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Publication numberUS3066600 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 4, 1962
Filing dateMar 24, 1958
Publication numberUS 3066600 A, US 3066600A, US-A-3066600, US3066600 A, US3066600A
InventorsJames F. Simmons
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
US 3066600 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 4, 1962 D. E. couTY ETAL 3,066,600

MEANS FOR FLATTENING cANs Filed March 24, 1958 VENToRS IN JAMES F. SIMMONS Y DONALD E. COUTY Wtzm United States Patent Ofiice 3,065,600 Patented Dec. 4, 1962 3,066,600 MEANS FOR FLATTENING CANS Donald E. Couty and James F. Simmons, Seattle, Wash.,

assignors of sixteen and two-thirds percent to Cy Honzel, sixteen and two-thirds percent to Victor Emery, and sixteen and two-thirds percent to .loe Killer, all of Missoula, Mont., and five percent to Daniel B. Allison, Seattle, Wash.

Filed Mar. 24, 1958, Ser. No. 723,552 Claims. (Cl. 100-176) This present invention is characterized by means adapted to engage one end of a tin can between configured rollers and to then pass the can through the rollers; much after the fashion of a wringer used for clothes, so that the can is llattened and thus presents greatly reduced volume.

The collection and disposal of garbage is gradually becoming a more and more complex and aggravating problem. Garbage is normally divided into such articles as burnable garbage, food materials that have proved value and may be salvaged for certain types of livestock or may be disposed of by incorporation into sanitary lls and unburnables such as bottles and cans. The bulk of the volume today, however, consists of these tin cans and bottles, of which the bottles are presently being salvaged in many parts of the country for the glass they contain or for re-use. However the tin can has lor the present no apparent salvage value. Tin cans, because of their rolatively short life under ground cannot be employed in sanitary lls without being crushed or flattened and this use is not particularly desirable due to the fact that as the cans rust away there is a marked tendency for the fill to settle with all the attendant problems that may result, especially when the property may later be required to bear the weight of buildings.

Many communities employ ineinerators for a great portion of their garbage, in which case normally the burnables are employed to dry out and burn many of the food wastes. However, the problem of sorting garbage is a Very difficult and expensive one but if the tin cans are not sorted out of the average incinerator it soon becomes filled to a point where the operation must be shut down until the tin cans are cleaned out of the incinerator.

Tin cans form a great portion of the bulk of the garbage as it is picked up from the average home, restaurant and the like adding materially to the cost of garbage collection. This is particularly noted by home owners where garbage is collected on the basis of so much per full garbage can. ln many communities ordinances have been passed requiring the crushing or flattening of tin cans just to overcome some of the hulk in handling, it being estimated that the ordinary hand hammered tin can will easily be reduced to one tenth of the bulk it occupied in its normal state. There is ever indication that local ordinances of this order will gradually come into more general use as the garbage collection and disposal problem becomes more acute. ln the past numerous devices have been produced for the crushing and tlattening of tin cans but of these, those which have been inspected have been bulky, costly devices intended more for commercial establishments than for the home. In this present invention means are provided for crushing and attening various types of cans and doing it by means so simple in construction that they can easily be operated by the housewife. This simplicity of construction also keeps the cost well within the ordinary household budget.

The principal object of this present invention therefore, is to provide a can flattening device of economical construction whieh can be operated with ease by the average housewife.

A further object of this invention is to provide means employing spaced apart rollers which are configured so as to grip tin cans of the type used as food containers, and carry them through the reduced space between the two rollers and thus ei'lect their attening with a minimum of effort and in a substantially uniform manner.

A further object is to provide a means for tlattcning cans which lends itself to a wide range of capacity requirements so that it may be built either in a form particularly suitable for househoud use, in which case it would be normally manually operated, or the equipment may be power operated and increased very appreciably in size so as to take care of a greater volume such as might be required in larger residences, commercial establishments, restaurants and the like.

A further obiect of this present invention is to provide means for flattening various forms of cans, particularly f the type employing non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, in which it is possible to malte the can as a die drawing in which method the can is normally die-formed without any bottom reinforcing rim. This new form of construction can be easily engaged by a modified type of roller coiiiguration and the cans thus made economically available for salvage.

A further object of this invention is to provide a means which will Hatten cans in a manner particularly facilitating the salvage of the metal from which the cans are made.

Further objects, `advantages and capabilities will be apparent from the description and disclosure in the drawings, or may be comprehended or are inherent in the evice.

ln the drawings:

FIGURE l is a vertical cross-sectional view illustrating the drive means employed to revolve the two rollers in their can flattening operation.

FIGURES 2 and 3 illustrate respectively two steps in the can tlattening operation, the rollers being shown in diagrammatic form.

