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Title:
SYSTEM, METHOD AND KIT FOR DRYING ANIMAL WASTE AND ORGANIC MATERIAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/008149
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An animal waste drying system has a feeder for feeding animal waste, at least one waste carrying platform for receiving the animal waste and dispensing the waste over a drying chamber and a moving unit for displacing the waste carrying platform. A kit includes at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container. The shipping containers can be joined together to form a drying chamber. Track segments contained in the shipping containers may be joined to form a closed track within the drying chamber. A method for assembling a waste drying system includes transporting at least the first shipping container and second shipping container to a drying location, joining the shipping containers to form a drying chamber and connecting a feeder from an external undried wasted producing system. Such drying system is also effective for drying various organic materials.

Inventors:
CHARDINE, Raymond (1 rue Lac Maroué, Lamballe, 22400, FR)
Application Number:
CA2016/050797
Publication Date:
January 19, 2017
Filing Date:
July 08, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
INDUSTRIES AGRIGESCO INC. (3e Rang de Wendover, Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, Québec J0C 1A0, J0C 1A0, CA)
International Classes:
B65G47/74; A01C3/00; A01K31/04; F16B15/04; F16B17/00; F26B9/06; F26B25/10
Foreign References:
FR2611419A11988-09-09
JPS5897623A1983-06-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., S.R.L. (40th Floor, 40 King Street WestToronto, Ontario M5H 3Y2, M5H 3Y2, CA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:

1 . An animal waste drying system comprising:

a feeder for feeding animal waste to be dried;

at least one waste carrying platform for receiving the animal waste and displaceable along a closed path, the waste carrying platform being operable between a waste carrying position and a waste dispensing position, the waste carrying platform being in the waste carrying position when being supported by an underlying surface having a height that is within a predetermined distance of a reference height of the waste carrying platform and the waste carrying platform being in the waste dispensing position when supported by the underlying surface having a height that is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform; and

a moving unit for displacing the at least one waste carrying platform along the closed path.

2. The animal waste drying system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one waste carrying platform moving from its carrying position to its waste dispensing position causes animal waste carried thereon to be dispensed onto the underlying surface beneath a current location of the waste carrying platform.

3. The animal waste drying system of claims 1 or 2, wherein the at least one waste platform receives the animal waste from the feeder at a predetermined location along the closed path.

4. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the waste carrying platform moves between its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position while being displaced over the closed path based on the height of the underlying surface of a current location of the platform along the closed path.

5. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the system comprises a plurality of waste carrying platforms arranged to form a multi-platform chain extending along a portion of the closed path; and wherein at least one of the plurality of waste carrying platforms is movable between its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position independently of the positions of the other platforms of the multi-platform chain.

6. The animal waste drying system of claim 5, wherein the multi-platform chain extends along at least 40% of the closed path.

7. The animal waste drying system of claim 5, wherein the multi-platform chain extends along at least 90% of the closed path.

8. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 7, further comprising:

a fixed track defining the closed path;

a displaceable chain coupled to the fixed track, the displaceable chain being displaced by the moving unit to revolve about the fixed track; and

wherein the at least one waste carrying platform is coupled to the displaceable chain, whereby displacement of the displaceable chain causes displacement of the waste carrying platform.

9. The animal waste drying system of claim 8, wherein the moving unit comprises a wheel frictionally engaging the displaceable chain, wherein rotation of the wheel causes revolving displacement of the displaceable chain.

10. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the pressure sensitive device comprises a suspension system and a wheel attached thereto.

1 1 . The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 10, further comprising a plurality of mixing members adapted to mix the animal waste dispensed from the at least one waste carrying platform.

12. The animal waste drying system of claim 1 1 , wherein the mixing members are displaceable along the closed path and are adapted to provide an agitating mixing movement as they are displaced along the closed path.

13. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein in operation: the at least one waste carrying platform receives the animal waste from the feeder;

the at least one waste carrying platform carries the received animal waste in its waste carrying position while being displaced over a first portion of the closed path that has a height within the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform; and

upon the at least one waste carrying platform reaching a second portion of the closed path that has a height outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform, the waste carrying platform enters its waste dispensing position and dispenses the animal waste over the second portion.

14. The animal waste drying system of claim 13, wherein repeated operation causes the received animal waste to be uniformly distributed in height over the closed path.

15. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 14, further comprising a shipping container defining a drying chamber; and

wherein the feeder, the at least one waste carrying platform and the moving unit are located within the drying chamber.

16. The animal waste drying system of any one of claims 1 to 14, further comprising a plurality of shipping container joined together, the outer walls of the shipping containers defining a drying chamber; and

wherein the feeder, the at least one waste carrying platform and the moving unit are located within the drying chamber.

17. A method for assembling an animal waste drying system, the method comprising:

transporting at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container to a drying location;

joining the first shipping container and the second container whereby sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define together a drying chamber effective for drying animal waste material; and

connecting a feeder, for feeding with animal waste, from an external undried animal waste producing system.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein each shipping container contains at least one track segment defining a portion of a closed track; and

wherein the method further comprises:

removing at least one wall portion of the first shipping container; removing at least one wall portion of the second shipping container; and

connecting the at least one track segment of the first shipping container with the at least one track segment of the second shipping container; and

wherein the unremoved sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define the drying chamber.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the connected track segment of the first shipping container and the track segment of the second shipping container forms a closed track defining a closed path.

20. The method of claims 18 or 19, wherein at least one of the wall portion of the first shipping container and the wall portion of the second shipping container is a full shipping container sidewalk

21 . The method of any one of claims 18 to 20, further comprising fixing at least one waste carrying platform to the closed track.

22. The method of any one of claims 17 to 21 , wherein at least one waste carrying platform is contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during the transporting thereof.

23. The method of any one of claims 17 to 22, wherein at least one moving unit is contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during the transporting thereof.

24. The method of any one of claims 17 to 23, wherein at least one of set of mixing members is contained within at least one of the first shipping and the second shipping container during the transporting thereof.

25. The method of any one of claims 17 to 24, wherein the feeder is contained within a third shipping container.

26. The method of claim 25, further comprising:

connecting a unloader for unloading the animal waste from the drying chamber after being dried;

wherein the unloader is contained with the third shipping container.

27. The method of any one of claims 17 to 26, wherein at least one of sidewall of the first shipping container and the second container comprises an opening for receiving air flow for drying animal waste received within the drying chamber.

28. A kit for an animal waste drying system comprising:

at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container; the first shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a first track segment defining a first portion of a closed track and the second shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a second track defining a second portion of the closed track, the first shipping container and the second shipping container being mutually cooperating to define a drying chamber, and the track segments being connectable to form a closed track defining a closed path of a waste dispensing device.

29. The kit of claim 28, wherein the removable wall portion is a full shipping container sidewall.

30. The kit of claims 28 or 29, further comprising at least one waste carrying platform adapted to be attached and displaceable along the closed track.

31 . The kit of claim 30, wherein the at least one waste carrying platform is contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation.

32. The kit of any one of claims 28 to 31 , further comprising at least one moving unit, the unit being contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation.

33. The kit of any one of claims 28 to 32, further comprising at least one set of mixing members, the fingers being contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation.

34. The kit of any one of claims 28 to 33, further comprising a feeder for feeding animal waste and an unloader for unloading dried animal waste.

35. The kit of claim 34, wherein the feeder and the unloader are contained within a third shipping container.

36. The kit of any one of claims 28 to 35, wherein at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container comprises a sidewall having formed therein an opening for receiving air flow for drying animal waste received within the drying chamber.

37. A kit for an animal waste drying system comprising:

a shipping container defining a drying chamber, a closed track being fixed within the shipping container; and

at least one waste carrying platform being adapted to be adapted to be attached and displaceable along the closed track.

38. A method for assembling an animal waste drying system, the method comprising:

transporting a shipping container having a closed track fixed within the shipping container;

attaching at least one waste carrying platform to the closed track; and connecting a feeder, for feeding with animal waste, from an external undried animal waste producing system.

