United States Patent 3787830

A pressure-actuated device is mounted inside a roll-off container into which bulk refuse is to be compacted. The device is contacted by the compacted material and includes means for effecting operation of signals to indicate when the material in the container is compacted to a predetermined extent.

Cato, Joseph L. (Brielle, NJ)
Correia, Theophilo A. (Manasquan, NJ)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
100/99, 100/229A, 200/61.21
International Classes:
B30B9/30; G08B21/18; (IPC1-7): G08B21/00
Field of Search:
340/246 100
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3424078TRASH HANDLING AND BALING SYSTEM1969-01-28Boyd et al.
3246313Grain tank extension and signal device1966-04-12Weaklend
2745920Empty indicator for raw coal pipes and the like1956-05-15Keephart
2712233Bale weight indicator1955-07-05Raynor
2627244Signal for grain boxes of threshers and combines1953-02-03Herigstad

Primary Examiner:
Trafton, David L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jurick, Rudolph J.
1. Apparatus for use in a compactor container and comprising,

2. The invention as recited in claim 1, wherein the elongated plates have a

3. The invention as recited in claim 1, including a pair of guide plates secured to the mounting plate and spanning the said second elongated

4. The invention as recited in claim 1, wherein said signal-actuating means is a switch carried by said first elongated plate and having an operating

5. The invention as recited in claim 1, wherein the mounting plate has an elongated slot formed therein, and including a hook member carried by said first elongated plate, said hook member extending through the said slot upon predetermined angular movement of said first elongated plate toward

6. In combination,

7. The invention as recited in claim 6, including a second switch carried by said first elongated plate and having a second operating lever presented to the mounting plate, second signal means, and circuit elements energizing said second signal means when the second operating lever

8. The invention as recited in claim 7, wherein the said second operating lever normally is spaced from the mounting plate by a distance greater

9. The invention as recited in claim 8, including means automatically latching said first elongated plate in fixed position when said second operating lever is in engagement with the mounting plate.


In recent years there has come into use an arrangement for the removal of refuse and waste material from industrial and commercial sites. The arrangement comprises a stationary refuse compactor and a compactor container, the latter being generally of the tilt-hoist type. Waste material is placed into the charging chamber of the compactor and transferred into the container by a hydraulically operated ram. After the container has been filled with bulk material, the material will begin to compact under the force of the ram and this compaction is continued until such time that theoretical full compaction has taken place. The compaction ratio is proportional to the density of the material being compacted.

Arrangements are made with private contractors for the transport of the filled container to a dumping site or a land-fill area, and the replacement of the removed container with an empty one. It is important for the user and the contractor to know when a particular container is fully compacted to its practical capacity prior to its removal from the compactor. Excessive compaction could be detrimental to the container and/or the compactor. On the other hand, incomplete compaction represents a financial loss to the user who pays the contractor a fixed amount for each container carted away. Such loss also is borne by the contractor who is paid for this service on, say, a monthly basis.

It, therefore, is desired to insure that a full compacted load is being taken away instead of one which is not fully compacted. One present method for accomplishing this is to monitor the hydraulic system of the compactor on the theory that when the ram cannot complete its' full stroke, the container is full. Another method is to provide a pressure switch which actuates an alarm when the hydraulic system exceeds the normal operating pressure. Neither of these methods are entirely satisfactory. If there is a high density material being compacted both of these methods are ineffective and provide erroneous indications.

A device made in accordance with this invention is installed inside the container in a position where it will be contacted by the material as it is being compacted, whereby the device functions to provide an indication when the container has been fully compacted to its' practical capacity regardless of the density of the material.


A pair of spring-biased downwardly converging plates are mounted inside the container and located at a point where one or both plates will be contacted by material as it is being compacted. The pressure of the compacted material results in a diverging angular movement of the plates, which movement actuates one or more switches which control the operation of suitable alarm means positioned externally of the container.

An object of this invention is the provision of a device for indicating when refuse and waste material has been compacted in a compactor container to its' practical capacity.

An object of this invention is the provision of a pressure-response device for providing indications corresponding to the extent to which material has been compacted in a container of the roll-off class.

An object of this invention is the provision of a device for indicating when a compactor container is fully loaded, said device being adapted for mounting inside the container and including a pair of angularly oriented plates extending substantially across the full width of the container and depending downwardly from the container top.

