US 3623672 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor William De Frank 165 Fern Castle Drive. Rochester, NY. 14622  Appl. No 829.974  Filed June 3 1969  Patented Nov. 30. 1971  DISPOSING APPARATUS FOR BURNED-OUT 0R DEFECTIVE FLUORESCENT TUBES 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl r r 241/36. 241/99  lnt.Cl ..B02c19/12, B02c 4/32, B02c 1 1/08  Fieldotsearchmmn .v. 241/9936, 62
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,185,352 1/1940 Peters 241/99 3.558 255 6/1951 Johnson et al 241/99 1.083.919 4/1963 Farner 241/99 3.411.722 11/1968 Webber 241/99 2.620988 12/1952 Tellier 241/62 Primary Examiner-Othell Mr Simpson A!iurrie\-Schovee 81 Boston ABSTRACT: The entire disposing unit is mounted on the lid of a standard ZO-gallon can The apparatus includes an inlet chute having a passageway for receiving a fluorescent tube, an electric motor connected to a rotatable tube-breaking chain and a stop positioned a predetermined distance below the outlet opening of the inlet chute The inlet chute includes an upwardly telescoping protective tube for enclosing (when in its upwardly extended position) substantially the entire fluorescent tube as a safety feature. Also included is a switch in series with the motor and biased to an open position; the switch can be closed to energize the motor only by raising the telescoping protective tube.
PATENTEU uuvao I97! INVh'NTOR.
WILLIAM DE FRANK ATTORNEY FIG. 4
DISPOSING APPARATUS FOR BURNED-OUT OR DEFECTIVE FLUORESCENT TUBES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to apparatus for breaking up and disposing of burned-out and defective glass fluorescent lamp bulb tubes (herein referred to simply as fluorescent tubes).
2. Description of the Prior Art Devices for breaking up fluorescent tubes are known, however, such devices are subject to various disadvantages and they have not been completely commercially acceptable. Fluorescent tubes are commonly disposed of with the everyday trash. Without a suitable device in a plant, factory, etc. for breaking up and disposing of burned-out and defective fluorescent tubes, much time is wasted in the excessive handling necessitated by collecting, moving and storing the easily breakable and dangerous fluorescent tubes. During the collecting, moving and storing of fluorescent tubes in a plant, factory, etc., accidents involving cuts and infections from broken, phosphor-coated glass fluorescent tubes, are not uncommon. In short, the existence of burned-out and defective fluorescent tubes, poses a difficult disposal problem, not satisfactorily solved prior to the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION The fluorescent tube disposing apparatus of the present invention is entirely mounted on a lid ofa mating, opentop, standard 20gallon trash can. The lid and disposal apparatus mounted thereon, does not require the use of a special container or can, but can be used as the cover for any standard 20gallon can. The lid and disposal apparatus of the present invention can, therefore, be moved to an empty can, when its present can becomes full of broken fluorescent tubes. A standard lid can be placed on the full can, which full can is then ready for disposal, without the broken glass having to be transferred from one container to another. The disposal apparatus includes an inlet chute to receive the fluorescent tubes, and a motor mounted underneath the lid for rotating a tube-breaking chain. A stop is positioned a predetermined distance below the outlet end of the inlet chute to hold a fluorescent tube in a position where it can be acted upon by the rotating chain. As the tube is broken, it automatically feeds itself into the can. The inlet chute includes a telescoping protective tube to substantially entirely enclose the fluorescent tube. This eliminates the need for the operator to hold one end the e tube while the other end is being broken and eliminates the possibility of accidents due to the entire tube being broken or shattered as one end is being destroyed. A safety switch is also included which prevents the motor from being energized unless the telescoping protective tube is raised or lifted to its upwardly extended position.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 4 is a top view of the stop 24 of FIG. 3.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to the drawing, FIG. 2 tube disposer of the present invention of which is mounted the entire disposer shows a fluorescent comprising a lid 12 10. The disposer 10 includes a motor 14 mounted below the lid 12 for rotating a breaking chain 16 (shown in FIG. 2 in its stationary position), and an inlet chute 18 comprising a stationary tube 19 and a telescoping protective tube 20. The inlet chute 18 is adapted to receive, one at a time, a burned-out or defective fluorescent tube 21 and to feed it to the chain 16. Also mounted on the lid 12 are a switch 22 for energizing the motor 14 when the telescoping protective tube 20 is raised up, and a stop 24, positioned a predetermined distance below an outlet opening 25 at the bottom of the stationary tube 19, to hold the fluorescent tube 21 in position to be broken up by the chain 16 when the chain 16 is rotated by the motor 14.
