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Title:
SYSTEM FOR MONITORING THE COLLECTION OF URBAN SOLID WASTES AND DEVICE TO CONTROLLABLY OPEN A CONTAINER INTENDED TO THE COLLECTION OF SOLID WASTES USED IN THE SAID SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/070603
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A system for monitoring the collection of urban wastes, comprising control means for controllably opening the closure means (33) of each container (30), said control means comprising a control unit (1 ) coupled to locking/unlocking means (3) for said closure means (33), key means (205) being associated with each user, each container (30) being provided with identification means (105) for said key means, said identification means being connected to said control unit (5), storage means being further provided to store opening and closing events; and a device for controllably opening said containers.

Inventors:
CODELUPPI ROSSANO (IT)
GOLFARELLI ALESSANDRO (IT)
SARTINI GIULIANO (IT)
GARDINI CRISTIANO (IT)
ZONDINI OLIVIERO (IT)
BERTOZZI ANDREA (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT2010/000487
Publication Date:
June 16, 2011
Filing Date:
December 07, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TECNOTEL S R L (IT)
HERA S P A (IT)
SORTRON S R L (IT)
P Z DI ZONDINI OLIVIERO & C S N C (IT)
CODELUPPI ROSSANO (IT)
GOLFARELLI ALESSANDRO (IT)
SARTINI GIULIANO (IT)
GARDINI CRISTIANO (IT)
ZONDINI OLIVIERO (IT)
BERTOZZI ANDREA (IT)
International Classes:
B65F1/16
Foreign References:
DE4428427A11996-02-15
EP0642106A11995-03-08
DE29610369U11996-08-29
DE29605083U11996-06-20
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CACCIAMANI, Clizia (Via Cola di Rienzo 265, Roma RM, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A system for monitoring the collection of urban wastes, comprising control means for controllably opening the closure means (33) of each container (30), said control means comprising a control unit (1 ) coupled to locking/unlocking means (3) for said closure means (33), key means (205) being associated with each user, each container (30) being provided with identification means (105) for said key means, said identification means being connected to said control unit (1 ), storage means (201 ) being further provided to store opening and closing events.

2. The system according to claim 1 , further comprising transceiver means (4, 10) with encryption capability to allow waste-collection operators to communicate with each container, so that said waste-collection operators can open the container (30) and download data relating to the opening events generated by the users.

3. The system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said key means includes an electronic device (205) provided with a solid-state memory, and said identification means includes a device (105) for reading from and writing to said memory.

4. The system according to claim 3, wherein each electronic device (205) is provided with a unique identification code associated with the identity of each user.

5. The system according to any one of the preceding claims 1 to 4, wherein position detection means (7) is provided to detect closing and opening events for said closure means (33) of said container (30).

6. The system according to any one of the preceding claims 1 to 5, wherein movement detection means (601) is provided to detect movement events for said container (30), said detection means (601 ) being coupled to said control unit (1 ).

7. The system according to any one of the preceding claims 1 to 6, further comprising weight detection means to detect the weight of the load introduced into the container (30), as well as volume detection means to detect the free volume within the container (30).

8. The system according to any one of the preceding claims 1 to 7, wherein each container (8) is further provided with georeferencing means (8) properly interfaced to said control unit (1 ).

9. A device for controllably opening a container (30) intended for the collection of wastes, comprising at least a movable body (6) coupled to each of the lids (33) of said container, said body being provided with locking means (223) coupled to driving means (3).

10. The device according to claim 9, wherein said movable body (6) comprises two members (106, 206) co-axially sliding against each other, each of said members being provided with a radial through-hole; said locking means (223) comprises a chain which can intercept said radial through-hole.

Description:
System for monitoring the collection of urban solid wastes and device to controllably open a container intended to the collection of solid wastes used in the said system

TEXT OF THE DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a system for monitoring the collection of urban wastes; furthermore, the present invention relates to a device which is used by the above system in order to controllably open waste containers.

Still today, in most local administrations, the cost for waste collection has been charged to citizens proportionally to the surface of the real property occupied thereby, with different parameters for commercial activities and residential uses. This criterion itself is already very approximate as the surface can be at most one of the parameters to be considered in determining the costs for waste management.

