US 3722561 A
A support sleeve for a flexible bag-like container is provided having a rigid collar portion and a plurality of independently flexible wall portions depending from the collar portion; the support frame is adapted to be inserted into the flexible container to maintain the mouth and body of the container open so that material may be deposited therein and compacted in a material compressing unit.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Elited States Patent 11 1 ULeary et al.
1 51 Mar. 27, 1973 154] SUPPORT FOR FLEXIBLE CONTAINER [75 Inventors: Timothy W. OLeary, Chevy Chase, Md.; Stephen Hopkins, Washington,
 Ass igneez Compa c lia ger Corporation, Wash ington,D.C.
221 Filed; June 30, 1971  Appl. No.: 158,210
52 U.S. c1. ..141/316, 53/124 B, 248/99 51 Int. Cl. ..B65b 39 00 58 Field of Search.....248/97, 99, 1; 53/124 B, 255,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 2,111,327. 3/1938 OI-la're ..141/390 2,430,155 11/1947 Buttery ..l41/390 1,635,844 7/1927 l-loffmann ..l41/316 696,832 4/1902 Maschke ..220/65 X 1,211,278 1/1917 Blum.... ...14l/316UX 2,757,500 7/1956 Heinl i ..53/255 3,405,744 10/1968 Bowman ..53/124 B FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 169,276 11/1959 Sweden ..248/99 Primary Examiner-Roy D. Frazier Assistant Examiner-Rodney l-l. Bonck Attorney-Cushman, Darby & Cushman  ABSTRACT A support sleeve for a flexible bag-like container is provided having a rigid collar portion and a plurality of independently flexible wall portions depending from the collar portion; the support frame is adapted to be inserted into the flexible container to maintain the mouth and body of the container open so that material may be deposited therein and compacted in a material compressing unit.
7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures SUPPORT FOR FLEXIBLE CONTAINER The present invention relates to an improved support frame or sleeve for a flexible open-mouthed container of the type used in refuse compressing units, and more particularly, to a frame which is insertable into flexible bags and which is provided with relatively movable or flexible wall sections.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Recently, environmentalists as well as urban managers have become increasingly concerned with the problem of adequate trash disposal, particularly in large congested population centers where the task of proper trash disposal has been compounded by the absence of adequate facilities for transporting and storing refuse prior to burning or subjecting the refuse to a recycling treatment.
In an attempt to alleviate the foregoing difficulties, the use of material compressing units has been suggested which generally consist of a housing in which a compressing plunger or ram is mounted for reciprocal movement. In the lower portion of the housing, a trash receiving area is located. In the operation of such units, trash or refuse is deposited in the lower portion of the housing and the plunger is actuated to move downwardly to compact any material placed therein.
In order to facilitate handling of the compacted material, various types of containers such as flexible bags, cardboard boxes, or the like have been employed. With such containers, trash or material is deposited in the containers and the container located beneath the plunger in the housing so that the plunger may move through the open top of the container to compress material carried therein. In other arrangements, relatively rigid metal sleeves and cans have been used by being temporarily disposed within the flexible containers or bags and with their tops open beneath the plunger or ram of the compactor.
It has been found, however, that in many circumstances, the compacting of material in these sleeves and cans has resulted in deformation of the metal sleeve walls to such an extent that it has been difficult to remove the sleeves from the compressing units housing and also extremely difficult to separate the sleeve from the surrounding flexible bag and the compacted trash. In situations where a flexible bag is supported in the housing with the mouth of the bag maintained in an open position, the compacting of refuse in the bags has often resulted in tearing of the bag walls. The use of cardboard boxes has not met with satisfactory results since when material is compacted therein the walls of the cardboard boxes have tended to collapse under the pressure of the outwardly expanding refuse as the plunger compacts the material.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An embodiment of the present invention avoids the foregoing difficulties by providing a support structure for cooperation with a flexible container and which consists of a rigid collar member having resiliently flexible walls depending therefrom.
In one embodiment, the invention consists of four metal, plate-like elements arranged in the form of a rectangle. To each plate member there is attached a panel member or leaf, which is formed from a smooth surfaced material such as metal, tempered Masonite and other fiber board materials, resin impregnated plastic, fiber glass, etc. In another embodiment, the support sleeve can be formed integrally and the sides of the sleeve structure cut or slit to form the panel members which will depend from a collar portion to form a material receptacle and will be movable relative thereto and independently of one another. The top and bottom portions of the receptacle are open. The dimensions of the support structure are selected to cooperate with a conventional plastic or paper bag or plastic lined paper bag such as is commonly used with trash or refuse compactors and to closely interfit with the compacting units housing.
In operation, the flexible bag is first slipped over the bottom portions of the support frame or sleeve to enclose the panels and to function as the bottom of the receptacle. Refuse or other material is then deposited within the support frame through the'collar member which also maintains the mouth of the flexible bag in an open position.
