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1. WO2011051717 - DISPOSITIF DE COMPRESSION

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

Compressing Device

The present invention relates to a compressing device and particularly, but not exclusively to a compressing device for compressing household waste.

Compressing devices are known in which hydraulic actuators are used to press a plate or similar toward a support to compress items positioned therebetween. However, the hydraulic actuators are often necessarily large to provide the required compressing force and as such are unsuitable for domestic purposes. In addition, hydraulic actuators require regular maintenance and are expensive to install.

I have now devised a compressing device which occupies considerably less volume than the hydraulic counterpart, but which generates sufficient compressing force to suitably compress items.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a compressing device, the device comprising a receptacle for holding items to be compressed and compressing means for compressing items within the receptacle,

the compressing means comprising a compressing member and an arm coupled thereto, the compressing means further comprising a worm drive for driving the arm between an extended configuration in which the compressing member extends within the receptacle and a retracted configuration, in which the compressing member is removed from the receptacle.

The worm drive enables a large compressing force to be applied to the items for a relatively small driving force. This mechanical advantage enables relatively hard items to be compressed without the requirement for large, expensive hydraulic apparatus. Accordingly, the compressing device of the present invention can be made compact and can be mounted upon a worktop, for example.

Preferably, the arm comprises a proximal end that is coupled to the worm drive and a distal end that is coupled to the compressing member. The separation of the proximal end of the arm from the receptacle is preferably fixed so that the arm can develop a compressive force on items within the receptacle, when arranged in an extended configuration.

The worm drive comprises a worm gear disposed upon a drive shaft, which is arranged to engage with a worm wheel disposed upon a threaded shaft. The proximal end of the arm is preferably arranged in threaded cooperation with the threaded shaft and the distal end of the arm is preferably slidably coupled to the compressing member.

Preferably, the arm comprises an arrangement of coupled levers.

The lever arrangement preferably comprises a first pair of levers hingedly coupled at their centre and threadably coupled at a proximal end to the threaded shaft, either side of the worm wheel.

The lever arrangement preferably further comprises a second pair of levers hingedly coupled at their centre and slidably coupled at a distal end to the compressing member.

A distal end of the first pair of levers is preferably hingedly coupled to the proximal end of the second pair of levers. The lever arrangement preferably comprises a lazy tongs type arrangement.

Preferably, the worm gear is driven by a motor.

The compressing means and receptacle are preferably housed within a housing. The receptacle is preferably removably positionable within the housing.

An embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of the compressing device according to an embodiment of the present invention, with the compressing member removed from the receptacle;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the compressing device of figure 1 with the compressing member positioned within the receptacle;

Figure 3 is a magnified view of the worm drive;

Figure 4 is a front view of the compressing means and receptacle during the compressing of a several items; and,

Figure 5 is a perspective view of the compressing device according to an embodiment of the present invention mounted upon a worktop.

Referring to figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, there is shown a compressing device 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The compressing device 10 comprises a compressing arrangement 1 1 and a receptacle, such as a bin 12, housed with a housing 13. The bin 12 is removably positioned within the housing 13 through an aperture 14 formed in the front thereof, such that items 15 can be placed within the bin 12, when removed from the housing 13 and then compressed by the compressing arrangement 1 1 upon positioning the bin 12 within the housing 13.

The compressing arrangement 1 1 comprises a first and second externally threaded shaft 16, 17 which extend in substantially parallel configuration, across the housing 13 between support members 18, 19 positioned either side of the housing 13 at an upper region thereof. The first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 are rigidly coupled with respect to linear movement within the housing 13 but are free to rotate within the support members 18, 19 around their respective longitudinal axis.

The first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 are coupled by a drive shaft 20 which extends between the threaded shafts 16, 17 substantially at the centre thereof. The drive shaft 20 comprises a worm gear 21 disposed at each end thereof, as illustrated in figure 3 of the drawings. Each worm gear 21 a, 21 b is arranged to couple with a worm wheel 22 rigidly coupled to the respective threaded member. Each worm wheel 22a, 22b is centred substantially upon the longitudinal axis of the respective threaded shaft 16, 17 such that as the drive shaft 20 rotates to cause the worm gears 21 a, 21 b to rotate, each worm wheel 22a, 22b causes the respective threaded shaft 16, 17 to rotate about their longitudinal axis.

The direction of rotation of the worm gear 21 a at a one end of the drive shaft 20 is opposite the direction of rotation of the worm gear 21 b at the opposite end thereof, such that as the drive shaft 20 is rotated about its longitudinal axis, by an electric motor 23, for example, the first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 are driven to rotate in the same direction.

