United States Patent 3736863

A trash compactor for home use including a receptacle, a lid, a latch connecting the lid to the receptacle and an air-operated compacting apparatus. This apparatus includes an expansible air bag and a compressor for producing a pressure therein. Preferably, the air bag is supported by the lid and terminates in a stiff platen member which cooperates with the bottom of the receptacle to compress trash placed therein. The compressor is operated until a predetermined condition is reached, whereupon it is automatically shut down and the air is exhausted from the bag. Means may be provided for guiding the platen and/or returning the bag to its contracted position.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
The Black and Decker Manufacturing Company (Towson, MD)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
100/52, 100/228, 100/266, 100/269.04, 100/295
International Classes:
B30B9/30; B65F1/14; B65F1/16; B65F7/00; (IPC1-7): B30B1/32
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3613568REFUSE COMPACTOR RAM COVER1971-10-19Bottas et al.
3556619N/A1971-01-19Bottas et al.
3481268GARBAGE COMPACTOR1969-12-02Price et al.
3315594Machine for crushing cans, bottles and the like1967-04-25Simshauser
3248001Elastic means for compacting compressible material1966-04-26McGinnis
3190215Fluid actuated press1965-06-22Howard et al.
3025837Can crushing device1962-03-20Beach
2465839Waste container1949-03-29Bloomfield

Primary Examiner:
Wilhite, Billy J.
I claim

1. A compact, portable, trash compacting canister comprising

2. A light weight, self-contained, free standing power trash compacting canister adapted for convenient portability for use in various locations in the home comprising

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said compaction means comprises an air-tight expansible bag mounted on said lid.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the cross-sectional area of said receptacle is greater at the top than at the bottom to facilitate removal of compacted trash therefrom.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said lid and said receptacle are coupled by said latch means to take up compaction forces produced by expansion of said compaction means against trash in said receptacle; said canister further comprising a light-weight removable self-supporting liner disposed within and substantially conforming to said receptacle, to facilitate removal of compacted trash and cleaning.

6. A light weight, self-contained, free standing power trash compacting canister adapted for convenient portability for use in various locations in the home comprising:

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein said platen is rounded to produce tipping and churning of objects in said receptacle.

8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein a foot-operated linkage is provided for moving said lid to an open position.

9. A compact, portable, trash compacting canister comprising

The present invention relates to a novel construction for a simple, low cost air-powered compactor.

Previous devices for compacting refuse into a smaller volume have, in general, been large, complex systems which are only suitable for large quantity operation. Even units intended for use in the home have been of this general type, with a resultant increase in cost. However, a compactor which is practical for use in the home must be as convenient as possible in a number of respects. It must be handy for use by a housewife; it must lend itself to being emptied at frequent intervals to avoid the generation of odors or bacteria. It should also be adapted for convenient installation in presently existing kitchens of both homes and apartments.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a compactor which meets these requirements by virtue of a novel construction therefor.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a simple, safe construction for a trash compactor, including a variety of features which reduce the cost and increase the utility of the apparatus as a consumer-oriented product.

Various specific objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the description and illustration thereof proceed.

Briefly, in accord with one embodiment of this invention, a simplified trash compactor for home use is provided which comprises a trash-receiving receptacle, a latchable lid for covering the receptacle, and an air-operated compaction apparatus such as an expansible air bag, preferably supported by the lid, for expansion within the receptacle to compress whatever refuse may be placed therein.

In a preferred embodiment, the compaction apparatus includes an air compressor and an expansible air bag which terminates in a stiff platen member, the platen being substantially coextensive with the area of the receptacle. When the lid is closed and latched, the compressor may be activated, causing expansion of the air bag which drives the platen to compress trash against an opposed wall of the receptacle. The compaction apparatus may be mounted wholly within the lid of the receptacle and a foot-operated treadle may be provided for raising the lid before and after operation. Suitable means such as a pressure sensitive device may be used to stop the compressor and exhaust the bag. It may also be desirable to provide means such as telescoping guide pins and sockets which maintain the alignment of the platen in a plane parallel to the bottom of the receptacle and prevent it from cocking due to unequal forces acting against it. A safety interlock may also be provided to prevent the compressor from being operated unless the lid is properly closed and latched.

