US 20060243631 A1
A lubricant carrier is thin and sheet-like and comprises a body with at least one associated lubricant containing container. In one embodiment the body is defined by a pair of sheets and a the container is located between the sheets. The container extends across a width of the body from side-to-side. In use, the carrier is fed into a cutting element of a shredding device. The container is cut, releasing lubricant into direct contact with the cutting element. The remaining portion of the body when fed through the cutting element absorbs excess lubricant.
1. A lubricant carrier for use in lubricating the cutting element of a shredding device comprising:
a sheet-like body, said body having a front face, an opposing rear face and a peripheral edge defining a first end, an opposing second end and a pair of opposing sides of said body; and
at least one lubricant containing container, said at least one container connected to said body.
2. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
3. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
4. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
5. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
6. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
7. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
8. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
9. The lubricant carrier in accordance with
10. A method of lubricating a cutting element of a shredding device comprising:
providing a generally planar lubricant carrier, said carrier comprising a body having a front face, an opposing rear face, a top, a bottom and a pair of opposing sides and at least one lubricant containing carrier mounted to said body;
feeding one of said ends of said lubricant carrier into said cutting element of said shredding device;
causing said cutting element to cut said at least one lubricant containing carrier, releasing lubricant into contact with said carrier; and
feeding a remaining portion of said at least one lubricant carrier into said cutting element to absorb excess lubricant.
11. The method in accordance with
12. The method in accordance with
The present invention relates to shredding devices and, more particularly, methods of lubricating the cutting element of such a device.
Paper shredders have long been used in business and government offices to shred documents to maintain the security of information. These shredders are often large industrial type shredders capable of shredding thousands of pages of documents per hour.
In recent years, identity theft has become a significant problem, and small shredders have been developed and become popular for personal use. These shredders are generally portable and relatively inexpensive.
Regardless of their application, paper shredders are generally of two types: strip cut and cross-cut. Both types of shredders employ a cutting element. Paper or other material is fed into the cutting element. Strip cut shredders cut the paper into long, thin strips, such as ¼″ or ⅛″ wide strips. Cross-cut shredders cut the paper in multiple directions, such as into ⅛″ by 1⅛″ pieces. After being shredded, material is generally delivered to a waste basket.
In order to prolong the life of the cutting head, the cutting element must remain well-lubricated. Commonly used personal-type strip shredders having a ¼″ strip cut width may need to be lubricated weekly when used 1-2 hours per week. Office type cross-cut shredders may need to be lubricated every 0.5 hours of use.
In order to lubricate the shredder, a lubricating oil must be applied to the cutting element. This involves directing lubricant through the slot S onto the cutting head. Unfortunately, this is an undesirable task and one which is often avoided or forgotten. Most individuals find it an unpleasant task to have to take the time to find a bottle of lubricant and manually lubricate their shredder by carefully directing the correct amount of lubricant through the paper slot to the cutting head. As a result, shredders are often inadequately lubricated, leading to their accelerated wear and breakdown.
Automatic oilers have been developed to simplify the task of lubricating shredders. These oilers are connected to a shredder and provide lubricant directly to the cutting head of the shredder at particular rates and/or times. For example, one such automatic oiler is the Dahle SAO-120 Automatic Oiling System (available from Dahle North America, Inc., 375 Jaffrey Road, Peterborough N.H. 03458). Unfortunately, these and similar systems are relatively expensive, often costing hundreds of dollars, thus being as or more expensive than the actual shredder itself. In addition, these oilers themselves require maintenance, including filling with oil, to ensure proper operation. Thus, these systems are not particularly cost-effective for home use and not commonly used with personal shredders, thus not solving the lubrication problem for the average individual or office shredder user.
The invention is a method and apparatus for lubricating the cutting element of a shredding device.
In one embodiment, the invention is a lubricant carrier. The carrier is preferably thin and sheet-like and comprises a body and at least one associated lubricant containing container.
The body has a front face and an opposing rear face. In one embodiment, the body is generally rectangular in shape, having a first end, an opposing rear end and a pair of opposing sides.
