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Title:
WASTE COLLECTION APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/010865
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
For mounting in a chamber in the base of an appliance, a cupboard or wall, a housing (10) which is similar in form to a drawer, has a floor level aperture (31 ) at the front for intake of debris. A waste receptacle (34) is removably mounted in the housing, and a first duct (32) leads from the aperture (31 ), preferably upwards to an inlet (33) in an upper region of the waste receptacle. Suction means, such as impeller and drive motor (19), are mounted to the rear of the waste receptacle (34) adjacent the outlet of the receptacle (34) and draw air and entrained debris from adjacent the aperture (31 ) and via the first duct (32) to be deposited in the receptacle (34). Additionally, an enclosure (28) is provided between the waste receptacle outlet and the suction means (19) in which a reservoir containing a volatile deodorising or fragrancing substance is to be mounted so as to minimise any recycling of unpleasant odours back to the room. A second duct (not shown), preferably at each side of the housing (10), extends from the suction means (19) back to the front of the housing (10) to exhaust the air, which typically passes through a filter (37) when exiting the receptacle (34).

Inventors:
PENDLEBURY, Leonard (3 Reynolds Close, Over Hulton, Bolton BL5 1HD, GB)
Application Number:
GB2011/051303
Publication Date:
January 26, 2012
Filing Date:
July 12, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TIDYMATIC HOLDINGS LIMITED (Britannia House, Junction StreetDarwen, Lancashire BB3 2RB, GB)
PENDLEBURY, Leonard (3 Reynolds Close, Over Hulton, Bolton BL5 1HD, GB)
International Classes:
A47L5/38; A61L9/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARRISON GODDARD FOOTE (4th Floor, Merchant Exchange17-19 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WG, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Waste collection apparatus comprising:

a housing adapted for mounting in a chamber in the base of an appliance, cupboard or wall, said housing having sides and a front and having a floor level aperture at the front for intake of debris;

a waste receptacle having an inlet and an outlet and being removably mounted in the housing;

first duct means leading from the aperture to the waste receptacle inlet;

suction means mounted adjacent the waste receptacle outlet and operative to draw air and entrained debris from adjacent the aperture and via the first duct means to be deposited in the receptacle;

an enclosure between the waste receptacle outlet and the suction means in which a reservoir containing a volatile deodorising or fragrancing substance is to be mounted; and second duct means extending from the suction means to the front of the housing.

2. Waste collection apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the front of the housing has at least one opening, separate from the floor level aperture for intake of debris, for exhaust of air from the second duct means.

3. Waste collection apparatus according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the inlet of the waste receptacle is provided in an upper region of the waste receptacle and the first duct means extends upwards from the floor level aperture to the waste receptacle inlet.

4. Waste collection apparatus according to claim 1 or 2 wherein the inlet of the waste receptacle is provided in an upper region of the waste receptacle above a front wall section of the waste receptacle so that debris is channelled over an upper edge of said front wall section for deposit in the waste receptacle.

5. Waste collection apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the first duct means is provided in a central region of the housing and the second duct means is provided as respective exhaust ducts at each side of the housing.

6. Waste collection apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the housing has a front plate actuator mounted to be movable against spring bias to operate a timer controlled switch of the suction means.

7. Waste collection apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the front plate actuator pivotally mounted as a flap and is swingable against spring bias.

8. Waste collection apparatus according to any of claims 1 to 5 further comprising a flap which at least partially covers the floor level aperture for collection of swept up waste material.

9. Waste collection apparatus according to claim 8 further comprising a switch associated with and triggered by movement of the flap to actuated power supply for the suction means.

10. Waste collection apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the housing is in the form of a drawer.

1 1 . Waste collection apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the suction means, drive means for the suction means and the duct means are all mounted within the housing.

Description:
WASTE COLLECTION APPARATUS

[0001] This invention relates to apparatus for vacuum collection of waste material, particularly but not exclusively floor sweepings.

BACKGROUND

[0002] In domestic settings, such as kitchens, and other rooms with a hard flooring, and in various commercial locations including hairdressing salons, hotels, airports, it is advantageous to have means for vacuum collection of floor sweepings or other debris built into the base of an appliance, cupboard unit or wall, as this avoids the need for repeated retrieval and setting up of a conventional vacuum cleaner.

[0003] Proposals for suction devices mounted behind skirting board inlets and related ducting for conveying dust and debris to a remote discharge location have been made, for example in JP 2006 218270 A. The applicant's own earlier GB 2361862 A discloses a freestanding unit having an aperture at the bottom of its front face and ducting leading from the aperture, via suction means, to a waste receptacle, so that debris swept adjacent to the aperture can be sucked into the ducting and deposited in the waste receptacle when the suction means is actuated. JP 2001 -309828 discloses a comparable unit for mounting in a lower portion of furniture or a kitchen unit.

