The embodiments of the invention in which an
exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows
1. A mobile snow disposal apparatus comprising in combination a vehicle carrying a water tank, a snow melting unit including a chamber provided on top of said tank and delivering water thereto, a snow pick-up unit at the front of said vehicle, said pick-up unit comprising a snow scoop, a rotary auger in the said scoop and a blower disposed adjacent to the center of the said scoop and auger and adapted to receive the scooped-up snow from the said auger, a telescopic conduit between the said blower and the said snow melting unit, and means mounted on said apparatus in operative association with said snow pick-up unit for rasing and lowering said snow pick-up unit relative to the ground, and means mounted on said apparatus in operative association with said water tank for discharging water from the said water tank into a sewer, said water discharging means including a selectively usable downflow nozzle means including a downflow nozzle for communicating with a manhole positioned beneath said apparatus and a selectively usable, horizontally movable sideflow nozzle means including a sideflow nozzle for communicating with a lateral curb opening, said sideflow nozzle being movable between a first, retracted position and a second, extended, position means for moving said sideflow nozzle between said retracted and extended positions, means for closing off the said downflow nozzle when the said sideflow nozzle is moved outwards horizontally towards a curb sewer opening to said extended position for lateral discharge of water through said sideflow nozzle into the sewer opening, and means for opening the said downflow nozzle when the said sideflow nozzle is in said retracted position for downward discharge of water through said downflow nozzle.
2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, together with an air exhaust duct communicating with said chamber of said melting unit, and an exhaust blower and a filter in said duct.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the means for discharging the water from the water tank includes a pair of valves, the said valves being spring biased in the normally closed position, individual means to raise the said valves to an open position, and a rotary impeller pump located between the said valves and the said downflow and sideflow nozzles, the said pump directing an axial flow of water downwards towards the said downflow and sideflow nozzles.
4. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein the said pair of valves are located in line longitudinally of the vehicle at one end thereof, one of which is in direct communication with the interior of the tank and the other of which is in indirect communication with the interior of the tank through a conduit having an open end disposed at one end of the tank opposite from the said valves.
5. The apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein the said valves are each located within a separate chamber, and the said conduit is connected to one of the said chambers, the said conduit permitting a flow of water to its connected chamber when the said vehicle is located on sloping ground.
6. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, further including hydraulic means mounted on said apparatus in operative association with said downflow nozzle for separately raising and lowering said downflow nozzle and wherein said sideflow nozzle moving means comprises hydraulic means for laterally moving said sideflow nozzle relative to the ground.
7. The apparatus as defined in claim 6, together with means for laterally projecting and retracting said sideflow nozzle relative to said vehicle when the said downflow nozzle is in the raised position.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said tank has a valve-equipped water outlet at the bottom thereof, said downflow nozzle means surrounding said outlet and being adjustable upwardly and downwardly relative thereto, said sideflow nozzle means being provided at the lower end of said outlet and including a laterally projectable and retractable discharge portion which in its retracted position is receivable within said downflow nozzle means when the latter is lowered and which may be laterally projected when the downflow nozzle means is raised.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said sideflow nozzle includes an openable and closable bottom wall member below the lower end of said outlet, together with means in operative association with said wall member for opening said wall member when said discharge portion is retracted and for closing the wall member when the discharge portion is projected.
This invention relates to new and useful improvements in the art of cleaning streets of accumulated snow, and the principal object of the invention is to provide a mobile snow disposal apparatus whereby snow may be picked up off the street, melted and the resultant water periodically discharged into a sewer. The invention thus eliminates the disadvantages of conventional snow handling procedures were the excavated snow is either left in banks along the sides of the street, or must be trucked away and dumped at some other location.
The apparatus of the invention is embodied in a self- contained truck-like vehicle which is equipped with means for picking up the snow, melting the same, storing the resultant water, and ultimately discharging the water into a sewer when the storage facility is full. The various working components of the apparatus are power-operated, and the mobile, self-contained apparatus as a whole is capable of performing its intended function in a highly expeditious and efficient manner.
Another important object of the invention is to facilitate discharging of water from the apparatus into a sewer in a selective manner, that is, either by downflow into an open manhole, or by sideflow into a lateral opening in a curb or sidewalk, the arrangement in either instance being such that there is no appreciable spillage of water onto the street.
A further object of the invention is to provide means whereby discharge of water from the tank of the vehicle is maintained when the vehicle is travelling down an incline.
