PACKER, Gregory, Thomas (Unit 6, 33-35 Cypress AvenueCypress Apartment, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, AU)
2 .The Grab mechanism also fitted with pressure sensors, so as not to crush the bins.
3. Robotic arm extends out 3 metres, and is programmed to stay level until reaching tipping position.
4. The arm is programmed to put the bin back on the ground where it came from.
5. The arm also incorporates side shift.
7. Hydraulic tank is fitted to the vehicle to supply oil to the robot.
8. Overhead packing mechanism and front paddle has :
1 .Its own power pack ,being charged off the vehicle when in static position.
2 Fitted with hydraulic motors and encoders for up and down movement.
3 The paddle has pressure sensors mounted in the front connected to hydraulic telescopic cylinders to keep the front of paddle hard up against the ejector schute not being exactly concave.
9. Belly Dump is fitted with a vacuum system that automatically ejects fluid when belly dump opens
¾ up to eject waste. lOJBelly Dump is fitted with Helical Rotary actuators. Also Hydraulic /Electric locking pins that work off a transmitter from the cabin
11.The Truck is virtually a Bus with a box/type mono mid section dropped in where the passenger area was.
12.This Box section incorporates:
1. Robot with vision.
2 .Belly Dump
3 Packing mechanism.
l.This Mid Section can be disconnected , and
replaced in less than 30 minutes.
The box section also sits on weight cells.
14. The vehicle is also :
1. twin steer
2. four-wheel steer.
18. The cost should be at least one third cheaper to manufacture.
19. This vehicle runs off the syngas from an ethanol/biodiesel plant from city waste.
The syngas can also run all city buses iron this system.
20. There will be no more city waste dumps in the future.
This vehicle will be fitted with new technology that will produce zero pollution using
hydrogen ,this system takes no energy from the engine.
Our vehicle coupled with an Ethanol/
Diesel plant will be :
THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an improved waste vehicle for handling of rubbish, trash, refuse or waste material hereinafter called "waste material" which is collected from domestic or industrial premises. In particular the waste vehicle of the invention may provide a novel robotic arm for picking up rubbish bins or containers as well as a novel method of passing the rubbish into a section of the vehicle for ultimate ejection onto a suitable site.
BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
Conventional waste vehicles of the type described above are described for example in US Patent 7588408 which refers to waste packing apparatus which has a hopper and a packer mechanism. The hopper is for receiving waste material and has an arcuate interior bottom surface and an aperture opening into an interior of the hopper. The packer mechanism or pusher mechanism is mounted in the hopper for reciprocating movement along an arcuate path defined at least in part by the bottom surface of the hopper. In use waste material introduced into the hopper gathers on the bottom surface when the packing mechanism is retracted and is swept by the packer mechanism through the aperture on an extension stroke of the packer mechanism which has a blade which engages the bottom surface of the hopper. A hydraulic mechanism is provided for moving the blade to an extended and retracted position. The waste material may be . passed to a storage container mounted at a rear end of the vehicle which receives the waste material from the hopper through an aperture located in a divider wall between the hopper of the storage container and the storage container. The waste material may be deposited onto a waste site by tipping or pivotal movement of the storage container through a rear gate or door.
Reference may also be made to US Patent 6821074 which describes an automated container loader for collecting the contents of curb slide residential waste containers or bins. The container loader is mounted to the vehicle chassis by a side and positioned adjacent a side of the vehicle chassis. The container loader has a pair of lift arm members which are connected at their lower ends to a gripper housing having an opposed set of gripping jaws. The gripper jaws are pivotally attached to the gripper housing on opposite sides to their respective lift arms thereby creating a cross pivoting arrangement. The distance between the free ends of the gripping jaws is thereby reduced when in the open position. The action of the gripping jaws results in the contents of the waste container to be deposited into a receiving hopper when each of the lift arm members approaches fully raised vertical position. The waste material is transferred to a rearward storage compartment for compacted waste.
US Patent 4,482,283 refers to a waste collection vehicle having a removable or upwardly pivoting collecting chamber for waste material as well as a loading hopper located beside the container on the waste collection vehicle which is provided with compressing or compacting means for compression of the waste material and transferring the waste material from the loading hopper to the collection container through mutually registering openings in adjacent walls of the loading hopper and the collecting container.
