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Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CUTTING PAWS OF DEAD FUR-BEARING ANIMAL BODIES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/001334
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to an apparatus for cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink. The apparatus (1) comprises: a gripping arrangement (3) configured to be arranged in a gripping position (GP) and to grip a leg part (6a) of an animal body at said gripping position (GP), a movement arrangement (4) configured to move said gripping arrangement (3) from said gripping position (GP) by a movement (M1) away from a front part (9) of said apparatus (1) so that said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in a cutting position (CP), a cutting arrangement (2) configured to provide a cutting operation to cut off paws of said dead, furred animal, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) is configured to provide said cutting operation while said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP), and a support part (5) arranged to support at least a part (6b) of said animal body during said cutting operation at a support position (SP) that is substantially opposite to said cutting position (CP) during said cutting operation. The invention moreover relates to a method of cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink, by means of an apparatus (1).

Inventors:
SIGTENBJERGGAARD, Kristian Grau (Godthåbsvej 13, 7400 Herning, 7400, DK)
Application Number:
EP2016/064847
Publication Date:
January 05, 2017
Filing Date:
June 27, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EIKON TECHNOLOGIES HOLDING S.À.R.L. (42 rue de la Vallée, 2661 Luxembourg, 2661 Luxembourg, 2661, LU)
International Classes:
A22B5/00
Foreign References:
FR2678809A11993-01-15
FR2634352A11990-01-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO DENMARK A/S (Arne Jacobsens Allé 15, 2300 København S, 2300, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. An apparatus (1) for cutting paws (6a) of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink, wherein said apparatus (1) comprises: a gripping arrangement (3) configured to be arranged in a gripping position (GP) and to grip a leg part (6a) of an animal body at said gripping position (GP), a movement arrangement (4) configured to move said gripping arrangement (3) from said gripping position (GP) by a movement (Ml) away from a front part (9) of said apparatus (1) so that said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in a cutting position (CP), a cutting arrangement (2) configured to provide a cutting operation to cut off paws of said dead, furred animal, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) is configured to provide said cutting operation while said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP), and a support part (5) arranged to support at least a part (6b) of said animal body during said cutting operation at a support position (SP) that is substantially opposite to said cutting position (CP) during said cutting operation.

2. An apparatus (1) according to claim 1, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) is configured to provide a cutting of the paws substantially opposite to said support position (SP).

3. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein a supporting edge (5a) of said support part (5) arranged to support a part (6b) of the animal's leg, and a holding area (HA) of said gripping arrangement (3) defines a substantially horizontal holding plane (PL4) when the gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP).

4. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein a cutting plane (PL1) in which an upper and/or lower cutting element (2a, 2b) of said cutting arrangement (2) is configured to operate during said cutting operation is substantially perpendicular to said holding plane (PL4).

5. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said support position (SP) and said cutting position (CP) are arranged so that a shoulder part (6c) of said animal body (6) is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area (HA) of said gripping arrangement (3) when the gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP) .

6. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least a part of said gripping arrangement (3) is configured to extend through a front opening (7) of said apparatus (1) when arranged in said gripping position (GP) where said gripping arrangement is accessible to a user, and wherein said gripping arrangement (3) is configured be arranged in an interior part (8) of the apparatus (1) when arranged in said cutting position (CP).

7. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said movement arrangement (4) comprises a movable base part (11) connected to said gripping arrangement (3), wherein said movable base part (11) is movable by displacement means (13), which displacement means (13) are configured to provide said movement (Ml), which movement (Ml) is preferably a backwards movement away from said front part (9).

8. An apparatus (1) according to claim 7, wherein said movement arrangement (4) comprises substantially parallel members (15a, 15b), which substantially parallel members (15a, 15b) are rotatably connected (16, 17) at opposite end parts to a frame part (14) and said movable base part (11), and wherein said substantially parallel members (15a, 15b) are configured rotate at said rotatable connections (16, 17) during said backwards movement (Ml) so as to guide said gripping arrangement (3) to said cutting position (CP).

9. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said cutting position (CP) is positioned at a lower position than said gripping position (GP).

10. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) comprises a lower cutting element (2a) and an upper cutting element (2b), wherein at least one of said lower cutting element (2a) and said upper cutting element (2b) is movable, preferably in a vertical direction in a substantially vertical cutting plane (PL1), so as to provide said cutting operation,

wherein said lower cutting element (2a) preferably is arranged in a fixed position, and wherein said upper cutting element (2b) is movable, preferably in a substantially vertical plane (PL), so as to cut off said paws.

11. An apparatus (1) according to claim 10, wherein the cutting edges (30) of said lower cutting element (2a) and said upper cutting element (2b) are arranged with a mutual angle (φΐ) so as to provide a scissor cutting during said cutting operation.

12. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) comprises one or more movable cutting elements (2a, 2b), which one or more movable cutting elements (2a, 2b) is configured to be moved vertically (M2) in a substantially vertical plane (PL1) between a screening (19) and the gripping arrangement (3) relative to the gripping arrangement (3) so as to cut the paws (6a) when the gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP).

13. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said gripping arrangement (3) comprises a left jaw set (3a) and a right jaw set(3b), which jaw sets (3a, 3b) each comprise at least two jaws (18a, 18b).

14. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said apparatus (1) comprises a paw removal arrangement (20) for removing paws from said gripping arrangement (3), preferably in the interior part (8) of said apparatus, after the paws (6a) have been cut by said cutting arrangement (2).

15. An apparatus (1) according to claim 14, wherein said paw removal arrangement (20) comprises a remover part (21) configured to be moved in between jaws (18a, 18b) of said gripping arrangement (3) so as to push paws which have been cut off away from the gripping arrangement (3), and wherein said paw removal arrangement (20) preferably comprises a linear actuator such as a pneumatic actuator for providing a reciprocating movement of the remover part (21).

16. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said apparatus is configured so that said support position (SP) is substantially opposite to said cutting position (CP) by that a supporting edge of the support part (3) is arranged at substantially the same height as a holding area (HA) of the gripping arrangement when the gripping arrangement is arranged at the cutting position.

17. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said apparatus comprises moving means (24) configured to move said support part (5), preferably upwards, to said support position (SP), so that said support position (SP) is substantially opposite to said cutting position (CP) during the cutting operation.

18. A method of cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink, by means of an apparatus (1) having a control system (40) wherein said method comprises: arranging a gripping arrangement (3) of the apparatus (1) in a gripping position (GP) by means of a movement arrangement (4), arranging a pair of paws (6a) of a dead, fur-bearing animal (6) in said gripping arrangement (3), moving said gripping arrangement (3) from said gripping position (GP) by a movement (Ml) away from a front part (9) of said apparatus (1) by means of said movement arrangement (4) so that said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in a cutting position (CP), providing a cutting operation by means of a cutting arrangement (2) so as to cut off said paws, wherein said cutting arrangement (2) provides said cutting operation while said gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP), and wherein a support part (5) of said apparatus (1) supports at least a part (6b) of said animal body during said cutting operation at a support position (SP), which support position is substantially opposite to the cutting position (CP) during the cutting operation. 19. A method according to claim 18, wherein said cutting position (CP) is at a lower position than said gripping position (GP).

20. A method according to claim 18 or 19, wherein said support position (SP) is substantially opposite to said cutting position (CP) by that a supporting edge of the support part (5) is arranged at substantially the same height as a holding area (HA) of the gripping arrangement when the gripping arrangement is arranged at the cutting position (CP).

21. A method according to claim 18, 19 or 20, wherein a supporting edge (5a) of the support part (5) which supports a part (6b) of the animal's leg, and a holding area (HA) of said gripping arrangement (3) defines a substantially horizontal holding plane (PL4) when the gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP).

22. A method according to claim 21, wherein a cutting plane (PL1) in which an upper and/or lower cutting element (2a, 2b) of said cutting arrangement (2) operates during said cutting operation is substantially perpendicular to said holding plane (PL4). 23. A method according to any of claims 18-22, wherein said support position (SP) and said cutting position (CP) are arranged so that a shoulder part (6c) of said animal body (6) is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area (HA) of said gripping arrangement (3) when the gripping arrangement (3) is arranged in said cutting position (CP).

24. A method according to any of claims 18-23, wherein said apparatus (1) is an apparatus according to one or more of claims 1-17.

