Title:
Compaction system
United States Patent 3922962
Abstract:
A compaction system includes a bin positioned in a housing to receive refuse deposited through a door and a ram supported by a piston for reciprocation into and out of the bin. The system receives water at municipal supply pressure and structure is provided for actuating a piston to advance the ram into the bin responsive to closure of the door and for actuating the piston to retract the ram out of the bin responsive to opening of the door. In one embodiment of the invention a pressure multiplier is driven by the low pressure water and functions to produce high pressure water which is admitted to a piston and thereby generates sufficient force on the ram to compact the refuse in the bin. On another embodiment of the invention the ram comprises a cylinder which encloses piston structure having a relatively large effective area. The low pressure water is cyclically applied to the piston structure to advance the ram relative to the first piston and then drained to permit advance of the first piston relative to the ram. In both embodiments of the invention the ram is maintained under compacting pressure so long as the door remains closed whereby refuse in the bin is more thoroughly compacted and odors which might otherwise emanate from the refuse are contained.


Inventors:
GOLDKUHLE WERNER P
Application Number:
05/434830
Publication Date:
12/02/1975
Filing Date:
01/18/1974
Assignee:
GOLDKUHLE; WERNER P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B30B9/30; B30B15/16; (IPC1-7): B30B15/16
Field of Search:
100/53,229A,269B,229R
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3763773TRASH COMPACTOR APPARATUS1973-10-09Clay
3691946HIGH-SPEED AUTOMATIC HYDRAULIC PRESSING SYSTEM1972-09-19Ando
3685438REFUSE COMPACTOR1972-08-22Ziegler
3669009REFUSE COMPACTOR1972-06-13Pratt et al.
3654855TRASH COMPACTION UNIT1972-04-11Longo
3654854REFUSE PACKER1972-04-11Cook et al.
3353478Waste collecting and compacting unit1967-11-21Hopkins
3055289Can crusher1962-09-25Komph
2817290Garbage disposal device1957-12-24Parker et al.
2763202Apparatus for waste disposal1956-09-18Gramelspacher
2722884Bale tensioning device for baling machines1955-11-08Seltzer
Primary Examiner:
Wilhite, Billy J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richards, Harris & Medlock
Parent Case Data:


This is a division of application Ser. No. 222,598, filed Feb. 1, 1972, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,805,690.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A compaction system comprising:

2. The compaction system according to Claim 1 wherein the means for applying a relatively large force to the ram comprises:

3. A compaction system comprising:

4. The compaction system according to claim 3 wherein the connecting means supplies the relatively high pressure operating fluid to the piston and thereby actuates the ram to compact the material in the bin.

5. The compaction system according to claim 3 wherein the pressure multiplier comprises:

6. A compaction system comprising:

7. The compaction system according to claim 6 further including:

Description:
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to compaction systems, and more particularly to a method and apparatus for compacting refuse which is adapted for domestic use.

As is well known, refuse compactors suitable for home use comprise a relatively new appliance that is currently gaining increased popularity. Most of the refuse compactors that are presently available comprise a refuse receiving bin, a ram, and a lead screw for reciprocating the ram into and out of the bin. These components are enclosed in a housing including a door which opens to provide access to the bin.

In the use of such a compactor, refuse is deposited into the refuse receiving bin through the door in the housing. From time to time thereafter the lead screw is actuated to reciprocate the ram into the bin, whereby the refuse is compressed by the ram. Apparatus is provided for automatically reversing the direction of operation of the lead screw and thereby retracting the ram where the ram is fully extended and/or when a predetermined resistance to further advance of the ram is encountered. In either case the ram is fully retracted out of the bin at the end of each operating cycle of the compactor.

The present invention comprises a novel compaction system which differs from presently available refuse compactors in several significant respects. Thus, in accordance with the broader aspects of the invention, a refuse compacting ram is actuated solely by a low pressure operating fluid such as water at municipal supply pressure. A pressure multiplier is employed to provide the force necessary to effect compaction without consuming excessive quantities of fluid. By this means there is provided a compaction system which is very economical to operate and which is very rugged in construction.

