(19)
(11)EP 1 951 396 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
15.04.2015 Bulletin 2015/16

(21)Application number: 06817515.7

(22)Date of filing:  22.11.2006
(51)Int. Cl.: 
E02F 3/815  (2006.01)
B01D 21/04  (2006.01)
E02F 3/88  (2006.01)
E02F 5/28  (2006.01)
E02F 3/90  (2006.01)
B01D 21/00  (2006.01)
B01D 21/24  (2006.01)
E02F 3/92  (2006.01)
E02F 9/06  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/AU2006/001749
(87)International publication number:
WO 2007/059562 (31.05.2007 Gazette  2007/22)

(54)

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COLLECTING AND/OR REMOVING SLUDGE

VERFAHREN UND VORRICHTUNG ZUM SAMMELN UND/ODER ENTFERNEN VON SCHLAMM

PROCÉDÉ ET APPAREIL DE COLLECTE ET/OU DE RETRAIT DE BOUE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 22.11.2005 AU 2005906471 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.08.2008 Bulletin 2008/32

(73)Proprietor: ULTRA AQUATIC TECHNOLOGY PTY LTD
Kingscliff, New South Wales 2487 (AU)

(72)Inventor:
  • NIELSEN, Ian Bradley
    Kingscliff, New South Wales 2487 (AU)

(74)Representative: Lawrence, John 
Barker Brettell LLP 100 Hagley Road Edgbaston
Birmingham B16 8QQ
Birmingham B16 8QQ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 091 264
WO-A1-2005/028069
US-A- 3 797 664
US-A- 4 211 020
US-A- 5 340 485
WO-A1-2004/094032
GB-A- 2 459 700
US-A- 4 146 982
US-A- 5 198 125
US-A1- 2005 211 637
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] This invention relates to apparatus for collecting and/or removing sludge or other solids settling or suspended in liquid in a liquid reservoir and in particular but not exclusively to apparatus for collecting and/or removing sludge from shallow ponds such as effluent ponds.

    Background Art



    [0002] In many situations it is either desirable or necessary to remove sludge and other solids settling in or suspending in liquid in a liquid reservoir. For example, in settling ponds such as settling ponds used in piggeries, dairies, poultry farms and animal feed lots, in sewerage settling ponds, in mining slurry ponds or other ponds, there tends to be an increase in solid matter over a period of time in the pond water. As a result of build up of this solid matter, it is often necessary to empty the pond at regular intervals. This creates an environmental problem in liquid disposal. Further after a pond is drained, heavy machinery is usually required to be used at considerable cost to remove and spread the solid matter which has settled as sludge on the base of the pond. The pond is then required to be refilled necessitating use of a large quantity of Water. It would be desirable therefore to be able to efficiently remove sludge or other solid materials from ponds without emptying the pond.

    [0003] From US 4,146,982 a pump-type sludge dredging apparatus is known. The apparatus includes a pump dredger having a first ladder, a sludge suction pump acting in cooperation with the ladder and pump dredger.

    [0004] From US 4,211,020 a vessel-mounted dredging device in which material freed by revolving cutters is pumped through a suction mouth and discharge pipe to a place remote from the cutter is known. The device includes a submersible dredge pump mounted on a platform which supports cutter discs spaced from one another and positioned to deliver material to the suction side of the pump. The platform is mounted on a mast which is so constructed and arranged as to be movable vertically with respect to a carriage which is in turn vertically movable relative to the vessel. The platform is preferably hinged to the end of the mast, to permit the platform to swing to an angle to the horizontal, selectively.

    [0005] US 5,198,125 represents the most relevant prior art.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0006] The present invention aims to provide apparatus for collecting and/or removing sludge or other solids settling in or suspending in liquid in a liquid reservoir. Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description.

    [0007] Reference to "solids" in description and claims includes solids or other materials which are entrained or suspended in or settle in liquids in a liquid reservoir including sludge.

    [0008] The present invention thus provides an apparatus for removing materials settling in or suspended in liquid in a liquid reservoir, according to claim 1.

    [0009] The float assembly spaced apart skids may support the float assembly for movement on or over a surface and the skids of said suction head assembly may be located between said skids of said float assembly in said raised position of said suction head assembly.

    [0010] The float assembly may comprise a support frame and one or more annular floats mounted to said support frame, said annular floats having a central opening.

    [0011] The suction head may be provided with a central outlet on its upper side for connection to an inlet of said pump, said pump being mounted for movement relative to the suction head between a position where the pump inlet is adjacent to the suction head outlet and communicates therewith and a position where the pump inlet is moved clear of the suction head outlet.

    [0012] The skids of said suction head assembly may comprise respective skids provided at opposite ends of said suction head and said float assembly may includes skids on opposite sides and extending substantially parallel to said skids of said suctions head assembly.

    [0013] The suction head may be of a domed configuration in cross-section. The at least one guide member may comprise a pair of said upright elongated members, said elongated members being pivotally connected at its lower ends to opposite ends of said suction head assembly respectively, each said elongated member comprising a slide member through which said elongated member is captured and guided to said float assembly for substantially vertical raising and lowering movement relative thereto. The guide members may be mounted on the frame such that said upright elongate members extend through said central opening of said annular float members.