Description:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CUTTING PAWS OF DEAD FUR-BEARING

ANIMAL BODIES

The invention relates to an apparatus for cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, in particular mink, and a method of cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals.

Background

Apparatuses for cutting and removing paws of dead bodies from furred animals such as mink are known.

Often such animals, e.g. mink, are put down/killed and then cooled or frozen until they are to be processed by skinning the animal body and provide a further processing of the skin. Before skinning the animal body, the paws of the dead body need to be removed or at least a cutting of the skin at the leg region of the body should be provided.

DK 177001 Bl discloses a device and method for cutting off paws of killed fur- bearing animals, whereby the forelegs of an animal are inserted into a suction tube so that the chest of the animal abuts an end of the tube. An actuator-driven knife is arranged in the suction tube displaceable in the transverse direction of the suction tube up against a block in order to cut off the paws of the animal.

EP 0 894 437 Al discloses an apparatus for skinning fur-bearing animals, in particular mink, comprising holding means from which an animal may be suspended with the hind paws, said holding means being mutually movable to stretch the hindquarters of the animal, and a movable knife is adapted to make a cut from one paw across the hindquarters to the other paw.

Moreover, an apparatus for cutting off paws of killed fur-bearing animals, where a gripping arrangement is arranged in a gripping position so as to grip paws of fore legs of the dead animal body, and where the gripping arrangement is moved into a position where a knife cuts off the paws of the animal body, is known.

However, it has shown that known apparatuses for cutting paws of dead animal bodies suffer from drawbacks in relation to cutting off paws of cold or frozen animal bodies. Such cold or frozen animal bodies are stiff and are thus harder to handle during the processing of the bodies, thereby e.g. providing a more time consuming cutting process and/or a less precise and less uniform cutting result. It may e.g. be a purpose of the present invention to provide a solution to one or more of the above mentioned problems and thus provide a less time consuming cutting process and/or improved and more uniform cutting results.

The invention

The present invention relates to an apparatus for cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink, wherein said apparatus comprises a gripping arrangement configured to be arranged in a gripping position and to grip a leg part of an animal body at said gripping position, a movement arrangement configured to move said gripping arrangement from said gripping position by a movement away from a front part of said apparatus so that said gripping arrangement is arranged in a cutting position, a cutting arrangement configured to provide a cutting operation to cut off paws of said dead, furred animal, wherein said cutting arrangement is configured to provide said cutting operation while said gripping arrangement is arranged in said cutting position, and a support part arranged to support at least a part of said animal body during said cutting operation at a support position that is substantially opposite to said cutting position during said cutting operation.

The present invention provides a precise and uniform cutting result as the animal body part is supported well by the support part substantially opposite to the cutting position when the gripping arrangement is arranged in the cutting position. This may e.g. help to prevent that a part of the animal's body may unintentionally move when subjected to the cutting operation and thus, a more uniform cutting result may be achieved.

Moreover, as the support part is arranged substantially opposite to the gripping arrangement when the gripping arrangement is arranged in the cutting position during the cutting operation, the leg parts may be pulled further into the cutting apparatus while the body is not getting in the way for the cutting operation.

This provides that the legs can be cut closer to the body of the animal while providing a uniform cutting result, and thus, a shorter part of the skin that have covered the furred animal's legs, such as the front legs, is present at the skin when the skin has been removed from the body. This may improves the cutting result and may help to reduce the risk of penetrating from the skin side to the hair side of the fur, as a skin with shorter parts of the skin that have covered the furred animal's legs will be easier to scrape sufficiently by a scraping apparatus for scraping furred, tubular animals arranged on a mandrel.

The apparatus is suitable for cutting paws of forelegs of cold/frozen animal bodies such as mink bodies. Such mink bodies are hard to handle for users/operators during paw cutting but the present invention provides an apparatus that may provide a more easy and less time consuming cutting process and/or an improved and more uniform cutting results when cutting paws of cold or even frozen animal bodes. In preferred aspects of the invention, the apparatus may provide a uniform cutting result where the remaining skin parts that have covered the animal ' s legs, such as forelegs, is about 1.5cm-5cm in length, preferably about 2.5 cm - 3.5 cm such about 3 cm.