The lid 12 is preferably a standard plastic lid for a standard plastic 20-gallon trash can 28. The lid 12 can be used to cover any standard 20-gallon can; there is no special connection between the lid 12 and the can 28. The broken up glass tubes (not shown) can therefore be left in the can 28 in which they have been broken up, by merely removing the lid 12 and replacing it with a standard lid for the can 28. The lid 12 (and disposer 10) can then be moved to another, empty can 28, for disposing of additional burned-out and defective fluorescent tubes 21. This feature of not having to transfer the broken up glass to a different container for storage prior to final disposal, is advantageous, because such transfer can generate glass dust and spilled glass particles which require time to safely clean up. The lid 12 includes a standard, centrally disposed handle 30, and a pair of standard, peripherally positioned locking handles 32 and 34.
The electric motor 14 is mounted to a bottom surface 36 of the lid 12 by means ofa pair ofscrews 38. The motor 14 drives the glass fluorescent tube breaking chain 16 by means of an elongated driving shaft 40. The chain 16 comprises a pair of metal chain links 42 and 44 connected to the driving shaft 40 by means of a pair of connectors 46 and 48 of any suitable type. The chain links 42 and 44 preferably terminate in a pair of relatively strong metal washers 50 and 52, interconnected with the last link of the chain links 42 and 44, respectively. When the motor 14 is energized, causing the shaft 40 to rotate, the two chain links 42 and 44 are forced outwardly to the position shown by a pair of dotted lines 54 and 56. The chain links 42 and 44 have a length sufficient that they extend completely through the space occupied by the fluorescent tube 21 but terminate short of a support rod 60 for the stop 24, as shown in FIG. 2. A standard electric cord 62 which can be plugged into any convenient electrical outlet is connected to the motor 14 through the switch 22 (as described in detail hereinbelow).
The inlet chute 18 includes the larger diameter, stationary tube 19 extending substantially perpendicular to the plane of the lid 12 and extending through an opening 64 in the lid 12. The stationary tube 19 is fixedly secured to the lid 12 at the opening 64 preferably by being glued thereto. The stationary tube 19 is additionally connected to the lid 12 by means of a pair of horseshoe-shaped brackets 66 and 68, the ends of which are connected to the switch 22, by a pair of screws 67 and 69, respectively. The central portion of each of the brackets 66 and 68 is connected to a bracket 71, which in turn is connected to motor 14. Brackets 66 and 68 embrace the stationary tube 19 relatively tightly between the motor 14 and the switch 22.
The telescoping protective tube 20 is mounted for sliding movement within the stationary tube 19 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The protective tube 19 moves between a lowered, unextended, inactivating position in which a bottom end 70 of the protective tube 20 is in engagement with the stop 24, and a raised, extended, activating position in which the bottom end 70 of the protective tube 20 is adjacent (but short of and below) a top end 72 of the stationary tube 19, as shown in FIG. 3. The sliding fit of the protective tube 20 within the stationary tube 19, is preferably sufficiently free and loose that the protective tube 20 falls under its own weight, from its raised position (shown in FIG. 3) to its lowered position (adjacent stop 24), when not held up (either manually or by a lock bolt 74, described below). The advantage of this feature is that when an operator is disposing of a single tube, after the tube has been completely broken it is merely necessary to let go of the protective tube 20, and the tube 20 will fall to its lowered position adjacent stop 24, automatically turning otf the motor 14. However, when a quantity of fluorescent tubes are to be destroyed at the same time, then it is desirable to positively secure the protective tube 20 in its raised position (FlG. 3) without the necessity of having to manually hold it there. For this purpose a lock bolt 74 is provided on the stationary tube 19 in screw-threaded relationship with an opening 76 therein (FIG. 3). The lock bolt 74 can bescrewed inwardly to engage the protective tube 20 to hold the tube 20 in its raised position (FIG. 3). The protective tube 20 is returned to its lowered position by simply rotating the lock bolt 74 to the left until tube 20 falls. As shown in H68. 2 and 3, both the bottom end 70 and an inlet end 92 of the protective tube 20 are enlarged or flared outwardly a slight amount, and the top end 72 of the stationary tube 19 is curved or flared inwardly a slight amount (see FIG. 3).