The invention further contemplates a compaction method in which the ram is initially advanced into engagement with refuse to be compacted relatively rapidly and under relatively low pressure. Thereafter, the ram is advanced relatively slowly and under relatively high pressure to compact the refuse. High pressure is maintained on the ram following compaction and until such time as it is desired to deposit additional refuse or to remove compacted refuse. It has been found that maintaining the ram in compaction engagement with the refuse results in more extensive compaction of the refuse in that the refuse is not permitted to spring back following the compaction cycle. This procedure is effective in containing odors that might otherwise emanate from the refuse.

In accordance with more specific aspects of the invention, the ram and a refuse receiving bin are mounted within a housing having a door. The ram is supported by a piston, and structure is provided for directing water at municipal supply pressure to the piston in accordance with the positioning of the door. Thus, whenever the door is opened, the piston is actuated to rapidly retract the ram and thereby permit additional refuse to be deposited into the bin, whenever the door is closed, the piston is actuated to rapidly advance the ram into the bin and into engagement with refuse therein.

Two specific embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the accompanying Drawings. In accordance with one embodiment the compaction system further comprises a pressure multiplier which is driven by water at municipal supply pressure and which functions to provide water at about 20 times municipal supply pressure. The output of the pressure multiplier is coupled to the piston so that after the piston has been energized by water at municipal supply pressure to advance the ram into the bin, high pressure water from the pressure multiplier is applied to the piston to generate sufficient force on the ram to compact the refuse. As has been indicated, the high pressure output of the pressure multiplier is maintined on the piston until the door is opened, whereupon the piston is immediately actuated to retract the ram out of the bin.

In accordance with the other embodiment of the invention, the ram comprises a cylinder which is supported by the piston. A pair of relatively large pistons are mounted within the cylinder and are connected in parallel. Following the actuation of the first piston to advance the ram into the refuse receiving bin, water is cyclically admitted to the cylinder, whereupon the large pistons advance the ram relative to the first piston to compact the refuse, and is then released from the cylinder, whereupon the first piston is advanced relative to the ram. By this means the second embodiment of the invention operates in step by step fashion to compact refuse in the bin. The second embodiment operates similarly to the first embodiment in that the ram is maintained in engagement with the refuse and under relatively high pressure until the door of the housing is opened, whereupon the first piston is actuated to retract the ram out of the bin.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following Detailed Description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view illustrating a compaction system comprising a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the hydraulic circuitry of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view showing the pressure multiplier of the first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view illustrating a compaction system comprising the second embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of the hydraulic circuitry of the compaction system shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the Drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a compaction system 10 comprising the first embodiment of the invention. The compaction system 10 includes a housing 12 comprising a bottom wall 14, four side walls 16, and a top wall 18. The housing 12 further includes a door 20 which is normally retained in the closed position shown in full line in FIG. 1 by a latching mechanism including an operating handle 22. The door 22 is hingedly supported on one of the four side walls 16 so that upon operation of the handle 22 of the latching mechanism, the door 20 may be pivoted outwardly to an open position indicated generally by the dashed lines in FIG. 1.

The compaction system 10 further indicates a refuse receiving bin 24 which is positioned within the housing 12 to receive refuse deposited through the door 20. A ram 26 is mounted within the housing 12 for reciprocation into the trash receiving bin 24 to compact refuse which has previously been deposited therein. It will be appreciated that the bin 24 may be adapted to receive a bag of the type commonly used in refuse compactors, whereby the removal of compacted refuse from the compaction system 10 and the subsequent disposal of the compacted refuse is facilitated.

The ram 26 of the compaction system 10 is supported and actuated by a hydraulic cylinder 28 which is mounted in the housing 12 over the refuse receiving bin 24 by suitable means, for example, a plurality of threaded fasteners 30 each extending through the top wall 18 of the housing 12. The hydraulic cylinder 28 comprises a piston 32 which divides the cylinder into an upper chamber 34 and a lower chamber 36 and a piston rod 38 which interconnects the piston 32 and the ram 26. The upper chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 is provided with a pair of ports 40 and 42 and the lower chamber 36 is provided with a port 44.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the hydraulic circuitry of the compaction system 10 is schematically illustrated. Operating fluid for the system is received at relatively low pressure from a source 46. The source 46 preferably comprises a conventional water main or other source of water at conventional municipal pressure, i.e., about 60 psi. However, it will be understood that operating fluids other than water may be used in the compaction system 10 and that the source 46 may comprise a small pump or other means for supplying low pressure operating fluid.

