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Publication numberUS3697056 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 10, 1972
Filing dateDec 31, 1970
Priority dateDec 31, 1970
Publication numberUS 3697056 A, US 3697056A, US-A-3697056, US3697056 A, US3697056A
InventorsRichard Prins Jr, Richard Prins Sr
Original AssigneeWolverine Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Poultry manure drier and sterilizer
US 3697056 A
Abstract
An animal waste material drier and sterilizer and more particularly a poultry manure drier and sterilizer having endless conveyors each cooperating with a respective pair of vertically spaced material receiving trays. Each of the material receiving trays comprises a plurality of tray sections. The conveyor includes a pair of conveyor chains disposed adjacent the opposite side of the trays and having a plurality of agitator elements fixedly secured to and extending between the chains, whereby the agitator element on the upper reach of the conveyor move longitudinally along the upper surface of the upper tray and the agitator elements on the lower reach more longitudinally along the upper surface of the lower tray. The agitator elements are alternatingly disposed above and below the reachs of the chains to which they are attached, ones of the elements pushing the material along the upper surfaces of the trays, causing an agitating or tumbling action of the material and alternative ones of the elements leveling the material on the tray. Hydrocarbon fuel fired burners are coupled to individual combustion chambers between which are interleaved the trays. The combustion chambers are located in stacked relationship adjacent one end of the trays for heating the tray located thereabove and carrying of vapor from the tray located therebelow. Bladed devices are disposed adjacent the discharge end of several of the trays for breaking apart caked drying material as it falls from tray to tray.
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United States Patent Prins, Sr. et al.

[ POULTRY MANURE DRIER AND STERILIZER [72] Inventors: Richard Prins, Sr.; Richard Prins, Jr., both of Grand Haven Township, Ottawa County, Mich.

[73] Assignee: Wolverine Manufacturing Company,

Grand Haven, Mich.

[22] Filed: Dec. 31, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 103,274

[52] US. Cl. ..263/8 R, 1 10/15 [51] Int. Cl ..F27b 9/24 [58] Field of Search ..110/15; 263/8, 28

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,797,335 3/1931 Fedeler ..1 10/15 1,778,249 10/1930 Drewer et al. ..1 10/15 951,804 3/1910 Ekelund ..1 10/15 X 2,389,077 11/1945 Peterson et al. v.110/15 X Primary Examiner-John J. Carnby Att0rney-Woodhams, Blanchard and Flynn 57 ABSTRACT An animal waste material drier and sterilizer and more 7 1 Oct. 10,1972

particularly a poultry manure drier and sterilizer having endless conveyors each cooperating with a respective pair of vertically spaced material receiving trays. Each of the material receiving trays comprises a plurality of tray sections. The conveyor includes a pair of conveyor chains disposed adjacent the opposite side of the trays and having a plurality of agitator elements fixedly secured to and extending between the chains, whereby the agitator element on the upper reach of the conveyor move longitudinally along the upper surface of the upper tray and the agitator elements on the lower reach more longitudinally along the upper surface of the lower tray. The agitator elements are alternatingly disposed above and below the reachs of the chains to which they are attached, ones of the elements pushing the material along the upper surfaces of the trays, causing an agitating or tumbling action of the material and alternative ones of the elements leveling the material on the tray. Hydrocarbon fuel fired burners are coupled to individual combustion 11 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures K0";- lohq M i 0 42 Q I Z0 4r 4, W. L

n ii a PATENTED 10 3.697. 056

sum a nr 2 %Z; KM v/ POULTRY MANURE DRIER AND STERILIZER FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an animal waste material drier and, in particular, relates to a chicken manure drier and sterilizer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Man's increasingly intensive use of, and influence on, his environment has recently begun to result in effects deleterious to the environment and mans enjoyment thereof. It is only relatively recently that these deleterious effects have been generally recognized to be serious and to constitute a danger to mankind.

Among these environment degrading or otherwise deleterious activities are increasingly rapid consumption of nonrenewable natural resources of limited supply, pollution of water resources due to surface water runoff containing animal waste or animal waste dumped in water courses and potential or actual dangers to human or animal health due to the use of synthesized chemical compounds used in human or animal foods or in portions of the food chain resulting in the production of such foods.

In addition, the continued rapid increase in world population, despite efforts at population control, has largely negated initiation of new food sources and production methods, so that a large and perhaps growing segment of the worlds population lives under starvation or semi-starvation conditions. The latter problem is compounded by the fact that feeds used in raising animals forming a portion of the human food supply are largely, if not almost entirely, food products, for example grains such as corn, which would be directly consumable by humans. Thus, an increased use of animal-based foods for humans does not involve a net gain in the total human food supply but rather involves a trade-off of a portion of plant-based foods for animal-based foods.

Inasmuch as the above mentioned problems have only relatively recently reached critical level and further since the general awareness of these problems has only recently come about, practical solutions to these problems are only now being sought.

ln the production of plant-based foods, a requirement is fertile soil as a seed and plant bed. Animal wastes in their natural state were used for centuries as a fertilizer but modern fertilizers synthesized from inorganic, mined materials have supplanted the use of natural animal wastes as fertilizer to a large extent, and almost entirely in industrialized countries. The reasons for this are multiple but include the fact that synthesized fertilizers are relatively inexpensive, are easily handled and applied and are particularly adapted to mechanized, large-scale spreading. On the other hand, animal wastes in the natural state may be psychologically distasteful to the user for a number of reasons including odor, origin and so forth. Because of their normal physical condition, which is neither that of a sprayable liquid or a spreadable dry granule (as in the case of synthesized commercial fertilizers), such natural animal waste is not readily adapted to mechanized large-scale spreading in an effective manner. Moreover, animal waste in its natural state may contain disease organisms transmittable through a plant-animal food chain.

However, the ascendency of synthesized fertilizers has made inroads on the limited supply of nonreplaceable mined materials, which in part make up the composition of such synthesized chemical fertilizers. It has been found that animal waste including poultry manure, particularly chicken manure, can be converted from its natural state into, for example, a sterile granular form suitable for large-scale mechanized spreading by equipment identical to or similar to existing equipment normally used for spreading of commercial synthesized granular fertilizers. Thus, it would now be possible to make commercial use of such waste as a fertilizer rather than simply throwing same away and thereby increasing waterway pollution or loading of currently overloaded and expensive sewage treatment facilities while at the same time reducing use of nonrenewable mineral resources and eliminating or at least reducing synthesized compounds from the plant.

production portion of the food chain. Such can be satisfactorily accomplished however only where commercially feasible means are provided for reprocessing of such waste to a form capable of practical use, that is a form which is substantially free of aesthetic objection, is storable, is readily handled, is relatively light in weight and is readily spread by existing or adaptations of existing devices.