The above-stated and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description when taken with the accompanying drawings. It will be understood, however, that the drawings are for purposes of illustration and are not to be construed as defining the scope or limits of the invention, reference being had for the latter purpose to the claims appended hereto.


In the drawings wherein like reference characters denote like parts in the several views:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view showing a container and a stationary refuse compactor, a portion of container side wall being broken away to show the location of apparatus made in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a left side elevational view thereof;

FIG. 4 is a right side elevational view thereof;

FIG. 5 is an end elevational view thereof, drawn to an elongated scale;

FIG. 6 is a similar end elevational view but showing the pressure-actuated plates in an intermediate position;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary top plan view showing a coiled spring for biasing the pressure-actuated plates to a normal position;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, isometric view showing the automatic latching mechanism of the apparatus; and

FIG. 9 is a schematic circuit diagram.


Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a compactor container 10 supported on a rail 11 and positioned for loading by a stationary refuse compactor 12 having a charging hopper 13. The container is of conventional construction and generally is designed for use with a tilt-hoist vehicle for transporting compacted material to a dumping area. Normally, the end of the container is closed by a tail gate 14 which is swung open when the contained refuse is to be discharged. Such tail gate includes an opening which is aligned with the compactor 12. The container and the compactor are secured together by means of chains, turnbuckles or latches such as the latch 15 visible in this particular view. Those skilled in this art will understand that refuse is deposited into the charging chamber of the compactor through the hopper 13, which charging chamber includes a hydraulically driven ram. When the charging chamber is substantially filled, the operator closes a control switch, whereby the ram transfers the refuse into the container 10 and then returns to its' normal position. After a number of operating cycles the bulk material in the container will begin to compact under the force of the ram. The loading of the charging chamber of the compactor and the compaction of the material in the container is continued until the container has been fully compacted, after which the container is disengaged from the compactor and carted away.

To insure that a full compacted load is carted away, a pressure-actuated device 16 is secured to the container roof by a plurality of mounting bolts 17, said device extending substantially across the full width of the container. As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the device comprises a mounting plate 18 provided with mounting holes 19 and an elongated slot 20. A first plate 21 is secured to the mounting plate by a hinge 22, said plate carrying a housing 23 enclosing a pair of micro-switches having operating levers 24, 25 extending through appropriate openings formed in the plate. This plate also has secured thereto a hook member 26 positioned to extend through the slot 20 when the plate is angularly displaced toward the mounting plate 18 for purposes which will be described below. A second plate 27 is secured to the first plate 21 by a spring-biased hinge member 28. As shown in the enlarged fragmentary top plan view of FIG. 7, this hinge member may comprise a hinge pin 29 passing through hinge plates 30 and 31 secured to the plates 21 and 27, respectively. A spring 32 is coiled about the pin 29, said spring having elongated ends in engagement with the lower surfaces of the plates. A plurality of such springs may be carried by a single hinge pin extending substantailly the full length of the plates 21 and 27. Alternatively, the plates may be secured together by a plurality of separate, spring biased hinges. In any event, the hinge member provides a biasing force which normally tends to rotate these two plates toward each other. Specifically, and with reference to FIG. 5, the spring-biased hinge member 28 tends to rotate the plate 27 in the counterclockwise direction about the hinge pin and the plate 21 in the clockwise direction.

With continued reference to FIG. 5, it will be noted that the side edge of the plate 21 extends beyond the hinge 22. Thus, when the overhanging edge of the plate 21 strikes the mounting plate 18 further clockwise rotation of this plate about the axis of the hinge 22 is prevented. At the same time, the spring-biased hinge member 28 maintains the side edge of the plate 27 in sliding contact with the lower surface of the mounting plate 18. Thus, FIG. 5 shows the plates 21 and 27 in their normal positions. It will be apparent that an upward pressure applied to the plate 21 will cause a diverging movement of the two plates with the side edge of the plate 27 sliding along the surface of mounting plate. A pair of guide plates 35 and 35, secured to the mounting plate, prevent lateral displacement of the plate 27 as its' edge slides along the mounting plate in one or the other direction, thereby preventing possible damage to the hinge 22 and/or the hinge member 28.