    [0014] The means for raising and lowering said suction head assembly may comprise a winch mounted to or on said float assembly, said winch having a winch cable coupled centrally to said suction head assembly.

    [0015] The means for raising and lowering said suction head assembly may comprise an electric winch mounted to said support frame means, said winch including a winch cable being arranged to pass through the central opening in said annular float member.

    [0016] The apparatus may include means for moving said apparatus in one direction in said liquid reservoir, and means for automatically reversing the direction of movement of said apparatus in said liquid reservoir.

    [0017] The float assembly may comprise a plurality of annular floats arranged one above the other.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0018] In order that the invention may be more readily understood and put into practical effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and wherein :-

    Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a sludge harvester according to first aspect of the invention;

    Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the suction head assembly for use with the harvester;

    Fig. 3 is a side view of the suction head assembly;

    Fig. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative suction head for use in the sludge harvester;

    Fig. 5 illustrates the sludge harvester with the suction head assembly lowered to the floor of a settling or effluent pond;

    Fig. 6 illustrates the system for using the sludge harvester in a settling or effluent pond;

    Fig. 7 illustrates a winch assembly for used in the system of Fig. 6;

    Fig. 8 illustrates a modified configuration of sludge harvester according to another embodiment of the invention; and

    Fig. 9 illustrates an alternative winch system for use with the harvester of Fig. 1.


    Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment



    [0019] Referring firstly to Fig. 1, there is illustrated a sludge harvester 10 according to an embodiment of the invention for removing sludge or other material settling on or adjacent the floor of a liquid reservoir such as an effluent pond or other settling pond or for removing materials suspended in liquid in a pond. The sludge harvester 10 includes a float assembly 11 which includes in this embodiment a pair of annular hollow float members 12 having a central hollow interior or opening 13, each float member 12 serving as an air reservoir and for this purpose being sealed to contain air and act as a float. Alternatively, one or more buoyant bodies such as foam plastics members or inserts such as members or inserts of tubular configuration may be located in the hollow float member 12. In an alternative arrangement, a buoyant foam plastics material may be injected into a hollow float member 12. Each hollow float member 12 is provided with circumferentially spaced radially extending lugs 14 having apertures 15 therein. The float members 12 are typically formed of plastics materials with the lugs 14 formed integrally.

    [0020] The float members 12 are mounted to a frame assembly 16 which includes downwardly depending legs 17 mounted via brackets 18 to two pairs of spaced apart elongated skids 19, the skids 19 being curved upwardly at their opposite ends. The skids typically are tubular members formed of plastics. The frame assembly 16 additionally includes upstanding corner posts 20 which extend through aligned apertures 15 in the lugs 14 or the float members 12 such that the float members 12 are supported in a piggy-back manner. Pins 21 passed through apertures in the upper ends of the posts 20 prevent detachment of the float members 12 from the posts 20.

    [0021] At least the lower float member 12 has an inner annular support flange 22 on which an annular frame member 23 seats. Upstanding support brackets 24 are fixed to the frame member 23 at spaced circumferential locations, each bracket 24 having an outwardly directed flange 25 which extends between the upper and lower float members 12 to provide additional support to the annular frame member 23. The flanges 25 of the centrally located front and rear members 24 define lugs 26 which extend to the front and rear of the float members 12 for a purpose which will hereinafter become apparent.

    [0022] Opposite A-frames 27 are secured at their lower ends to the frame member 23 on opposite sides thereof and a cross arm 28 extends between the frames 27. A pulley 29 is secured centrally to the cross arm 28 and guides a cable 30 connected between a suction head assembly 31 (see Fig. 2) and electric winch 32 mounted to a frame 27. One of the frames 27 also carries a battery 33 (shown in dotted outline) for supplying current to the winch 32. One frame 27 also supports a manual winch 33 also having a cable 35 connected to the suction head assembly 31. A chain 36 is also connected between the cross arm 28 and suction head assembly 31 which allows full movement of the suction head assembly 31 relative to the arm 28 but maintains the suction head assembly 31 securely connected to the arm 28.

    [0023] The suction head assembly 31 as shown more clearly in Figs. 2 and 3 includes a liquid pump 37 mounted on a hollow elongated domed suction head 38 which has an open mouth 39 on its lower side and which on its upper side is provided with a central outlet 40 and a pair of normally sealed inlet spigots 41 which communicate with the interior of the suction head 38.

    [0024] The suction head 38 is mounted on a rectangular support frame 42 having forward and leading blade-like flanges 43. The frame 42 has channel members 44 at opposite ends which may seat on and be secured to further skid arms 45 which are similar to the skid arms 19 of the float assembly 11 being of tubular form and curved upwardly at their opposite ends and which support the suction head 38 for movement over a pond or reservoir floor.

    [0025] A pair of further A-frames 46 are mounted between the forward and leading flanges 43 and support a pivot frame 47 to which the pump 37 is mounted by bolting, the pivot frame 47 being bolted by bolts 48 to the respective frames 45.