The length of the forelegs of an animal body, e.g. a mink body may vary dependent on how much of the leg/paw the operator places in the gripping arrangement.

However, as the present invention may provide a more precise and uniform cutting, the operator may easily determine how much of the animal's leg that should be arranged in the gripping arrangement dependent on the length of the legs of the individual animal body so as to obtain to obtain the desired length, e.g. about 2.5cm- 3.5cm, of the remaining skin parts that have covered the animal ' s legs.

The support position is in preferred aspects of the invention substantially opposite to the cutting position in that a supporting edge of the support part is arranged at substantially the same height as a holding area of the gripping arrangement when the gripping arrangement is arranged at the cutting position.

The apparatus is in preferred aspects of the invention suitable for substantially simultaneously cutting both paws of the fore legs of a dead body such as a mink body.

In preferred aspects of the invention, the cutting arrangement is configured to provide a cutting of the paws substantially opposite to the support position.

This may e.g. provide that a more precise and more uniform cutting may be achieved in that the support part arranged to support at least a part, preferably a leg part, of the animal body during the cutting operation is arranged substantially opposite to the cutting position. Since the support position may moreover also be substantially opposite to the where the cutting operation is provided, this may help to reduce the risk of that the animal body or a leg part may be displaced when the cutting arrangement gets into contact with the leg/paw to cut off the paw, and thus the risk of an "unclean" cut may be reduced. This may be provided by assuring that cutting edges of the cutting arrangement so to say meet substantially meet opposite to the support position and the cutting position during cutting operation. A supporting edge of the support part arranged to support a part of the animal's leg may in advantageous embodiments of the invention be configured so that the supporting edge and a holding area of the gripping arrangement defines a

substantially horizontal holding plane when the gripping arrangement is arranged in the cutting position.

This may provide an efficient and yet simple solution for providing a more uniform and precise, desired cutting result.

The animal ' s legs thus preferably extend in/along and/or parallel to the holding plane.

The cutting plane in which a cutting element of said cutting arrangement is configured to operate during said cutting operation may in aspects of the invention preferably be substantially perpendicular to the holding plane. This may help to provide a clear and straight, substantially transverse cut of the paws on the leg parts, and thus help to provide a skin that is easier to process by a scraping apparatus in order to prevent fat penetrating the skin from the skin side to the hair side of the skin.

In preferred aspects of the invention, the support position and said cutting position are arranged so that a shoulder part of the animal's body is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area of the gripping arrangement when the gripping

arrangement is arranged in the cutting position.

This may provide that the leg(s) extend substantially horizontally into the interior of the apparatus during cutting, while the animal's body may provide a counterweight when supported by the support part and thereby stretching the animal's legs in a horizontal direction along or substantially parallel to a horizontal holding plane.

The holding area may be defined by location of the area between jaws of the apparatus where the paw(s) are placed and clamped/hold.

At least a part of said gripping arrangement may in a preferred aspect of the invention be configured to extend through a front opening of the apparatus when arranged in said gripping position, where said gripping arrangement is accessible to a user, and wherein said gripping arrangement is configured be arranged in an interior part of the apparatus when arranged in said cutting position.

This may provide a safe and working environment friendly solution. For example, an operator may hence in an easy way can arrange the paws of a cold animal body in the gripping arrangement and e.g. activate a pedal, button or the like in order to provide that the gripping arrangement grips and holds the paws in a holding area of the gripping arrangement. The operator may then activate a button or the like in order to move the gripping arrangement to a safe location in the interior part of the apparatus substantially out of range of the operator to cut off the paws.

In advantageous aspects of the invention, said movement arrangement may comprise a movable base part connected to said gripping arrangement, wherein said movable base part is movable by displacement means, which displacement means are configured to provide said movement, which movement is preferably a backwards movement away from said front part.

This has shown to provide a reliable and efficient way of handing e.g. cold bodies of dead fur-bearing animals in connection with cutting paws.

Said movement arrangement may in advantageous aspects of the invention comprise substantially parallel members, which substantially parallel members are rotatably connected at opposite end parts to a frame part and said movable base part, and wherein said substantially parallel members are configured rotate at said rotatable connections during said backwards movement so as to guide said gripping arrangement to said cutting position.

