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Publication numberUS20080237251 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/693,553
Publication dateOct 2, 2008
Filing dateMar 29, 2007
Priority dateMar 29, 2007
Publication number11693553, 693553, US 2008/0237251 A1, US 2008/237251 A1, US 20080237251 A1, US 20080237251A1, US 2008237251 A1, US 2008237251A1, US-A1-20080237251, US-A1-2008237251, US2008/0237251A1, US2008/237251A1, US20080237251 A1, US20080237251A1, US2008237251 A1, US2008237251A1
InventorsRichard Barber
Original AssigneeRichard Barber
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plastic refuse container
US 20080237251 A1
Abstract
A rotational molded plastic refuse container having side walls defining downwardly facing shoulders. A pair of metal side fork pockets each having outwardly extending flanges abutting one of said shoulders and being affixed thereto. The shoulders and the flanges functioning to bear the weight of the container and its contents when the container is being manipulated to empty its contents. A lid pivotally attached to the open upper end of the container and casters removably attached to the bottom of the container. ARFID tag disposed internally of at least one of the side walls.
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Claims(13)
1. A plastic refuse container having a molded plastic body including a floor, a front wall, a rear wall, a first end wall, and a second end wall, the combination defining an open topped plastic container, the container further comprising:
(1) a downwardly directed shoulder on each of said first and second end walls,
(2) first and second side fork pockets secured to said first and second end walls, respectively;
(3) each said side fork pocket comprising means for abutting said downwardly facing shoulder;
(4) each said side fork pocket including a lift tube for receiving a fork on a refuse truck; and
(5) the combination of said means for abutting and said downwardly facing shoulder supporting the weight of said container and its contents for manipulation and emptying.
2. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 1 wherein each said side fork pocket further includes a curved plate extending from an opening therein and over the plastic container adjacent said side fork pockets to protect said container.
3. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for abutting includes a flange extending from said side fork pocket.
4. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 3 wherein each of said first and second side fork pockets includes a second flange which extends upwardly therefrom along said first and second end walls respectively and further includes means for fastening said flange to said shoulder and said additional flange to said first and second end walls respectively.
5. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 4 which further includes a plurality of reinforcing gussets affixed to said second flange and said side fork pockets.
6. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 1 which further includes first and second caster plates affixed to said bottom wall of said container, each including caster receiving brackets and means for removably attaching casters to each of said caster receiving brackets.
7. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 6 wherein said means for rotatably attaching casters includes an axel support bracket and an axel disposed in openings defined by said axel support bracket.
8. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 1 which further includes a hollow non-vented molded plastic rim disposed at and surrounding said open top, an elongated metal bar disposed over and secured to said rim adjacent the rear wall of said container, a lid, and means for pivotally attaching aid lid to said metal bar.
9. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 8 wherein said means for pivotally attaching includes a plurality of hinge plates affixed to said metal bar and a rod passing through said hinge plates and said lid.
10. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 5 wherein all metal components thereof are formed from stainless steel.
11. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 1 which further includes an RFID tag disposed internally of at least one wall of the container.
12. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 11 wherein said RFID tag is disposed in said front wall between said first and second side fork pockets.
13. A plastic refuse container as defined in claim 11 wherein said RFID tag is insitu molded within said at least one side wall.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to refuse containers and more particularly to an improved trash or refuse containers of the relatively large commercial sizes handled by mechanical refuse collecting trucks. More specifically, the invention is directed to such a container which is rotationally molded and includes two external side fork pockets secured to the outer walls of the container in such a manner to facilitate the lifting of the container with the forks of a refuse truck without damage to the container.

2. Prior Art

Refuse bins or containers of the type with which the present invention is concerned are generally fabricated of steel and provided with hinged steel lids. Such containers are relatively expensive to fabricate and have the disadvantage that they are subject to deterioration due to rusting caused by their outside storage. They also have a disadvantage that they are heavy and therefore difficult to handle. In addition because these metal containers are hollow they generate a great deal of noise when the refuse trucks handle them to empty the refuse from the container into the trucks. Recently attempts have been made to overcome the disadvantages of the prior art of metal containers by manufacturing such containers from plastic material. Such plastic containers have been formed in essentially the same shape as the prior art metal containers. In order to provide a lifting mechanism for the refuse trucks, metal sleeves, channels and skids have been bolted or otherwise attached to the outside surfaces of the plastic containers for receiving the forks of the typical refuse trucks.