The source 46 is connected to the compaction system 10 through a two-piston, four-way valve 48. The valve 48 is operatively connected to the handle 22 of the latching mechanism of the door 20 and therefore controls the flow of operating fluid relative to the system 10 in accordance with the positioning of the door 20. When the door 20 is closed, the valve 48 is positioned as shown in FIG. 2 and therefore connects the source 56 to a line 50. At the same time the valve 38 connects a line 52 to a drain 54. On the other hand, when the door 20 is opened, the valve 48 connects the source 46 to the line 52 and connects the line 50 to the drain 54. It will be understood that if the source 46 comprises a pump, the drain 54 may be connected directly to the pump, or may be connected to a reservoir which is in turn connected to the pump.

The line 50 is connected to the port 40 of the hydraulic cylinder 28 through a pilot operated check valve 56, and the line 52 is connected to the port 44 of the cylinder 28. Therefore, whenever the valve 48 is in the condition shown in FIG. 2, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is admitted to the chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 through the valve 48, the line 50, the pilot operated check valve 56 and the port 40. At the same time operating fluid is drained from the chamber 36 of the cylinder 28 through a line 52 and the valve 48 to the drain 54. By this means the hydraulic cylinder is actuated to advance the ram 26 into the refuse receiving bin 24 whenever the door 20 of the housing 12 is closed.

Whenever the door 20 of the housing 12 is opened, the valve 48 is manipulated to the condition opposite that shown in FIG. 2. By this means the line 50 is connected to the source 46 and the line 52 is connected to the drain 54. Low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is therefore directed into the chamber 36 of the hydraulic cylinder 28 through the valve 48, the line 52 and the port 44. At the same time pressure in the line 52 actuates the pilot operated check valve 56 to permit operating fluid to flow out of the chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 through the port 40, the valve 56, the line 52, and the valve 48 to the drain 54. Thus, it will be understood that whenever the door 20 of the housing 12 is opened, the cylinder 28 is actuated to retract the ram 26 out of the refuse receiving bin 24. Those skilled in the art will appreciate the fact that since the chamber 36 comprises the rod end of the hydraulic cylinder 28, retraction of the ram 26 when the door 20 is opened occurs at a somewhat higher rate than the advance of the ram 26 when the door 20 is closed.

The low pressure operating fluid supplied by the source 46 operating on the piston 32 of the hydraulic cylinder 28 produces insufficient force to effectively compact refuse in the refuse receiving bin 24. The compaction system 10 is therefore equipped with a pressure multiplier 58 which is driven by the low pressure operating fluid and which functions to produce high pressure operating fluid. The high pressure operating fluid produced by the pressure multiplier 58 is admitted to the chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 through the port 42, whereupon sufficient force is generated on the ram 26 to fully and completely compress and compact all refuse in the refuse receiving bin.

The pressure multiplier 58 comprises a hydraulic cylinder 60 including a piston 62 and a piston rod 64. The piston 62 divides the cylinder 60 into chambers 66 and 68, and the piston rod 64 extends outwardly from both ends of the cylinder 60.

One end of the piston rod 64 extends to a two-piston, four-way valve 70 which is normally retained in one of its two operating positions by a detent 72. When the valve 70 is in the condition shown in FIG. 2, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is directed to the chamber 66 of the hydraulic cylinder 60 through the valve 48, the line 50, and the valve 70. At the same time operating fluid from the chamber 68 of the hydraulic cylinder 60 is directed to the drain 54 through the valve 70, the line 52, and the valve 48. The piston 62 is therefore urged to move leftwardly under the action of the low pressure operating fluid.

When the piston 62 nears the end of leftward movement, the piston rod 64 manipulates the valve 70 out of the condition shown in FIG. 2 and into the opposite condition. Low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is thereupon directed into the chamber 68 of the cylinder 60 through the valve 48, the line 50 and the valve 70. At the same time operating fluid from the chamber 66 of the cylinder 60 is directed to the drain 54 through the valve 70, the line 52 and the valve 48. This causes the piston 62 to move rightwardly under the action of the low pressure operating fluid, it being understood that the piston can be moved rightwardly by the force of a spring (not illustrated) rather than by using the force of the water, if desired. When the piston 62 nears the end of its rightward movement, the piston rod 64 manipulates the valve 70 into the condition shown in FIG. 2, whereupon the foregoing cycle is repeated.

