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Title:
AN APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF PRESSING WALL SEGMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/003140
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
This invention relates to an apparatus for pressing wall segments. The apparatus comprises a pair of spaced apart pressing members; and actuation means for moving the pressing members substantially horizontally relative to each other between a first spaced apart, inactive configuration, in use, for allowing building material to be filled in the space or chamber defined between the pressing members, and a second, active configuration, wherein the pressing members are progressively moved towards each other, in use, so as to compress the building material into a compacted wall segment. A method of building a wall segment using the apparatus is also provided.

Inventors:
MEYER, Christiaan Lodewyk (4 Sonneblom Road, East Village,Sunward Par, 1459 Johannesburg, 1459, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2018/054759
Publication Date:
January 03, 2019
Filing Date:
June 27, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MEYER, Christiaan Lodewyk (4 Sonneblom Road, East Village,Sunward Par, 1459 Johannesburg, 1459, ZA)
International Classes:
E04B1/16; B28B3/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIANDEIRO, João Achada (2nd Floor 34 Fredman Drive,,,,Sandto, 2196 Johannesburg, 2196, ZA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . An apparatus for pressing wall segments, the apparatus comprising: a pair of spaced apart pressing members; and actuation means for moving the pressing members relative to each other between a first spaced apart, inactive configuration, in use, for allowing building material to be filled in the space or chamber defined between the pressing members, and a second, active configuration, wherein the pressing members are progressively moved towards each other, in use, so as to compress the building material into a compacted wall segment.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the actuation means are arranged substantially horizontally with respect to the ground for moving the pressing members substantially horizontally along the ground.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the pressing members are longitudinally extending and laterally spaced apart from each other so as to be moved relative to each other between the inactive and active configurations.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the pressing members define substantially flat faces that are configured and arranged to face each other for compressing and compacting building material disposed between the opposing pressing members.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein one of the pressing members is passive and the other pressing member is active, and wherein the active pressing member is connected to the actuation means so as to be moved by the actuation means with respect to the passive pressing member.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, comprising a frame assembly to which the pressing members and actuation means are fitted, whereby actuation of the actuation means displaces the pressing members relative to each other with respect to the frame assembly.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, comprising reinforcement members arranged to extend through the passive and active pressing members and secured to the frame assembly so as to allow the passive and active pressing members to slide along the reinforcement members between the inactive and active configurations.

8. A method of pressing wall segments, the method comprising: providing a pair of spaced apart pressing members; moving the pressing members horizontally relative to each other to define a first spaced apart, inactive configuration, so as to provide a space or chamber therebetween; filling the chamber between the pressing members with building material; and progressively moving the pressing members towards each other, to define an active configuration, in use, so as to compress the building material into a compacted wall segment.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the step of filling the chamber with building material is preceded by the step of positioning vertically oriented reinforcement members at regular intervals within the chamber.

Description:
AN APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF PRESSING WALL SEGMENTS

FIELD OF INVENTION

THIS invention relates to wall segments, and in particular to an apparatus for and related method of pressing wall segments in situ, using soil, concrete or any suitable aggregate, for the purpose of erecting structures and fences/boundary walls. BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Constructing walls is relatively expensive and time consuming. Utilising soil as a building material saves on cost as it is readily available, especially in rural areas. Typically, however, the process involves compacting soil into individual building blocks or bricks, using vertically applied ramming forces. This is clearly very time consuming and labour intensive, and is thus not a viable option for larger walls/construction projects.

It is an object of the invention to provide an apparatus for and related method of pressing wall segments using soil, concrete or any suitable aggregate, in a faster, inexpensive and effective manner.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided an apparatus for pressing wall segments, the apparatus comprising: a pair of spaced apart pressing members; and actuation means for moving the pressing members horizontally relative to each other between a first spaced apart, inactive configuration, in use, for allowing building material to be filled in the space or chamber defined between the pressing members, and a second, active configuration, wherein the pressing members are progressively moved towards each other, in use, so as to compress the building material into a compacted wall segment.