This has shown to provide a simple, efficient and reliable way of handling e.g. cold bodies of dead fur-bearing animals in connection with cutting paws in order to providing both a horizontal and vertical displacement of the gripping arrangement during the movement to the cutting position.

In aspects of the invention, said substantially parallel members may be arranged substantially vertically in said grapping position and in an angle less than 90° compared to horizontal such as less than 80° compared to horizontal, e.g. less than 70° compared to horizontal when the gripping arrangement is arranged in the cutting position.

The orientation of the gripping arrangement is in preferred aspects of the invention substantially maintained during said (preferably backwards) movement of the gripping arrangement, and this may e.g. be provided by the said configuration of the parallel rods while providing a vertical displacement of the gripping arrangement. Said cutting position may in preferred aspects of the invention be positioned at a lower position than said gripping position.

This may e.g. provide a more simple operation and e.g. a more reliable solution in that a fixed cutting element of the cutting arrangement and/or a fixed support part may be utilized while providing one or more of the above mentioned advantages.

Moreover, it may provide that the gripping arrangement may extend through an opening in a screening of the apparatus when arranged in the gripping position while at the same time providing a desired support in the cutting position.

The cutting arrangement may preferably, in aspetcts of the invention, comprise a lower cutting element and an upper cutting element, wherein at least one of said lower cutting element and said upper cutting element is movable, preferably in a vertical direction in a substantially vertical cutting plane, so as to provide said cutting operation, wherein said lower cutting element preferably is arranged in a fixed position, and wherein said upper cutting element is movable, preferably in a substantially vertical cutting plane, so as to cut off said paws.

This has shown to provide a precise, uniform and efficient cutting of the animal paws. The paws may this be pulled in a horizontal direction into the apparatus, and the movable cutting element may then cut the paws by moving in a vertical direction.

The aspect where the lower cutting element preferably is arranged in a fixed position, and the upper cutting element is movable, preferably in a substantially vertical cutting plane (PL1) so as to cut off the paws has shown to provide a simple, precise and yet effective cutting of the paws. Cutting edges of said lower cutting element and said upper cutting element may advantageously be are arranged with a mutual angle so as to provide a scissor cutting during said cutting operation. This may provide a reliable and uniform cutting of the paws.

The cutting arrangement may in aspects of the invention comprise one or more movable cutting elements, which one or more movable cutting elements is configured to be moved vertically in a substantially vertical cutting plane between a screening and the gripping arrangement relative to the gripping arrangement so as to cut the paws when the gripping arrangement is arranged in said cutting position.

This may e.g. provide a safe cutting operation while providing a precise and uniform cutting result where an operator is not in danger of getting his/her fingers cut off.

In other aspects of the invention, said support part may be provided by the lower cutting element.

The cutting arrangement may in preferred aspects comprise one or more knife elements with a sharp cutting edge, but it may also comprise a rotating saw and/or the like.

The gripping arrangement preferably comprises a left jaw set and a right jaw set, which jaw sets each comprise at least two jaws.

This may provide that a left paw may be arranged in the left jaw set and the right paw may be arranged in the right jaw set, and the paws can thus be cut

simultaneously during the same cutting operation. The jaws in each jaw set are in preferred aspects of the invention configured to be arranged in an open position at the gripping position so as to allow an operator to place a paw between the jaws, and a clamping position where the respective paw is secured b etween the j aws .

In preferred aspects of the invention, the apparatus comprises a paw removal arrangement for removing paws from said gripping arrangement, preferably in the interior part of said apparatus, after the paws have been cut by said cutting arrangement.

This provides an apparatus which is reliable and faster to operate as paw parts that have been cut off are removed safely and automatically by the apparatus before paws on a new animal body is to be arranged in the gripping arrangement.

In advantageous aspects of the invention, at least one of the jaws in a jaw set may be configured to be arranged in an open position while the gripping arrangement is arranged in an interior part of the apparatus after the cutting arrangement has provided the cutting operation, and the paw removal arrangement may thus remove paws from the gripping arrangement between the open jaws after the paws have been cut by said cutting arrangement and the jaws are arranged in the open position in the interior part.