39. The animal waste drying system of claim 8, wherein the moving unit comprises a toothed wheel for engaging the displaceable chain, wherein rotation of the wheel causes revolving displacement of the displaceable chain.

40. An organic material drying system comprising:

a feeder for feeding organic material to be dried; at least one organic material carrying platform for receiving the organic material and displaceable along a closed path, the organic material carrying platform being operable between an organic material carrying position and an organic material dispensing position, the organic material carrying platform being in the organic material carrying position when being supported by an underlying surface having a height that is within a predetermined distance of a reference height of the organic material carrying platform and the organic material carrying platform being in the organic material dispensing position when supported by the underlying surface having a height that is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the organic material carrying platform; and

a moving unit for displacing the at least one organic material carrying platform along the closed path.

41 . The organic material drying system of claim 40, wherein the at least one organic material carrying platform moving from its carrying position to its organic material dispensing position causes organic material carried thereon to be dispensed onto the underlying surface beneath a current location of the organic material carrying platform.

42. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 41 , wherein the organic material carrying platform moves between its organic material carrying position and its organic material dispensing position while being displaced over the closed path based on the height of the underlying surface of a current location of the platform along the closed path.

43. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 42, wherein the system comprises a plurality of organic material carrying platforms arranged to form a multi-platform chain extending along a portion of the closed path; and

wherein at least one of the plurality of organic material carrying platforms is movable between its organic material carrying position and its organic material dispensing position independently of the positions of the other platforms of the multi-platform chain.

44. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 43, further comprising:

a fixed track defining the closed path; a displaceable chain coupled to the fixed track, the displaceable chain being displaced by the moving unit to revolve about the fixed track; and

wherein the at least one organic material carrying platform is coupled to the displaceable chain, whereby displacement of the displaceable chain causes displacement of the organic material carrying platform.

45. The organic material drying system of claim 44, wherein the moving unit comprises a wheel frictionally engaging the displaceable chain, wherein rotation of the wheel causes revolving displacement of the displaceable chain.

46. The organic material drying system of claim 44, wherein the moving unit comprises a toothed wheel for engaging the displaceable chain, wherein rotation of the wheel causes revolving displacement of the displaceable chain.

47. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 46, wherein the pressure sensitive device comprises a suspension system and a wheel attached thereto.

48. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 47, further comprising a plurality of mixing members adapted to mix the organic material dispensed from the at least one organic material carrying platform.

49. The organic material drying system of claim 48, wherein the mixing members are displaceable along the closed path and are adapted to provide an agitating mixing movement as they are displaced along the closed path.

50. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 49, wherein in operation:

the at least one organic material carrying platform receives the organic material from the feeder;

the at least one organic material carrying platform carries the received organic material in its organic material carrying position while being displaced over a first portion of the closed path that has a height within the predetermined distance of the reference height of the organic material carrying platform; and upon the at least one organic material carrying platform reaching a second portion of the closed path that has a height outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the organic material carrying platform, the organic material carrying platform enters its organic material dispensing position and dispenses the organic material over the second portion.

51 . The organic material drying system of claim 50, wherein repeated operation causes the received organic material to be uniformly distributed in height over the closed path.

52. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 51 , further comprising a shipping container defining a drying chamber; and

wherein the feeder, the at least one organic material carrying platform and the moving unit are located within the drying chamber.

53. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 51 , further comprising a plurality of shipping container joined together, the outer walls of the shipping containers defining a drying chamber; and

wherein the feeder, the at least one organic material carrying platform and the moving unit are located within the drying chamber.

54. The organic material drying system of any one of claims 40 to 51 , wherein said organic material is chosen from micro-algae, cereals, food industry materials, biological materials and animal waste.

Description:
SYSTEM, METHOD AND KIT FOR DRYING ANIMAL WASTE AND ORGANIC

MATERIAL

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001 ] The present disclosure claims priority to US provisional application No 62/192,615, filed on July 15, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] The present disclosure relates to a system, method and kit for drying a product, and in particular for drying animal waste or organic material.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] There has been a recent trend towards using and consuming natural and/or organic products. This is especially the case in the agricultural and food production industries.

[0004] Fertilizers derived from compost or animal waste are desirable because they represent a type of organic fertilizer. These fertilizers may be multi-purpose in that they can be used for lawns, vegetables, flowers and/or trees.

[0005] Production of fertilizers from animal waste includes collecting the waste. As the animal waste has a high humidity, the animal waste is subsequently dried. The dried waste can be used for later applications, such as a fertilizer.

SUMMARY

[0006] It would thus be highly desirable to be provided with an apparatus, system or method that would at least partially address the disadvantages of the existing technologies.

[0007] The embodiments described herein provide in one aspect an animal waste drying system comprising a feeder for feeding animal waste to be dried, at least one waste carrying platform for receiving the animal waste and displaceable along a closed path, the waste carrying platform being operable between a waste carrying position and a waste dispensing position, the waste carrying platform being in the waste carrying position when being supported by an underlying surface having a height that is within a predetermined distance of a reference height of the waste carrying platform and the waste carrying platform being in the waste dispensing position when supported by the underlying surface having a height that is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform and a moving unit for displacing the at least one waste carrying platform along the closed path.

[0008] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling a waste drying system, the method comprising transporting at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container to a drying location, joining the first shipping container and the second container whereby sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define together a drying chamber and connecting a feeder from an external undried waste producing system.

[0009] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling an animal waste drying system, the method comprising: transporting at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container to a drying location;

joining the first shipping container and the second container whereby sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define together a drying chamber effective for drying animal waste material; and

connecting a feeder, for feeding with animal waste, from an external undried animal waste producing system.

[0010] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a kit for an animal waste drying system comprising at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container; the first shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a first track segment defining a first portion of a closed track and the second shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a second track defining a second portion of the closed track, the first shipping container and the second shipping container being mutually cooperating to define a drying chamber, and the track segments being connectable to form a closed track defining a closed path of a waste dispensing device.

[001 1 ] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a kit for an animal waste drying system comprising a shipping container defining a drying chamber, a closed track being fixed within the shipping container and at least one waste carrying platform being adapted to be adapted to be attached and displaceable along the closed track.

[0012] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling an animal waste drying system, the method comprising transporting a shipping container having a closed track fixed within the shipping container, attaching at least one waste carrying platform to the closed track, and connecting a feeder, for feeding with animal waste, from an external undried animal waste producing system.

[0013] The person skilled in the art would understand that the systems, methods and kits of the present disclosure can also be used for drying various organic materials (or organic matter) such as micro-algae, cereals, various food industry materials, biological materials, animal waste etc.

[0014] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided an organic material drying system comprising: a feeder for feeding said material to be dried;

at least one material carrying platform for receiving the material and displaceable along a closed path, the material carrying platform being operable between a material carrying position and a material dispensing position, the material carrying platform being in the material carrying position when being supported by an underlying surface having a height that is within a predetermined distance of a reference height of the material carrying platform and the material carrying platform being in the material dispensing position when supported by the underlying surface having a height that is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the material carrying platform; and a moving unit for displacing the at least one material carrying platform along the closed path.

[0015] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling a material drying system, the method comprising transporting at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container to a drying location, joining the first shipping container and the second container whereby sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define together a drying chamber and connecting a feeder from an external undried organic material producing system.

[0016] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling an organic drying system, the method comprising: transporting at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container to a drying location;

joining the first shipping container and the second container whereby sidewalls of the first shipping container and the second container define together a drying chamber effective for drying said organic material; and

connecting a feeder, for feeding with organic material, from an external undried organic material producing system.

[0017] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a kit for an organic material drying system comprising at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container; the first shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a first track segment defining a first portion of a closed track and the second shipping container having a removable wall portion and containing a second track defining a second portion of the closed track, the first shipping container and the second shipping container being mutually cooperating to define a drying chamber, and the track segments being connectable to form a closed track defining a closed path of an organic material dispensing device.