The switch 22 is mounted on the ends of brackets 66 and 68, as described above (FlG. 2) and is connected to the cord 62 by a line 78 and is connected to the motor 14 by a line 80 (see FIGS. 2 and 3). The switch 22 is mounted in intimate contact with the outside surface of the stationary tube 19 ad jacent an opening 82 therein (HQ 3). The switch 22 includes an actuating arm 84, spring biased to an outermost position shown in FIG. 3, in which position the switch 22 is closed, thus closing the circuit between the cord 62 and the motor 14 and energizing the motor 14. Thus, when the protective tube 20 is in its raised position (as shown in FIG. 3), the actuating arm 84 projects through the opening 82 in the stationary tube 19 and projects a relatively short distance into a passageway 86 in the inlet chute 18. However, when the protective tube 20 is in its lowered position against stop 24, an outside surface 88 of the protective tube 20 engages, and pushes in, the actuating arm 84 of the switch 22, thus opening switch 22 and deenergizing the motor 14. Thus, when the protective tube 20 is in its lowered position, the motor 14 cannot be energized because the protective tube 20 maintains the switch 22 open. Any wellknown switch can be used for the switch 22, as will be evident to one skilled in the art. The actuating arm 84 must not project so far into the passageway 86 that it will be hit by or engage a fluorescent tube 21, because such engagement could prematurely turn off the motor 14.
The stop 24 comprises a single elongated rod 60 connected to the lid 12 adjacent the top support strap 66, where the rod 60 terminates in an eyelet 90 held between the strap 66 and a head of the screw 67. The rod 60 extends downwardly from strap 66 (passing underneath strap 68) and extending parallel to the axis of the passageway 86 of the inlet chute 18. The rod 60 terminates a predetermined distance below the outlet opening 25 of the stationary tube 19, in which position the rod 60 is formed as a stop 24, having the shape shown in FlG. 4. The stop 24 is positioned in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the passageway 86 of inlet chute 18.
During operation, as the portion of the fluorescent tube 21 between the stop 24 and the outlet opening 25 of stationary tube 18 is broken by the rotating chain 16, the unbroken portion of the fluorescent tube 21 moves downwardly through the passageway 86 in the inlet chute 18 until the entire fluorescent tube 26 is broken and deposited in can 28. At this time, the operator can let go of the protective tube 20, whereby it will fall down and deenergize the motor 14 by opening the switch 22.
The preferred operation of the disposer of the present invention is that the fluorescent tube 21 to be disposed of is inserted into the inlet end 92 of the protective tube 20 until the fluorescent tube abuts or rests on the stop 24. Then, the protective tube 20 is pulled up automatically turning on the motor 14. After the fluorescent tube 21 is completely broken up, the disposer 10 is turned off by simply letting go of the protective tube 20, whereby it falls down into engagement with stop 24 and deenergizes the motor 14.