FIGURES 4 and 5 are a top plan view and a vertical cross-sectional view respectively, FIGURE 5 being taken along the line L-S of FlGURE 4 illustrating a form of roller configuration for use with metal cans not employing a pronounced bottom rim as well as conventional cans.

Referring more particularly to the disclosure in the drawings, the numerals l0 and l2 designate respectively the two rollers as they are normally employed in the simplest form of our device` They are provided with suitable horizontally aligned journals 14 which in turn are supported on suitable bearings, the preferred form being of the prelubricated type of anti-friction bearing indicated at i6.

Bearings i6 are suitably supported in a common frame as i8 so as to provide against any separation of the rollers during the can iiattening operation. Rollers l0 and 12 are configured on their outer surface so as to form engaging means for the cans being crushed or ilattened.

To form engagement means for the cans to be crushed or flattened there are cut into the cylindrical surfaces of cach of the rollers lil and l2 two sets of segmental depressions, 2?; d 2% having their major axes longitudinal of the 1 s and 25 and 26 having their major axes at right s to the axes of the rollers. An arrangement of this order has found to be very desirable, particularly in flattening the new form of aluminum cans which are formed by a press drawing operation so that there is no outstanding rim on the bottom of the can. It is of course necessary that the can be prcpe'fy introduced to these two segmental depressions and this can be done manually, or in a power operated machine a feeding chute 23, vsuch as is shown in FIGURE 5, is required.

The rollers lo and l2 are provided with segmental depressions 22 and 24. These depressions may be considered as being cut by an end milling operation when the rollers are positioned as viewed in FIGURE 5. Such an operation produces a partial planar surface as shown in FIGURE l. Where the cuts bite deeply into the cylindrical surfaces of the rollers, vertical abutments 25 and 26 are provided which are high enough to securely engage the can base, after the showing of FIGURE 5. Segmental depressions as used herein refers to planar cuts, made in the cylindrical `surface of the rollers lt? and 12 which are deep on one margin and run out to nothing when something less than a semi-circular cut is made.

lt is necessary that rollers 1t) and 12, following the principle of clothes wringers, for instance, turn toward each other and at the same rotative speed; consequently gears are provided of equal size indicated at 3d and 32. These gears may be formed integral with rollers 1t? and l2 or may be separately produced and secured thereto, depending of course on whether the rollers are fabricated from metal tubing and the like or are cast of metal or molded of some of the lirrn plastic materials.

Some suitable form of power application is required to revolve rollers 10 and 12 and throughout the present drawings the simplest form has been employed in which a small gear pinion 34 mounted on suitable bearings engages one of the two gears, and thereby drives the other gear with its attached roller. For ordinary home use where it is desirable to use simplest form of this machine, a hand `crank 36 is employed. Such a drive arrangement keeps the equipment simple and adds imrneasurably to the safety of the equipment in that the person feeding the cans into the machine is `also operating the power input. In the more complicated forms of this equipment, where larger capacities are required, suitable power drive means, as `an electric motor, may be connected to the shaft on which pinion 34 is secured. With such an arrangement however, it is desirable to enclose the rollers so that an operators hand cannot be caught between the two power driven rollers. Such cover arrangement 35 is illustrated in the sectional view of FlGURE 5.

Normally, and especially for the crank operated form of the machine, it is desirable to have the mechanical advantage calculated to the extent that three or four turns of crank 36 at most will perform the can crushing or flattening operation, though sometimes a can having a rim of unusual thickness may be encountered and greate mechanical advantage be required. A preferred solution of this problem is illustrated in FIGURES l and 4 particularly and consists of a one-way ratchet 40 which is secured to roller and gear assembly 10 and 30. Adapte to operatively engage ratchet 4Q is a pawl 4Z. Pawl 42 is operated by means of lever 44, which is revolvable about the fixed pivot 46. Pawl 42 is pivoted at 48 to a boss extending downwardly from lever 44, in a bell crank arrangement as illustrated at 50. With lever 44 in its lower position, as illustrated in FIGURE l, pawl 42 lies on the outer tips of ratchet teeth 52 without operatively engaging them and normally will make no noise and will not produce any wear in ratchet dil. When, however, lever 44 is raised to the dotted line position indicated at 54 in FIGURE l, the pawl then engages one of the teeth and as lever 44 is brought downwardly it will revolve roller it! an amount equivalent to one or two teeth of the ratchet, depending somewhat on the proportioning and mounting of pawl 42. This has been found to be adequate as usually any extreme resistance is encountered only at the point of crushing one of the heavy rims of a tin can, and once this is crushed by a slight angular movement of the rollers the normal drive means, as crank 35 is then adequate to carry the load and complete the can tlattening operation.

In the foregoing description and the drawings illustrating the same we have indicated for clarity of understanding the simplest form of this present equipment. It is believed that it will be apparent that for greater capacity and greater speed of operation it will be desirable to modify this present construction considerably in order that the equipment may most fully meet its operational reuirements.