In further solution to above-mentioned problems, it has been found that poultry manure, more particularly chicken manure, can if suitably processed be used as a high-grade food supplement. Although if the processing is of a sufficiently satisfactory character the processed material can be utilized for a food supplement even in human diets, a commercially attractive use is as a food supplement for poultry and particularly chickens. Studies at Michigan State University indicate that satisfactorily processed chicken manure can be used as a food supplement comprising as much as 40 percent of the finished feed for chickens allowing substantial reduction of corn, for example, as a component of feed for chickens. The end product of satisfactorily processed chicken manure has been found to be high in protein (values of 15-25 percent being quite common) and to contain a number of other compounds necessary or desirable to health in chickens. Evidence has been found that use of satisfactorily processed chicken manure as a food supplement in chicken feed can result in longer life of the animal as well as increased egg production. Thus, use of properly processed chicken manure as such a food supplement can be highly attractive to chicken producers in reducing the input of high priced grains such as corn in the diet and as a means for disposing of continuously produced chicken waste. The attractiveness is compounded if means for satisfactorily reprocessing the chicken manure can be placed on the premises of the individual chicken producer to allow him to directly implement in close proximity to the poultry, this closed cycle recycling of the poultry waste material thereby eliminating waste disposal or waste shipping costs and reducing the shipping and other costs attendant to use of grains such as corn in the diet.

It will be seen that such usage of poultry waste as a food supplement, for example, for poultry eliminates some of the overall problems above-mentioned, more particularly providing a means for disposing of the waste without pollution of water-ways or loading of existing expensive sewage treatment facilities, and reducing competition for plant-based human foods, such as corn.

Reprocessing of poultry waste, particularly for use as a fertilizer, or more particularly for use as a food supplement, involves a number of specialized problems.

First, the chicken manure in its natural state has an extremely high moisture content and may be as much as 80-90 percent fluid whereas the finished product should have a substantially lower moisture content of perhaps -12 percent. Thus, the material must be shifted from a condition wherein approximately only one part in five thereof is solid material to a condition wherein four parts of five is solid material or, in other words, subjected to an increase in the concentration of solid material of about 300 percent.

Further, it has been found that chicken manure is very difficult to penetrate with heat. Heating tends to crust the exposed surface of the material and leave the portions of the material in the middle of the material mass in a wet condition, the crust resisting penetration of heat and release of moisture therethrough.

Further, the material must undergo a substantial reduction in weight and volume during processing, the resultant finished product desirably being highly con I centrated in volume as compared to the chicken manure in its natural state as well as being very light in weight in comparison thereto.

Further, to provide a satisfactory processing of the chicken manure from an aesthetic viewpoint, a substantial odor problem must be overcome in that heating of chicken manure has a tendency to produce vapors having a highly obnoxious odor.

Further, where the end product is to be used as a food supplement, problems arise in the necessity for sterilizing the material during processing so that it can be safely fed to animals without material risk of disease or parasite transmission.

Still further, it is necessary during processing to rid the natural chicken manure of chemical components which may be harmful to animal life if the finished product is to be use as a food supplement.

In addition, chicken manure in its natural state is quite corrosive to ordinary steels and is normally quite acidic and thus, for example, has a tendency to degrade materials with which it comes in contact, particularly under conditions of high heat.

As far as we are aware, the above problems have not been solved by prior art driers. Drying devices for drying specified ones of various materials have been known. However, insofar as we are aware, few if any efforts have been directed to devices for drying of animal waste, particularly poultry waste, and none of which we are aware are capable of solving the above-mentioned special problems connected with poultry and more particularly chicken waste and which provide a product which is satisfactory for use not only as fertilizer but also as a food supplement.

The above-mentioned prior art devices have not been found satisfactory for solving the problems abovementioned in connection with processing of poultry and particularly chicken manure for a number of reasons.

For example, drying devices having a plurality of vertically spaced material receiving trays which cooperate with an endless conveyor for pushing the material along the upper surfaces of the trays have been used for some time. While devices of this type generally operate in a satisfactory manner, such satisfactory operation often requires that the device be provided with at least three or four drying stages with each stage including an endless conveyor cooperating with a pair of vertically spaced material receiving trays. The use of such a large number of drying stages is undesirable since it makes manufacture, assembly and operation of the device more costly. Further, the resulting device is heavier and of much larger size than desired.

Another of the specific structural features of the prior known material drying devices which has decreased the drying efficiency has been the manner in which the conveyor coacts with the stationary material receiving trays for pushing the material along the upper surfaces thereof. Prior devices have utilized trays in cooperation with a conveyor having a plurality of identical pusher blades which slidably engage the upper surface of the trays for pushing the material therealong. Prior devices have not, however, made adequate provision for leveling and evenly distributing material across the width of the trays while providing for moderate tumbling or agitation of the material, especially if the material is very wet or sticky. Thus, material in a fluid or semifluid state is not evenly exposed to the drying atmosphere and drier but still sticky material, having a tendency to clump, is not readily broken up into smaller pieces to facilitate a more intimate contact thereof with the surrounding heated atmosphere. A rapid, uniform and efficient drying of the material is accordingly not achieved, and thus it is necessary to provide a large number of drying stages as explained above.

Prior devices have not utilized heat sources of a proper type and have not located same in a proper manner with respect to the material to be processed so as to eliminate the particular problems above-discussed in connection with processing of chicken manure. In particular, elimination of objectionable odors from the processing device would, it is believed, not occur in known devices if same were attempted to be used for processing poultry, and particularly chicken, manure.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved material drier which overcomes the disadvantages mentioned above.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an endless conveyor having a plurality of agitator elements thereon which move adjacent the upper sur face of the tray for pushing the material along the tray and for causing pourover or tumbling of the material and to provide a plurality of leveler elements on such conveyor, alternating with such agitator elements, for

A further object of the invention is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, as aforesaid, which is capable of carrying out a drying and sterilizing process on poultry manure without producing objectionable odors.

A further object of the invention is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, as aforesaid, which processes natural poultry manure in a manner to sterilize same, to eliminate bacteria and other disease causing entities from the manure, to eliminate objectionable or harmful chemicals as may exist in the raw or natural chicken manure from the finished product and to remove or neutralize other objectionable components of the natural manure such as medicines, medicinal residues, weed seeds, and so forth.

A further object is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, as aforesaid, capable of producing a substantial, such as 300 percent, increase in the percentage of solid components in the material, capable of reducing the volume and weight of material by a substantial amount, such as 70 percent, and capable of producing a dried granular product from a liquid or slurry-like input.

A further object of the invention is to provide a device, as aforesaid, which is capable of producing an end product usable as a fertilizer or food supplement from poultry and particularly chicken manure in its natural state.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, as aforesaid, in which the various portions of the apparatus are of material capable of resisting degradation due to heat or the acid condition of the incoming material or are arranged for rapid and easy periodic replacement.

A further object of the invention is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer in which incoming material is placed in very close proximity to an open, hydrocarbon fuel combustion process and to the high level of heat generated thereby and in the same neighborhood to a first agitation process for causing most if not all portions of the material to be exposed to such high heat and open combustion condition.

A further object is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, as aforesaid, in which each tray has a first combustion source disposed immediately therebelow and aligned therealong for heating said tray and a further open combustion source located thereabove for assisting vaporization of volatile components of the material and carrying same away, by a combination of entrainment in a moving fluid media and suspension in the vapor state in an unsaturated fluid.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a material drier, as aforesaid, having a rotating agitating device disposed between and upper and lower tray with the agitating device being disposed directly under the discharge end of the upper tray whereby material discharged from the upper tray is dropped onto the agitating device, which device causes a breaking apart of the material as it is deposited onto the lower tray so as to improve the drying efficiency of the overall apparatus.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a material drier, as aforesaid, which requires fewer drying stages and thus results in a substantially increased drying efficiency, whereby a given quantity of material can be dried within a shorter period of time and whereby the overall drying apparatus can be of substantially smaller size and weight, with the device additionally being economically operable, requiring little maintenance and being easily repaired.

