Title:
LOAD HANDLING CONTAINER APPARATUS
United States Patent 3719296


Abstract:
Load handling apparatus particularly operative in a municipality trash collecting operation, servicing domestic and/or industrial sectors of a community. The load handling apparatus, in trash or waste collecting form, includes a plurality of trash containers adapted to be positioned each at a strategic trash pick-up location. Each of the containers are provided with drop bottom wall means and spring-loaded dog latch means releasably holding the drop bottom wall in closed configuration. The load handling apparatus may include also a portable crane unit and container lifting grapple means dependingly supported on the boom means of the crane unit.



Inventors:
LARSON E
Application Number:
05/075633
Publication Date:
03/06/1973
Filing Date:
09/25/1970
Assignee:
LARSON E,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
294/68.21, 294/68.3, 294/86.41, 414/735, 414/739
International Classes:
B65D90/62; B65F1/12; B66C1/66; (IPC1-7): B66F9/00
Field of Search:
214/300,302,307,315,653,147G 294
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2692692Foundry equipment1954-10-26Johnson
1608692Combination truck and extractor basket1926-11-30Boltz
1010325N/A1911-11-28Stuebner
0865045N/A1907-09-03



Primary Examiner:
Forlenza, Gerald M.
Assistant Examiner:
Oresky, Lawrence J.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. Load handling apparatus particularly for use in a waste collecting and disposal service comprising portable crane means having boom means and a liftable, slewable work load element supported from said boom means, a container for receiving waste material or the like including body means, including side wall means defining a circumferential enclosure, bottom wall means, and hinge means supporting said bottom wall means from said enclosure and affording movement of said bottom wall means between a raised configuration disposed across the lower interior of said circumferential enclosure, and a dropped configuration free of the enclosure lower interior, latch dog means operative for holding said bottom wall means in a raised configuration and trip means selectively operative for releasing said dog means; and means operative in releasably supporting said container body from said work load element of said crane means including a grapple assembly dependingly supported from said work load element of said crane means, including frame means, opposingly arranged lift jaw means operatively supported from said frame means and defining left and right depending jaw elements operative between convergingly closed and divergingly open positions, including power means selectively controllable and operative for arranging said jaw elements in closed or open positions, and including cooperative separable hook and rail lift hitch means supported respectively on said container body and said pair of lift jaw elements and operative in releasably lifting said container body; said separable hook and rail lift hitch means includes a pair of lift rail members supported each on opposite side wall portions of said circumferential enclosure of said container body and arranged generally horizontally coplanar and parallel, and includes lift hook means supported respectively on said pair of jaw elements and operatively convergingly engaging or divergingly disengaging the pair of lift rail members in releasably lifting the container means; the drop bottom wall means of said container body is a single wall form, wherein the hinge means of said container structure is arranged between the left margin of said bottom wall means and a lower margin of the left side wall means of said circumferential enclosure, and wherein said latch dog means is operatively supported along the lower margin of the wall means of said circumferential enclosure, said latch dog means being releasably engageable with that edge portion of said bottom wall means opposite from said hinge means; said trip means for releasing said dog means includes a horizontal trip release rod element, means guidingly constraining said rod element in vertical movement along the outward upper margin of the right wall structure of said circumferential enclosure, and includes linkage means operably connecting the latch dog means and said trip release rod element; and includes trigger means supported on said grapple assembly operative for actuating said trip release rod element; said trigger means includes a trigger element, means operably mounting said trigger element on said right jaw means, said trigger element being movable inwardly and outwardly of said right wall of said container body respectively upon converging diverging movement of said lift jaw means, means guidingly constraining said trigger element in bidirectional vertical movement and in a disposition for engaging and disengaging said trip release bar element when said grapple assembly is arranged operably superjacently of said container and when said lift hook means of said grapple assembly are contiguous to the lift rail means of said container, and including power means connected with said trigger element and selectively operative for actuating said trip release rod element and thus the dog latch means of the container drop bottom wall.

