Title:
Garbage disposer replacement unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garbage disposer replacement unit includes a pre-rinse basket with food waste straining holes. A main body houses a tray slidingly suspended that retains small particles food waste via fine bottom perforations. The tray has a top opening larger than a drain diameter of an existing bus bowl in a kitchen. A plastic clip disc pairs with clip top members to clip the main body onto bus bowl flanges. The clip disc drain adapter adjusts and adapts the unit's outlet to different drain diameters of existing bus bowl fixtures. The clip disc and a top clip member constitute a clip assembly for adjustably clipping the unit main body to the given drain flange easily but securely. Optionally, a four-legged riser replaces the clip assembly to attach to the unit main body top for bus bowls with a flangeless standard drain fitting.



Inventors:
Luk, Ricky (Irvine, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/285520
Publication Date:
05/24/2007
Filing Date:
11/22/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/26; A47K1/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEWHOPE LAW, PC (CLEMENT CHENG, ESQ. 4522 Katella Avenue #200, Los Alamitos, CA, 90720, US)
Claims:
1. A garbage disposer replacement unit for straining food waste comprising: a. a basket with food waste straining holes; b. a main body having a reservoir, wherein the main body is located below the basket; c. a tray slidingly suspended within the main body above the reservoir, wherein the tray has fine bottom perforations smaller than the food waste straining holes.

2. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 1, wherein fine bottom perforations are about 2 mm diameter circular apertures and the straining holes are circular with a 5-6 mm diameter.

3. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 1, further comprising: a. a plastic clip disc drain adapter adapted to clip an existing bus bowl flange to the main body; b. clip top members attaching to the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

4. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 3, wherein the plastic clip disc drain adapter further comprises: a number of optional hole diameters defined by concentric annular grooves to make adjustable the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

5. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 3, wherein the plastic clip disc drain adapter further comprises: slits for cutting adjustment of the size of an annular hole on the plastic clip disc drain adapter to make adjustable the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

6. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 3, wherein clip top members further comprise: two differently oriented slots to provide a pair of diameter ranges for each clip top member.

7. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 1, further comprising: a four-legged riser to attach to the main body to standard flangeless drain fitting.

8. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 1, further comprising: a fastening means adapted to connect an existing bus bowl to the main body.

9. The garbage disposer replacement unit for straining food waste comprising: a. a basket with food waste straining holes; b. a main body having a reservoir, wherein the main body is located below the basket; c. a tray slidingly suspended within the main body above the reservoir, wherein the tray has fine bottom perforations smaller than the food waste straining holes; d. a clip disc drain adapter adapted to clip an existing bus bowl flange to the main body, wherein the clip disc drain adapter has clip disc holes to receive clip disc bolts, wherein the clip disc drain adapter is attached to the main body by clip disc bolts; e. clip top members attaching to the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

10. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 9, wherein the clip disc drain adapter further comprises: a number of optional hole diameters defined by concentric annular grooves to make adjustable the clip disc drain adapter.

11. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 9, wherein the clip disc drain adapter further comprises: slits for cutting adjustment of the size of an annular hole on the clip disc drain adapter to make adjustable the clip disc drain adapter.

12. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 9, wherein clip top members further comprise: two differently oriented slots to provide a pair of diameter ranges for each clip top member.

13. A garbage disposer replacement unit for straining food waste comprising: a. a main body having a reservoir, an inlet, and an outlet; b. a tray slidingly suspended within the main body above the reservoir, wherein the tray has fine bottom perforations.

14. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 13, wherein fine bottom perforations are 1-3 mm diameter circular apertures.

15. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 13, further comprising: a. a plastic clip disc drain adapter adapted to clip an existing bus bowl flange to the main body; b. clip top members attaching to the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

16. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 15, wherein the plastic clip disc drain adapter further comprises: a number of optional hole diameters defined by concentric annular grooves to make adjustable the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

17. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 15, wherein the plastic clip disc drain adapter further comprises: slits for cutting adjustment of the size of an annular hole on the plastic clip disc drain adapter to make adjustable the plastic clip disc drain adapter.

18. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 15, wherein clip top members further comprise: two differently oriented slots to provide a pair of diameter ranges for each clip top member.

19. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 13, further comprising: a four-legged riser to attach to the main body to standard flangeless drain fitting.

20. The garbage disposer replacement unit of claim 13, further comprising: a fastening means adapted to connect an existing bus bowl to the main body.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a garbage disposal, and more particularly to a garbage disposer unit for use in food industries to replace motorized disposers that have become an environmentally harmful way to dispose of food wastes.

B. Description of Related Art

Restaurant food waste from rinsed dirty dishes is an environmental problem. Garbage disposers are highly efficient at disposing of food waste at a high rate, unfortunately they have other problems. Drain waste has the potential to create public health hazards. Excessive food service waste can overburden community wastewater systems and consequently, the oceans and streams of our natural environment. In this regard, the currently popular powered garbage disposers are problematic. Heavy-duty disposers have a high initial cost and maintenance with lost operation time at busy restaurants when they need fast dish washing with food disposal. Some cities such as Irvine, Calif. have banned garbage disposers because of the environmental awareness that the motorized disposers basically excrete food waste in a slurry state to the rivers and public facilities where it is difficult to recycled into potable water. Thus, the food waste will eventually end up in the ocean where it can cause bacteria blooms and other environmental disasters.

One alternative to the garbage disposer is a strainer system to catch food waste from rinsed dirty dishes. Strainers built into the piping system have been used for more than a hundred years. U.S. Pat. No. 495,998 shows a sink trap design patented in 1893, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. A larger unit is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 960,901 to Hall for a trap for kitchen sinks patented in 1910, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Hall shows a top strainer removable for cleaning and a bottom strainer. A horizontal line strainer was invented by Buker as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,915,188 patented in 1957, the disclosure which is incorporated herein by reference. The Buker device allows a continuous horizontal flow having a removable screen. A more recent improvement is seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,045,351 to Peterson patented Aug. 30, 1977, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. The Petersen device has a removable strainer mounted below a sink. While the previously cited patented inventions may help with household drain straining, they are not well-suited to a high flow restaurant type of environment. They also have inconvenient design features that would not allow their use as a replacement of a garbage disposer.

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a garage disposer replacement unit that can be installed immediately in place of a motorized disposer unit using a simple installation means. Another object of the present invention is to provide a clip-on device for installation of a detachable under-sink unit, which clip-on device is easily adaptable to various existing drain sizes of the sink fixture. Another object of the present invention is to provide a screw-on device for a swift installation of a detachable under-sink unit to the sink fixture, which has a standard existing drain fittings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A garbage disposer replacement unit according to the present invention includes a pre-rinse basket which can be custom made of stainless steel. The basket has multiple straining holes for filtering larger food chunks off dishes by dishwashing personnel. Below the basket is a unit that primarily comprises a main body constructed by sheets of stainless steel bent and welded or stamped into a shape of a drawer box with a deep bottom floor for holding an accumulation of food wastes for controlled disposal. The main body has a front rectangular opening through which a tray enters and slidably suspended in the interior of the main body. The tray has fine perforations at its bottom to filter out small particles of food wastes that pass the large holes of the basket. The tray has a top opening that is much larger than an available drain diameter of an existing bus bowl in a kitchen. This allows it to receive the first filtered wastes down the bus bowl.

According to a first embodiment of installation of the main unit body to the sink fixture of a bus bowl, a clip disc formed of a plastic is paired with a number of clip top members to clip the main body onto the flanges of the bus bowl with the assistance of a fastening means. The clip disc has a drain adapter to adapt the unit's hole to the different drain diameters of existing bus bowl fixtures. An optional hole diameter is defined by the innermost of multiple annular grooves, which may be sawn off by an installer of the unit. The clip disc and a top clip member constitute a clip assembly for adjustably clipping the unit main body to the given drain flange easily but securely.

An alternative embodiment is offered to the clip assembly made by the clip disc and a top clip member in installing the unit main body to the kind of bus bowl that does not have an integral drain flange commonly found on garbage disposers but a standard drain fitting screwed in an opening formed in the bus bowl. A riser is provided with an annular plate to conform to the bottom of the drain fitting and four legs protruding diametrically outwardly and downwardly of the annular plate. Each of the legs has a horizontal foot section formed with a bolt hole. A ring screw that is already in the drain fitting may be used to fasten the annular plate leaving the four legs free for attachment by the unit main body.