[0004] Previous specific product designs have encountered problems with efficient intake of debris, efficient deposit of waste material into the waste receptacle and/or hygiene and odours generally.

[0005] An object of the present invention is to provide a self-contained unit for suction removal of particulate debris from adjacent a floor level aperture, which unit can readily be mounted into a chamber in the base of an already installed cupboard, or into the base of a wall or into the base of a freestanding appliance, such as a larger waste bin, and which operates more efficiently than similar known products and/or otherwise avoids practical problems which have been associated with these.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0006] The present invention provides waste collection apparatus comprising a housing adapted for mounting in a chamber in the base of an appliance, cupboard or wall, said housing having sides and a front and having a floor level aperture at the front for intake of debris, a waste receptacle having an inlet and outlet and being removably mounted in the housing, first duct means leading from the aperture to the inlet of the waste receptacle, suction means mounted adjacent to the outlet of the waste receptacle and operative to draw air and entrained debris from adjacent the aperture and via the first duct means for deposit in the receptacle, and second duct means extending from the suction means to the front of the housing.

[0007] Various advantageous features are proposed in embodiments of the invention to meet the above object of providing a more efficient and commercially useful product than any known hitherto.

[0008] One advantageous feature is provision of deodorising means. Thus, an enclosure may be provided communicating between the outlet of the waste receptacle and the suction means, in which a container of a volatile deodorising of fragrancing substance is mounted. Typically, a wick extends from the container and evaporation of the selected substance is optimised by location of the container at the inlet side of the suction means, which is typically a motor driven fan. Thus, whenever the suction means is actuated, upon intake of debris to the waste receptacle, the rate of evaporation is increased so that the deodorising or fragrancing effect of the volatile substance is matched to the timing of movement of debris and air and any odours arising from that.

[0009] Other advantageous features, provided separately or together, relate to the circulation of air in the apparatus to optimise efficient uptake and deposit of debris. Firstly, the inlet of the waste receptacle is preferably provided in an upper region of the waste receptacle with the first duct means extending upwards from the aperture to said inlet. Secondly, the first duct means is preferably provided in a central location, with the second duct means extending at each side of the housing. Thirdly, at least one opening, separate from the floor level aperture, is preferably provided in the front of the housing for exhaust of air from the second duct means.

[0010] Other advantageous features relate to the ease and reliability of actuation of the suction means for a predetermined short period of time. Thus, a front plate actuator, movable against spring bias, by pressure from a brush or similar, may be provided. This may physically actuate a micro-switch to switch on the motor of the suction means, with a timer being provided to switch it off after a short time period. Alternatively, a flap, which is not under spring bias and which may at least partially cover the floor level aperture, may be provided which will be swung inwards by pressure from a brush or similar to actuate switch means, such as a magnetic or proximity switch, to switch on the motor of the suction means. In this case, the suction generated may hold such a flap in its open condition until the motor is switched off, again preferably under timer control. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Embodiments of the invention are further described hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic longitudinal cross-section of a first practical embodiment of the waste collection apparatus of the invention;

Figure 2 is a schematic plan view of the same embodiment as figure 1 with the front actuator plate omitted;

Figure 3 is a schematic perspective view of the housing and some components only of the embodiment shown in figures 1 and 2;

Figure 4 is an enlarged perspective view from the rear of the front actuator plate for the housing shown in figure 3;

Figure 5 is an enlarged perspective view of the waste receptacle for the housing shown in figure 3;

Figure 6 is a sketch illustrating how the embodiment of the preceding figures may be mounted into and behind the kick board of a kitchen cupboard;

Figure 7 is a similar sketch illustrating how the apparatus maybe partially withdrawn for removal and emptying of the waste receptacle; and

Figure 8 it is a fragmentary longitudinal cross-section of the front part of a second embodiment of the apparatus of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] With reference to figures 1 to 7 of the accompanying drawings, a first practical embodiment of the invention comprises a housing 10 in the form of a drawer which may be mounted into and behind the kick board 50 of a kitchen cupboard 51 , as shown in figures 6 and 7, but could also be mounted, in suitably modified form as necessary, into the base of any other cupboard or appliance, or indeed into an aperture behind a skirting board or other lower portion of a wall.

