Title:
TRAILER WITH MULTIPLE-BIN MATERIAL MIXER AND SPREADER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mobile trailer for spreading a granular material mixture is disclosed. This trailer comprises at least two containers or bin compartments for containing a respective granular material, a movement-imparting assembly for moving the granular materials and a material mixer and spreader assembly for mixing and spreading the granular materials. Each bin compartment comprises a respective material-exit opening and the material mixer and spreader assembly is positioned near these openings. The movement-imparting assembly comprises a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each bin compartment for moving a respective granular material though a respective opening towards the material mixer and spreader assembly. A controller is linked to the movement-imparting assembly so as to selectively and independently modulate the speed of each movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of each granular material received, mixed and spread by the material mixer and spreader assembly.



Inventors:
Tremblay, Michel (Jonquiere, CA)
Leclerc, Marc-andre (La Baie, CA)
Tremblay, Sylvain (Alma, CA)
Application Number:
11/618969
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
01/02/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01C19/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIM, CHRISTOPHER S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LADAS & PARRY LLP (224 SOUTH MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 1600, CHICAGO, IL, 60604, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mobile trailer for spreading a granular material mixture, said trailer comprising: at least two containers for containing a respective granular material, each said container comprising a respective material-exit opening, a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each said container so as to move the respective granular material contained therein through said respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each said material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the granular materials; wherein said movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each said movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of each granular material received, mixed and spread by said material mixer and spreader assembly.

2. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, further comprising a controller linked to said movement-imparting assembly for so controlling said movement-imparting assembly as to selectively and independently modulate the speed of each said movement-imparting device.

3. A mobile trailer according to claim 2, wherein said trailer is mounted to a vehicle for being hauled thereby, said controller being linked to said vehicle for receiving vehicle speed data therefrom.

4. A mobile trailer according to claim 3, wherein said controller so controls the speed of said movement-imparting assembly with respect to the speed of said vehicle so as to maintain a constant material application rate.

5. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein each said container comprises a bin.

6. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein each of said containers is defined by a respective compartment within a bin.

7. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein said trailer further comprises a frame comprising wheels mounted thereunder and a bin mounted thereon, said bin comprising compartments, each said compartment defining said container.

8. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein said trailer is mountable to a vehicle for being hauled thereby.

9. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein each of said compartments comprises a rear end and an opposite front end, said opening being defined at said front end.

10. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein each said compartments comprise a rear end and an opposite front end, said opening being defined at said rear end.

11. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, further comprising a mobile door about said material-exit opening for opening and closing thereof.

12. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein each said compartment leads to a mixer.

13. A mobile trailer according to claim 11, wherein said mixer leads to a material spreader.

14. A mobile trailer according to claim 1, wherein said movement-imparting device comprises a conveyor.

15. A mobile trailer according to claim 14, wherein said conveyor comprises a conveyor belt mounted to actuating rollers.

16. A mobile trailer for spreading a salt and sand mixture, said trailer comprising: two containers, one said container for containing salt, the other said container for containing sand, each said container comprising a respective material-exit opening; a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each said container so as to move the salt and sand respectively contained therein through said respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each said material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the salt and sand; wherein said movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each said movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of the salt and sand received, mixed and spread by said material mixer and spreader assembly.

17. An apparatus for spreading a granular material mixture, said vehicle comprising: a vehicle; and a trailer coupled to said vehicle, said trailer comprising: at least two containers for containing a respective granular material, each said container comprising a respective material-exit opening; a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each said container so as to move the respective granular material contained therein through said respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each said material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the granular materials; wherein said movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each said movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of each granular material received, mixed and spread by said material mixer and spreader assembly.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to mobile trailers for hauling, mixing and spreading granular materials. The invention also relates to a trailer having multiple bins, for carrying material, and a material mixer and spreader. The invention further relates to a salt and sand spreader.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Mobile trailers for hauling thereof including granular material for spreading are well known. These trailer and spreader devices are used for spreading salt and sand on roads in order to melt ice during winter, Trucks for spreading sand and salt usually include a trailer frame with a hopper or bin mounted thereon. The sand and salt mixture in the bin is moved outwardly onto a spreader by way of a transport mechanism such as a conveyor belt for example. The spreader can be positioned at the rear of the front of the bin for spreading the granular mixture. Other applications of such mobile trailers include spreading a granular mixture on golf green.

An inconvenience of trailers with spreading devices for granular mixtures was that the ratios granular materials of the mixture could not be varied.

Later art addressed this inconvenience. U.S. Pat. No. 5,273,211 issued to Pierce et al. teaches a mobile trailer device for mixing and spreading sand and peat. The trailer includes a frame having wheels for hauling thereat and a pair of side by side bins mounted thereon for containing respective materials that are to be mixed and spread therein. Horizontal conveyors are mounted beneath bottom opening of each bin in order to convey material for mixing and spreading. The bins have opening along their vertical front walls with plates to vary the size of those openings Material is conveyed out of the bins via these opening Collecting and mixing blades are positioned at the front or the back of the trailer and a rotating spreader is mounted at the rear of the trailer with an inclined conveyor therebetween. The user may modulate the ratio of the materials which are to be mixed by varying the size of the front vertical openings.