A hydraulic cylinder 74 is supported adjacent the hydraulic cylinder 60 and includes a piston 76. The piston 76 is connected to the piston rod 64 and is therefore reciprocated in a working chamber 78 under the action of the piston 62 as controlled by the valve 70. When the valve 48 is in the condition shown in FIG. 2, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is admitted to the chamber 78 through a check valve 80. Since the piston 76 is connected to the piston 62, it is constraining to the same stroke as the piston 62. However, the piston 76 is considerably smaller in diameter than the piston 62. The piston 76 therefore functions to produce high pressure operating fluid which is directed to the chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 through a check valve 82 and the port 42.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the pressure multiplier 58 of the compaction system 10 is shown in greater detail. The hydraulic cylinder 60, the valve 70, and the hydraulic cylinder 74 of the pressure multiplier 58 are all enclosed in a housing 84 comprising three sections 86, 88, and 90. The valve 70 comprises a spool 92 enclosed in the section 88 and slidably supported on the piston rod 54. As has been indicated, the spool 92 comprising the valve 70 is normally retained in one of two operating positions by a detent 72.

The valve 70 further comprises five annular passageways 94, 96, 98, 100, and 102 formed at axially spaced points in the section 88 of the housing 84. Five ports 104, 106, 108, 110, and 112 are also formed in the sections 88. Each of the ports extends into communication with and is individual to one of the annular passageways. It should be noted, however, that the annular passageway 102 is connected to the annular passageway 94 and to the port 104 by a passageway 114 extending axially through the section 88.

As indicated by the dashed lines in FIG. 3, the port 106 is coupled to a port 116 extending to the chamber 66 of the hydraulic cylinder 60. Similarly, the port 110 is coupled to the port 11 extending to the chamber 68 of the cylinder 60. When the valve 48 is in the condition shown in FIG. 2, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is directed to the port 108 through the valve 48 and the line 50. Similarly, the port 104 is coupled to the drain 54 through the line 50 and the valve 48. The port 112 differs from the remaining ports of the pressure multiplier 58 in that it is permanently plugged.

The spool 92 is the valve 70 comprises two reduced diameter portions 120 and 122. Therefore, when the spool is in the position shown in FIG. 3, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is directed to the chamber 68 of the hydraulic cylinder 60 through the valve 48, the line 50, the port 108, the annular passageway 98, the reduced diameter portion 122, the annular passageway 100, the port 110, and the port 118. At the same time operating fluid from the chamber 66 of the cylinder 60 is directed to the drain 54 through the port 116, the port 104, the annular passageway 96, the reduced diameter portion 120, the annular passageway 94, the port 104, the line 52, and the valve 48. When the spool 92 is in its other position, low pressure operating fluid from the source 46 is directed to the chamber 66 of the hydraulic cylinder 60 through the valve 48, the line 50, the port 108, the annular passageway 98, the reduced diameter portion 120, the annular passageway 96, the port 106, and the port 116. At the same time operating fluid from the chamber 68 of the cylinder 60 is directed to a drain 54 through the port 118, the port 110, the annular passageway 100, the reduced diameter portion 122, the annular passage 102, the passageway 114, the annular passageway 94, the port 104, the line 52, and the valve 48. By this means the valve 70 functions to cause continual reciprocation of the piston 62 in the hydraulic cylinder 60.

The piston rod 64 controls the movement of the spool 92 between its two operating positions by means of a pair of keepers 124 and 126 and pair of springs 128 and 130 which are positioned between the keepers 124 and 126 and the spool 92, respectively. The positioning of the keepers 124 relative to the piston rod 64 is in turn controlled by a pair of snap rings 132 and 134. Therefore, as the piston 62 moves rightwardly, the spring 128 is compressed between the keeper 124 and the spool 92 until the resistance to rightward movement of the spool 92 that is imposed by the detent 71 is overcome. At that time the spool 92 immediately moves rightwardly under the action of the spring 128. As has been indicated, the positioning of the spool 92 in the opposite operating position reverses the flow of the operating fluid relative to the chambers 66 and 68 of the cylinder 60. Thus, the positioning of the spool 92 in the opposite operating position from that shown in FIG. 3 eventually terminates rightward movement of the piston 62 and initiates leftward movement of the piston 62. As the piston moves leftwardly, the spring 103 is gradually compressed between the keeper 126 and the spool 92. When the resistance to leftward movement of the spool 92 as imposed by the detent 72 is overcome, the spool 92 immediately moves leftwardly, i.e., to the position shown in FIG. 3, under the action of the spring 130. The flow of operating fluid relative to the chambers 66 and 68 of the cylinder 60 is therefore returned to its original state, whereupon leftward movement of the piston 62 is terminated and rightward movement is initiated. It will be appreciated that the cyclical operation of the piston 62 and the spool 92 is continued so long as operating fluid is supplied to the pressure multiplier 58.