    [0026] When the pivot frame 47 is fixed non-rotatably to the A-frames 46 as in Fig. 3, the pump inlet 49 is aligned with and communicates with the suction head outlet 40. To ensure an effective seal between the inlet 49 and outlet 40, a flap-like seal member 50 is provided on the upper side of the suction head 38 around the outlet 40. Thus when the pump 37 is in the full-line position of Fig. 3, the seal member 50 is sandwiched between the inlet 49 and outlet 40. In the event for example of any blockages however, one of the bolts 48 may be disconnected which permits the pivot frame 47 to be pivoted to the dotted outline position of Fig. 3 which provides access to the pump inlet 49 and suction head outlet 40. The pump 37 is powered by an electrical power supply via an electrical cable (not shown). The pump 37 has an outlet 51 for connection to a pump outlet line through which sludge is conveyed to a shore line or bank adjacent the liquid reservoir. The pivot frame 47 to which the pump 31 is secured enables the mounting of any other type or size of pump in place of the pump 31

    [0027] To increase the suction effect of the suction head 38, elongated flexible skirts 52 may be secured to the flanges 43 to extend downwardly therefrom, the skirts 52 typically being formed of rubber or other flexible strip-like material (see Fig. 2).

    [0028] In another arrangement in place of the skirts 52 and to agitate or disturb the sludge in which the suction head assembly 31 is operating, a series of short chains 53 (see also Fig. 2) may be secured to the or both flanges 43, the chains 53 being mounted to an elongated member 54 fixed to a flange 43. Of course other arrangements may be provided for agitating the sludge.

    [0029] To prevent larger solid materials entering the suction head 38, a screen 55 shown in Figs. 2 and 3 may be secured over the mouth 39 of the head 38, the screen 55 typically being formed of a wire mesh material.

    [0030] To provide a visual guide to the depth of operation of the suction head assembly 37 and also guide movement of the suction head assembly 31 relative to the float assembly 11, an upright elongated guide member 56 is connected at its lower end to one end of the frame 42 of the suction head assembly 37 by a pivot connection 57 (see Fig. 2). The elongated guide member 56 passes at its opposite end through a slide assembly 58 mounted to a frame 27. The slide assembly 58 captures the guide member 56 to the frame 27 and may include bearings such as a low-friction pad to allow for smooth sliding movement of the guide member 56 relative to the frame 27. In a preferred form, a pair of spaced apart upright guide members 56 are pivotally connected to opposite ends of the suction head assembly 31 as indicated in dotted outline in Fig. 2 and pass through respective slides 57 mounted to opposite frames 27. Thus a pair of substantially parallel guide members 56 interconnect the suction head assembly 31 and float assembly 11. This not only provides for vertical guided movement of the suction head assembly 31 relative to the float assembly 11 but also prevents twisting of the suction head assembly 31 relative to the float assembly 11.

    [0031] Furthermore, the or each guide member 56 provides a visual indication of the operating depth of the suction head assembly 31. Thus as the suction head assembly 31 is raised or lowered by operation of the winch 32, the guide member or members 56 will simultaneously rise and lower and guide the suction head assembly 31 substantially vertically towards and away from the float assembly 11 and the extent that the guide member or members 56 is visable above the float assembly 11 indicates the operating depth of the suction head assembly 31. The or each guide member 56 may have markings thereon to indicate depth of operation of the suction head assembly 31.

    [0032] Whilst the suction head 38 is usually formed of an impervious material for example formed or moulded from plastics or fibreglass, the head 38 may be replaced by a head formed of a mesh material 59 as shown in Fig. 4 which also is provided over the mouth 39 of the head 39 and which defines an enclosed hollow mesh housing which acts as a screen to prevent larger solids entering the pump 31. The mesh material 59 typically comprises wire mesh.

    [0033] In use, the apparatus 10 with the suction head assembly 31 retracted as in Fig. 1 is floated onto a body of water or liquid in a reservoir or pond from which sludge or the like is to be removed with a flexible discharge hose 60 connected to the pump outlet 51. The apparatus 10 is then moved to a position in the reservoir where sludge or other solids are to be removed and the winch 32 is then operated to lower the suction head assembly 31 onto the submerged bed 61 of the reservoir where it is supported by the skids 45 as shown in Fig. 5. The suction head assembly 31 however need not be lowered down to the bed 61 but may simply be lowered to an intermediate position and the depth of operation of the suction head assembly 31 will be indicated by the extent that the elongated guide members 56 are visible above the float assembly 11. The pump 37 is then operated by supply of current to its electric motor by power cables (not shown) which extend to a power supply on the bank of the reservoir. The suction created in the suction head 38 will draw in sludge and other materials into the suction head 38 and the collected materials will be pumped through the pump outlet 51 into the discharge hose 60 where it may be connected to any discharge point. Typically the discharge hose 60 is supported by spaced floats along the hose 60. The winch 32 may be operated by a remote control such as a wireless remote control.

    [0034] The sludge harvester 10 is most suitably used by being moved around the body of liquid in which it is operating. A typical arrangement for operating the sludge harvester 10 in a settling pond 62 is illustrated in Fig. 6. In this arrangement, a winch 63 (shown in Fig. 7) is provided on one bank of the pond 62 either fixedly mounted or mounted for movement along the bank. The winch 63 is mounted on a chassis 64 which may be provided with a pair of supporting wheels 65 and includes a winch wheel 66 connected through a gear and sprocket (or a belt and pulley) transmission 67 to an electric drive motor 68. A switch box 69 is provided on the chassis 64 for controlling supply of current to the electric drive motor 68 of the winch 63.