[0018] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a kit for an organic material drying system comprising a shipping container defining a drying chamber, a closed track being fixed within the shipping container and at least one material carrying platform being adapted to be adapted to be attached and displaceable along the closed track.

[0019] According to another aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for assembling an organic material drying system, the method comprising transporting a shipping container having a closed track fixed within the shipping container, attaching at least one material carrying platform to the closed track, and connecting a feeder, for feeding with organic material, from an external undried organic material producing system.

DRAWINGS

[0020] The following drawings represent non-limitative examples in which:

[0021 ] Figure 1 illustrates a section view of an assembled animal waste drying system according to an exemplary embodiment;

[0022] Figure 2 illustrates a plan view of an assembled animal waste drying system according to the exemplary embodiment;

[0023] Figure 3 illustrates a plan view of a track system of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0024] Figure 4 illustrates a plan view of a displaceable chain of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0025] Figure 5 illustrates a perspective view of a chain segment of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0026] Figure 6 illustrates a perspective view of a set of track wheels of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0027] Figure 7 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0028] Figure 8 illustrates a perspective view of a waste carrying platform of an exemplary animal waste drying system;

[0029] Figure 9 illustrates a rear elevation view of the waste carrying platform of an exemplary animal waste drying system; [0030] Figure 10 illustrates a perspective view of the waste carrying platform in its waste dispensing position of an exemplary animal waste drying system ;

[0031 ] Figure 1 1 illustrates a front elevation view of a set of mixing members of an exemplary animal waste drying system; and

[0032] Figure 12 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary assembled waste drying system;

[0033] Figure 13 illustrates a side elevation view of a scraping device according to one exemplary embodiment;

[0034] Figure 14 illustrates a side elevation view of an alternative exemplary embodiment of a waste carrying platform;

[0035] Figure 15 illustrates a perspective view of the alternative exemplary embodiment of the waste carrying platform;

[0036] Figure 16 illustrates a front elevation view of the alternative exemplary embodiment of the waste carrying platform;

[0037] Figure 17A illustrates a perspective view of an alternative exemplary embodiment of an element of a moving unit ;

[0038] Figure 17B illustrates a side view of the alternative exemplary embodiment of the element of a moving unit of Figure 17A; and

[0039] Figure 17C illustrates a top view of the alternative exemplary embodiment of the element of a moving unit of Figure 17A.

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS

[0040] The following examples are presented in a non-limiting manner.

[0041 ] The word "a" or "an" when used in conjunction with the term "comprising" in the claims and/or the specification may mean "one", but it is also consistent with the meaning of "one or more", "at least one", and "one or more than one" unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. Similarly, the word "another" may mean at least a first or more unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. [0042] As used in this specification and claim(s), the words "comprising" (and any form of comprising, such as "comprise" and "comprises"), "having" (and any form of having, such as "have" and "has"), "including" (and any form of including, such as "include" and "includes") or "containing" (and any form of containing, such as "contain" and "contains"), are inclusive or open-ended and do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or process steps.

[0043] The terms "coupled" or "coupling" as used herein can have several different meanings depending on the context in which these terms are used. For example, the terms coupled or coupling can have a mechanical or electrical connotation. For example, as used herein, the terms coupled or coupling can indicate that two elements or devices are directly connected to one another or connected to one another through one or more intermediate elements or devices via an electrical element, electrical signal or a mechanical element depending on the particular context.

[0044] The person skilled in the art would understand that all the embodiments described below that refers to the use of animal waste can also be applicable to other organic materials such as drying various organic materials (or organic matters) such as micro-algae, cereals, various food industry materials, biological materials, etc.

[0045] Referring to Figure 1 , therein illustrated is section view of an assembled animal waste drying system 1 according to various exemplary embodiments. The animal waste drying system 1 includes a feeder 8, which receives humid (i.e. undried) animal waste and feeds the animal waste to a drying chamber 16.

[0046] The feeder 8 may receive the animal waste from an external waste producing system. The external waste producing system may be a system that includes collecting of animal waste. For example, the external waste producing system is a poultry farming building, such as a hen house or broiler house. Animal waste in the form of chicken droppings may be collected on conveyor belts placed under the flooring the poultry farming building.

[0047] An outlet 24 of the feeder 8 is positioned within the drying chamber 16, such that animal waste ejected from the feeder 8 is received within the drying chamber 16. [0048] For example, and as illustrated, the feeder 8 receives the animal waste at a first height that is lower than the height of the outlet 24. For example, the feeder 8 includes an auger extending between its inlet and outlet 24.

[0049] Air for drying the animal waste is received inside the drying chamber 16. The air may be air received through an opening defined in one of the sidewalls of the drying chamber 16. The received air may be already partially heated.

[0050] According to one exemplary embodiment, the receive air is air that flows from the poultry farming building. The large number of chicken in the poultry farming building emit heat, which causes the poultry farming building to be heated. This heated air can be fed directly into the drying chamber 16. Where ambient temperature outside of the drying chamber 16 is adequate, air from the surrounding environment outside the drying chamber 16 may also be fed into the drying chamber 16. As a result, a heating system does not need be added to produce heated air for drying the animal waste. This may lead to a reduction of use in fossil fuels. In some exemplary embodiments, the waste drying system does not require use of fossil fules to produce heated air.

[0051 ] In some exemplary embodiments, the waste drying system 1 may include a ventilation system, which may be air heating ventilation system. The ventilation system may be included where the waste drying system 1 is deployed in colder climates and where the air fed from the poultry farming building is not sufficiently heated.

[0052] Animal waste ejected from the outlet 24 is received within at least one waste carrying platform 32. The at least one waste carrying platform 32 is displaceable between various locations within the drying chamber 16. One of these locations is a receiving location that is located directly below the outlet 24 of the feeder 8. Accordingly, the waste carrying platform 32 can be displaced to this receiving location to receive animal waste from the feeder 8.

[0053] The waste carrying platform 32 has a waste carrying position and a waste dispensing position. In the waste carrying position 32, animal waste received upon the waste carrying platform 32 is retained. Accordingly, when the waste carrying platform 32 is displaced between different locations of the drying chamber 16 while the platform 32 is in its waste carrying position, animal waste received upon the platform 32 is also displaced to that location.

[0054] When the waste carrying platform 32 enters its waste dispensing position from its waste carrying position, the animal waste received upon the waste carrying platform 32 is dispensed therefrom onto a surface underlying the current location of the waste carrying platform 32. For example, after carrying an amount of animal waste to a given location within the drying chamber 16, entering the waste dispensing position causes the animal waste to be deposited onto a surface below the waste carrying platform 32 at that given location.

[0055] According to various exemplary embodiments, the waste drying system 1 includes a raised floor 40 positioned below the waste carrying platform 32. Waste dispensed from the waste carrying platform 32 is received over the raised floor 40. The raised floor 40 may have a plurality of openings formed therein that allow air flow to contact animal waste deposited on the raised floor 40. This air flow provides drying of the animal waste. The raised floor 40 may further include a plurality of gaps. Animal waste received on the raised 40 may fall through the gaps so as to be deposited onto a bottom floor 48 of the drying chamber 16.

[0056] The raised floor 40 may have at least two layers having horizontally offsetting planks. For example, the raised floor 40 may have substantially the same configuration as the raised floor described in PCT publication no. WO 00/046560 entitled "CHAMBER AND INSTALLATION FOR DRYING ANIMAL WASTE", which is hereby incorporated by reference.

[0057] According to various exemplary embodiments, animal waste may commence or continue drying once it has fallen onto the bottom floor 48 of the drying chamber 16. For example, the air flow received within the drying chamber 16 may be flowed towards the portion of the drying chamber 16 between the raised floor 40 and the bottom floor 48.