A further object of this invention is to provide a poultry manure drier and sterilizer in which the entering material is moved along a succession of vertically stacked trays, in which the heat input above and below each tray is individually and readily controllable and adjustable, in which the speed of travel of the material along the trays is individually adjustable at least for each pair of trays, or for the totality of trays, in which the rate of inflow of material and the rate of change of atmosphere in the device is adjustable and in which the above-mentioned quantities can be manually adjusted or subjected to automatic control, there being provided means for monitoring temperatures at various points within the device as a basis for such adjustments.

Other objects and purposes of the invention will be apparent to persons acquainted with devices of this type upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a poultry manure drier and sterilizer constructed according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional elevational view of the poultry manure drier and sterilizer of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line III-III of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line lV-IV of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line VV of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line VI-VI of FIG. 2.

Certain terminology will be used in the following description for convenience in reference only and will not be limiting. The words upwardly," downwardly, rightwardly and leftwardly will designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words forwardly and rearwardly will refer to the direction of material flow through the device, forwardly being the normal flow direction. The words inwardly and outwardly will refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the device and designated parts thereof. Such terminology will include the words above specifically mentioned, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In general, the objects and purposes of the invention are met by providing an animal waste material dryer and sterilizer and more particularly a poultry manure drier and sterilizer, having endless conveyors each cooperating with a respective pair of vertically spaced material receiving trays. Each of the material receiving trays comprises a plurality of tray sections. The conveyor includes a pair of conveyor chains disposed adjacent the opposite side of the trays and having a plurality of agitator elements fixedly secured to and extending between the chains, whereby the agitator element on the upper reach of the conveyor moves longitudinally along the upper surface of the upper tray and theagitator elements on the lower reach move longitudinally along the upper surface of the lower-tray. The agitator elements are alternatingly disposed above and below the reaches of the chains to which they are attached. Ones of the elements push the material along the upper surfaces of the trays, causing an agitating or tumbling action of the material and alternative ones of trays for breaking apart caked drying material as it falls from tray to tray.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate therein a poultry manure drier and sterilizer device constructed in accordance with the present invention, which includes a substantially closed housing 11 having opposite sidewalls 12 and 13 interconnected by top and bottom walls 14 and 16, and being further interconnected by opposite end walls 17 and 18. In the particular embodiment shown, the housing 11 is externally approximately 34 inches wide by approximately 80 inches high by approximately 162 inches long. The end walls 17 and 18 are preferably arranged to be movable or removable to enable access to the interior of the housing 11. To this end, at least a portion of the end wall 17 is hingedly connected to the housing and the end wall 18 is also preferably hingedly connected to the housing, suitable hinges being indicated at 20. The walls l2, 13, 14, 17 and 18 are preferably insulated and comprise suitable high temperature insulation material sandwiched between steel sheeting. A suitable base 19 is fixedly secured to the housing 11 for supporting the device 10 on a suitable surface, such as a floor.

The housing 11 is provided with a material feed chute 21 fixedly secured to the top wall 14 and disposed adjacent one end of the housing for supplying poultry, particularly chicken, manure into the interior of the housing. The feed chute 21 is preferably supplied with such material from a feed hopper 22 through a screw type conveyor device 23 driven by a motor 24. In the particular embodiment shown, the chute 2 1 is substantially narrower than the width dimension of the housing 11, the chute being approximately 8 inches by 8 inches in cross-section.

Considering now the drying structure as provided internally of the housing 11, the'material drier 10 as illustrated in FIG. 1 is provided with two drying and sterilizing stages 25 and 26. The two stages are substantially identical. Thus a description of the upper stage 25 will serve for the lower stage 26 except as hereinafter noted.

The upper drying stage includes a conveyor 28 which cooperates with upper and lower manure receiving pans or trays 29 and 30, respectively. The trays 29 and 30 each comprise a plurality of tray sections, one of which is indicated at 31.

The trays are constructed in multiple sections to allow replacement of individual sections, as in the event of warpage from heat or corrosion by the poultry manure being processed. If desired, however, the trays 29 and 30 may be constructed of corrosive resistant material, such as stainless steel, either in one piece or in sections as shown. The tray sections 31 are preferably horizontally disposed and extend from sidewall to side wall within the housing 11, the edges thereof resting atop supports 33 (FIG. 6) which may be of angle stock, fastened to the interior surface of the respective sidewall. In the particular embodiment shown the trays are approximately 30 inches wide. Each tray section 31 is provided with depending flanges 34 at its longitudinal ends which are securable to the corresponding flange 34 of an adjacent tray section by any convenient means, such as nuts and bolts. The tray sections 31 may be removably secured to the supports 33 by any convenient means, not shown, such as screws.

The upper tray 29 is spaced at its ends from the end walls 17 and 18 of the housing 11. The lower end wall 30 in the particular embodiment shown is spaced from the end wall 17 by a distance greater than the upper tray 29, the leftward end of the upper tray 29 overhanging the leftward end of the tray 30. The rightward end of the tray 30 extends to and is preferably affixed to, by any convenient means, the end wall 18.

The conveyor 28 (FIG. 2) includes a pair of parallel, endless flexible drive elements, such as chains 36 and 37, which chains are disposed adjacent the opposite sidewalls 12 and 13. The chains 36 and 37 are supported adjacent one end thereof by a pair of conveyor sprockets 40, which sprockets are supported upon a shaft 41 which extends between and is supported by any convenient tension adjusting means 42 (FIG. 1) located outside the housing 11 and supported on the sidewalls l2 and 13. A further pair of sprockets 45 are provided for supporting the other ends of the conveyor chains 36 and 37. The sprockets 45 are nonrotatably interconnected to a drive shaft 46 (FIG. 3), which drive shaft 46 also extends between the sidewalls l2 and 13 and is rotatably driven in any conventional manner, such as by having one end thereof extend beyond the housing with same being driven from any conventional drive source, such as by means of a motor (not shown) drivingly connected to the drive shaft 46 by means of an intermediate belt 47 and pulley 48.

The conveyor chains 36 and 37 include upper reaches 51 which are disposed adjacent to and spaced slightly upwardly from the upper surface of the upper tray 29 and, in a similar manner, the chains are provided with lower reaches 52 which are disposed slightly upwardly from the upper surface of the lower tray 30.