    [0035] Current is supplied to the drive motor 68 of the winch 63 through a direction switch assembly 70 which controls the direction of supply of current to the motor 68 and thus the direction of operation of the winch 63. A cable 71 passes around the winch wheel 66 and through upper and lower guides 72 and 73 and has one end 74 coupled to one lug 26. The other end 74' of the cable 71 passes around a pulley block 75 on the opposite side of the pond 62 and is connected back to a lug 26 on the opposite side of the sludge harvester 10.

    [0036] The direction switch assembly 70 includes a pair of spaced apart limit switches 76 and 77 which are mounted via a support bracket 78 on the chassis 64, the support bracket 78 also carrying the guides 72 and 73. The cable 71 carries a pair of floats or stops 79 and 80 which can engage the limit switches 76 and 77 to reverse the direction of rotation of the winch wheel 66 for example by reversing the direction of operation of the motor 68. The floats or stops 79 and 80 may be adjusted along the cable 71 to vary the position of reversing movement of the sludge harvester 10.

    [0037] To guide the cable 71 and a float or stop 79 or 80 past the harvester 10 without fouling on the harvester 10, a guide 81 (see Fig. 1) is provided on the cross arm 28, the guide 81 comprising a split elongated link-like member which defines an opening 82 through which the cable 71 and floats 79 or 80 may pass. The guide 81 is split on its upper side to allow insertion of the cable 71 with the split ends of the guide 81 being offset such that the cable 71 will be captured within the guide 81.

    [0038] In use when the winch 63 is operated, the sludge harvester 10 with the suction head assembly 31 lowered as shown in Fig. 5 is moved across the pond 62 causing the suction head assembly 31 to move along the floor of the pond 62. In this movement the flanges 39 act as knives to penetrate the sludge. Current supplied to the pump 37 causes sludge to be drawn into the suction head 38 and pumped through the pump outlet 51 and discharge hose 60. As the sludge harvester 10 approaches one end of the pond 62, one stop or float for example the stop or float 79 will contact the limit switch 76 to reverse the direction of operation of the winch 63 and thus the direction of movement of the harvester 10. When the harvester 10 approaches the opposite end of the pond 62 and thus the pulley 75, the other stop or float 80 is positioned on the cable 71 to contact the other limit switch 77 to again reverse the direction of operation of the winch 63. The suction head assembly 31 may thus traverse over the bottom of the pond 62 in opposite directions indicated by the arrow X in Fig. 5.

    [0039] The winch 63 may be moved along the bank in the opposite directions Y and the pulley block 75 on the opposite bank is additionally or alternatively moved to allow other areas of the pond floor to be dredged.

    [0040] Where the apparatus 10 is to be removed from the pond 62, the suction head assembly 31 is raised by operation of the winch 32 and when pulled to the edge of the pond 62 by operation of the winch 63, the float assembly 11 and suction head assembly 31 will be supported on the respective skids 19 and 45 for movement onto the bank of the pond 62.

    [0041] To increase the collection of sludge, the suction head 38 may be provided with the flaps 52 or chains 53. Alternatively, the spigots 41 which are normally sealed may be connected to a pressurised water or other liquid supply so that sludge is displaced beneath the head 38 by the entering liquid.

    [0042] In a simplified form, the suction head assembly 31 may be removed and sludge simply pumped directly by the pump 37 from the reservoir 62. In this case the float assembly 11 floats on or adjacent the surface of water or liquid in the reservoir and the height of the pump 37 is adjusted to any required depth in the reservoir. The outlet from the pump 31 is typically connected via the hose 60 to the bank of the pond or reservoir 62 where sludge is collected for drying or other purposes. The pump 37 may be operated in this arrangement with the mesh screen or filter head of Fig. 6.

    [0043] Submergible agitators or mixers may be mounted on a frame 46 or frames 47 or at any other position on the suction head assembly 31 to agitate the sludge to facilitate sludge collection by the pump 37.

    [0044] The apparatus 10 described above may be used in many different applications where solids, sludge or other materials are/is required to be collected from a liquid reservoir such as in mining, chemical treatment, manufacturing, or abattoir effluent ponds, agricultural applications such as piggeries, dairies, poultry farms and animal feed lots as well as from recreational ponds or lakes at golf course, council parks, and residential canal developments.

    [0045] The buoyancy members of the float assemblies may be replaced by separate floatation elements such as foam blocks or alternatively, the suction head assembly 31 may be supported on floating rafts or other buoyant body.

    [0046] The dual floats members 12 may be replaced by a single float member which may be enlarged or additionally float members 12 provided. The dual skids 19 may also be replaced by single skids.

    [0047] If any difficulties are encountered in retrieving the pump 37 (with or without attached suction head assembly 31), the hand winch 34 may be used. Alternatively, the chain 36 which is connected to the pump 37 may be used to elevate the pump 37 (with or without attached suction head assembly 31) from the liquid body in which the harvester 10 is operating for example with the use of a crane or the like.

