US 3850336 A
A counterbalance apparatus particularly adapted for use in controlling the closing of metal lids on large refuse containers having a lift arm means pivotally mounted on an upper portion of the container, and a resilient means connected to the container at one end and having its opposite end connected to a first end of the lift arm means. The resilient means acts to move the lift arm means angularly about its point of mounting on the container to urge a second end of the lift arm means into sliding engagement with the lid with a sufficient upward force to balance the downward effect of gravity on the mass of the lid and thereby permit controlled opening and closing of the lid.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191' Acosta [451 Nov. 26, 1974 COUNTERBALANCE APPARATUS FOR A REFUSE CONTAINER LID Evelio Acosta, Hialeah, Fla.
Hydraulic Equipment Systems & Fabricating, Inc., Hialeah, Fla.
Filed: Feb. 26, 1973 Appl. No.: 335,546
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Davis Shepard et al.
Stetson 220/35 X 2,888,l62 5/1959 Herpich 220/35 Primary Examiner-William l. Price Assistant Examiner-Steven M. Pollard Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Gomer W. Walters  ABSTRACT A counterbalance apparatus particularly adapted for use in controlling the closing of metal lids on large refuse containers having a lift arm means pivotally mounted on an upper portion of the container, and a resilient means connected to the container at one end and having its opposite end connected to a first end of the lift arm means. The resilient means acts to move the lift arm means angularly about its point of mounting on the container to urge a second end of the lift arm means into sliding engagement with the lid with a sufficient upward force to balance the downward effect of gravity on the mass of the lid and thereby permit controlled opening and closing of the lid.
8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures COUNTERBALANCE APPARATUS FOR A REFUSE CONTAINER LID BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to containers for receiving and- /or compacting refuse and the like, and, in particular, to a means for controlling the opening and closing of the container lid.
Industrial and commercial refuse containers and/or compacters are normally constructed having a large generally rectangular container portion having an access opening at its top with a lid.hingedly mounted on the container for movement over the access opening. The volume of waste produced in restaurants, apartments, factories and the like, requires that these refuse containers be of large volume having access openings large enough to easily receive refuse and also to permit mechanical emptying of the contents. Since, the lid covering such a large access opening must necessarily be large in area, lids in present refuse containers must be substantial enough to be self supporting and also to absorb the abuse experienced in loading or dumping of the refuse. Such lids are, therefore, normally made of steel plate or similar heavy materials which are sufficiently strong to resist such abuse. However, such lids, because of their size and weight, present a hazard to anyone loading refuse into the container or emptying the container itself, since they rotate freely on hinges and tend to fall easily from an upstanding position. Such uncontrolled movement may cause the lid to slam with terrific impact on the fingers or arms of an unwary operator. Moreover, the sheer weight of the lid makes it difficult for even a strong and careful operator to control its closing movement. The construction of present lids and the size of the containers used to collect waste, require an agile operator to reach the lid in its upright position and lower it from an upright position to a closed position, and yet be able to step back quickly enough so as to not be caught by the falling lid. Likewise, when the containers are unloaded by lift trucks and the like, present free-swinging lids tend to bang against the truck or the'container and cause damage to themselves or the container or endanger the operators further.
Attempts at solving the above problems by making lids out oflightweight materials such as plywood or aluminum have been completely unsatisfactory primarily because of the failure of such materials to withstand the abuse to which such lids are subjected.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention involves a spring counterbalance mechanism which is mounted on the refuse container and engages the container lid to provide an upward counter force to the downward force exerted on the lid by gravity. The use of this invention overcomes the problems of present refuse container lids because it requires the container lid to be manually pulled to a down position and controls closure of the lid at all times to prevent damage to the container or the lid or injuries caused by the heavy, free-falling lid.
This invention accomplishes controlled closing of a refuse container lid by a lift arm which is pivotally mounted on an upper portion of a refuse container adjacent the upper edge of the container and near the hinged junction of the container and the lid. The lift arm is pivotally mounted on the container at a point between the opposite ends of the lift arm for angular movement relative to the container. A resilient means, such as a spring, is connected at one end to the container and at its opposite end to a first or lower end of the lift arm. The second or opposite end of the lift arm is thereby pivotally urged by the spring in a generally upward direction into engagement with a slide track positioned along the outside edge of the lid.
