Title:
Cartridge-removing tool for use in waterless urinals
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tool (120, 220, 320) is engageable with the upper wall (44) of a cartridge (42) and placeable over a diverter (50) which may have been secured to the upper wall. The tool employs fingers (126, 226, 336) which are adapted to engage openings (64, 64a) in the upper wall for enabling the cartridge to be insert into or removed from a urinal (49).



Inventors:
Higgins, Michael (La Habra Heights, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/032307
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
01/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K11/12; B25B33/00; E03C1/28; E03D9/00; E03D13/00; (IPC1-7): E03D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Clark D. Gross (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A system including a urinal, a urine cartridge placeable in the urinal, and a tool for inserting and removing the cartridge into and from the urinal, comprising: an upper wall in the cartridge; spaced apart openings in said upper wall; and elements in said tool engageable in the openings for engaging said upper wall and for manipulating the cartridge into and from the urinal.

2. A system according to claim 1 in which the openings and said elements have similarly shaped cross-sections.

3. A system according to claim 2 in which the similarly shaped cross-sections of the openings and said elements are bent for enabling a grasping of said upper wall by the elements when said elements are inserted in the openings.

4. A system according to claim 2 in which the similarly shaped cross-sections of the openings and said elements are rectangular.

5. A system according to claim 4 further including hooks located at the ends of said elements for grasping said upper wall when said elements are inserted in the openings.

6. A system according to claim 1 in which the upper wall openings act as air vents that communicate with the interior of the cartridge.

7. A system according to claim 1 further including a holder for holding said elements, and a manipulator for manipulating said elements.

8. A system according to claim 7 further including slanted ends on said holder adjacent said elements for aiding said manipulator when manipulating said elements into engagement with the openings.

9. A system according to claim 7 in which said manipulator comprises a shaft and a handle, and said handle and said holder are secured to opposite ends of said shaft.

10. A system according to claim 7 wherein said manipulator comprises a manipulating combination including a shaft portion and a handle portion, to which combination said elements are secured.

11. A system according to claim 1 further comprising: an opening in said cartridge upper wall for permitting urine to enter into said cartridge; and a diverter placeable on said cartridge upper wall for avoiding direct access of the urine to the opening, and in which said plurality of tool holes in the cartridge upper wall are positioned exterior of said diverter when said diverter is placed on the cartridge.

12. A urinal and urine cartridge system comprising: an upper wall in the cartridge having an opening therein for receipt of urine and for entry of the urine into the cartridge; a diverter on said cartridge upper wall and including (1) a shell on said upper wall and over the opening therein and (2) a spacer spacing said shell from the upper wall to permit urine to flow into the upper wall opening of the cartridge; a plurality of tool holes in said cartridge upper wall and positioned exterior of said diverter; and a tool having prongs for engaging the tool holes in the cartridge upper wall and thereby for enabling the insertion and removal of the cartridge into and from a urinal.

13. A urinal and urine cartridge system according to claim 12 in which said tool holes form a communication between the interior and exterior of said cartridge.

14. In a urine cartridge having an upper wall and openings therein respectively for entry of the urine into the cartridge and for providing venting between the interior and the exterior of the cartridge, a diverter on the cartridge upper wall for avoiding direct access of the urine to the entry opening, a tool for inserting and removing the cartridge from a urinal, comprising: prongs engageable with the venting openings in the cartridge; and a manipulator for manipulating the prongs into the venting holes.

15. In a urinal and urine cartridge system, in which the cartridge has a urine-ingress wall, a method for inserting and removing the cartridge into and from the urinal, comprising the steps of: providing openings in the cartridge wall; engaging elements with the openings; and manipulating the elements for respective insertion and removal of the cartridge into and from the urinal.

16. A system according to claim 1 in which said element engaging step comprises the steps of providing a tool having tips and configuring the tips with a cartridge wall-engaging shape.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit, and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/535,463 filed 9 Jan. 2004, and is further related to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/579,921, filed 14 Jun. 2004.

REFERENCE REGARDING FEDERAL SPONSORSHIP

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not Applicable

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a tool for insertion and removal of a cartridge into and from such a device as a waterless urinal.

