US 3796331 A
An apparatus for mechanically gathering or collecting various commodities, refuse or the like comprising a scissor-type boom operably secured to a mobile carrier therefor. The boom comprises a plurality of elements rotatable along a vertical axis and operably interconnected such that the rotation of the first results in a corresponding rotation of the remaining elements. Generally, the boom will comprise an elevation control member and carry a means suitable for gathering or collecting the commodities, refuse or the like which is sought to be retrieved. Essentially any vehicle may be used as the mobile carrier. A modified, low packer plate body truck is, however, preferred.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Dutton Mar. 12, 1974  Inventor: Glenn L. Dutton, Vidor, Tex.
 Assignee: Gulf Oil Corporation, Pittsburgh,
 Filed: Apr. 6, 1972  Appl. No.: 241,533
 U.S. Cl 214/l46.5, 214/77, 214/151,
214/518, 214/147 G, 212/46, 212/66, 212/59  Int. Cl. B66c 23/84, B60p H50  Field of Search 214/518, 77, 141, 132,
3,498,474 3/1970 Pierce, Jr 212/59 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 63,288 5/1968 Germany 212/66 Primary ExaminerAlbert J. Makay [5 7] ABSTRACT An apparatus for mechanically gathering or collecting various commodities, refuse or the like comprising a scissor-type boom operably secured to a mobile carrier therefor. The boom comprises a plurality of elements rotatable along a vertical axis and operably interconnected such that the rotation of the first results in a corresponding rotation of the remaining elements. Generally, the boom will comprise an elevation control member and carry a means suitable for gathering or collecting the commodities, refuse or the like which is sought to be retrieved. Essentially any vehicle may be used as the mobile carrier. A modified, low packer plate body truck is, however, preferred.
6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures lOO PAIENIEDm 12 1am sum 2 or IV APPARATUS FOR MECHANICALLY GATHERING OR COLLECTING VARIOUS COMMODITIES, REFUSE OR THE LIKE BACKGROUND This invention relates to an improved apparatus for collecting various commodities, refuse or the like. More particularly, this invention relates to an improved, mobile apparatus for mechanically collecting various commodities, refuse or the like.
Heretofore, several apparatus have been proposed for mechanically gathering various commodities and/or refuse and then transferring the same to a suitable carriage or storage bin. For example, several fruit and vegetable harvesters have been proposed which will permit such crops to be removed, mechanically, from the ground or plants, either separately or in groups, and transferred to a suitable carrier therefor such as a tractor drawn trailer. Generally, however, the basket or other means used to retrieve the fruit or vegetables has been somewhat difficult to position and its operation awkward and/or slow. Similarly, several apparatus have been proposed for mechanically transferring refuse and the like to the bed of a truck. Again, however, the mechanisms employed have been somewhat difficult to align with the refuse or the receptacle containing the same and their operation awkward and/or slow. Moreover, most, if not all, of the prior art apparatus have not been capable of retrieving refuse when cars are parked along the street so as to obstruct the path between the collection vehicle and the refuse and many have employed a plurality of conveyors which are both costly and time consuming.
As is well known, the costs of labor in the areas of both produce handling and refuse collection continues to increase, especially in the more populous areas. Moreover, hiring and retaining dependable labor has become increasingly difficult. The need for mechanically operated or automated equipment to perform these tasks is, therefore, readily apparent. Notwithstanding this apparent need, however, it is essential that such equipment be available at as low a cost as possible and that the same exhibit a minimum possible cycle time between pick-up and deposit in a suitable carrier or storage bin.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved apparatus for collecting or gathering various commodities, refuse or the like. It is another object of this invention to provide such an apparatus having a means for gathering or collecting such materials which may be readily positioned. It is still another object of this invention to provide such an apparatus having a reduced cycle time. It is yet another object of this invention to provide such an apparatus employing a single conveyor during the entire loading cycle. It is a still further object of this invention to provide such an apparatus which is capable of retrieving refuse and the like even when cars might be parked along the curb. These and other objects and advantages will be apparent from the disclosure set forth hereinafter and the appended drawings.