US Patent 5,938,393 describes a waste vehicle having a collecting container arranged behind a driver's cabin which has a top access opening and a pressure plate located inside. There is also provided a swivel arm arrangement which extends across the cabin, picks up and empties the waste material and is articulated to a support frame arranged behind the cabin and connected to the vehicle chassis.
However the abovementioned prior art is exemplary of prior art wherein the waste material is passed into a storage compartment which can be tipped or pivoted to a loading position in the case of US Patent 7,588,408 or to a collection container or storage or receiving hopper in the case of US Patents 6,821 ,074, 4,482,283 or 5,938,393. This method of disposal of waste material uses complicated tipping apparatus in the case of US Patent 7,586, 408 or the use of a separate collection container or storage compartment in the case of US Patents 6,821 ,074, 4,482,283 or 5,938,393 which requires that the collection container be removed from the waste vehicle which can be time consuming in operation and ineffective because only a limited volume of waste material that can be removed. The use of a tipping mechanism or waste collector or storage compartment also adds materially to the weight of the vehicle and its cost of manufacture. OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a method of disposal of waste material which is effective in use and alleviates the disadvantages of the prior art discussed above. A further object of the invention is to provide a vehicle for use in the method as described above as well as a robotic arm for use in the method of the invention.
The process of the invention includes the following steps: (i) picking up a waste container filled with waste material by a robotic arm or swivel arm attached to an adjacent vehicle and passing the waste material into a vehicle interior for collection in a storage compartment having a hollow interior and a movable floor; and (ii) ejecting the waste material from the storage compartment by movement of the floor of the storage compartment from a closing position to an opening position.
In another aspect of the invention there may be provided a waste collection vehicle which has the abovementioned storage compartment having the movable floor which preferably is interposed between a front vehicle cabin and a rear section which incorporates a drive motor or engine for the vehicle. The vehicle may also have the robotic arm or swivel arm attached to one side of the vehicle.
The storage compartment may have a push arm associated therewith which may move from a horizontal orientation to a vertical orientation in combination with a downwardly extending ramp surface whereby waste material may be pushed or transferred into the storage compartment from a chute into which the waste material may be passed by the robotic arm or swivel arm. The storage compartment in one embodiment may comprise a vehicle frame which has an internal bin which is incorporated into the vehicle frame. In another embodiment there may be provided a lower vehicle frame, a middle or intermediate frame which incorporates the internal bin and a pressure plate which moves from an upper position to a lower position from an upper position to a lower position for compaction of waste material deposited into the internal bin. In this arrangement the push member as described above may be pivotally attached to the pressure plate.
In step (i) of the process the waste container, the robotic arm or swivel arm may have a pair of grab members for securely grabbing or gripping the waste container so that the grab members are located substantially in a horizontal plane so that the waste container is elevated to a suitable height before the grab members are pivoted and may invert or tip the waste container so that the waste material is passed into the storage compartment. Simultaneously the robotic arm may have two or more telescopic components which undergo extension and also pivotal movement relative to each other to invert the waste container. Also a support arm which supports an adjacent telescopic component may also undergo pivotal movement relative to the chassis of the vehicle. Preferably an innermost telescopic component may house an outermost telescopic component and the innermost telescopic component is pivotable relative to the support arm. In step (ii) the waste material may be ejected from the storage compartment by movement of adjacent sections of the floor so that each section simultaneously moves from a horizontal orientation to a vertical orientation under the influence of a suitable rotary actuator or actuators.
Finally the waste material may be ejected or discharged from the storage compartment onto a waste collection zone which is suitably a conveyor.
In another aspect the invention provides the robotic arm or swivel arm described above which includes:
(i) a support arm pivotally attachable to the vehicle;
(ii) two or more telescopic components wherein an innermost telescopic component is pivotally attached to a free end of the support arm in use wherein each telescopic component is extendable and pivotable relative to each other; and
(iii) a pair of opposed grab arms each pivotally attached to an adjacent telescopic component whereby each arm pivots in a horizontal plane for grabbing or supporting a waste container as well as in a vertical plane for facilitating elevation of the waste container.
