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1. WO2007087200 - MATERIAL-REMOVAL SYSTEM INCLUDING A FLUID-BLASTING, SPRAY-HEAD ASSEMBLY

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS
What is claimed is:
1. A material-removal system operable to remove material from a surface, the material-removal system comprising:
a base plate;
a plurality of wheels extending from said base plate and operable to maintain said base plate a predetermined distance from a surface;
a plurality of fluid bars operable to direct a flow of high-pressure fluid toward a surface, said fluid bars being simultaneously rotatable about individual axes and overlapping one another during rotation; and
a drive mechanism operable to drive rotation of said fluid bars about said respective axes, said drive mechanism coordinating said rotation of said fluid bars such that said fluid bars do not hit one another during simultaneous rotation.
2. The material-removal system of claim 1 , wherein said drive mechanism includes a plurality of intermeshed first gears and a drive gear intermeshed with one of said first gears, rotation of said drive gear causing rotation of said first gears and rotation of said first gears causing rotation of said fluid bars.
3. The material-removal system of claim 2, wherein said drive mechanism includes a plurality of shafts each coupled to said first gears such that said shafts rotate with rotation of said first gears and said fluid bars are coupled to said shafts and said shafts have a fluid flow path therein operable to direct a high-pressure fluid flow to said fluid bars.
4. The material-removal system of claim 1, wherein said drive mechanism includes a drive motor. coupled to said drive gear and operable to drive rotation of said drive gear.
5. The material-removal system of claim 4, wherein said drive mechanism and said drive gear are coupled to said base plate.
6. The material-removal system of claim 1, further comprising a shroud enclosing said plurality of fluid bars in a single cavity.

7. The material-removal system of claim 6, further comprising at least one vacuum port communicating with said cavity and operable to suck up fluid sprayed by said fluid bars and debris generated by said sprayed fluid.
8. The material-removal system of claim 7, wherein a quantity of said vacuum ports numbers one less than a number of said fluid bars.
9. The material-removal system of claim 1, further comprising a vacuum source operable to capture fluid sprayed by- said fluid bars and debris generated by said sprayed fluid and to draw a flow of air across at least a portion of said drive mechanism to cool said drive mechanism.
10. The material-removal system of claim 9, wherein said vacuum source communicates with a shroud enclosing at least one of said spray bars in a cavity and said base plate includes at least one ventilation opening communicating with sard cavity and disposed adjacent said drive mechanism such that said vacuum source draws said flow of air across at least of portion of sard drive mechanism, through said at least one ventilation opening, and into said cavity.
11. The material-removal system of claim 1 , wherein said drive mechanism includes a plurality of heat-transferring fins thereon operable to transfer heat from said drive mechanism to an air flow flowing across said fins.
12. The material-removal system of claim 1 , wherein said drive mechanism includes an internal cooling fluid channel extending along a perimeter of said drive mechanism and said channel is operable to receive a flow of cooling liquid therethrough to remove heat from said drive mechanism.
13. A material-removal system operable to remove material from a road surface, the material-removal system comprising:
a vehicle;
a spray-head assembly coupled to said vehicle and operable to direct a flow of high-pressure fluid against a road surface to remove material therefrom;
an articulating arm assembly coupling said spray-head assembly to said vehicle;

a high-pressure fluid supply system on said vehicle, said high-pressure fluid supply system operable to supply said flow of high-pressure fluid to said spray-head assembly and including a high-pressure fluid pump and a fluid storage tank; and
a vacuum system on said vehicle and including a vacuum source and a debris tank, said vacuum system communicating with said spray-head assembly and operable to capture fluid discharged by said spray-head assembly and material removed from the road surface in a debris tank on said vehicle.
14. The material-removal system of claim 13, further comprising a tilting mechanism operable to move said debris tank between first and second positions independently of said fluid storage tank.
15. The material-removal system of claim 14, wherein said debris tank is separate from said water tank.
16. The material-removal system of claim 13, wherein said articulating arm assembly includes two rotary actuators and at least one link extending therebetween, a first one of said rotary actuators operable to rotate said at least one link relative to said vehicle about a first substantially vertical axis and a second one of said rotary actuators operable to rotate said spray-head assembly relative to said at least one link about a second substantially vertical axis.
17. The material-removal system of claim 16, wherein said articulating arm assembly includes an extendible actuator operable to move said at least one link and said spray-head assembly vertically relative to said vehicle.
18. The material-removal system of claim ,13, wherein said vacuum system creates a vacuum in said debris tank and further comprising a peristaltic pump communicating with said debris tank and operable to extract fluid from said debris tank while said vacuum system creates said vacuum in said debris tank.
19. The material-removal system of claim 13, wherein said spray-head assembly includes:
a base plate;