[0058] The air flow into the portion between the raised floor 40 and the bottom floor 48 may cause build-up of pressure within this portion, which further assists drying of animal waste on the bottom floor 48. For example, the level of pressure may be varied. For example, a lower pressure may be applied during colder temperatures, such as during winter, when compared to other times of the year.

[0059] The at least one waste carrying platform 32 is configured to be operable between its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position based on a height of the waste carrying platform 32 relative to an underlying surface. The underlying surface refers to the top surface of the animal waste dispensed from the at least one waste carrying platform 32 and that is lying atop a supporting surface beneath the waste carrying platform 32.

[0060] For example, and as illustrated, the supporting surface beneath the waste carrying platform 32 is the raised floor 40. In other exemplary embodiments where a raised floor 40 is not provided, the underlying surface may be the top surface 56 of the animal waste received atop the bottom floor 48 of the drying chamber 16.

[0061 ] A waste carrying platform 32 is in its waste carrying position when the height of that waste carrying platform 32 above the underlying surface 56 is below a predetermined threshold (i.e. a predetermined distance). For example, the height of the waste carrying platform 32 may have a reference line or height. When the height of the underlying surface 56 at a given location of the drying chamber 16 is within the predetermined distance of the reference height, the waste carrying platform 32 enters or maintains its waste carrying position.

[0062] The waste carrying platform 32 is in its waste dispensing position when the height of the waste carrying platform 32 above the underlying surface 56 is above the predetermined threshold. When the height of the underlying surface 56 at a given location of the drying chamber 16 is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height, the waste carrying platform 32 enters or maintains its waste dispensing position.

[0063] For example, a waste carrying platform 32 may be in its waste carrying position when located at its receiving location to receive animal waste from the feeder 8. After receiving animal waste thereupon, the waste carrying platform 32 will continue to maintain its waste carrying platform 32 as it is displaced over various locations of the drying chamber that each have a height of the underlying surface 56 that is within the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform 32. Accordingly, the received animal waste is also carried over these various locations. Upon reaching a particular location where the height of the underlying surface 56 is outside the predetermined distance from the reference height of the waste carrying platform 32, the platform 32 enters its waste dispensing and dispenses the animal waste of the waste carrying platform 32 onto the top of the underlying surface 56.

[0064] It will be appreciated that the operation of a waste carrying platform 32 in the above described manner causes the animal waste to be dispensed from the waste carrying platform over locations that have a height of the underlying surface 56 that is sufficient low so as to fall outside the predetermined distance from the reference height. That is, areas of low underlying surface 56 are found and filled with animal waste dispensed from the waste carrying platform and areas each having an underlying surface 56 of sufficient height are not filled with animal waste. It will be further appreciated that repeated receiving, carrying and dispensing in this manner has the effect of distributing animal waste over the surface beneath the waste carrying platform 32 such that the underlying surface 56 has a uniform height.

[0065] Moreover, since the waste carrying platform 32 maintains its waste carrying position and does not enter its waste dispensing position when the height of underlying surface 56 is within the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform 32, no more animal waste is dispensed from the waste carrying platform 32 once the underlying surface 56 reaches this height (i.e. within the predetermined distance of the reference height) throughout the locations accessed by the waste carrying platform 32. That is, the uniform height of the underlying surface 56 is maintained and will not be exceeded due to additional dispensing of animal waste from waste carrying platforms 32.

[0066] According to various exemplary embodiments, the at least one waste carrying platform 32 may be configured to adjust the predetermined distance of the reference height above a height of an underlying surface 56 at which the platform 32 enters its waste dispensing position. It will be appreciated that this has the effect of adjusting the height of the underlying surface 56 that is reached before the waste carrying platform 32 no longer enters its waste dispensing position. It will be appreciated that the height of the underlying surface 56 corresponds to the thickness of the layer of animal waste that is dispensed over the surface supporting the animal waste (surface of the raised floor 40 or surface of the bottom floor 48). That is, by adjusting the predetermined distance at which the waste carrying platform 32 enters its waste dispensing position, the thickness of the layer of animal waste that is dispensed onto the supporting surface is also adjusted.

[0067] The predetermined distance at which the waste carrying platform 32 enters its waste dispensing position can may adjusted so that the layer of animal waste that is dispensed reaches a target thickness. The target thickness may be a thickness that achieves adequate or optimal drying of the animal waste within the drying chamber 16. For example, an overly thick layer of animal waste can result in some animal waste not being sufficiently exposed to air and adequately dried. For example, an overly thin layer of animal waste can produce adequate drying but achieve less than maximum production rate of dried animal waste.

[0068] According to various exemplary embodiments, the animal waste drying system 1 includes a plurality of waste carrying platform 32. The waste carrying platforms 32 can be sequentially displaced to the receiving location to in turn receive animal waste from the feeder 8. Each waste carrying platform 32 can be displaced over various locations of the drying chamber 16 to dispense animal waste over the surface beneath. Each waste carrying platform 32 can be moved between its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position independently of any other waste carrying platforms 32. For example, whether a particular waste carrying platform 32 is in its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position does not depend on the position of the other waste carrying platforms 32.

[0069] According to various exemplary embodiments, the animal waste drying system 1 further includes at least one set of a plurality of mixing members 64. The mixing members 64 are also displaced over various locations of the drying chamber 16. As they are displaced, the mixing members 64 perform a mixing action of the animal waste that have been dispensed from the at least one waste carrying platform 32 onto the surface below.

[0070] According to various exemplary embodiments and as illustrated herein, the mixing members 64 may be mixing fingers. The mixing fingers may be rod-like in shape.

[0071 ] According to other exemplary embodiments, the mixing members 64 may be mixing blades. The mixing blades may have a thin body with a surface for contacting the dispensed animal waste. The mixing blades may be formed of a metal, such as steel.

[0072] According to various exemplary embodiments, the mixing action of the mixing members 64 both mixes the dispensed animal waste and disperses the animal waste. The mixing may cause mixing of previously dispensed animal waste with already dispensed animal waste, thereby improving consistency of the animal waste being dried. The dispersing may cause animal waste dispensed over a given area to be spread out over a larger area. It will be appreciated that the dispersing also contributes to uniform distribution in height and thickness of the animal waste.

[0073] As illustrated, the mixing members 64 extend downwardly past the top surface 56 to penetrate into the dispensed animal waste. For example, the tension of the mixing members may be variable. The tension may be varied to ensure that the mixing members 64 penetrate a consistency depth into the dispensed animal waste.

[0074] According to various exemplary embodiments, the mixing members 64 may be operated between a resting position and a mixing positon. In the resting position, the mixing members 64 are disengaged from the dispensed animal waste. For example, the mixing members 64 are moved to a substantially horizontal position so as to be disengaged from the dispensed animal waste. For example, the mixing members 64 may be operated to their resting position during an initial dispensing step wherein fresh animal waste is first received within the drying chamber 16.

[0075] In the mixing position, the mixing members 64 extend downwardly to contact and mix the dispensed animal waste, as described elsewhere herein. [0076] According to various exemplary embodiments, the mixing members 64 have an agitating motion while being displaced. The agitating motion includes a non-zero component in a direction that is perpendicular to the current direction of displacement of the mixing members 64. This side-to-side motion of the mixing members 64 further improve mixing and/or dispersing of the animal waste by the mixing members 64.

[0077] The waste drying system 1 further includes an unloader 68. The unloader 68 is adapted to receive animal waste that has dried sufficiently within the drying chamber 16 and transport the dried waste from the drying chamber 16. For example, and as illustrated, the unloader 68 receives the dried waste at a first height that is lower than the height of the outlet 70 of the unloader 68. For example, the unloader 68 includes an auger extending between its inlet and outlet 70.

[0078] According to one exemplary embodiment, a portion of the dried animal waste transported by the unloader 68 is mixed with undried animal waste being fed into the drying chamber 16 through the feeder 8. For example, the dried animal waste may be fed into the feeder 8 through a chute 71 of the unloader 68. The chute 70 may be located at an intersection of the unloader 68 with the feeder 8.

