US 20060032190 A1
The invention discloses a waste disposal apparatus including a waste packet forming device integrated with a tool for cutting the packet, and a method for using the apparatus. The disclosed integrated twist-and-cut system provides an improvement over existing waste disposal systems by reducing steps in the disposal of waste material.
34. A waste storage device comprising:
a container defining a waste bin and an opening that provides access to the waste bin;
a support adjacent the opening, the support having a body with a flange extending therefrom that is circumferentially configured for holding a film cassette above the waste bin, wherein the body encloses less than all of the opening to the waste bin so that waste material can be passed through the opening and into the waste bin, the film cassette being positionable on the flange, the film cassette having a rim defining an open core, wherein a tubular film is dispensed from the rim; and
a lid hingedly adjacent the body, the lid enclosing a first device for selectively sealing the tubular film for forming a waste packet that is dispensed from the film cassette, the lid enclosing a second device operably connected to the first device for cutting the waste packet from the tubular film.
35. The waste storage device of
36. The waste storage device of
37. The waste storage device of
38. The waste storage device of
39. The waste storage device of
40. The waste storage device of
41. The waste storage device of
42. A waste storage device comprising:
a receptacle body;
a storage film cassette adapted to be positioned in the receptacle body, wherein the storage film cassette has a continuous length of storage film therein;
a cutting device;
a film sealing device;
a handle operably connected to the lid, wherein operation of the handle engages the cutting device and the film sealing device to move and seal the storage film extending from the storage film cassette;
a button operably connected to the lid, wherein actuation of the button disengages the sealing device from movement and exposes the cutting device to the storage film in a stationary state; and
a blade affixed to the cutting device, wherein the operation of the handle moves the blade with respect to the storage film to sever the storage film from the storage film cassette when the button is actuated.
43. The waste storage device of
44. The waste storage device of
45. The waste storage device of
46. The waste storage device of
47. The waste storage device of
48. The waste storage device of
49. The waste storage device of
50. The waste storage device of
51. A method for disposing waste material from a waste disposal apparatus, comprising:
providing a lid having a sealing device and a cutting device therein, the sealing device being operable by a movable handle, and the cutting device being operable by a button;
providing a length of tubing having a first sealed portion of the tubing at a location along a length thereof and an open end of the tubing;
inserting waste material, with the lid open, through the open end of the tubing until it contacts the first sealed portion of the tubing;
closing the lid;
operating the movable handle to move the sealing device and the cutting device simultaneously to only move and seal the open end of the tubing to form a waste packet;
actuating the button to disengage the sealing device; and operating the handle to move the cutting device only to cut the waste packet only.
52. The method of
53. The method of
This application is a continuation of, and claims priority in, co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/770,872, filed Feb. 3, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to a waste disposal apparatus and a method for disposing waste material. More particularly, the present invention is directed to an apparatus having a cutting tool integrated with a mechanism for sealing a tubular sealing material containing waste, and to a method of using the waste disposal apparatus.
Conventional waste disposal devices and systems are generally available to dispose waste ranging from kitchen refuse to soiled diapers. Most waste receptacles require separate and numerous actions for packing waste and disposing them.
European patent application No. 0005660 describes a device for disposing kitchen refuse in packages enclosed by flexible tubing derived from a tubular pack of tubing surrounding a tubular guide. The device includes a tube sealing mechanism. The tubing passes from the pack over the top of and then down the guide to a position beneath the guide where it has been closed by fusion to provide a receptacle within the guide means. When this receptacle is full of refuse, a lever is manually operated to actuate an electro-mechanical apparatus including clamping and fusion devices that travel round closed tracks to perform the four-fold task of drawing the receptacle down below the tubular guide, fusing the tubing walls together to seal the top of the receptacle, sealing the tubing walls together to provide the closed base of the next receptacle and dividing the tubing by heat at a location between these two fusion locations to separate the filled package.
A popular approach for disposing of diapers has been a device using, for example, a tube twisting mechanism to form a pouch about a diaper. Such a device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,869,049. The patent discloses an apparatus to form packets containing disposable diapers comprising a tubing which passes through the top edges of a core opening and then down through the core. The core is turned by means of a twist ring/drive about a cylinder to twist the flexible material at locations between the adjacent packets to seal the packets at their ends thereby providing disposal of the waste. A manually rotatable cutter in the lid is provided for severing the flexible tubing above the twisted packets.
A commercially available waste storage device for disposal of baby diapers is known as the Playtex Diaper Genie®. In the Diaper Genie®, a waste storage container is fitted with a lid designed to contain odors when the lid is closed. The lid also has a rotatable cutting device designed to sever a storage film from a film cassette positioned in the waste container body. The film cassette having a hole concentrically located therein, is positioned in the waste container body. The film cassette has a top surface from which the storage film extends and has a removable twist drive placed in the concentric hole of the cassette. The storage film extends from the film cassette, over and then down through the twist drive, down through a hole in the film cassette and into the waste container body, all in the shape of a tube. The user manually opens the lid assembly by hand and places waste such as a diaper through the twist drive and hole in the film cassette, into the storage film tube. The twist drive is then manually rotated by the user's hand, which causes the film cassette and stored film to rotate, sealing off the disposed waste in the storage film to form a packet or a pouch with a continuous twisted link still attached to the storage film. The storage film is continuously fed from the film cassette as additional links of packets or pouches are formed. The last link is then severed from the storage film when the waste receptacle has been filled to capacity. This is accomplished by closing the lid and pressing down and rotating a rotatable cutting device accessible from the top of the lid, thereby severing the film from around the rim of the film cassette, now exposed in the absence of the twist drive.
