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Title:
DEVICE FOR RECYCLING TREATMENT OF USED CAPSULES, NAMELY COFFEE CAPSULES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/029609
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The object of the present innovation is a new device for recycling treatment of used capsules, in particular for vending machines for coffee and other hot drinks, with separate disposal of the content and the container. The main feature of the present innovation is that it provides for making a device with drum-like central body (T) having at least one space (V) for housing a used capsule (C) that is pushed into such a space (V) by an arm (70), which is actuated with a cam (66) integral with said drum (T), in which said capsule (C) is forced to pass onto a knife (21) fixed to the structure (10), which at least partially severs the bottom, to open it from below and allow the washing thereof and the separate expulsion of its wet part from its plastic or metallic part.

Inventors:
TESSARO, Vanio (Via E. Bongioanni 118, Montebelluna TV, 31044, IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/054856
Publication Date:
February 15, 2018
Filing Date:
August 09, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TOPECA S.R.L. (Via E. Bongioanni 118, Montebelluna TV, 31044, IT)
International Classes:
A47J31/44; B09B3/00; B29B17/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016020776A12016-02-11
WO2011051867A12011-05-05
WO2008139322A12008-11-20
Foreign References:
FR2944420A12010-10-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BONVICINI, Davide et al. (Piazza San Babila 5, Milan, 20122, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, namely coffee capsules, in particular for vending machines for coffee and other hot drinks, with separate disposal of the content and the container, characterised in that it provides for the realization of a device with drum -like central body (T) having at least one space (V) with a seat or slot (31 - 61) for housing a used capsule (C) under process, which capsule (C) is pushed in said seat by an arm (70) that is actuated by a cam (66) of the same drum (T), and which is forced to rotate with the same drum (T), passing over a blade or knife (21) which at least partially severs the bottom thereof, to open it from below and allow its first cleaning and subsequent exit, with separate and specific collection of its wet part from its part made of plastic or other packaging material.

2. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 1, characterised in that said device (1 - Γ) consists substantially of an upper part (A), for receiving and initially rotating the capsule (C), a central part (B), for the radial translation of the same capsule (C), in which step the bottom thereof is partially cut by a knife (21 - 411 - 412) that is fixed to the structure of the same device (1 - ), and a lower part (D) of a fixed structure within which the drum (T) rotates, with a final ejection guide of the cut capsule (C), after water spray, steam or compressed air cleaning, as coffee or another exhausted drink extract of the same capsule (C) is separately collected as wet waste.

3. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 2, characterised in that, in the lower part (D) of the device (1), a base plate (10) has a series of angular holes (10/1 - 10/2 - 10/3 and 10/4) suitable for the passage of the same number of screws, for fixing the lower ends of uprights (11/1 - 11/2 - 11/3 and 11/4), whose opposite end is adapted to support and fix an upper plate (80), wherein said uprights may still be integral with said base plate.

4. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims 2 and 3, characterised in that the lower plate (10) also comprises holes for the passage of screws for fixing columns (12/1 and 12/2) on which the plate (13) is fixed, which plate is intended to support the bottom of the used capsule (C), at the beginning of its treatment for the opening thereof and cleaning from residues, for example coffee residues, wherein said columns may still be integral with the base plate.

5. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 2, characterised in that posts (14/ - 14/2 - 14/3 and 14/4) are fixed to the lower plate (10), which posts are intended to support and fix a plate (15), for supporting the pod (C) when this has already been cut and opened at the bottom to be cleaned, before being discharged, wherein said posts may still be integral with the base plate. 6.- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 1, characterised in that, approximately at the centreline of the base plate (10), a through hole (10/5) allows fixing a pin (16) with bushing (16/a), for supporting and rotating a cylinder (17) and its head shoulder (18) that are at the base of the rotation drum (T) of the capsule (C) to be treated, wherein said pin may still be integral with the base plate.

7.- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims 1 and 2, characterised in that at least one pair of posts (14/5 and 14/6) supports a plate (20) to which a sharp blade (21) is applied, said blade (21) being arranged at a height such that the cutting of the capsule (C) by the blade takes place on a line comprised between the upper and the lower filter of the same capsule (C), while the same knife-holder plate (20) rests on the top of the cylinder (17) and has a through hole (20/1) enclosing the shoulder (18) thereof, to inhibit possible oscillations during the step of cutting by the knife (21).

8. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims 2 and 5, characterised in that the lower part (D) of the device (1), in addition to the plate (15) for the cleaning and exit of the capsule (C), also comprises a lower flat disc (30) that is arranged coaxial with the lower cylinder (17), rotatably therewith around the pin (16), and that is provided with an open slot (31), which is adapted to house the cylindrical body of the capsule or pod (C) to be treated, while a plate (35) for supporting a swinging arm (70), is supported and fixed respectively to the post (14/1) and to the columns (12/1 and 12/2), after the interposition of the spacers (14/7 and 14/8).

9. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims from 1 to 8, characterised in that the intermediate part or track (B) of the device consists of an arched guide (41 - 42), to accompany from the outside the single capsule (C) in its cutting step, as well as of a curved radial guide (43 - 44), for washing and ejecting the same capsule (C) and its content for the preparation of the drink.

10. - Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 9, characterised in that, in the intermediate part (B) of the device a deflector (50) is present with an eyelet (51) thereof enclosing the shoulder (32) of the disc (30), without engaging with the rotation of the same disc (30), and with a stem (52) having a vertical wall (53) and a roof or upper orthogonal surface (54), the same stem (52) is fixed to the plate (15), while the same plate (15) is equipped with a central oblong slit (15/e) for washing the open capsule (C) during ejection.

11.- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims from 1 to 11, characterised in that the intermediate part (B) of the device also comprises the presence of a second upper disc (60), which is provided with an open slit or slot (61) thereof identical to the slit (31) of the lower flat disc (30) and arranged on the same vertical plane, to form a single space (V) for housing the capsule (C) to be treated.

12.- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to the claims from 1 to 11, characterised that the upper part (A) of the device also comprises a cam disc (65) to be aligned and fixed on the upper flat disc (60); an arm (70) for moving the capsule (C) to be treated; a sleeve or power take-off (67) and an upper closure plate (80), the cam disc (65) and the sleeve (67) being positioned axially above the upper flat disc (60) and being intended to rotate with the flat disc (60) underneath, said disc (65) being provided with a groove (66) thereof which is shaped as a function of the cam, to give the arm (70) the ability to autonomously perform the insertion movement of the pod or capsule (C) within the space (V) with the open slot (31 - 61) of the plates (30 and 60).

13- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claims 1 and 2, characterised in that it provides for a toothed serration (411 - 412) that is arranged on the inner surface of a lower curved rail (410), whereas an upper curved rail (420) has a rack or rough surface (421) for sliding that is adapted for positioning on the lower edge of the lid of an incoming capsule (C).

14- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claim 13, characterised in that a lower disc (300) and an upper disc (600) are turned approximately in the clockwise direction and have countersunk throats (310 - 610), which are adapted for stably housing a used capsule (C) and for gradually clamping it against the rack (421) and against the serrated blade (411 - 412), causing the rotation of the same capsule (C) in the counterclockwise direction, with the progressive penetration and incision of said serrated blade (411 - 412) in its cylindrical core, until it is completely severed in two pieces that can thus be cleaned and separated from the organic substance contained.

15- Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to claims 13 and 14, characterised in that the countersunk surface (611) of the upper disc (600) is preferably equipped with one or more bearings or rotating discs (612 - 613) cooperating with the rack (421), with the bottom plate (13) and with the inner surface of the rail (420), to ensure the maximum axial stability of the capsule (C) under process, whereas the countersunk surface (311) of the lower disc (300) is preferably equipped with one or more sharp discs (312 - 313) that are positioned at the height of the toothed serration (411) of the lower rail (410), with the function of making at least the first surface incision of the side surface of the capsule (C).

Description:
TITLE: "Device for recycling treatment of used capsules, namely coffee capsules"

DESCRIPTION

The object of the present innovation is a new device for recycling treatment of used capsules, in particular for vending machines for coffee and other hot drinks, with separate disposal of the content and the container.

The main feature of the present innovation is that of providing the manufacture of a device with a drum-like central body having at least one space for housing a used capsule that is pushed into such a space by an arm, which is actuated with a cam integral with said drum and in which said capsule is forced to pass onto a knife fixed to the structure that at least partially severs the bottom thereof, to open it from below and allow the washing thereof and the separate expulsion of its wet part from its plastic or metallic part.

For a few decades, vending machines for drinks, particularly for dispensing coffee, have been widely used in many public spaces like hospitals, swimming pools, etc., as well as also in private spaces, like offices, factories and any other place where there is a community of people that may need a quick snack.

In general, these drinks vending machines, as well as other small home dispensers, are equipped with an electrical connection, which is adapted for heating and evaporating the mains water, to absorb the flavour of a capsule or pod, for example coffee, and then dispense such a drink, by gravity, into a cup below. Every capsule is generally made of plastic or metallized material and contains a single dose of coffee or other soluble substance.

Generally, these drinks vending machines then provide for the used capsule to be dropped, in a suitable container, which is pre-washed, at the time of the periodic maintenance of the machine, for the emptying thereof and for transferring the same used capsules to the bins. For some time, increasingly strict environmental standards have, however, imposed the delivery of separated materials to the dumpsites which materials, also in the case of used capsules, require prior separation of organic materials, like coffee residues, from the containers made of plastic or other non-compostable material.

