US 3763621 A
As shredded and compacted waste material is extruded as a substantially continuous strand from the nozzle of a shredder-compactor, it passes into an elongated sleeve having a closed end. Once a predetermined quantity (by weight or extruded length) of such compacted material fills the closed downstream end of this elongated sleeve the strand is interrupted to form a gap and a twisted-off (constricted) neck is formed in the sleeve at the gap to close the sleeve at this location. The sleeve is then sealed at this neck, e.g., by heat-sealing or stapling, and cut to form a sealed package and to form a new closed downstream end on the upstream sleeve section. The upstream section of the sleeve can be rotated to form the twisted-off neck, or the downstream section of track or sleeve can be made to rotate the enclosed strand and sleeve.
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United States Patent [1 1 Klein et al.
[ SEALING APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR REFUSE COMPACTOR  Inventors: Larry Klein; Elliot J. Lefkowitz,
both of 3856 Bronx Blvd, Bronx, N.Y.
 Filed: July 26, 1971  Appl. No.: 166,088
[451 Oct. 9, 1973 1,169,314 11/1969 GreatBritain ..53/181 Primary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Attorney-I-1omer Bridger [5 7] ABSTRACT As shredded and compacted waste material is extruded as a substantially continuous strand from the nozzle of a shredder-compactor, it passes into an elongated sleeve having a closed end. Once a predetermined quantity (by weight or extruded length) of such compacted material fills the closed downstream end of this elongated sleeve the strand is interrupted to form a gap and a twisted-off (constricted) neck is formed in the sleeve at the gap to close the sleeve at this location. The sleeve is then sealed at this neck, e.g., by heat-sealing or stapling, and cut to form a sealed package and to form a new closed downstream end on the upstream sleeve section. The upstream section of the sleeve can be rotated to form the twisted-off neck, or the downstream section of track or sleeve can be made to rotate the enclosed strand and sleeve.
12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED RBI 9 I975 SHEET 1 [IF 2 INVENTORS LARRY KLEIN ELLIOT J. LEFKOWITZ SEALING APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR REFUSE COMPACTOR FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an apparatus for and method of packaging a generally noncoherent mass. More specifically this invention concerns the packaging or encapsulating of compacted and/or shredded solid waste or garbage directly as it emerges from a compactor and/or shredder.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Solid waste presents a considerable disposal problem. Household trash is particularly difficult to dispose of since it contains a variety of waste from scattered particulate organic matter (e.g., table scraps) to highly dense material (e.g., bottles). In large housing complexes and apartment buildings the disposal problem is enormous, especially when incineration and the therein inherent reduction in overall volume is no longer possible because of the need to control atmospheric pollution.
The most advantageous solution involves the shredding and/or compacting of such solid waste. Typical of such apparatus is a device which has a plurality of blades which comminute the waste before it passes into a cylinder. A piston is effective in this cylinder to compress and compact charges of the comminuted to a volume equal to a small fraction of what it was originally, e.g., around 8:1. Such a device is often installed in an apartment building at the base of the chute which formerly led to the incinerator.
As the compressed waste emerges or is extruded from thetreatment apparatus it passes directly into bags that are mounted, filled and then tied by hand. Automatic devices are also known wherein a very long flexible polymeric-resin sleeve having a closed end, is retained over the discharge nozzle of the compacting device. The compacted waste, which emerges as a strand or succession of cylindrical plugs, passes from the nozzle into the sleeve and draws off some of the sleeve retained over the nozzle. An operator must periodically tie off sections of the sleeve at axially spaced intervals to be able to cut off these sections in lengths convenient for carrying in order to remove them for final disposal.
Although the use of the long sleeve which can be tied off to form a plurality of separate packages is indeed a time-saver, the necessity of manually forming the separate tied-off sections is far from completely satisfactory. Especially at times when trash is generated rapidly, as during weekends, or at times when the machine operator is called away for extended periods of time such a system can be very inconvenient. Existing concepts for the automatic sealing of such packages by pinching off the sleeve, heat-sealing, etc., have been unsatisfactory because of a lack of hermeticity, i.e., the sleeve is abraded against the contents and is easily torn.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved packaging apparatus and method particularly adapted for use with a trash compactor of the above-described type.
Another object is the provision of an apparatus which fully automatically prepares separate sealed packages of trash which are convenient to handle and maintain the continuity of the package seal and wrap.
Yet another object is to provide an apparatus for and method of forming separate packages from compacted solid waste as it is extruded into an elongated sleeve of tubular sheet material.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The above objects are attained according to the present invention by forming a twisted-off neck in the sleeve behind or upstream of (relative to the direction of extrusion) a charge of compacted waste matter. This is done by relatively rotating that section of the sleeve adjacent the closed end containing the charge and the rest of the sleeve. thus, either the end of the sleeve containing the compacted mass is rotated while the empty sleeve is held stationary or the sleeve retainer is rotated while the compacted sleeve enclosed mass is stationary.