The material conveyor 28 further includes a plurality of elongated pusher or agitator elements 53 extending between and fixedly connected to the opposite conveyor chains 36 and 37, the elements 53 being substantially uniformly spaced over the complete length of the chains. The elements 53 each have a rectangular channel cross-section comprising a bight portion 54 parallel to the trays 29 and 30 and leg portions 55 and 56 substantially perpendicular to the trays 29 and 30 (FIGS. 2 and 5). Adjacent ones of the channel-like elements 53 face in opposite directions, that is, one such element indicated in FIG. 5 at 53A has its legs directed upwardly away from the opposed one of the trays (tray 29) and the adjacent channel-like element indicated at 53B (FIG. has its legs facing downwardly toward the adjacent one of the trays. When the chains 36 and 37 have travelled from the position shown in FIG. 5 half way through their orbit so that the particular elements 53A and 53B overlie the other of the trays 29 and 30,

the roles of the elements 53A and 53B are reversed so that the legs of the element 53A are directed downwardly toward the tray 30 and the legs of the element 53B are upwardly directed away from the tray 30.

The chains are provided with ears 57 (FIGS. 5 and 6) which extend inwardly from the chain in overlapping relationship with the corresponding ones of the tables 29 and 30, the ears 57 being substantially vertically centered on the chains. The ends of the elements 53 overlap the ears 57 and are removably secured thereto by any convenient means such as a nut and bolt connection, whereby the channel-like elements 53 move with the chains through their orbit and along the trays 29 and 30.

As seen in FIG. 5, the downwardly facing element 538 is moved by the chains 36 and 37 along the upper face of the tray 29 for moving the material being processed along the length of the tray 29. The height of the material on the tray is controlled by the screw conveyor 23 so that the material continually flows over the element 538, The material in its wet state adjacent the input of the device 10 is agitated by such flow over the element 53B and when in its dry and substantially granular state adjacent the output of the device 10 flows over the element 533 with a rolling or tumbling motion. Thus, regardless of the location of the given element 538 in the device 10, it causes the material to be exposed to the atmosphere within the device and also tends to assist in breaking up material clumps in the intermediate portion of the machine wherein the material is in a sticky or tacky condition and tends to clump.

The element shown at 53A in FIG. 5, when in its position shown in FIG. 5 is oriented for carrying out a different function. Its function is to tend to level and hence insure an even distribution or thickness of material across the width of the tray after portions of such material have flowed over the preceding element 53B and thus provide a level bed of material for being moved and agitated by the succeeding element 538'.

In this manner, the material located on the tray is continuously moved along the tray by the elements fixed the adjacent reaches of the chain 36 and 37 but with slippage of some material past the elements 53 moving with the chains 36 and 37 for an alternating agitation and leveling of such portion of the material whereby new portions of the material are continuously exposed both to the surface of the tray and to the atmosphere in the housing 11 and a substantially uniform thickness of material is maintained on the tray and evenly distributed thereacross. In this manner a uniform and even treatment of the material is achieved.

The device 10 is further provided with a plurality of material leveling devices 60 (FIG. 2). The devices 60 include elongated plate-like blade members 61 which extend across the width of the trays and are pivotally mounted at one longitudinal edge on the housing sidewalls 12 and 13 in spaced relation above the chains 36 and 37, the other longitudinal edge of each blade 61 being urged by gravity downwardly into contact with v the material being pushed along the trays. Thus, the

other edge of the blade 61 is normally lower than the pivot mounted edge thereof and rides on the upwardly facing ones of the elements 53 and upon the upper edges of the chains 36 and 37. The leveling devices 60 are, in the particular embodiment shown, provided only adjacent the upper and lower reaches of the chains 36 and 37 of the upper stage 25, it having been found unnecessary to provide same in connection with the lower stage 26. Further, in the particular embodiment shown, two such leveling devices 60 are provided along the upper reaches of the chains 36 and 37, above the tray 29 and one such leveling device 60 is provided above the lower reach of the chains 36 and 37 adjacent the tray 30. The primary function of the leveling devices 60 is a gross leveling of the incoming material which is deposited on the upper tray 29 from the substantially narrower inlet chute 21 and hence may have a tendency to initially reach the tray 29 in a humped condition, that is, a condition wherein the majority of material is located centrally of the tray with little material adjacent the edges thereof. Thus, the one of the leveling devices 60 which meets the incoming materials first tends to achieve a gross leveling thereof, assisted by ones of the elements 53 in the manner above described whereby to readily achieve a uniform distribution of material across the width of the tray for more efficacious treatment thereof.

An upwardly and leftwardly angled deflector panel 63 (FIG. 2) connects between the sidewalls l2 and 13. The deflector panel 63 is disposed immediately above the upper reaches of the chains 36 and 37 and adjacent the leftward end of the tray 29 which in turn is disposed directly below the inlet chute 21. Thus, the deflector panel 63 tends to prevent material from splashing off the end of the tray as it falls from the chute 21. The deflector 63 also functions to control or deflect the direction of the atmosphere moving leftwardly across the tray.

To insure a more uniform and consistent separation and treatment of the material, a rotatable agitator device 66 is disposed between the stages 25 and 26, the agitator device 66 being disposed directly below the discharge end of the lower tray 30 of the upper stage 25. The agitator device 66, as illustrated, comprises a rotary shaft 67 which extends between and is rotatably supported on the sidewalls l2 and 13, the shaft 67 being rotatably driven in any conventional manner from an external power source, which power source may comprise a conventional motor 68 (FIG. 1) interconnected to the shaft 67 by a conventional belt and pulley arrangement (not shown). The shaft 67 preferably has a pair of end plates fixedly secured thereto between and adjacent the housing sidewalls 12 and 13. The end plates 70 support a plurality of carrier rods in parallel surrounding relation with the shaft 67, which rods pivotally support a plurality of radially outwardly extended fingers or blades 69. During rotation of the shaft 67, the fingers 69 are extended substantially radially outwardly from the shaft by centrifugal force. The fingers 69 are both circumferentially and axially spaced with respect to the periphery of the shaft A further deflector panel 73, larger than the deflector panel 63, is disposed, in upwardly and leftwardly sloped orientation, somewhat to the left of the rotatable agitating device 66. The deflector panel 73 lies below the sprockets 40 and extends downwardly and rightwardly to a point above the leftward end of the upper tray of the lower stage 26. One of the functions of the deflector tray 73 is to deflect any material which may drip from the conveyor of the upper stage at the leftward end thereof onto the leftward end of the upper tray of the lower stage 26. The deflector panel 73 also tends to insure that the material thrown leftwardly by the rotatable agitating device 66 will be deflected onto the upper tray of the lower stage 26. A further function of the deflector 73 is to deflect gas flow between the stages 25 and 26 upwardly along the housing end wall 17.

The second stage 26 is located below the first stage 25 and includes a further material conveyor 77 which coacts with upper and lower material receiving trays 78 and 79, respectively. The material conveyor 77, upper tray 78 and lower tray 79 are preferably identical to the material conveyor 28, upper tray 29 and lower tray 30, respectively, described in detail above and thus further description thereof is not believed necessary.