Because the forks of the refuse trucks have become substantially standardized in spacing, the prior art plastic and steel bins have been about the same capacity in size because the sleeves through which the forks are inserted are typically on the outside of the container such that the container must fit between the forks. In addition the mounting techniques for attaching the sleeves to the container have resulted in numerous occasions wherein the sleeves are pulled from the container destroying the ability of the refuse truck to lift and unload the container. Depending upon the degree of the damage done when the sleeves are pulled from the containers such damage may result in replacement of the plastic refuse containers.

To overcome these problems a refuse container is known in which the sleeves or side fork pockets are secured to the container in such a manner that the plastic container rim supports the weight of the container when the container is lifted with the forks of a front load refuse truck. Such a structure places a great deal of stress on the molded plastic rim and in many instances causes a failure thereof.

In further refuse containers of the type of which the present invention is concerned utilize a metal lift tube sleeve which is incorporated in the container during the rotational molding process. Such a structure is difficult to manufacture and adds additional expense.

In many applications it becomes desirable to be able to maintain an accounting of the refuse containers including the weight of the contents thereof, the location thereof, the time when the refuse truck empties the contents of the container into the truck and the like. If such accounting was accomplished in the prior art, such was done by making manual entries either by hand or through the utilization of APDA or the like.

There is therefore a need for a rotationally molded plastic refuse bin or container which is provided with metal sleeves or side fork pockets adapted to receive the forks of a refuse truck and which are attached to the outside of the refuse bin or container in such a manner that the weight of the container and the trash contained therein are supported by the container walls in such a manner that damage to the rotationally molded plastic container or the container rim is eliminated. There is also a need for providing apparatus for automatically accounting for the refuse container and the operational processes with regard thereto as the refuse container is being emptied by the refuse truck operators.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A plastic container having a molded plastic body including a floor, a front wall, a rear wall, a first end wall, and a second end wall with the combination defining an open top plastic container which further comprises a downwardly directed shoulder on each of the first and second end walls, first and second metal side fork pockets secured to said first and second end walls respectively, each of said side fork pockets comprises means for abutting said shoulder, each of said side fork pockets including a lift tube for receiving a fork on a refuse truck and the combination of the abutting means and the shoulder supporting the weight of the container and its contents for manipulation and emptying.

In accordance with the more specific aspect of the present invention there is also provided metal caster plates which are affixed to the bottom wall of the container. Casters are affixed to the caster plates in such a manner that the casters may be easily removed and replaced in the field thereby eliminating the necessity of returning the container for repair and replacement of casters.

In accordance with the added further specific aspect of the present invention there is provided a molded plastic lid which is attached to a hinge which includes a metal bar affixed to the back of the container molded rim and includes a plurality of hinge plates secured thereto to allow the lid to hang freely behind the container without any binding.

In accordance with yet a further added specific aspect of the present invention, there is provided an RFID tag which is insitu molded into a wall of the molded plastic container during the time that it is being molded.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a molded plastic refuse container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective bottom view of the container as shown in FIG. 1 with an unattached side fork and caster plates;

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view similar to that of FIG. 2 but with a side fork and caster plate attached;

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a refuse container of the present invention with side forks and casters attached;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a side fork attached to a side wall of the refuse container;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a caster plate;

FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view showing a caster plate attached to the bottom of the refuse container with a caster attached thereto;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a back bar with hinge plates affixed thereto to which the lid for the refuse container is pivotally attached;

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of an assembled refuse container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention with the lid open;

FIG. 10 is a partial cross-sectional view of a portion of the front wall 12 of the container taken about the lines 10-10 of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 11 is a partial cross-sectional view of the wall of a rotational mold illustrating the positioning of an RFID tag prior to formation of the container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The plastic refuse container of the present invention is designed to be manufactured by rotational molding. However, the container may be manufactured by other manufacturing techniques without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as defined by the claims. A plastic refuse container of this invention may have a volume of two, three, four, six, seven or eight cubic yards in interior volume and preferably is manufactured utilizing a medium density polyethylene plastic material or any other plastic material suitable for rotational molding

Rotational molding takes places by melting thermoplastic resin in powder or pellet form in a biaxially-rotating, heated mold. The interior shape of the mold corresponds generally to the shape of the product to be molded. The particles of thermoplastic resin melt and puddle in the bottom of the mold. As the mold is rotated simultaneously through a vertical and horizontal axis all parts of the mold rotate through this puddle of thermoplastic material causing a thin layer of the material to coat the inner surface of the hot mold and fuse to the mold in layers. The process continues with the fused layers becoming progressively thicker until the desired product thickness is achieved and the layers have taken on the shape of the mold being used to form the product. A principal characteristic of a typical rotationally molded product is that it is hollow. The thickness of the walls of the molded product is controlled by the amount of powder or pellets with which the mold is charged before the biaxial rotation of the mold begins.