Referring now to the left hand portion of the pressure multiplier 58 as shown in FIG. 3, the piston 76 of the hydraulic cylinder 74 actually comprises an extension of the piston rod 64. The preferred ratio between the effective area of the piston 62 and the effective area of the piston 76 is about 20 to one. Therefore, if operating fluid is supplied to the hydraulic cylinder 74 at a pressure of about 60 psi, the cylinder 74 functions to supply operating fluid to the cylinder 28 at a pressure of about 1200 psi.

The operation of the compaction system 10 will be best understood by referring to FIGS. 1 and 2. The door 20 of the housing 12 is initially opened by actuating the handle 22 of the latching mechanism. This positions the valve 48 to connect the source of low pressure operating fluid 46 to the chamber 36 of the cylinder 28. As soon as pressure is established in the line 52, the pilot operated check valve 56 is actuated to connect the chamber 34 to the drain 54. By this means the piston 32 is actuated to rapidly retract the ram 26 out of the refuse receiving bin 24.

The retraction of the ram 26 occurs simultaneously with the opening of the door 20, so that by the time the door is opened, the refuse receiving bin 24 is fully accessible. Refuse is then deposited into the bin 24 through the door 20, whereupon the door 20 is closed. This positions the valve 48 to connect the source of low pressure operating fluid to the chamber 34 and to connect the chamber 36 to the drain 54. The piston 32 of the hydraulic cylinder 28 is thereby immediately actuated to rapidly advance the ram 26 into the refuse receiving bin 24 and into engagement with the refuse therein.

Actuation of the valve 48 to the position shown in FIG. 2 also initiates operation of the pressure multiplier 58. The pressure multiplier 58 thereupon produces high pressure operating fluid which is admitted to the chamber 34 of the cylinder 28 through the port 42. Since the pressure multiplier 58 is a reciprocatory mechanism, high pressure operating fluid is admitted to the chamber 34 in a series of relatively low volume, high pressure pulses. Thus, subsequent to the intitial, relatively rapid advance of the ram 26 into the refuse receiving bin 24, the ram is further advanced into the bin in a step by step fashion to compress the refuse in the bin. The pressure that is ultimately imposed in the piston 32 by the operation of the pressure multiplier 58 develops sufficient force on the ram 26 to fully and completely compress and compact the refuse.

The advance of the ram 26 into the refuse receiving bin 24 continues until the force that is imposed on the ram 26 by the high pressure operating fluid in the chamber 34 is resisted by an equal and opposite force caused by full compaction of the refuse in the bin 24. Thereafter, further fluid cannot be pumped out of the chamber 78 of the hydraulic cylinder 74 of the pressure multiplier 58, whereupon the operation fo the pressure multiplier 58 is stalled. High pressure operating fluid is maintained in the chamber 34 so long as the door 20 remains closed. Thus, full compacting pressure is continuously applied to the refuse in the bin 24. This has been found to be highly advantageous for several reasons. First, more thorough and complete compaction of the refuse is acheived since the refuse is not permitted to spring back by immediate retraction of the ram. Also, it has been found that offensive odors that might otherwise be emanated from the refuse in the bin 24 are completely and fully contained when the ram is maintained in engagement with the refuse and under full compacting pressure.