Variations can be made in the above-described preferred embodiment, as will be understood by one skilled in the art. For example, it is not necessary that the lid 12 be a plastic lid, nor that the can 28 be a plastic 20-gallon trash can. The can and lid can be metal, for example, and the can can be of various sizes and shapes. Other fluorescent tube breaking devices can be used in place of the rotating chain 16. The motor 14, the inlet chute l8, and the switch 22 can, of course, be mounted to the lid 12 in other arrangements than that specifically shown in FIG. 2. Other constructions can be used for moving a protective tube into an extended position, in which it encompasses at least substantially the entire length of a fluorescent tube to be disposed of, and other interconnections can be used for coupling the switch 22 to the protective tube 20, whereby the motor 14 can be turned on only after the protective tube 20 has been moved into its extended position. The inlet chute can be a single telescoping tube, for example, rather than being one tube slidable in another tube; alternatively, the inlet chute can comprise more than two separate tubes, if desired. Other types of glass (or other material) tubes than fluorescent tubes can also, of course, be disposed of by the apparatus of the present invention.
The disposal apparatus of the present invention is preferably entirely mounted on the lid of a mating, open-top container. The term mating as used herein means that the lid fits on the container and completely covers the container opening, as in the standard ZO-gallon trash can and lid.
The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to preferred embodiments thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinabove.
1. A fluorescent tube breaking apparatus comprising:
a. a lid for covering a mating, open-top container;
b. an inlet chute having a passageway for a fluorescent tube and being connected to said lid and having an inlet opening, and an outlet opening;
c. means connected to said lid for breaking up a fluorescent tube as it emerges from said outlet opening of said inlet chute; and
d. a stop connected to said lid and positioned a predetermined distance below said outlet opening of said inlet chute to define the lowermost extent of travel of a fluorescent tube down through said passageway.
2. A fluorescent tube breaking apparatus comprising:
a lid for covering a mating, open-top container;
. an inlet chute having a passageway for a fluorescent tube and being connected to said lid and having an inlet opening, and an outlet opening;
. means connected to said lid for breaking up a fluorescent tube as it emerges from said outlet opening of said inlet chute; and
d. said inlet chute including a movable protective tube movable into an extended position wherein said fluorescent tube receiving passageway has a length sufficient to embrace substantially the entire length of a fluorescent tube to be received therein.
3. The apparatus according to claim 2 including switch means engageable by said movable protective tube for rendering said breaking up means operable only when said movable protective tube is in said extended position.
4. The apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said inlet chute includes a stationary tube and wherein said movable protective tube telescopes within said stationary tube.
5. Apparatus for disposing of glass fluorescent tubes comprising:
a. a container;
b. a mating lid for said container;
c. an inlet chute connected to said lid and having an inlet opening above said lid and outlet opening below said lid, said inlet chute extending through said lid and having a fluorescent tube receiving passageway therein;
d. an electric motor connected to said lid;
e. a rotatable tube breaker connected to and driven by said motor; and
f. a stop connected to said lid and positioned a predetermined distance below said outlet opening of said inlet chute.
6. The apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said inlet chute includes an extendable protective tube movable into an extended position wherein said passageway has a length sufficient to embrace substantially the entire length of a fluorescent tube to be received therein.
7. The apparatus according to claim 6 including an electric switch connected in series with said motor, said switch being coupled to said extendable protective tube such that said switch is closed to energize said motor only when said extendable protective tube is in said extended position.
8. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said inlet chute includes a stationary tube and wherein said extendable protective tube is a telescoping tube slidably mounted within said stationary tube and wherein said switch includes an actuator arm extending inside of said stationary tube in operative engagement with said protective tube.
9. The apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said rotatable tube breaker comprises a chain.
10. Apparatus for disposing of glass fluorescent tubes comprising:
a. a container;
an inlet chute for receiving a fluorescent tube and for delivering a fluorescent tube received therein into said container;
c. means for breaking up a fluorescent tube delivered into said container through said inlet chute;
d. said inlet chute including at least a portion thereof being movable into an extended position in which the inlet chute has a length sufficient to embrace substantially the entire length of a fluorescent tube to be received therein; and
e. switch means coupled to said inlet chute for energizing said breaking-up means only when said inlet chute portion is in said extended position and for preventing energization of said breaking-up means when said inlet chute portion is not in extended position.
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