After all of the plastic material has melted and fused to the interior walls of the mold the mold is moved to a cooling chamber where the mold is typically cooled by air and water or a mist of the two. The part in the mold cools to a point where the mold can be opened and the part removed.

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1 there is illustrated a perspective view of a rotational molded plastic refuse container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The container 10 includes a front wall 12, a first side wall 14, a second side wall 16, a rear wall 18 and a bottom wall 20. The front wall 12 includes a plurality of reinforcing ribs as shown at 22 and 24. The rear wail 18 is constructed in similar fashion having such reinforcing ribs formed therein. A pair of side fork pockets 26 and 28 are affixed to the side walls 14 and 16 respectively. A lid 30 is pivotally secured to the upper rear rim 32 of the rear wall 18 in a manner to be more fully described below. The plastic rotational molded refuse container as thus generally described and shown in FIG. 1 provides a container having a hollow interior covered by a lid which may be in sections and when opened provides access to the interior of the container to allow it to receive refuse. The side fork pockets are secured to the side walls of the container in a manner to readily receive the lift forks on a fork bearing lifting apparatus of the type normally used on refuse collecting vehicles.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 a refuse container constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is further illustrated. As is therein shown, the bottom wall 20 of the container is also constructed with a plurality of reinforcing ribs such as shown at 34, 36, and 38 to provide additional strength to the bottom of the container. It is of particular importance to note that the side wall 16 is constructed so that there is provided a downwardly facing shoulder 40 that extends completely across the width of the side wall 16. As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 the distance between the side walls 14 and 16 is reduced at approximately one-third (⅓) the distance from the top of the container to form the downwardly facing shoulder 40. The shoulder 40 has a width sufficient to support the weight of the container and refuse that is contained therein when the container is lifted as will be described more fully below. Also illustrated in FIG. 2 is a side fork pocket 28 which is unattached and a pair of caster plates 42 and 44 which are unattached to the container.

In FIG. 3 the caster plate 42 is shown attached to the bottom 20 of the container through utilization of fasteners such as bolts and nuts illustrated at 46 through 52. The side fork pocket 28 is also shown attached to the side wall 16. As is illustrated, the side fork pocket 28 includes a means for abutting the shoulder 40 such as a flange 54 extending therefrom. The flange 54 mates with and abuts the downwardly facing shoulder 40. A plurality of fasteners such as bolts and nuts 56 through 62 pass through the flange 54 and the downwardly facing shoulder 40 to affix the side fork pocket 28 to the side wall 16 of the container. An additional flange (not shown in FIG. 3) extends upwardly from the side fork pocket along the upper portion of the side wall 16 and is also affixed to the side wall by fasteners to stabilize the side fork pocket. The opening 64 in the side fork pocket is adapted to receive the lifting fork of a refuse collecting vehicle. A protective plate 66 extends from the front opening 64 of the side fork pocket 28 and curves around to shield the edge of the front wall 12 of the container adjacent the side fork pocket. The purpose of the curved shield 66 is to accommodate the lifting forks on the refuse collecting vehicle. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that the drivers of such vehicles will not always precisely align the lifting forks with the openings in the side fork pockets and will rely on the fact that the lifting forks are connected to the fork lifting vehicle in a manner to allow some lateral movement to accommodate misalignment. Without the protective plate 66 the lifting fork distal ends could possibly strike and damage the front wall 12 of the container.

FIG. 4 illustrates the container 10 and shows side fork pockets 26 and 28 affixed thereto and in addition shows casters 68 and 70 which are affixed to caster plates attached to the bottom 20 of the container as illustrated in FIG. 3. As shown, the container is hollow and includes a hollow plastic molded rim 72 which completely encircles the open upper end of the container. It should be noted that the hollow rim 72 extends completely around the upper edge of the body of the container and is formed in such a manner that there are no vent holes provided therein. Through the utilization of such a hollow non-vented rim, air which is trapped internally of the hollow molded rim during the molding process creates a pressure as the air tries to expand which functions to maintain the rim and the upper edge of the containers rigid and straight during the molding process. Obviously, when the plastic is allowed to cool subsequent to the completion of the rotational molding process, the pressure returns to ambient. However, at this point, the hollow plastic molded rim 72 is formed and has sufficient strength to maintain its shape and to assist in maintaining the shape of the upper edge of the rotational molded plastic container body.