Whenever it is desired to introduce additional refuse into the bin 24, or whenever it is desired to remove the compacted refuse from the bin 24, the door 20 is simply opened. This action positions the valve 48 to connect the chamber 34 to the drain 54 and to connect the source of low pressure operating fluid 46 to the chamber 36. The ram 26 is thereupon immediately retracted out of the bin 24, whereupon the bin 24 is fully accessible through the door 20.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, there is shown a compaction system 150 comprising an alternative embodiment of the invention. The compaction system 150 includes a housing 152 comprising a bottom wall 154, four side walls 156, and a top wall 158. A door 160 is fomed in one of the side walls 156 and is normally in the closed position shown in full lines in FIG. 4 by a latching mechanism including an operating handle 162. Upon actuation of the handle 162, the door 160 is pivotable from the closed position to an opened position indicated generally by the dashed lines in FIG. 4.

The compaction system 150 further includes a refuse receiving bin 164 which is positioned within the housing 152 to receive refuse which is deposited through the door 160. A ram 166 is mounted for reciprocation into the bin 164 and for actuation to compress and compact the refuse deposted therein. Like the refuse receiving bin 24 of the compaction system 10, the bin 164 may be adapted to receive a conventional bag of the type commonly used in refuse compactors, whereby both the removal of compacted refuse from the bin 164 and the ultimate disposal of the refuse is facilitated.

A hydraulic cylinder 168 is supported in the housing over the refuse receiving bin 164 by suitable means, such as the threaded fasteners 170 shown in FIG. 4. The hydraulic cylinder 168 comprises a piston 172 which divides the cylinder 168 into chambers 174 and 176 and a piston rod 178 which interconnects the piston 172 and the ram 166. The hydraulic cylinder 168 further includes a port 180 extending to the chamber 174 and a port 184 extending to the chamber 176.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 5, low pressure operating fluid is received in the compaction system 10 from a source 186. The source 186 preferably comprises a conventional municipal water supply in which case the operating fluid for the compaction system 150 is water. However, the source 186 may also comprise a light duty pump or other source of liquid pressurized to about 60 psi in which case the operating fluid may comprise oil or another liquid other than water.

Low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 is directed to a two-position, four-way valve 188 which functions under the control of the operating handle 162 of the latching mechanism of the door 160 to control the flow of operating fluid relative to the remaining components of the compaction system 50. Whenever the door 160 is closed, the valve 188 is positioned as shown in FIG. 5, whereupon low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 is directed through the valve 188 into a line 190. This positioning of the valve 188 also connects a line 192 to a drain 194. It will be understood that in the case of a closed system for supplying low pressure operating fluid to the compaction system 150, the drain 194 may be connected directly to the supply 186 or may be connected to a reservoir which is in turn connected to the supply 186.

Whenever the valve 188 is positioned as shown in FIG. 5, that is, whenever the door 160 of the housing 152 is closed, operating fluid from the source 186 is directed to the chamber 174 of the hydraulic cylinder 168 through the valve 188, the line 180, a pilot operated check valve 196 and the port 180. At the same time the chamber 176 of the cylinder 168 is connected to the drain 194 through the port 184, the line 192, and the valve 188. By this means low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 is admitted to the chamber 174 and operating fluid from chamber 176 is conveyed to the drain 194. The piston 172 therefore operates under the action of the low pressure operating fluid to advance the ram 166 relatively rapidly into the refuse receiving bin 164.

When the valve 188 is in its other operating position, that is, when the door 160 of the housing 152 is opened, low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 is directed to the chamber 176 of the cylinder 168 through the valve 188, the line 192 and the port 184. Pressure in the line 192 actuates the pilot operated check valve 196, whereupon the chamber 174 of the hydraulic cylinder 168 is connected to the drain 194 through the port 180, the pilot operated check valve 196, the line 190, and the valve 188. Thus, whenever the door 160 is opened, the piston 172 operates under the action of the low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 to immediately retract the ram 166 out of the refuse receiving bin 164. As was pointed out in connection with the hydraulic cylinder 28, the chamber 176 comprises the rod end of the hydraulic cylinder 168. Thus, retraction of the ram when the door 160 is opened occurs even more rapidly than the advance of the ram when the door 160 is closed.

The compacting system 150 differs from the compacting system 10 primarily in that the ram 166 comprises a cylinder 200 which is supported on the piston rod 178 for limited reciprocatory movement with respect thereto. A bulkhead 202 is rigidly mounted within the cylinder 200 and a pair of pistons 204 and 206 are secured to the piston rod 178 for relative reciprocatory movement within the cylinder 200. By this means the cylinder 200 is divided into four chambers 208, 210, 212, and 214. The chamber 212 is connected in parallel with the chamber 208 by a passageway 216 formed in the cylinder 200 and the chamber 208 is connected to the drain 194 by a line 218. A passageway 220 extends through the piston rod 178 from a port 222 and functions to connect the chambers 210 and 214 in parallel.