    [0048] In another arrangement where the harvester is required to operate at increased depths, the suction head assembly 37 (or pump 31) as shown in Fig. 8 is coupled to one float assembly 11 of the type described above by means of a pair of spaced parallel link arms 83 pivotally connected at one end to opposite sides of the suction head assembly 31 and at their opposite ends to opposite sides of the frame 16 of the float assembly 11. In this arrangement, an additional float assembly 11' is provided, the float assemblies 11 and 11 being linked together by a pair of links 84 on opposite sides of the float assemblies 11 and 11'. For this purpose, the opposite ends of the links 84 are apertured to locate over the upper ends of the posts 20 and are retained by the pins 21. The float assembly 11' is similar to the float assembly 11 of Fig. 1 and includes frames 27 carrying the winch 32 for raising and lowering the suction head assembly 31 (or pump 37) via the cable 30. This arrangement ensures that the suction head assembly 31 will be fixed for movement with the float assemblies 11 and 11' in their movement over the surface of a liquid reservoir in the manner described with reference to Fig. 6. Furthermore when the winch 32 is operated, the link arms 83 guide the movement of the suction head assembly 31 towards and away from the floats 11 and 11'. Of course the floats 11 and 11' may be replaced by a single float to which the suction head assembly 31 is linked by the arms 83.

    [0049] In an alternative arrangement for providing a visual indication of the depth of operation of the pump 37 and/or suction head assembly 31 and as shown in Fig. 9, the winch 32 may be replaced by a winch 85 having its axis of rotation parallel to the cross arm 28 and driving a shaft 86 having pulleys 87 at each end around which respective cables 88 attached to the pump 37 and/or suction head assembly 31, may pass. Gauge discs 89 fixed for rotation with the pulley or pulleys 87 or shaft 86 may be provided at one or both ends of the shaft, the gauge discs 89 rotating upon rotation of the shaft 86. The discs 89 may carry any markings which may be visually observed to indicate depth.

    [0050] If desired and as shown in dotted outline in Fig. 1, the harvester 10 may be provided with a removable cover 90 in this embodiment shown in two parts which cover the frames 27, winch 32 and battery 33.

    [0051] The terms "comprising" or "comprise" or derivatives thereof as used throughout the specification and claims are taken to specify the presence of the stated features, integers and components referred to but not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other feature/s, integer/s, component/s or group thereof.

    [0052] Whilst the above has been given by way of illustrative embodiment of the invention, all such variations and modifications thereto as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. Apparatus (10) for removing materials settling in or suspended in liquid in a liquid reservoir (62), said apparatus comprising:

    a float assembly (11) including a frame(16),

    a suction head assembly (31), said suction head assembly (31) including:

    a support frame (42),

    an elongated suction head (38) mounted to the support frame (42), said suction head having a hollow interior and an open lower side defining an entrance mouth (39), and

    a suction pump (37) mounted to said suction head (38) and being adapted to communicate with said hollow interior of the suction head (38), said suction pump (37) being operable to create a suction pressure in said suction head (38) to draw in said materials through said mouth (39) and pump said materials to an on land location,

    at least one elongated guide member (56) between said suction head assembly (31) and said float assembly (11) disposed in an upright attitude for vertical guided movement of said suction head assembly (31) towards and away from said float assembly (11), said at least one elongated member (56) being pivotally connected at its lower end to one end of said suction head assembly (31),

    at least one slide means (58) on said float assembly (11) through which said at least one elongated member (56) is captured and guided to said float assembly (11) and permits said suction head assembly (31) to be raised and lowered relative to said float assembly (11),

    a means (32) for raising or lowering said suction head assembly (31) in a substantially vertical movement relative to said float assembly (11), said raising and lowering means (32) supporting and permitting operation of said suction head (38) between a raised position in which said suction head assembly (31) is located adjacent said float assembly (11) and a lowered position in which said suction head assembly (31) is positioned substantially beneath said float assembly (11) and is adjacent to a floor surface of said reservoir (62) and intermediate positions between said raised and lowered positions, said apparatus being characterised by said at least one upright elongated member (56) comprising depth markings on said upright member (56) for visually indicating the depth of operation of said suction head assembly (31), said float assembly (11) being supported on skids, (19) and

    said suction head assembly (31) further including skids (45).


     
    2. Apparatus (10) as claimed in claim 1 characterised in that said float assembly spaced apart skids (19) support the float assembly (11) for movement on or over a surface and wherein said skids (45) of said suction head assembly (31) are located between said skids (19) of said float assembly (11) in said raised position of said suction head assembly (31).
     
    3. Apparatus (10) as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 characterised in that said float assembly (11) comprises a support frame (27) and one or more annular floats (12) mounted to said support frame (27), said annular floats (12) having a central opening.
     
    4. Apparatus (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3 characterised in that said suction head (38) is provided with a central outlet (40) on its upper side for connection to an inlet (49) of said pump (37), said pump (37) being mounted for movement relative to the suction head (38) between a position where the pump inlet (49) is adjacent to the suction head outlet (40) and communicates therewith and a position where the pump inlet (49) is moved clear of the suction head outlet (40).
     
    5. Apparatus (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims characterised in that said skids (45) of said suction head assembly (31) comprise respective skids provided at opposite ends of said suction head (38) and wherein said float assembly (11) includes skids (19) on opposite sides and extending substantially parallel to said skids (45) of said suctions head assembly (31).
     
    6. Apparatus (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims characterised in that said suction head (38) is of a domed configuration in cross-section.
     
    7. Apparatus (10) as claimed in claim 6 characterised in that said at least one guide member (56) comprises a pair of said upright elongated members (56), said elongated members (56) being pivotally connected at its lower ends to opposite ends of said suction head assembly (38) respectively, each said elongated member (56) comprising a slide member (58) through which said elongated member (56) is captured and guided to said float assembly (11) for substantially vertical raising and lowering movement relative thereto.
     
    8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 7 characterised in that said guide members (56) are mounted on the frame (27) such that said upright elongate members (56) extend through said central opening of said annular float members (11).
     
    9. Apparatus (10) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims characterised in that said means for raising and lowering said suction head assembly (31) comprises a winch (32) mounted to or on said float assembly (11), said winch (32) having a winch cable (30) coupled centrally to said suction head assembly (31).
     
    10. Apparatus (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9 characterised in that said means for raising and lowering said suction head assembly (31) comprises an electric winch (63) mounted to said support frame means, said winch (63) including a winch cable (71) being arranged to pass through the central opening in said annular float member (11).
     
    11. Apparatus (10) as claimed in claim 1 characterised in that means for moving said apparatus (10) in one direction in said liquid reservoir (62), and means (76,77,79,80) for automatically reversing the direction of movement of said apparatus (10) in said liquid reservoir (62).
     
    12. Apparatus (10) as claimed in claim 3 characterised in that said float assembly (11) comprises a plurality of annular floats (12) arranged one above the other.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Apparat (10) zum Entfernen von Materialien, die sich in Flüssigkeit in einem Flüssigkeitsspeicher (62) abgesetzt haben oder darin suspendiert sind, besagter Apparat besteht dabei aus:

    einem Schwimmkörper (11) mit einem Rahmen (16)

    einer Saugkopfeinheit (31), besagte Saugkopfeinheit (31) schließt dabei ein:

    einen Trägerrahmen (42),

    einen länglichen Saugkopf (38), montiert auf dem Trägerrahmen (42), besagter Saugkopf ist im Inneren hohl und an der Unterseite offen, so dass er eine Eintrittsöffnung (39) definiert, und

    eine Saugpumpe (37), die auf besagtem Saugkopf (38) montiert und so angepasst ist, dass sie mit besagtem hohlen Inneren des Saugkopfes (38) in Verbindung steht, die Saugpumpe (37) kann dabei einen Saugdruck in besagtem Saugkopf (38) aufbauen, um die Materialien durch die Öffnung (39) herauszuziehen und das besagte Material an eine Stelle an Land zu pumpen,

    mindestens einem länglichen Führungsteil (56) zwischen der Saugkopfeinheit (31) und besagtem Schwimmkörper (11), das in aufrechter Stellung für eine vertikal geführte Bewegung der besagten Saugkopfeinheit (31) zu und von besagtem Schwimmkörper (11) angebracht ist, dieses mindestens eine längliche Teil (56) ist dabei drehbar am unteren Ende mit einem Ende der Saugkopfeinheit (31) verbunden,

    mindestens ein Gleitelement (58) auf dem Schwimmkörper (11), durch den dieses mindestens eine längliche Teil (56) erfasst und zu besagtem Schwimmkörper (11) geführt wird und durch das die Saugkopfeinheit (31), im Verhältnis zu besagtem Schwimmkörper (11), angehoben oder abgesenkt werden kann,

    einem Element (32) zum Anheben oder Absenken der besagten Saugkopfeinheit (31) in einer substantiell vertikalen Bewegung im Verhältnis zu besagtem Schwimmkörper (11), dieses Hebe- und Senkelement (32) stützt und erlaubt die Bewegung des besagten Saugkopfes (38) zwischen einer angehobenen Position, in der sich besagte Saugkopfeinheit (31) neben dem Schwimmkörper (11) befindet, und einer abgesenkten Position, in der die Saugkopfeinheit (31) substantiell unter dem Schwimmkörper (11) positioniert ist und sich an einer Bodenoberfläche des besagten Speichers (62) und in Zwischenpositionen zwischen den besagten angehobenen und abgesenkten Positionen befindet, der besagte Apparat ist dadurch charakterisiert, dass das mindestens eine senkrechte, längliche Teil (56) Tiefenmarkierungen an besagtem senkrechten Teil (56) als visuelle Tiefenanzeige des Betriebs der Saugkopfeinheit (31) umfasst, besagter Schwimmkörper (11) wird dabei von den Kufen (19) gehalten, und die Saugkopfeinheit (31) besteht darüberhinaus aus den Kufen (45).


     
    2. Ein Apparat (10) wie in Anspruch 1 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass die von besagtem Schwimmkörper getrennten Kufen (19) den Schwimmkörper (11) für die Bewegung auf einer und über einer Oberfläche halten und wobei sich die besagten Kufen (45) der Saugkopfeinheit (31) zwischen den Kufen (19) des Schwimmkörpers (11) in der besagten angehobenen Position der Saugkopfeinheit (31) befinden.
     