By reference now more particularly to FIG. 5 there is illustrated in greater detail the side fork pocket apparatus 28. As is therein shown, the side fork pocket apparatus 28 includes upper and lower walls 74 and 76 and side walls 78 and 80. The protective curved member 66 is an extension of the side wall 80 and as illustrated extends forwardly and curves around the edge 82 of the container where the front wall 12 and the side wall 16 come together. Extending upwardly from the top wall 74 there is provided an additional flange 84 which is affixed by a plurality of fasteners 86, 88, and 90 to the side wall 16 of the container. A plurality of reinforcing gussets 92, 94, and 96 are rigidly secured between the flange 84 and the top wall 74 of the side fork pocket 28. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that by having the flange 54 abutting the downwardly facing shoulder 40 and secured thereto by the fasteners 56 through 62 and by having the flange 84 secured to the side wall 16 by the fasteners 86, 88, and 90, that when a lifting fork is inserted into the opening provided by the lifting fork pocket 28 and is activated to lift the refuse container the weight of the container and the refuse contained therein is supported by the flange 54 abutting the downwardly facing shoulder 40. With the fasteners securing the side fork pocket in the manner as described there will be little or no shearing forces or tension forces placed on the fasteners securing the side fork pocket apparatus to the container therefore substantially precluding any damage to the container.

Although the flanges 54 and 84 are described as being used to receive the fasteners to attach the side fork pockets to the container 10 it will be recognized that such may be accomplished in other ways. For example, the additional flange may be eliminated and the top wall 74 of the side fork pocket may be positioned to abut the downwardly facing shoulder 40 with fasteners passing through the shoulder and the top wall 74. A stabilizing flange could extend downwardly from the rear wall 80 and be affixed to the side wall 16. In any event it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that the load of the container and refuse is supported by the vertical structure of the side walls 14 and 16 having the downwardly facing shoulder formed by under cutting or in setting the side walls.

By referring now more particularly to FIG. 6 a caster plate such as that shown at 42 and 44 is illustrated at 98 in greater detail. As is therein shown, there is a U-shaped plate 100 having disposed at each end thereof caster receiving brackets 102 and 104. The plate is attached to the bottom of the container as illustrated in FIG. 3 with fasteners passing through the openings 106 through 116. As is shown in FIG. 7 a caster 118 is affixed to an axel support bracket 120 by way of an axel 122 retained by a nut 124 threadably secured thereon: A bolt 126 passes through the caster receiving bracket arms to provide integrity to the caster receiving bracket when forces are applied thereto by movement of the container on the casters. Although only one caster is shown in FIG. 7 it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that casters are attached to each end of the two caster receiving brackets or plates as shown at 42 and 44 in FIG. 2 with each of these plates being affixed with fasteners to each end of the container. As will be recognized by those skilled in the art should a caster become damaged or otherwise inoperative through operation in the field it can easily be replaced simply by removing the nut 124 from the threaded end of the axel 122 removing the axel and then replacing the caster with a new one after which the axel and nut are replaced.

By referring now more particularly to FIGS. 8 and 9 the manner in which the lid 30 is attached to the container is illustrated in greater detail. As is shown there is a bar or bracket 130 secured by fasteners 132, 134, 136, and 138 to the molded plastic rim 72 at the upper end of the rear wall 18 of the container. As is illustrated the fasteners take the form of a bolt and nut which pass through upper and lower arms of the bar 130 to secure it in place on the rim 72. The bar 130 thus provides added rigidity and strength to the molded plastic rim 72 along the rear surface thereof. Affixed to the bar 130 are a plurality of hinge plates 140, 142, and 144, each of which defines an opening therethrough. As is illustrated more clearly in FIG. 9, a rod 146 passes through the openings in the hinge plates 140, 142, and 144 and also through protrusions 148 through 158 extending from the two sections 160 and 162 of the lid 30. Such construction allows the lids, which may or may not be constructed in sections as illustrated in FIG. 9, to hang freely down the back of the refuse container 10.

Throughout the description of the molded plastic container formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention as above set forth, various references are made to a plurality of metal components. Such metal components include the side fork pockets, caster plates, axels, brackets, fasteners, and the like. In accordance with the principles of the present invention all of these metal parts are formed from stainless steel. By utilization of stainless steel for these various metallic parts, the deterioration of the container as a result of rust is precluded thereby extending the useful life of the plastic containers.