A hammer mill assembly 81 is disposed beneath the leftward or output end of the tray 79 and comprises a substantially semicircular shield 82 which opens leftwardly and slightly upwardly and is located throughout the major portion of its length beneath the tray 79. The shield 82 partially surrounds and closely conforms to a rotatable agitator device 83 (FIGS. 2 and 4) which is preferably identical to the rotatable agitating device 66 above described. The hammer mill device extends the width of the housing 11, the shield 82 being affixed at its ends to the inner surfaces of the sidewalls 12 and 13. The rotating agitator device 83 includes a rotatable shaft 67A, substantially square end and intermediate plates 70A fixed to the shaft 67A, a plurality (here four) of rods 84 supported by the plates 70A in close spaced, parallel relationship to the shaft 67A and in evenly circumferentially spaced relationship to each other. The rods 84 each pivotally support a plurality of fingers 69A which normally extend radially outwardly away from the shaft 67 and are capable, upon rotation of the shaft 67A, of contacting material to be processed for comminuting or breaking same up into reduced size pieces. The ends of the shaft 67A extend through the sidewalls 12 and 13 for support by suitable bearings thereon and for rotative driving by any convenient means, preferably by the motor 68 in a manner similar to the shaft 67. The lower edge 86 of the shield 82 connects to the rightward upper lip of an upwardly opening substantially rectangular auger housing 88 (FIGS. 2 and 4) which is fixed to and extends between. the sidewalls 12 and 13 of the housing 11 and has disposed therewithin a rotatable screw 89. The screw 89 includes a shaft 91 which is supported by a suitable bearing fixed to the housing wall 12 at one end thereof and extends with the auger housing 88 through the sidewall 13 of the housing 1 1, the thus extended end of the shaft 91 being supported by suitable bearing adjacent the extended end of the auger housing 88. The rotatable screw 89 has screw flights 92 which extend from the sidewall 12 to a point intermediate the sidewall 13 and adjacent extended end of the auger housing 88. An outlet opening 93 is provided in the bottom of the auger housing 88 adjacent the extended end thereof. The

auger housing 88 and screw 89 comprise an output conveyor 94. A motor 95 (FIG. 1) is mounted atop the auger housing 88 at the end thereof which extends outwardly beyond the sidewall 13 of the housing 11 and such motor drives the shaft 91 through a belt and pulley drive system generally indicated at 96.

A deflector plate extends upwardly and rightwardly from the leftward side of the auger housing 88 to a point spaced leftwardly from the tray 79 for diverting material which has passed from the tray 79 through the hammer mill 81 into the auger housing 88.

The device 10 includes a quantity of combustion devices which exceeds by one the number of trays 29, 30, 78 and 79 provided within the housing 11. Thus, when N trays are provided, N l combustion devices are provided. In the particular embodiment shown, four trays are used and five combustion devices 100 are provided.

The combustion devices 100 are preferably identical and each such combustion device 100 comprises a conventional hydrocarbon fuel burner unit, preferably a gas or oil burner unit of the gun type, as indicated at 101 (FIGS. 1 and 3) and a combustion chamber 102 (H682 and 3).

The burner units 101 are preferably of conventional type including a blower or other similar device for providing air flow at high velocity and increased pressure and means for supplying fuel to the air stream and igniting same. The burner units 101 utilize ambient air outside the housing 11 and are supplied with fuel through a common piping system 103. The burner units 101 each include an outlet barrel 105 which is secured to and extends through an opening in the adjacent sidewall of the housing 11 into the corresponding combustion chamber 102. The burner units 101 are preferably adjustable as to both air and fuel flow rates to predetermine the fuel air mixture and output heat thereof. In addition, control means generally indicated at 106 (FIG. 1) are provided and connect through wiring carrying conduits 107 to each of the burning units 101 to provide for turning same on and off. Conventional manual and automatic controls are preferably provided, the automatic control being heat responsive and including a thermostatic control system, a portion of which is indicated at 108.

Each of the combustion chambers 102 is preferably substantially rectangular in form and, as seen in crosssection from the side as in FIG. 2, comprises a back wall 111 and top and bottom walls 112 and 113. As seen in FIG. 3, the combustion chambers each include sidewalls 114 and 115. The combustion chambers 102 are preferably constructed of a heat and corrosion resistant material such as stainless steel. The combustion chamber sidewalls 114 and 115 are upstanding, parallel wall 111 is preferably substantially vertical and located in relatively close spaced relationship to the burner output barrel 105. The top and bottom walls 112 and 113 of the combustion chamber 102 are substantially parallel and substantially horizontal, the top and bottom walls 112 and 113 being necked toward each other as indicated at 116 at a point spaced leftwardly of the burner pipe 105. The far leftward portions of the top and bottom walls 112 and 113 extend in substantial parallelism and in a horizontal condition toward the leftward end of the combustion chamber. The bottom wall 113 terminates at a substantial distance from the leftward end of the combustion chamber so that the burning fuel-air mixture exits from the combustion chamber leftwardly and downwardly.

To avoid crowding, the burner units 101 are staggered on the housing 11. More particularly, in the particular embodiment shown, the uppermost, middlemost and lowermost of the five burner units 101 are mounted on the housing sidewall 13 and the remaining and intermediate two burner units are mounted on the other sidewall 12 of the housing 11. In a corresponding manner, the combustion chambers 102 are staggered internally in the same manner as their associated burner units 101, the uppermost, middlemost and lowermost of the five combustion chambers being located against the housing wall 13 and being located and spaced from the sidewall 12 and the remaining two intermediate combustion chambers lying snugly against the housing wall 12 (as seen in FIG. 3) and being correspondingly spaced from the housing wall 13. It has been found that it is not necessary that the combustion chambers run the full width of the housing, a sufficiently uniform supply of heated air and burning fuel being supplied to the interior of the housing from the combustion chambers, utilizing the shortened combustion chambers illustrated in their staggered relationship.

The combustion devices 100 are further staggered longitudinally of the housing as illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the top, middle and bottommost of the combustion devices 100 are relatively closely spaced to the housing endwall l8 and overlap the rightward ends of the conveyors 28 and 77. The intermediate two combustion chambers 102, on the other hand, are located somewhat leftwardly from the above-mentioned three combustion chambers, in close spaced relationship to the left of the sprockets at the rightward ends of the conveyors 28 and 77 and are located for at least approximately their entire length between the trays 29 and 30 and the trays 78 and 79, respectively.

A gas outlet stack 120 (FIGS. 1 and 2) is provided in the top wall 14 of the housing 11, at the leftward end thereof and in communication with the interior of the housing 11. A damper of any convenient type, generally indicated at 122, is provided within the stack 120 and is continuously adjustable between opened and closed positions for assisting in controlling the gas flow rate through the device 10. The stack 120 is preferably provided at or adjacent its upper end with a draft assistant 124 actuable for providing a positive draft to assist gas flow through the device and provide, when actuated, for increased gas flow rates. The draft assistant 124 may be of any conventional type and it is thus merely shown schematically in FIG. 2. Conventional draft assistants normally comprise a motordriven blower or fan for providing a pressure drop from the ambient pressure outside of the stack to a reduced pressure within the stack, so as to induce increased gas flow rates through the stack. It has been found that the device 10 can be used under most conditions without the draft assistant 124, but same may be provided for special circumstances requiring increased flow rates. When used in conjunction with the damper 122, the draft assistant 124 allows for fine adjustment of flow rates through the device 10.