In order to overcome this problem, a device has been made that provides for the interposition and alignment of every used capsule between a pair of vertically axial tubes, where a lower tube is intended for collecting the drinks ingredient and the upper tube houses a piston that pushes, opens and inverts the plastic container, which remains resting on the edge of the lower tube, to be removed manually, according to the teaching of patent FR 2.937.627 del 2008. This solution has proven rather bulky, due to the alignment of the two coaxial tubes and of their piston and in any case it seems inconvenient, due to the fact that the capsule has to be freed manually from its emptying seat.

A more automated technique has been proposed with patent EP 2.291.312 of 2009, where a device provides for the introduction by gravity of the used capsules and for their crushing, with the collection of the plastic or aluminium containers, and a separate collection of the used drinks ingredient. This solution is based substantially on the crushing of the capsule by rotation and on the removal by centrifuge of the drinks ingredient, and therefore it requires a strong structure and high actuation energy consumption.

These and other similar solutions of devices for separating and recovering used capsules, in any case provide for the collection of the used capsules in a suitable space of the drinks vending machine, and therefore their transferral into the hopper of the separate treatment device, with wasted space and use of materials that result in an increase also in the cost of the drink dispensed, to satisfy the aforementioned requirement of environmentally-friendly separate collection of waste.

A partial improvement to this situation was given by the possibility of using the free space of the drinks vending machine, for the direct insertion of the device for collecting and treating the used capsules, for example in accordance with patent application WO 2008139322 of 2008. According to this solution, after the drink has been dispensed, the consumer presses a button that frees the capsule from its position of use and activates a first piston, which axially inverts the casing and partially breaks the lid, discharging the used ingredient into a collection space, whereas a second piston moves the same casing close to a third piston that crushes it and makes it drop into a second collection space for the residue. Substantially, this solution does not differ from the one exemplified above, although it has the advantage of being combined directly with the drinks vending machine, even if the consumer does not always remember to press the activation button of the treatment part of the used capsule, for which reason the ingredient can dry out and be difficult to clean thereafter. Alternatively, there will also be the need to automate this step, for example with the application of timers and other accessories that have an impact on the costs of the same machine and restrict the time necessary between the various drinks dispensing operations of the machine.

The main task of the present innovation is to enable the manufacture of a device for recycling treatment of used capsules, namely coffee capsules, which offers the maximum simplification of its structure and of its way of operating, said device being able to be used separately or in line with a normal drinks dispensing machine. In such a task, another important purpose of the present innovation is to be able to completely free and separate the used ingredient from its container, ensuring the maximum hygiene of the device and the best conditions for separated collection of its parts.

Another purpose of the present innovation is to limit to the greatest possible extent the force needed to open the used capsule, as well as the number of moving parts, for the maximum simplification of the treatment device.

Not the least purpose of the present innovation is to enable the use of said device in line with a conveyor or feeder of the used capsules, also with the possibility of treating capsules of any size, in relation to the dispensing machine with which it is associated, after application of the corresponding feeding guide.

The main task and the other purposes specified are in fact perfectly achieved with the present innovation, as specified in the attached claims and for which there is, for example, a drum-like central body, with a vertical seat thereof for pushing and inserting the capsule under treatment, preferably fed by a conveyor by regulated dropping, the rotation of which drum allows the passage of the capsule on the cutting line of the horizontal knife, as well as over a dropping and collection space of the used ingredient, with subsequent exit and falling of the container and of its lid in a second collection space of the non-organic material.

More details and how the innovation meets the specified purposes are better described and made clearer by the following description of an embodiment thereof, schematically illustrated also with the help of 8 figures in 8 attached tables and of which:

fig. 1 represents a perspective and exploded view of the assembly of elements that constitute the first embodiment of the device for recycling treatment of used capsules, in accordance with the present innovation; fig. 2 represents a perspective and exploded view of the base plate, of the uprights and of the lower elements of the device for recycling treatment of used capsules, according to fig. 1;

fig. 3 represents a perspective view of the same base plate, of the same uprights and of the same lower elements of fig. 2, assembled together and in the step of association with intermediate elements, shown exploded, to be placed over the previous ones;

fig. 4 of table 4 represents a perspective and exploded view of the same assembled components of fig. 3, in the step of association with other intermediate elements, to be placed over the previous ones;

fig. 5 represents a perspective and exploded view of the same elements of fig. 4 assembled together and in the step of association with other upper elements, to be placed over the previous ones;

fig. 6 represents a perspective and exploded view of the assembled elements of fig. 5, in the step of association with the upper plate and of closing the device of fig. l;

fig. represents a perspective and exploded view of an accessory element to the device of figures 1 to 6, for the possible collection and feeding of the used capsules to be treated;

fig. 8 represents a perspective and exploded view of the elements of the device of fig. 1, complete with the collection duct of the capsules of fig. 7; fig. 9 represents a sectioned plan view of the same device under examination, according to the situation indicative of its elements represented in figs. 4 and 5, in accordance with a second embodiment thereof;