The unit main body is attached by a fastening means including the bolts threaded from the interior of the main body through metal rings and the bolt holes of the foot sections, which abut the top plain of the main body. Then, the rings and nuts at the four feet around the annular plate securely fasten protruding ends of the bolts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the garbage disposer replacement unit according to the present invention as applied to a kitchen sink shown partially broken away.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the main body of the garbage disposer replacement unit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a clip disc with drain adapter constituting a base member of a clip assembly for holding the garbage unit under a bus bowl according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the drain adapter plate of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the drain adapter plate of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the garbage disposer replacement unit installed under a bus bowl with a smaller drain size.

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of the garbage disposer replacement unit installed under a bus bowl with a bigger drain size.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the cross section of the garbage disposer replacement unit encircled in FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a bottom perspective view of a clip top member to clip on the flanges of the smaller drain of FIGS. 6 and 8 in cooperation with the drain adapter plate.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of the cross section of the garbage disposer replacement unit encircled in FIG. 7.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternative clip top member to clip on the flanges of the bigger drain of FIGS. 7 and 10 in cooperation with the drain adapter plate.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an alternative installation means of a riser for fastening the unit main body to a bus bowl that has a standard drain fitting according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, a garbage disposer replacement unit according to the present invention is generally referenced by number 10 and is shown in an exploded view to show its installation to a kitchen sink 11 as well as a wall plumbing 12 typical in any kitchen setting. The kitchen sink 11 has a bus bowl 13 wherein dishes are washed as it drains wastes with running water from a faucet 14. At the bottom enter of the bus bowl 13 is formed a typical drain 15 with certain diameter terminated by outward flanges 16 for installing a waste treatment means such as a motorized garbage disposer, which the inventive sink unit 10 is replacing.

Different bus bowls with various drain diameters have produced and are available in the market. For, example, small drains are sized 3½″, 4″, 4½″, 5″, 5½″, 6″, and 6½″. Bigger drains include diameters of 7½″, 8″, 8½″ and 9″.

The garbage disposer replacement unit is also called a sink unit 10. The sink unit 10 comprises a main body 20 constructed by sheets of stainless steel bent and welded into a shape of a drawer box with a deep bottom floor for holding an accumulation of food wastes for controlled disposal. The main body 20 has a front rectangular opening 21 though which a tray 22 enters and slidably suspended in the interior of the main body 20. An oversized handle 23 is attached to the tray 22 for handling the same in its sliding in and out as well as transporting the filtered wastes. A secondary drain 24 formed in the bottom of the main body 20 is adapted to connect with the wall plumbing 12.

A clip disc 25 formed of a plastic is paired with an exemplary number of four clip top members 26 to clip the main body 20 onto the flanges 16 of the bus bowl 13 with the assistance of a fastening means including four upward threading bolts 27 from the interior of the man body 20, metal rings 28a and nuts 29, which is further detailed below.

The sink unit 10 includes a pre-rinse basket 30 which can be custom made of stainless steel. The basket 30 has multiple straining holes for roughly filtering food wastes off dishes by dishwashing personnel who will use the sink unit 10. The straining basket has straining holes preferably circular 4-7 mm diameter. The basket straining holes can be adjusted by about 60% without substantial performance degradation, but the best mode is 5-6 mm.

FIG. 2 shows the main body 20 of the sink unit 10 in more detail where the tray 22 is taken out for a better view. The tray 22 is in the shape of a drawer with four sidewalls and a bottom wall formed with perforations 31 to filter out wastes at a finer level than that of the straining holes of the basket 30. The tray perforations are preferably 1-3 mm diameter circular apertures. The diameter can be adjusted by about up to 40% without substantial performance degradation, but the best mode is 2 mm.

The main body 20 is provided by a number of sheet members which may comprise a side plate 32 bent generally in U-shape, a front plate 33 for closing substantially the bottom half of an end opening of the side plate 32, a rear plate for closing the entire opposite end opening of the side plate 32 not shown and a top plate 34 to cover the top opening of the side plate 32. The main body 20 may be fabricated by known methods of fastening metal such as stamping, spot welding, laser welding to name a few.