The paw removal arrangement may in preferred aspects of the invention comprise a remover part configured to be moved in between jaws of said gripping arrangement so as to push paws which have been cut off away from the gripping arrangement.

This has shown to provide a reliable removal of cut off paws. The paw removal arrangement preferably comprises a linear actuator such as a pneumatic actuator for providing a reciprocating movement of the remover part.

The invention moreover relates to a method of cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals, such as mink, by means of an apparatus having a control system. The method at least comprises the steps of: arranging a gripping arrangement of the apparatus in a gripping position by means of a movement arrangement, arranging a pair of paws of a dead, fur-bearing animal in said gripping arrangement, moving said gripping arrangement from said gripping position by a movement away from a front part of said apparatus by means of said movement arrangement so that said gripping arrangement is arranged in a cutting position, providing a cutting operation by means of a cutting arrangement so as to cut off said paws, wherein said cutting arrangement provides said cutting operation while said gripping arrangement is arranged in said cutting position, and wherein a support part of said apparatus supports at least a part of said animal body during said cutting operation at a support position, which support position is substantially opposite to the cutting position during the cutting operation.

In preferred aspects of the method, said apparatus is an apparatus according to one or more of claims 1-17. Figures

Aspects of the present disclosure will be described in the following with reference to the figures in which:

fig. 1 : illustrates an apparatus for cutting paws of dead, fur-bearing animals, according to embodiments of the invention, where a gripping arrangement is arranged in a gripping position, fig. 2 : illustrates an apparatus for cutting paws of dead, fur-bearing animals, according to embodiments of the invention, where a gripping arrangement is arranged in a cutting position. fig. 3 : illustrates further embodiments of an apparatus according to

embodiments of the invention, fig. 4 : illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the support

arrangement is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area of a gripping arrangement. fig. 5 : illustrates another embodiment of the invention wherein a support arrangement is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area of a gripping arrangement according to embodiments of the invention, fig. 6 : illustrates a gripping arrangement according to embodiments of the invention, fig. 7. : illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein a cutting

arrangement is configured to provide a scissor cutting, : illustrates a flow chart relating to the operation of the apparatus according to embodiments of the invention,

: illustrates a control system according to embodiments of the invention,

: illustrates schematically a preferred embodiment of the invention where a gripping arrangement is arranged in a cutting position,

: illustrates schematically another embodiment of the invention where the apparatus may comprise a support part, and illustrates schematically a prior art solution for cutting paws of dead mink bodies. Detailed description

Fig. 1 schematically illustrates an apparatus for cutting paws of dead, fur-bearing animal bodies 6, according to embodiments of the invention, seen from the side, where a gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in a gripping position GP. The dead, fur-bearing animals are preferably mink, but it may also be foxes, chinchilla and/or the like.

The apparatus comprises a gripping arrangement 3. The gripping arrangement 3 comprises a jaw set 3a including two jaws 18a, 18b. At least one of the jaws 18a, 18b, in this case the upper jaw 18a, is configured to be arranged in an open position at a gripping position GP to allow an operator to place a paw/leg part 6a (see fig. 2) of the animal body 6 between saidjaws 18a, 18b, and a clamping position where the respective paw is secured between the jaws 18a, 18b. The jaw set 3a is thus configured so that a relative movement between the jaws by means of a jaw operator arrangement 23 such as an actuator, e.g. a pneumatic, linear actuator, an electric spindle, an electric motor or the like. The gripping arrangement 3 is in the gripping position GP configured to extend through a front opening 7 in a screening 19 of the apparatus 1 (see fig. 1). Here, the gripping arrangement (3) is accessible to a user/operator so that the user/operator can arrange the paws/leg parts 6a between the jaws 18a, 18b at the front part 9/operator location of the apparatus 1.

The a leg part/paw 6a of the animal body 6 can thus be arranged between the jaws 18a, 18b, and the operator can then push a button, press a pedal by foot and/or the like (not illustrated) of the apparatus 1, and thus activate the jaws 18a, 18b to close the jaws in the clamping position where the body is supported by the gripping arrangement, and the operator can then let go of the animal body.

When the operator let go of the body, gravity will force the body 6 downwards and thus the legs of the body are stretched by gravity and the animal's bodyweight, and the body 6 may support on the screening 19.