fig. 10 represents a sectioned plan view of the same modified device of fig. 9, according to the situation approximately corresponding to that of figs. 5 - 6. In said figures, the same details are represented, or are meant to be represented, with the same reference numeral. With reference to fig. 1, a first embodiment of the device (1) for treating used capsules substantially consists of an upper part (A), for receiving and for the circular rotation of the used capsules (CI - C2 - C3 - etc. according to fig. 7); a central part (B), for the radial translation of the same capsules (C), in which translation step its bottom is partially cut by a knife fixed to the structure of the same device; and a lower part (D), as a support and base for the upper parts mentioned above and by means of which it also becomes possible to have the final rotation of the same cut capsules (C), with their water spray cleaning and with their expulsion for differentiated collection, whereas the coffee or other used drink extract of the same capsules (C) is collected separately as wet waste.

With particular reference to figs. 2 and 3, in the lower part (D), a base plate (10) has a series of four angular holes (10/1 - 10/2 - 10/3 and 10/4) adapted for the passage of four screws, not represented, for fixing the lower ends of four uprights (11/1 - 11/2 - 11/3 and 11/4), the opposite end of which is adapted for supporting and fixing an upper plate (80), as later exemplified in fig. 6.

The same lower plate (10) also comprises other analogous through holes for the passage of fixing screws of the columns (12/1 and 12/2) on which the plate (13) is fixed, which is intended for the arrival from above and for resting every used capsule (C), at the beginning of its treatment for the opening of its bottom and for its cleaning from residues, for example residues of coffee.

The posts (14/1 - 14/2 - 14/3 and 14/4) that are intended to support and fix the plate (15), for supporting the pod or capsule (C) when it will be already cut and ready to be cleaned, before being discharged, are also fixed to the same lower plate (10).

Approximately at the centreline of the same base plate (10), a through hole (10/5) allows the fixing of a pin (16) with bushing (16/a), for support and rotation of a base cylinder (17) and of its head shoulder (18).

A pair of posts (14/5 and 14/6) supports, in a canti-levered manner, a plate (20) to which a sharp blade (21) is applied, said blade (21) being arranged at a height such that the cutting of the capsule (C) takes place on a line that is comprised between the upper and the lower filter of the same capsule (C), in line with the inner surface of its bottom. The same knife-holder plate (20) rests on the top of the cylinder (17) and has a through hole (20/1) that encloses the shoulder (18) thereof, to inhibit possible horizontal and radial oscillations during the cutting step of the knife (21). Said shoulder (18) has a pair of smooth blind holes (18/a) for engaging a pair of pins therein, not represented, and a pair of threaded holes (18/b), whose function is better described hereinafter.

With reference to fig. 3, the lower part (D) of the device (1) under examination, as well as the plate (15), for the cleaning and the exit of the capsule (C), also comprises the presence of a lower disc (30) that is arranged coaxial to the lower cylinder (17), rotatably therewith around the pin (16), and that is equipped with an open slot (31), which is adapted for housing the cylindrical body of the pod or capsule (C) to be treated, the bottom of said open slot (31) being substantially tangent to the cylinder (17) below. The same disc (30) is also equipped with a coaxial shoulder (32) thereof, which is equipped with a pair of through holes (32/a) that are adapted to be aligned with the holes (18/a) of the cylinder (17), to engage on their pins, as well as a pair of through holes (32/b) are adapted for being aligned with the threaded holes (18/b) of the same cylinder (17).

The lower part (D) of the device (1) under examination is completed by the presence of a plate (35) that, by means of its three through holes (35/a - 35/b and 35/c) is supported and fixed, respectively, to the post (14/1) and to the columns (12/1 and 12/2), after the interposition of the spacers (14/7 and 14/8), and it is also equipped with two through holes (35/d - 35/e), whose function is specified hereinafter.

The intermediate part (B) of the present device for recycling treatment of used capsules consists of a curved track, to accompany the single capsule (C) in its cutting step, as well as a radial part, for washing and expelling the same capsule (C) and its content used for preparing the drink. With reference to figs. 4 and 5, said central part or track (B) substantially consists of a pair of curved rails (41 - 42), extending radially to the disc (30) for a width of over 180°, with an initial part (41/a - 42/a) of said track (B) that is aligned with the edge of the slot (31), when it is arranged on the feeding axis of the capsules (C) to be treated, and an end part (4 lb - 42b) that is substantially tangent to a pair of guides (43 - 44) having a curved part (43/a - 44a) and a final straight part (43/b - 44/b), whereas the upper guide (44) also has a vertical wall (44/c).