As was indicated above, under certain applications and circumstances, it is desirable to provide a detailed accounting of the containers and their use. Such may be done for billing purposes, as well as to maintain control of the location of the containers and to track maintenance activity with regard thereto. To provide a ready means for automatically maintaining such accounting information a radio frequency identification tag (RFID) is insitu molded into the front wall 12 of the refuse container. Such is illustrated schematically in FIG. 10 to which reference is hereby made. As is therein shown, an RFID tag 170 is disposed between the outer surface 172 and the inner surface 174 of the front wall 12 of the container. Since the RFID tag is disposed internally of the wall 12 it is not visible by visual inspection of the outer surface of the container. This provides additional security to preclude tampering with the RFID tag. The RFID tag is coded with appropriate accounting information such as an identification number for the container, the size and capacity of the container, the date of manufacture, the location of the container, and other appropriate information as may be desired in accordance with a particular application. The RFID tag may also be provided with the ability to receive and transmit information generated during the emptying of the refuse container such as the weight of the contents of the container. Such information would be generated by appropriate sensors located in the refuse truck. This information would then be transmitted to the RFID tag which in turn by way of its activation would further transmit the information to a receiver in the refuse truck which would receive the information previously recorded on the RFID tag as well as the weight of the contents of the container at the time it was being emptied. At the same time additional information such as the date and time of day could also be transmitted by the RFID tag. This activity would provide detailed accounting would could be utilized for billing a customer or the like as may be desired.

To obtain an insitu disposition of the RFID tag 170 between the surfaces 172 and 174 of the wall 12 such must be accomplished during the container molding process. Shown schematically in FIG. 11 is one means by which such can be accomplished. As is therein illustrated, the RFID tag 170 is affixed to the interior wall 176 of the mold 178 which is used to accomplish the rotational molding of the container. The RFID tag is so affixed through the utilization of an adhesive material 180 which is compatible with the plastic material from which the container is manufactured. In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention such material 180 would be a strip of the same plastic material from which the plastic container is molded. The RFID tag 170 is affixed to one surface of the strip 180 so that it is maintained securely in place and the opposite surface of the strip 180 of the plastic material is then affixed to the surface 176 of the wall of the mold 178. The strip 180 of plastic material thus maintains the RFID tag displaced slightly (approximately one-eighth of an inch) from the interior surface 176 of the wall 178 of the mold. As the mold is then bi-axially rotated as above described, the plastic material which forms the rotationally molded plastic container covers the RFID tag 170 and the strip of plastic material 180 becomes an integral portion of the wall 12 of the plastic container.

There has thus been disclosed a rotationally molded plastic refuse container which includes a support structure for side fork pockets affixed to the container which provides for substantial and sufficient weight bearing support for the weight of the container and the refuse deposited therein to preclude separation of the side fork pockets from the container during lifting and emptying thereof. There is also provided an attachment structure for the casters so that they may be easily and rapidly exchanged or replaced in the field should such be required.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8056817Feb 21, 2008Nov 15, 2011Advanced Custom Engineered Systems & Engineered Co.System for monitoring items in a container
US8146798Nov 19, 2008Apr 3, 2012Advanced Custom Engineered Systems & Equipment Co.Method and apparatus for monitoring waste removal and administration
US8185277Nov 7, 2008May 22, 2012Advanced Custom Engineered Systems & Equipment Co.Waste removing and hauling vehicle
US8210428Feb 21, 2008Jul 3, 2012Advanced Custom Engineered Systems & Equipment Co.Method for handling discarded identification numbers
US8631940Sep 7, 2010Jan 21, 2014Nova Chemical (International). SAPlastic dumpster
US8714440Jan 19, 2012May 6, 2014Advanced Custom Engineered Systems & Equipment Co.Method and apparatus for monitoring waste removal and administration
US8875937Dec 3, 2013Nov 4, 2014Nova Chemicals (International) S.A.Plastic dumpster
US20100071572 *Sep 23, 2009Mar 25, 2010Carroll Robert BWaste compactor and container monitoring system
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/810, 220/600
International ClassificationB65D43/14, B65D6/28
Cooperative ClassificationB65F1/1468, B65F1/1646, B65F1/122, B65F1/1484, B65F1/02
European ClassificationB65F1/14J, B65F1/16E, B65F1/14G, B65F1/02, B65F1/12B