In accordance with the present invention, the foregoing and other objects are accomplished with an apparatus comprising a scissor-type boom or conveyor operably mounted on a mobile carrier. The scissor-type boom is fashioned such that the rotatable elements thereof will rotate about a vertical axis and will carry a means suitable for picking-up any of the various commodities, for which the present invention is useful, refuse or the like and depositing the same in a carrier or storage bin therefor. The carrier or storage bin may be an integral part of the mobile carrier or the same may be towed thereby or by another vehicle or the same may be fixedly or movably disposed at a remote location.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation, partly broken away and with certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of an apparatus within the scope of the present invention showing the scissor-type boom in its return or neutral position;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, with portions broken away and certain detail omitted for purpose of clarity, showing the scissor-type boom in an extended position;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a suitable means for picking-up and depositing the various commodities and/or refuse which may be gathered with the apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is'a sectional view cut along line 4-4 showing the rotation actuating means;
FIG. 5 is a plan view, with certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of the scissor-type boom drive mechanism;
FIG. 6 is a side elevation, with certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of the scissor-type boom drive mechanism, taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram showing various positions of the scissor-type boom, from the top, when a three to one gear ratio is employed in the drive mechanism;
FIG. 8 is a side elevation, with portions cut away and certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of still another apparatus within the scope of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a side elevation, with portions cut away and certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of the boom slide mounting employed in the apparatus of FIG. 8; and
FIG. 10 is a front elevation, with portions cut away and certain detail omitted for purposes of clarity, of the boom slide mounting employed in the apparatus of FIG. 8.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT While the present invention is intended to have relatively broad application, it is believed that the same will be most readily understood by reference to the preferred embodiments illustrated in the appended drawings. Referring then to FIGS. 1-4, inclusive, there is shown a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention. As can best be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the apparatus of the present invention comprises a scissortype boom 2 operably secured to a mobile carrier 4.
The scissor-type boom, as illustrated, comprises: a first rotatable element 6, hereinafter referred to as the primary boom; a second rotatable element 8, hereinafter referred to as a secondary boom; an extension member 10; and an elevation control member 12. The primary boom 6 is secured to and free to rotate about a vertical axis with drive shaft 14 while the secondary boom 8 is secured to and free to rotate about a vertical axis with follower shaft 16. As will be pointed out more fully, infra, the primary and secondary booms 6 and 8 are operably interconnected such that the rotation of secondary boom 8 is coordinated with the rotation of primary boom 6 with the rotation of both being controlled by the rotation of drive shaft 14. The extension member 10, in the embodiment illustrated, is telescopically disposed within elevation control member 12 which member is, in turn, pivotally mounted along a horizontal axis to the free end 18 of secondary boom 8 with suitable means 20 therefor.
As can be seen in the Figures, the scissor-type boom carries a means 22 for gathering or collecting the various commodities, refuse or the like. In the embodiment illustrated, a cylindrical cage or basket is employed as the gathering or collecting means 22. The basket is pivotally or floatably secured to the free end of extension member with suitable means 24 therefor through a bidirectional motor 26 and comprises opposed, semicylindrical jaw members 28 and 30, each of which is pivotally or rotatably secured to a longitudinal support member 32-32. As will be readily apparent, the floatable mounting enables the basket to extend generally downward and in substantially the same position, irrespective of the position of elevation control member 12. It will, of course, be appreciated that essentially any bi-directional hydraulic motor could be employed in the apparatus of the present invention. The Series motor manufactured by Tyrone Hydraulics, Inc. of Corinth, Mississippi is, however, preferred.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, each of the semi-cylindrical jaw members 28 and comprise a plurality of curved frame members 3434 spaced along the periphery of said jaw members and a plurality of longitudinal support members 36- 36. The opposed jaw members 28 and 30 may be rotated about longitudina] supports 32-32 into an open or closed position with suitable means such as cylinders 38 and 40. As can best be seen in FIG. 3, cylinders 38 and 40 are pivotally connected to motor housing 42 at one end and to jaw members 28 and 30, respectively, through pistons 44 and 46 at the other end. It will, of course, be appreciated that the basket 22 could be fully or partially enclosed with a solid, sheet material or with a screen covering, and, in fact, such closure will be preferred where small, individual commodities such as fruits and vegetables are to be gathered. The basket, as illustrated, is, however, quite satisfactory for collecting such commodities, refuse or the like, especially where the same is contained in a plastic or polymeric container.