a plurality of wheels extending from said base plate and operable to ride along said road surface and maintain said base plate a predetermined distance from said road surface;
a plurality of fluid bars operable to direct said flow of high-pressure fluid toward said road surface, said fluid bars being simultaneously rotatable about individual axes and overlapping one another during rotation; and
a drive mechanism operable to drive rotation of said fluid bars about said respective axes, said drive mechanism coordinating said rotation of said fluid bars such that said fluid bars do not hit one another during simultaneous rotation.
20. The material-removal system of claim 19, wherein said spray-head assembly includes a shroud enclosing said plurality of fluid bars in a single cavity and at least one vacuum port communicating with said cavity and said debris tank such that fluid discharged by said spray-head assembly and material removed from the road surface are captured in said debris tank.
21. The material-removal system of claim 19, wherein said drive mechanism includes a plurality of intermeshed first gears and a drive gear intermeshed with one of said first gears, rotation of said drive gear causing rotation of said first gears and rotation of said first gears causing rotation of said fluid bars.
22. A method of removing material from a road surface comprising:
(a) directing a flow of high-pressure fluid against the road surface with at least one fluid bar thereby removing material from the road surface;
(b) capturing fluid discharged by said at least one fluid bar and material removed from the road surface in a debris tank that is under vacuum; and
(c) discharging fluid from said debris tank while said debris tank is under vacuum.
23. The method of claim 22, further comprising performing (c) while a vehicle carrying said debris tank is traveling down a road.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein (c) is performed during periods of time that (a) is not being performed.
25. The method of claim 23, further comprising forming a vacuum in said debris tank with a vacuum pump located on said vehicle and wherein (b) includes capturing said discharged fluid and debris in a hose communicating with said debris tank and with a spray-head assembly containing said at least one fluid bar.
26. The method of claim 22, wherein (c) includes discharging said fluid from said debris tank with a peristaltic pump.
27. The method of claim 22, wherein (c) includes discharging fluid and debris from said debris tank while said debris tank is under vacuum.
28. A method of removing material from a road surface comprising:
(a) supplying a high-pressure fluid flow to a plurality of fluid bars;
(b) rotating said fluid bars about respective axes in an overlapping manner;
(c) coordinating rotation of said fluid bars with an indexing mechanism; and
(d) applying said high-pressure fluid flow to the road surface with said rotating fluid bars thereby removing material from the road surface.
29. The method of claim 28, wherein said fluid bars are disposed in a singfe'cavity and further comprising capturing the applied fluid flow and removed material generated thereby in a debris tank with a vacuum source communicating with said debris tank and said cavity.
30. The method of claim 29, further comprising generating a flow of cooling air across said indexing mechanism with said vacuum source.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein generating a flow of cooling air includes pulling said flow of cooling air into said cavity through a ventilation opening adjacent said indexing mechanism.
32. The method of claim 28, wherein coordinating rotation of said fluid bars includes linking rotation of each of said fluid bars with intermeshing gears.

33. The method of claim 28, further comprising routing a flow of cooling liquid through said indexing mechanism and removing heat from said indexing mechanism with said flow of cooling liquid.
34. The method of claim 28, further comprising:
storing a fluid in a storage tank that communicates with a high-pressure pump operable to supply said high-pressure fluid flow to said fluid bars;
capturing the applied fluid flow and removed material generated thereby in a debris tank with a vacuum source communicating with said debris tank; and
removing captured material from said debris tank by tilting said debris tank relative to the fluid storage tank.