2. Description of Related Art and Other Considerations

Waterless urinals, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,644,339 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,______ [Ser. No. 09/855,735 (filed 14 May 2001)] and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/143,103 (filed 7 May 2002), employ a cartridge which may or may not include a urine diverter to prevent impingement of urine on the sealant contained within the cartridge. Because of the snug emplacement of such cartridges in the urinal, it is often difficult to insert and remove them into and from the urinal, especially in a sanitary manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to address and overcome this and other problems by utilizing a simple tool which is engageable with the upper wall of the cartridge and placeable over a diverter which may have been secured to the upper wall. The tool employs fingers which are adapted to mesh with holes or openings in the upper wall.

Several advantages are obtained derived from this arrangement. The cartridge is easily insertable into and removable from the urinal. The handling of the cartridge, especially after it is used and contains urine and other waste products, is sanitary. Contact with the urinal, per se, is avoided.

Other aims and advantages, as well as a more complete understanding of the present invention, will appear from the following explanation of exemplary embodiments and the accompanying drawings thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a urinal as represented by its wall, a cartridge set in the urinal wall, and a urine diverter positioned on the cartridge and secured to its upper wall;

FIG. 2 is a perspective of the cartridge as viewed from its top side;

FIG. 3 is a perspective of a first embodiment of a tool for inserting and removing the cartridge shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 into and from the urinal;

FIGS. 4-6 respectively are top, front and side views of the tool illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a view, in perspective, of the tool depicted in FIG. 3 coupled to the cartridge depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view, in perspective, illustrating the coupling mechanism effective to engage the tool with the upper surface of the cartridge;

FIG. 9 is a view in partial cross-section showing the engagement of the tip of the tool portrayed in FIG. 3 engaged within the opening in the cartridge upper wall;

FIG. 10 is a perspective of a second embodiment of a tool employed to insert and remove the cartridge shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 into and from the urinal;

FIGS. 11 and 12 respectively are front and side views of the tool illustrated in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is a view of the cartridge-engaging tip portion of the tool taken along line 13-13 of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a view of the portion of the tool taken orthogonally to that shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an exploded view, in perspective, of the tool depicted in FIGS. 10-14;

FIG. 16 is a view, in perspective, of the tool depicted in FIG. 10-15 coupled to the cartridge shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 17 is a view in partial cross-section showing the engagement of the tip of the tool portrayed in FIG. 10-15 engaged within the opening in the cartridge upper wall;

FIG. 18 is a perspective of a third embodiment of a tool employed to insert and remove the cartridge shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 into and from the urinal;

FIGS. 19-21 are front, side and top views of the tool depicted in FIG. 18;

FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view of the tool taken along line 22-22 of FIG. 19;

FIGS. 23-25 are front, side and top views of the cartridge-gripping wire held within the tool illustrated in FIGS. 18-22;

FIG. 26 is a view of a portion of the tool taken along cutaway line 26 of FIG. 24; and

FIG. 27 is a view in partial cross-section showing the engagement of the tip of the tool portrayed in FIGS. 18-26 engaged within the opening in the cartridge upper wall

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Accordingly, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, an odor trap 40 comprises a cartridge 42, which is sometimes referred to as an “oil sealant-preserving drain odor trap.” Cartridge 42 is provided with an upper wall 44 in which a central opening 46 may be disposed. Opening 46 may comprise a simple hole or one configured as a tripartite arrangement of three arced slots 46a, 46b and 46c, centered about a generally horizontal flat center portion 48 as best shown in FIG. 2. In the illustrated configuration, cartridge 42 is disposed to receive urine through central opening 46 and thereafter transported to a drain which is connected to a urinal, such as represented by urinal walls 49, in a manner as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,644,339, 6,053,197, 6,245,411, 6,644,339 and 6,______ [Ser. No. 09/855,735 (filed 14 May 2001)].

A urine diverter 50, as generally depicted in FIG. 1, is positionable atop cartridge upper wall 44 for protectively covering cartridge opening 46, primarily to provide a circuitous path for flow of urine to the opening. Therefore, urine is prevented from directly contacting and entering into the opening. Diverter 50 includes a shell 52, a urine level detector, comprising a float 54 and a see-through protective cap 56, and, if desired, a deodorant and/or sanitizing tablet 58 and a tablet retainer 60 for retaining the tablet within shell 52. The diverter is slightly spaced from upper wall 44 of cartridge 42 to assure a clear path for flow of the urine and to space retainer 60 and tablet 58 from the cartridge upper wall. Such spacing is effected by use of a standoff 62 which depends from shell 52. While a specific diverter is depicted herein, other diverters may be employed herein, both of which are described in copending patent application, Ser. No. ______ [a continuation-in-part of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/535,463 filed 9 Jan. 2004 (Docket No. 7148-117A-US)], and it is to be understood that any similarly functioning diverter may also be utilized.

At least two diametrically opposed holes or openings 64 are formed in cartridge upper wall 44 and are used in conjunction with the cartridge insertion and removal tool of the present invention. Holes 64 may also be used in conjunction with a third hole, all of which act as air vents that communicate with the interior of cartridge 40, as described similarly in above-noted co-pending U.S. provisional applications No. 60/535,463, filed 9 Jan. 2004, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/579,921, filed 14 Jun. 2004. In the event that one or two may become clogged, such as by urine when the urinal is in use, there will be at least one that remains open. For purposes of their use as tool engagement means, it is preferred that the outermost two holes be approximately diagonally opposed to one another; however, the placement or use of these openings may be otherwise designed to accommodate matching tool configurations.

Insertion and removal of a cartridge, such as cartridge 42, into and from a urinal, such as represented by urinal walls 49, may be effected by use of tools 120, 220 and 320, which are illustrated respectively in FIGS. 3-9, 10-17 and 18-27.

Referring to FIGS. 3-9, tool 120 comprises a U-shaped holder 124, to which a pair of opening-engaging elements 126 are secured and from which they extend. Opening-engaging elements 126 are embodied as cartridge-engaging tips or prongs. A shaft 122 is joined to holder 124 and to a handle 125 for manipulation of the tool. Elements or tips 126 are provided with rectangular shapes in cross-section and are further configured to form hooked ends 128. To accommodate the shape of tips 126, the holes in cartridge upper wall 44 and similarly configured into rectangularly-configured holes 64a. Tool 120 can accordingly be manipulated to effect a grasping engagement of hook-shaped tips 126 with diametrically opposed holes 64a, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 7-9. Then, by twisting tool 120, when secured to cartridge upper wall 44, cartridge 42 can be inserted into or extracted from urinal 49. In this embodiment, tool 120 may be formed of a plastic material and used as an inexpensive throw-away implement after one or more uses.

Referring now to FIGS. 10-17, tool 220 comprises a U-shaped holder 224, to which a pair of opening-engaging elements 226 are secured and from which they extend. Opening-engaging elements 126 are embodied as cartridge-engaging tips or prongs. The holder terminus, from which tips 226 extend, is formed as a pair of slanted ends 228, as best seen in FIG. 13. A shaft 222 is joined to holder 224 and to a handle 225 for manipulation of the tool. Tips 226 are bent at an angle from the main body of holder 224 and thereby, when manipulated, are adapted to engage and grip diametrically opposed holes 64, as shown in FIGS. 1, 16 and 17. Manipulation of tool 220, when tips 226 are inserted into cartridge upper wall holes 64, is aided by the slants of ends 228. By twisting tool 220, when secured to cartridge upper wall 44, cartridge 42 can be inserted into or extracted from urinal 49.

Referring finally to FIGS. 10-17, tool 320 comprises a wire core insert 322 (shown in full in FIGS. 23-25) which is encapsulated within a plastic holder 324 and which terminates in cartridge-engaging tips or prongs 326 that act as opening-engaging elements. The holder has a U-shaped configuration which, in a manner that is comparable to the prior two embodiments, employs a pair of shaft-like portions 327 joined at a handle 325 to form a shaft-handle combination. Tips 326 are bent at an angle from the main body of insert 322. When insert 322 is so encapsulated, only its cartridge-engaging tips 326 extend from the holder. Tips 326 are bent and, thereby when so manipulated, are adapted to engage and grip one of a pair of two diametrically opposed holes 64, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 27. By twisting tool 320, when secured to cartridge upper wall 44, cartridge 42 can be inserted into or extracted from urinal 49.

While holes or openings 64 and 64a are illustrated as being diametrically opposed from one another and the several fingers or cartridge-engaging tips 126, 226 and 326 are likewise arranged to accommodate the holes, these inter-engageable elements may be otherwise arranged, e.g., the holes may be located at angles other than 180° from one another or numbered differently from two along with accordingly matched tools and their tips.

Although the invention has been described with respect to particular embodiments thereof, it should be realized that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.