The circular rails (41 - 42) are joined together by a series of screws, not represented, after interposition of as many spacers (45). Said spacers (45) determine the formation of a small circular space between said rails (41 - 42) in which the edge of the lid of the capsule (C) to be treated is intended to be housed, during its rotation on the axis of the pin (16). The same rails (41 - 42) are supported by means of screws that are fixed in the threaded holes (35/d - 35/e) of the plate (35), as well as by at least one screw fixed to the threaded holes (20/a - 20/b) of the plate (20) that carries the knife (21), said holes laying over and connecting said plate (20) to its support posts (14/5 - 14/6), after interposition of suitable spacers (14/9 - 14/10).

The pair of guides (43 - 44) are also joined together by interposition of a spacer plate (46) and are, in turn, supported and fixed to the plate (15) with through screws to be screwed onto its seats (15/c- 15/d), achieving the same function of housing the edge of the lid of the capsule (C) under process.

Again with reference to figs. 4 and 5, in the intermediate part (B) of the device (1) there is a deflector (50) with an eyelet (51) thereof enclosing the shoulder (32) of the disc (30), without engaging with the rotation of the same disc (30), and with a stem (52) that has a vertical wall (53) and a roof or upper orthogonal surface (54). The same stem (52) has a pair of through holes (52/a - 52/b) and, by interposition of a thickness (55) with its through holes (55/a - 55/b), it is fixed to the plate (15) by means of screws screwed into its holes (15c - 15d). The same plate (15) is then equipped with a central oblong slit (15/e), for washing the open capsule (C) during ejection, as specified hereinafter.

The intermediate part (B) of the device (1) under examination also comprises the presence of a second upper disc (60) that, analogously to the lower disc (30), is equipped with an open slit or slot (61) thereof and a pair of holes (62/a), for the passage of pins, with a pair of holes (62/b) for the passage of a pair of screws or tie rods.

Again with reference to figs. 1 and 5, the upper part (A) of the device under examination comprises a cam disc (65), to be aligned and fixed above the upper disc (60), as well as an arm (70) for moving the capsule (C) to be treated, and a sleeve or power take-off (67), to be completed by the presence of the upper closure plate (80) of the same device for recycling treatment of used capsules.

In greater detail, the cam disc (65) is positioned axially above the upper flat disc (60) and is equipped with a pair of through holes (65/a) that are intended to be arranged in line with the pair of pin holes (62/a - 62/b) of the same upper disc (60), as well as with a pair of through holes (65/b) that are intended to be arranged in line with the holes (62/b) of the same upper disc (60). Said cam disc (65), which is intended to rotate with the flat disc (60) underneath and which has a groove (66) thereof that is shaped as a function of the cam, to give the feeler (74) of the arm (70) the ability to autonomously perform the insertion movement of the pod or capsule (C) in the space (V) formed by the open slots (31 - 61) of the circular plates (30 and 60).

The arm (70), having a curved configuration, comprises a head hub (71) that is adapted for hinging it to a pin fixed in the hole (35/a) of the support plate (35), and therefore comprises a central surface (72), advantageously shaped like a cavity, to enable its contact with the side surface of the capsule (C) to be treated, and an end arm (73) with its head feeler (74), to be housed in the cam groove (66) of the disc (65).

A sleeve or power take-off (67) is positioned axially to the disc (65) and therefore to the base pin (16), and it has pin holes (67/a) and holes (67/b), for the passage of screws or tie rods, not represented, for closing and fixing to the disc (65) below. The same sleeve (67) also comprises holes (67/c), for fixing it to the shaft of a gearmotor, not represented, which ensure the rotation thereof.

The upper part (A) of the device (1) under examination is completed by the presence of the upper closure plate (80), which is supported and fixed to the base plate (10), by means of the posts (11/1 - 11/2 - 11/3 and 11/4) and of suitable screws, not represented, passing through its holes (80/1 - 80/2 - 80/3 and 80/4), to form a device that is compact and safe, as well as functional, in accordance with one of the specified purposes.

The same upper plate (80) also has an approximately central hole (81) that allows the housing of the sleeve (67) and is therefore aligned with the same sleeve, as well as with the cam disc (65) below, with the upper and lower flat discs (60, 30), with the base cylinder (17), and with the base pin (16).

The verticality of said discs (65 - 60 and 30) and of the sleeve (67), and therefore of the base cylinder (17) and of its pin (16) is obtained due to the fact that, during assembly of the device under examination, the lower ends of a pair of pins, not represented, are fixed in the seats (18/a) of the base cylinder (17), and firstly the holes (32/a) of the lower disc (30), then the holes (62/a) of the upper disc (60), and then the holes (65/a) of the cam disc (65) and the holes (67/b) of the sleeve (67) are slipped over these pins. The threaded stems of the exact number of screw studs, not represented, are made to pass on the holes (67/b) of the sleeve (67), then in the holes (65/b) of the cam disc (65), and furthermore on the holes (62/b) of the upper disc (60) and on the holes (32/b) of the lower disc (30), said screws screwing onto the threaded holes (18/b) of the base cylinder (17).