It is believed that it will be clearly apparent from the above description and the disclosure in the drawings that the invention comprehends a novel construction of means for ilattcning cans.

Having thus disclosed the invention, we claim:

l. A can flattening device for flattening cans having end rims comprising: a plurality of spaced can flattening rollers having journals axially disposed at the end of each roller to form a roller assembly; a unitary supporting framework for said journals adapted to insure a predetermined positioning of said rollers during period of use; a continuous, manually operated drive means for each roller consisting of gears adapted to operatively engage and provide opposite rotation for each coacting pair of said rollers and thus insure that the rollers will both move a can, disposed between the rollers, in the same direction; said rollers having coacting surfaces contigured to engage the major portion of the end rim of a can to be flattened and diametrically disposed wall portions adjacent the engaged end to insure its passage between the rollers.

2. The subject matter of claim l in which said can engaging configuration includes two generally segmental shaped depressions, one depression on the surface of each of said rollers, each depression being adapted to engage Substantially one half of a cylindrical can end rim, said depressions each presenting a substantially planar common rest surface for the can at the time of engagement of the can end, and a feeding chute adapted to insure proper presentation of the can to the flattening rolls.

3. The subject matter of claim 1 in which said can engaging configuration includes two generally segmental shaped depressions, one depression on the surface of each of said rollers, each depression being adapted `to engage substantially one half of a cylindrical can end rim, said depressions each presenting a substantially planar rest for the can at the time of engagement of the can rim guide means adapted to insure proper presentation of the can to the flattening rolls and auxiliary drive means adapted for selective employment to provide greater torque to said rollers as compared to said first manually operated drive means to overcome unusual resistance encountered z by said rollers in flattening a can.

4. The subject matter of claim l in which said roller surfaces are configured as generally segmental shaped depressions which, together, at one point in the rotation of the rollers form an interrupted planar surface, one half of said surface being on each roller, such surfaces being cut into the cylindrical surface of each of the rollers on a plane parallel to the lngitudinal axis of said rollers, said depressions having side walls at right angles to the planar surfaces which are high enough to securely engage the base rim of a cylindrical can, the adjacent edges of said 6 planar cuts in said combined planar position running out 156,479 Brown Nov. 3, 1874 to nothing at their adjacent edges. 215,718 Capewell May 27, 1879 5. The subject matter of claim 4 in which a one-Way 382,947 Brown May 15 1888 ratchet wheel is secured to one of said rollers, a pawl 446,612 Figo/[t Feb 17, 1891 disposed to operatively engage said ratchet wheel and a 5 459,340 Wheel@r Sept g, 1891 lever for manual operation operatively connected t0 said 2,373,057 Shinn APL 3, 1945 PaWL 2,446,898 Alvarez Aug. 1o, 194s References Cited in the le of this patent 2,558,255 Johnson et al. June 26, 1951 UNITED STATES PATENTS 10 2,800,160 WISOII Ct al July 23, 1957 2,844,184 Vollmer July 22, 1958 Re. 8,302 Loring June 25, 1878

Non-Patent Citations
1 *None
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3212773 *Mar 19, 1963Oct 19, 1965Western Electric CoArticle feed apparatus
US3776128 *Feb 29, 1972Dec 4, 1973D MorrisApparatus for crushing cans
US3827351 *Feb 12, 1973Aug 6, 1974Ecology Recycling IncApparatus for flattening metal cans and crushing glass containers
US3951059 *Jan 20, 1975Apr 20, 1976Drew-It CorporationApparatus for crushing material
US4195562 *Jul 28, 1978Apr 1, 1980Mickler Edwin WCan disintegrating apparatus and method
US4324325 *Dec 21, 1979Apr 13, 1982Dewoolfson Bruce HApparatus for collection of metallic containers and method therefor
US4345679 *May 9, 1980Aug 24, 1982Dewoolfson Bruce HContainer collection apparatus with electromagnetic sensor and method
US4440284 *Mar 5, 1982Apr 3, 1984Environmental Products CorporationAutomated aluminum can redemption center for direct return deposit payout
US4445430 *Oct 27, 1981May 1, 1984Pyne Melvin LMethod and apparatus for sorting, counting and flattening cans
US4469212 *Apr 20, 1982Sep 4, 1984Environmental Products CorporationContainer collection apparatus with piston-actuated crusher
US4492295 *May 13, 1982Jan 8, 1985Environmental Products CorporationAutomated redemption center for metal containers
US5211109 *Sep 27, 1991May 18, 1993Determan Jerome ABeverage can crusher
U.S. Classification100/176, 100/902
International ClassificationB30B9/32
Cooperative ClassificationB30B9/325, Y10S100/902
European ClassificationB30B9/32B4