After formation of the twisted-off neck, according to further features of the present invention, the sleeve is first sealed and then longitudinally subdivided at this neck and severed. This forms the neat package of the charge of compacted waste in the closed end of the original sleeve, while forming a new closed end on the remaining sleeve so that the process can be continuously repeated as new portions of the sleeve are filled with extruded mass.
In accordance with yet another feature of the present invention the compacted largely incoherent mass is extruded as a continuous strand into the sleeve and then the strand is broken and gaps being formed in the strand. Subsequently the twisted-off neck is formed at the location in the sleeve corresponding to the gap or break in the strand. In one embodiment of the invention this is accomplished by lifting a portion of the track along which the sleeved compacted trash rides after extrusion from the compactor. As the track is changed from a relatively straight position to a deflected position the compacted-waste strand is broken at the apex of the crest formed in the track and thereafter the downstream section of sleeved waste is rotated to form the twisted-off neck.
The relative rotation can be effected according to a feature of the present invention as described above by rotating the furthest downstream portion of the strand along with its sleeve portion as it lies on the track by providing rollers on this track which are mounted on the peripheries of wheels lying transverse to the direction of travel of the waste and rotatable to turn this section about its axis. It is also contemplated according to a further feature of the invention to enclose the furthest downstream section by means of a basket arrangement which then lifts it and rotates it free of the track.
In accordance with further features of this invention, controls are provided to measure and/or weigh the furthest downstream section of compacted encased trash to signal the start of the gap formation and the subsequent sealing operations.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The above and other objects, features, and advantages will become apparent from the following description, reference being made to the drawing wherein:
FIG. l is a side sectional view of a first embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows in enlarged scale an end view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with its track in the undeflected (down) position;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of a third embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a fourth embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 6 is an end view ofa detail of the fourth embodiment of the invention, and
FIG. 7 is a largely schematic view showing a detail of a fifth embodiment of the present invention.
SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION As seen in FIG. 1 a compactor 10 has a hopper 11 adapted to hold untreated trash. This compactor may have a plurality of shredding blades or hammers designed to comminute incoming trash and a piston ram, or auger to compress or compact the comminuted trash. A nozzle 12 is provided at the outlet end of the compactor l0 and an elongated vinyl-polymer sleeve 13 is received and retained over this nozzle 12. Such a compactor is discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,541,949.
Extending downstream from the nozzle 12 is a track 14 having three alignable portions 14a. and 14c. The furthest upstream sections 140 and 14b are provided with rollers 15 effective to guide the bag 10 in the direction of travel indicated by arrow T whereas the downstream-end track section 14 c is provided with three parallel cylinders 19 formed with longitudinally extending ridges and extending parallel to the track section Me. Track section 14a is fixed and the other sections 14b and [4c are displaceable, being hinged together at I7 with section 14b also hinged on section 14a at 16. The further downstream section 14c is provided at its downstream end with wheels or rollers 18. An ram (hydraulic cylinder) with one end attached to the track 14 at the pivot 17 and the other end pivotally mounted at 21 below the track sections 14b and 140 and between the path of the wheels 18 is extensible and retractible to flex track 14 at pivot axis 17, with the section 14b directed up and section 14c down relative to the direction T. In the illustrated flexed position the downstream end of section 140 rolls on wheels 18 toward the fixed pivot axis 16. An electric eye 26 and a light source face each other over and across the very downstream end of the section 140 to detect an object reaching this end, which upon detection will activate ram 20 to movement of the track to separate the strand.
FIG. 2 shows an electric motor 23 connected by belts 24 to the three longitudinally ridged cylinders 19, the outer two of which pivot in a horizontal plane, above the longitudinal rotation axis of the center roller, so that these three rollers define a chute.
Located above the pivot 17 in the flexed, solid-line position of the track 14 is a unit having a pair of staplers/heat-sealers 27 and 27' flanking a cutter blade 28 in the direction of travel T. An actuating unit 29 serves first to actuate the sealers-staplers 27 and then to bring the cutter blade 28 down. Similar devices are discussed in US. Pat. Nos. 2,936,816 and No. 3,469,364.
The device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 operates as follows:
Solid waste such as table scraps, bottles, newspapers, and the like is comminuted and extruded from the nozzle 12 as a compact but largely incoherent mass M, generally in the form of a strand constituted by a series of cylindrical plugs each formed in one operation of the compacting ram of the compactor 10.