The top plate 34 has an annular opening 35 that is bigger than an available drain diameter as listed above and is positioned to communicate with the drain 15 of the bus bowl 13. Also formed in the top plate 34 are four elongated openings 36 to position the threads of the bolts 27 at adjustable locations toward and away from the center of the annular opening 35 for the purpose described below.

A pair of horizontal guide rails 37 having an L-shaped cross section are welded inside of the side plate 32 opposing each other at a level lower than an upper edge 38 of the front plate 33 to provide a slight safety barricade against an involuntary slippage of the tray 22 out of the main body 20. To remove the tray, a user lifts the handle up to clear the safety barrier and pulls the tray out to empty the tray of food particles. The food particles caught by the tray are preferably between 2-5 mm in size. This would capture most rice, grains and small sized bread particles. The food particles retained within this tray may increase in size as they absorb water.

The reservoir is formed in the bottom half of the main body 20 housing below the top half area devoted to the tray area. The guide rails 37 hold the tray within the tray area above the reservoir. The reservoir is formed between the sidewalls 32 and front wall 33 above the main body drain 24. During use, the reservoir may fill up in case of drainage block. The reservoir thus operates as a buffer against water overflowing from the front opening over the front edge 38.

FIGS. 3 to 4 show the clip disc 25 in closer views. The top surface of the clip disc 25 as shown in FIG. 3 is generally flat except the end walls 39 raised slightly indicating the top surface as opposed to the bottom surface of the disc 25. The disc 25 section from the annular opening 35 about a half way toward the end walls 39 is formed as a drain adapter 40 for adjusting the diameter of the annular hole 35 to adapt to a given drain diameter of an existing bus bowl. The number of optional hole diameters is defined by annular grooves 41, six of which are shown. Two adjacent grooves 41 define an annular island 42 or 43 flush with the top surface of the disc 25. The equidistant slits 44 are for receiving a saw blade. Every other island 42 includes a number of equidistant slits 44 at a first set of the same radial positions while the intervening islands 43 include the same number of slits 45 at a second set of the same radial positions, which are set so that slits 44 and slits 45 in the adjacent islands are staggered relative to each other to maintain the rigidity of the clip disc 25. Four identical elongated openings 46 are formed in the clip disc 25 at the corresponding locations to the elongated openings 36 of the main unit body 20.

FIG. 4 showing the side of clip disc 25 reveals the added thickness to the bottom of the drain adapter 40, which is bounded by an annular ridge 47 on which the annular opening 35 of the unit main body 20 engages as shown in cross section in FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 10. The annular ridge 47 is clearly shown in FIG. 5 where the bottom side of the clip disc 25 has grooves 48 of same number as but wider than the grooves 41 on the top surface to facilitate easy access of a cutting means like a saw to the slits 44 and 45 for cutting adjustment of the size of the annular hole 35.

Two opposite grooves 41 and 48 can be compared in width more clearly in FIGS. 6 and 8, which detail the installation of the unit main body 20 under the bus bowl 13 with a small drain size D1 in cross section. In this case, the clip disc 25 is placed between the main body 20 and the flanges 16 of the bus bowl 13 with the annular islands 42 and 43 intact and the elongated openings 36 of the main body 20 and the openings 46 of the clip disc 25 registered.

Then, the clip top members 26 are prepared to grip the flanges 16 against the top surface of the clip disc 25. In order to allow fastening of the clip assembly 25/26 with the main body 20, the clip top member 26 has a latitudinal slot 49 for a fastener in its center as shown in FIG. 9. Also formed is a longitudinal slot 50, which is located off center toward a shorter side of the rectangular member 26. The clip top member 26 has a stepped bottom 51 along two adjacent sides to engage the flanges 16 of the bus bowl 13. In addition, two sets of the opposite edges of the clip member 26 are shaped to the corresponding sections of the flanges 16 and the end walls 39 of the clip disc 25 where abutments take place.

Therefore, the clip top member 26 may be selectively oriented for varying diametric distances of the flanges 16 of the bus bowl 13 relative to the end walls 38 of the clip disc 25 depending on the size of a given drain 15. I.e., the longer side 52 of the clip member 26 may abut the flanges 16 for larger drains 15 while the shorter side 53 may abut the same for smaller drains 15.