A drawback with the prior art is that the speed at which each granular material of the granular mixture is conveyed out of the bin is independently modulated. A drawback of prior art sand/salt spreaders is that they do not provide for modulating the ratio of salt and sand during operation.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is therefore to provide an improved trailer with multiple bins and a material mixer and spreader.

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved sand and salt spreader.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a mobile trailer for spreading a granular material mixture, the trailer comprising: at least two containers for containing a respective granular material, each container comprising a respective material-exit opening; a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each container so as to move the respective granular material contained therein through the respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the granular materials; wherein the movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of each granular material received, mixed and spread by the material mixer and spreader assembly.

In an embodiment, the mobile trailer further comprises a controller linked to the movement-imparting assembly for so controlling the movement-imparting assembly as to selectively and independently modulate the speed of each movement-imparting device. In an embodiment, the trailer is mounted to a vehicle for being hauled thereby, the controller being linked to the vehicle for receiving vehicle speed data therefrom. In an embodiment, the controller so controls the speed of the movement-imparting assembly with respect to the speed of the vehicle so as to maintain a constant material application rate.

In an embodiment, each said container comprises a bin. In an embodiment, each of the containers is defined by a respective compartment within a bin.

In an embodiment, the trailer further comprises a frame comprising wheels mounted thereunder and a bin mounted thereon, the bin comprising compartments, each compartment defining the container.

In an embodiment, the trailer is mountable to a vehicle for being hauled thereby.

In an embodiment, each compartment comprises a rear end and an opposite front end, the material-exit opening being defined at the front end. In an embodiment, each compartment comprises a rear end and an opposite front end, the material-exit opening being defined at said rear end.

In an embodiment, the trailer further comprises a mobile door about the material-exit opening for opening and closing thereof.

In an embodiment, each compartment leads to a mixer. In an embodiment, the mixer leads to a material spreader.

In an embodiment, the movement-imparting device comprises a conveyor. In an embodiment, the conveyor comprises a conveyor belt mounted to actuating rollers.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a mobile trailer for spreading a salt and sand mixture, the trailer comprising: two containers, one container for containing salt, the other container for containing sand, each container comprising a respective material-exit opening; a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each container so as to move the salt and sand respectively contained therein through the respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the salt and sand; wherein the movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of the salt and sand received, mixed and spread by the material mixer and spreader assembly.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invetnion, there is provided an apparatus for spreading a granular material mixture, comprising: a vehicle; and a trailer coupled to the vehicle, the trailer Comprising at least two containers for containing a respective granular material, each container comprising a respective material-exit opening; a movement-imparting assembly comprising a respective movement-imparting device mounted to each container so as to move the respective granular material contained therein through the respective material exit-opening; and a material mixer and spreader assembly positioned near each material-exit opening for receiving, mixing and spreading the granular materials; wherein the movement-imparting assembly selectively and independently modulates the speed of each movement-imparting device thereby modulating the ratio of each granular material received, mixed and spread by the material mixer and spreader assembly.

Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of illustrative embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the appended drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the trailer with multiple-bin material mixer and spreader in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the trailer of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of FIG. 2 along lines 3-3;

FIG. 4 is a partial view of the material dispensing portion and spreader and mixer of the trailer of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the spreader and mixer of the trailer of the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the controller for the material conveyers in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a trailer 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention having a main frame 12 with a bin 14 mounted thereon. The frame 12 is mounted to a vehicle such as truck 16. A material mixer/spreader 18 is also mounted on frame 12 at the front portion 19 of bin 14. Of course, as the skilled artisan knows a material mixer/spreader can be placed at the rear of the trailer as well.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, trailer 10 includes four tires 20 on each lateral side 22 and 24. Truck 16 also includes tires 26 as well a cockpit 28.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the bin 14 includes two bin compartments 30 and 32 separated by central wall 34. Bin 14 is also is shown to be partially covered by a grid 36 for illustrative purposes but is fully covered when in operation by grid 36. Each bin compartment 30 and 32 includes lateral inner walls 38 and 40 respectively as well as respective front and rear inner walls 42 and 44. Hence, bin 14 defines a double bin structure. Each bin compartment 30 and 32 receives a respective material 31 and 33 (see FIG. 4) for being spread as will be explained below. In another non-illustrated embodiment, bin 14 comprises a plurality of bin-compartment for receiving a material therein. In the illustrated embodiment, the bin compartments 30 and 32 are of substantially equal size yet the central wall can be moved in order to modify the size of either compartment.

A movement imparting assembly is mounted to each bin compartments 30 and 32. In this way, each bin compartments 30 and 32 includes a respective movement imparting device such as a conveyer 46 and 48.

