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Publication numberUS20070193231 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/708,948
Publication dateAug 23, 2007
Filing dateFeb 20, 2007
Priority dateFeb 21, 2006
Publication number11708948, 708948, US 2007/0193231 A1, US 2007/193231 A1, US 20070193231 A1, US 20070193231A1, US 2007193231 A1, US 2007193231A1, US-A1-20070193231, US-A1-2007193231, US2007/0193231A1, US2007/193231A1, US20070193231 A1, US20070193231A1, US2007193231 A1, US2007193231A1
InventorsRonald Deitering
Original AssigneeDeitering Ronald E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Machine and method for producing and positioning erosion control watter
US 20070193231 A1
Abstract
A wattle maker machine for attachment to a vehicle or for stationary use is disclosed. The machine produces wattles and the mobile version produces a ditch to put them in and positions the wattles in the ditch. The machine comprises a chute for receiving organic material, a processor for breaking up the organic material, a feed auger and a wattle pipe. Organic material is forced through the wattle pipe and into tubing made of net to produce wattles. The mobile version of the machine places wattles for erosion control as the wattles are produced. The linear speed at which wattles are produced is matched to the speed of the vehicle. A plurality of wattle pipes of different diameters are connectable to the machine to enable the production of wattles of more than one diameter.
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Claims(15)
1. A vehicle mountable machine for producing wattles, the machine comprising
a chute having an inlet for receiving organic material,
a processor for receiving organic material from the chute and processing it,
a feeder comprising an auger in a housing with an inlet for receiving processed organic material from the processor and an outlet wherein the auger, when it rotates, is operable to move organic material from the auger housing inlet to and through said auger housing outlet and into a tube to form a wattle and
a gate between said chute and said auger housing inlet, said gate being operable to control the rate at which organic material moves into said auger housing inlet and, thereby, control the linear speed of a wattle as it leaves the auger housing outlet so that the linear speed of a wattle can be adjusted to match a given linear speed of the vehicle.
2. The machine claimed in claim 1 which further comprises a ditch cutter mounted on said machine that is operable, when the machine is mounted on a vehicle and the vehicle is moving, to form a ditch in the ground beneath the vehicle.
3. The machine claimed in claim 2 wherein said machine is operable to place the wattle, as it is produced, into the ditch formed by said ditch cutter.
4. The machine claimed in claim 1 which further comprises a tensioner for tensioning the tube as organic material is discharged from the auger housing outlet into the tube.
5. A machine in combination with a vehicle having a variable speed power take off, said machine comprising
a chute having an inlet for receiving organic material,
a processor for receiving organic material from the chute and processing it,
a feeder comprising an auger in a housing with an inlet for receiving processed organic material from the processor and an outlet wherein the auger, when it rotates, is operable to move organic material from the auger housing inlet to and through said auger housing outlet and into a tube to form a wattle,
a transmission for transmitting shaft power from the vehicle power take off to the auger so that the speed of the auger can be controlled so that the linear speed of the wattle, as produced can be matched to the speed of the vehicle.
6. The machine claimed in claim 5 which further comprises a ditch cutter mounted on said machine that is operable, when the vehicle is moving, to form a ditch in the ground beneath the vehicle.
7. The machine claimed in claim 6 wherein said machine is operable to place the wattle, as it is produced, into the ditch formed by said ditch cutter.
8. The machine claimed in claim 5 which further comprises a tensioner for tensioning the tube as organic material is discharged from the auger housing outlet into the tube.
9. A method f6r positioning a wattle for mitigating soil erosion, said method comprising the steps of
producing a wattle on a vehicle mounted machine while the vehicle is moving in a given direction so that the wattle is discharged from the machine in a direction that is generally opposite to the given direction,
cutting a ditch so that the discharged wattle is received in the ditch and
adjusting the linear speed of the wattle as it is discharged to match the speed of the vehicle.
10. A vehicle mountable machine for producing wattles, the machine comprising
a chute having. an inlet for receiving organic material,
a processor for receiving organic material from the chute and processing it,
a feeder comprising an auger in a housing with an inlet for receiving processed organic material from the processor and an outlet wherein the auger, when it rotates, is operable to move organic material from the auger housing inlet to and through said auger housing outlet,
a first wattle pipe having a first diameter, an inlet and an outlet, said first wattle pipe being connectable to the machine so that its inlet receives organic material discharged from said auger housing outlet and the organic material is discharged from said wattle pipe outlet into a tube to form a wattle having a first wattle diameter and
a second wattle pipe having a second diameter that is different from said first diameter, an inlet and an outlet, said second wattle pipe being connectable to the machine so that its inlet receives organic material discharged from said auger housing outlet and the organic material is discharged from said wattle pipe outlet into a tube to form a wattle having a second wattle diameter that is different from said first wattle diameter.
11. The machine claimed in claim 10 which further comprises a gate between said chute and said auger housing inlet, said gate being operable to control the rate at which organic material moves into said auger housing inlet and, thereby, control the linear speed of a wattle as it leaves one of said wattle pipes so that the linear speed of a wattle can be adjusted to match a given linear speed of the vehicle.
12. The machine claimed in claim 10 which further comprises a ditch cutter mounted on said machine that is operable, when the machine is mounted on a vehicle and the vehicle is moving, to form a ditch in the ground beneath the vehicle.
13. The machine claimed in claim 12 wherein said machine is operable to place the wattle, as it is produced, into the ditch formed by said ditch cutter.
14. The machine claimed in claim 10 which further comprises a tensioner for tensioning the tube as organic material is discharged from the auger housing outlet into the tube.
15. A machine for producing wattles, the machine comprising
a chute having an inlet for receiving organic material,
a processor for receiving organic material from the chute and processing it,
a feeder comprising an auger mounted for rotation in a housing with an inlet for receiving processed organic material from the processor and an outlet wherein the auger, when it rotates, is operable to move organic material from the auger housing inlet to and through said auger housing outlet,
a first wattle pipe having a first diameter, an inlet and an outlet, said first wattle pipe being connectable to the machine so that its inlet receives organic material discharged from said auger housing outlet and the organic material is discharged from said wattle pipe outlet into a tube to form a wattle having a first wattle diameter and
a second wattle pipe having a second diameter that is different from said first diameter, an inlet and an outlet, said second wattle pipe being connectable to the machine so that its inlet receives organic material discharged from said auger housing outlet and the organic material is discharged from said wattle pipe outlet into a tube to form a wattle having a second wattle diameter that is different from said first wattle diameter.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is a machine that, when operably connected to a power source, will process organic material such as straw that has been baled and feed the processed organic material into a tube made of a net to produce a wattle. Preferably, the machine also includes a ditcher that is operable, when the machine is mounted on a vehicle, to produce a trench in the ground and the machine is further operable to position the just made wattle in the trench.