Furthermore, having two differently and perpendicularly oriented slots 49 and 50 through which a fastening is made multiplies the adaptability of the clip member 26 to a wide variety of drain sizes. As shown in FIG. 9, the bolt is put through slot 50 in smaller diameter drains to use the shorter side 53, but the bolt is put through slot 49 in larger diameter drains to use the longer side 52. Because the small diameter drain 15 is provided in FIG. 8, the clip member 26 extends longitudinally spanning the flanges 16 and the end walls 38.

Eventually, the bolts 27 are threaded from the interior of the main body 20 through metal rings 28b and the elongated openings 36 and through the clip assembly 25/26 to be securely fastened by the rings 28a and nuts 29 at its four circumferential locations around the clip disc 25.

FIGS. 7 and 10 show that the same main unit body 20 is attached to a different bus bowl 103 having way larger drain size D2. In this case, the clip disc 25 has its entire drain adapter section 40 seen in FIG. 6 cut off to have the biggest adapted hole 35 and is placed between the main body 20 and the flanges 106 of the bus bowl 103 with the elongated openings 36 of the main body 20 and the openings 46 of the clip disc 25 registered.

Here, an alternative design of clip top members 126 are prepared to grip the flanges 106 against the top surface of the clip disc 25. As shown in FIG. 11, the clip top member 126 is a smaller rectangular piece with curved edges shaped to the corresponding sections of the flanges 16 and the end walls 39 of the clip disc 25. A through hole 127 is formed in the near center of the clip member 126 for a penetration of a fastener. Clearance of the clip top member 126 above the clip disc 25 for wedging the flanges 106 is now provided by inserting an additional ring 28a as shown in FIG. 10.

Even with the single-hole clip member 126 there is a room for adjusting the clipping location diametrically in the clip disc 25 to adapt to a range of variation of the large diameter drain 105. A comparison of the location of the bolt 27 in the elongated openings 36 and 46 in FIG. 10 to that of FIG. 8 clearly shows the diametrical adaptability of the clipping location for the different drains 105.

Similarly, the bolts 27 are threaded from the interior of the main body 20 through metal rings 28b and the elongated openings 36 and through the clip assembly 25/28a/126 to be securely fastened by the rings 28a and nuts 29 at its four circumferential locations around the clip disc 25.

FIG. 12 shows an alternative to the clip assembly made by the clip disc and a top clip member in installing the unit main body 20 to a bus bowl 113, which does not have an integral drain flange but a standard drain fitting 115 screwed in an opening 116 formed in the bus bowl 113. A riser 250 is provided with an annular plate 251 to conform to the bottom of the drain fitting 115 and four legs 252 protruding diametrically outwardly and downwardly of the annular plate 251. Each of the legs 252 has a horizontal foot section 253 formed with a bolt hole 254. The legs 252 may be integrally formed with the annular plate 251 while they may also be provided by separate members welded to the plate 251. A ring screw 255 that is already in the drain fitting 115 may be used to fasten the annular plate 251 to the drain fitting 115 leaving the four legs 252 free for attachment by the unit main body 20.

The unit main body 20 is attached by a fastening means including the bolts 27 threaded from the interior of the main body 20 through metal rings and the bolt holes 254 of the foot sections 253, which abut the top plain of the main body 20. Then, the rings 28a and nuts 29 at the four feet 253 around the annular plate 251 securely fasten the protruding ends of the bolts 27.

With such construction of the sink unit 10 replacing the garbage disposer the dish washing individual may first use the basket 30 in the bus bowl 13 to roughly filter out bulky wastes after a load of dish washing and before emptying the basket to an assigned container. At intervals between extended periods of washing tasks the kitchen operator may slide out the tray 22 to check for the accumulation of finer wastes in the main unit body 20 wherein a secondary filtering has been carried out by the finer perforations 31 in the tray 22 letting significantly less contaminated water pass down the secondary drain 24.

Therefore, while the presently preferred form of the garbage disposer replacement unit has been shown and described, and several modifications thereof discussed, persons skilled in this art will readily appreciate that various additional changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention, as defined and differentiated by the following claims.