The operator/user may then e.g. activate a (or a pair of) start buttons (not illustrated in figs. 1 or 2), and this will activate a movement arrangement 4 of the apparatus 1.

The movement arrangement 4 comprises displacement means 13 for providing the backwards movement Ml (see fig. 2) away from the gripping position. The displacement means 13 preferably comprises a linear actuator such as a pneumatic, reciprocating pneumatic cylinder, but it may also be an electrically controlled spindle and/or the like. The displacement means 13 thus have a movable part which will displace the gripping arrangement between the gripping position GP and a cutting position CP. The displacement arrangement 13 thus moves the gripping arrangement 3, and thereby the clamped paw(s) 6a away from the gripping position GP and away from the front part 9 of the apparatus 1 by a backwards movement Ml so that the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in a cutting position CP inside the apparatus as illustrated in fig. 2.

Fig. 2 schematically illustrates an apparatus 1 for cutting paws of dead, fur-bearing animals, according to embodiments of the invention, where the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in a cutting position CP.

The cutting position CP is preferably arranged in an interior part/cavity 8 of the apparatus behind a front part/screening 19.

The apparatus 1 comprises a cutting arrangement 2 configured to provide a cutting operation to cut off the paws of the dead, furred animal, and the cutting arrangement 2 is configured to provide the cutting operation while the gripping arrangement is arranged in the cutting position CP.

The cutting arrangement 2 comprises a lower cutting element 2a and an upper cutting element 2b, and in the present example the upper cutting element 2b is movable in a vertical direction, to provide the cutting operation. The cutting arrangement 2 in the present example comprise knife elements 2a, 2b having sharp cutting edges 30. It is understood that one or both cutting edges 30 may be straight, or in embodiments of the invention, at least one of the cutting edges 30, e.g. of the lower cutting element 2a, may be jagged (not illustrated) to provide a more firm hold/support of the animal's leg 6b during the cutting operation.

The upper cutting element 2b this provides a downward vertical movement M2 to penetrate the animal's leg and thus, as the lower cutting edge 2a provides a cutting from beneath, the cutting elements 2a, 2b together provides the cutting operation. After the cutting, the upper cutting element 2b may then be moved upwards again to an initial position.

A movement of the cutting element(s) 2a, 2b to provide the cutting may be provided by a cutting element mover/ moving means 22 such as an actuator, e.g. a pneumatic actuator, a hydraulic actuator, an electrically controlled spindle, an electric motor and/or the like

The one or more of the movable cutting elements 2a, 2b is/are in preferred embodiments of the invention configured to be moved vertically M2 in a substantially vertical cutting plane PL1 between a screening 19 and the gripping arrangement 3 relative to the gripping arrangement 3 so as to cut the paws when the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in said cutting

The upper and/or lower cutting elements 2a, 2b may thus be arranged to operate in said cutting plane PL1 during the cutting operation.

In preferred aspects of the invention, the lower cutting element 2a is preferably arranged in a fixed position, e.g. to an inner surface of a front part 19 as illustrated in figs. 1 and 2, and the upper cutting element 2b is thus movable by cutting element movement means 22, preferably in a substantially vertical direction, so as to cut off the paws 6a.

The apparatus 1 moreover comprises a support part 5 configured to support at least a part 6b of the animal body 6 during the cutting operation at a support position SP. The support position SP is substantially opposite to the cutting position CP during said cutting operation.

Hence, when moving the gripping arrangement 3 to the cutting position CP, the support position SP is preferably arranged substantially at the same height as a holding area of the gripping arrangement 3 so as to provide a substantially horizontal holding plane, this is described in more details later on.

As illustrated in fig. 2 the movement Ml may comprise a backwards and downwards movement Ml, thereby arranging the gripping arrangement 3 in the interior part 8 of the apparatus at a cutting position CP which is at a lower position than the gripping position GP so that the cutting position CP is opposite to the support position SP.

In the present example, the cutting position CP is positioned at a lower position than said gripping position GP. This is obtained by the movement arrangement 4 comprising substantially parallel members 15a, 15b such as rods.