2. Description of the Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 5,519,985 discloses a stationary machine for producing straw filed tubes, referred to herein as wattles, primarily for use in reducing erosion by strategic placement of the tubes in the ground. The machine seems to be well suited to its purpose but the production of twenty five foot long wattles in a fixed location soon leads to problems of storage and transportation to a site where the wattles will be placed for erosion mitigation. The entire disclosure of this U.S. Pat. No. 5,519,985 is incorporated herein by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a wattle maker and is preferably one that can be attached to a vehicle to produce wattles and a ditch to put them in, and even position the wattles in the ditch. The machine comprises a chute for receiving organic material such as straw, a processor for breaking up the organic material, a feed auger and a wattle pipe connected to the discharge end of the auger to receive processed organic material. The organic material is forced through the wattle pipe, out of the pipe and into tubing made of net to produce wattles. The mobile version of the machine places wattles for erosion control as the wattles are produced, thereby eliminating problems of wattle storage and transportation. As used herein, the term “wattle” shall mean a longitudinally extending tube made of porous material such as netting and filled with processed organic material including, but not limited to, leaves, straw, wood chips, grass and combinations of these, suitable for stemming or mitigating soil erosion. The diameter of a wattle is sometimes indicated by the application where the wattle will be used for erosion mitigation. The present invention preferably includes a plurality of wattle pipes of different diameters all adapted to be mounted on the machine to enable the production of wattles of more than one diameter.

