Title:
FIREWORKS TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL UNIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mobile apparatus for treatment and disposal of fireworks which includes a conveyor belt, chopper, chute, burn chamber and a heavy-gauge screen cover, the conveyor belt delivering fireworks to be disposed of to the chopper where the fireworks are shredded, the shredded fireworks being fed through the chute into a burn chamber where the shredded fireworks are burned, the heavy-gauge screen cover covering the burn chamber to minimize the release of solid particles into the surrounding environment while also allowing steam, smoke and pressurized air to escape.



Inventors:
Morris, Thaine M. (Ione, CA, US)
Pier, David J. (Ione, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/252590
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F42B33/06
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Primary Examiner:
LAUX, DAVID J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A fireworks treatment unit for disposing fireworks comprising: a conveyor to deliver fireworks to a chopper housing; said chopper housing comprising a chopper to shred fireworks, wherein said chopper comprises a chopper shaft and a multiplicity of chopper blades, wherein the chopper shaft and the chopper blades are rotated about a longitudinal axis central to the chopper shaft; and a burn chamber adjacent to said chopper housing to receive shredded fireworks from the chopper housing, wherein the shredded fireworks are burned within the burn chamber.

2. The treatment unit of claim 1, wherein the conveyor comprises an endless belt.

3. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein at least one motor drives the conveyor and the chopper.

4. The treatment unit of claim 1 further comprising a screen cover attached to the top of the burn chamber to minimize release of solid particles into a surrounding environment.

5. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein the burn chamber further comprises an inner wall and an outer wall, wherein water is circulated between the inner wall and the outer wall.

6. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein said chopper blades are hingedly attached to the chopper shaft.

7. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein the treatment unit is incorporated into a mobile trailer.

8. The treatment unit of claim 1 further comprising a chute, the chute connecting the chopper housing and the burn chamber.

9. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein the burn chamber includes a pyrotechnic ignition device.

10. The treatment unit of claim 1 further comprising a control panel, the control panel having switches to control the conveyor and the chopper.

11. The treatment unit of claim 10, the control panel having switches to control the conveyor, the chopper and the pyrotechnic ignition device.

12. The treatment unit of claim 1 wherein said chopper housing is elevated above a floor of said burn chamber.

13. A mobile fireworks treatment unit for disposing fireworks comprising: a conveyor to deliver fireworks to a chopper housing, said conveyor comprising an endless belt; said chopper housing comprising a chopper to shred fireworks, wherein said chopper comprises a chopper shaft and a multiplicity of chopper blades, wherein the chopper shaft and the chopper blades are rotated about a longitudinal axis central to the chopper shaft; a burn chamber having a screen cover, wherein said burn chamber is adjacent to said chopper housing to receive shredded fireworks from the chopper housing, wherein the shredded fireworks are burned within the burn chamber; wherein said burn chamber comprises an inner wall and an outer wall, wherein water is circulated between the inner wall and the outer wall; and wherein the treatment unit is incorporated into a mobile trailer.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/981,289, filed Oct. 19, 2007, entitled “Fireworks Treatment and Disposal Unit” (Attorney Docket No. MPAS-01000USO), which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for the treatment and/or disposal of fireworks.

BACKGROUND

Each year millions of people in the United States enjoy fireworks in the form of consumer fireworks and display/professional fireworks. While watching or setting off fireworks can be enjoyable, fireworks can also present substantial safety concerns to the public, not only in their use but also in their disposal. Each year massive qualities of fireworks that are illegal in the jurisdictions where they are possessed are seized by law enforcement agencies and must be properly disposed of in compliance with applicable environmental and explosive safety laws and regulations. Because no mobile fireworks treatment units currently exist, these fireworks must be transported to central storage locations, which can be dangerous given the unpredictable nature of the material being handled. Both the firework items and the treatment residuals from the fireworks (ash and debris) may contain hazardous by-products which can contaminate the soil as well as groundwater and any nearby water supplies. Consequently, numerous state and federal agencies strictly regulate the handling, storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal of firework wastes.

Historically, fireworks were disposed of through open burning of fireworks on the ground, and many law enforcement agencies still engage in this practice today. In this regard, the fireworks are simply piled on the ground, ignited and allowed to burn until they are consumed to ash. Typically, the residual ash is then shovelled into containers and placed in a land disposal unit such as a landfill. However, with increasingly stricter state and federal environmental laws and regulations being passed each year, there is a need for a safer and more environmentally friendly approach to firework disposal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate one or more embodiments and, together with the detailed description, serve to explain the principles and implementations of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a top perspective view of an embodiment of the firework treatment unit, according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the firework treatment unit.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top perspective view of the chute in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a top perspective view of the chopper in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a front perspective view of the trailer in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a back perspective view of the trailer in an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a control panel in an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments are described herein in the context of a fireworks treatment unit. Those of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the following detailed description is illustrative only and is not intended to be in any way limiting. Other embodiments of the present invention will readily suggest themselves to such skilled persons having the benefit of this disclosure. Reference will now be made in detail to implementations of embodiment of the present invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The same reference indicators will be used throughout the drawings and the following detailed description to refer to the same or like parts.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate an embodiment of the fireworks treatment unit. Referring to FIG. 1, the fireworks treatment unit, generally numbered 100, includes a conveyor 102, a chopper 104, a chopper housing 106, a chute 108, a chute door 110, a burn chamber 112, a heavy-gauge screen cover 114, a base 116, base supports 118 and a motor 200 (shown in FIG. 2). As shown in FIG. 1, fireworks 120 can be placed on the conveyor 102 which is configured to move in the direction of the chopper 104. The floor of the conveyor 102 including an endless belt 122. In an embodiment, the belt 122 is meshed and made of steel. The conveyor 102 delivers the fireworks 120 to the chopper housing 106. The chopper 104, which is rotatably engaged to the interior of the chopper housing 106, rotates about its central longitudinal axis and serves to shred the fireworks 120. The chopper 104 is driven by a motor 200 (shown in FIG. 2) which is externally attached to the chopper housing 106. The shredding process renders most fireworks 120 inoperable and disperses the majority of their energy by breaking apart the fireworks 120 and dispersing the pyrotechnic composition. This increases the safety of the disposal process. Shredding the fireworks 120 also increases the exposed surface area of the fireworks 120, thereby allowing the fireworks 120 to burn more efficiently and completely. The shredded fireworks 120 are then forced down a chute 108 and into a burn chamber 112 where they are burned. The treatment unit 100 can be supported by a base 116 and elevated using base supports 118. This allows the shredded fireworks 120 to drop down into the burn chamber 112 above the area where the fireworks 120 will be burned. The shredded fireworks 120 in the burn chamber 112 can either be self-ignited or ignited with the use of a specially designed pyrotechnic ignition device. In an embodiment, the burn chamber 112 is water-jacketed between an inner wall and an outer wall, wherein water is circulated between an inner wall and an outer wall to protect the burn chamber 112 from the extremely high heat of pyrotechnic combustion. The heavy-gauge screen 114 covers the top of the burn chamber 112 which minimizes the release of solid particles into the surrounding environment while allowing steam, smoke and any pressurized air and/or gases to escape. Once burned, the inert residuals generated from the disposal process can be wetted down and pumped into drums for appropriate disposal.

Referring to FIG. 2, the fireworks treatment unit 100 includes at least one motor 200. In this embodiment, the motor 200 can be externally attached to the chopper housing 106. It is understood, however, that the motor 200 can be placed anywhere on the unit 100 that would be obvious to one skilled in the art. A single motor 200 can drive both the conveyor 102 and the chopper 104. In another embodiment, two separate motors are used to drive the conveyer 102 and the chopper 104 individually. FIG. 2 also illustrates the chopper 104 having a chopper shaft 202 and chopper blades 204.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the chute 108 and the chute door 110. The chute 108 includes a chute door 110 to allow for service and maintenance of the chopper. The chute door 110 also allows the operator to clear any jams that may occur during operation of the unit. In an embodiment, the chute 108 may have multiple doors or access points.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the chopper 104. The chopper 104 includes a chopper shaft 202 and a multiplicity of chopper blades 204. In an embodiment, the chopper shaft 202 is rotated by a motor 200 (show in FIG. 2) about a longitudinal axis central to the chopper shaft 202. The chopper blades 204 are fixedly attached to the chopper shaft 202. Consequently, as the chopper shaft 202 rotates, the chopper blades 204 also rotate about the chopper shaft's 202 longitudinal axis. In an embodiment, the chopper blades 204 are hingedly attached to the chopper shaft 202 to allow the blades to swing back upon striking a particularly dense object, which helps prevent the chopper 104 from becoming jammed.

In an embodiment, the fireworks treatment unit 100 and its individual elements can be made of steel. However, the unit 100, or any individual aspect of the unit 100 can be made of any material that would be obvious to one skilled in the art. In an embodiment, the rotation of the chopper 104 and/or the conveyor 102 can be accomplished by using any device for rotating including, but not limited to, motors, springs, servos, chain drives, pulleys, torsion bars, and any combination thereof.

Referring to FIG. 5, the entire fireworks treatment unit 100 may be contained within a mobile trailer, generally numbered 500. For safety of operators, the unit 100 can be enclosed within steel walls 502. This embodiment of the mobile trailer 500 includes a trailer hitch 504, a trailer base 506 and wheels 508 to allow the trailer 100 to be transported by a truck. FIG. 6 further illustrates the mobile trailer 500, illustrating how the conveyor 102 for the fireworks treatment unit 100 can be incorporated into the mobile trailer 500.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the control panel for the fireworks treatment unit 100 (shown in FIG. 1) which includes a pyrotechnic ignition device (not shown). The control panel, generally numbered 700, includes a conveyor “on” switch 702, a conveyor “off” switch 704, a chopper “on” switch 706, a chopper “off” switch 708, an emergency stop button 710, an ignitor key switch 712, ignitor lights 714 and ignitor switches 716. The conveyor “on” switch 702 and the conveyor “off” switch 704 start and stop the conveyor 102. The chopper “on” switch 706 and the chopper “off” switch 708 start and stop the chopper 104 (shown in FIG. 1). The ignitor key switch 712 turns on a pyrotechnic ignition device (not shown) within the burn chamber 112 (shown in FIG. 1) to arm, test and fire the pyrotechnic ignition device. Once the pyrotechnic ignition device is armed, tested and fired, the ignitor lights 714 will light and an alarm will sound. The ignitor switch 116 can then be switched to “on” to ignite the fireworks within the burn chamber 112 (shown in FIG. 1). The emergency stop button 710 stops the conveyor 102, the chopper 104 (shown in FIG. 1) and disables the pyrotechnic ignition device. It is understood that the control panel 700 may be configured in any manner that would be obvious to one skilled in the art and still fall within the scope of the present invention.

While embodiments and applications of this invention have been shown and described, it would be apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of this disclosure, that many more modifications than mentioned above are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein.





 
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