Patent application title: Sand Dispensing Device for Vehicles and System Components for Such Sand Dispensing Devices
Peter Pietrowski (Recklinghausen, DE)
IBEG SYSTEMS GMBH
IPC8 Class: AB61C1510FI
Class name: Track sanders sand feeders
Publication date: 2011-08-18
Patent application number: 20110198864
A sand dispensing device for vehicles has an exchangeable sand container
and a sand outlet comprising a sand conduit for transporting sand from
the sand container to a sand dispensing location. A container receptacle
is provided that exchangeably secures the sand container.
1. A sand dispensing device for vehicles, comprising: an exchangeable
sand container; a sand outlet comprising a sand conduit for transporting
sand from said sand container to a sand dispensing location; a container
receptacle for exchangeably securing said sand container.
2. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said sand container comprises a sand outlet opening and a first closure that closes said sand outlet opening, wherein said sand container comprises a device that automatically opens said first closure when said sand container is inserted into said container receptacle.
3. The sand dispensing device according to claim 2, wherein said first closure is a membrane or an iris diaphragm.
4. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, comprising connecting means that detachably connect said sand container and said container receptacle.
5. The sand dispensing device according to claim 4, wherein said connecting means is an inner threat/outer thread connection or a bayonet closure.
6. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said sand container comprises a sand fill opening and a second closure that closes said sand fill opening.
7. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said sand container is a single-use container.
8. The sand dispensing device according to claim 7, wherein said sand container is comprised of plastic material.
9. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said sand container is a reusable container.
10. The sand container according to claim 8, wherein said sand container is comprised of metal.
11. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said sand container is embodied to contain approximately 5 kg to 15 kg of bulk material.
12. The sand dispensing container according to claim 11, wherein said sand container is embodied to contain approximately 10 kg of bulk material.
13. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein several of said container receptacle are provided and said container receptacles each are configured to receive one of said sand container.
14. The sand dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein said container receptacle is adapted to receive several of said sand container.
15. A sand container for a sand dispensing device for vehicles, the sand container comprising a sand outlet opening and a first closure that closes said sand outlet opening.
16. The sand container according to claim 15, comprising a sand fill opening and a second closure that closes said sand fill opening.
17. A container receptacle for a sand dispensing device, adapted to exchangeably secure a sand container according to claim 15.
18. The container receptacle according to claim 17, comprising a device that automatically opens said first closure of said sand container during insertion of said sand container into the container receptacle.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to a sand dispensing device for vehicles as well as various system components for such sand dispensing devices.
 Sand dispensing devices of the kind in question here are known and serve for dispensing sand, as needed, in particular in case of rail vehicles and buses, for increasing grip of the wheels on slippery surfaces for the purpose of improving the braking action.
 It should be noted in this connection that the corresponding devices, because of the fact that in general sand is being dispensed, are often referred to as sand dispensing devices (sanders); however, with such devices also any other bulk material can of course be dispensed for obtaining the desired effect. Thus, when in this application, in staying with conventional terminology, in the following reference is being had to sand and sand dispensing device, this terminology does not imply any limitation to sand as a bulk material to be dispensed.
 The known sand dispensing devices comprise always a sand container and can be differentiated with respect to so-called open and closed systems, depending on whether the sand container in operation is under pressure or not. In case of open systems, the sand in general is dispensed by gravity from the sand container through a dispensing outlet with a sand conduit in which it is conveyed, by means of compressed air, to the location of application. Such open systems are disclosed, for example, in DE 42 38 049 A1, DE 44 29 370 A1, DE 100 44 608 A1, and DE 202
 However, filling of sand containers of the known kind is surprisingly complex. For filling, flap openings are provided in general on the exterior skin of the vehicles by means of which the sand containers can be filled. In order for such sand containers to be filled, complex and expensive filling devices are required that are available only at a few service stations so that a vehicle must make a separate trip to such stations and therefore is not available during this time for regular scheduled operation, for example, in public transportation. In case of some sand dispensing devices there are so-called emergency fill openings in the interior of the vehicle in order to be able to fill in urgent refill situations the respective sand reservoir outside of a servicing station; such fill openings are however generally difficult to reach and/or difficult to open, for example, seats must be removed before access is possible. DE 202 00 997 U1 discloses that it is necessary for filling to remove the entire sand dispensing device including sand outlet and valve means from the vehicle.