It is, therefore, an object of one aspect of the invention to provide a mobile wattle making machine that can be mounted on a vehicle, such as a tractor, and combined with a ditcher to produce a ditch into which the wattle can be placed as it is made.

It is a further object of this aspect of the invention to provide a mobile wattle making machine that can be operated to produce wattle at the rate at which the machine is conveyed by a vehicle to which it is attached.

It is a still further object of this aspect of the invention to provide a mobile wattle making machine with which the velocity of the machine and the rate of wattle production can be matched.

It is another object of the invention to provide a wattle making machine that can be operated to produce wattles of different diameters.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the disclosure herein of preferred embodiments, reference being made to the attached drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a machine according to the invention mounted on a three point hitch of a tractor with the machine lowered to an operating position.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the machine shown in FIG. 1 with the machine in a raised position

FIG. 3 is an end view, partially in cross section, taken along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view, mostly in cross section, of the machine shown in FIGS. 1 through 3.

FIG. 5 is an end view of the machine shown in FIGS. 1 through 4 showing some details of a tensioner which is disengaged.

FIG. 6 is an end view like FIG. 5 except that it shows the tensioner in an engaged condition.

FIG. 7 is a side view, partially in cross section, showing a second embodiment of the machine shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a side view, partially in cross section, showing a different set-up for the machine shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a view of the machine shown in FIG. 4 with a different processor implement.

FIG. 12 is a side view of a piece of the processor implement shown in FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in more detail to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 shows a mobile wattle making machine indicated generally at 10 and supported on a three point hitch TPH which, in turn, is supported on a tractor T. The three point hitch is operable to support the machine 10 in a first position shown in FIG. 1 and in a second position shown in FIG. 2. A power take off PTO of the tractor T is drivingly connected to an input shaft 12 of the machine 10 to provide shaft power as needed for the operation of the machine 10, as described below.

The machine 10 has a chute with a floor 14, a rear wall which is coextensive with a rear wall 16 of the processor described below, a front wall that is coextensive with a front wall 18 of the processor described below, a top 20 and a lid 22 which can pivot about a hinge 24 between an open. position shown in FIG. 3 and a closed position (not shown) in which the lid 22 closes the otherwise open end of the chute. The floor 14 and the lid 22, when in the open position, are supported at an angle so that gravity assists in moving organic material OM from right to left, as shown in FIG. 3 with an arrow, towards and into a processor 26 into which organic material, baled or not, is fed. The processor 26 includes a processor implement 28 mounted for rotation with a shaft 30 that is driven by power supplied by the power take off PTO or some other source of shaft power. The processor implement 28 is provided with cutters 32 that are effective to process organic material fed into the processor 26 through the chute. This processing could include mixing, breaking up and/or cutting the organic material as well as any binding material such as twine or the like that might be associated with the organic material OM. The processor implement 28 can take a helical form as suggested in FIGS. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 or, more preferably, the star cutter wheel form shown in FIGS. 11 and 12.11 and 12.

The processor 26 is in communication with a feeder 34 that is positioned below the processor 26 so that processed organic material in the processor 26 is delivered by gravity into the feeder 34. An auger 36 in the feeder 34 is supported on a shaft 38 which receives shaft power from the power take off PTO or another source of shaft power. The auger 36 is supported inside a housing 40 that is generally cylindrical and extends, circumferentially, all of the way around the auger except for the area that is open for communication between the feeder 34 and the processor 26. Organic material that enters the feeder is transported by the rotating auger 36, from left to right in FIG. 4, towards and out of a discharge end 42 of the housing 40.