A temperature sensing device 126 of any convenient type capable of providing an electrical output proportional to temperature is secured to the stack 120 for sensing the gas temperature in the interior thereof. Additional temperature sensing devices, if desired, may be spotted throughout the interior of the housing 11, for example, adjacent the reaches of the chains of the conveyors 28 and 77, for sensing temperatures thereat. The outputs of such temperature sensing devices may be applied through any conventional circuitry (not shown) to the thermostat 108 for controlling the turning on and off of the burner units 101. The outputs of such temperature sensors also, if desired, may be provided on any convenient display means (not shown) to advise the operator of temperature conditions at various points within the device 1 1.

If desired a barometric sensor 127 may also be provided at the stack 120 and may be connected by any convenient and conventional means not shown to the damper 122 for regulating the position thereof in response to the gas pressure within the device 10.

In addition to controls for the burner units 101, the control box 106 may contain controls for the various motors of the device 10 including the motors 24, and 68.

OPERATION Although the operation of the device embodying the invention has been indicated above, same will be described in detail hereinbelow for a better understanding thereof.

During normal operation of the device 10, the motor 24 is energized to rotate the screw conveyor 23. The drive motor (not shown) for the conveyors 28 and 77 is actuated for rotating the chains associated with such conveyors in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2. The motor 68 is energized to rotate the rotatable agita- ,tor devices 66 and 83, which in the particular embodiment shown rotate in a clockwise direction, the majority of material flow being past the leftward sides of the agitators 66 and 83 and the clockwise direction increasing the velocity of contact between the fingers 69 and 69A and the material falling therepast. The motor 95 is energized to rotate the output screw 89 in a clockwise direction to cause material to be driven along the auger housing 88 from the interior of the housing 11 to the outlet opening 93. Further, the burner units 101 are energized for providing a burning mixture of fuel, such as natural gas or fuel oil, and air under pressure to the respective combustion chambers 102. If desired, to increase gas flow rates through the device 10, the draft inducer 124 may be supplied and actuated.

The rate of poultry manure inflow to the device is controlled by the screw conveyor 23 and motor 24, the speed of which can be adjusted in any conventional manner to provide the desired inflow rate. The device 10, although useful for discontinuous or batch processing of material, is particularly adapted for continuous processing.

The shaft speed of the conveyors 28 and 77 is preferably identical and a shaft speed of approximately 2 r.p.m. has been found satisfactory in processing chicken manure. This gives a conveyor chain speed of approximately one foot per minute and thus average material flow rates of somewhat less, due to overflowing of material past the ones of the agitator elements 53 contacting the trays. Conveyor speed is however adjustable by any of several conventional means, including for example, the use of a stepped pulley 48. The rotational speed of the rotational agitator devices 66 and 83 may also be varied over a wide speed range by any conventional means. The rotational speed of the output screw 89 is however preferably adjusted to correspond to the speed of the input screw 23 so as to remove dried and sterilized material from the device 10 at least a repidly as corresponding amounts of wet material to be processed are fed thereinto.

Gas flow rates in the device 10 are preferably adjusted in relation to the heat output of the burners and the moisture content of the incoming material to assure that the air flow over the trays is at least at approximately the rate which gives substantial saturation thereof with moisture from the material being treated but to insure that no significant quantities of fully saturated air remain in the device 10. Air flow rates in the particular embodiment shown have been found satisfactory at least within the range of 300 to 500 cubic feet per minute per tray. Means including the barometric sensor 127 and damper 122 can be set to maintain a preselected flow rate despite variations in air inputs by the burner units 101. The draft assistor 124 may be brought into play either manually or in response to the condition of the barometric sensor 127 -when unusually high flow rates are required or when the flow rates have diminished from other causes, the draft assistor 124 normally being actuated when unusually wet material is being processed.

Poultry manure entering the housing 11 through the chute 21 normally is about the consistency of wet cement, having a moisture content of 80 to 85 percent, although this moisture content can vary depending on the freshness of the manure, conditions under which it might have been stored and so forth. Thus, moisture contents of 70 to 75 percent and above 85 percent are known.

Material from the chute 21 falls by gravity therethrough and onto the leftward end of the tray 29 whereat it is moved rightwardly along the tray 29 by the downwardly facing ones 53B of the agitator elements on the upper reach of the chains of the conveyor 28. The width of the chute 21 is substantially less than the width of the trays. The leveling devices 60, the lower edges of which ride along the upper reach of the conveyor 28, act, with the agitator elements 53, to reduce the height of the material on the tray and spread same laterally to a uniform thickness across the width of the tray as the material is moved rightwardly. The material is normally at a level sufficient that a significant portion thereof flows over the downwardly facing ones 53B of the elements 53 and in so doing has a tendency to expose new surfaces thereof for effective drying.

The continuous and alternating contact of the material with downwardly facing ones and upwardly facing ones of the elements 53 on the conveyor 28 tends to prevent caking of the material which would interfere with drying of internal portions thereof.

The material on the tray 29 is carried by the conveyor 28 to the rightward end of the tray and there falls off the edge of the tray 29 and between the sprockets 45 and the adjacent one of the combustion chambers 102 and thence onto the tray 30 adjacent the rightward end thereof. The material is then moved leftwardly along the tray 30 in a manner generally similar to that described and receives agitation and exposure of new portions of material to the atmosphere within the housing 1 l substantially in the manner described above with respect to the tray 29.

Due to heating as hereinafter described, the material which reaches the leftward end of the tray 30 has lost appreciable moisture and would normally have a moisture content of approximately 45 percent, usually in the range of 35 to 55 percent. The poultry manure when in this condition has a sticky, tacky or gluey character, somewhat like that of peanut butter. In view of this condition, the material has a substantial tendency to clump in relatively large masses and because of the tendency of the outer surface portions or skins of such clumps to resist heat penetration and moisture passage outwardly therethrough, such large clumps would be exceedingly difficult and time consuming to dry. Thus, the rotatable agitating device 66 is provided whereby material leaving the tray 30 will be broken up into much smaller particles before being deposited upon the underlying tray 78.

The rotation of the conveyor 77, which preferably is at the same speed as the conveyor 28, causes the material to flow rightwardly along the tray 78 to the rightward end thereof whereat the material drops onto the lowermost tray 79 and is moved leftwardly therealong to the leftward end thereof. At this point, the material is virtually fully dried having approximately a 10 to 12 percent moisture content, although this content may be increased or decreased as desired by regulation of the flow rate of the material and the temperature and rate of gas flow therepast.

Again, the material on the tray 78 and 79 has a tendency to have portions thereof flow over the downwardly facing ones of the elements 53B. Inasmuch as the material is, for at least much of the length of its travel on the trays 78 and 79, in a substantially particlelike form, the particles tend to be tumbled over the downwardly facing channel elements 53 whereby there is a continuous reexposing of particles to the atmosphere in the housing 11.

Material upon leaving the leftward end of the tray 79 falls into the hammer mill 81, the rotation of which causes the material to be contacted by the fingers thereon for insuring that particles falling from the tray 79 are of sufficiently small size, the desired size being approximately N16 to %inch in diameter. The rotation of the hammer mill sweeps the particles into the auger housing 88, either directly or upon deflection by the deflector plate- 90 whereafter the screw 89 delivers same outside the housing adjacent the wall 13 and into any convenient receiving container, conveyor means or the like. Material from the output conveyor 94 is ready for use, for example, as a fertilizer or as a component in poultry or other animal feed.