In an embodiment, the actuation means may be configured and arranged so as to slidably displace the pressing members between the inactive and active configurations.

In an embodiment, the actuation means may be hydraulic cylinders arranged horizontally with respect to the ground for moving the pressing members axially, preferably laterally, along the ground. Alternatively, the actuation means may be pneumatic cylinders or mechanical actuators.

In an embodiment, the pressing members may be longitudinally extending and may be laterally spaced apart from each other so as to be moved laterally by the actuation means relative to each other between the inactive and active configurations.

In a preferred embodiment, the pressing members may define substantially flat plates/faces that are configured and arranged to face each other for compressing and compacting building material disposed between the opposing pressing members. In one version, the length and height of the flat plates/faces correspond to the length and height of the desired/required wall segment.

In an embodiment, one of the pressing members may be stationary/passive and the other pressing member may be active and connected to the actuation means, so as to be movable with respect to the stationary/passive member.

In an embodiment, the apparatus may comprise a frame assembly to which the pressing members and actuation means are fitted, whereby actuation of the actuation means displaces the members laterally relative to each other with respect to the frame assembly.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a method of pressing wall segments, the method comprising: providing a pair of spaced apart pressing members; moving the pressing members horizontally relative to each other to define a first spaced apart, inactive configuration, so as to provide a space or chamber therebetween; filling the chamber between the pressing members with building material; and progressively moving the pressing members towards each other, in use, so as to compress the building material into a compacted wall segment.

In an embodiment, the method comprises slidably displacing the pressing members between the inactive and active configurations.

In an embodiment, the step of filling the chamber with building material may comprise fitting reinforcement means such as elongate staves or tie rods in the chamber. In an embodiment, the step of fitting the reinforcement means may comprise arranging the reinforcement means substantially upright in the chamber and spacing the reinforcement means from each other, preferably at equal intervals.

In a version, the method may comprise fitting the reinforcement means through the pressing members such that the pressing members can move along the reinforcement means (e.g. tie rods) as and when they are moved relative to each other between the inactive and active configurations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention will now be further described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings. In the drawings:

Figure 1 shows a front perspective view of an apparatus for pressing wall segments in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention, the apparatus being shown in an inactive condition and filled with soil admixture to form the wall segment;

Figure 2 shows a rear perspective view of the apparatus shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a front perspective view of the apparatus of Figures 1 and 2, shown in an active condition compacting the soil admixture;

Figure 4 shows a rear perspective view of the apparatus of Figure 3;

Figure 5 shows a front perspective view of the apparatus of Figure 1 in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention;

Figure 6 shows a front perspective view of an apparatus for pressing wall segments in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention, the apparatus being shown in an inactive condition and filled with soil admixture to form the wall segment;

Figure 7 shows a rear perspective view of the apparatus shown in Figure 5;

Figure 8 shows a front perspective view of the apparatus of Figures 5 and 6, shown in an active condition compacting the soil admixture; and

Figure 9 shows a rear perspective view of the apparatus of Figure 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXAMPLE EMBODIMENT

The following description of the invention is provided as an enabling teaching of the invention. Those skilled in the relevant art will recognise that many changes can be made to the embodiment described, while still attaining the beneficial results of the present invention. It will also be apparent that some of the desired benefits of the present invention can be attained by selecting some of the features of the present invention without utilising other features. Accordingly, those skilled in the art will recognise that modifications and adaptations to the present invention are possible and can even be desirable in certain circumstances, and are a part of the present invention. Thus, the following description is provided as illustrative of the principles of the present invention and not a limitation thereof.