2. Load handling apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said linkage means connecting said latch dog means and the vertically operative trip release rod element affords release movement of said latch dog means upon upward movement of said trip release rod, wherein said trigger element is arranged subjacently of said trip release rod when said grapple assembly is supported superjacently of said container and when the left and right jaw means are in converged disposition, wherein said release rod element is operative in upward movement, engaging and raising the trip release rod, releasing the latch dog means and permitting gravity drop opening of the container bottom wall.

3. Load handling apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said means guidingly constraining said trigger element in bidirectional movement, and the power means operating said trigger element include common and simultaneously operative structure, and includes a hydraulic piston-cylinder assembly arranged generally vertically and having a base end mounted from said frame means of said grapple assembly, and wherein said trigger element is generally perpendicularly mounted to the distal extension of the piston of said piston-cylinder assembly.

4. Load handling apparatus as set forth in claim 3 wherein said left and right jaw elements are generally dependingly pivotally supported in converging and diverging movement and wherein said piston-cylinder assembly of said trigger means is articulatingly mounted at its base end to the right jaw means of said grapple assembly, permitting the piston-cylinder assembly and thus the trigger element to operably dependingly pivot relative to the pivotally mounted right jaw means of the grapple assembly.

5. Load handling apparatus as set forth in claim 4 wherein said left and right jaw means of said grapple assembly includes respectively a left pair and a right pair of jaw elements supporting respectively left and right pairs of lift hook means adapted for detachable engagement respectively with the left and right horizontal lift rails supported on opposite sides of said container body.

6. Load handling apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein the means dependingly supporting said grapple assembly from the work element of said crane means includes rotator means turnably mounting said grapple assembly from said load element, and selectively operative power means for energizing said rotator means and for turnably positioning the grapple assembly.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Relates to load handling container apparatus generally and particularly relates to container load collecting systems, as for example in trash pick-up and disposal services of a municipality.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The prevailing trend in waste disposal is toward the container box collection system, and wherein a multiplicity of container boxes are spotted for waste pick-up service at strategic geographic areas and a single container box may receive the waste of one or more dwellings or business establishments. In prior art practice, one method of handling the waste pick-up container includes hydraulically operative lift fork means mounted on a waste-haulage vehicle. The individual containers are each provided with a pair of sleeve or socket means for receiving the container lift fork means of the waste haulage vehicle. In he prior art pick-up procedure, the container boxes each are lifted and overturned to pour the waste contents thereof into the load body of the haulage vehicle. A particular drawback in such an operation is the expense involved. As may well be appreciated, the heavy haulage vehicles equipped with fork lift means are expensive in first cost outlay, and in maintenance and repair procedure. A further disadvantage is in the flexibility or maneuverability of the large haulage vehicles; the large size of the vehicle particularly presents problems in waste pick-up procedure where the container boxes are located in narrow or confined areas providing insufficient space for maneuvering the haulage vehicle unit.

In certain communities, trash or waste is piled on the ground and is picked up by portable crane means having clam shell type lift bucket means for lifting and transferring the waste material from the ground to a haulage vehicle. As may well be appreciated, such procedure is particularly undesirable in a number of ways: The loose piles of trash along a thoroughfare is particularly offensive in windy weather, the trash is blown about and strewn over the area resulting in yet further litter and detracting from the neat appearance of a community. The stacks or piles of loose waste material also provide ideal breeding places for rats and flies and present a health hazard to a community. Moreover, the use of a portable crane and clam shell bucket for lifting and transferring the waste material causes holes to be formed in the ground by the clam shell jaws during the pick-up procedure and which results in damage and unsightly holes in the landscape or community area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant invention obviates many of the above-mentioned difficulties associated in prior art load handling apparatus and particularly in such apparatus operative in trash collecting and disposal type operation. The equipment and operation of the waste disposal means of the instant invention is substantially less expensive than the prior art container box disposal means utilizing fork lift heavy haulage compound vehicle means operative in lifting and overhead dumping the waste material from the container box. Moreover, the relatively compact configuration and mobile crane type operation of the instant invention permits flexibility and maneuverability in trash pick-up service and provides waste handling equipment readily operative in pick-up and manipulation of waste container means located in a narrow or confined work area. And the use of container boxes in waste disposal is particularly significant in maintaining healthful conditions and the aesthetically pleasing appearance of a community.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the load handling apparatus of the instant invention arranged in a trash pick-up configuration, and with the mobile crane unit being in a disposition preparatory to lifting a waste container unit;