Prior to starting the apparatus a length of sleeve 13 is clipped over the end of the nozzle 12 and its end is closed and sealed, as for example with a wire or heat seal. A plurality of spring clips 31 retain the bulk of the sleeve 13 in a bunched-up condition around the nozzle. The length of sleeve 13 should be sufiicient to serve for a plurality of packages. Preferably the length is continuous, but it may be partially or completely subdivided into package sections.
In this manner as the refuse is extruded from the nozzle mouth 12 it first pushes the blind end B of the sleeve l3 away from the nozzle 12 in the direction T. As the waste matter or refuse emerges from the mouth it continues to fill the sleeve 13, thereby forming a filled sleeved package downstream in the direction T along the track 14 which is in the straight, down position.
Once the filled downstream end E of the sleeve 13 comes between the light source 25 and detector 26 this device initiates actuation of extensible ram 20 to expand it and thereby flex the track at 17. In the upper flexed position the strand of compacted and shredded trash in the sleeve 13 is separated forming a gap and the motor 23 is automatically started to rotate the section of sleeve 13 lying on the track section 14c. The sleeve 13 therefore is formed into a twisted-off neck at N directly above the pivot 17 at the location corresponding to the gap formed in the strand of refuse.
Thereafter the unit 30 is actuated, once again by the automatic timer apparatus put in motion by the electric-eye arrangement 25,26, or a mechanism 25' responsive to the weight of the filled section of the sleeve, to first seal the sleeve 13 shut along two portions of the twised-off neck N by forming at least two seals, either wire wound or heat seals, optionally reinforced with staples at neck locations spaced apart in the transport direction T and then to sever the sleeve 13 between these two locations. A new blind end is thereby formed on the extreme downstream end of the sleeve 13 whereas the package formed on the section of the track is completely separated from the remainder of the sleeve 13 and from the mass M so that it can be directed by a chute or similar guide (not shown) to a storage area. Thereafter the extensible ram 20 is contracted to realign the track 14 and the cycle described above is repeated.
The twisted neck presents many substantial advantages over methods known hitherto. It is important to make a very tight closure whereby the chance of leakage and the accompanying odor, rodent, and sanitary problem is eliminated. In place of stapling or heat sealing at 30, a tie cord, wire or tape may be applied. In prior-art systems the operator simply applied wire ties to the sleeve to make separate packages, often leaving a core of trash extending right through the seemingly closed end. However, when the bag is twised all trash is excluded from the neck region. Combined heatsealing and stapling or wire sealing is advantageous since any failure of the wire supply or the possible formation of an ineffective heat seal sill not cause sealing failure, because the other system serves as a backup and ensures a proper closure.
In FIG. 3 an apparatus is shown which can be placed on the first section Ma of the track 14 in order to save space. This apparatus comprises a stand 35 to which is journaled a horizontal drive shaft 36 connected at one end to a drive motor 37 by means of a toothed belt 38. The other end of the shaft 36 carries a transverse base plate 39 on which are pivoted a pair of arms 40 each being formed as a segment of cylindrical sleeve. A small hydraulic cylinder 41 is provided between each arm 40 and the base plate 39 to pivot these armas about respective parallel axes equispaced to either side of the rotation axis A of shaft 36 and orthogonal to this axis A. The pressure supply hoses 42 of these cylinder 41 are fed out through the shaft 36 and can advantageously be powered by the hydraulic pump of the compactor 10.
In this arrangement as the closed lower end of a bag 13 comes against the plate 39 the cylinders 40 are expanded so that this end of the bag is gripped firmly between the arms 40, a gap is formed in the strand within the sleeves and then motor 37 is set in motion so that a twisted-off neck is formed in the sleeve 13. Thereafter a stapler/heat-sealer as shown at 30 in FIGS. 1 and 2 can sever the downstream package and form a new blind end in the bag 13. The encapsulated waste matter is thereafter released by the arms 40. into a chute, and directed to a storage area.
FIG. 4 shows an arrangement wherein the unit of FIG. 3 is mounted with its axis A pivoted at 45' extension at a right angle to the transport direction T. A track 45 is provided having an upstream portion 450 which runs horizontally and a downstreamportion 45b which runs vertically when pivoted.