As can be seen in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, a first version of an apparatus 10 for pressing wall segments is shown. The apparatus 10 comprises a pair of opposed, spaced apart, active and passive pressing members 12, 14. The pressing members 12, 14 are oriented substantially upright with respect to the ground and define substantially rectangular flat inner faces (not shown) at their front sides and substantially flat outer faces 12.2, 14.2 at their rear sides. The inner sides (not shown) of the faces (not shown) are arranged to face each other and define a space/chamber 16 between them when the pressing members 12, 14 are horizontally spaced apart from each other. The chamber 16 is arranged to be filled with building material, such as soil, concrete or any suitable aggregate 20, intended to be compressed/rammed into a wall segment, for a building, for example. The soil is typically mixed with water to obtain the optimum moisture content. A stabiliser, either cement or a polymer, may be added to the soil mixture.

The apparatus 10 further comprises a frame assembly 18 that surrounds and supports the pressing members 12, 14 on the ground. As can be seen in Figures 1 to 4, the passive pressing member 14 is fixedly attached to a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second upright parts 18.2, 18.4, for example columns taking the form of I-beams of the frame assembly 18, as best shown in Figure 1 of the drawings. The active pressing member 12 is interconnected to a pair of laterally spaced apart third and fourth upright parts 18.6, 18.8 of the frame assembly 18 via an arrangement of horizontally disposed actuator means 22, which are preferably in the form of hydraulic cylinders, as best shown in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings. As can be seen in Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, the first and second upright parts 18.2, 18.4 are substantially parallel with each other and are aligned with the third and fourth upright parts 18.6, 18.8 respectively, which third and fourth parts 18.6, 18.8 are also arranged parallel with each other.

The frame assembly 18 further comprises an elongate, horizontally disposed first support member 18.10 that extends at a top of the frame assembly 18 between the first and third upright supports parts 18.2, 18.6. The frame assembly 18 also comprises an elongate, horizontally disposed second support member 18.12 that extends at a top of the frame assembly 18 between the second and fourth upright support parts 18.4, 18.8.

The frame assembly 18 further comprises a reinforcing support 18.14 that extends laterally, and substantially in the centre of the upper portion of the frame assembly 18 in between the pair of first and second elongate support members 18.10, 18.12, as shown in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings. Each upright part 18.2, 18.4, 18.6, 18.8 engages the ground via a substantially square shaped base plate 18.9, again as shown in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings.

As mentioned previously, the apparatus 10 comprises an arrangement of actuator means 22 comprising a first pair of vertically spaced, parallel hydraulic cylinders 24 which are arranged substantially horizontal to the ground, as shown in Figures 1 and

2. A piston end 24.2, 24.4 of each of the first pair of hydraulic cylinders 24 engages the rear side 12.2, preferably a first edge portion of the rear side 12.2 of the active pressing member 12, and the other ends 24.6, 24.8 of each of the first pair of hydraulic cylinders 24 engages the inner face 18.1 of the third upright part 18.6 of the frame assembly 18, as best shown in Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings.

The arrangement of actuator means 22 further comprises a second pair of vertically spaced, parallel hydraulic cylinders 26 which are arranged substantially horizontal to the ground. The second pair of hydraulic cylinders 26 is essentially a mirror image of the first pair of hydraulic cylinders 24. A piston end 26.2, 26.4 of each of the second pair of hydraulic cylinders 26 is engaged with the rear side 12.2 of the active pressing member 12, preferably a second edge portion of the rear side 12.2 which is opposite the first edge portion of the rear side 1 2.2. The other ends 26.6, 26.8 of each of the second pair of hydraulic cylinders 26, as shown in Figures 3 and 4 of the drawings, are secured to an inner face 18.7 of the fourth upright part 18.8 of the frame assembly 18, as best shown in Figure 3 of the drawings. The first pair and second pair of hydraulic cylinders 24, 26 are arranged to displace the active pressing member 12 towards and away from the passive member 14.

In use, actuation of the arrangement of actuator means 22 (i.e. first and second pair of hydraulic cylinders 24, 26) causes the arrangement of actuator means 22 to move between a retracted condition as shown in Figure 2, whereby the active and passive pressing members 12, 14 are spaced apart from each other, so as to define the inactive configuration of the apparatus 10, and an extended position as shown in Figure 4, whereby the active pressing member 12 is moved progressively towards the passive pressing member 14, thereby defining the active configuration of the apparatus 10, so as to compress the soil admixture 20 that is disposed in the chamber 16.