The compressing arrangement 1 1 further comprises a first and second lever arrangement 24, 25 which couples the respective threaded member 16, 17 to a rear side of a compressing plate 26. The first lever arrangement 24 comprises a first and second pair of levers 24a, 24b. The first pair of levers 24a are hingedly coupled at their centre and are separately hingedly coupled at their proximal end to an internally threaded collar 27a, 27b. The collars 27a, 27b are arranged in threaded cooperation with the first threaded shaft 16 and are disposed upon the first threaded shaft 16 equidistant from the respective worm wheel 22a. The second pair of levers 24b are similarly hingedly coupled at their centre and are slidably coupled at a distal end thereof within a first channel 28 disposed upon the rear of the plate 26. The distal end of the first pair of levers 24a are separately hingedly coupled to the proximal end of the second pair of levers 24b, such that the first lever arrangement 24 comprises a substantially lazy tong type arrangement.

The second lever arrangement 25 similarly comprises a first and second pair of levers 25a, 25b. The first pair of levers 25a are hingedly coupled at their centre and are separately hingedly coupled at their proximal end to an internally threaded collar 29a, 29b. The collars 29a, 29b are arranged in threaded cooperation with the second threaded shaft 17 and are disposed upon the second threaded shaft 17 equidistant from the respective worm wheel 22b. The second pair of levers 25b are similarly hingedly coupled at their centre and are slidably coupled at a distal end thereof within a second channel 30 disposed upon the rear of the plate 26. The distal end of the first pair of levers 25a are separately coupled to the proximal end of the second pair of levers 25b, such that the second lever arrangement 25 similarly comprises a substantially lazy tong type arrangement.

The first and second channels 28, 30 are disposed upon the rear of the plate 26 in a substantially parallel configuration, and substantially below and parallel to the first and second threaded shafts 16, 17, respectively. The plate 26 is dimensioned to substantially match the interior dimension of the bin 12 such that items 15 placed within the bin 12 contact the plate 26 and thus become compressed by the plate 26.

In use, items 15 to be compressed are placed within the bin 12 and the bin 12 is positioned within the housing 13 as illustrated in figures 1 and 2 of the drawings. The power supply to the motor 23 is then switch on by pressing button 31 and the toggle switch 32 is switched to a first switched state, which causes the drive shaft 20 to rotate in a first direction. The rotation of the drive shaft 20 causes the worm gears 21 a, 21 b to rotate and for every complete rotation thereof, the worm wheel 22a, 22b on the first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 is caused to rotate through an angular range corresponding to the separation of two adjacent teeth disposed around the respective wheels 22a, 22b. As the first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 rotate, the collars 27a, 27b, 29a, 29b disposed thereon move toward the respective worm wheel 22a, 22b and the distal end of the second pair of levers 24b, 25b of each of the first and second lever arrangements 24, 25 respectively slide toward each other within the respective channel 28, 30 thereby causing the first and second lever arrangements 24, 25 to extend. The rotation of the drive shaft 20 in the first direction thus causes the plate 26 to pass into the bin 12 and compress the items 15 disposed therein.

Once the items 15 have been suitably compressed, the toggle switch 32 is then switched to a second switched state, which reverses the direction of rotation of the drive shaft 20 to a second direction. However, it is also envisaged that the compressing device 10 may further comprise a pressure sensor (not shown) which is arranged to monitor the pressure, namely the compressive force, which is applied to the items 15 during a compression. The sensor (not shown) is further arranged to cause the rotation of the drive shaft 20 to stop or the direction of rotation of the drive shaft 20 to reverse, upon sensing a threshold pressure.

As the drive shaft 20 rotates in the second direction, the collars 27a, 27b, 29a, 29b disposed on the first and second threaded members 16, 17 are caused to move away from the respective worm wheel 22a, 22b and the distal end of the second pair of levers 24b, 25b of each of the first and second lever arrangements 24, 25 respectively slide away from each other within the respective channel 28, 30, thereby causing the first and second lever arrangements 24, 25 to become retracted. The rotation of the drive shaft 20 in the second direction thus causes the plate 26 to become lifted out of the bin 12.

The gearing provided at the worm gear/wheel 21 a, 21 b, 22a, 22b interface enables a large torque to be applied to the first and second threaded shafts 16, 17 for a relatively small driving torque on the drive shaft 20. Accordingly, only a small electric motor 23 is required to provide the necessary compressing force to compress items 15 such as cans and boxes. The reduced volume of the compressing device 10 of the present invention thus permits its mounting upon a worktop 33 (as illustrated in figure 5 of the drawings) or integration within a kitchen unit (not shown), for example.

From the foregoing therefore, it is evident that the compressing device of the present invention provides a simple yet effective means of compressing items.