The invention relates to a refuse collection vehicle comprising a
chassis, a body mounted on the chassis and a loading device for emptying refuse
containers into the body, the vehicle being provided with protective means for
the prevention of unsafe situations, the protective means comprising at least one
contactless detection element which is connected to control means of the refuse
A refuse collection vehicle of this type is known from DE 94 12 508
U. This known refuse collection vehicle is provided with an automatic loading device.
The working area of the loading device is screened by means of photoelectric detection
elements arranged on fixed parts of the vehicle. The photoelectric detection elements
are connected to the control means of the loading device, such that, if a person
or object or the like is signalled by the detection element at least during part
of the movement cycle of the loading device, the movement of the loading device
is prevented or interrupted.
The object of the invention is to provide a refuse collection vehicle
having improved protective means which are such that the working area of movable
parts of the vehicle is optimally protected, such that unsafe situations cannot
This object is achieved according to the invention with a refuse
collection vehicle of the type mentioned at the outset in that the detection element
is arranged on a movable part of the loading device and is designed to scan a
two- or three-dimensional scanned area (window).
This measure makes the area of the loading device optimally protected
at all times, so that whenever a person or object or the like is situated within
the scanned area of the detection element, moving parts of the vehicle can be
stopped, so that hazardous situations do not arise.
Preferred embodiments of a refuse collection vehicle according to
the invention are defined in the dependent claims.
The invention will be explained in more detail in the following description
of an exemplary embodiment of the invention with reference to the drawing, in which:
- Fig. 1 is a side view of a refuse collection vehicle according to the invention,
of the rear loader type,
- Fig. 2 depicts the rear section of the refuse collection vehicle of Fig. 1,
with the loading device situated in the position in which a refuse container held
in the loading device is being emptied,
- Fig. 3 is a side view of a refuse collection vehicle of the side loader type,
- Fig. 4 is a rear view of the refuse collection vehicle of Fig. 3.
Fig. 1 depicts a side view of a refuse collection vehicle of the
rear loader type. The vehicle comprises a chassis 1 and a body 2 mounted on the
chassis. A rear loader 3, which is pivotably connected at the points 12 to the
body 2, is mounted on the body. The rear loader 3 can be pivoted by means of cylinders
15, which are arranged between the body 2 and the rear loader 3.
A loading device 4 is fastened to the rear loader 3, by means of
which loading device refuse containers can be emptied by pouring their contents
into a trough 5 of the rear loader 3. Refuse can also be thrown manually into the
trough 5. The rear loader 3 is provided with a compression mechanism 11, by means
of which the refuse is pressed out of the trough 5 into the body 2.
The working area of the loading device 4, in particular of the moving
parts thereof, should be protected, in the sense that unsafe situations cannot
occur if a person, object or the like is situated in this working area. The loading
device 4 is then unable to move. The working area of the loading device is to be
understood as meaning the area within which the movable parts of the loading device
can move, but also the area situated around this which is to be free of persons,
objects or the like, in order to be able to ensure safe movements of these parts.
The working area of the loading device 4 is situated at the rear of the vehicle.
In order to screen this area at the side, a contactless detection element 7 is
arranged on the left-hand and right-hand lifting arm 6 of the loading device 4.
The detection element 7 is adjusted and directed such that a two- or three-dimensional
scanned area or window 7a can be scanned, as depicted in Fig. 1 by dashed lines,
with a window length 1 and a window angle α. This window 7a laterally screens
both the loading device and a refuse container to be handled by the loading device.
If any part of the body of a person passes into the window 7a during the (automatic)
movement of the loading device, the loading device 4 will stop moving, so that
there is no danger. Since there are no barrier elements present, a loader is not
impeded when transporting refuse containers to and from the loading device 4 from
the side, as is the case in the known refuse collection vehicle.
It can be seen in Fig. 2 that fastening the detection elements 7
to the lifting arms 6 has the advantage that since the detection elements 7 are
moved along together with the lifting arms 6, the actual, ever changing working
area of the loading device 4 with container 16 is protected. This is in contrast
to the protection by means of barrier elements as in the known refuse collection
vehicle. When, in the known vehicle, the loading device is moved to above the barrier
element, the barrier element no longer completely screens the loading device,
and it is possible to come into contact with the moving loading device.
Another advantage of the design according to the invention is that
the correct operation of the detection element 7 can be checked each time the movement
cycle of the loading device 4 is started. In the lowest position of the loading
device 4, the detection element 7 is directed towards the ground (see Fig. 1).
If the detection element 7 then fails to signal the ground, this automatically
means that the detection element 7 is defective, and the loading device 4 is placed
out of operation. In the lower course of the movement of the loading device 4,
the detection element 7 should thus act differently on the control means than in
the rest of this course, namely should switch off the loading device if nothing
is signalled and enable the movement thereof if something is signalled. The above-described
protective means is then temporarily inactive. This is acceptable in safety terms
in the lower movement course of the loading device, since the course is short and
the speed of the loading device in this course is extremely low, in order to be
able to receive a refuse container correctly.
Fig. 2 likewise depicts a preferred position for at least one other
detection element 8, having a scanned area which extends rearwards substantially
in the horizontal direction. By providing one or more detection elements 8, the
rear of the vehicle can be covered over its complete width by a scanned area or
window 8a. The detection elements 8 are fastened to the underside of the trough
5 at a height which is such that the window 8a does not touch the ground. If a
person passes into the window 8a covered by the detection elements 8, the automatic
movement of the loading device will stop. Inter alia, this prevents anyone from
being able to pass from the rear into the hazardous working area of the loading
device. One advantage of this is also that small (crawling) children can also be
signalled, due to the fact that the window 8a can be adjusted so as to reach as
far as just above the ground. By using a detection element 8 of a specific type
and having a window 8a whose limits are situated a safe distance beyond the two
sides and the rear of the working area of the loading device, it is even possible
to omit the detection elements 7 on the loading device 4 itself.
