Trench Filling Machine
1. A trench filling machine, comprising:
- a frame;
a plurality of ground-contacting motive elements for moving the frame on a ground surface;
a mixing vessel supported by the frame;
a hopper supported by the frame and having a discharge conduit;
a compactor assembly attached to the hopper;
a release assembly configured to move material from the mixing vessel to the hopper; and
a positioning system configured to selectively move the discharge conduit above and below the ground surface.
The present invention is directed to a machine for filling a trench. The machine comprises a tub, release assembly, and a hopper. The tub mixes a material to be filled into the trench. The release assembly releases the material into the hopper and the material flows from the hopper and into the trench. The machine moves parallel to the trench as the trench is being filled. A compactor assembly may follow behind the hopper and pack material into the trench. An operator controls the movement of the machine from an operator station on the machine.
- 1. A trench filling machine, comprising:
a frame; a plurality of ground-contacting motive elements for moving the frame on a ground surface; a mixing vessel supported by the frame; a hopper supported by the frame and having a discharge conduit; a compactor assembly attached to the hopper; a release assembly configured to move material from the mixing vessel to the hopper; and a positioning system configured to selectively move the discharge conduit above and below the ground surface.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5)
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 62/306,284, filed on Mar. 10, 2016, and is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/540,236, filed on Jul. 2, 2012, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/537,790 filed on Sep. 22, 2011, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates generally to the field of filling a trench, and in particular to trench filling machines for micro-trenches.
The present invention is directed to a trench filling machine. The trench filling machine comprises a frame, a plurality of ground-contacting motive elements for moving the frame on a ground surface, a mixing vessel supported by the frame, and a hopper supported by the frame and having a discharge conduit. The trench filling machine further comprises a compactor assembly attached to the hopper, a release assembly configured to move material from the mixing vessel to the hopper, and a positioning system configured to selectively move the discharge conduit above and below the ground surface.
Traditionally micro-trenches are filled with grout or any other needed material by hand. The current invention allows the micro-trench to be filled using a machine that moves parallel to the trench as the trench is filled. Turning now to the drawings in general and
The release assembly 18 is positioned on the first side 24 of the tub 16. The release assembly 18 works to release a material from the tub 16 and into the hopper 20. The material may comprise any material necessary to fill the trench. Preferably the material comprises a grout mixture. The release assembly 18 comprises a gate plate 26, a horizontal link 28, a cylinder 30, a cylinder mount 32, a door 34, a vertical link 36, a pair of door guides 38, and a spout 40. The gate plate 26 is attached to the first side 24 of the tub 16. The gate plate 26 serves as an anchor for the horizontal link 28 which is pivotally connected at its end to the gate plate 26 at pivot point 42.
The center of the horizontal link 28 is pivotally connected to cylinder 30 via a fastener 46. Cylinder 30 is in turn connected to cylinder mount 32. The cylinder mount 32 is attached to the first side 24 of the tub 16. The cylinder mount 32 serves as an anchor for the cylinder 30 and a piston (not shown) contained within the cylinder 30. The piston within the cylinder 30 connects to the cylinder mount 32 via a fastener 44. The cylinder 30 and corresponding piston function to move the horizontal link 28 up and down via extension and retraction of the piston in and out of the cylinder 30.
The opposing end of the horizontal link 28 not connected to the gate plate 26 is pivotally connected to vertical link 36 via a fastener 48. The movement of the horizontal link 28 up and down by cylinder 30 and the piston serves to move the door 34 and vertical link 36 up and down opening and closing door 34. The vertical link 36 is connected to the door 34 by a fastener 50. The vertical link 34 aids in opening and closing of door 34.
The movement of the door 34 up and down is stabilized by guides 38. The guides 38 attach to the first side 24 of the tub 16 via a plurality of fasteners 52. The guides 38 serve as a docking slip for the door 34 to slide up and down. The spout 40 is connected to the guides 38 using fasteners 52. The spout 40 extends out from the first side 24 of the tub 16 and over the hopper 20 forming a slide allowing the material to run out of the tub 16, down the spout 40, and into the hopper 20.
The hopper 20 is attached to the front portion of the frame 12 via a pivot plate 54 and lift arms 56A and 56B. The pivot plate 54 is attached to the front side of the hopper 20 and connects the lift arms 56A and 56B to the pivot plate via a pair of fasteners 58. The lift arms 56 work to move the hopper 20 in and out of the trench. Movement of the lift arms 56 is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder 60 (
On the opposite side of the hopper 20 from the pivot plate 54, a wheel mount 66 is attached to the hopper 20. A small wheel 68 is attached to the wheel mount 66 to help guide the hopper 20 along the trench when the hopper 20 is in its lowered position. The wheel 68 runs directly parallel with the open trench when the machine 10 is in operation.