A two-position, four-way valve 224 is provided for controlling the flow of operating fluid relative to the passageway 220 and the chambers 210 and 214 of the cylinder 200. A detent 226 is provided for normally retaining the valve 224 in one of its operating conditions. As is clearly shown in FIG. 4, the valve 224 is supported on the cylinder 200 by a bracket 228. A bifurcated arm 230 is supported on the piston rod 176 and functions to manipulate the valve 224 between its two operating positions.

The cylinder 200 operates following the advance of the ram 166 under the action of low pressure operating fluid flowing into the chamber 174 of the cylinder 168. Assuming that the valves 188 and 224 are positioned as shown in FIG. 5, low pressure operating fluid is directed into the chambers 210 and 214 of the cylinder 200 through the valve 188, the line 190, the valve 224, the port 222, and the passageway 220. This action extends the cylinder 200 relative to the piston rods 178, whereupon refuse in the refuse receiving bin 164 is compacted. Any operating fluid that may be present in the chambers 208 and 212 of the cylinders 200 is directed to the drain 194 through the passageway 216 and the line 218.

As the cylinder 200 reaches the lower limit of its reciprocation relative to the piston rod 178, the valve 224 which is supported on the cylinder 200 by the bracket 228 engages the bifurcated arm 230 which is supported on the piston 178. The valve 224 is thereupon manipulated to its opposite operating condition. This action connects the chambers 210 and 214 of the cylinder 200 to the drain 194 through the passageway 200, the port 222, the valve 224, the line 192, and the valve 188. Since the chamber 174 of the cylinder 168 is connected to the source of low pressure operating fluid 186, the release of pressure from the chambers 210 and 214 of the cylinder 200 permits an immediate downward movement of the piston 172 and the piston rod 178 relative to the cylinder 200. As the piston rod nears the lower limit of its downward reciprocation relative to the cylinder 200, the bifurcated arm 230 on the piston rod 178 engages the valve 224 on the cylinder 200, whereupon the valve 224 is returned to the operating condition shown in FIG. 5. Thereupon the foregoing cycle of operation is repeated.

It will be appreciated that since the pistons 204 and 206 of the cylinder 200 are connected in parallel, there is provided an effective piston area which is twice as great as would be the case if a single piston were mounted within the cylinder 200. The force generated by the low pressure operating fluid acting against this relatively large piston area is sufficient to fully compress and compact the refuse within the refuse receiving bin 164 of the compacting system 150. It will be further appreciated that the cylinder 200 and the cylinder 168 operate to compact the refuse in the bin 164 in a step by step fashion. That is, the compacting system 150 operates cyclically to first advance the ram 166 relative to the piston 172 and then advance the piston 172 relative to the ram 166.

The use of the compaction system 150 is substantially identical to the use of the compaction system 10. The operating handle 162 of the latching mechanism is initially actuated to open the door 160 of the housing 152. Manipulation of the handle 162 also positions the valve 188 in the operating condition opposite that shown in FIG. 5. This connects the source of low pressure operating fluid 186 to the chamber 176 of the cylinder 168 and also connects the chamber 174 to the drain 94. As soon as pressure is established in the line 192, the pilot operated check valve 196 immediately operates to permit fluid flow out of the chamber 174. The piston 172 thereupon operates under the action of the low pressure operating fluid from the source 186 to rapidly retract the ram 166 out of the refuse receivng bin 164.

The retraction of the ram 164 occurs substantially simultaneously with the opening of the door 160. Refuse is then deposited in the bin 164, and the door 160 is closed. This action manipulates the valve 188 to the operating position shown in FIG. 5, whereby the source of low pressure operating fluid 186 is connected to the chamber 174 of the hydraulic cylinder 168 and the chamber 168 is connected to the drain 194. The cylinder 172 then operates under the action of the low pressure operating fluid supplied from the source 186 to rapidly advance the ram 166 into the refuse receiving bin 164 and into alignment with refuse deposited therein.