In a preferred embodiment, the body comprises a pair of thin first and second sheets which are connected to one another. The one or more lubricant containing containers are located between the first and second sheets of material comprising the body.
In one embodiment, the container is a thin-walled polymer bag. A single elongate container is associated with the body, extending generally from side-to-side of the body. In one embodiment, the container is located nearer one end of the body than the other.
In other embodiments of the invention, a plurality of containers are associated with the body. A plurality of micro-containers may be associated with one of the faces of the body.
In accordance with a method of the invention, the carrier is fed into the cutting element of the shredding device. The blades or other elements of the cutting device cut or shred the body of the carrier. When the one or more lubricant containing containers reach the cutting element, the container(s) is cut open, releasing lubricant into direct contact with the cutting element. The remainder of the body of the carrier is then fed through the cutting element to absorb excess lubricant.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the entire width of the cutting element of a shredding device is lubricated by shredding of the lubricant carrier of the invention, greatly simplifying the task of lubricating the shredder.
Further objects, features, and advantages of the present invention over the prior art will become apparent from the detailed description of the drawings which follows, when considered with the attached figures.
The invention is a method and apparatus for lubricating a cutting element of a shredding device. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.
In general, the invention is a lubricant carrier. The carrier comprises a body which contains lubricant or supports one or more lubricant bearing containers. In a method of use, the carrier is fed into the cutting element of the shredding device. The blades or other cutting elements of the cutting head release the lubricant from the carrier, lubricating the cutting element/head.
In a preferred embodiment, the carrier 20 comprises a body 22. The body 22 has a front face or surface 24, a rear face or surface 26, and a peripheral edge 28. The body 22 is preferably relative thin, at least sufficiently thin to pass through a slot and associated cutting head of a shredding device. In one embodiment, the body 22 may have a maximum thickness of about ⅛″-½″, though the thickness may be greater or lesser depending upon a number of factors including the material from which the body 22 is constructed and the capacity of the cutting element.
As illustrated, the body 22 has a first end 30 and an opposing second end 32, and a pair of opposing sides or edges 34,36. In this embodiment, the body 30 is generally rectangular in shape, though the body 30 may have other shapes, including square and even irregular.
The lubricant carrier 20 also includes lubricant. The lubricant is associated with the body 22.
The container 38 may be constructed in a variety of manners. Regardless of how constructed, lubricant L is preferably sealed into the container 38. The lubricant L is preferably a shredder oil as is well known to those in the art.
The container 38 is associated with the body 22. In a preferred embodiment, the container 38 is mounted to the body 22. Referring to
The container 38 is preferably located between these layers 42,44 of material. The layers 42,44 might comprise, for example, thin paper or plastic sheets. The container 38 may be mounted to the body 22 directly by adhesive or other means, or may simply be “trapped” within a space defined by the layers 42,44 of the body 22, with movement of the container 38 prevented by connection of the layers 42,44 in the area surrounding the container 38.
In a preferred embodiment, the body 22 has width from side to side 34,36 which is approximately equal to the width of the cutting head of a shredding device. In one embodiment, the body 22 has a width of about 9 inches for acceptance by most shredding devices. Preferably, the container 38 is approximately the same width as the body 22, for reasons described in more detail below. Thus, in one embodiment, the container 38 extends from the first side 34 to the second side 36 of the body 22, generally transversely across the body.
The container 38 is located between the first and second ends 30,32 of the body 22. In one embodiment, the body 22 is relatively long from its first end 30 to its second end 32, such as by being 10-20 inches in length. The container 38 is preferably located near the first end 30 or up to approximately midway between the first end 30 and second end 32, for reasons also described in more detail below.
One embodiment of the invention is a method of lubricating a shredding device. A preferred embodiment of the method comprises use of the lubricant carrier 20 of the preferred embodiment of the invention.
In accordance with the method, a user feeds the lubricant carrier 20 to the cutting head of the shredding device. In the case of a shredding device configured as illustrated in
In this method, a user grasps the body 22 of the lubricant carrier 20, such as at the second end 32 thereof. The user aligns the first end 30 with the slot S and cutting element and feeds the lubricant carrier 20 into the cutting element C. As the lubricant carrier 20 is fed into the cutting element, the body 22 of the carrier 20 is shredded.