When the frame structure carrying the flexible bag is appropriately positioned in the housing of a compacting unit and the plunger or ram is actuated to pass down through the collar member and into the compacting zone defined by the leaves or panels of the sleeve and into engagement with the refuse, the leaves or panels will be urged outwardly against the walls of the compactor housing as refuse being compacted accumulates in the frame structure. The walls of the frame structure serve to protect the flexible bag container from contact with the trash being compacted to prevent perforation of the side walls of the bag by sharp objects such as glass or metal which is commonly included in the refuse load.
After a bag has been filled to capacity, the frame structure and bag are removed from the housing and the frame structure is slipped out of the bag leaving the compacted trash therein. The relative movability of the several independent leaves or panels which define the side walls of the sleeve surrounding the compacted material facilitates separation of the flexible bag containing the compacted refuse from operative engagement with the sleeve. Subsequently, the frame structure may be used again with a new bag as described above.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a support structure for flexible, open-mouthed containers such as commonly available plastic bags or sacks used in material compressing apparatus which will protect the containers during the compression of material therein.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a support structure that will be sturdy and durable so as to be capable of satisfactory service over long periods of use.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a support structure which will facilitate the hairdling of refuse material during and subsequent to the compacting thereof.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a support structure that can be inexpensively manufactured from readily available materials and which can be easily constructed of varying sizes and configurations in order to accommodate a variety of material compressing units.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Further objects and attendant advantages will become apparent as consideration is given to the following detailed description and accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a conventional compressing unit utilizing the flexible container support structure of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a view in perspective showing the details of construction of the support structure of the present invention',
F IG. 3 is a view in perspective of the support structure of the present invention as it is being removed from a flexible container having material compacted therein;
FIG. 4 is a side view in elevation, with parts broken away, of the support structure of the present invention illustrating the cooperation thereof with a flexible container shown in section, during the compression of material therein;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 5-5, FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is an illustration of an alternate embodiment wherein the support structure is integrally formed.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is illustrated in FIG. 1 an embodiment of a material compressing unit generally designated at 10 which consists of a housing 12 having a door 14 hinged as at 16 to its front side. Mounted in the housing 12 is a compacting plunger or ram 18 which may be operated by any suitable means carried in the housing and represented schematically at 20 and 22. Such means may consist, for example, of a hydraulic cylinder and piston arrangement or a threaded shaft and motor driven gear.
In the lower part of the interior of housing 12, there is located the support frame 24 of the present invention with a flexible plastic bag 26 fitted thereon. When the door 14 is closed and the plunger 18 is in its uppermost position, material such as trash or other refuse may be deposited in the support frame 24 and plastic bag 26 through a second, smaller door as at 28 which is placed approximately midway between the top and bottom of door 14.
Turning now to FIG. 2, there is illustrated in perspec tive view the sleeve-like support frame 24 of the present invention with the flexible bag 26 removed. The support frame 24 consists of a rigid collar member 30 which is constructed from relatively stiff material such as sheet metal or the like and which consists of four plate-like elements two of which are shown at 32 and 34 in FIG. 2. While the support frame 24 is shown as being generally rectangular in cross-section, it should be understood that other shapes may be used, including a circular configuration in plan, to accommodate other compacting unit housing designs. Each of the plates is formed with a top edge as at 36 and a bot tom edge as at 38 and two side edges, 40 and 42. Each plate element is provided with two flanges 44 and 46 which extend transversely outwardly from the side edges 44) and 42, respectively, to intersect a cor.- respondingly formed flange as at 48 to form a comer of the rectangularly shaped collar member 30. Where the collar member 30 is formed from a single sheet of metal, three of the corners will be formed simply by bending the connecting flanges while the fourth corner will be formed by overlapping and welding the flanges together. A 90 angled reinforcement plate segment 50 may be welded as at 52 on the inside of each of the corners.
Each of the plate elements has formed integrally with its top edge an extended portion in the form of a flap shown at 54 and 56 each of which is bent over to form a U-shaped channel or slot as illustrated at 62 in FIG. 5 between flap 58 of plate element 32. In each U-shaped channel there is secured the top end of a panel or leaf element as at 64, 65, 66 and 67. The top portions of the panels may be secured in the channels by any suitable means such as by a plurality of pin means or rivets 68 inserted through aligned apertures formed in the plate elements, flaps and apertures in the respective panels. The top edges of each of the panels should be inserted into their respective U-shaped channels to lie adjacent to the top edges 36 (FIG. 5) of each of the plate elements. The bottom edges of each of the panels should all lie in a common plane when each of the panels extends in a vertical plane and the panels should be secured to their respective plate elements such that their side edges 70 and 72 will be spaced apart a small distance, so that the lower portion of each panel can be moved independently of the other panels.