The contents of the entire prior art references cited herein are incorporated by reference. From the above it can be understood by those having ordinary skill in the art that there are a number of disadvantages associated with prior art waste disposal devices using flexible tubing and tubular sealing material to form packets for disposal of waste materials. It will also be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the steps of placing and positioning the twist drive in the device first by opening a lid, then twisting the ring to seal the waste material inside the film tube, closing the lid, then reopening the lid, closing the lid again before cutting the film may be cumbersome and time consuming. It is clear that a device is needed that will eliminate these disadvantages. Such a device should be relatively safe, economical to purchase, and easy to operate with fewer interventions by the user.
The present invention provides a waste disposal apparatus and a method for disposing waste material. Specifically, the present invention is directed to an apparatus having a cutting tool integrated with a mechanism for twistably sealing and cutting a tubular sealing material containing waste, deposited in such sealing waste in a tubular sealing material to form a series of waste packages, and to the use thereof. The disclosed integrated twist-and-cut (ITAC) system provides an improvement over existing waste disposal systems by eliminating intervening steps of disposing waste material.
An embodiment of the present invention comprises an integrated cutting system for a waste storage receptacle. A container body defines a waste bin. An opening provides access to the waste bin. A support in the form of a collar resides adjacent the opening. The collar has a flange extending therefrom and is cylindrically configured for mounting a film cassette above the waste bin. The collar encloses less than all of the opening to the waste bin so that waste material can be passed through the opening and into the waste bin. The invention further comprises a film cassette mounted to the flange of the collar, and a lid hingedly adjacent the collar. The lid portion encloses a first device for a film sealing means for forming waste packets by twisting a flexible film tubing that is dispensed from the film cassette. The lid portion also encloses a second device operably connected to the first device for cutting the waste packet from the film tubing.
Another embodiment of the present invention comprises an integrated cutting system for a waste storage receptacle. The waste storage receptacle has a body, a collar, a lid and a storage film cassette adapted to be positioned in the collar. The cassette has a continuous length of a tubular storage film therein. The invention further comprises a handle operably connected to the lid. The operation of the handle engages a cutting device and a film sealing device to uniform rotational motion, and twistably seals the film extending from the cassette. A button is also operably connected to the lid. The operation of the button disengages the sealing device from rotation and exposes the cutting device to the film in a stationary state. Further operation of the handle rotates a blade affixed to a blade shoe, the blade severing the film from the cassette.
Still another embodiment of the present invention involves a method for disposing waste material from a waste disposal apparatus. The method provides a lid having a sealing device and a cutting device therein. The sealing device is operable by a rotatable handle, and the cutting device by a button. A length of film tubing is provided. The tubing has a first sealed portion of the tubing at a location along its length and an open end. The method involves inserting, with the lid open, waste material through the open end of the tubing until it contacts the first sealed portion of the tubing; closing the lid; rotating the handle to rotate the sealing device and the cutting device simultaneously to only twist and seal the open end of the tubing; operating the button downwards and disengaging the sealing device; operating the rotatable handle to rotate the cutting device only, and cut the waste packet only; and discarding the waste packet from the waste disposal apparatus.
Referring now to
Collar 200 is substantially cylindrical in shape and has a diameter substantially the same size as at least one the diameter of body 100 to provide a sealing engagement of the collar with the body along the conjoining portions. If an alternative shape of body 100 is used, such as rectangular or cubical, then the corresponding mating shape would also be used for collar 200 to provide a sealing engagement of the collar with the body along the conjoining portions.
Lid 300 provides the function of housing the mechanisms for the ITAC system of the present invention. The lid and the integrated twist-and-cut system therein will be described more in detail in the preferred embodiments shown in
An aspect of an embodiment of the present invention involves a handle 310 operably interconnected to a button 320, both formed in lid 300, as shown in
Aspects of an embodiment of the present invention are shown in
Collar flange 209 is formed circumferentially about the inner circular wall 210 of the collar as shown in
Referring again to
In one embodiment of the present invention shown in the exploded view in
In an embodiment of an aspect of the invention, wave spring in
In another embodiment of an aspect of the invention, clutch plate 340 has a plurality of vertical projections 345 formed on its lower surface, as shown in
A tubing refill cassette is shown in
Another aspect of the present invention involves a yoke 350 positioned between clutch plate 340 and rotary twist drive 360. Yoke 350 is generally unshaped having lateral projections 351 and a curvilinear shoulder 353, as shown in
An embodiment of an aspect of the present invention provides a means for lifting the clutch plate vertically and disengaging the vertical projections 345 of the clutch from openings 363 in the rotary twist drive 360, thereby allowing only the blade shoe 370 to rotate when set into motion by rotating handle 310 and sever the flexible film 223 from the rim of the cassette, as shown in
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that various changes in form and details may be made without departing form the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the handle and button operations can be automated. Furthermore, an indent can be provided for the button so that one need not hold down both the button and the handle during the cutting operation. Also, a number of clicks can be incorporated to the turning of the rotatable handle to signal positively the end of twisting of the film material in forming waste packets. In addition, a sighting can be provided to show the waste bin reaches the full capacity. Cutting blade shown in