The lubricant carrier 20 is moved into the cutting element until the container 38 encounters the blades or other cutting elements of the cutting head. At this time, the blades or other cutting elements sever or breach the container 38. This releases the lubricant L in direct contact with the blades or other cutting elements. The lubricant carrier 20 continues to be shredded by the shredding device and is deposited in the basket B.
Several important aspects of the invention will now be appreciated. First, the carrier 20 delivers lubricant L directly to the cutting element of the shredding device, and in particular the blades of the cutting head thereof. In the preferred embodiment, the container 38 is wide, and preferably approximately as wide as the cutting head. In this manner, the entire width of the cutting head of the shredding device is lubricated at the same time as the blades or other elements breach the container 20 at approximately the same time along the length thereof.
Further, in the preferred embodiment, the container 38 is located some distance from the second end 32 of the body 22. Thus, after the lubricant L is released to the cutting head, a section of the body 22 passes through the cutting head to remove excess lubricant therefrom. In the preferred embodiment, at least the portion of the body 22 which is distal to the container 38 is paper, as paper is more effective at absorbing excess lubricant than plastic sheeting or similar materials.
A variety of alternate embodiments of the invention and other features of the invention will now be appreciated.
In a preferred embodiment, the container 38 is located within one or more portions of the body 22. In other embodiments, however, the container 38 may be otherwise connected or mounted to the body 22. For example, the container 38 might be connected to one of the faces 24,26 of the body 22, such as with an adhesive or other bonding material.
In one embodiment, the container 38 may be integrally formed with the body 22. For example, the body 22 may comprise a pair of plastic sheets which define a specifically located hollow interior area for containing lubricant. In another embodiment, the container 38 may be associated with a thin sheet which is connected to a paper backing comprising the body 22.
As indicated, it is preferred that the container 38 be of sufficient width to lubricant substantially the entire width of the cutting head of the shredding device. In a preferred embodiment, the carrier includes a single container. In other embodiments, more than one container 38 may be utilized to deliver the lubricant L to the cutting head.
It will now be appreciated that the size of the one or more containers may depend upon the total volume of lubricant to be delivered to the cutting element. In the preferred embodiment, the carrier is generally thin so as to be fed through the cutting head with little resistance and without damaging the cutting head of the shredding device. In the configuration illustrated in
In one embodiment, instead of a single container as illustrated in
In the preferred embodiment, as detailed above, the carrier includes an absorbing portion which is configured to pass through the cutting element and absorb excess lubricant once the lubricant has been delivered to the cutting element. The length of the body and its material construction may be varied in order to accomplish this purpose. For example, in one embodiment a first end of the body may comprise a plastic sheet-type material which defines a container for the lubricant, and a second portion of the body may comprise an absorbing material such as a woven cotton material.
As indicated, in a preferred embodiment the lubricant carrier is generally thin and sheet-like. As such, the carriers may be stacked and sold in boxes.
In another embodiment, the lubricant carrier may be formed in a continuous roll of interlocking or linked segments. In this configuration, the lubricant carrier may be stored in roll format and fed into the shredding device at particular intervals. In one embodiment, containers of lubricating oil are associated with the elongate carrier body at various intervals. The portions of the body between the containers may be utilized as the excess oil absorbing sections of the carrier. In one embodiment, for example, containers may be associated with a body arranged into a continuous roll. In other embodiments, individual carrier sheets or sections may be linked, such as in computer-paper format, still permitting the sheets to be stacked, but allowing them to be continuously fed to the shredding device.
The lubricant carrier of the invention significantly simplifies the task of lubricating the cutting element of a shredding device. In particular, a user of the shredding device need only periodically feed a lubricant carrier through the shredding device. This simple act ensures complete lubrication of the entire width of the cutting head and absorbs excess lubricant, reducing what may be a four or five step process to a single step.
In use, the lubricant carriers may simply be located in a box near the shredding device for ease of access. Because the carriers completely contain the lubricant for release until shredding, there is no risk of spilling lubricant or the like, which may occur when using a bottle of lubricant in order to manually lubricate a shredding device.
It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method there from are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.