Reference may be made to a preferred embodiment of the invention as shown in the attached drawings wherein:
FIG 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a waste vehicle constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG 2 is a similar view to FIG 1 showing the waste vehicle of FIG 1 with the side panels removed to show an intermediate frame which contains the storage compartment;
FIG 3 shows the waste vehicle of FIG 1 and FIG 2 showing part of one movable floor component in the open position; Floor 53 Forms movable floor assembly 17 having a pair of movable Floor sections 53A & 53B which abuts at 53C in the closed position Which can open outwardly under the influence of either helical rotary Actuators 70 as shown in fig 6A or a fixed pin assembly 70b. 53A & 53B As shown in fig 6B.
Being opened from pivot 70b by hydraulic cylinders AA & BB shown as an opened position X and an intermediate position Y and closed position Z
FIGS 4-5 show a side view and a top plan view of another waste vehicle constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG 6 shows one embodiment of the storage compartment of the vehicle of FIGS 1 , 2 or 3 or FIGS 4-5 which is formed from a lower vehicle frame, an intermediate frame and a pressure plate located above the intermediate frame.
FIG 6A shows a schematic view of the storage compartment having a pair of movable floor sections.
FIG 7 shows an assembled perspective view of the storage compartment shown in FIG 6;
FIG 8 shows a detailed view of part of one of the movable floor components used in the vehicle of the invention used in the embodiment of FIG 6 and FIG 7;
FIG 9 represents a different embodiment of the storage compartment to that shown in FIG 7;
FIG 10 shows a similar view to FIG 8 but having regard to the embodiment of FIG 9;
FIG 11 is a perspective view of the robotic arm of the invention;
FIG 12 shows the various modes of action of the robotic arm shown in FIG 1 1 ; and
FIGS 13-21 shows the sequential steps used in the method of the invention having regard to the embodiment shown in FIG 7.
In FIG 1 reference is made to a vehicle 10 which has been manufactured in accordance with the invention which incorporates pairs of wheels 13, 14, 15 and 16. Wheels 13 and 14 are located closely adjacent to the rear 15A of bus 10 and wheels 15 and 16 are located closely adjacent to the front 16A of bus 10. There is also provided movable floor assembly 17 which is closed, robotic arm 18 which picks up rubbish bins 93 shown in FIG 12 and deposits the rubbish or waste material in chute 23, mirrors 19, body 20, side window 21 and headlights 22. There is also provided side panels 24. In FIG 2 is shown bus 10 from which the side panels 24 have been removed for clarity. There is now shown a front section 25 which incorporates a drivers cabin 26 and rear section 27 incorporating a drive motor (not shown). There is also shown an intermediate frame 28 having uprights 30.
In FIG 3 there is shown bus 10 with the movable floor assembly 17 in the open or waste ejection position.
In FIGS 4-5 there is shown another type of vehicle 10A which has made in accordance with the invention having front section 25A, rear section 27A, intermediate frame 28A having pressure plate 29 and vertical uprights 30. There is also shown robotic arm 18A and chute 23A. Pressure plate 29 can move from position A to position B as shown by the arrows and compacts waste material by continued downward movement to position C as shown by the arrows. There is also provided hydraulic motors 31 and packing member 32 which is pivotally connected to frame 28A at 33 as shown in FIG 6 and which moves in arc 34 to push waste material from chute 23A into a bin 35 formed by intermediate frame 28A as described subsequently. Pressure plate 29 is telescopic as shown at 36.
FIG 5 shows bin 35 and horizontal beam 40 which is part of packing member or push member 32.
FIG 6 shows a perspective view of intermediate frame 28A, top pressure plate 29, four hydraulic motors 31 and hydraulic actuators 41 for moving push member 32. There is also shown scraper 43. Pressure plate 29 also has platen 44 and frame members 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 for supporting platen 44. There is also shown angled braces 52. There is also shown bin 35 which base floor 53, side walls 54 and end frame 55 supporting an end wall (not shown for reasons of clarity). End frame 55 has angled brace 56, top frame member 57 and bottom frame member 58. There is also shown longitudinal frame members 58A and 58B. There is also shown arcuate ramp 59 which dictates the movement of push arm 32 along arc 34.