The vibrator 70 is used to vibrate the entire hopper 20 to prevent material from being clogged in the discharge conduit 21 while a trench is being filled. The vibrator 70 may be attached to the side of the hopper 20 just above the wheel mount 66. The vibrator 70 also works to increase the rate of flow of the material through the discharge conduit 21 and into the open trench.
A mount plate 72 is also shown in
Turning now to
The top of the tub 16 is covered by a grate 78 which allows access to the inside of the tub 16 while at the same time protecting the material from debris. A bag cutter 80 is mounted on the top of the grate 78 for convenience in opening bags of material to pour into the tub 16.
A platform 82 is also shown attached to the front of the frame 12. The platform 82 aids in preparing and attending to the contents of the tub 16. A tube 84 is attached to the platform 82 and the side plate 64 to support the frame 12 and platform 82. A different view of the spout 40 is also shown in
Turning now to
The forces exerted on the lever 62 by the piston and cylinder 60 work to manipulate the lift arms 56A and 56B up and down through movement of the lever 62. The lever 62 is pivotally attached to lift arm 56A using fasteners 58 and lift arm 56B is also pivotally attached to the side of the platform 82 using fasteners 58. Movement of the lift arms 56A and 56B up and down works to move the hopper 20 in and out of the trench.
Turning now to
A motor 96 is attached to a second side 98 of the tub 16. The motor 96 connects to the shaft 90 inside the tub 16 and spins the shaft 90 which in turn spins the blades 92 and paddles 94. The shaft 90 is connected on its opposite side to the bearing 48 located on the first side 24 of the tub 16. The motor 96 continually spins the shaft 90 throughout the trench filling process to mix the material and move it toward door 34 (
Turning finally to
Referring now to
In operation, material is poured into the tub 16 with a mixing solution, such as water, and mixed together via the blades 92 spinning on the shaft 90. The trench filling machine 10 is positioned parallel to the trench to be filled. The hopper 20 is placed over the open trench such that the hopper 20 may be positioned within the trench at a desired depth allowing the wheel 68 to rest on the ground parallel to the trench.
The hopper 20 is moved via the lift arms 56A and 56B and cylinder 60 as shown in
Once the hopper 20 is positioned in the trench as desired, the release assembly 18 can begin to release material into the hopper 20. The door 34 is in the closed position sealing off any material from exiting the tub 16 when the piston (not shown) within the cylinder 30 is extended. The piston extends from cylinder mount 32 from which it is connected. To open the door 34 the piston retracts into the cylinder 30 pulling the horizontal link 28 upwards which in turn pulls the door 34 upwards. Once the door 34 begins to open, the material is free to flow out of the door 34, down the spout 40, and into the hopper 20. When the hopper 20 is filled to the desired amount, the piston is extended from the cylinder 30 pushing the horizontal link 28 downwards and in turn pushing the door 34 downwards until it is closed.
Upon pouring the material into the hopper 20, the material begins to flow downward and pass out the discharge conduit 21 of the hopper 20 and into the trench. The vibrator 70 vigorously vibrates the hopper 20 to prevent material from clogging the conduit of the hopper 20 or from being stuck to the sides of the hopper 20. The vibrator 70 also helps to increase the rate of flow of the material from the hopper 20 into the trench to be filled.
The trench filling machine 10 is driven alongside the trench via the operator station 14 and the motive means 19. The material flows from the hopper 20 in the trench as the machine 10 moves. The trench filling machine 10 allows the operator to place materials in the trenches by operating the controls 22 at the operator station 14. Keeping the material in the hopper 20 separate from the material contained in the tub 16, allows the operator to take a break once the hopper 20 has been emptied without worry of the material within the tub 16 hardening.
Turning now to
As shown in
The arm 128 may vary in size depending on the size of the hopper 20. If the compact assembly 120 is attached to a larger hopper 20, a longer arm 128 may be required to properly position the compact wheel 122 behind the discharge conduit 21. For example, the arm 128 shown in
Turning now to
The pin 144 is disposed through the opening in the first side plate 138, the rim 146, and the second side plate 140. The wheel 122 is supported on the pin 144 and held between the first side plate 138 and the second side plate 140. A locking pin 148, also shown in
The distance between the side plates 138, 140 is greater than the width of the compact wheel 122. Due to this, a space is created between each side plate 138, 140 and the wheel 122. The space allows the compact wheel 122 to move laterally about the pin 144, as shown by arrow 150. This allows the wheel 122 to follow slight variations in the trench as it compacts the material. The outer circumference of the compact wheel 12 may have a convex or concave shape. These shapes may help to more effectively pack the material into the trench.
Although the present invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiment, various changes and modifications may be suggested to one skilled in the art, and it is intended that the present invention encompass such changes and modifications as fall within the scope of this disclosure.