With the foregoing more important objects and features in view and such other objects and features which may become apparent as this specification proceeds, the invention will be understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like characters of reference are used to designate like parts, and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a right-hand side elevational view of the mobile snow disposal apparatus in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a left-hand side elevational view thereof, largely in section;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view, taken substantially in the plane of the line 4--4 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a sectional detail, taken substantially in the plane of the line 5--5 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a sectional detail, taken substantially in the plane of the line 6--6 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary elevational view of the water discharging means in position for lateral discharge;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary elevational view taken in the direction of the arrow 8 in FIG. 7; and
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view of the water discharging means in position for downward discharge.
Referring now to the accompanying drawings in detail, and more particularly to FIGS. 1-3, the mobile snow disposal apparatus of the invention is designated generally by the reference numeral 10 and comprises a self-propelled truck-like vehicle 11 having a body which includes an operator's cab 12 at the front thereof and also having a power plant 13 driving the wheels 14, as through a power train 15 in a conventional manner. For most part, the interior of the vehicle body is occupied by a horizontally elongated water tank 16, and disposed above the water tank is a snow melting unit 17 consisting of a chamber 18 with a plurality of gas or oil burners 19 therein. Snow melted in the chamber 18 by the burners 19 is discharged as water through an opening 20 which communicates the chamber 18 with the water tank 16, and if desired or necessary, the opening 20 may be coverd by a screen to prevent debris brought with the snow into the chamber 18 from entering the tank 16. A baffle 21 is provided in the chamber 18 above the opening 20 to prevent snow from dropping directly into the water tank, and products of combustion at the burners 19 are discharged from the chamber 18 through an exhaust duct 22 leading to an exhaust fan 23 and then to an exhaust hood 24 at the outside of the vehicle body. A suitable gas filter 25 may be provided in advance of the fan 23, as will be apparent.
The snow to be processed is gathered by a pick-up unit 26 at the front of the vehicle. This unit consists of a scoop or shovel 27 containing a rotary auger 28 which cuts into the snow and conveys it laterally inwardly toward the center of the scoop. The scoop 27 may be provided at one side thereof with a plow 29 which is extensible over a sidewalk 30 while the vehicle travels along the street 31 adjacent the curb 32 (see FIG. 3), thus scraping the snow off the sidewalk and directing the same into the scoop 27. The plow 29 may be swung inwardly or outwardly by hydraulic cylinder means 33.
The snow brought toward the center of the scoop 27 by the auger 28 is engaged by a rotary blower or conveyor 34 disposed in an enlarged, lower portion of a conduit 35 which is connected to the scoop 27 and has its upper end portion slidably telescoped in a conduit 36 leading to the snow melting unit 17. A hydraulic cylinder 37 reacts between the conduits 35, 36 for sliding the conduit 35 with the entire associated snow pick-up unit 26 upwardly or downwardly relative to the ground, so that the operating height of the scoop 27 may be adjusted. Moreover, by sliding the conduit 35 upwardly, the entire pick-up unit 26 may be retracted into the vehicle body when the pick-up unit is not in use, it being understood that the side plow 29 is first swung inwardly to the front of the scoop 27, before such retraction of the pick-up unit is effected. A guard 38 is pivotally mounted at the front of the vehicle for raising and lowering movement by a hydraulic cylinder 39, the guard being normally raised when the machine is in use, but being lowered when the pick-up unit 26 is retracted, so as to close off the space at the front of the vehicle which is otherwise occupied by the pick-up unit in its lowered position. The auger 28 and the rotary blower 34 are driven through a flexible drive 40 by a motor 41 which may also operate a hydraulic pump for actuating the various hydraulic cylinders of the machine.
The snow propelled by the blower 34 through the conduits 35, 36 is discharged onto the baffle 21 in the chamber 18 of the melting unit 17, where the snow is melted by the burners 19 and the resultant water then flows through the opening 20 into the storage tank 16, as already explained.
Attention is now directed to FIGS. 4-9 which show, as an important feature of the invention, means for discharging water from the storage tank 16 into a sewer, either downwardly as into an open manhole in the street, or laterally into a side opening 42 in the curb 32 of the sidewalk 30, as shown in FIG. 4.
The water discharging means are preferably located in the curb side of the rear end portion of the tank 16, where the tank bottom is equipped with a water outlet 43 containing a rotary pump or impeller 44 in its upper portion, so that water may be discharged through the outlet by positive pressure rather than by mere gravitational flow. The outlet 43 is normally closed by a pair of vertically liftable valves 45 and 45a located above the impeller 44, these valves having vertical stems 46 slidable in a guide 47 inside the tank 16 and biased to the valve-closed position by springs 48. The valve stems 46 project through the top of the tank 16, where they are provided with rollers 49 engageable by horizontally slidable wedges 50. These wedges are slid by a pair of hydraulic cylinders 51 as is best shown in FIG. 4, and it will be understood from the foregoing that by actuating either or both of the cylinders 51, either or both of the outlet valves 45 may be opened.