Floor 53 forms movable floor assembly 17 having a pair of movable floor sections 53A and 53B which abuts at 53C in the closed position but which can open outwardly under the influence of helical rotating actuator 70 as shown in FIG 6A which shows an open position X, an intermediate position Y and by closed position Z. FIG 6 also shows a bottom frame or vehicle frame 60 for supporting bin 35 having a hollow interior 57 in which bin 35 may be placed. Bottom frame 60 has top frame members 61 and 62 and angled brace 63. It will be noted that cute 23 and robot 18A locates in 64 and bin 35. locates in section 65. Section 65 is bounded by vertical frame members 66 and 67 and section 64 is bounded by frame member 66 and end frame 68 .
FIG 7 shows bin 35 and intermediate frame 28A assembled within vehicle frame 60 and also shows rotary actuators 57 for actuating movement of movable floor assembly 17. there is also shown an outer skin 69 of bus 10A.
FIG 8 shows a perspective view along line A-A of FIG 7 showing belly dump 17 and removable bin 35.
FIG 9 shows a similar arrangement to FIG 8 but with bottom frame or vehicle frame 60 deleted as well as pressure plate 29 so that frame 71 shown in FIG 9 corresponds to a combined vehicle frame and bin with incorporated movable floor assembly 17, robotic arm 18A and chute 23A. Frame 71 also has frame members 72, 73, 74 and 75. Also shown are vertical frame members 30A and horizontal frame members 30B.
In FIGS 9A and 9B which are similar to FIGS 4-5 and which refers to the embodiment of FIG 9 it will be noted that pressure plate 29 has now been omitted and push arm 32 pivots through an arc 34A as shown and contacts ramp 59 to sweep or rake waste material into storage compartment or bin 35. The angle of arc 34A may be 90°-150° and more preferably 150°. In this arrangement the push arm 32 is located adjacent the roof 35A of vehicle 10A. Push arm 32 is pivotally attached to vehicle 10A at 31 A. In FIG 9B are shown helical rotary actuators which are connected to push arm by gussets or brackets (not shown).
FIG 10 shows a detailed view of movable floor assembly 17 shown in FIG 9 with actuators 70, outer skin 69 and vehicle frame 71.
FIG 11 shows robotic arm 18 showing grab arms 77 having rubber belts 78 with inbuilt pressure sensors (not shown). There is also shown rotary helical actuators 79 for causing pivotal movement of arms 77 about a vertical axis. Also shown is rotary helical actuator 80A for causing rotation of grab arms 77 about a horizontal axis. There are also shown rollers 81 for facilitating rotation of a rubbish bin 93 shown in FIG 12. There is shown support plates or brackets 82 for rotary helical actuator 80 and rotary encoder 83. There is also shown an inner arm 84 which can extend from outer telescopic component 85. There is also shown a hydraulic cylinder assembly 86 having piston 87, barrel 88 and support sleeves 89 and 90 for insertion of a pin (not shown) for attachment to arm 84 and outer component 85 respectively. There is also shown a helical rotary actuator or pivot 91 which controls rotational movement of beam 85. Actuator 80 controls rotational movement of support beam 92.
FIG 12 shows the entire sequence of movement of robotic 18 in lifting up waste bin 93 and depositing waste material (not shown) in bin 35. Initially beam 92 is moved outwardly as shown at position B from a closed or stationary position A. At this position B it will be noted that arms 77 have started to pivot to reach a level or substantially horizontal orientation shown in positions D, E, F, G and H. Also at position B component 84 has started to extend outwardly from outer component 85 and component 85 has started to pivot relative to support beam 92. Full extension of telescopic components 84 and 85 and support beam 92 is shown in position E after intermediate positions C and D and maintained through positions F, G and H. The actuators 79 are responsible for causing the rotational movement of grab arms 77 to enclose and retain rubbish bin 83. The hydraulic ram assembly 86 is responsible for causing extension of component 84 relative to outer component 85 and actuator 91 is responsible for causing rotation of outer component 85 about the horizontal axis as shown in FIG 12. Actuator 80 controls rotational movement of support beam 92 as shown in FIG 12. The sequence of movements is completed in positions I and J where rotation of beams 84 and 85 about pivot 91 causes the bin 93 to be inverted so that rubbish or waste material can be placed into chute 23A.
The pivoting action of support beam 92 caused by actuator 80 about pivots 83, the pivotal movement of component 85 about pivot 91 and the movement of grab arms 77 and extension of beam 84 relative to beam 85 are all controlled by a PLC which initiates activation of actuators 79, 80A, 91 and 80 as well as hydraulic ram assembly 86. As mentioned above it is stressed that most preferably each of actuators or pivots 79, 80A 91 and 80 are helical rotary actuators or a helically splined actuator provided with hydraulic cushioning and rapid initiation of movement. An example of such helical rotary actuators are described for example in US Patent 4,422,366. Such actuators are available from Helac Corporation at www.helac.com. Each of the rotary helical actuators described above are coupled to a rotary encoder which is an electro-mechanical device that converts the angular position of a shaft or axle to an analogue or digital code making to an angle transducer. The encoder used is suitably an incremental rotary encoder manufactured by Encoder Products Company at www.encoder.com.
Reference may now be made to FIGS 13-21 which shown the process of the invention in sequential steps. Thus in FIG 13 there is shown intermediate frame 28A which carries robot 18A, chute 23A and pressure plate 29 about to be lowered into vehicle frame 60 as shown in FIG 6. FIG 14 shows partial lowering of intermediate frame 28A with motors 31 travelling in rails 39 and FIG 15 shows intermediate frame 28A fully lowered into vehicle frame 60 and FIG 16 shows the inclusion of pressure plate 29 in intermediate frame 28A. FIG 17 then shows operation of push arm 32 which removes rubbish or waste material from chute 23A after deposition therein by robot 18A as shown in FIG 12. The push arm 32 moves along arcuate ramp 59 in moving rubbish into bin 35 located above movable floor assembly 17 s also shown in FIGS 18-19. FIG 20 then shows downward movement of pressure plate 29 compacting rubbish or waste material in bin 35 and causing the rubbish to move into movable floor assembly 17A. FIG 21 shows the final position of pressure plate 29 before rubbish is ejected from movable floor assembly 17A when it is moved to the open position shown in FIG 3.
The waste vehicle 10 or 10A of the invention may also incorporate the following:
(i) Drive by wire or electronic componentry;
(ii) LCD dash mounted visual system and digital screens;
(iii) Side mirrors which have an infrared beam for safety around the vehicle;
(iv) Robotic arm 18A sends out an infrared beam to stop people walking around the robotic arm 18A whilst in working progress. Thus the robotic arm 18A stops if anyone intrudes in the vicinity of working area;
(v) The Diesel/Ethanol engine driving an electric generator which in turn drives electric traction motors;
(vi) The robotic arm 18A has the following features:
(a) helical rotary actuators, fitted with rotary encoders;
(b) the grab mechanism 77 is also fitted with pressure sensors, so as not to crush the bins 93;
(c) robotic arm 18A comprising arms 77, components 74, 75 and support arm 92 may extend out 2.7 metres, and is programmed to stay level until reaching tipping position; and (d) the arms 77 are programmed to put the bin 93 back on the ground where it came from;
(vii) A hydraulic tank (not shown) is fitted to the vehicle 10A to supply oil to the robotic arm 18A;
(viii) Pressure plate 29 and packing arm 32 may have:
(a) its own power pack, being charged off the vehicle when in static position;
(b) be fitted with hydraulic motors 31 and encoders (not shown) for up and down movement; and
(c) the packing arm 32 has pressure sensors connected to hydraulic telescopic cylinders to keep the front of arm 32 hard up against ramp 59 which is not exactly concave
(ix) Movable floor assembly 17 is fitted with a vacuum system that automatically ejects fluid when belly dump opens up to eject waste; (x) Movable floor assembly 17 is fitted with helical rotary actuators as well as hydraulic electrical locking pins (not shown) that work off a transmitter from the cabin controls.
(xi) The vehicle 10 or 10A can be considered to be similar to a bus with a box/type mono mid section 28A dropped in where the passenger area was;
(xii) This box section incorporates:
(a) Robotic arm 18A with vision;
(b) Movable floor assembly 17A and including packing arm 32 and pressure plate 29; and
(c) Push arm 32;
The mid section 28A can be disconnected and replaced in less than 30 minutes;
(xiii) the mid section 28A may also sit on weight cells (not shown).
(xiv) The vehicle 10 or 10A may also be twin steer or four wheel steer and may be fitted with a rear vision camera;
(xv) The mid section 28A can be made from aluminium composite material. In summary the invention provides a substantial improvement over the prior art for the reasons set out above and in particular the adoption of the movable floor assembly 17 in combination with robotic arm 18 provides for a speedy and effective method for disposal of waste material.