[0079] For example, at least 30% of the dried animal waste is mixed with the undried animal waste.

[0080] For example, about 40% to about 60% of the dried animal waste is mixed with the undried animal waste.

[0081 ] For example, about 45% to about 55% of the dried animal waste is mixed with the undried animal waste.

[0082] The unloader 68 may further feed the dried animal waste to an external system. The dried animal waste fed to the external system may be the dried animal waste that is not fed back and mixed with the undried animal waste in the feeder 8.

The external system may be a system that treats the dried waste. For example, the external system may be a treatment plant that further treats the dried waste, a packing plant for packaging the dried animal waste, or a transportation vehicle that transports the dried animal waste to the treatment plant and/or packing plant. Alternatively, the external system is a storage container for the dried animal waste. [0083] For example, the dried animal waste may be mixed with at least one additional material within the external system. The additional material may be an organic or an inorganic material. Organic material may include wood derivative or biomass. Inorganic material may include sulfur, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, boron, iron and manganese.

[0084] According to various exemplary embodiments, the waste drying system 1 includes a hopper 74. The dried animal waste unloaded by the unloader 68 is collected inside the hopper 74.

[0085] According to various exemplary embodiments, the waste drying system 1 includes a track system 80 that defines a displacement path of the at least one waste carrying platform 32. The displacement path refers to the path covered by the at least waste carrying platform 32 as it is displaced through the drying chamber 16. The at least one waste carrying platform 32 may be coupled to the track system 80, wherein a moving unit 88 of the track system 80 causes displacement of the at least one waste carrying platform 32.

[0086] Referring now to Figures 2 and 3, therein illustrated are a plan view of the waste drying system 1 according to various exemplary embodiments and a plan view of a track system 80 according to various exemplary embodiments, respectively. The exemplary track system 80 of the waste drying system 1 includes a fixed portion, which may be a fixed track 96. The fixed track 96 defines a closed displacement path of the at least one waste carrying platform 32. For example, and as illustrated, the fixed track 96 has a substantially oval shape and the closed path of the at least one waste carrying platform 32 also has the oval shape.

[0087] The track system 80 further includes a movable portion, which may be a chain 104 (not shown in Figures 2 and 3). The chain 104 is attached to the fixed tracked 96 via one or more moving parts. The moving parts allow the chain 104 to be displaced along the closed displacement path defined by the fixed track 96.

[0088] A portion of outer walls 98 defining in part the drying chamber 16 are illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. [0089] Referring now to Figure 4, therein illustrated is a plan view of a chain 104 according to various exemplary embodiments. The chain 104 includes a plurality of chain segments 108. Each chain segment 108 is pivotally attached at a first end to an end of a first other chain segment 108 and pivotally attached at a second end to an end of a second other chain segment 108. The chain segments 108 attached in this way forms a continuous chain 104. The pivotally attached ends of the chain segments 108 allow the angle between adjacent chain segments 108 to be varied. Accordingly each chain segment 108 can turn with respect to its neighboring chain segment 108. This pivotal attachment allows the chain segments 108 to be displaced along curved portions of the closed displacement path defined by the fixed track 96.

[0090] For example, and as illustrated, the moving part includes one or more sets of track wheels 1 16 coupled to one or more of the chain segments 108. It will be understood that only one set of track wheels 1 16 is illustrated, but in other exemplary embodiments, a plurality of track wheels 1 16 may be provided.

[0091 ] A set of track wheels 1 16 engages and rolls along the fixed track 96. The rolling of the set of track wheels 1 16 causes displacement of the chain 104 along the fixed track 96.

[0092] Referring now to Figure 5, therein illustrated is a perspective view of one chain segment 108 according to one exemplary embodiment. The chain segment 108 includes a segment body 124, which may be formed of a plurality boards stacked one atop another. The boards may be wooden boards. For example, and as illustrated, each board includes a curved end that extends past an end of the segment body 124. When stacked, the boards are arranged so that the curved ends face alternating directions. For example, rounded ends 132a of odd numbered boards (ex: 1 st , 3 rd , 5 th , 7 th ) are oriented towards the left while rounded ends 132b of even numbered boards (ex: 2 nd , 4 th , 6 th , 8 th ) are oriented towards the right. When so arranged, the rounded ends 132a of the odd numbered boards define a plurality of gaps that each have a thickness corresponding a thickness of one board. Similarly, the rounded ends 132b of the even numbered boards define a plurality of gaps that each have a thickness corresponding to a thickness of one board. Each curved end may have formed therein a throughhole 140.

[0093] A chain segment 108 is attached to another chain segment 108 by inserting curved ends 132a of the odd numbered boards of one chain segment 108 into the gaps formed between the rounded ends 132b of the even numbered boards of the other chain segment 108. The rounded ends 132a of the first chain segment 108 is then connected to the rounded ends 132b of the other chain segment, for example, by inserting a rod through the throughholes 140 of the first rounded ends 132a and 132b. The rod prevents the rounded ends 132a of the first chain segment 108 to be separated from the rounded ends 132b of the other chain segment 108. The rod also permits pivoting of the first chain segment 108 with respect to the other chain segment 108. The rod acts as the pivot point between the two chain segments 108. Figure 4 illustrates a fully assembled chain 104 formed of a plurality of chain segments 108. It will be appreciated that the pivotal attachment of two chain segments 108 allows the chain 104 to be curved in some portions.

[0094] A chain segment 108 further includes at least one fastener 148 for attaching an element that will be displaced with displacement of the chain segment 108. For example, the displaced element may be a waste carrying platform 32 or a set of mixing members 64.

[0095] Referring now to Figure 6, therein illustrated is a perspective view of a moving part that is a set of track wheels 1 16 according to one exemplary embodiment. The set of track wheels 1 16 includes one or more lower wheels 156 that engage a track member of the fixed track 96. For example, and as illustrated, the lower wheels 156 include opposing sets of lower wheels 156, wherein one set engages an inner track member of the fixed track 96 and the other set engages an outer track member of the fixed track 96.

[0096] The set of track wheels 1 16 can further include one of more upper wheels 164 for engaging a track member of the fixed track 96. For example, and as illustrated, the upper wheels 164 include opposing sets of upper wheels 164, wherein one set engages an inner track member of the fixed track 96 and the other set engages an outer track members of the fixed track 96.

[0097] The track wheels 1 16 roll along the fixed track 96, thereby causing displacement of an element coupled to the track wheels. For example, and as illustrated, the set of track wheels 1 16 include a rod 172, which may be extending downwardly from the set of track wheels 1 16. The rod 172 may be the rod that extends through throughholes 140 of the rounded ends 132a and 132b of adjacent chain segments 108 to pivotally join the chain segments 108. For example, the rod 172 may be threaded to receive a fastener, such as a nut.

[0098] Referring back to Figure 4, it will be appreciated that in the illustrated example, a set of track wheels 1 16 is pivotally attaches two adjacently positioned chain segments 108. According to various exemplary embodiments, each pair of adjacently positioned chain segments 108 may be pivotally attached by one set of track wheels 1 16.

[0099] Referring now to Figure 7, therein illustrated is a moving unit 88 according to one exemplary embodiment. The moving unit 88 includes at least one wheel machine 180 that rotates. For example, and as illustrated, the wheel machine 180 rotates about a substantially vertically oriented axis. The outer wall of the wheel machine 180 may be formed of a high friction material, such as rubber or silicone. For example, the moving unit 88 includes a motor 184 that powers the at least one wheel machine 180.

[00100] In operation, the wheel machine 180 is positioned at a height that substantially corresponds to a height of the movable chain 104 within the waste drying system. The outer wall of the wheel machine 180 frictionally engages a sidewall 188 of chain segments 108 of the chain 104. Rotation of the wheel machine 180 causes the chain segment 108 currently being engaged by the wheel machine 180 to be displaced in a direction that is tangential to the wheel machine 180.