Tubular net material 44 is supported on the portion of the housing 40 that is between the processor 26 and the discharge end 42 of the housing 40. The net material 44 is fed onto the housing 40 just as sausage casing is fed onto the discharge pipe of a sausage making machine before sausage meat is discharged into the casing. Similarly, a portion of the net material 44 that is not on the housing 40 is closed, as indicated at 46, and the feeder 34 discharges processed organic material from the discharge end 42 of the housing 40 into the net material filling the net material 44 with processed organic material and displacing the net material 44 from the housing 40. It is preferred that a tensioner be associated with the housing 40 to increase the tension that must be applied to the net material 44 to displace it from the housing. One embodiment of a tensioner, shown in FIG. 4, comprises a tension block 48 that is pressed against the outside of the housing 40 by a tension block arm 50 supported so that the amount of pressure with which the tension block is pressed against the housing can be adjusted by a tension adjuster 52 which, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, is a nut which can be turned clockwise to increase pressure applied by the tension block to the net material 44. The nut can be rotated counter-clockwise to decrease the pressure or to disengage the nut entirely so that the tension block arm can be lifted up and pivoted out of the way to facilitate the loading of net material 44 onto the housing 40.

A ditch cutter wheel 54 is supported on a shaft 56 which, in turn, is supported for rotation and to receive shaft power from the power take off PTO or some other source for shaft power. The cutter wheel 54 is supported on the machine 10 so that when it is supported on a tractor in the first position (FIG. 1) the cutter wheel 54 is positioned to cut a ditch D as shown in FIG. 1. The cutter wheel 54 and the discharge end 42 of the housing 40 are aligned so that the machine 10 is operable to place a wattle W, as it is being made, into the ditch D, just after it is cut. In this way, the wattle W is placed in the ditch D as it is produced eliminating problems of storing wattles after they are produced and moving wattles to place them in ditches. It would be advantageous if the linear speed of the wattle W as it is leaving the discharge end 42 of the housing 40 could be set to match the linear speed of the tractor T or other vehicle on which the machine 10 is mounted. One way that this is achieved in the machine 10 is through a gate 58 (FIG. 3) that is mounted adjacent to the processor 26 and the feeder 34. The gate is mounted for reciprocating movement, effected through an actuator in the form of a cylinder 60, between a first position (not shown) in which it substantially restricts the flow of organic material from the processor 26 into the feeder 34 and a second position, shown in FIG. 3, in which the flow of organic material from the processor 26 into the feeder 34 is substantially unrestricted by the gate 58. This, in turn, controls the linear speed of a wattle as it leaves the discharge end 42 of the housing 40. It is preferred that the actuator be subject to remote control by someone operating the tractor T or other vehicle on which the machine 10 is supported. This could be carried out with any known remote control technology or any remote control technology developed in the future.

A person operating the tractor T with the machine 10. mounted on it could set the speed of the tractor T, set the position of the gate 58 and then monitor the placement of the wattle W in the ditch D to see if the wattle speed and the vehicle speed are matched or if the wattle speed needs to be increased or decreased to match the speed of the tractor T. In case the speed of the wattle needs to be increased or decreased, the gate 58 can be moved towards the second position or towards the first position, respectively, until there is a match in the speeds. The machine should be monitored so that wattle speed corrections can be made, as needed, on the fly. Mirrors, video cameras and other remote monitoring equipment may be employed, as desired. It will be appreciated that there are vehicles besides a tractor that are suited to have the machine 10 mounted on them. For example, the machine 10 can be mounted on a skid steer and driven by shaft power provided by a power take off on the skid steer. If the skid steer is equipped with a variable speed power take off, the variable speed of the power take off can be used in conjunction with or instead of the gate 58 to control the linear speed of the wattle as it leaves the machine so that the speed of the vehicle and the linear speed of the wattle are matched.