In the Drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a trash compactor in accord with this invention in use;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross sectional view of a preferred embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a vertical cross sectional view similar to that of FIG. 2, but with the air bag partially expanded;

FIG. 4 is a detailed view showing a portion of the platen and air bag of the compactor of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a detailed view of the guide means for the platen of the trash compactor;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation, partially in section, of a latch for the compactor of FIG. .2;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of the exhaust mechanism for the air bag; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram illustrating an operating circuit for the trash compactor of FIG. 2.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the compactor of this invention is a lightweight, easily portable device intended for easy, frequent use. The device comprises a receptacle 11, a lid 12, and a foot treadle 13 for operating the lid. The detailed structure is shown in FIG. 2 wherein it can be seen that the lid contains a compressor 14 and supports an air bag 15 which terminates in a platen 16. When the compressor is operated, air pumped thereby through air slots 17 is introduced into the air bag via hose 18 to cause the expansion of the bag. In turn, this compacts any trash which may be present in the receptacle beneath the platen 16. The compressor is mounted on an upper supporting bracket 19 which functions as a closure for one end of the bag while the platen 16 serves as a closure for the other end. The receptacle 11 includes, as shown in FIG. 2, a plastic liner 20 provided with grips 21 for easy removal thereof. If desired, a thin, bag-type liner may also be used for increased cleanliness and convenience. The receptacle 11 comprises a stiff sheet metal can which accepts the force of the expanding air bag and moving platen so that the trash is compacted between the platen and the bottom of the can. The lid 12 and support bracket 19 are coupled to the receptacle 11 via hinge 22 and latch 23. The receptacle is preferably tapered as shown to facilitate removal of compacted trash.

In use, the lid is opened by depressing the foot treadle 13 which pulls open the lid by means of wire 24. Preferably, a counterbalancing bolt 25 and spring 26 are provided to insure controlled operation of the lid. After refuse has been accumulated in the receptacle, the lid is locked in the closed position against gasket 27 by means of latch 23 and the compressor is turned on, causing expansion of the air bag. As shown in FIG. 3, the platen moves downwardly into the receptacle to compress the trash. The output pressure of the compressor is preferably in the range of 20 to 60 pounds per square inch. At the end of the compression cycle, spring 28 returns the air bag to its preactuation position. Alternatively, the bag itself may be of sufficient resilience to provide its own return force.

FIGS. 4-8 illustrate several details of the construction of the compactor shown in FIGS. 1-3. As shown in FIG. 4, the platen 16 is attached to the air bag via a flanged fender 30 and a suitable sealing ring 31. The top of the bag is sealed to the bracket 19 in a similar manner. Preferably, the platen face is dome-shaped as shown at 32. This produced churning of items which may be upright such as bottles, etc. and tends to equalize the level of trash within the receptacle so that the reaction force against the platen is more evenly distributed. As is also shown in FIG. 4, a resilient wiper 33 may be provided extending between the outer edge of the platen and the inner surface of the liner 20 to lightly scrape the side of the liner each time the bag expands and contracts.

The dome 32 in the platen serves to equalize the distribution of forces acting against the platen by tipping tall objects and leveling the refuse. It may also be desirable, either instead of or in addition to the dome, to provide a guide means for the platen to reduce the possibility of cocking due to unequal force levels. The guide means illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 comprises a plurality of telescoping posts 34 and guide sockets 35 located near the periphery of the platen 16. In FIG. 5, the posts 34 may be seen to comprise a post 36 and two telescoped cylinders 37, 38 which are biased by spring 39 to separate when the platen is lowered. The inner post 36 is fastened to the platen via a flange while the outer cylinder 38 includes a tapered nose portion 40. Separation of the cylinder 37 from post 36 is prevented by pin 41 which travels in a keyway 42 until it encounters a shoulder near the lower extremity of the cylinder. Similarly, separation of cylinder 38 from cylinder 37 is prevented by a pin (not shown) near the lower extremity of cylinder 38 which rides in keyway 43 until it encounters shoulder 44. The socket members 35 also comprise telescoped cylinders 45, 46, 47. The outer cylinder 45 is fastened to bracket 19 and the inner cylinder 47 includes a relatively long tapered lead portion 48. The cylinders slip apart during operation and are prevented from separating by means of pins 49 and keyways 50. When the compressor is operated and the platen is lowered by expansion of the bag, the pins 34 and sockets 35 maintain the platen in a plane parallel to that of the support bracket 19 for a substantial portion of its travel, thus reducing the possibility that the platen might cock or jam due to unequal distribution of trash in the receptacle. Some degree of cocking is permitted by the nose 40 and lead 48 near the end of the stroke. Other parallel motion means may be used if desired.

FIG. 6 illustrates a latch 23 which is suitable for use in this compactor. The latch includes a handle 51 mounted on one end of a square bolt actuator 52 which travels in an appropriate slot in the latch body 53. The latch body is mounted to the lid of the compactor by rivets 54. The keeper member of the latch, 55, is mounted on the receptacle 11 and includes a pair of lugs 56 which align with lugs 57 on the latch body when the lid is closed. The bolt actuator 52 operates a pair of bolt dogs 58 via a pair of dog links 59, an offset in each link providing for mounting on a common link pin 60. When the lid is closed and the latch handle 51 is depressed, the dogs affix the lid to the receptacle.

A microswitch 61 is also mounted on the receptacle adjacent one of the bolt keeper lugs with its operating button 62 extending toward the associated dog 58. Thus, when the latch is locked, the microswitch is closed. The microswitch is interconnected in the electrical circuit of the device so that it functions as a safety interlock to prevent operation of the compressor when the lid is opened or unlatched.

FIG. 7 illustrates the pressure release arrangement which is used in the compactor of this invention. Specifically, a solenoid 65 is mounted by means of a support arm 66 on the bracket 19. The solenoid controls a valve 67 which is biased open by spring 68. Upon the application of power to the solenoid, the valve is forced closed, sealing the bag and allowing the increasing pressure therein to expand the bag. When power to the solenoid is disconnected, the valve opens under spring pressure and air pressure and the air escapes through hose 69. An optional feature of this compactor is the use of a reservoir 70, which contains a deodorizing the disinfecting mixture, and an atomizer 71 located immediately above the receptacle. When the spring pressure opens the valve, high velocity air passes through the hose 69 and atomizer 71 and the deodorizer-disinfectant material is delivered into the receptacle, thus helping to prevent unpleasant odors or bacteria from developing within the receptacle.

FIG. 8 represents the electrical circuit used in the preferred embodiment. The compressor 14 is connected in parallel with the solenoid 65 across a pair of wires which extend to a suitable power cord having a plug (not shown) for insertion into a receptacle. The latch 23 operates the interlocking microswitch 61, as described in connection with FIG. 6, to prevent operation of the compressor unless the lid is properly closed and latched. A system control 72 provides for automatic operation of the compactor. The control may include a push button switch 73, mounted in the lid as shown in FIG. 2, and a condition-responsive device such as a pressure-sensitive switch, for controlling the application of power to the compressor and to the exhaust valve solenoid. For example, the push button may be of the momentary contact type which applies power to a relay coil to close a switch connected in parallel with the push button and which is subsequently opened by a pressure sensitive means such as a diaphragm. With this type of control, the compressor will begin to operate when the latch is closed and the push button is operated. Solenoid 65 closes the exhaust valve 67 so that the compressed air produced by the compressor fills the bag and moves the platen to perform the compacting operation. When the pressure within the bag reaches a predetermined value, either because the presence of trash beneath the platen has prevented further movement of the platen or because the bag has reached its fully expanded position, the switch is opened by the pressure sensitive means and solenoid 65 allows the valve 67 to open under the influence of spring 68. Immediately, the pressure in the bag is reduced and the resilient means returns the bag to its original, collapsed configuration.

a particular feature of this invention is the provision of an exhaust valve which requires the application of power to seal it against the force exerted by both the spring 68 and the air pressure within the bag. Because of this arrangement, any failure of the system which results in an interruption of power to the solenoid enables the valve to open and reduce the pressure within the bag due to the force of the spring and of the compressed air. Furthermore, if the shut off device fails, the operator can simply pull the line cord plug out of the receptacle, thus cutting off the power for the solenoid and allowing the spring and air pressure to open the exhaust valve. Finally, if spring 68 should break, air pressure within the bag suffices to open the exhaust valve and allow sufficient air to escape so that the lid can be safely opened.

Another particular feature of this invention is the use of a stiff receptacle 11 which takes up the compaction forces and, in addition, an inner plastic liner 20. This greatly facilitates the convenience and cleanliness of using this system since, by using the hand grips 21, the user can simply lift out the plastic liner 20 and deliver compacted refuse to a suitable disposal point without being required to either carry the entire unit or to carry the trash in a thin bag which may be damaged and leaking. Also, if the plastic liner 20 should become damaged after a period of use, it is much simpler and less expensive to replace the liner rather than the entire receptacle. Furthermore, cleaning the removable liner is substantially easier than cleaning the receptacle.

While a specific embodiment of this compactor has been illustrated and described, it is noted that many changes and modifications may be made from this specific construction without departing from the broader aspects of this invention. For example, the compressor may be mounted near the bottom of the receptacle to lower the center of gravity of the unit and to reduce the weight of the lid. In addition, the general purview of this invention does not require the inclusion of all of the specific, unique features such as the removable liner or the biased-open exhaust valve. Finally, it is noted that such features as the guide pins may be changed or eliminated and the condition to which the system control responds may be varied as desired. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims cover all such changes and modifications as may fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.