The elevation of the gathering or collecting means 22 will be controlled, primarily, with elevation control member 12 which is, in turn, positioned with cylinder 48. As can be seen in the Figures, cylinder 48 is pivotally secured to secondary boom 8 through plate 50 at one end while the piston 52 thereof is rotatably secured to elevation control 12 at the other end. As will be readily apparent, retraction of piston 52 will cause the elevation control member to pivot about securing means 20 thereby lowering the basket 22. Moreover, the elevation of the gathering means 22 will be indirectly affected by the position of extension member 10. In this regard, it should be noted that extension member 10 may be telescoped outwardly by extending piston 54, which piston is secured to said extension member 10 through plate 56, of cylinder 58, which cylinder is secured to elevation control member 12 through plate 60. As will readily apparent, the extension of member 10 will increase the distance from the basket 22 to the pivot 20 and thereby result in a lower elevation for said basket for any corresponding position of piston 52, except when said piston is fully extended and the elevation control member 12 not pivoted about pivot means 20.
The scissor-type boom 2 may be secure directlyor indirectly to the mobile carrier 4 in any manner which will permit cylindrical drive shaft 14 to rotate freely within the desired range. Such connections are, of course, well within the ordinary skill of the art and need not be set forthin detail herein. The indirect method illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 wherein said scissor-type boom is operably connected to a suitable supporting platform 62, which platform houses the rotation actuatingmeans is, however, preferred. As can be seen in the Figures, the supporting platform comprises an upper support plate 64 suitably secured to upper cross members 66-66, a lower support plate 68, suitably secured to lower cross members 7070 and a plurality of vertical frame members 7272. The rotation actuating mechanism 74 is housed between the upper and lower support plates and this portion of the support frame is enclosed with suitable sheet material 76-76. As can also be seen in the Figures, the supporting platform may be secured to the frame of a suitable mobile carrier.
As can best be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the drive shaft 14 extends through positioning sleeve 78, which sleeve is welded or otherwise secured to upper support plate 64, and through an opening in both the upper and lower support plates and is held in place with securing sleeve 80. Bearings, not shown, are provided, as required, to minimize friction between the moving surfaces.
As can best be seen in FIG. 4, rotation arm 82 is secured to the lower portion of drive shaft 14. The rotation arm 82 is, in turn, pivotally secured to piston 84 of rotation actuating means 74. In the embodiment illustrated, the rotation actuating means is a two-way hydraulic cylinder which is itself pivotally mounted on a suitable bracket 86. Other rotation means such as the horizontally opposed piston, rack and pinion actuators manufactured by Flo-Torq, Inc. and Ohio Oscillator Company, Inc. could, however, be used.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, it can be seen that a fixed sprocket 88 is keyed or otherwise secured to upper portion of positioning sleeve 78 while a rotatable sprocket 90 is keyed or otherwise secured to the lower portion of follower shaft 16. The two sprockets are connected with drive chain 92, the path of which is defined by a plurality of idler sprockets 94-94. As can be seen in FIG. 6, the idler sprockets 94-94 are secured to and extend downwardly from the lower side of primary boom 6. As will be pointed out more fully hereinafter, the connection of the primary and secondary booms 6 and 8 in this manner results in the rotation of said second element with shaft 16 as said first element is rotated with drive shaft 14.
In the embodiment illustrated, the supporting platform,62 has been secured to the frame 96 of a truck having a low-packer plate body 98. Except for the modification required for securing the supporting platform to the frame, the truck is otherwise of a standard design known in the prior art. In the embodiment illustrated, the frame 96 has been extended such that the support platform can be positioned between the packer blade body 98 and the cab 100. It will, of course, be appreciated that a similar result could be obtained by shortening the packer body 98. Moreover, a suitable adjustment in rotary element lengths and the provision of a suitable reinforcing structure would permit the scissortype boom to be secured directly to the body 98 or the cab 100.
In the embodiment heretofore described and illustrated, rotation of the drive shaft 14, the extension of member 10, the positioning of elevation control member 12, and the opening and closing of basket 22 are effected hydraulically. Details relating to the hydraulic system as well as its control have been omitted from the drawings, however, for purposes of clarity. In this regard, it should be noted that it is well within the ordinary skill of the art to provide a sequence of supply and return lines, a reservoir, pumps, accumulators, etc., as well as suitable means to control the operations heretofore described. Moreover, these operations could be readily effected pneumatically or electrically. In any case, however, the controls therefor will be positioned at or near the drivers location so that a single operator can conveniently perform the entire gathering or collecting operation.