Subsequent to the advance of the ram 166 into the bin 164 under the action of the piston 172, low pressure operating fluid flows into the chambers 210 and 214 of the cylinder 200 of the ram 166. The ram 166 is thereby advanced relative to the piston rod 178 under the action of the low pressure operating fluid. The advance of the ram 166 operates to compress the refuse in the bin 164 and is continued until the bifurcated arm 230 on the piston rod 178 engages and trips the valve 224. Thereafter, the chambers 210 and 215 of the cylinder 200 are connected to the drain 194, whereupon the piston 172 is immediately advanced under the pressure of the low pressure operating fluid in the chamber 174. The advance of the piston 172 results in downward reciprocation of the piston rod 178 and the pistons 204 and 206 connected thereto relative to the cylinder 200 and is continued until the bifurcated arm 230 engages and trips the valve 224. This actions returns the valve 224 to the operating condition shown in FIG. 5, whereupon the foregoing cycle of operation is repeated.

The step by step advance of the ram 166 into the refuse receiving bin 164 is continued until the refuse in the bin 164 has been compressed to such an extent that the force tending to advance the ram 166 further into the bin 164 is opposed by an equal and opposite force. At this point the operation of the compacting system 150 is stalled. It should be noted that the ram 166 remains in compacting engagement with the refuse in the bin 164 so long as the door 160 remains closed. As has been pointed out above in connection with the compaction system 10, this characteristic of the compaction system 150 is highly desirable for several reasons. First, better and more extensive compaction of the refuse is obtained since the refuse is not allowed to spring back due to the immediate retraction of the ram following the compaction process. Second, odors that might otherwise emanate from the refuse are thoroughly contained by the continued application of the compacting force to the refuse.

Whenever it is desired to add additional refuse to the bin 164 and/or whenever it is desired to withdraw the compacted refuse from the bin 164, the door 160 is opened. This action manipulates the valve 188 to the operating condition opposite that shown in FIG. 5. The ram 166 is thereupon immediately retracted out of the bin 164 under the action of low pressure operating fluid in the chamber 176 of the cylinder 168. Thus, simultaneously with the opening of the door 160, the ram 166 is retracted to permit access to the bin 164.

Those skilled in the art will realize that several modifications can be made to the basic compaction system designs which are illustrated in the Drawings. For example, although both embodiments of the compaction system have been disclosed as operated by water supplied from a conventional municipal supply, it will be understood that both embodiments can be operated by other fluids and can comprise closed systems including a pump for supplying low pressure operating fluid. Another modification comprises the replacement of the reciprocating pressure multiplier of the embodiment of the invention shhownn in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 with any of the various pressure multipliers that are commonly employed in the art. Similarly, the cylinder comprising the ram of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 may be provided with one piston or with one or more than two pistons in accordance with particular circumstances. It will be further understood that springs may be provided in the cylinder 200 for effecting relative reciprocation of the cylinder and pistons therein when the chambers 210 and 214 are connected to the drain.

As will be apparent from the foregoing, the present invention comprises a compaction system which is adapted for use in the home and for actuation by water supplied at conventional municipal pressure. Such a compaction system comprises no electrical components whatsoever but instead is driven solely by the input water supply. The resulting system is extremely rugged in construction and is therefore adapted for extremely long maintenance free service.

Another advantageous characteristic of compaction systems incorporating the invention is the method of operating the system whereby the ram is maintained in engagement with refuse and under compacting pressure so long as the door of the housing remains closed. This is highly advantageous in that more thorough and efficient compaction of the refuse is acheived because the refuse is not permitted to spring back to immediate retraction of the ram following a compaction cycle. Another advantageous result of this operating method is that odors which might otherwise emanate from the compacted refuse are thoroughly contained therein due to the maintenance of compacting pressure on the refuse.

Compaction systems incorporating the invention are adapted to a wide variety of uses. As has been indicated, one very important use is in home kitchens for the compaction of garbage, trash, and other household refuse. The invention is also applicable to industrial uses both for compacting industrial refuse and for compressing non-refuse materials. One very important use of the invention is in hospitals, doctors' offices and the like for the compaction of wastes that could emanate not only odors but also disease bearing microorganisms. It has been found that by maintaining compacting pressure on refuse of this type, such microorganisms are more effectively contained than would otherwise be possible.

Although particular embodiments of the invention have been illustrated in the Drawings and described in the foregoing specification, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions of parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention.