Title:
Device and method used on the ground for the collection, compression, lifting, and dispensing of tree/plant leaves, debris, fragments, loose pieces or parts from any ground surface into a container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This device and method provide the efficient collection, compression, and lifting of tree/plant leaves, debris, particles, fragments, loose pieces and parts from any ground surface to be deposited into any collection container. This invention greatly increases the amount of material handled, and also eliminates several common problems with current raking and shoveling methods. The device functions flat, as a rigid collection platform, yet can be rolled to compact its contents for lifting and dispensing into a collection container. When contents, such as tree leaves, are compressed in the device, the operator manually assists the dispensing of its contents via the adjustable gap in the rolled device. The gap is easily set by the double-handle design. The double-handle design can be used to completely close the gap in the rolled device when hard, non-compressible materials (e.g. sheetrock fragments) are being lifted, tipped vertically, and dispensed.



Inventors:
Esposito, Russell R. (N. Massapequa, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/423410
Publication Date:
10/28/2004
Filing Date:
04/25/2003
Assignee:
ESPOSITO RUSSELL R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65F1/00; (IPC1-7): B65B1/04
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Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Russell Esposito (N. Massapequa, NY, US)
Claims:
1. What I claim as my invention is a device and method for the efficient collecting, compressing, and lifting of tree/plant leaves, debris, particles, fragments, loose pieces and parts from any ground surface to be deposited into any collection container. This invention is a device and method that greatly increases the amount of material handled, and also eliminates several common problems that exist with current implements and processes, such as rakes and shovels. This invention is a unique device and method, as evidenced by the fact that there is no existing word or vocabulary to describe it. It is not a variation on any existing implement or method, but offers a totally new device and method. The invention provides compound functionality and adjustability. This device and method include several concepts: This invention is manufactured from material that has sufficient rigidity to perform as a stationary collection platform that will not fold, crush, crumble, wrinkle, gather, or otherwise compress when being struck at the edge by a broom, rake or other implement as loose material is collected onto the device's platform. Yet the material used to construct this invention must simultaneously offer enough flexibility so that it may be rolled to compact, compress, and carry its contents for deposit into a collection container. This invention includes an adjustable gap to allow for manual hand assist, as well as the ability to adjust the gap to a completely closed position. The gap in this device can be varied to facilitate the handling of various materials. This invention includes two double-handles, and methods for their use, that are designed to provide multiple functions. These double-handles are designed for easy rolling of the device's platform, lifting the rolled device, adjusting the gap in the rolled device, and then carrying and depositing the device's contents. The two long sections of each double-handle extend beyond the device's edge and allow easy rolling of the device's platform. The use of one long handle section with one short handle section, on the opposing side of the device's platform, provides a mechanism for adjusting the gap when the device is rolled. The handling of certain material is improved by this gap, because the gap allows the manual guiding of material out of the device, as is the case of compressed tree leaves that will not discharge by the force of gravity alone. The two short handle sections may be used together to lift and tip the rolled device with a closed gap. The closed gap prevents uncompressed, loose material (e.g. sheetrock fragments) from falling out of the vertically tipped device. The invention's design provides two double-handles, with long and short sections, that can be used independently or in any combination providing a mechanism and method for adjusting or eliminating the gap in the rolled device. The invention may have optional folding features for convenient shipping, purchase, and consumer storage, as described in the DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION section of this written specification. The invention's cylindrical shape will prevent it from unwanted folding during its use.

Description:

DESCRIPTIVE TITLE OF INVENTION

[0001] A device and method used on the ground for the collection, compression, lifting, and dispensing of tree/plant leaves, debris, fragments, loose pieces or parts into a container. This invention greatly increases efficiency and eliminates several current problems. The device functions flat, as a rigid collection platform, yet can be rolled to compact and compress its contents for dispensing into a collection container. Two double-handles, and methods for their use, provide multiple functions and accommodate different materials as well.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLCATIONS

[0002] N/A

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0003] N/A

SEQUENCE LISTING, TABLE, COMPTER PROGRAM

[0004] N/A

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0005] This device and method greatly increase the efficiency of any task that involves collecting and lifting from a ground surface or floor, such items as, tree/plant leaves, wood chips, debris, particles, fragments, loose pieces or parts that are to be deposited into a collection container. The device functions flat as a rigid collection platform, yet can be rolled to compact its contents for dispensing into a collection container. Two double-handles, and methods for their use, adjust the gap in the device's rolled platform to accommodate the handling of different materials.

[0006] The problem with current methods and processes (for the above mentioned tasks) involves sweeping or raking items into a mound or pile for collection, which is lifted in small quantities repeatedly by hand, shovel or rake, and then dumped or deposited into a container or bag. This current process is highly inefficient. The current process requires collecting material into a mound or pile and then lifting relatively small amounts by hand. If the material is swept onto a shovel or rake, it must be held horizontally to prevent material from falling off prior to deposit into the collection container. Also, when the current process is performed out-of-doors, wind gusts can blow items off shovels or rakes, especially light items, such as tree leaves. This device also eliminates the problem of materials falling off, or blowing off by wind gusts, and accommodates a much larger volume of material.