    3. Ein Apparat (10) wie in Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass der besagte Schwimmkörper (11) einen Trägerrahmen (27) und ein oder mehrere ringförmige Schwimmelemente (12) umfasst, die auf dem Trägerrahmen (27) montiert sind, besagte ringförmige Schwimmelemente (12) haben dabei eine zentrale Öffnung
     
    4. Ein Apparat (10) wie in einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass besagter Saugkopf (38) mit einem zentralen Auslass (40) an seiner Oberseite für eine Verbindung mit einem Einlass (49) an der besagten Pumpe (37) ausgestattet ist, diese Pumpe (37) ist so montiert, dass sie sich im Verhältnis zum Saugkopf (38) zwischen einer Position, in der der Pumpeneinlass (49) neben dem Saugkopfauslass (40) liegt und damit in Verbindung steht, und einer Position, in der der Pumpeneinlass (49) vom Saugkopfauslass (40) wegbewegt wird, bewegt.
     
    5. Ein Apparat (10) wie in einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass die besagten Kufen (45) der besagten Saugkopfeinheit (31) entsprechende Kufen umfassen, die an den entgegengesetzten Ende des Saugkopfes (38) angebracht sind und wobei der Schwimmkörper (11) die Kufen (19) an den gegenüberliegenden Seiten einschließt, die sich substantiell parallel zu besagten Kufen (45) der Saugkopfeinheit (31) erstrecken.
     
    6. Ein Apparat (10) wie in einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass der Saugkopf (38) eine gewölbte Bauform im Querschnitt aufweist.
     
    7. Ein Apparat (10) wie in Anspruch 6 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass mindestens ein Führungsteil (56) ein Paar der besagten senkrechten, länglichen Teile (56) umfasst, besagte längliche Teile (56) sind dabei an ihren unteren Enden jeweils drehbar mit den gegenüberliegenden Enden der besagten Saugkopfeinheit (38) verbunden, jedes längliche Teil (56) umfasst dabei ein Gleitelement (58), durch das das besagte längliche Teil (56) gefasst und zu besagtem Schwimmkörper (11) für die substantiell vertikale Hebe- und Absenkbewegung im Verhältnis dazu geführt wird.
     
    8. Ein Apparat wie in Anspruch 7 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass besagte Führungsteile (56) auf dem Rahmen (27) montiert sind, so dass sich die senkrechten, länglichen Teile (56) durch besagte zentrale Öffnung der ringförmigen Schwimmkörper (11) erstrecken.
     
    9. Ein Apparat (10) wie in einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass die besagten Teile zum Anheben und Absenken der Saugkopfeinheit (31) eine Winde (32) umfassen, die an oder auf dem Schwimmkörper (11) montiert ist, besagte Winde (32) hat dabei ein Windenkabel (30), das zentral mit der Saugkopfeinheit (31) gekoppelt ist.
     
    10. Ein Apparat (10) wie in einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass besagte Teile zum Anheben und Absenken der Saugkopfeinheit (31) eine elektrische Winde (63) umfassen, die an besagten Trägerrahmenteilen montiert sind, diese Winde (63) schließt dabei ein Windenkabel (71) ein, das so angebracht ist, dass es durch die zentrale Öffnung in besagtem ringförmigen Schwimmkörper (11) läuft.
     
    11. Ein Apparat (10) wie in Anspruch 1 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass Elemente zur Bewegung des besagten Apparats (10) in eine Richtung in besagtem Flüssigkeitsspeicher (62) und Elemente (76,77,79,80) zur automatischen Richtungsumkehr der Bewegung des besagten Apparats (10) in besagtem Flüssigkeitsspeicher (62) vorhanden sind.
     
    12. Ein Apparat (10) wie in Anspruch 3 gefordert, dadurch charakterisiert, dass der Schwimmkörper (11) eine Vielzahl von ringförmigen Schwimmelementen (12) umfasst, die übereinander angeordnet sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Un appareil (10) d'élimination de matériaux se déposant ou en suspension dans un liquide dans un réservoir de liquide (62), ledit appareil comprenant :

    un ensemble flotteur (11) comprenant un châssis (16),

    un ensemble tête d'aspiration (31), ledit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) comprenant :

    un châssis de support (42),

    une tête d'aspiration allongée (38) montée sur le châssis de support (42), ladite tête d'aspiration possédant un intérieur creux et un côté inférieur ouvert définissant une embouchure d'entrée (39), et

    une pompe d'aspiration (37) montée sur ladite tête d'aspiration (38) et étant adaptée de façon à communiquer avec ledit intérieur creux de la tête d'aspiration (38), ladite pompe d'aspiration (37) étant conçue de façon à créer une pression d'aspiration dans ladite tête d'aspiration (38) de façon à aspirer lesdits matériaux au travers de ladite embouchure (39) et à pomper lesdits matériaux vers un emplacement terrestre,

    au moins un élément de guidage allongé (56) entre ledit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) et ledit ensemble flotteur (11) disposé dans une position dressée pour un déplacement guidé vertical dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) vers et à l'écart dudit ensemble flotteur (11), ledit au moins un élément allongé (56) étant raccordé de manière pivotante au niveau de son extrémité inférieure à une extrémité dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31),

    au moins un moyen de coulissement (58) sur ledit ensemble flotteur (11) au travers duquel ledit au moins un élément allongé (56) est capturé et guidé vers ledit ensemble flotteur (11) et permet audit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) d'être soulevé et abaissé par rapport audit ensemble flotteur (11),