 When filling sand containers of the known kind, there is also often a significant dust and dirt loading. When the filling action is done in the interior of the vehicle, cleaning of the interior of the vehicle is always required subsequently.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 It is an object of the present invention to enable refilling of sand particularly in case of open systems in a simpler, cleaner, and less expensive way.
 In accordance with the present invention, this is achieved in that the sand container is configured as an exchangeable (interchangeable or reusable) container and in that a container receptacle is provided for exchangeably securing the sand container.
 The present invention also concerns a sand container for a sand dispensing device for vehicles provided with a sand outlet opening that is closable by a first closure and preferably also provided with a sand fill opening that is closable by a second closure.
 The present invention further concerns a container receptacle for a sand dispensing device for exchangeably securing at least one sand container as disclosed above, preferably with a device for automatically opening a first closure of a sand container upon insertion of the sand container into the container receptacle.
 The dependent claims set forth additional embodiments and features of the present invention.
 The present invention has the advantage that special filling devices for vehicles are no longer required. The vehicles must no longer travel to a site where a filling device is provided. Moreover, the dust and dirt loading during filling, in particular when filling is done from the interior of the vehicle is significantly lower.
 Moreover, the invention enables by simple modifications and retrofitting with appropriate container receptacles to make existing sand dispensing devices refillable by means of exchangeable containers so that vehicles furnished therewith no longer must travel to a service facility for a sand refill.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
 Further details and advantages of the present invention result from the following description, in connection with the drawing, of a non-limiting embodiment that is to be understood as being purely exemplary in nature.
 FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of a sand dispensing device according to the invention at the point in time where the sand container is in a position immediately before being inserted into the container receptacle.
 FIG. 2 is a sand dispensing device according to FIG. 1 with the sand container inserted into the container receptacle.
 FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective illustration of the sand dispensing device according to FIG. 2 viewed at an angle from the rear.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 FIG. 1 shows in a simplified schematic drawing the principal configuration of a sand dispensing device according to the invention with a container receptacle 1, a sand container 2, a compressed air source 4, and a sand outlet 5 with a sand conduit for transporting sand from the sand container to a sand dispensing location.
 The sand container is embodied as an exchangeable container and, when it is to be used, is inserted into the container receptacle 1 that is embodied for exchangeably securing the sand container. The container receptacle comprises in this embodiment, inter alia, the sand outlet 5 and valve means, not illustrated; for opening and closing the sand conduit, the valve means are automatically actuated or actuated manually by a driver of the vehicle provided with the sand dispensing device. For refilling, the sand container can be removed from the container receptacle and separated from the sand outlet 5 in a simple way.
 In order to attach the sand container 2 to the container receptacle 1 in a detachable (releasable) way, for example, a connection comprised of an inner thread and an outer thread can be provided wherein the sand container is provided with an outer thread and the container receptacle is provided with an inner thread. In particular in situations when screwing on the sand container 2 is difficult, the connection may also be embodied as a bayonet connection. Also, connecting means such as snap-on closures, tensioning belts and the like can be used for fixation of the sand container in the container receptacle.
 In order for the sand to be able to exit from the sand container 2, the sand container has a sand outlet opening that can be closed by a first dosure 6. The sand dispensing device in the illustrated embodiment is provided with a device 7 for automatically opening the first closure 6 so that upon insertion of the sand container 2 into the container receptacle 1 the first closure 6 is opened and sand is able to exit.