An enhanced estimation would doubtless be provided if the accesses of each user could be assessed at least in terms of number if not in terms of amount; when this piece of information is integrated with data already known by the administration such as activity and surface, it could determine the costs to be charged to the user in a manner which is more closely related to the effective use of the service.

Therefore, the aim of the present invention is to provide a system which can better assess the use of a waste-collection service by users, so that service costs can be more accurately re-allocated.

To this aim, an object of the present invention is a system for monitoring the collection of urban wastes, comprising control means for controllably opening the closure means of each container, said control means comprising a control unit coupled to locking/unlocking means for said closure means, key means being associated with each user, each container being provided with identification means for said key means, said identification means being connected to said control unit, storage means being further provided to store opening and closing events.

In a preferred embodiment, said key means includes an electronic device provided with a solid-state memory and said identification means includes a system for reading from and writing to said memory, so that the system can save both the opening event generated by the user into the storage means and the container access event into the key means of the user.

In a further embodiment there is provided transceiver means with encryption capability to allow waste-collection vehicles to communicate with each container, so that said waste-collection vehicles can open the container and download data relating to the opening events generated by the users.

Alternatively, the opening of the container is related to the lifting of the container through suitable sensor means such as, for example, a three-axis accelerometer which detects the movement of the container when a waste- collection vehicle is lifting the same.

The container can be provided with a georeferencing system such as a GPS system or the like, both to determine any tampering attempt or unauthorized movement and to allow for a more accurate management of the collection.

Another object of the invention is a device for controllably opening a container intended for the collection of urban wastes, comprising at least a movable body coupled to each of the lids of said container, said body being provided with locking means coupled to driving means. Said locking means is controlled by the above described control system. In a preferred embodiment, the movable body comprises two members which can co-axially slide against each other and which are provided with a radial through-hole; said locking means comprises a chain which can intercept said radial through-hole. Other advantages and features will be apparent from the following detailed description of an embodiment of the present invention which is provided by way of illustration, and not by way of limitation, with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of the system according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is a cross-section view of the container provided with the opening control device as used in the system of the invention; and

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram showing the electronic portion of the system according to the invention.

Figure 1 shows a schematic diagram of the system according to the present invention; reference numeral 1 denotes the central control unit of the system according to the present invention. Said unit acts to control the motor 103 of the lock 3, which motor drives a toothed wheel 123 keyed to the shaft 113 of said motor. The toothed wheel 123 cooperates with the rack 213 of a chain 203 provided at one end with a pin 223 which is passed through the holes 116, 216 of the arms 106, 206 of the mobile body 6 associated with the structure of the waste-collection container. The arm 106 is provided at one end with two radial through-holes in which there is fitted the pin 22 pivotally connecting said arm 106 to the nose 21 which connects the lock to the lids, as better shown and described below. The control unit 1 is connected to the power supply 2 which provides power both to the circuitry of the control unit 1 and to other peripheral devices connected thereto such as the lock 3, the transceiver 4 and the reader 5, which is provided with the slot 105 intended for receiving an electronic device 205. The transceiver 4 serves to communicate with a transceiver 10 carried by waste-collection operators. A position sensor 7 is placed near the arms 106, 206 to control the effective open or closed condition of the container. In addition, the control unit is connected to a georeferencing system such as, for example, a GPS system denoted by reference numeral 8 in the figure.

Figure 2 shows a container provided with the device as used in the system according to the invention for controllably opening waste containers; like reference numerals refer to like elements. The container 30 has two lids 33 which are connected at one end to the central cross-member 31 of the container 30 by overhanging ears 34 projecting from the lids 33, which ears are provided with pins 32 for coupling to the cross-member 31. The longitudinal member 35 of the frame of the lid 33 is connected to the plate 20 from which the overhanging nose 21 projects, the nose 21 being coupled to the arm 106 of the movable body 6 through the pin 22. The figure shows the pin 223 which is fitted in the co-axial holes 116 and 216 of the arms 106 and 206.