In this way a single drum (T) is formed that is formed by the union of the base cylinder (17) with the lower flat disc (30), with the upper disc (60), with the cam disc (65) and with the sleeve or power take-off (67). Said drum (T) can rotate on the base pin (16), in order to turn within the track (B) that remains fixed to and integral with the base plate (10) and with the upper plate (80), as shown as an example in fig. 6.

Of course, the same drum (T) is assembled such that the open slots (31 and 61) of the two discs (30 and 60) are vertically aligned, in order to form the housing space (V) of the body of the capsule (C) to be treated, whereas the bottom of the same capsule (C) rests on the plate (13) and its lid is arranged in the intermediate throat between the circular rails (41 and 42).

The cover plate (80) also has a through hole (82), the capsules (C) to be cleaned and recycled passing vertically therethrough, after having been used for the preparation of coffee or another soluble drink. Every used capsule (C) can be arranged aligned on said hole (82) at any time, after its use, while the drum (T) is immobile or rotating, but not necessarily always in line with the axis of its open slot (61 - 31), and therefore of the volume (V) on the vertical line of said hole (82). For this reason, the vertical axis of the same hole (82) falls outside of the same volume (V) of the drum (T), while the insertion of the same capsule (C) in said slot (32 - 62) is determined by the movement of the swinging arm (70), by the effect of its connection with the cam (66) of the disc (65).

In greater detail, the configuration of said cam (66) is such that the feeler (74) engages the arm (70) at a maximum oscillation, when a capsule (C) is under treatment in the rotation of the drum (T), whereas the oscillation is at its minimum when the space (V) is free, allowing the central surface (72) of the same arm (70) to push the new capsule (C) in the space (V), to start a new cutting and cleaning operation of the same capsule (C).

With the rotation of the drum (T), the lid of the capsule (C) is at the height of the circular space comprised between the rails (41 and 42), whereas its body or frame is housed in the space (V) formed by the upper slot (62) of the disc (60) and the coaxial slot (32) of the disc (30), and its bottom initially rests on the plate (13), but then it is deprived of such support and meets the knife (21), against which it is pushed by the rotation of the drum (T), until it is partially cut, while still leaving a segment of connection with its side body. With the continuation of the rotation of the drum (T), the open part of the bottom of the capsule (C) meets the inclined shoulder (22) of the knife holder (20). Said shoulder (22) thus forces the open bottom of the capsule to open out, being arranged approximately at 180°, with respect to the position prior to cutting, and, while passing over the same knife holder (20), it ensures the opening condition of the same capsule (C) also in the subsequent cleaning step. The best cutting condition of the bottom of the capsule (C) against the knife (21) is also ensured by the presence of the eyelet (51) of the deflector (50), since the outer side surface of the same capsule (C) is prevented from moving radially.

When it reaches the end of the rails (41 - 42), the cut and open capsule (C) comes into contact with the pair of guides (43 - 44) that give it the possibility of rotating slightly, to align its open bottom towards the exit, to then be sent towards the discharge step, channelled by the stem (52) of the deflector (50) and of its guide walls (44/c and 53), whereas the roof (54) prevents a possible vertical exit thereof.

While passing by said side walls (44/c and 53), the open capsule (C) is supported by the plate (15), while from the slit (15/e) thereof a water spray of a nozzle, not represented, cleans the same capsule (C) and its open bottom, which spray is applied onto the plate (10) and faces towards said slit (15e), allowing the capsule to be discharged and collected as regular plastic or metallic material to be recycled, whereas the water sprayed and the coffee powder or other drink removed is collected by dropping into another container, not represented, which is arranged under said base plate (10).

The push for the exit and dropping of the open capsule (C) into its recycling container, not represented, can be obtained by the advancing of the next capsules (C), after the various rotations of the drum (T), for subsequent processing operations. The device (1) for recycling treatment of used capsules, as described and illustrated up to now, makes it possible to obtain the best separation and differentiated collection of the organic material used for the preparation of the drink and of the material of the same capsule, separated with maximum cleanliness and hygiene, without causing any crushing, with a device that is substantially simple and without translation pistons of the capsule (C), in accordance with some of the specified purposes.

The same device (1) exemplified above also makes it possible to open the capsule (C), by cutting it close to its bottom, in its weakest point, thus requiring the minimum processing force, in accordance with another of the specified purposes.