As can be seen in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, as and when the active pressing member 12 is moved gradually and progressively towards the passive pressing member 14, the effective volume or area of the chamber 16 is progressively reduced. The pressing members 12, 14 are maintained in the active position until the soil 20 has been compressed and compacted so as to define a freestanding wall segment that can be used to erect a building.

As can be seen in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, a substantially rectangular first side plate/panel 28 is restrained by removable securing members 25 (such as pins) to the first and third parts 18.2, 18.6 to enclose/cover the space defined between the first part 18.2, third part 18.6, and the first elongate horizontal member 18.10 on the first side 27 of the apparatus 10. A second rectangular side plate/panel 30 that is similar in construction to the first side plate 28, is also restrained between the second part 18.4, fourth part 18.8 and second horizontal member 18.12 on the second side 29 of the apparatus 10. As mentioned herein, the first and second side plates 28, 30 are arranged to enclose the sides 27, 29 of the apparatus 10 to facilitate the compaction and setting of the soil along the sides 27, 29 of the apparatus 10, in use. In one version, the apparatus 10 may be provided with vertical guides in the form of elongate channels (not shown) fitted along the first and third upright support parts 18.2, 18.6, and also fitted along the second and fourth upright parts 18.4, 18.8. The vertical guides (not shown) may be arranged to allow the first side plate 28 and second plate 30 to be vertically slid along the guides (not shown) between a side covering position as shown in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, and a freed position (not shown), wherein the side plates 28, 30 are removed from the sides 27, 29 of the apparatus 10. In another version, the apparatus 10 may be provided with horizontal guides in the form of an elongate horizontal channel (not shown) fitted between the first and third upright support parts 18.2, 18.6 on the first side 27 of the apparatus 10, and also fitted between the second and fourth upright parts 18.4, 18.8 on the second side 29 of the apparatus 10. The horizontal guides (not shown) may be arranged to allow the first side plate 28 and second plate 30 to be horizontally slid along the guides (not shown) between a side covering position as shown in Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, and a freed position (not shown), wherein the side plates 28, 30 are removed from the sides 27, 29 of the apparatus 10. In another version, the rectangular side plate 28 may be substituted with an optional swing door (not shown) which may be hingedly connected to the frame assembly 18. The door (not shown) may be used to facilitate the compaction and setting of the soil. Similar, a second door may also be provided on the opposite side 29 of the frame assembly 18.

Once the soil 20 has been compacted such that it is of adequate strength to be self supporting, the apparatus 10 can be moved from the completed wall segment, typically by using a crane (not shown) to lift the apparatus 10 away from the compacted freestanding wall segment to a position adjacent to it, and the same process mentioned above can be followed to erect other wall segments for completing the rest of the walls of the house/building/boundary wall.

In an embodiment, the apparatus 10 may comprise a pair of parallel rails (not shown) and wheels (not shown) that may be fitted proximate to the bottom of the upright parts 18.2, 18.4, 18.6, 18.8 (thereby substituting the base plates 18.9) to facilitate the movement of the apparatus 10 on the rails (not shown). In this embodiment, the apparatus 10 may comprise a locking arrangement (not shown) for locking the wheels (not shown) onto the rails (not shown) to prevent the apparatus 10 from moving involuntarily during use.

As can be seen in Figure 5 of the drawings, there is provided a second embodiment of the apparatus 10 as described above with like parts denoted with like reference numerals. The apparatus 10 of the second embodiment as shown in Figure 5 is different from the apparatus of Figures 1 to 4 in that the first, second, third, and fourth upright parts 18.2, 18.4, 18.6, 18.8 of the frame assembly 18 are longer than those shown in Figures 1 to 4 to accommodate the additional parts of the frame assembly 18 which are arranged to limit bending forces acting on the apparatus 10 during use, which additional parts will be described below.