The combustion devices 100 are adjustable as a group, as well as individually, for increasing or decreasing the heat input to the housing 11 as a whole or to individual areas thereof, that is, to areas above or below the given tray. Thus, by individual adjustment of the heat output of the several burner units, a greater amount of heat can be produced in the upper ones thereof to provide for maximum heating of the upper trays whereat the material is in a more moist condition.

On the other hand, a lesser amount of heat may desirably be applied to the material when it reaches the lower trays, particularly the lowermost tray 79, to prevent charring thereof.

The heat supplied by the combustion devices 100 is adjustable over a relatively wide range both by regulating the fuel thereto and by periodically turning same on and off as by use of the thermostat 108. Thus, the temperatures within .the housing 11 may be varied over a relatively wide range. For example, the device has been operated with stack temperatures ranging from 300 to 800 such stack temperatures of course representing substantially higher temperatures adjacent the combustion devices 100.

The location of the combustion chambers 102 inside the housing and in close spaced relationship to the trays 29, 30, 78 and 79 not only maximizes the heat input to the general area of the trays to enable a concentration of relatively high temperatures thereabout, but also provides for the presence of a burning fuel-air mixture in the immediate vicinity of the material on the trays, particularly adjacent the rightward ends of the tray. Foreshortening of the bottom walls 113 of the combustion chambers 102 further exposes the material located on the trays immediately therebelow to an open combustion process. Researchers at Michigan State University using other types of machines for drying of poultry waste had noted the presence of a manurelike odor given off in the vicinity of the machine during the drying process. On the other hand, the device of the present invention has been found not to provide any appreciable odor save that of the burning fuel supplied to the burner units 101. The reasons for the absence of a manure odor in the exhaust gas from the device is not completely understood but it is hypothisized that the use of multiple combustion chambers located within the housing and in very closed spaced relationship to the material on the trays and particularly the presence of an open combustion process at the mouth of the combustion chamber may burn off or otherwise change the condition of volatiles in the manure which are responsible for the normal odor thereof, the condition thereof changing to a relatively odorless gas.

A major portion of the heat generated by the combustion chambers is given off in the gas stream exciting therefrom. These gases are directed along the upper surface of the adjacent tray located below ones of such combustion chambers for providing an adjacent moving dried atmosphere having a high capacity for absorbing moisture, the relatively large movement of the air also tending to entrain moisture particles mechanically and carry same away.

The location of one such combustion chamber adjacent the end of each tray and the configuring of the open mouth of the combustion chamber to direct air downwardly and along the adjacent tray insures a maximization of heated air contact with material on the tray and also tends to provide a moving gas stream which is constrained to travel along the surface of the tray and toward the outlet stack 120.

The provision of a combustion chamber beneath each tray and adjacent the rightward end thereof results in a heated gas stream immediately beneath the surface of each such tray and moving toward the stack 120, so that the trays themselves are heated by conduction. Further, although a major portion of the heat output of each combustion chamber is in the form of the gas stream exiting therefrom, substantial heat radiates from the walls of the combustion chambers so that the portion of a tray directly overlying a combustion chamber is heated by radiation therefrom. Thus, a relatively uniform heating of the trays is achieved in a compact housing 11 without interference with the conveyors 28 and 77.

Although a particular preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts lie within the scope of the present invention.

The embodiments of the invention in which we claim an exclusive property or privilege are defined as follows;

1. A poultry manure drier and sterilizer device, comprising:

a housing;

a plurality of substantially horizontal manure receiving trays supported on said housing;

said housing having a manure feed opening therein for permitting poultry manure to be deposited on one of said trays;

conveyor means including an endless conveyor member for causing said material to be moved longitudinally of said trays, said conveyor member having substantially horizontal reaches disposed adjacent and movable relative to the upper surface of said trays;

said substantially horizontal reaches of said conveyor member including a plurality of substantially parallel, elongated elements spaced apart from one another and extending substantially transverse to the direction of movement of said conveyor member for agitation the poultry manure and moving same longitudinally of the trays; and

a plurality of combustion chambers disposed within said housing and adjacent one end of said trays and arranged in interdigitated relationship .with said trays and a plurality of burner units cooperable with corresponding ones of said combustion chambers for supplying a burning fuel-air mixture thereto, said combustion chambers and burner units cooperating for sterilizing and at least partially drying the manure as it is moved longitudinally of the trays, there being N conveyor members having 2N reaches, 2N trays each disposed 19 beneath and adjacent a corresponding reach and 2N+l combustion chambers, there being one combustion chamber above each tray and one combustion chamber below each tray, said combustion chamber below said tray heating said tray, said combustion chamber above said tray heating the upper surface of manure on said tray and providing a saturable and entraining atmosphere for removing moisture from above said tray.

2. A device according to claim 1 wherein said housing has opposed first and second sidewalls, a first set of said burner units being affixed to and having portions extending through said first sidewall, the remainder of said burner units being fixed to and having portions extending through said second sidewall and being located vertically thereon intermediate corresponding pairs of burner units of said first set so that vertically adjacent burner units are located on different sidewalls, the one of said combustion chambers corresponding to each such burner unit being affixed to and extending inwardly into said housing from the one of said sidewalls to which said burner unit is affixed.

3. A device according to claim 1, wherein said combustion chambers are substantially rectangular in shape, each such combustion chamber having an elongated top wall, a bottom wall of lesser length than said top wall, a spaced opposed pair of sidewalls located in opposed substantially parallel relationship with the sidewalls of said housing, an output tube on the associated one of said burner units protruding into said combustion chamber adjacent one end thereof, an end wall at said one end of said combustion chamber, the other end of said combustion chamber being open, said bottom wall extending to said end wall, the portion of the bottom of said combustion chamber between the open end of said combustion chamber and the end of said short bottom wall being open, 2N-l of said combustion chambers being vertically located between corresponding pairs of said trays and in close vertically spaced relationship thereto, such spacing being substantially less than the vertical dimension of said combustion chambers, said combustion chambers each overlying the tray located therebelow at least substantially by the open portion of the bottom wall thereof for ejecting a burning fuel-air mixture from said combustion chamber with motion components longitudinally of said tray and at least to some extent downwardly toward the opposed upwardly facing surface of said tray.

4. A poultry manure drier and sterilizer device, comprising:

a housing; a plurality of substantially horizontal manure receiving trays supported on said housing; said housing having a manure feed opening therein for permitting poultry manure to be deposited on one of said trays; conveyor means including an endless conveyor member for causing said material to be moved longitudinally of said trays, said conveyor member having substantially horizontal reaches disposed adjacent and movable relative to the upper surface of said trays; said substantially horizontal reaches of said conveyor member including a plurality of substantially parallel, elongated elements spaced apart from one another and extending substantially transverse to the direction of movement of said conveyor member for agitating the poultry manure and moving same longitudinally of the trays, wherein said conveyor member includes a pair of elongated endless flexible driving members disposed adjacent the opposite edges of the said trayand a plurality of said elongated elements extending transversely between and fixedly secured to said pair of endless driving members, said elongated elements 4 being of channel-shaped cross section having a pair of legs extending transversely to the plane of the adjacent tray, a first set of said elongated elements having their legs extending toward the adjacent tray for pushing manure therealong, the height of the elongated elements at the first set being less than the depth of manure on the tray so that a portion of the manure flows over such elongated elements, the remainder of said elongated elements being further spaced from said tray than said first set of elongated elements and being disposed between elongated elements of said first set for leveling manure on said tray; and plurality of combustion chambers disposed within said housing and adjacent one end of said trays and arranged in interdigitated relationship with said trays and a plurality of burner units cooperable with corresponding ones of said combustion chambers for supplying a burning fuel-air mixture thereto, said combustion chambers and burner units cooperating for sterilizing and at least partially drying the manure as it is moved longitudinally of the trays.