[0013] The housing 10 has front and rear walls 1 1 , 12, longer sidewalls 13, 14, and a base 15. It is subdivided into front and rear compartments 17, 18 by a partition 16 extending between the sidewalls 13, 14. A vacuum motor 19, that is to say an impeller and its associated drive motor, are mounted into the rear compartment 18, with the motor resting on a suitable mount 20 and the impeller portion fitted into a cylindrical connector 21 projecting rearwards from the partition 16 with an anti-vibration gasket 22 of rubber or similar there between. Also in the rear compartment 18 and connected to the motor 19 are a timer control unit 23 for the motor and connector means 24 for power supply to the motor 19 via a cable 25 passing through the rear wall 12 and connected to mains electricity. However, in the alternative, battery power supply means for the motor maybe provided and located in the rear compartment 18 also. The partition 16 has a central opening 26 within the perimeter of the cylindrical connector 21 enabling flow of air rearwards from the front compartment into the impeller ( 27) when the latter is operating, as shown by the arrows in figures 1 , 2 and 3. Within the confines of the cylindrical connector 21 for the impeller 27, a perforated enclosure 28 is mounted to the partition 16 over the rear side of the opening 26. This enclosure 28 provides a niche into which a container 53 of volatile deodorising substance may be mounted, as shown schematically in figures 1 and 2. Although not apparent in the drawings, the rear compartment 18 preferably has a top closure for safety purposes so that the motor and impeller are not immediately accessible to a user of the apparatus.

[0014] The front compartment 17 has secondary sidewalls 29 spaced inwardly from the sidewalls 13, 14, with top wall sections 30 extending between each primary and secondary side wall to providing respective side channels 39. These channels 39 communicate between the rear compartment, via side openings in the partition 16, and side openings 36 in the front wall 1 1 as exhaust ducts for air drawn in through the vacuum motor 19. The front wall 1 1 also has a centrally positioned floor level aperture 31. An inlet duct 32 of L- shaped cross-section has its front margin projecting through this aperture 31 , from where it extends rearwards and upwards to an inlet 33 of a waste receptacle 34, also referred to as a waste box. This waste box 34 may suitably be made of plastics material and formed with a handle 35 and it is intended to be capable of being lifted out of the open top of the front compartment 17 for emptying of debris at intervals. As shown, the inlet 33 of the waste box is provided in an upper region of the box 34. This inlet 33 is of restricted size and may be no larger than the size of the floor level aperture 31. In this embodiment the inlet 33 is provided in the underside of a front overhang region of the waste box 34 and is closely matched in shape and size to the upper end of the upwardly projecting inlet duct 32. The waste box 34 also has an outlet 36 at its end remote from the inlet 33. A filter 37, which is removable to allow for emptying of the waste box 34 when it is lifted out of the housing 10, is fitted into the outlet 36. The filter 37 is preferably washable for reuse. Externally, the outlet 36 is provided with a gasket 38 which effectively seals around the opening 26 in the partition 16 when the waste box 34 is correctly located into the front compartment, as shown in figures 1 and 2. This gasket 38 seals off the enclosure 28 in which the container 53 of deodorising/fragrancing substance is to be located. Thus, the enclosure 28 can be accessed, for placement of the deodoriser 53 or for removal and replenishment of same, only when the waste box 34 is lifted out of the housing 10. [0015] Externally, the sidewalls 13, 14 are provided with ledges 38 extending from front to rear of the housing 10 and at a position intermediate the top and bottom of each side wall to enable sliding support of the housing 10 in the manner of a drawer, as apparent by reference to figure 2. However, it is intended that the housing 10 should normally be capable of withdrawal only to the extent necessary to allow lifting out of the waste box 34 for periodic emptying, or for access to the enclosure 28, as just mentioned. Respective slide stop holes 40, 41 are provided in the ledges 38 at positions which engage with known type of upstanding pegs of a slide support within the chamber behind the kick board 50. Thus the holes 40 engage with such pegs in the fully inserted condition of the housing 10 and the holes 41 engage with such pegs in the condition where the housing 10 is partially withdrawn to the level of the partition 16, as shown in figure 7.

[0016] A fascia plate 42, as shown in figures 1 and 4 is pivotally attached to the front wall 1 1 of the housing 10 by means of hinges 43 which are connected to the top wall sections 30 at the front of the respective side ducts of the front compartment 17. The fascia plate 42 has spring means 44, such as helical springs or compressible blocks of rubber or similar, at its lower corners on its inner surface, which contact the front wall 1 1 and bias the fascia plate 42 apart from the front wall 1 1 . These springs 44 may be mounted on guide bolts which extend from the fascia plate 42 and through the front wall 1 1 of the housing 10. Thus, the fascia plate 42 in this embodiment is provided as a spring biased flap. The fascia plate 42 also has a lower edge recess 49 cut out to correspond to the aperture 31 in the front plate and fit around the projecting front margin of the inlet duct 32.