The device hereinabove described may be made of aluminum or fiberglass plates and installed as a unit in existing containers. Referring to FIG. 1, the material in the container moves in a clockwise direction as it is being compacted. For this reason, it is preferable to install the device with the wider plate 21 presented to the closed end of the container, as shown. Eventually, the compacted material will be forced into contact with the plate 21 and each subsequent operation of the compactor will cause the material to apply an increased pressure thereto. As the pressure applied to the plate 21 is increased, the hook member 26 will move through the elongated slot formed in the mounting plate and the micro-switch operating lever 25 will strike the mounting plate, as shown in FIG. 6. A further upward deflection of the plate 21 results in the depression of the lever 25 and the actuation of the associated switch. Upon still further deflection of the plate 21, the depression of the operating lever 24 results in the actuation of the second micro-switch. The device is constructed and arranged so that the first switch is actuated to provide an indication when the compacted material in the container fills, say, 75 percent of the container volume, whereby the user will know that a new container will soon be required. The second switch is actuated to provide an indication when the container is substantially fully compacted. The weight of the plates 21 and 27 and the biasing force applied to these plates by the hinge means 28 determine the pressure which must be exerted against the plate 21 by the compacted material to effect actuation of the micro-switches.

Reference now is made to FIG. 8, wherein there is shown an elongated slot 37 formed in the roof of the container, which slot is aligned with the similar slot 20 formed in the mounting plate 18 of the pressure-actuated device, see also FIG. 2. Extending across the slot 37, is a latching bar 38, said bar passing under a bracket 39 and terminating in a handle portion 40. The other end of the rod terminates in an eyelet and is pivotally secured to the container roof by a bolt 41 passing through the eyelet and a spacer bushing 42. Normally, the rod is biased into engagement with a leg of the bracket 39 by a spring 43 and the hook member 26 lies below the container roof. As the material being compacted in the container forces the plate 21 (FIGS. 5 and 6) upwardly toward the container roof, the hook member rises above the container roof. In so doing, the upper sloping edge of the hook member comes into engagement with the rod 38 and forces the rod to rotate about its' pivot axis. Eventually, the rod snaps into the notch formed in the hook member, as shown in FIG. 8. This action, which occurs when the second micro-switch has been operated, latches the hinged plates in their uppermost positions, thereby preventing hang-up of the compacted material when the container is emptied. After the container has been emptied, the hook member can be disengaged from the latching bar by rotating the bar in a clockwise direction by means of the handle portion 40. It will be apparent that other suitable means, accessible from the side of the container, may be provided for effecting disengagement of the latching bar and hook member.

Reference now is made to the circuit diagram of FIG. 9 wherein there are shown the operating levers 24 and 25 which actuate the associated switches 45 and 46, each switch being of the double-pole, double-throw type. The step down transformer 47 is energized by a conventional 110 volt, 60 cycle power line upon closure of the line switch 48. One end of the low voltage secondary winding is connected to both movable contacts of the switch 46 and the other end of the winding is connected to the signal lamps 50, 51 and 52. The contacts of the switches 45 and 46 are shown in their normal positions, which corresponds to the normal positions of the hinged plates 21 and 27 as shown in FIG. 5. Under these conditions, only the green light 50 is energized through the normally closed lower contact sets of the two switches. Energization of this light indicates that the device is in the proper operating condition. When the operating lever 25 is depressed, corresponding to a three-quarter full container, the movable contacts of the switch 46 are transferred out of contact with the lower stationary contacts and into contact with the upper stationary contacts. The opening of the switch contact set 53 removes the power from the green light 50 and the closure of the switch contacts 54, 55, transfers power to the yellow light 51 through the closed contact 56, 57 of the switch 45. The energization of the light 51 indicates that the container is substantially three-fourths full. When the container is substantially full, the operating lever 24 transfers the movable contacts of the switch 45 into engagement with the upper stationary contacts thereof. The opening of the contacts 56 and 57 removes power from the light 51 and the closure of the contacts 57 and 58 results in the energization of the red light 52, thereby indicating the container is substantially fully compacted. Only one of the lights is energized at a given time, thereby eliminating ambiquity of indication. The lights may be mounted on the container or positioned in a location where they will be visible by the user. Desirably, the operating coil of a power relay 60 is connected in parallel with the red light 52, said relay having a pair of normally closed contacts connected in the control circuit of the compactor. As long as these contacts remain closed the compactor can be operated in normal manner. However, when the red light is engergized, the relay contacts are opened, thereby preventing further operation of the compactor. Obviously, audible alarms or other indicating means may be used in place of the lights.

Having now described the invention, what we desire to protect by letters patent is set forth in the following claims.