5. A device according to claim 4, wherein said trays are vertically spaced, therebeing one pair of trays associated with each endless conveyor member, each conveyor member having an upper reach disposed adjacent and directly above the upper one of said pair of trays and said conveyor member further having a lower reach disposed closely adjacent and directly above the lower one of said trays, the orientation and function of said elongated elements when adjacent said upper tray being reversed when adjacent said lower tray.

6. A device according to claim 5, wherein one conveyor member and two trays comprise a stage and including a rotatable agitator and communicating device for each such stage, said agitator and communicating device being located directly below the discharge end of said lower tray of said stage for contacting the manure discharged from the end of said firstmentioned tray for causing agitation and separation thereof as said manure falls from said lower tray.

7. A poultry manure drier and sterilizer device, comprising:

a housing;

a plurality of substantially horizontal manure receiving trays supported on said housing, wherein said housing is substantially closed, said trays each comprising a plurality of horizontal plate-like tray sections disposed within the interior of said housing and extending between and fixedly connected to the sidewalls thereof, each said tray having a substantially planar horizontal upper surface, said tray sections having depending flanges at edges thereof extending transversely of said trays, said flanges being interconnected for securing said tray sections of each tray together in end-to-end abutting relation, said tray sections being connected together and to said housing in a manner to allow independent replacement thereof;

said housing having a manure feed opening therein for permitting poultry manure to be deposited on one of said trays;

conveyor means including an endless conveyor member for causing said material to be moved longitudinally of said trays, said conveyor member having substantially horizontal reaches disposed adjacent and movable relative to the upper surface of said trays;

said substantially horizontal reaches of said conveyor member including a plurality of substantially parallel, elongated elements spaced apart from one another and extending substantially transverse to the direction of movement of said conveyor member for agitating the poultry manure and moving same longitudinally of the trays; and

a plurality of combustion chambers disposed within said housing and adjacent one end of said trays and arranged in interdigitated relationship with said trays and a plurality of burner units cooperable with corresponding ones of said combustion chambers for supplying a burning fuel-air mixture thereto, said combustion chambers and burner units cooperating for sterilizing and at least partially drying the manure as it is moved longitudinally of the trays.

8. A poultry manure drier and sterilizer device, comprising:

a housing;

a plurality of substantially horizontal manure receiving trays supported on said housing;

said housing having a manure feed opening therein for permitting poultry manure to be deposited on one of said trays;

conveyor means including an endless conveyor member for causing said material to be moved longitudinally of said trays, said conveyor member having substantially horizontal reaches disposed adjacent and movable relative to the upper surface of said trays;

said substantially horizontal reaches of said conveyor member including a plurality of substantially parallel, elongated elements spaced apart from one another and extending substantially transverse to the direction of movement of said conveyor member for agitating the poultry manure and movin g same longitudinally of the trays; and

a plurality of combustion chambers disposed within said housing and adjacent one end of said trays and arranged in interdigitated relationship with said trays and a plurality of burner units cooperable with corresponding ones of said combustion chambers for supplying a burning fuel-air mixture thereto, said combustion chambers and burner units cooperating for sterilizing and at least partially drying the manure as it is moved longitudinally of the trays and wherein said trays are stacked in vertically spaced relation within said housin said feed 0 min being located over one end of e top one 0 said rays, said manure being discharged from said top tray adjacent the other end thereof, one conveyor member having a first reach disposed above and adjacent said top tray and a second reach disposed above and adjacent a second tray located immediately below said top tray, said one conveyor member and top and second tray comprising a stage, manure discharged from said top tray being deposited on one end of said second tray, said second reach being adapted for moving material from said one end of said second tray to the other end thereof, said one conveyor member having rotatable support means above said second tray and adjacent said other end of said top tray for rotatably carrying same, first and second ones of said combustion chambers being disposed respectively above and below said top tray adjacent said other end thereof, and a third one of said combustion chambers disposed below said one end of said second tray, said first and third combustion chambers being substantially vertically aligned with said rotatable support means disposed therebetween, said second combustion chamber being laterally offset from said rotatable support means and first and second combustion chambers and toward said one end of said top tray; and including rotatable agitator means disposed below the other end of said second tray for comminuting and agitating the manure discharged from said second tray.

9. A device according to claim 8, wherein said agitator means includes a rotatable shaft having a plurality of pivotable blades extending outwardly therefrom with said blades contacting the manure as it is discharged from said second tray means for causing further agitation and separation of said material.

10. A device according to claim 9, wherein said blades include a plurality of circumferentially and axially spaced fingers extending substantially radially outwardly of said shaft and pivotally mounted on rods fixed in spaced parallel relation to said shaft.

11. A device according to claim 9, wherein said first and second tray means each have upper surfaces which in the longitudinal direction are substantially planar, and said conveyor member including a plurality of spaced, substantially parallel, elongated elements extending transverse to the longitudinal direction of said tray means and coacting with said manure for causing agitation and tumbling and leveling of the manure as it is moved longitudinally of the tray means, said second combustion chamber being substantially coterminous with and underlying said first tray so that manure falling from said other end of said first tray falls past and closely adjacent an end of said second combustion chamber and is subject to heat radiating therefrom while falling to said second tray.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4909825 *Jan 23, 1986Mar 20, 1990Erich EignerProcess and apparatus for drying and conditioning chicken manure or similar pasty substances
US5737850 *Oct 31, 1996Apr 14, 1998Rose Acre Farms, Inc.Method and apparatus for drying poultry manure
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US6393722 *Feb 2, 2000May 28, 2002Industries Agrigesco Inc.Chamber and installation for drying animal waste
US6560895Dec 10, 2001May 13, 2003Willard ClarkChicken manure processing apparatus
US6766592May 12, 2003Jul 27, 2004Willard ClarkChicken manure processing apparatus
US7222725Jun 12, 2006May 29, 2007Somarakis Environmental Systems, LlcPin conveyor for pasty materials such as animal waste
US7334345Mar 31, 2005Feb 26, 2008Skill Associates, Inc.Biomass converters and processes
US7891114Feb 12, 2008Feb 22, 2011Skill Associates, Inc.Biomass converters and processes
US8056255Jan 11, 2008Nov 15, 2011Ctb, Inc.Manure removal and drying system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification432/130, 432/139, 110/228, 432/146
International ClassificationC05F3/02, F26B17/02, F26B17/00
Cooperative ClassificationF26B17/02, C05F3/02, F26B17/003
European ClassificationC05F3/02, F26B17/00B3, F26B17/02