FIG. 2 illustrates the load handling apparatus in a configuration operably subsequent to the configuration shown in FIG. 1 and with the container unit being in an elevated disposition over a haulage vehicle H, as in the dumping of a waste load into the vehicle;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the container box means and the box-lifting grapple jaw means of the invention, shown in engaged relation; and

FIG. 4 is a vertical plane sectional view taken as on the line 4--4 of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The load handling apparatus of the invention is indicated by numeral 12 and preferably includes the following basic components: a portable crane unit 14 having a liftable, slewable articulated boom 16 defining, in this instance, a work load element 18 arranged on the distal extremity of the boom; container box means 20 including a box body 22 including rectangular side wall means defining a circumferential enclosure 24, including floor or bottom wall means 26, and hinge means 28 hingedly supporting the bottom wall to the lower margin edge of the circumferential enclosure 24, latch dog means 30 for releasably securing the bottom wall in closed disposition, and trip means 32 for releasing the latch dog means. The load handling apparatus further includes a grapple assembly 34 including frame means 36 and right and left convergingly operative jaw means 38, 38'; hook and rail hitch means, generally indicated 40, 42, adapted for releasably supporting the container box means 20; and trigger means 44 adapted for releasing the trip means 32 of the container means 20, in releasing the drop bottom wall 26, in dumping a load of waste material.

The circumferential enclosure 24 of the container box body 22 is of rectangular upstanding configuration and includes parallel arranged front and rear side walls 24f, 24r and parallel right and left side walls 24', 24". The bottom wall 26 of the container body structure 22 is hingedly supported by hinge means 28 on the lower margin of the left side wall 24" of the container enclosure structure 24. Reinforcing angle iron corner members 46 preferably are provided on the container box body, the rectangular upper and lower edge margin portions of the circumferential enclosure 24 of the box body 22 also preferably are provided with reinforcing angle iron means 48, 50, extending in rectangular configuration about the upper and lower openings of the container enclosure. The side wall means 24f, 24r, 24', 24" of the enclosure 24 each is preferably struck inwardly in right angular section, defining a reinforcing rectangular rib 52 arranged internally and at an intermediate level of the box body enclosure structure. A pair of support struts 54', 54'; 54", 54" preferably are parallel fixedly secured respectively on opposite side walls 24', 24"; the support struts 54', 54'; 54", 54" provide fixed mounting means respectively for the right and left rail means 42', 42" respectively of the hook and rail hitch means 40, 42 releasably engaging the grapple assembly 34 and container means 20.

The container box means preferably is provided with hinged lid panels 56', 56" hingedly connected on a common hinge axis 58 extending longitudinally, transversely medially of the box body. The lid panels 56', 56" are adapted to restingly engage the rectangular upper rim 48 of the box body enclosure; each or both lid panels 56', 56" may be pivotally manipulated as indicated by arrows 60 (FIG. 4) for gaining access to the container box interior.

The grapple assembly frame 36 is of openwork form and truncated-pyramid configuration in elevation. The frame 36 preferably includes a top plate portion 36t, a rectangular base portion 36b and a plurality of obliquely radiating stringer members 36c rigidly interconnecting the frame top and base portions 36t, 36b. The grapple jaw means 38', 38" preferably includes a right pair and left pair of jaw members respectively 38'f, 38'r; 38"f, 38"r pivotally supported respectively on opposite sides of the base portion 36b of the grapple assembly frame 36. The bearing means 62', 62" pivotally support respectively the paired jaw members 38'f, 38'r, 38"f, 38"r respectively on parallel pivot axes and provides for converging diverging movement of the depending lift hook means 40'f, 40'r; 40"f, 40"r, adapted for engaging the container lift rails respectively 42', 42". The right and left jaw members 38'f, 38'r; 38"f, 38"r are each paid pivotally supported in fixed vertical-pair arrangement respectively by jaw frame means 38'a, 38'b, 38' c; 38"a, 38"b, 38"c. The right lift jaw members 38'f, 38'r, for example, are rigidly fixed in vertical parallel arrangement by frame structure bridgedly extending between the jaw members 38'f, 38'r and include the horizontally extending parallel bar and rod frame elements 38'a, 38'b and the pair of vertical frame elements 38'c, 38'c interconnecting the horizontal members 38'a, 38'b.