A downflow discharge nozzle in the form of a tubular skirt 52 surrounds the water outlet 43 and is slidably telescoped on the upper portion 43' of the outlet which contains the impeller 44. A set of hydraulic cylinders 53 are provided for sliding the skirt 52 between its raised and lowered positions shown in FIGS. 7-8 and 9, respectively. The impeller 44 is driven by a shaft 54, and a slot 55 is provided in the skirt 52 to afford clearance for the shaft 54 when the nozzle is in its raised position as in FIG. 8.
A sideflow discharge nozzle 56 is provided at the lower end of the outlet 43 and may be raised or lowered by means of hydraulic cylinders 62. The nozzle 56 itself includes a laterally projectable and retractable nozzle portion 57 having a side delivery spout 58 of rubber, or the like, engageable with edges of the sewer opening 42 in the curb 32 as shown in FIG. 4, so that water may be discharged into the sewer opening without spilling on the street.
The portion 57 of the nozzle 56 is projected and retracted by hydraulic cylinders 59, 60, 60, the cylinders 59 also being connected by linkage 61 to an openable and closable bottom wall member 63 of the nozzle 56 (see FIG. 9).
When water in the tank 16 is to be discharged into a sewer opening 42 in the side of the curb 32, the skirt 52 is raised by the cyinders 53 and the sideflow nozzle 56 is lowered by the cylinders 57, as shown in FIGS. 4, 7 and 8. The cylinders 59, 60 are then actuated to project the nozzle portion 57 laterally outwardly so that the spout 58 seals against the edges of the sewer opening as in FIG. 4. In this position the bottom wall member 63 of the nozzle 56 is closed, and when the outlet valves 45 and 45a are opened by actuation of the cylinders 51, water flows from the tank 16 and is forced by the impeller 44 downwardly through the outlet 43 and then laterally through the nozzle 56 and nozzle portion 57 for discharge into the sewer opening 42.
When the tank 16 has been emptied, the nozzle portion 57 is retracted and the nozzle 56, including the portion 57, is then raised by the cylinders 62 so as to be at least partially stored within the still raised outer nozzle or skirt 52, and with the valves 45 and 45a closed, the machine is ready for the next cycle of operation.
If the water in the tank 16 is to be discharged into a sewer through an open manhole, rather than through a lateral curb opening such as the opening 42, the sideflow nozzle 56 is retained in its raised position, it being noted that in this position the bottom wall member 63 of the nozzle is open as in FIG. 9. The outer nozzle or skirt 52 is then lowered by the cylinders 53 so as to enter the open manhole, and upon opening of the valves 45, water is discharged downwardly through the outlet 43 and through the open member 63 into the manhole, while the skirt 52 prevents water spillage onto the street.
It will be noted that by locating the water discharging means at the curb side of the rear end portion of the tank 16, the sideflow nozzle 56, 57, 58 is conveniently disposed at the curb side of the vehicle and need not be projected laterally to any great extent in order to come in contact with the curb.
The outlet valves 45 and 45a can be opened at the same time in order to facilitate rapid discharge of the water from the tank 16 through the valves and the impeller 44 in the manner described. However, with the water discharge being located at the rear of the vehicle as illustrated, and with the vehicle travelling down an incline, difficulty would be experienced in emptying the tank due to the water flowing towards the forward end of the vehicle, particularly when the tank is only partially full. In order to overcome this difficulty the valves 45 and 45a are separated by a vertical wall 64 to form separate chambers 65 and 66. The chamber 65 is in direct communication with the interior of the tank 16 and, so long as the water level in the tank 16 will permit, a flow into the chamber 65 and through the valve 45 will be maintained. The chamber 66, within which the valve 45a is located, is indirectly in communication with the tank 16 by means of the conduit 67 disposed along the bottom of the tank and having an end portion 88 located at the forward end of the tank. Preferably the open end 69 of the conduit 67 is covered by a filter 70 to trap solids from being drawn in and through the valve 45a and impeller 44.
It is to be understood that, while the water discharge from the tank 16 is preferably located at the rear of the vehicle, as illustrated and described, the arrangement could be reversed with the discharge located at the forward end of the tank. In such a case, the conduit 67 would permit the tank to be fully discharged if the vehicle were travelling up an incline.
If desired, suitable feeler means (not shown) may be provided on the curb side of the vehicle or directly on the nozzle portion 57 for sensing the location of the sewer opening 42 in the curb 32, such feeler means being electrically or otherwise operatively connected to an indicating device in the operator's cab 12, so that the vehicle may be properly positioned for engagement of the nozzle with the sewer opening, without the necessity of the operator leaving his cab and going to the back of the vehicle for a visual inspection.