The frame assembly 18 further comprises an upper third horizontal support member 18.16 that is vertically spaced from, and is arranged to be aligned with, and parallel to, the first horizontal member 18.10. The frame assembly 18 also comprises a fourth upper horizontal support member 18.18 that is vertically spaced from, and is arranged to be aligned with and parallel to, the second horizontal member 18.12. A pair of inwardly disposed, angular stiffeners 18.20, 18.22 extend between the first and third horizontal members 18.10, 18.16, and a centrally disposed, substantially upright stiffener 18.24 also extends between the first and third horizontal support members 18.10, 18.16. Similar, on the opposite side 29 of the apparatus 10, a second pair of inwardly disposed, angular stiffeners 18.26, 18.28 extend between the second and fourth horizontal members 18.12, 18.18, and a centrally disposed, substantially upright stiffener 18.30 also extends between the second and fourth horizontal support members 18.12, 18.18. A pair of cross stiffeners 18.32, 18.34 are secured at the top of the third and fourth support members 18.16, 18.18, and a pair of opposite outer stiffeners 18.36, 18.38 are also secured at the top of the frame assembly 18 and are arranged to straddle the cross stiffeners 18.32, 18.34.

In use, the area where the wall is to be constructed by making use of the apparatus of the apparatus 10 of the present invention, is graded to a level or uniform slope and compacted. The apparatus 10 is moved to the position at the start of the wall, the chamber 16 between the two pressing members 12, 14 is filled with soil or suitable aggregate 20 at optimum moisture content. Then by utilising the first and second pair of actuators 24, 26, the active pressing member 12 is moved from an inactive configuration, as shown in Figures 1 and 2, towards the passive member 14 causing compaction of the soil mixture 18, as shown in Figures 3 to 5. The active pressing member 12 is then retracted/moved back to the inactive configuration and a first self-supporting segment of wall remains in the chamber 16. The side plates/panels 28, 30 can then be removed so that the apparatus 1 0 may be moved to the side without interfering with the first wall segment (not shown).

The apparatus 10 can accordingly be moved to a position adjacent to the previously formed first wall segment (not shown), and the side panels 28, 30 can be mounted back to their closed configuration as shown in Figures 1 to 5. The aforementioned process is then repeated to build a second wall segment which may be contiguous with the first wall segment, thereby forming/constructing a complete wall segment. The aforementioned process can then be repeated to build other wall segments to complete the sides of the building that is being erected.

Each wall segment that is constructed by the apparatus 10 is sufficiently compacted to be freestanding, however curing over time will increase the strength of the wall segment as moisture is evaporated from the wall segment. The wall segments may be left as is or its surface protected by a suitable medium. Possibilities including but not limited to whitewash, paint or suitable render.

As best shown in Figures 6 to 9, there is shown a third version of the apparatus in accordance with the invention, this time around the apparatus being designated generally by reference numeral 100.

The apparatus 100 similarly comprises active and passive pressing members 102, 104 respectively. The pressing members 102, 104 are oriented substantially upright with respect to the ground. The pressing members 102, 104 are substantially rectangular shaped and define substantially rectangular flat inner faces 102.2, 104.2 facing each other, as shown in Figures 6 and 7. As best shown in Figure 7, when the pressing members 102, 104 are spaced apart from each other, they define a chamber 106 between them, which chamber 106 is arranged to accommodate, for example, a soil admixture 108. The active and passive pressing members 102, 104 also have outer rectangular faces 102.4, 104.4.

The apparatus 100 comprises a frame assembly 105 having a first pair of horizontally oriented, vertically spaced apart tie rods/staves 1 10, 1 12 that extend through the passive and active members 102, 104 at/towards opposite edges X, X' of each of the passive and active pressing members 102, 104 as shown in Figures 6 and 7.

The tie rods/staves 1 10, 1 12 assist to stabilise and pull together the frame assembly 105 during operation. Furthermore, the staves 1 10, 1 12 are left in the compacted soil and act as reinforcements of the freestanding wall segment.