The right and left jaw means 38', 38" include respectively piston-cylinder assemblies 64', 64" operably connecting respectively the paired jaw members 38'f, 38'r; 38"f, 38"r with the grapple frame 36, and operative in converging diverging actuation of the lift hook elements respectively 40'f, 40'r; 40"f, 40"r. The base ends respectively of the right and left piston-cylinder assemblies are pivotally secured respectively by horizontal parallel pin means 64'a, 64"a, centrally to the underside of the grapple frame upper plate structure 36t. The piston end portions respectively of piston-cylinder assemblies 64', 64" are pivotally secured by bearing means 64'b, 64"b arranged intermediate the length respectively of the jaw frame elements 38'b, 38"b. The piston-cylinder assemblies 64', 64" each are preferably of double-acting type and hydraulically actuated. Hydraulic lines 66, 66; 68, 68 for the cylinder assemblies 64', 64" supply hydraulic fluid from the mobile crane unit 14 and through appropriate control valve means positioned in the crane unit. An operator seated in the crane unit, by manipulation of the control valve means, may selectively expand or contract the jaw means 38', 38" in the engaging and disengaging of the hook elements 40'f, 40'r; 40"f, 40"r with respectively the rail means 42', 42" and in the lifting and manipulation of the container structure.

The means for releasably lifting the container 20 by the work load elements 18 of the boom means of the crane unit preferably includes a hydraulic rotator unit 70 articulatingly pendantly connecting the grapple assembly 34 with the work load element 18 of the crane vehicle. The hydraulic rotator means includes a motor housing 70a articulatingly connected through clevis means 70b to the load element 18 of the crane boom structure, and includes a rotor element 70c connected through clevis means 70d to the top plate structure 36t of the grapple assembly frame 36. The rotator 70 is energized through appropriate hydraulic feed line means (not shown) extending along the boom structure 16 and to hydraulic pump means carried in the crane vehicle. Suitable control valve means permits an operator riding in the crane unit to selectively manipulate and turnably position the hook means of the grapple assembly and/or the engaged grapple and container means during the lifting and manipulation of the container means.

The bottom wall means of the container is preferably of single wall form and with the hinge means 28 being arranged externally of the container interior and arranged along a side of the lower rectangular rim portion 50 of the circumferential enclosure 22 of the container. The bottom wall 26 preferably is fabricated from a sheet metal panel 26a and rigidifying frame means including rectangular angle iron structure 26b fixed about the periphery of the sheet metal panel 26a, and a longitudinal member 26c fixedly spanning the front and rear parallel frame elements of the rectangular framing 26b. The container bottom wall 26 is swingable between a horizontal disposition closing the lower interior of the circumferential enclosure 22 (shown in full lines in FIG. 4) and an open disposition (shown in broken lines in the Figure).

The bottom wall 26 preferably is provided with anti-friction runner or roller means 72 adapted to engage the ground surface S as the container is being lowered by the lowering of the work load element 18 of the crane unit; as the container moves downwardly, the roller means 72 engages and rolls upon the ground surface, moving the bottom wall to a closed latched disposition. The anti-friction means 72 preferably includes a roller 72a fixedly journalled by fork means 72b to the underside proximal edge of the bottom wall structure. The container means 20 preferably is provided with rising or skirt means, generally indicated 74, operative for elevatingly spacing the container body 22 above the ground surface S, providing space for accommodating the height of the roller means 72. Leg means 74a subjacently fixed to the lower rectangular rim 50 of the circumferential enclosure 24 preferably provides means for elevatingly positioning the container body above the ground surface. The relative height of the leg means 74a and the roller means 72 is such to provide full closing and latching of the drop bottom wall 26 as the container is lowered to a position resting on the ground.