[0017] Mounted in one of the side ducts of the front compartment 17 is a micro-switch 45 for operation of the vacuum motor 19. This switch 45 is actuated by force of the fascia plate 42 when it is pressed inwards towards the front wall 1 1 against the normal bias of the springs 44. One or two vent holes 48 are also provided in the fascia plate at the location overlying the openings 36 in the front plate 1 1 at the front of the side ducts 39. This allows unimpeded exhaust of air when the impeller 29 is operated. The fascia plate 42 also has a lip 46 with down turned edge at a central region of its upper edge, which lip 46 serves as a handle to enable the housing more easily to be pulled out in the manner of a drawer, such as when it is required to remove the waste receptacle 34 for emptying or for access to the deodorising enclosure 28.

[0018] Installation and use of the embodiment illustrated in figures 1 to 7 is readily apparent from the drawings. The housing 10, with all the described components contained therein, is suitably mounted into a space behind the kick board 50 of a kitchen cupboard 51 , in a manner of a drawer, as shown in figures 6 and 7. The vacuum motor 19 is connected to power supply (mains or battery, whichever is provided for) and the timer 23 is set to a suitable operating time for the motor, such as 10 seconds. With the drawer partially withdrawn, the waste box 34 is lifted out of the front compartment 17 to allow placement of the container 53 of volatile deodorising substance into the enclosure 28, the top of this container being removed to expose a wick through which evaporation is facilitated. The waste box 34 is then replaced and the drawer closed. To use the apparatus, particulate waste material is swept by an implement (not shown), typically a broom, to the floor level aperture 31 , 41 at the front of the housing and the implement is used to press the fascia plate 42 against bias of springs 44 to actuate the micro-switch 45 and switch on the motor 19 for the time period fixed by the timer 23. The impeller 27 of the vacuum motor 19 draws air in through the inlet duct 32, together with the entrained particulate debris. It passes upwards and over the front wall of the waste box 34, through inlet 33 into the waste box 34 where it is deposited. Passage from the restricted area of the inlet duct 32 into the larger central chamber of the waste box 34, together with the change in direction of airflow as it necessarily passes up and over the front wall of the waste box reliably slows the air so that the entrained debris drops into the waste box.

[0019] The circulation of air is indicated by arrows in figures 1 , 2, 3 and 5. The air passes through the filter 37 and the enclosure 28. The filter 37 is removable and can be washed, but it should not become too frequently clogged by debris in view of the efficiency of deposit in the waste box 34, as just explained. The enclosure 28 is provided with plural vent holes (or it could be made of mesh) and air passes directly from here to the impeller 27, optimising evaporation of deodorising/fragrancing substance from the container 53. The air is then recirculated to exhaust from the front of the housing by flowing outwards and forwards through the exhaust ducts 39, which are open to the front through the front plate side openings 36 and fascia plate vents 46. This manner of circulation enables efficient operation, reducing suction pressure upon entry into the waste box for efficient deposit of waste, positioning the deodoriser 53 adjacent impeller intake in an enclosure where there is also relatively low air pressure high to maximises evaporation and subsequent dispersion of active deodorising compounds when the impeller operates, and allowing for exhaust of air which does not interfere with the incoming debris-laden air.

[0020] The waste box 34 may be made of transparent or translucent plastics material so that when the apparatus is not being operated, a user upon partially withdrawing the housing 10 from the kick board 58 can see at a glance how for this container is and whether it needs emptying.

[0021] A sensor arrangement may be provided to visually and/or audibly indicate when the container of deodorising/fragrancing substance needs to be replaced or refilled. For example, in the enclosure 28, electrodes may be provided at opposing sides of the projecting wick and in contact with the wick, said electrodes being connected to an electronic circuit capable of measuring resistance across the wick. When fluid in the container is almost exhausted, the wick will become drier and resistance increase, thus actuating the visual and/or audible indicator.

[0022] Figure 8 illustrates a modified mechanism for switching on the vacuum motor where instead of a fascia plate, the front wall of the housing has a letterbox style of flap 56 suspended by a hinge 58 to partially cover the floor level aperture for intake of air and debris. This flap 56 may be freely swingable or swingable inwards against spring bias. When pushed inwards by action of a broom or similar debris collection implement it actuates a switch, which may be any suitable switch, such as a magnetic, proximity or optical switch, to switch on the vacuum motor, preferably for a timer controlled period, as in the previously described embodiment. While the vacuum motor is operating, the suction pressure will tend to hold the flap in its inwardly pivoted condition.

[0023] The invention is not restricted to the details of any foregoing embodiments and many variations are possible in the structure, material and relative dimensions of particular components to be incorporated. Features described in conjunction with a particular aspect, embodiment or example of the invention are to be understood to be applicable to any other aspect, embodiment or example described herein unless incompatible therewith. The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims and drawings).

[0024] Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the words "comprise" and "contain" and variations of them mean "including but not limited to", and they are not intended to (and do not) exclude other components.