In operation, it is anticipated that the apparatus of the present invention will be driven slowly along a path removed from one or more rows of commodities or re fuse to be gathered thereby. When the apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 is employed to collect refuse, the apparatus will be driven along a path generally equidistant from the opposed street curbs and the scissor-type boom rotated and extended so as to collect the refuse positioned along said curbs. Generally, a sole operator will be able to drive the mobile carrier and operate the scissor-type boom from a control panel positioned at or near the drivers station. As the mobile carrier moves along its intended path, its motion will generally be halted when it reaches a pick-up or collecting point. At this point, rotation actuating means 74 will be energized such that piston 84 is either extended or retracted thereby imparting a rotary motion to drive shaft 14. As will be readily apparent, when the piston is extended, the motion of the drive shaft will be counterclockwise, when viewed from above, while retraction will impart a clockwise motion. Motion in both directions is, of course, illustrated with broken lines in FIG. 4. As will also be readily apparent, the extent of the rotation will depend upon the particular rotary actuator employed as well as the particular rotation arm and its linkage to the rotary actuation. Generally, however, a rotation of to rotate through an angle of to the right of center of the mobile carrier 4. It will, of course, be appreciated that the rotation of primary boom 6 could be stopped at any angle between 0 and the angle of maximum rotation, in this case 60, such as the position illustrated with broken lines in FIG. 7. Moreover, the secondary boom 8 could be lowered at anyone of these several positions and refuse or the like picked-up by the basket thereat.
As can also be seen in FIG. 7, as primary boom 6 rotates with drive shaft 14, there is a corresponding rotation of secondary boom 8 with follower shaft 16 due to the action of chain 92 on sprocket 90. The extent of the rotation of the secondary boom will, of course, depend upon the size ratio between fixed sprocket 88 and rotary sprocket 90. In the embodiment illustrated, this ratio is 3: l and as can be seen in the Figure, this results in an opposite rotation of the secondary boom 8 through an angle three times as great as the angle of rotation of the primary boom 6. When the primary boom 6 has rotated through an angle of 60 then, the secondary boom 8 will have rotated with follower shaft 16 and the two booms will extend outwardly from the drive shaft 14 in a straight line. This is, of course, the most convenient position of the boom for gathering or collecting refuse or the like with basket 22. Moreover, and in a preferred embodiment as shown, the combined length of rotary elements 6 and 8 will be sufficient to permit the free end 18 of secondary boom 8 to extend beyond any cars which might be parked along the curb. In this way, elevation control member 12 may then be pivoted about lateral axis 20 and the refuse retrieved without striking any such parked cars. Notwithstanding this advantage, however, and as has already been noted, a pick-up could be made at anyone of the several positions within the range of basket 22.
Once the scissor-type boom is properly positioned for a pick-up, further adjustment of the basket position may be effected by activating cylinder 58 to thereby extend extension member 10. With the basket thus properly positioned, the same may then be opened with motor 26 and lowered so as to enclose the material to be retrieved. At this point, the basket will then be closed and returned to the neutral or discharge position by reversing the sequence previously described.
With the basket returned to the neutral position, the gathered material may be discharged into the receiving portion 102 of the truck body by opening basket 22. Guides 104-104 facilitate the positioning of the refuse or other material in front of packer plate 106. The sliding of packer plate 106 along track 108 will then transfer the gathered material to the aft portion of the truck body. When the packer plate is returned to its forward position, the gathering and discharge cycle may be repeated.
It will, of course, be appreciated that the operating sequence employed to position the basket 22 into both the pick-up and discharge positions is not critical, and hence, that the basket may be partially or completely open before extension of the boom is started or completed. Similarly, the basket may be at least partially lowered before the boom has been extended to the pick-up position. Moreover, retraction of the boom could be started before the basket has been lifted. In a preferred embodiment, however, the return of the boom to the neutral or discharge position, the discharge of the gathered refuse or the like into the receiving portion of the truck body, and the packing thereof will be fully automated. Moreover, the basket will, preferably, be fully lifted during both the positioning operations so as to afford maximum clearance to other vehicles which may wish to pass during these operations as well as any vehicles which may be parked along the curb. This automatic retraction will, of course, free the operator to begin movement of the vehicle to the next collection point during retraction, thereby further reducing the overall cycle time.