The latch dog means 30 preferably includes a plurality of dog elements 30a fixedly secured in corresponding relation intermittently on a shaft 30b horizontally journalled in bearing means 30c. The plurality of latch dog elements 30a each includes a barbed lower portion 30a' adapted to engage the proximal edge portion 26b' of the bottom wall 26 of the container body 22. As the bottom 26 is moved to a closed disposition, the plurality of barb portions 30a' of the latch dog elements 30a pivotally shift outwardly and inwardly to engage the undersurface of the angle iron margin 26b' of the bottom wall, latching the wall in a closed disposition. Helical spring and lever means 30d, 30e are arranged on opposite end portions of the latch dog shaft means 30b, and provide means for yieldably maintaining the barbed end portions 30a' in latched configuration with the container bottom wall.

The trip means 32, operative for releasing the dog means 30, preferably includes a horizontal rod element 32a and means generally indicated 32b, operative for guidingly constraining the rod element 32a in vertical movement and for operably connecting or linking the rod element to the latch dog means 30. The means 32b preferably includes a lift bail assembly 32c including depending leg portions 32d, 32d and upper structure defining the horizontal rod element 32a; the bail assembly may include reinforcing means 32e of X-configuration rigidifying the leg portions 32d, 32d. The lower extremities respectively of the leg portions 32d, 32d of the bail assembly 32c are pivotally connected at pivot points 32f, 32f to lever means 32g, 32g fixed parallel to the latch dog shaft means 30b. Lifting the trip assembly 32r pivotally moves the latch barbs 30a' outwardly, tensioning the latch springs 30d, and releases the container bottom wall. The upper portions respectively of the leg elements 32d, 32d preferably are guidingly constrained in slide bearings 32h, 32h correspondingly fixed cantilever fashion to a horizontal support member 32i fixed between the container strut members 54', 54'.

The trigger means 44, operative for tripping the latch dog elements 30a, preferably is mounted on the right jaw means 38' of the grapple assembly. The trigger mechanism 44 is bidirectionally shiftable in response respectively to the expanding and contracting movement of the lift jaw means 38', 38" of the grapple assembly. The trigger mechanism preferably includes a piston-cylinder assembly 44a, 44b vertically arranged and pendantly supported from the horizontal frame member 38'a of the right lift jaw means 38'. Pivot mounting means 44c pivotally supports the piston-cylinder assembly 44a, 44b to the frame structure 38'a of the right jaw means and in a disposition permitting generally free outward swinging movement of the piston-cylinder assembly relative to the right jaw means of the grapple assembly. A trigger element 44d is fixed to the distal extremity of the piston 44a and is operative for engaging and raising the latch release rod element 32a supported on the container means. When the lift jaw means 38', 38" are in a converged configuration, and as the lift hook elements engage the lift rail means 42', 42" of the container means, the trigger element 44d is arranged subjacently of the release rod element 32a and in a disposition preparatory for tripping the latch dog means.

Anti-rotation means 44e, 44f, 44g preferably is provided for preventing relative rotation between the piston and cylinder structure 44a, 44b and for preventing slewing movement and displacement of the trigger element 44d from a disposition transversely underlying the release rod element 32a. In the anti-rotation structure, vertical rod means 44g is fixed to the cylinder structure by bracket means 44e; the outward extremity of the trigger element 44d provides bearing structure 44f slidably receiving the stationary rod structure 44g. During vertical actuation of the piston 44a, simultaneous sliding movement of the bearing structure 44f on rod 44g prevents relative rotation of the piston and cylinder structure and maintains the trigger element in perpendicular arrangement relative to the release rod element 32a when the container means and grapple assembly are in conjoined operative configuration.

An abutment member 76h, which may be in channel form as shown, is dependingly fixed to the horizontal jaw frame member 38'a and provides abutment means for shifting the piston-cylinder assembly 44a, 44b and thus the trigger element 44d outwardly and away from the trip release rod element 32a of the container means as the grapple jaw means 34', 34" are moved to expanded configuration; the abutment member 44r engages the cylinder structure 44b of the piston-cylinder assembly and pivotally carries the cylinder assembly and trigger element outwardly as the right jaw means 38' is pivotally moved outwardly and as the jaw means are arranged in expanded configuration.