If desired, handles 74 may be secured in any suitable manner such as by welding, screws or the like, onto the collar member 30 and a reinforcing bar 76 may also be secured by welding to the top edge of plate element 34 to further strengthen plate member 34 against possible deformation during the sometimes rough usage encountered during use, such as where an operator uses his foot to push the support frame 24 into the compressing unit s housing.
In a preferred embodiment, the panels have been constructed from a fiber board material such as that sold under the trademark Masonite, and specifically material known in the trade as tempered Masonite, since it has been found that such material provides sufficient stiffness to render the support frame 24 selfstanding yet is capable of flexing under moderate pressure. As previously noted, it should be understood that other materials such as resin impregnated fiber glass or other plastic materials may be employed, if desired.
To use the support frame of the present invention, a flexible bag 26 is first fitted on the exterior of the support frame as illustrated in FIG. 4. The interior space between the panels defines a compacting area so that with material deposited therein and when the plunger 18 moves downwardly to compress such material, any outward expansion of the material as it is being compressed will induce outward movement of the depending lower portions of the panels. The amount of such movement or flexing will be limited by the walls of the housing 12 and closed door 14. With such an arrangement, localized deformation of the panels will be prevented. When the flexible bag 26 has been filled to its capacity with compressed material, the support frame or sleeve 24 may be easily removed as illustrated in FIG. 3 by simply pulling it upwardly out of the flexible bag 26. The open mouth of the flexible bag may then be closed and secured by a clip or cord; During separation of the sleeve 24 from the flexible plastic bag 26 and the compacted refuse, the individually suspended panels 64, 65, 66, and 67 are each free to move or pivot laterally with respect to the collar, outwardly of the position shown in FIG. 3, in order to facilitate removal of the sleeve.
Referring now to FIG. 7 of the drawings, there is shown a modified support frame or sleeve 124 embodying the invention. The construction of the sleeve 124 differs from that of the sleeve 24 just described, in that the sleeve 124 is formed from a single integral piece of sheet metal or suitable plastic material which is discontinuous at only three corners, as shown by slits or cuts 78, 78' and 78", to provide two relatively movable panel portions 164 and 165. The side portions or panels 166 and 167 are integrally connected throughout the extent of their common intersection which forms the corner 100. Each of the panels 164, 165, 166, and 167 are integrally connected at the upper marginal portion 130 of the sleeve 124. While two movable panels 164 and 165 are illustrated in the embodiment of FIG. 7, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that the present invention contemplates the provision of one or more movable panels or leaf portions. For example, in the event only a single movable panel portion 164 were desired, the slit or cut 78" can be omitted so that the panels 165 and 166 will be integrally connected throughout the extent of their common intersection which forms the corner 102. In each embodiment of the invention the discontinuity of adjacent panels, such as the slits or cuts 78, 78', and 78", should be of a vertical extent sufficient to at least substantially or nearly include the depth of compacted material after compaction has been completed.
While the foregoing description has disclosed a preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A sleeve means adapted to be removably disposed within a flexible bag-like material container means having side walls terminating in opposed open and closed ends, said sleeve means being adapted to be interposed between said container means and the material to be compacted, and frictionally engage and retain said flexible bag-like container means in an open extended, material receiving condition during the loading and compacting of material therewithin; said sleeve means having opposed open ends and comprising at one end a tion of said anel means bein movable relative to the other of sat plurality of pane means whereby separation of said sleeve means from between said container means and said compacted material is facilitated by the relative movability of said freely extending portion of said panel means interposed between said compacted material and said container means, said collar member including a plurality of metal plate portions connected so as to define a rectangular configuration, each of said plate portions being formed with top and bottom generally parallel edges and two side edges extending between said top and bottom edges, each of said plate elements being connected adjacent their respective top edges by elements extending outwardly from adjacent side edges which intersect to form the respective corners of the rectangular collar member.
2. The sleeve means defined in claim 1 wherein the collar member is formed from sheet metal and the panel means are formed from a fiber board material.
3. The sleeve means defined in claim 1 wherein each plate element is formed with a channel portion which extends generally parallel to each of the top and bottom edges, each channel portion having opposite open ends which are spaced from said corners of said collar member and the panel means comprise generally rectangular flexible sheets, one for each of said plate elements, each of said panels having one end rigidly secured in a said channel and the other end spaced from the bottom edge of the plate element with which it is associated.
4. The structure defined in claim 1 wherein the panel means are formed from sheet metal.
5. The structure defined in claim 1 wherein the nonmetallic material comprises resin impregnated fiber glass material.
6. The structure defined in claim 1 wherein the nonmetallic material comprises fiber board material.
7. The sleeve means defined in claim 1 wherein one of the plate elements is provided with a bar member secured to and extending along said top edge of said one plate element.