    un moyen (32) de soulèvement et d'abaissement dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) dans un déplacement sensiblement vertical par rapport audit ensemble flotteur (11), ledit moyen de soulèvement et d'abaissement (32) soutenant et permettant l'actionnement de ladite tête d'aspiration (38) entre une position soulevée dans laquelle ledit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) est positionné adjacent audit ensemble flotteur (11) et une position abaissée dans laquelle ledit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) est positionné sensiblement sous ledit ensemble flotteur (11) et est adjacent à une surface de fond dudit réservoir (62) et à des positions intermédiaires entre lesdites positions soulevée et abaissée, ledit appareil étant caractérisé en ce que ledit au moins un élément allongé dressé (56) comprend des repères de profondeur sur ledit élément dressé (56) destinés à indiquer visuellement la profondeur de fonctionnement dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31), ledit ensemble flotteur (11) étant soutenu sur des patins (19), et ledit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) comprenant en outre des patins (45).


     
    2. L'appareil (10) selon la Revendication 1 caractérisé en ce que lesdits patins espacés de l'ensemble flotteur (19) soutiennent l'ensemble flotteur (11) pour un déplacement sur ou au-dessus d'une surface et où lesdits patins (45) dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) sont situés entre lesdits patins (19) dudit ensemble flotteur (11) dans ladite position soulevée dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31).
     
    3. L'appareil (10) selon la Revendication 1 ou 2 caractérisé en ce que ledit ensemble flotteur (11) comprend un châssis de support (27) et un ou plusieurs flotteurs annulaires (12) montés sur ledit châssis de support (27), lesdits flotteurs annulaires (12) possédant une ouverture centrale.
     
    4. L'appareil (10) selon l'une quelconque des Revendications 1 à 3 caractérisé en ce que ladite tête d'aspiration (38) est équipée d'un orifice de sortie central (40) sur son côté supérieur pour un raccordement à un orifice d'admission (49) de ladite pompe (37), ladite pompe (37) étant montée pour un déplacement par rapport à la tête d'aspiration (38) entre une position dans laquelle l'orifice d'admission de la pompe (49) est adjacent à l'orifice de sortie de la tête d'aspiration (40) et communique avec celui-ci et une position dans laquelle l'orifice d'admission de la pompe (49) est déplacée à l'écart de l'orifice de sortie de la tête d'aspiration (40).
     
    5. L'appareil (10) selon l'une quelconque des Revendications précédentes caractérisé en ce que lesdits patins (45) dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) comprennent des patins respectifs placés au niveau d'extrémités opposées de ladite tête d'aspiration (38) et où ledit ensemble flotteur (11) comprend des patins (19) sur des côtés opposés et s'étendant sensiblement parallèlement auxdits patins (45) dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31).
     
    6. L'appareil (10) selon l'une quelconque des Revendications précédentes caractérisé en ce que ladite tête d'aspiration (38) présente une configuration en forme de dôme en section transversale.
     
    7. L'appareil (10) selon la Revendication 6 caractérisé en ce que ledit au moins un élément de guidage (56) comprend une paire desdits éléments allongés dressés (56), lesdits éléments allongés (56) étant raccordés de manière pivotante au niveau de leurs extrémités inférieures à des extrémités opposées dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (38) respectivement, chacun desdits éléments allongés (56) comprenant un élément coulissant (58) au travers duquel ledit élément allongé (56) est capturé et guidé vers ledit ensemble flotteur (11) pour un déplacement de soulèvement et d'abaissement sensiblement vertical par rapport à celui-ci.
     
    8. L'appareil selon la Revendication 7 caractérisé en ce que lesdits éléments de guidage (56) sont montés sur le châssis (27) de sorte que lesdits éléments allongés dressés (56) s'étendent au travers de ladite ouverture centrale desdits éléments flotteur annulaire (11).
     
    9. L'appareil (10) selon l'une quelconque des Revendications précédentes caractérisé en ce que ledit moyen de soulèvement et d'abaissement dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) comprend un treuil (32) monté sur ledit ensemble flotteur (11), ledit treuil (32) possédant un câble de treuil (30) couplé centralement audit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31).
     
    10. L'appareil (10) selon l'une quelconque des Revendications 1 à 9 caractérisé en ce que ledit moyen de soulèvement et d'abaissement dudit ensemble tête d'aspiration (31) comprend un treuil électrique (63) monté sur ledit moyen de châssis de support, ledit treuil (63) comprenant un câble de treuil (71) qui est agencé de façon à passer au travers de l'ouverture centrale dans ledit élément flotteur annulaire (11).
     
    11. L'appareil (10) selon la Revendication 1 caractérisé par un moyen de déplacement dudit appareil (10) dans une direction dans ledit réservoir de liquide (62) et un moyen (76, 77, 79, 80) d'inversion automatique de la direction de déplacement dudit appareil (10) dans ledit réservoir de liquide (62).
     
    12. L'appareil (10) selon la Revendication 3 caractérisé en ce que ledit ensemble flotteur (11) comprend une pluralité de flotteurs annulaires (12) agencés les uns au-dessus des autres.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description