By positioning the detection elements 8 such that loading device
4, in its lowest position, is situated in the window 8a, which situation, however,
is not depicted in the drawing, the correct operation of the detection elements
8 can be checked each time the movement cycle of the loading device 4 is started.
If the detection elements 8 fail to signal the loading device in its lowest position,
this automatically means that they are defective and the loading device 4 is placed
out of operation. As described above with reference to the detection elements 7,
the detection elements 8 also act differently on the control means in the lower
movement course of the loading device 4.
Other protective features can also be realized by means of the detection
elements 8. A compression mechanism 11, which is situated in the rear loader 3,
is accessible from the rear of the rear loader for the purpose of tipping refuse
into the trough 5. However, as a result the compression mechanism 11 is also accessible
to people. Due to the fact that the area behind the vehicle is covered by the
detection elements 8, the hazardous automatic movement of the compression mechanism
11 is protected. If anyone passes into the area 8a covered by the detection elements
8, the movement of the compression mechanism 11 will stop, so that hazardous situations
It can be seen in Fig. 3 that detection elements 8 may also be positioned
on the rear, such that it is also signalled whether anyone is standing on a footboard
9. The safety of the vehicle can then be improved further by limiting the speed
of the vehicle or preventing the vehicle from being able to be driven backwards
when it is signalled that someone is standing on the footboard 9. Obviously, a
footboard may also be provided in a similar manner in the case of the embodiment
of Fig. 2.
It is also possible, by means of the positioning of the detection
elements 8 in accordance with Figs. 2 and 3, to achieve total protection against
driving in reverse. If, when the vehicle is being driven in reverse, a person or
object or the like comes into the area covered by the detection elements 8, driving
in reverse is prevented.,
The maximum opening angle of the rear loader 3 can also be protected
by means of the detection elements 8. This is because the rear loader 3 can rotate
upwards, by operating the cylinders 15, for the purpose of emptying the body 2.
The rear loader 3 then pivots about the points 12. When the body 2 is being emptied
in a building, the detection elements 8 can be used to stop the opening before
the rear loader 3 comes into contact with the roof of the building.
Figs. 3 and 4 depict a refuse collection vehicle of the side loader
type with a side loading device 10. This loading device 10 is a variant on the
above-described loading device 4 of Figs. 1 and 2, which is situated at the rear
of the vehicle. The side loading device 10 can be used, for example, to empty containers
positioned on the pavement automatically from the side of the vehicle by driving
the vehicle passed the containers. Compared to the above-described loading device
4 at the rear, there is then a greater risk of people coming into contact with
the moving loading device 10, due to the fact that the moving side loading device
10, together with the container to be emptied, projects beyond the contours of
the vehicle at right angles to the direction of travel. The working area of the
side loading device 10 is protected by means of detection elements 13 and 14. The
detection elements 13 then screen the working area of the loading device 10 at
the front and rear, in a manner similar to the screening by means of the above-described
detection elements 7, which screen the loading device 4 from the sides. The detection
elements 14 protect the working area next to the side loading device 10, in a
similar manner to the protection by means of the detection elements 8, which screen
the area behind the loading device 4.
As depicted in Figs. 3 and 4, the detection elements 13 are arranged
on the fixed part of the side loading device 10. These detection elements 13 can
be used to cover a limited scanned area or window 13a. However, if the side loading
device 10 is able to extend over a relatively large distance, the window 13a should
extend over this relatively large distance. This may have the drawback that if
the side loading device 10 is not extended far the window 13a extends unnecessarily
far and the loading device 10 is switched off unnecessarily if a person moves
into the excessively broad window 13a. It is then better to replace the detection
element 13 with two detection elements. One detection element, with a limited
window 13a, should then be mounted on the fixed part of the side loading device
10, and the second detection element should then be fastened on a movable (extendable)
part, so that the extent of the window 13a is adjusted to the degree of extension
of the side loading device 10.
By placing the detection elements on the laterally movable part of
the side loading device 10, the side loading device can automatically extend to
just in front of a container to be received, as a result of which the device can
function completely automatically.
Fig. 3 also shows that detection elements 8 may also be arranged
at the rear of a refuse collection vehicle of the side loader type.
Contactless detection elements which can be used in a refuse collection
vehicle according to the invention are known in the prior art and may be of various
In the case of a sonar-type detection element, a person or object
is signalled by the reflection of sound. In this case, depending on the intended
application, sound at a frequency of about 100 to 500 kHz is used.
There are also opto-electrical detection elements which operate by
reflecting light. In this case, light having a frequency of about 1012
to 1014 kHz (infrared) is generally used.
A particular form of opto-electrical detection element is a detection
element which can be used to scan a predetermined area by means of a laser beam.
A sector of, for example, 180° can be covered by emitting the laser beam at angular
intervals of, for example, 0.1°. Since the scanned area of the laser beam can be
changed rapidly, the scanning distance for each transmission angle or emission
of a laser beam can be adjusted and preset. By allowing the laser beam to scan
at a transmission angle of 0° at a distance of 1 metre, then allowing the scanning
distance to increase to √5 metres at a transmission angle of about 63.5°,
then allowing the scanning distance to fall to 2 metres at a transmission angle
of 90°, and then allowing the scanning distance to increase and fall again at transmission
angles of 116.5° and 180°, as described above, it is possible to protect a square
area of 2 by 2 metres.
It is also possible to use an image-recognition camera, in which
case a person or object is signalled at the instant that the image perceived by
the camera is equated to a preset image.