Conveyers 46 and 48 are conventional conveyer carpets or belts driven by actuating rollers (not shown) as is known in the art. Conveyers 46 and 48 are actuated so as to be conveyed from the rear 50 of bin 14 towards the front 19 of bin 14 as shown by arrow A.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the front portion 19 of bin 14 includes a slidable door 54 mounted about an material-exit opening 56, defined by front portion 19, so as to open and close this opening 56, by the actuator 58 acting on slidable door 54 in order to move it from a closed position to an open position as shown by arrow B. The bin compartments 30 and 32 are contiguous with canals 60 and 62 respectively Door 54 functions to provide material to be conveyed onto canals 60 or 62 when opened or to stop material from flowing into these canals 60 or 62 when closed. Canals 60 and 62 may be of a substantially similar width; of course the skilled artisan will understand that the size of canals 60 and 62 may be modified. Canals 60 and 62 lead via opening 64 into a material receiving compartment 66 that includes a lateral conveyer 68, which is laterally conveyed as shown by arrow C. The lateral conveyor 68 includes a belt 63 with a plurality pallets 65 for pushing materal and a chain 67 mounted to roller-actuatores. Material receiving compartment 66 leads towards a second compartment 69 defined by back and front walls 70 and 72 respectively and side wall 74; compartment 68 is contiguous with a chute 76 via an opened enclosure 78. The chute 76 leads toward a spreader 80.

The spreader 80 includes a rotating shaft 82 for spinning blades 84; the shaft 82 is mounted to an actuator 86 for axial rotation thereof.

Turning now to FIG. 6 there is shown a controller 88 that is mounted within truck cockpit 28. The controller 88 includes an interface 90 as well as a control switchboard 92. The switchboard 92 includes an on/off toggle switch 94 as well as a first start/stop switch 96 for starting or stopping conveyer 38 and a second start/stop toggle switch 98 for starting and stopping conveyer 40. Speed switches 100 and 102 control the speed of conveyers 46 and 48 respectively. Speed knob 104 controls the speed of the spreader 80. The switchboard 88 also includes a blast switch 106. Interface 90 includes a screen 108 that is separated in left and right screen portions 110 and 112 so as to image data concerning conveyers 38 and 40 respectively. More specifically, the data is shown relates to the amount by weight of material distributed per distance by conveyers 38 and 40 (application rate).

In operation, each bin compartment 30 and 42 is first filled with a respective material 31 and 33 such as salt and sand for example. The driver of truck 16 actuates controller 88 by pressing on switch 94 and adjusts the speed of each conveyer 46 and 48 at a desired ratio via switches 100 and 102. The screen 108 will show the driver the speed of each conveyer 46 and 48 and the ground distribution rate of distribution by weight per distance of each material. As the truck 16 and trailer 10 moves the conveyers 46 and 48 are in movement; when the truck 16 is idle, the controller 88 receives this data and stops the conveyers 46 and 48 as well. The driver can actuate the conveyors 38 and 40 as well as spreader 80 via the blast switch 106 when the truck is idle.

During operation of conveyers 46 and 48 the respective materials 31 and 33 are conveyed out of the bin compartments 30 and 32 through the opening of door 54 into respective canals 60 and 62, the material will therefore be brought forward and dropped through opening 64 into container 66 where the two materials are mixed. Hence, the respective speed of each conveyer 46 and 48 will determine the ratio of each respective material 31 and 33. This ratio can be adjusted by adjusting the speed of conveyers 46 and 48 via switches 100 and 102 as mentioned above. This mixed material 35 (see FIG. 4) falls onto the conveyer 68 which move the material 35 into compartment 69 and to chute 76 through open enclosure 78.

The mixed material 35 is then drop onto blades 84 of the spreader 80. The driver can then adjust the speed of the spreader 80 via switch 94 in order to spread the mixed material at a desired distance.

Turning to FIGS. 1 and 5, a curved guard member 114 is positioned adjacently to spreader 80 so as to avoid spreading material onto any part of the trailer 10 or truck 16 and for the mixed material to be oriented toward a desired direction.

It should be noted that a variety of controllers known in the art can be used in order to control the speed of the material conveyors of the invention as well as using various interface devices for imaging data related to the amount of material being conveyed and ultimately to the ratio of materials in a given material mixture for spreading. In one embodiment the Dickey-John™ controller for ground material application is used in the context of the present invention. In an embodiment, the application rate of material is calibrated by synchronizing the speed of the vehicle with the speed of the conveyors in order for application rate to stay constant. Hence, as the vehicle moves faster the conveyors will slow down and vice versa. Each conveyor can be calibrated at a separate speed. Various speed detection systems known in the art and commonly used for material spreaders can be used within the context of the present invention.

Various material conveyors can also be contemplated within the scope of the present invention as well as spreaders known in the art.

The present invention also provides an apparatus and a method for ascertaining the environmental needs and spreading a material mixture onto a surface depending on those environmental needs. As the skilled artisan will easily appreciate. The ratio of salt and sand will depend on the surface that is to be covered, the temperature, the ice and other known considerations.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described hereinabove. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practised in various ways. It is also to be understood that the phraseology or terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not limitation. Hence, although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of embodiments thereof, it can be modified, without departing from the spirit, scope and nature of the subject invention as defined in the appended claims.