[00101 ] For example, and as illustrated, the moving unit 88 includes a pair of wheel machines 180 positioned in proximity of one another. The chain 104 is positioned so that its chain segments 108 are displaced through the gap formed between the two wheel machines 180. The wheel machines 180 frictionally engage opposing sidewalls 188 of the chain segments 108 to displace the chain 104. Each of the wheel machines 180 may be powered by its respective motor 184.

[00102] The moving unit 88 may have a bracket system 186 that allows attachment of the moving unit 88 within the track system 80. The bracket system 186 can include cooperating sliding members 190 and 192. Cooperating sliding members 190 and 192 may be displaced with respect to one another to vary a width of the moving unit 88. The displacement of the cooperating sliding members further varies a distance between the two wheel machines 180. This distance may be adjusted to accommodate chain segments of different widths or for tuning and/or calibrating the system over time.

[00103] An alternative embodiment is shown in Figures 17A, 17B and 17C. In fact, the moving unit 88 can alternatively comprises a toothed wheel 480 provided with a plurality of teeth 482. Such a wheel 480 is dimensioned to engage the chain segments 108 to displace the chain 104. In fact, such a wheel is dimensioned for example to engage the space defined between two adjacent segments, the space defined between two adjacent segments matching with the size of the teeth.

[00104] Referring back to Figure 3, the track system 80 includes one moving unit 88 positioned along the fixed track 96. For example, and as illustrated, the bracket system 186 is positioned over a top of the fixed track 96 while the wheel machines extend downwardly past the fixed track 96 to engage the chain 104 attached underneath the fixed track 96.

[00105] Referring now to Figure 8, therein illustrated is a perspective view of a waste carrying platform 32 according to various exemplary embodiments. The waste carrying platform 32 includes a tray 200 onto which animal waste may be received. The waste carrying platform 32 further includes a suspension system 208 that supports the tray 200. The suspension system 208 is coupled to at least one wheel 216, which may contact the underlying surface 56.

[00106] In the waste carrying position, the tray 200 of the waste carrying platform 32 is oriented substantially horizontally such that animal waste received thereon is retained. It will be understood that the tray 200 may have a slight incline while the waste carrying platform 32 is in its waste carrying position, as long as the animal waste received on the tray 200 is retained.

[00107] In the waste dispensing position, the tray 200 of the waste carrying platform 32 is substantially inclined, whereby animal waste received thereon slides off the surface of the tray 200 under the force of gravity.

[00108] Whether the tray 200 is in a substantially horizontal orientation (waste carrying position of the waste carrying platform 32) or the substantially inclined orientation (waste dispensing position of the waste carrying platform 32) depends on the position of the wheel 216 and its actuation of the suspension system 208.

[00109] For example, the height of the tray 200 may be a reference height of the waste carrying platform 32. When the wheel 216 is supported by an underlying surface 56 such that the wheel 216 is positioned at a height that is sufficiently close to the tray 200 (i.e. the height of the underlying surface 56 is within the predetermined distance of the reference height), the tray 200 maintains its substantially horizontal orientation. When the wheel 216 is positioned at height that is outside the predetermined distance (either due to the underlying surface 56 having a height that is outside the predetermined distance of the reference height or the underlying surface 56 being so low that the wheel 216 is not supported at all), the tray 200 enters its substantially inclined orientation.

[001 10] Referring now to Figure 9, therein illustrated is an elevation view of a rear side of the waste carrying platform 32 according to various exemplary embodiments. The suspension system 208 of the exemplary waste carrying platform 32 includes at least one upstanding bar 224 onto which the tray 200 is pivotally attached. For example, and as illustrated, the suspension 208 includes two upstanding bars 224 onto which the tray 200 is pivotally attached. The tray 200 is attached to the two upstanding bars 224 so that it can pivot between its substantially horizontal position and its substantially inclined position.

[001 1 1 ] The at least one upstanding bar 224 maintains a substantially fixed height during displacement of the waste carrying platform 32. For example, the at least one upstanding bar 224 is fixedly coupled to a chain segment 108 of the chain 104. [001 12] The suspension 208 further includes an arm member 232. A first end 240 of the arm member 232 is pivotally attached to one of the upstanding bars 224. A second end 248 of the arm member 232 is coupled to the wheel 216. For example, an axle of the wheel 216 may extend transversely from the second end 248 of the arm member 232. As the arm member 232 is pivotally attached to an upstanding bar 224 and the upstanding bar 224 is fixedly coupled to the chain 104, the arm member 232 performs a pivotal action as the height of the wheel 216 is varied. The height of wheel 216 may vary as the waste carrying platform 32 is displaced over an underlying surface of varying height.

[001 13] A linkage member 256 extends between the arm member 232 and the tray 200. Due to this joining of the tray 200 with the linkage member 256, the tray 200 is actuated between its substantially horizontal orientation and its substantially inclined orientation as the height of the wheel 216 is varied and the arm member 232 is pivoted. More particularly, when the wheel 216 is sufficiently raised (due to the height of the underlying surface 56 being within the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform 32), the arm member 232 is also pivoted upwardly. This upward pivoting further pushes the tray 200 via the linkage member 256 upwardly so that the tray 200 assumes its substantially horizontal orientation. When the wheel 216 is sufficiently lowered (due to the height of the underlying surface 56 being outside the predetermined distance of the reference height of the waste carrying platform 32), the arm member 232 is pivoted downwardly. This downward pivoting further pulls the tray 200 via the linkage member 256 downwardly so that the tray 200 assumes its substantially inclined orientation.

[001 14] For example, and as illustrated, the linkage member 256 is pivotally attached at a first end to the arm member 232 at a location that is remote of first end 240 of the arm member 232. The linkage member 256 is further pivotally attached at a second end to the tray 200. The linkage member 256 may be pivotally attached to a side of the tray 200 that is opposite the side at which the tray 200 is pivotally attached to the upstanding bar 224. [001 15] Referring now to Figure 10, therein illustrated is a perspective view of a waste carrying platform 32 in its waste dispensing position according to various exemplary embodiments. The wheel 216 has been lowered such that the linkage member 256 has a substantially vertical orientation. As a result, the tray 200 of the waste carrying platform 32 is substantially inclined so that animal waste received thereon has slid off the surface of the tray 200.

[001 16] The example embodiment in Figure 10 shows two waste carrying platforms 32 arranged end-to-end along a closed path defined by the fixed track 96. In some exemplary embodiments, more than two waste carrying platforms 32 may be arranged end-to-end. Two or more adjacent waste carrying platforms 32 each being in the waste carrying position provides a continuous surface for receiving animal waste from the feeder 8. However, each waste carrying platform 32 may still be moved between its waste carrying position and its waste dispensing position independently of the position of any other waste carrying platform 32.

[001 17] The waste carrying platforms 32 arranged end-to-end forms a multi-platform chain so that more animal waste may be received, displaced and dispensed at any time.

[001 18] For example, the multi-platform chain may extend along at least 40% of the closed path defined by the fixed track.

[001 19] For example, the multi-platform chain may extend along at least 60% of the closed path defined by the fixed track.

[00120] For example, the multi-platform chain may extend along at least 90% of the closed path defined by the fixed track.

[00121 ] For example, a plurality of waste carrying platforms 32 may form a plurality of multi-platform chains.

[00122] Referring now to Figure 1 1 , therein illustrated is a front elevation view of a set of mixing members 64 according to various exemplary embodiments. The set of mixing members 64 includes an axle 264 from which extend a plurality of finger members 272. The axle 264 may be rotatable so as to adjust a vertical distance by which the finger members 272 extend. For example, the axle 264 may be coupled to a biasing member 276 which provides a counter-force on the axle 264. For example, the biasing member provides a variable tension of the finger members 272 when contacting an underlying surface 56.