The device for recycling treatment of used capsules (1), as described and illustrated up to now, can be associated with a normal vending machine of coffee or other hot drink, like herbal tea, camomile, barley, chocolate, tea or various other infusions, said drinks in any case being prepackaged in capsules, on the condition that the same capsules are of identical or similar dimensions, for example being manufactured by the same producer. In this case, immediately downstream of the device for using the capsules, the vending machine can provide for the presence of an arm or a chute that allows the used capsule to be aligned with the entry hole (82) of the device under examination that can be incorporated with the same vending machine, for its cutting, cleaning and separation treatment of the organic inner part from its outer plastic containment part, in view of their correct differentiated collection. The same device (1) can be applied directly to the drinks dispensing machine, in horizontal position with respect to the vertical solution described up to now, so as to promote the dropping of the used pods (C) directly in a horizontal processing space (V), without the need to pass from the collector hole (82) of the plate (80). It is thus possible to provide the use of the space (V) for the insertion of a new capsule, from which the hot drink preselected by the customer is dispensed directly, by equipping the vending machine with a programme that provides for stopping the drum (T), during the step of use of the capsule and the dispensing of the drink, in order to then activate the rotation thereof for the subsequent cleaning, separation and expulsion step of the container and of the used content.

As described and illustrated up to now, particularly with reference to fig. 1, the present device can also be used autonomously, with respect to normal dispensers of coffee or other hot drinks, for example from the manager of these drinks dispensing machines who carries out a periodic revision and refilling, also for picking up the used capsules accumulated over time, in a temporary container, and in any case to be disposed of by separating the plastic from the organic material. The same used capsules (C) can be slotted manually into the space (V), for example in the case of failure of the swinging arm (70) or for very small amounts of capsules to be treated. With reference to figs. 7 and 8, as already specified, the accessory part (90) is illustrated for feeding the used capsules to be associated with the device (1) of fig. 1, particularly but not only those accumulated over time, which are to be inserted in the seat (82) of the upper plate (80) of the device under examination.

A funnel (91) loosely collects the used capsules (CI - C2 - C3 - C4 - C5 - C6 - etc.) that, by gravity, are intended to pass by the closed stem (92), to be arranged aligned along the track (93), which has a final open space (93/a) that is slightly greater than the diameter of the pods (C). The greater diameter of the lid of every capsule (C) and the greater weight of the body of the same capsule (C) containing the used infusion, cause a vertical arrangement in said space (93/a). In order to avoid possible obstructions of the capsule (C), in particular along the neck (92) of the funnel (91), it is possible to provide for the application of an agitator or eccentric disc, not represented, which can be manual or motorised, to regulate the passage of one capsule at a time in said closed duct (92). As a result of the greater weight, the bottom of every capsule (C) is arranged towards the bottom, as exemplified in fig. 7.

At the end of said track (93) a tubular element (94) is arranged having a diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the lid of every capsule (C), so that the same capsules (CI - C2 - C3 - etc.) are forced to cross it vertically by falling, thus directly slotting at the entry (82) of the upper plate (80) of the device described above, said tubular element (94) being aligned and fixed with said hole (82).

The capsule (CI) is thus intended to fall and to be positioned on the plate (13) of the device under examination, substantially aligned but outside of the space (V) of the slots (31 - 61) of its drum (T), whereas the possible subsequent capsules (C2 - C3 - etc.) superimposes on the first one.

Only after the activation of the rotation of the drum (T), the arm (70) pushes said capsule (CI) in the slot (31 - 61) and makes it rotate, in order to make its bottom to be partially cut by the knife (21), and then after its cleaning with the water spray, the arm makes the capsule evacuate by passing it by the plate (15) and its walls (44c- 53 and 54), in order to be collected as clean waste of plastic material, whereas the same water spray will carry the coffee or other used substance and will be collected as wet waste, according to the cycle illustrated earlier.

The accessory part for feeding the pods (C), as described and exemplified in figs. 7 and 8, is particularly advantageous for completing the device intended for the treatment of capsules (C) accumulated over time, for example in the dining department of a supermarket. However, the same feeding accessory can also be operated for the instantaneous treatment of the capsules just used in vending machines of coffee or other hot drinks, always using a track-type duct (93) and a closed vertical duct (94), which are adapted for taking the same capsules (C) to feed the treatment device incorporated in the same vending machine.

With reference to figs. 9 and 10, as already stated, a second embodiment (Γ) of the same device (1) for treating used capsules described up to now and illustrated in figs. 1 to 8 is proposed. In particular, fig. 9 represents a cross section view of the modified device ( ), carried out at the height of the lower disc (300) and of the lower rail (410) whereas fig. 10 represents a cross section view of the same modified device (Γ) carried out at the height of the upper disc (600) and of the upper rail (420).

In accordance with this second embodiment (Γ) the knife-holder plate (20), with its knife (21) and its shoulder (22) for opening up the bottom of the capsule (C), is eliminated, with the provision instead for the presence of a toothed sharp serration (411 - 412), which is arranged on the inner surface of the lower rail (410), whereas the upper rail (420) has a serration or sliding rack (421), which is adapted for being positioned on the lower edge of the lid of the capsule (C) incoming for its processing.