During the pick-up of the container means 20, after the grapple assembly 34 is lowered over the container means and the hook elements are arranged on opposite sides of the container, inward converging movement of the jaw means carries the trigger element 44d to a disposition subjacently of the trip release rod element 32a. Lifting the grapple assembly 34, engages the hook elements 40'f, 40'r, 40"f, 40"r respectively with the lift rails 42', 42" (as shown in the drawings) and simultaneously raises the trigger element 44d to a disposition contiguous to the undersurface of the trip release rod element 32a. A hydraulic feedline 44i connects the piston-cylinder assembly of the trigger mechanism to pressurized control valve means carried in the crane vehicle, permitting an operator in the vehicle to actuate the trigger mechanism and release the drop bottom of the container.

Check rod means 76, 76 arranged on opposite end portions of the container structure, provides means for limiting the gravity drip opening of the container bottom wall 26 and for checking the bottom wall to a disposition lying obliquely of the ground surface and a disposition horizontally offset from the hinge axis of the bottom wall; the inclined disposition of the bottom wall permits the roller 72a to run along the ground surface and carry the bottom wall to a closed configuration as the container is positioned on the ground. Each check rod means 76 includes a rod element 76a having a lower angle end portion 76b pivotally fitted respectively in parallel opposite end angle iron frame means of the bottom wall. The check rod elements 76a, 76a extend upwardly through slotted openings 76c, 76c formed in the angle iron rim 50 of the container enclosure 22; a cross portion 76d is fixed on the upper end of the rod structure 76a; a helical compression spring 76e is convolutely carried respectively on the rod elements 76a and interposedly between the cross portions 76d and the rim structure 50 of the container; the springs 76e cushion the gravity drop opening of the container bottom. As the container bottom is moved to a closed configuration, the rod elements 76a, 76a move upwardly in the slotted openings and to stowed configuration respectively juxtaposedly outwardly of the opposite end walls of the container.

In the operation of the load handling apparatus 12, and considering that trash material contained in the container means 20 is to be deposited in haulage vehicle H, the following procedure may be carried out: The crane 14 is piloted to a disposition convenient to the container 20 or is spotted on the ground at a place whereat the boom means 16 may be slewed to a position permitting the grapple assembly 34 to be lowered and arranged directly over the container means; the grapple assembly 34 is lowered with the jaw means 38', 38" in expanded configuration and with the lift hook elements 40'f, 40'r; 40"f, 40"r arranged on opposite sides of the container; the lift hook elements are than convergingly moved by actuating the piston-cylinder assemblies 64', 64", thereby arranging the hook members directly under the lift rails 42', 42" and the trigger element 44e under the release rod element 32a; the boom means 16 of the crane unit 14 may then be raised slightly thereby raising the lift hook elements to engagement with the container lift rails 42', 42", and simultaneously raising the trigger element 44e to a disposition contiguous to the underside of the release rod element 32a. The boom means 16 of the crane unit may then be manipulated and the container lifted and shifted to a disposition directly over the body B of the haulage vehicle. The trigger mechanism may then be actuated by energizing the piston-cylinder assembly 44a, 44b, raising the trigger element 44d, raising the release rod element 32a and bail assembly 32c, releasing the latch dog means 30, permitting the drop bottom wall to swing open and drop the load into the body of the haulage vehicle. The container box may then be repositioned on the ground by swinging the boom and lowering the grapple assembly; as the container box is lowered to a position on the ground, the roller means 72 engages the ground surface and carries the container bottom to a closed latch configuration. The grapple assembly 34 may then be disengaged from the container by sequentially lowering and expanding the lift jaws 38', 38", moving the lift hooks oppositely outwardly of the container structure, and the trigger element 44d outwardly of the release rod element 32a; the grapple assembly may then be lifted and manipulated to a stowed disposition supported on the crane vehicle.

While the instant invention is shown and described in an embodiment presently considered as being a preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated that various changes and modification in structure may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.