15 and may be juxtaposed with the periphery 16 thereof. Manual rotation of the crank 50 may, in turn, rotate a ring gear 54, which, in turn is joined to a corresponding end cap 13. The drive shaft 52, in turn, may be coupled to the take-up roll 24.
 Rotation of the crank 50 causes rotation of the take-up roll 24 through optional gearing 54. The crank 50 may be geared such that an integer rotation thereof provides for indexing of the tape 40 path so that one path length is advanced. Of course, one of skill will recognize that instead of a manual crank 50 for advancing the tape 40, an electric motor may be utilized.
 The tape 40 may comprise any suitable adhesive disposed on a carrier film. The carrier film should have sufficient tensile strength to prevent tearing during advance throughout the path length. The film should be sufficiently thin to allow an adequate supply to be conveniently contained in the roller 15 volume.
 While the apparatus 10 has been described for use with target surfaces such as couches, upholstery, etc., for lint and hair removal, the invention is not so limited. The apparatus 10 may be used to clean hard surfaces, such as windows, countertops, etc. If desired, the tape 40 may be pre-wetted and apply a cleaner to the target surface. The tape 40 may further comprise hook material, in addition to/instead of the tape 40 adhesive. All such tapes 40, pre-wetted materials, films, etc. are interchangeably referred to herein as tape 40 or sheet material.
 The supply tape 40 may be provided core wound, coreless wound, z-folded, etc. The tape 40 supply may be inserted into the first chamber 18 as supplied in a clip.
 Referring to FIG. 5, if desired, the apparatus 10 may further comprise a caddy 60 for convenient storage. The caddy 60 may comprise two outboard wings 64 hingedly attached to a central base 62. The wings 64 may articulate inwardly, in the direction of the arrows when the apparatus 10 is inserted into the caddy 60. In this manner, the wings 64 may enclose the apparatus 10 when inserted therein. This arrangement provides for aesthetic storage and protection of the apparatus 10 in the caddy 60 when it is not in use.
 The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as "40 mm" is intended to mean "about 40 mm."
 Every document cited herein, including any cross referenced or related patent or application, is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety unless expressly excluded or otherwise limited. The citation of any document is not an admission that it is prior art with respect to any invention disclosed or claimed herein or that it alone, or in any combination with any other reference or references, teaches, suggests or discloses any such invention. Further, to the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.
 While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention
Patent applications by Glenn Allen Bradbury, Mason, OH US
Patent applications by Mark John Steinhardt, Cincinnati, OH US
Patent applications by Nicola John Policicchio, Mason, OH US
Patent applications by Todd Mitchell Day, Bethel, OH US
Patent applications by William Michael Cannon, West Harrison, IN US
Patent applications in class Adhesive lint remover
Patent applications in all subclasses Adhesive lint remover