[0007] This device first performs as a large platform for the collection of plant leaves or other material. The platform is flat and rigid to facilitate collection by raking or sweeping onto it. However, the platform has enough flexibility in its design so it can also be rolled as it rests horizontally on the ground surface. This rolling of the platform collects the material spread across the platform into a long compacted pile, the length of the device. This eliminates the need to use a shovel, rake, or other implement to mound or pile the material repeatedly. The current process requires repeated re-assembly of the pile, because the pile is disturbed and material is dispersed each time a shove, rake, or other implement is used to lift a portion of the piled material.

[0008] The operator uses two double-handles attached to the device to roll and lift the filled device, which is then tipped vertically to discharge its contents into any receptacle. Just prior to vertically tipping the rolled and raised device into a receptacle, the operator uses the two double-handles to set a variable gap in the rolled device. This gap allows the operator's hand to guide any compacted material (assisted by gravity) into the receptacle, especially if the material is significantly compressed (for example, when tree leaves are handled by the device). The gap is an important control feature, since compressed leaves will not discharge by the force of gravity alone, and manual pushing by hand (through the device's gap) is necessary for this material to discharge. Also, the gap may be closed when handling hard material fragments (e.g. sheetrock) that do not undergo compression from rolling the device's platform, and gravity alone will easily discharge the material. The closed gap also prevents hard materials from falling out of the vertically held, rolled device as the operator discharges its contents. The two double-handles, and methods for use, provide multiple functions. The two double-handles allow the operator to create and maintain the rolled shape of the device, lift the filled device, and also control the gap in the rolled device to assist discharge by hand of compressed material.

[0009] The invention's design facilitates manufacturing different sizes for different requirements. A device the size of approximately 4 feet by 8 feet is ideal for collecting, compacting and compressing tree leaves, because the device can handle approximately 15 to 20 times more than the current lifting capacity of an average rake or shovel. This same device size can be used for heavier material, such as sheetrock fragments. However, the amount collected should be less to avoid overloading, or alternatively a smaller device (approx. 4 feet by 6 feet) can be manufactured using all the same specifications, except for platform size.

[0010] This device may be categorized under the following U.S. patent Classification: Class 294—Handling and Hoistline Implements; Subclass 2—Miscellaneous Compound Implement. This invention provides multiple functions, as listed in the section that follows, labeled “Summary of Invention.”

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0011] This device and associated methods offer high utility and efficiency as a compound implement for the efficient collecting, compressing, and lifting of tree/plant leaves, debris, particles, fragments, loose pieces and parts from any ground surface to be deposited into any collection container. The device functions flat as a rigid collection platform, yet can be rolled to compact its contents for deposit into a collection container. Two double-handles adjust the gap in the device's roll to accommodated different materials. The device and methods greatly increase the amount of material handled, and also eliminate several common problems that exist with current processes, these are:

[0012] 1) the current need to collect and build a mound or pile of material.

[0013] 2) the current problem of repeatedly lifting relatively small uncompressed quantities of the materiel by hand, shovel, rake, or other implement for disposal.

[0014] 3) the current need to re-assemble the collection mound or pile, because the current methods disturbs the pile when a shovel, rake, or other implement is used to repeatedly lift relatively small portions of the pile.

[0015] 4) the current need to maintain the shovel, rake, or other implement horizontally level to prevent material from falling off prior to dumping or depositing the material into a container.

[0016] 5) the current problem of light material (e.g. tree/plant leaves) blowing off the implement by wind gusts when performing this process out-of-doors.

[0017] This invention provides multiple functions, such as:

[0018] 1) The invention provides a large, stationary, rigid collection platform.

[0019] 2) The invention collects and compacts material that is spread across its platform. As the device's platform is rolled, the dispersed material is forced automatically into a compact pile the length of the platform.

[0020] 3) The invention compresses the material spread on the platform, when the material accommodates compression, such as tree leaves, cotton, stuffing, foam rubber, etc.

[0021] 4) The invention is a material carrier that mostly encloses the material for lifting and moving.

[0022] 5) The invention functions as a funnel-type dispenser using gravity assist and a variable gap that allows hand access for guiding compressed contents into a collection container. The variable gap is adjusted by the unique function of the invention's two specialized double-handles.

[0023] 6) The invention offers an inexpensive alternative to the current inefficient methods.

[0024] The double-handle design has several methods of use that provide several functions. The two double-handles allow the operator to easily roll the device's platform by using the long handle sections, and then set a gap by using one long handle section with one short handle section on the opposing side of the device's platform. Alternatively, the operator, after using the two long handle sections to roll the platform, may then grasp both short handle sections to completely close the rolled device, leaving no gap, as is necessary when certain hard, non-compressible materials are handled. The two double-handles also allow easy lifting and tipping vertically of the rolled device to dispense contents into a collection container.