 The first closure 6 of the sand container 2 can be embodied as a simple membrane that can be punctured and that upon insertion of the sand container into the container receptacle is punctured by the device 7 that is adapted to automatically open the sand container. Such closures are in particular advantageous when the sand container is embodied as a single-use (disposable) container.
 The first closure 6 of the sand container 2 may also be embodied like an iris diaphragm as it is known in connection with photo cameras or in the form of a slide, wherein these closure elements upon removal of the sand container from the container receptacle may close or be closed automatically (for example, by providing an appropriate pretensioned spring). Accordingly, the device 7 for automatically opening the first closure 6 can be embodied, for example, as a lever or a hook so that the first closure is pulled into an open position upon insertion of the sand container into the container receptacle and, upon removal insertion of the sand container from the container receptacle, is pushed into a closed position. Such a configuration has advantages in particular in case of reusable sand containers and enables also, for example, before embarking on an extended trip, to exchange as a precaution the sand container without residual sand contained in the sand container escaping from the sand container and causing soiling. Also, with this configuration it is possible to exchange, as needed, sand containers provided on one vehicle when, for example, the sand reservoir of one of the drive action wheels is used up but the other sand containers of the other wheels still contain a satisfactory amount of sand.
 In the illustrated embodiment, the sand container 2 has a sand fill opening which by means of the second closure 3 is closable. Such a sand fill opening not only makes it possible to reuse the sand container several times but it enables also to manually refill the sand container in exceptional situations, for example, when as a result of extreme weather conditions the sand in the container unexpectedly is already running short but additional sand is needed for continuing the trip.
 The sand container can be embodied as a single-use (disposable) container. As materials for such a single-use container in particular plastic (synthetic) materials are suitable. Single-use containers advantageously have a minimal weight. They can be embodied inexpensively as a single-piece (monolithic) container wherein the sand outlet opening of the sand container is embodied simply as a plastic surface that can be punctured.
 The sand container can also be embodied as a reusable container. Reusable containers are preferably made of metal or a high-strength plastic (synthetic) material.
 The sand container has usually a volume to hold 5 kg to 15 kg of sand or other bulk material, preferably approximately 10 kg of bulk material. In practice, it has been found that a quantity of 5 kg to 15 kg of bulk material even for increased sand use is an excellent compromise between the required mounting space that should be as small as possible and a sand fill as large as possible so as to require a refilling action as infrequently as possible.
 Also, a sand container provided with such a volume/weight can be easily exchanged by a single person.
 In order to keep the weight of the individual sand containers as small as possible while, at the same time, providing a large sand volume, in preferred embodiments of the invention several container receptacles, each holding one sand container, or a container receptacle that holds several sand containers is provided. Also, the sand containers, depending on the situation within the vehicle to be furnished therewith, can be configured such that they can be coupled with each other, for example, stacked on top each other in such a way that the sand outlet opening of one sand container is inserted into the sand fill opening of the sand container arranged underneath.
 When several container receptacles each holding one sand container or a container receptacle embodied for receiving several sand containers are provided, wherein the sand containers have a common sand conduit, it may be provided that the sand outlet opening of all containers open at the same time so that the containers when using the sand dispensing device will empty more or less uniformly or suitable control means can be provided in order to empty the containers sequentially.
 The invention has the great advantage that existing sand dispensing devices can be easily retrofitted, for example, in existing devices the containers can be removed and a container receptacle 1 can be added so that operation with the sand containers according to the invention is enabled.
 In the context of the present invention numerous modifications and further developments are possible. For example, in particular a sand container made of metal can be designed such that in operation it can be pressurized, for which purpose a connection to a compressed air source may be provided so that closed systems can be operated also with exchangeable sand containers and existing closed systems can be retrofitted to operate with exchangeable sand contain ers.
 The specification incorporates by reference the entire disclosure of German priority document 10 2010 000 453.7 having a filing date of Feb. 18, 2010.
 While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the inventive principles, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.