The point around which the lift arm pivots is disposed toward the hinged junction of the container and the lid and near the lower or first end of the lift arm to assure continuous contact of the upper or second end of the lift arm with the slide track throughout the opening and closing of the lid.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a counterbalance means for a refuse container lid which is simple in construction, durable, inexpensive to manufacture, and which allows controlled closing of the lid to prevent damage to the lid or container or possible injury to the operator.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a counterbalance means for a refuse container lid which may be mounted on a conventional refuse container to engage the lid in a manner which does not interfere with the normal loading or unloading of the refuse container.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a couterbalance means for a refuse container lid which permits use of strong, sturdy, heavy materials in the construction of the lid while eliminating problems normally caused in the closing of the lid by the weight of such materials.
These and other objects of this invention will become evident from the following detailed description of the invention taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a perspective view of a heavy-duty refuse container and self-contained compacter having the counter-balance lid closure apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the refuse container shown in FIG. 1 showing the opening operation of the counterbalance lid closure apparatus in broken lines; and,
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view showing, in detail, the construction of the counterbalance lid closure apparatus of the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings, and, in particular, to FIG. I, a combined refuse container and compaction apparatus is shown generally at 10. This particular apparatus 10 includes a large volume container 12 and a receiving and compacting chamber 14, each having their low lid or closure means controlled by the counterbalance apparatus of this invention, shown generally at 30. It is clear, however, that the present invention is useful with many different types and sizes of refuse containers such as front or rear load containers.
Both the large volume container 12 and the receiving and compacting container 14 have top access openings 15 and 15, respectively, which are covered by closure means or lids l6 and 16, respectively. Theselids 16 and 16 are mounted adjacent a rear edge of containers 12 and 14, respectively, by suitable heavy-duty hinge connections 18 and 18' for opening and closing movement relative to top access openings 15 and 15'.
Since the operation oflids I6 and 16 relative to their respective containers is similar, the description of counterbalance 30 will be limited to its use in conncction with container 12 and lid 16, for the sake of brevity. Container 12 will be referred to as having a forward end 20 from which it is generally loaded and a rearward end 22 along which the lid 16 is hingedly joined to the container. The counterbalance apparatus is easily mounted along the upper edge of the container 12 adjacent top access opening 15 and disposed toward the rearward end 22 of container 12. As will be seen. the counterbalance apparatus 30 is extremely simple in manufacture and operation so that it may be easily installed on presently operating containers in addition to being included as a part of new containers during thier manufacture.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the counterbalance apparatus 30 of this invention, includes a mounting or base plate 32 which is mounted adjacent the upper edge of a side wall of container 12 so that the top edge of the mounting plate 32 lies in approximately the same plane of the top edge of the container 12. Mounting plate 32 is fixedly attached to the side wall of container 12 by welding or other suitable methods. This mounting plate 32 has an outwardly extending forward flange 34, preferably integrally formed with it, and a similar, outwardly extending rearward flange stop 36, also integrally formed with it. Rear flange stop 36, however, only extends vertically along an upper portion of the rearward end of the mounting plate 32, for reasons which will be explained below.
A lift arm 38 is pivotally mounted on the rearward end of mounting plate 32 over a suitable axis such as an outwardly extending, threaded pivot bolt 47. A nut 48 engages the threaded portion of bolt 47 on the outside of lift arm 38 to maintain the lift arm in position. The lift arm 38 moves pivotally around the pivot point 46 thus formed. The lift arm 38 has a first end 39 having a connecting finger 40 which is formed integrally with the left arm 38 at a slight angle with respect to the lift arm 38, as shown in FIG. 2. Lift arm 38 has an opposite or second end 42 having a lid engaging edge 44 formed as a portion thereof. The lift arm 38 may be stamped or formed from any suitable material such as steel or steel alloys which is resistant to the stresses and abuse to which it will be subjected during use of the refuse container.
A suitable resilient means, such as a spring 50, is connected to the mounting plate 32 at a forward end thereof by a threaded eyebolt 52 which is inserted through forward flange 34 and engaged by a retaining nut 53, as shown in FIG. 3. The opposite end of spring 50 is connected to the first end 39 of lift arm 38 through an opening formed in the connecting finger 40. The spring 50, when connected between the mounting plate and the lift arm, as described above, will act to move the first end 39 of lift arm 38 toward the forward flange 34 of mounting plate 32 and thereby move the second end 42 ofthe lift arm 38 in the upward direction toward lid 16.