[00123] According to various exemplary embodiments, a set of mixing members 64 may include at least two subsets 280 and 282 of mixing members 64. The first subset 280 extends from a first axle 264 that is supported by a first bracket 284. The second subset 282 extends from a second axle 264b that is supported by a second bracket 288. The first bracket 284 may be moved in a side-to-side motion as the set of mixing members 64 is displaced along the closed path. Similarly, the second bracket 288 may be moved in a side-to-side motion as the set of mixing members 64 is displaced along the closed path.

[00124] According to one exemplary embodiment, and as illustrated, a first actuated arm 290 extends from the first bracket 280 and is coupled to an actuating mechanism 291 . Similarly, a second actuated arm 292 extends from the second bracket 288. The actuating mechanisms 291 causes side-to-side motions of the first actuated arm 290 and the second actuated arm 292. For example, the actuating mechanism 291 includes an oscillating arm that extends between a rotating plate and the first and second actuated arms. As the rotating plate is rotated, the oscillating arm has a side to side motion, which further causes the side-to-side motions of the first and second actuated arms 290, 292. For example, the rotating plate may receive a rotational force from a motor. Alternatively, the rotating plate is rotationally coupled to a track wheels set 1 16, for example, via a gear mechanism, whereby rotating of the set of track wheels causes rotation of the rotating plate.

[00125] Referring now to Figure 12, therein illustrated is a perspective view of an assembled waste drying system 1 according to one exemplary embodiment. The exemplary embodiment includes two waste carrying platforms 32 each being attached to a chain segment 108 of the chain 104. A set of mixing members 64 is attached to the chain 104. The chain 104 forms a continuous ring and follows the closed path defined by the fixed track 96. A moving unit is coupled to the fixed track 96. Operation of the moving unit 88 causes the chain 104 to be advanced along the fixed track 96, which further causes displacement of the waste carrying platforms 32 and the set of mixing members 64.

[00126] According to various exemplary embodiments, the animal waste drying system 1 may include at least one scraping device 320. The scraping device 320 is operable to contact animal waste that has been deposited onto the supporting surface and displace this waste. In particular, the deposited waste is transported to the hopper 74 so that it may be unloaded from the drying chamber 16 by the unloader 68. The scraping device 30 may be operated when the animal waste that has been deposited has sufficiently dried.

[00127] For example the at least one scraping device 320 is connected to the chain 104 and is displaced with the displacement of the chain 104 along the closed path defined by the fixed track 96. As a result, the deposited animal waste contacted by the scraping device 320 is also displaced along the closed path over the supporting surface. For example, by locating the hopper 74 along the closed path, the scraping device 320 will eventually bring the animal waste contacted by it to the hopper 74.

[00128] Referring now to Figure 13, therein illustrated is a side elevation view of a scraping device 320 according to one exemplary embodiment. For example, and as illustrated, three scraping devices 320 are provided. However, it will be understood that in other examples, a different number of scraping devices may be included.

[00129] A scraping device 320 includes an articulated arm 324 that is pivotally attached to a chain segment 108. The articulated arm 324 is attached in a way so that it can be pivoted along the direction indicated by arrows 328. For example, the articular arm 324 is biased towards a top surface 332 of the supporting surface 336.

[00130] A scraping blade 340 extends from the articulated arm towards the top surface 332. The scraping blade 340 may have a width that corresponds to the expected width of the dispersion of deposited animal waste over the support surface 336. This dispersion may be the dispersion caused by the mixing member 64. [00131 ] For example, and illustrated, at least one ramp 344 may be placed in proximity of the hopper 74. The at least one ramp 344 presents an upwardly inclined surface 348 that joins the top surface 332 with the hopper 74. A scraping blade 340 can displace animal waste from the top surface 332 over the upwardly inclined surface 348 into the hopper 74.

[00132] For example, the at least one ramp 344 may have an inclined surface 348 that has at least a 10% grade with respect to the top surface 332.

[00133] For example, the at least one ramp 344 may have an inclined surface 348 that has at least a 20% grade with respect to the top surface 332.

[00134] For example, the at least one ramp may have an inclined surface 348 that has at least a 30% grade with respect to the top surface 332.

[00135] The scraping device 320 may be moved between a raised position and a scraping position. In the raised position, the scraping device 320 is pivoted upwardly so that the scraping blade 340 is disengaged from the dispensed animal waste. The scraping device 320 may be moved to the raised position during a drying phase in which undried animal waste is being dispensed from the waste dispensing platform 32 and air is flowed through the drying chamber 16 to dry the dispensed waste.

[00136] In the scraping positon, the scraping device 320 is pivoted upwardly so that the scraping blade 340 contacts the animal waste dispensed over the supporting surface 336. The scraping device 320 may be moved to the raised position during an animal waste collecting phase in which the dispensed animal waste has sufficiently dried and is to be collected and unloaded from the drying chamber 16 by the unloader 68.

[00137] Referring now to Figures 14 and 15, therein illustrated are a side elevation view and a perspective view respectively of a waste carrying platform 32' according to an alternative exemplary embodiment. As shown, the tray 200 can be actuated between its substantially horizontal orientation and its substantially inclined orientation. The tray 200 is supported by a wheel 216 which is passed over the underlying surface of varying height. [00138] Referring now to Figure 16, therein illustrated is a front elevation view of the waste carrying platform 32'according to the alternative exemplary embodiment. The wheel 216 is fixed attached to the tray 200. The tray 200 is further pivotally attached to the upstanding bar 224. When the wheel 216 is displaced over a portion of the underlying surface 56 having a lesser height, the wheel 216 drops downwardly and is pivoted about the attachment point of the tray 200 with the upstanding bar 224. As a result, the tray 200 is also pivoted and enters its inclined position. When the wheel 216 is displaced over another portion having a greater height, it is pivoted upwardly, which further causes the tray 200 to be pivoted back to its waste carrying position.

[00139] According to various exemplary embodiments, the animal waste drying system 1 may include a shipping container. The walls 400 of the shipping container define the drying chamber 16 and the fixed track 96 is installed inside the shipping container. The feeder 8, unloader 68 and air flow from the poultry farming building may be connected to one or more sidewalls or top wall of the shipping container.

[00140] Alternatively, the system may comprises supporting members made of a composite material chosen from various composite materials comprising polymers such as reinforced polyester.

[00141 ] According to other exemplary embodiments, the animal waste drying system 1 may include a plurality of shipping containers that are joined together to define the drying chamber 16. The outer walls 400 of the shipping containers define the drying chamber 16. The fixed track 96 extends through the plurality of shipping containers. The feeder, unloader 68 and air flow from the poultry farming building may be connected to one or more of the outer walls 400 of the shipping containers.

[00142] According to various exemplary embodiments, the various components of the waste drying system 1 may be provided as a kit. The kit ma

[00143] y facilitate transportation of the components to the site where the waste drying system 1 is to be installed. The components of the kits can then be assembled together at the installation site. [00144] The kit includes at least a first shipping container and a second shipping container. For example, the first shipping container and the second shipping container can each be intermodal containers. At least one track segment corresponding to a portion of the fixed track 96 is pre-installed inside the first shipping container. Similarly at least another track segment corresponding to another portion of the fixed track 96

[00145] At least a portion of one sidewall of the first shipping container is removable. Similarly, at least a portion of one sidewall of the second shipping container is removable. The removable sidewall portion of the first shipping container may be an entire shipping container sidewall of the first shipping container. Similarly, the removable sidewall portion of the second shipping container may be an entire shipping container sidewall of the second shipping container.

[00146] According to various exemplary methods for assembling a waste drying system 1 , the first shipping container is transported to the installation site with its removable sidewall portion attached and its track segment pre-installed within it.

[00147] Similarly, the second shipping container is transported to the installation site with its removable sidewall portion attached and its track segment installed within it.

[00148] Once the at least first shipping container and the second shipping container have been transported to the installation site, the assembly method continues by joining at least the first shipping container and the second shipping container together to form a drying chamber 16.