Figure 3 is a schematic illustration of the electronic portion of the system according to the present invention. Reference numeral 1 denotes the control unit comprising the entire electronic portion of the system of the invention. The control unit includes the control logic 101 comprising a storage module 201 , a lock activation module 301 for controlling the lock 3, a sensor management module 401 for controlling both the position sensor 7 and a device intended for detecting movements such as, for example, the accelerometer 601 located in the control unit 1 , and a timer 501. The control logic is further interfaced to a connector 104 for interfacing to the transceiver unit 4, the reader 5 of the key, as well as the battery 2 and the recharge control module 102 thereof, which can be connected to a power supply apparatus 40 deriving its power from environmental resources such as, for example, a solar panel or a vibrational energy storage system. The control logic is also interfaced to the GPS system 8 which provides an effective system for monitoring any attempt of tampering and/or theft on one hand, and which allows for a better interaction with waste-collection vehicles by providing an instantaneous localization of the container on the other hand. The operation of the system for monitoring urban waste collection according to the present invention will be clear from the following. When the user wants to put her/his waste into the container, she/he insert the key acting as the electronic device 205 into the slot 105 of the reader 5 in order to activate the control unit 1 , which starts the unlocking procedure of the lids 33 of the container 30; the electronic device 205 can be a USB key, a card or other similar passive devices provided with a solid-state memory, and it could also comprise active electronic devices such as remote controls or the like. The key 205 contains a unique user identification code which allows a restricted and selected group of users to open the lids. Moreover, the solid- state memory of the key can be used to memorize data concerning the waste inputs for the container. The key 205 remains locked inside the slot 105 until the lids of the container are brought into the closed position. Specifically, the motor 103 begins to extract the pin 223 from its stationary position between the holes 116 and 216 of the arms 106 and 206; the user can now freely lift one or both lids 33 and put her/his waste into the container 30. The control unit 1 detects that the lid has been closed through the position sensor 7. The sensor can be a magnetic switch which reacts to the movement of a magnet coupled to one of the arms 106, 206. When the magnet and the sensor are re-aligned to each other, the system detects that the lids can be re-locked. In fact, this detection starts the engine 103 driving the lock 3, which returns the pin 223 into the holes of the arms 106, 206 in order to prevent the lids from being opened, and subsequently to unlock the key 205. The electronic device 205 can store the same data as the memory of the control unit 1.

Urban waste collection operators who periodically unload the containers are provided with a transceiver device 10 in order to communicate with the transceiver 4 connected to the central control unit 1. In this case, using the transceiver 10 allows the operator both to access the container without having to insert the key 205 into the reader 105 and to download the data contained in the memory of the unit 1 in order to collect data on the waste load being picked up.

If the operators are not provided with such a transceiver device, they will download the data concerning the operations performed on a given container by inserting a device similar to the key 205 into the slot 105 of the reader 5.

Alternatively, the opening of the lock 3 can be connected to the detection of a movement of a given feature by the accelerometer 601 , that is the movement experienced by the container when it is lifted by the vehicle employed to unload it. Practically, when the accelerometer detects a lifting movement up to a certain height, the control unit allows the lock to be opened and the lids to be unlocked. Similarly, when the container is returned to the ground, the lock will be closed and the lids will be locked.

In a variant embodiment which is not shown, the system according to the invention could also comprise means for detecting the weight of the container and means for detecting the free volume inside the container, both these means being connected to the sensor management module 401. These two pieces of information would doubtless provide a much more exhaustive definition of the utilization of the containers.

As shown in Figure 2, the device associated with the system according to the invention for controllably opening the container is constructed in an extremely simple manner so as to passively block the opening of the lids when the pin is passed through the holes of the arms 106, 206 of the mobile body which are connected to the lids. The construction of the locking device is structurally easy to be installed even on containers not intended for its use; therefore, it is also possible to back-fit existing containers in order to use them in combination with the monitoring system according to the invention.

This type of locking is activated only for a very limited time during the opening and closing of the container respectively, and therefore its power consumption can be kept very low. Similarly, the transceiver 4 and the reader can be activated only upon reception of a signal and insertion of a key respectively. The power supply to the system is ensured by a rechargeable battery; as schematically shown in Figure 3, the battery can be advantageously coupled with a solar panel which can be conveniently supported by the lids of the container so as to actually make the system independent in terms of energy.

The so-designed monitoring system for urban waste collection achieves the important objective of providing relevant data in assessing the utilization of a waste collection service. Furthermore, an urban waste container with enhanced safety is obtained whose access can be limited only to authorized individuals.

Obviously, the system can be properly configured to allow a given container to be accessed only by authorized users in a given area, in order to obtain a much more accurate and effective feedback on the utilization by users.