In general, the boom portion of the apparatus of the present invention may comprise any number of rotary elements greater than two. Moreover, each element may be of essentially any length so long as the combined length of all elements is sufficient to provide the desired boom extension for any given purpose or purposes. It should be noted, however, that as the number of such elements increases, positioning of the gathering or collecting means becomes increasingly difficult. It is, therefore, preferred that the boom comprise two rotary elements interconnected in the manner heretofore described and illustrated. Such a boom arrangement has the further advantage of positioning the gathering or collecting means to the aft of the operator while the same is in both the neutral and discharge positions. As a result, the forward visibility of the operator is not obstructed, as it would be with forward mounted boom arrangements and/or with boom arrangements that result in dumping forward of the operator. In a most preferred embodiment and when the two rotary element boom is secured to a low packer plate body truck, it is preferred that the full extension of the boom, including the elevation control member and the extension member, when in use, be from about 20 to about 30 feet.
As has been noted, supra, the boom portion of the present invention could be secured to still other mobile carriers and the resulting apparatus employed to gather commodities such as fruits and vegetables as well as refuse or other materials such as hay. Such an arrangement is illustrated in FIG. 8. Referring then to FIG. 8, there is shown an apparatus comprising a scissor-type boom 2 operably secured to a mobile carrier, in this case, an otherwise conventional tractor 5. Since the boom and the manner in which it is secured to the mobile carrier are identical, except as is hereinafter pointed out, to that previously described with reference to FIGS. 1-7, the same reference numerals have been employed to identify the same components. Moreover, since the structure and function of common components is the same as has been previously described, these will not be repeated hereinafter except as is required to point out the differences between the two embodiments. I
As can be seen in the Figure then, the support platform 62 has been secured to an extended frame 110 of I an otherwise conventional trailer 112. As can be seen in the Figure, the trailer 112 is connected to and may be towed by tractor 5 in a conventional manner. In the embodiment illustrated, the scissor-type boom 2 is secured to the support platform 62 in the same manner as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 except that it is slidably mounted thereon. In this regard, and as can best be seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, it should be noted that central portions 114 and 1 16 of upper and lower plates 64 and 68, respectively, are secured together with braces 1 18-1 18 and are free to slide in grooves 120-120. A lateral sliding motion may be imparted with hydraulic cylinder 122, which cylinder is secured to cross member at one end and to central portion 1 16 through piston 124 on the other.
In operation, the basket or other gathering means 22, which may either be covered or uncovered, will be positioned, with suitable controls disposed near the operator, in the same manner as previously described. The discharge, however, will be modified, slightly, since the trailer 112 does not comprise a receiving section or means for transferring the gathered materials from front to back. In this regard, it should be noted that the basket 22 may be positioned for purposes of dumping at any point along the trailer bed by extending the piston 124 and/or by extending extension member 10 to the rear of said trailer.
From the foregoing, it will be clear that the apparatus of the present invention is well suited for gathering or collecting various commodities and/or refuse or the like. Moreover, while the present invention has been described by reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent that the same lends itself to many modifications and variations. Accordingly, reference should be made solely to the appended claims to determine the scope of the present invention.
Having thus described and illustrated the invention, what is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for gathering or collecting various commodities, refuse and the like comprising: a scissortype boom having at least two elements rotatable about a vertical axis; an elevation control member secured to the free end of said scissor-type boom; a telescopic extension member slidably secured within said elevation member said elevation control member being pivotal about a horizontal axis; means for retrieving one or more commodities, refuse or the like, said means for retrieving being operably secured to the free end of said telescopic extension member; and a mobile carrier having said scissor-type boom rotatably secured thereto.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said scissor-type boom comprises a first rotatable element and a second rotatable element, said first and second rotatable elements being operably interconnected such that rotation of said first element results in a corresponding rotation of said second element.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said scissor-type boom is rotatably mounted on a support platform, which platform is secured to said mobile carrier.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said mobile carrier is a low packer plate body truck modified so as to carry said'support platform between the cab and the body.
5. The apparatus of claim 3 including means to slide the rotatable mounted scissor-type boom with respect to said support platform.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said mobile carrier is a tractor and said support platform is secured to the frame of a trailer disposed behind and secured to said tractor.