This upward angular movement of the second end 42 of the lift arm 38 will cause the lid engaging edge 44 of lift arm 38 to engage a slide track or angle 56 which is mounted on lid 16. This slide track 56 may be simply a flat plate having an edge portion extending beyond the outer edge of the lid 16. It may also be any suitable equivalent means such as an angle having one leg mounted on the top surface of the lid 16 and a downwardly extending leg spaced from the edge of the lid to Since the lift arm 38 is urged to move angularly about pivot point 46 relative to the container 12 and lid 16, the second end 42 and lid engaging edge 44 are urged into contact with the underside of the top leg of slide track or angle 56. Use of an angle 56 having a downwardly extending leg, as shown in FIG. 3, will serve to maintain the engaging edge 44 of the lift arm 38 in contact with slide track 56 and to guide the movement of end 42 of lift arm 38 along the slide track 56 during movement of lid 16, as will be explained below.
The spring 50 is chosen according to the size of the container, and, particularly, the size and weight of the lid 16; a larger container lid requiring use of a spring with a seam BYiiQQfQfiM llsf-The c o ce h spring may be readily established for various sizes of containers and lids by simple trial and error experimentation. A spring having suitable spring constant k will exert a sufficient force on the first end 39 of lift arm 38 to cause the lift arm 38 to be angularly moved around pivot point 46 so that Tid engaging edge 44 will engage the slide track 56 to exert an upward force on the edge of lid 16 sufficient to g eatasaxpfie tivs. lia eLim ab0t Sty ist of hinge 18 to approximately ove en .g eatedzbxth force fsrayitymthroaah the center of gravity of lid 16 about the same axis at any desired position of the lid 16 between fully p n and fully tQ d-. as rs ated. by. h spring and lift arm 38 is, of course, not great enough to cause the lid 16 to open, but merely sufficient to control the free movement of the lid about hinge 18 and prevent accidental falling and slamming of the lid as is common in present refuse containers.
In the operation of the counterbalance apparatus of this invention, when lid 16 is in a closed position, as shown in FIG. 2, spring 50 is stretched to its greatest extent and therefore, exerts through lift arm 38, its greatest upward force upon lid 16 to assist in opening the lid or the damp downward acceleration. Connecting finger 40 is extended downwardly to move the point at which the spring 50 is connected to lift arm 38 out of the line of pivot point 46, to more easily overcome the spring force during initial opening of the lid.
As the lid 16 is moved to an upward, open position, spring 50 will retract, moving lift arm 38 about pivot point 46, and keeping the engaging edge 44 always in contact with the slide track 56 and lid 16. The second end 42 of lift arm 38 amy be formed so that the engaging edge 44 has a relatively flat, elongated surface in contact with slide track 56, as shown in FIG. 3, to dis tribute the upward force exerted through it over a broad surface area of the slide track 56. Engaging edge 44 may also, however, be simply a rounded corner on lift arm 38.
As lid 16 is moved upwardly, the engaging edge 44 of lift arm 38 slides rearwardly in the slide track 56 to essentially shorten the moment arm between the point where the upward force is applied and the axis formed by hinge 18. When the lid has been brought to a full open position, as shown in FIG. 3, the counterbalance apparatus 30 is essentially in the position shown there, with spring 50 in its most retracted position and lid engaging edge 44 of lift arm 38 disposed at its most rearward extent of travel in slide track 56.
balance the downward- Rear stop 36 is formed on mounting plate 32 to prevent overtravel of the lift arm 38 by stopping further rotational movement of the lift arm in the upward position of the lid, as shown in FIG. 3. Stop 36 does not,
however, extend below the pivot point 46 of the lift arm 38, so that it will not interfere with opposite rotational movement of the lift arm.
It is clear that the second end 42 of lift arm 38 could be slidably joined to slide track 56 along the downwardly extending legs thereof to prevent any possibility of separation of they lift arm 38 from the lid 16. Also, as shown in FIG. 1, counterbalance apparatus 30 may be disposed on opposite sides of a large lid 16 to develop a force couple to aid in maintaining a balanced support for such a lid.
It has been found that when the counterbalance apparatus 30 is to be installed as original equipment on refuse containers during their actual manufacture, the mounting plate 32 may be omitted and the spring 50 and lift arm 38 mounted directly on the side of a container through suitable openings or flanges formed to receive them. With existing refuse units, however, it has often been found easier and less time consuming to mount the spring and lift arm first on a mounting plate 32 and then attach the mounting plate to the side of the refuse container.
Materials suitable for use in this invention include any materials which may be easily formed or stamped to the shapes required, and which are resistant to severe stresses and abuse and to corrosion by the elements, such as steel, stainless steel and steel alloys.
While the above invention has been described in relation to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the structure is capable of wide variation without departing from the principles of the invention.