It has been determined that, in some cases, the net material 44 should be under more tension than can reasonably be achieved with the tension block 48. Excellent results have been achieved with a tensioning assembly indicated generally at 62 in FIGS. 5 and 6. The assembly 62 includes a plurality of tension blocks 64, four of which are shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. Two blocks 64 are supported on a lower frame member 66 and two other blocks 64 are supported on an upper frame member 68. The lower frame member 66 and the upper frame member 68 are pivotally connected as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The upper frame member 68 is supported on a tension block arm 70 which, in turn, is supported on and mounted, pivotally, on the machine 10 and, specifically, on the rear wall 16 (of the processor 26. The tension block arm 70 can be pivoted to a tensioning position, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 or upwardly and out of the way to facilitate the placement of net material 44 on the housing 40 that terminates at the discharge end 42. Once the net material 44 is in place, the tension block arm 70 can be pivoted to the tensioning position and the lower frame 66 and upper frame 68 brought together as shown in FIG. 6. A tension adjuster 72 is mounted on a threaded support shaft 74 which is supported on and extends from the lower frame member 66. The tension adjuster 72 is adapted to engage a tension adjuster stop 76 that is supported on the upper frame member 68 so that the tension adjuster 72 can be rotated to cause the tension blocks to apply more or less pressure to the discharge end 42 of the housing 40. The tension adjuster 72 is adjusted with the net material 44 (not shown in FIGS. 5 and 6) positioned between the tension blocks 64 and the discharge end 42 of the housing 40. The more that the adjuster 72 is tightened, the more pressure the blocks 64 apply to the net material 44 and the more force will be required to be exerted by the feeder on the organic material in order to force it into the net material 44 and force net material 44 to pay out from the discharge end 42 of the housing 40.

Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, a wattle machine indicated generally at 78 comprises a processor 80, a feeder 82 including a housing 84 and a feed auger 86 and, of course, a chute (not shown) for feeding organic material into the processor 80. The housing 84 is shorter than the housing 40 and the housing 84 terminates in a flange 88 which extends radially outwardly from the housing 84. A shim 90 is provided along the outboard face of the auger housing flange 88 and a wattle pipe 92 is secured to the machine 78. The wattle pipe comprises a compaction pipe 94 and a compaction pipe flange 96 which extends radially outwardly from the pipe 94. Threaded fasteners 98 are used to secure the flange 96 to the flange 88, thereby securing the wattle pipe 92 to the machine 78. The diameter of the compaction pipe 94 is larger than the diameter of the auger housing. It will be appreciated that a compaction pipe having the same diameter as the auger housing 84, could be supported on a flange like the flange 88, as shown in phantom lines. This second wattle pipe could be used to produce wattles having a diameter corresponding roughly with the diameter of the auger housing 84 while the wattle pipe 92 can be used to produce wattles having a diameter substantially larger than the diameter of the feeder housing.

Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, a wattle pipe 100 is attached to the machine 78 and the wattle pipe has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the wattle pipe 92. The wattle pipe 100 comprises a compaction pipe 102 and a flange 104 that extends radially inwardly from the compaction pipe 104. Fasteners 106 are used to secure the flange 104 to the flange 88, thereby securing the wattle pipe 100 to the machine 78. Thus, the machine 78, whether it is combined with apparatus to make it mobile or not, employs wattle pipes of different diameters with a single feeder and processor unit to produce wattles of different diameters.

Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, details of the preferred form of the processor are illustrated. On the processor shaft 30, there are mounted a plurality of star-shaped cutter wheels 108. There are about 2 or 3 cutter wheels 108 every foot and the cutter wheels are secured to each other by reinforcing rods 110 for rotation together. As can be seen in FIG. 12, each start shaped cutter wheel has a plurality of cutting edges 112 on the sides of a plurality of teeth. The processor comprising the star shaped cutter wheels works very well to cut up and break up organic material so that it can fall by gravity into the opening of the feeder.

It will be appreciated that various changes and modifications are possible from the specific details of the invention shown in the attached drawing figures and described above with reference thereto, and can be made without departing from the spirit thereof as defined in the attached claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification53/576
International ClassificationB65B43/42
Cooperative ClassificationA01F25/14, A01F2025/145
European ClassificationA01F25/14