[00149] For example, the at least one removable sidewall portion of the first shipping container is removed. The at least one removable sidewall portion of the second shipping container is also removed. The first shipping container and the second shipping container are joined by placing the shipping containers side-by-side, whereby the opening formed from removal of the sidewall portion of the first shipping container faces and communicates with the opening formed from removal of the sidewall portion of the second shipping container. Accordingly, the interior of the first shipping container is in fluid communication with the interior of the second shipping container through their respective openings. The unremoved sidewalls of at least the first shipping container and the second shipping container define the drying chamber 16.

[00150] The first track segment pre-installed in the first shipping container is joined to the second track segment pre-installed in the second shipping container. Joining the track segments together may form a complete closed fixed track 96 that defines the closed displacement path.

[00151 ] The assembly method further includes connecting a feeder to the partially assembled drying system 1 . The feeder receives animal waste from an external waste producing system and transports the waste into the drying chamber 16.

[00152] The assembly method further includes connecting an unloader to the partially assembled drying system 1 . The unloader receives dried waste from the drying chamber 16 and transports it to an external treatment system.

[00153] According to various exemplary embodiments, the kit includes at least one of the feeder and the unloader, which may be contained within a third shipping container. For example, both the feeder and the unloader may be contained with the third shipping container.

[00154] According to various exemplary embodiments, the kit further includes various other components of the waste drying system 1 . Prior to assembly, these components may be detached from the waste drying system 1 . Alternatively, one or more of the components may already be attached.

[00155] For example, the kit further includes one or more waste carrying platforms 32 adapted to be attached and displaced along the fixed track 96. The waste carrying platforms 32 may be contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation. Alternatively, the waste carrying platforms 32 may be transported within another shipping container. The waste carrying platform 32 may be provided in its assembled form, for example, as illustrated in Figures 9 and 10, except that it is initially decoupled from the fixed track 96. One or more of the waste carrying platform 32 may each be pre-attached to a chain segment 108. [00156] For example, the kit further includes at least one moving unit 88 adapted to be attached along the fixed track 96. The moving unit 88 may be contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation. Alternatively, the moving unit 88 may be transported within another shipping container.

[00157] For example, the kit further includes a plurality of chain segments 108 adapted to be attached along the fixed track 96 to form a chain 104. Chain segments 108 may be contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation. Alternatively, the chain segments 108 may be transported within another shipping container. The chain segments 108 may be provided in its assembled form, for example, as illustrated in 5. One or more of the chain segments 108 may be pre-attached to a waste carrying platform 32 or a set of mixing members 64.

[00158] For example, the kit further includes one or more sets of mixing members 64 adapted to be attached and displaced along the fixed track 96. The mixing members 64 may be contained within at least one of the first shipping container and the second shipping container during transportation. Alternatively, the mixing members 64 may be transported within another shipping container. The mixing members 64 may be provided in its assembled form, for example, as illustrated in Figure 1 1 , except that it is initially detached from the fixed track 96. The mixing members 64 may each be initially detached from the chain segments 108.

[00159] According to other exemplary embodiments, a kit may include a single shipping container that defines a drying chamber. A fixed closed track is pre-installed within the shipping container. At least one waste carrying platform may be further attached and displaced along the closed track.

[00160] According to various exemplary embodiments, the assembly method further includes assembling one or more components of the waste drying system 1 . For example, when joining the track segments pre-installed in at least the first shipping container and the second shipping container, the chain segments 108 are also assembled. The chain segments 108 are attached together to form the chain 104. The chain segments 108 are coupled to the fixed track via the sets of track wheels 1 16.

[00161 ] For example, the one or more waste carrying platforms 32 are assembled to the waste drying system 1 . These may be assembled through assembly of the chain segments 108. Alternatively, the waste carrying platforms 32 are installed after assembly of the chain 104.

[00162] For example, the one or more sets of mixing members 64 are installed. These may be assembled through assembly of the chain segments 108. Alternatively, the mixing members 64 are installed after assembly of the chain 104.

[00163] For example, the moving unit 88 may also be installed. The moving unit 88 may be configured according to the dimensions of the chain segments 108 of the assembled chain 104.

[00164] According to various exemplary embodiments, at least one unremoved sidewall of the first shipping container and the second shipping container has formed therein an opening for receiving air flow. Air flow received through this opening provides drying of the animal waste received within the drying chamber.

[00165] It will be understood that while exemplary kits and assembly methods have been described herein with reference to a first shipping container and a second shipping container, various exemplary embodiments may make use of more than two shipping containers. In particular, a variable number of shipping containers may be assembled to form the drying chamber 16 according to the desired size of the drying chamber 16.

[00166] For example, four shipping containers may be joined to form a drying chamber 16 that is twice the size as one formed from joining two shipping containers. In other examples, the drying chamber 16 may be formed from joining any larger number of shipping containers.

[00167] Referring back to Figure 2, the exemplary waste drying system 1 illustrated therein has a drying chamber 16 that is defined by the joining of four shipping containers. A first shipping container 300 is joined at its short side with a short side of a second shipping container 304. For example, end doors of the first shipping container 300 and the second shipping container 304 may be removed. The first shipping container 300 is further joined at its long side to a third shipping container 308. For clarity, longitudinal sidewalls 310, 312 of the first shipping container 300 and third shipping container 308 are shown in Figure 2, but it will be understood that at least a portion of each of the longitudinal sidewalls 310 and 312 are removed. A fourth shipping container 316 is joined to the second shipping container 304 and the third shipping container 308. The fourth shipping container 316 is joined at its short side with a short side of the third shipping container 308. For example, end doors of the third shipping container 308 and the fourth shipping container 316 may be removed. The further shipping container 316 is further joined at its long side to second shipping container 304. For clarity, longitudinal walls 318, 319 of the third and fourth shipping containers 308, and 316 are shown in Figure 2, but it will be understood that at least a portion of each of the longitudinal sidewalls 318 and 319 are removed.

[00168] An additional shipping container 321 contains the feeder 8 and the unloader 68. The shipping container 321 is positioned near the first shipping container 300 and the feeder 8 projects through an end of the container 321 and an outer sidewall 323 of the first shipping container 300 to enter the drying chamber 16.

[00169] In other exemplary embodiments, the closed fixed track 96 may be contained within a single shipping container. Accordingly, an exemplary assembly method includes transporting the shipping container with the tracked already installed therein. One or more of the chain 104, waste carrying platform 32 and mixing members may be detached from the track 96 while the shipping container is being transported. These may be connected at the installation site. At the same installation site, a feeder may be further connected.

[00170] It will be appreciated that various waste drying systems, kits and methods described herein provide increased ease of transportation, assembly and installation. Use of shipping containers to transport items facilitates transportation. Having one or more pre-installed components (ex: portions of fixed track, moving unit, etc) decreases the amount of assembly required. The use of the shipping containers as walls that define the drying chamber decreases or eliminates the need permanent fixtures (ex: no need to building a foundation or permanent walls), thereby decreases infrastructure costs. For example, the kit may be delivered as a "plug and play" solution, which can be installed by an end user without the use of special tools or requiring specialized personnel.

[00171 ] It will be further appreciated that use of shipping containers as walls further provides modularity. The size of the drying chamber 16 that is formed, and consequently the size of the drying operation (ex: rate of dried waste produce) can be varied simply by varying the number of shipping containers used to form the drying chamber 16. For example, within a "plug and play" solution, an end user may specify the desired amount of animal waste to be dried, and the manufacturer can provide a number of shipping containers for forming a drying chamber 16 that will correspond with the desired amount. The track segment preinstalled in these shipping containers can be configured accordingly so as to form an assembled fixed track that will appropriately cover that drying chamber 16.

[00172] It will be appreciated that, for simplicity and clarity of illustration, where considered appropriate, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements or steps. In addition, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the exemplary embodiments described herein. However, it will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiments described herein may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures and components have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the embodiments described herein. Furthermore, this description is not to be considered as limiting the scope of the embodiments described herein in any way but rather as merely describing the implementation of the various embodiments described herein.