When this device, once the blind end of the bag 13 strikes the sensor on the plate 39 which may be activated by the length of the extruded strand or by the weight of the strand. The arms 40 are closed as explained above and the motor 37 is actuated. A twisedoff neck therefore formed between the two track sections 45a and 45b so that the unit 30 can cut and seal the sleeve. Once the arms 40 are released the packaged waste matter is directed to a storage chute making the start of another cycle possible. I prefer, however, to position the members 39, 40 in equispaced relationship on a turntable which is rotated to carry away the filled package and present another twisting cage to the following section, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,481,286. Of course, as with all embodiments, during the packaging operation the piston, ram or auger of compactor is not operated.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show an arrangement wherein a track 50 has two in-line sections 50a and 50b. The upstream section 50a has rollers 51 like the track section 14a of FIG. 1. The downstream section 50b has rollers 52 whose rotation planes are directed in the transport direction T but which are arranged on pins 53 in notches 54 formed around disks 55 keyed to shafts 56 which extend in the transport direction T. A drive motor 57 is connected via a V-belt to all of these shafts 56 to rotate them in the same direction when a weight-sensitive strain gauge 59 located between the two track sections 50a and 50b signals that a sufficient mass of compacted trash lies on the track section 50b. On rotation the disks 55 form a twisted-off neck in the bag 13 as described above. In this arrangement a motor 60 connected via gears to the nozzle 12 serves to rotate this element in a direction opposite that of the wheels 55 and thereby aid in formation of the neck. Thus it is possible according to the present invention to counter-rotate two sections of the bag, or to rotate only the upstream or the downstream section while holding the other section still.
FIG. 7 shows an embodiment wherein the compactor 10 extrudes the waste through the nozzle 12 and into a metal tube provided with a plurality of clips 31 that hold a collapsed length of vinyl sleeve I3. A motor 66 is coupled to the tube 65 to rotate this element along with the upstream section of the sleeve. A track 67 extends downstream from the end of the tube 65 and is provided with a plurality of idler rollers 68 and immediately adjacent the downstream end of tube 65 a row of rollers 59 driven by a motor 70.
This device forms a gap in the strand by actuation of the rollers 69 to pull a portion of the downstream section of sleeve off the tube 65 while the compactor is stopped. Thereafter the tube 65 is rotated by motor 66 to form the neck. Sealing and severing can be carried out as described above in reference to the other embodiments.
The packages of trash so formed are extremely easy to dispose of. They are watertight so that they can be left outside in any weather, and they are so tightly sealed that they are not objectionable in any way. As a matter of fact when colored opaque vinyl film is used for the bag the packaged trash is completely inoffensive. Such is not the case with trash as processed up to now.
What is claimed is:
l. A method of packaging bulk-reduced waste, comprising the steps of:
retaining an elongated sleeve having a closed end over a tube having a mouth; extruding a substantially noncoherent strand of a mass of said bulk-reduced waste through said tube and said mouth generally linearly and along an axis of said tube and said sleeve into said sleeve;
advancing said mass and said sleeve away from said mouth to fonn a gap;
relatively rotating a downstream section of said mass and an upstream section of said sleeve on said tube to form a twisted neck in said gap between said sections;
deflecting said downstream section of said mass transversely of said axis;
forming a pair of seals in said sleeve at said neck; and
cutting said sleeve at said neck between said seels to form a new twisted closed end on said sleeve and to form a package containing said portion of said mass from said downstream section of said sleeve with a sealed twisted portion at said neck.
2. The method defined in claim 1 wherein said downstream section of said sleeve is rotated while the upstream section is retained against rotation during the forming of said neck.
means for retaining a flexible elongated sleeve of sheet material having a closed end over said tube to enable the strand to draw said sleeve away from said mouth;
means for forming a gap in said strand in said sleeve and including means for deflecting a downstream section of said strand transversely to said axis to upset the strand;
means for rotating said downstream section of said sleeve and the portion of said strand contained therein relative to an upstream section of said sleeve retained on said tube for forming a twisted neck in said sleeve at said gap; and
means for cutting said sleeve at said neck and thereby forming a new closed end on said upstream section and a hermetically sealed package containing said portion of said strand from said downstream section.
5. The apparatus defined in claim 4 wherein said means for relatively rotating said sections includes guide means for the strand and sleeve extending downstream from said mouth.
6. The apparatus defined in claim 5 wherein said strand is extruded substantially continuously, said guide means including a conveyor downstream of said mouth and generally parallel to said axis, a support downstream of said conveyor adapted to received said downstream section and deflectable out of line with said conveyor, and means for deflecting said support relative to said conveyor.
7. The apparatus defined in claim 6 wherein the rotating means includes means engageable with said downstream section of said sleeve on said guide for rotating same.
8. The apparatus defined in claim 7 wherein said means engageable with said downstream section includes a cage clampingly receiving the end of said sleeve.
9. The apparatus defined in claim 7 wherein said means engageable with said downstream section includes a rotatable body along said guide, said downstream section resting on said body.
10. The apparatus defined in claim 4 wherein said rotating means includes means for rotating said tube with said sleeve.
11. The apparatus defined in claim 4, further comprising means responsive to the weight of said portion for activating said rotating means.
12. The apparatus defined in claim 4, further comprising means responsive to the length of said portion for activating said rotating means.
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