The frame assembly 105 further comprises a second pair of horizontally oriented, vertically spaced apart rods/staves 1 14, 1 16 that extend through the passive and active pressing members 102, 104 at/towards opposite edges Y, Y' of each of the passive and active members 102, 104, as shown in Figures 6 and 7 of the drawings.

As mentioned above, the staves/rods 1 10, 1 12, 1 14, 1 16 extend through the passive pressing member 104 and are each secured to a rear side 104.4 of the passive pressing member 104 by respective fasteners, typically nuts 124.

The frame assembly 105 further comprises a pair of longitudinally spaced, upright elongate supports 1 18, 120 each defining longitudinally spaced openings (not shown) through which ends 1 10.2, 1 12.2, 1 14.2, 1 16.2 of the staves 1 10, 1 12, 1 14, 1 16 extend, as best shown in Figure 9 of the drawings.

The apparatus 100 further comprises an arrangement of actuator means 122 comprising a first pair of horizontally disposed, vertically spaced actuators 126 and a second pair of horizontally disposed, vertically spaced actuators 128. The first and second pairs of actuators 126, 128 are preferably in the form of hydraulic cylinders. A piston end 126.2, 126.4, 128.2, 128.4 of each of the first and second pairs of hydraulic cylinders 126, 128 is respectively engaged with the rear side 102.4 of the active pressing member 102, and each opposite end 126.6, 126.8, 128.6, 1 28.8 of the first and second pairs of hydraulic cylinders 126, 128 is secured to the inner face

1 18.2, 120.2 of the respective upright supports 1 18, 120 of the frame assembly 105.

In use, when the arrangement of actuator means 122 is actuated, the first pair of actuators 126 and second pair of actuators 128 move between an inactive, retracted condition whereby the active and passive pressing members 102, 104 are spaced apart from each other, as shown in Figures 6 and 7 to allow a soil admixture 108 to be filled in the chamber 106, and an active, compacting condition whereby the active pressing member 102 is moved progressively towards the passive pressing member 104 so as to compress the soil admixture 108 disposed between the active and passive faces 102.2, 104.2, as shown in Figures 8 and 9. As can be seen in Figures

6 through to 9, when the active pressing member 102 is moved progressively towards the passive pressing member 104, the active pressing member 102 slides along the staves 1 1 0, 1 12, 1 14, 1 16 that extend between the active and passive pressing members 102, 104.

When the soil admixture 108 has been compressed and compacted, the fasteners 124 can be removed from the passive member 104 so that the passive member 104 can be removed from the rods 1 10, 1 12, 1 14, 1 16 and lifted away from the resulting freestanding wall. The active pressing member 102 may then be displaced away from the resulting freestanding wall segment, and the staves 1 10, 1 12, 1 14, 1 16 protruding from the resulting freestanding wall segment may be cut off/removed from the resulting freestanding wall segment. The frame assembly 105 and active pressing member 102 may then be lifted (typically by use of cranes) to another site, and may be re-assembled with the passive pressing member 104 and replacement staves, so as to form the apparatus shown in Figures 6 to 9 for repeating the process mentioned above. In an embodiment, prior to erecting the wall segment as mentioned above, a plurality of upright staves or rods (not shown) may be placed in the chamber 16, 106 and may be spaced at predefined intervals. Thereafter the soil admixture 20, 108 may be filled in the chamber 16, 108. The apparatus 10, 100 of the present invention may then be operated as described above to compact the soil admixture 20, 108 around the upright staves or rods (not shown). The soil admixture 20, 108 would be compacted about the upright staves (not shown), and the resulting freestanding wall would be strengthened/reinforced by the upright staves or rods (not shown). During testing, it was found that the apparatus 10, 100, once loaded with soil, can press the soil horizontally and compact it into a complete, in situ, standalone, substantially finished wall segment in less than one minute.

The present invention thus enables the construction of earth/soil walls without the associated traditional drawbacks described above. The present invention will allow rapid, inexpensive construction at a rate and cost previously unavailable in the construction industry.