In said device (Γ) the plate (13), which is no longer necessary for supporting the capsule under process since the same capsule (C) is supported by said sliding rack (421), in any case has a circular elongated shape, analogous to the shape of the plate (15), in order to be able to accompany the lower part of the capsule (C) to the discharge, after it has been cut.

Again in accordance with this first embodiment, the lower disc (300) and the upper disc (600) of the device (Γ) are axially combined in the drum (T) and have throats (310 - 610) with a reciprocal countersunk opening (311 - 611) to form a space (V)· Said countersunk throats (310 - 610) are adapted for initially housing the capsule (C) in said space (V), said capsule (C) falling and then being gradually pressed against the rack or rough surface (421) and against the sharp blade (411 - 412).

The rotation on their axis and in the clockwise direction of the discs (300 - 600) of the drum (T) and the close contact of the upper edge of the capsule (C) on the rack (421) determine the simultaneous rotation in the counterclockwise direction of the same capsule (C) on its axis.

Said simultaneous advancing action in the clockwise direction and rotation action in the counterclockwise direction of the capsule (C) thus determines a progressive penetration and incision of its cylindrical body by the various sharp teeth of the serrated blade (411), until it is completely transversally cut, which cut is also promoted by the presence of the final cutting plane (412), which is always associated with the lower rail (410), which thus ensures the complete severing of the capsule (C), making the container separable from its used content. With particular reference to fig. 10, in order to promote the rotation in the radial direction of the capsule (C), in the countersunk space (VI), the surface (611) of the upper disc (600) is preferably equipped with two or more bearings (612 - 613) or corresponding rotating discs that cooperate with the toothed crown (421) and with the inner surface of the rail at (420), as well as with the bottom plate (13), to ensure the maximum seal and axial stability of the capsule (C) under process.

With particular reference to fig. 9, the countersunk surface (311) of the lower disc (300) is preferably equipped with one or more sharp discs (312 - 313) that are positioned at the height of the serrated guide (411) of the lower rail (410), with the function enable having a first at least partial incision of the side surface of the capsule (C), in view of its subsequent complete severing by means of the serration (411 - 412). Once the cutting of the capsule (C) into two axial pieces is complete and with the rotation in the clockwise direction of the discs (300 - 600), their space (VI) moves close to the deflector (50) from where said two pieces are ejected, in accordance with the first solution described above, after having been washed and in any case cleaned of their content of used solution. Such cleaning can be carried out for example with two opposite water jets acting on the respective cavities of the two pieces of capsule (C), passing in the slit (15/e) of the support plate (15). In greater detail, the upper piece of the cut capsule is channelled between the walls (44 and 53) of the deflector (50), whereas the lower piece is pushed up to the side edge of the plate (15), to then fall onto the underlying end of the plate (13) that channels it to be collected in a single container of solid material, whereas the organic material is collected separately by falling, together with the water or cleaning fluid.

The expulsion and collection of the two pieces of capsule (C) can be obtained by a pushing caused by the pieces of the next capsules (CI - C2 - C3 - etc.) or with simple mechanical pushing means operating at the ends of the plates (15 and 13).

The same device (1 - Γ) for treating used capsules (C), particularly coffee capsules, can of course also be made in other embodiments. As an example, it indicated the possibility of making the same device (1 - Γ) with a different number and positioning of the uprights (11) or of the columns (12) or of the posts (14), for supporting and positioning the plates (10 - 80 -13 - 20 - 35) and the curved guides (43 - 44) as well as the deflector (50) and the walls (44/c - 53 and 54). Furthermore, it is possible to provide for making the drums (T) that are equipped with two or more spaces (V), evenly distributed over its diameter, with as many access mouths (82) and as many discharge outlets (15 - 52), to activate two or more treatments for every rotation of the same drum (T). Instead of mains water, the cleaning of the two pieces of the open capsule (C) along the slit (15/e) can also be carried out by steam or with compressed air, particularly in applications directed to vending machines. Similarly, it is possible to use fusion or moulding to make a base plate (10) that is already equipped with uprights (11), columns (12) and posts (14), whereas the smaller spacers (14/7 - 14/8 - 14/9 - 14/10 and 45) can be replaced by projections formed directly on the plates (13 and 15) and on the guides (41 - 42 - 43 and 44), just as the same guides (41 - 42 - 43 and 44), the various discs (65 - 60 and 30) with the base cylinder (17) and with the sleeve (67) can be respectively made in one or more blocks, possibly to be joined with identical linearity characteristics. Furthermore, it exemplified the possibility of eliminating the cam disc (65) causing the swinging of the arm (70) with a cam integral with the bearing structure, just as it is possible to replace said arm (70) with a radial piston.

These and other modifications or adaptations are in any case deemed to be covered by the originality of the finding seeking protection.