[0025] The device may have optional folding features, for convenient shipping, purchase, and consumer storage. There can be two or more folds in the device, which will not affect its performance. Typically, the folding version of the device will have three sections in the device's length, held together by hinges, rings, heavy strapping tape, or other methods, so that it may be easily folded into a smaller shape. For example, a device that is 4 feet by 6 feet would be constructed from three sections, each one, 4 feet by 2 feet. Once unfolded for use, the device's rigid platform is ready for the collection of material. When rolled, the device's cylindrical shape will prevent unwanted folding during lifting and tipping into a collection container. It is virtually impossible to inadvertently fold the device once it is rolled, due to the mechanics of its cylindrical shape.

VIEWS OF THE DRAWING (LIST)

[0026] FIG. 1—Flat unrolled device with two double-handles displayed

[0027] FIG. 2—Detail of the double-handle design

[0028] FIG. 3—Raking material onto the device platform

[0029] FIG. 4—Using the double-handles, the device is rolled to compress tree leaves

[0030] FIG. 5—Vertically tipped device with gap for manually assisting the dispensing of its contents.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0031] This invention is a device and method for the efficient collection, compression, and lifting of tree/plant leaves, debris, particles, fragments, loose pieces and parts from any ground surface to be deposited into any collection container. This invention greatly increases the amount of material handled, and also eliminates several common problems with current raking and shoveling methods. The device functions flat as a rigid collection platform, yet can be rolled to compact its contents for lifting and dispensing into a collection container.

[0032] When contents, such as tree leaves, are compressed in the device, the operator manually assists the dispensing of its contents via the adjustable gap in the rolled device. The gap is easily set by using the double-handle design. This double-handle design can also be used to completely close the rolled device when hard, non-compressible contents (e.g. sheetrock fragments) are being lifted, tipped vertically, and dispensed. This prevents the contents from falling out of the device.

[0033] This device's platform can be manufactured from any material that offers rigidity, when flat on a ground surface, and also provides sufficient strength to withstand the impact of a rake or broom striking its edge, as material is collected onto the device. The device's platform is designed not to fold, crush, crumble, wrinkle, gather or otherwise compress as its edge is struck by either a rake or shovel. The material used to manufacture the device's platform must perform as a rigid collection platform, but must also have enough flexibility that it can be rolled into a complete cylindrical shape. Most plastics (approx ⅛ to ¼ inches in thickness) can meet these requirements, as well as most rubber products (⅛ to ¾ inch in thickness). These dimensions and materials are not intended to restrict this patent application, but are provided to offer a more complete description of the invention, and a typical range of construction specifications. It is possible to manufacture an inexpensive version of the device in wax or plastic coated cardboard, as well as a costly version in metal, such as aluminum sheet or aluminum flashing. Construction of the invention using these other materials would include very different thickness of material depending on whether cardboard or metal is used.

[0034] This device can be manufactured in various sizes to accommodate different tasks and material. The device can be manufactured in sizes that allow one or two operators to roll, lift, adjust gap, and turn the device vertically to dispense its contents. The most typical sizes will range from 4 feet by 4 feet to 12 feet by 12 feet. The detailed drawings and figures in this application illustrate a device that is 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, with the two double-handles attached on the 8 foot long sides.

[0035] The device may have optional folding features, for convenient shipping, purchase, and consumer storage. There can be two or more folds in the implement, which will not affect the use of the device. Typically, the folding version of the device will have three sections in the device's length, held together by hinges, rings, heavy strapping tape, or other methods, so that it may be easily folded into a smaller shape. For example, a device 4 feet by 6 feet would be constructed from three sections, each one, 4 feet by 2 feet. Once unfolded for use, the invention's rigid platform is ready for the collection of material. When rolled, the device's cylindrical shape will prevent unwanted folding during lifting and tipping into a collection container. It is virtually impossible to fold the device once it is rolled, due to the mechanics of its cylindrical shape.

[0036] The two double-handles, and several methods for their use, provide several functions. The double-handles allow the operator to easily roll the device by using the long handle sections, and then set a gap by grasping one long handle section with one short handle section on the opposing side of the device's platform. Alternatively, the operator may use the two long handle sections to roll the device's platform, and then grasp both short handle sections to completely close the rolled device, slightly overlapping the two edges of the platform, leaving no gap, and preventing hard materials handled from falling out. The double-handles are also used to lift and tip vertically the rolled device to dispense its contents into a collection container.

[0037] The two double-handles are located on both long sides of the device. The short sections of each double-handle are close to the edge of the device (see FIG. 1). The long sections of each double-handle extend approximately 8 to 10 inches past the edge of the platform (see FIG. 1).

[0038] This invention provides multiple functions, such as:

[0039] 1) The invention provides a large, stationary, rigid collection platform.

[0040] 2) The invention compacts material that is spread across its platform. As the platform is rolled, the dispersed material is forced automatically into a compact pile the length of the platform.

[0041] 3) The invention compresses the material spread on the platform, when the material accommodates compression, such as tree leaves, cotton, stuffing, foam rubber, etc.

[0042] 4) The invention is a material carrier that mostly encloses the material for lifting and moving.

[0043] 5) The invention functions as a funnel-type dispenser using gravity assist and a variable gap that allows hand access for guiding compressed contents into a collection container. The variable gap is adjusted by the unique function of the special double-handles.