1. In an apparatus for storing and/or compacting refuse or the like and including container means for receiving such refuse, said container means having an access opening for receiving such refuse at its top, and closure means hingedly mounted on said container means and movable with respect to said container means to cover said access opening, the improvement comprising, closure balance means to control the closing movement of said closure means relative to said container means to prevent said closure means from abruptly slamming or falling freely to a closed position means and/or said container means and injury to operating personnel, said closure balance means including lift arm means pivotally mounted on said container means and resilient means, said resilient means having one end connected to said container means and the oppositeend connected to said lift arm means, said resilient means thereby urging said lift arm means to move pivotally relative to said container means such that a portion of said lift arm means engages a portion of said closure means with sufficient force balancing the gravitational pull on said closure means that the closing movement of said closure means is thereby controlled, said closure balance means further including mounting plate means mounted on said container means and extending along and adjacent an upper edge thereof, said mounting plate means having outwardly extending flange means formed at its opposite ends, a rearward end of said mounting plate means being disposed adjacent the hinged junction of said closure means and said container means, the outward flange of said mounting plate means disposed at the opposite, forward end of said mounting plate means having an opening formed therein to receive adjustable bolt means therethrough, said bolt means being mounted on said flange means through said opening by fastening means at one end, the opposite end of said bolt means being attached to one end of said resilient means, said lift arm means being pivotally mounted on said mounting plate near said rearward end of said mounting plate means, one end of said lift arm meansbeing connected to the end of said resilient means opposite said bolt means, said resilient means thereby urging said lift arm means to move pivotally relative to said mounting plate means, said flange disposed at said rearward end of said mounting plate means functioning as a stop means to prevent pivoting movement of said lift arm means therebeyond.
2. In an apparatus for storing and/or compacting refuse or the like and including a container for receiving such refuse, the container having an access opening for receiving such refuse at its top, and a lid hingedly mounted on the container and movable with respect to the container to cover the access opening, the improvement of a counterbalance apparatus for a container lid comprising:
a rigid lift arm pivotably mounted at a pivot point intermediate the ends thereof, said lift arm being mounted on a side of the container adjacent the hinged mounting of the lid on the container;
energizing means to force a first end of said lift arm positioned below said pivot point away from the hinged mounting of the lid on the container;
a slide track located on the underside of the container lid, a second end of said lift arm formed to slidably engage said slide track for sliding movement therealong'during opening and closing of the lid, said second end of said lift arm being forced against said slide track by said energizing means;
whereby the downward force of the container lid as a result of gravity is in opposition to the force exerted by said energizing means to permit the lid to be easily opened and closed with the operator having full control at all times.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said energizing means is a resilient source of static energy.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein said resilient source of static energy is an expansion spring extending substantially parallel to the plane of the container lid, with one end of said spring rigidly mounted to the container and the other end thereof fixedly connected to said first end of said lift arm.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 and further comprising a second lift arm, a second energizing means and a second slide track on the other side of the container.
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said slide track comprises an angle member connected to the lid, with said second end of said lift arm slidably engaging a first portion of said angle member that is parallel to the plane of the lid and a second portion of said angle member transverse to the plane of the lid to maintain said second end of said lift arm in engagement with said first portion.
7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said lift arm and said energizing means are mounted on a mounting plate fixedly attached to the side of the container.
8. In an apparatus for storing and/or compacting refuse or the like and including container means for receiving such refuse, said container means having an access opening for receiving such refuse at its top, and lid means hingedly mounted on said container means and movable with respect to said container means to cover said access opening, the improvement comprising lid balance means to control the closing movement of said lid means relative to said container means to prevent said lid means from abruptly slamming or falling freely to a closed position from an open position and thereby prevent damage to said lid means and/or said container means and injury to operating personnel, said lid balance means including mounting means mounted on said container means adjacent and extending along an upper edge thereof, a rearward end of said mounting means being disposed adjacent the hinged junction of said lid means and said container means, lift arm means having a first end and a second end, said lift arm means being pivotally mounted on said mounting means at a point between its first end and its second end for angular movement relative to said container, resilient means having one end connected to said mounting means and the opposite end connected to said first end of said lift arm means positioned below said pivot point for movement therewith, and slide track means mounted on said lid means and receiving said second end of said lift arm means for sliding movement therewith relative to said lid means as said lid means is pivoted with respect to said container means, said resilient means urging said lift arm means to move pivotally relative to said con tainer means such that said second end of said lift arm means will be maintained within said slide track means engaging said lid means thereby with an upward force acting on said lid means sufficient to balance the downward pull of gravity on said lid means and permit controlled closing of said lid means.