The substantially parallel members 15 a, 15b are rotatably connected by a hinge connection or another connection providing a rotatable connection 16, 17 at opposite end parts of the members (15a, 15b) to a fixed frame part 14 of the apparatus 1 and a movable base part 11 respectively.

The movable base part 1 1 is a part of the moving arrangement 4 and is connected to the gripping arrangement (3). The movable base part 11 is movable by the displacement means 13 for providing the movement Ml of the gripping arrangement 3to the cutting position CP.

The substantially parallel members 15 a, 15b are configured rotate at the rotatable connections 16, 17 during the backwards movement Ml so as to guide the gripping arrangement 3 to the cutting position CP.

The lower rotatable connections 16 are preferably substantially aligned at a lower, substantially horizontal plane PL3, and the upper rotatable connections 17 are preferably substantially aligned at an upper horizontal plane PL2. This preferably applies both when the gripping arrangement is arranged in the gripping position PG and in the cutting position CP, but in other embodiments of the invention, the planes PL2 and/or PL3 may change orientation and e.g. be arranged in an angle different for horizontal in one of the gripping position PG and/or cutting position CP.

The substantially parallel members 15 a, 15b are in embodiments of the invention, when the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the gripping position GP, placed in an angle cp2 of about 90° compared to horizontal and thus extend substantially vertically.

When the displacement means 13 has displaced the gripping arrangement 3 to the cutting position CP, the angle cp2 is less than 90° compared to horizontal such as less than 80° compared to horizontal, e.g. less than 70° compared to horizontal.

The substantially parallel members 15 a, 15b thus provides that when the gripping arrangement 3 is moved to the cutting position CP from the gripping position GP, the gripping arrangement 3 is positioned at a lower position than the gripping position GP during the cutting operation CP.

In embodiments of the invention, the lower edge 19a of the opening 7 in the screening 19 and/or the cutting edge 30 of the lower cutting element 2a may provide the support part 5, e.g. as illustrated in fig. 1 and 2. The cutting edge 30 may thus be arranged substantially opposite to the lower edge 19a of the opening 7 in the screening.

Fig. 3 schematically illustrates an apparatus 1 for cutting paws of dead, fur-bearing animals, according to embodiments of the invention, wherein the gripping arrangement 3 is moved substantially horizontally during the movement Ml to be placed at the cutting position CP, where the cutting position CP is substantially opposite to the gripping position GP. The displacement arrangement 13 provides a horizontal movement of the movable base 11 (which may be supported by rails, rollers or the like (not illustrated).

The lower cutting element 2a may then be moved upwards by moving means 24 such as a pneumatic actuator, a spindle, and the cutting edge of the element 2a may thus provide the support of the body part 6b during the cutting operation. The lower cutting element 2a is thus moved so the cutting edge 30 is placed in the support position SP substantially opposite to the cutting position CP, before the upper cutting element 2b is moved downwards to cut the paws during the cutting operation.

Fig. 4 illustrates schematically an embodiment of the invention wherein the support arrangement 5 is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area HA of the gripping arrangement 3 when the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the cutting position CP.

The holding area HA is located between the jaws 18a, 18b of the jaw set 3a and the support position SP provided is by the supporting edge 5 a of the support part 5 so that the supporting edge 5 a is arranged at substantially the same height as the holding area HA. The leg part 6b of the animal body thus extend substantially horizontally between the holding area HA and the support CP, and the cutting arrangement can thus provide the cutting operation substantially opposite to the support position SP.

The holding area HA and the support edge 5 a may thus provide a substantially horizontal support plane (see e.g. fig. 10).

In fig. 4, the support part 5 and it's edge 5a is different from the cutting edge 30 of a lower cutting element 2a.

Fig. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein support arrangement 5 is arranged substantially opposite to a holding area HA of the gripping arrangement 3 when the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the cutting position CP, and where the lower cutting element 2a provides the support part's 5 supporting edge 5a.

The holding area HA is located between the jaws 18a, 18b of the jaw set 3a and the supporting edge 5 a providing the support position SP is defined by the cutting edge 30 which is arranged at substantially the same height as the holding area HA

Moreover, as illustrated in e.g. figs 1-4, the cutting elements 2a, 2b may be arranged close to the outer screening 19 so that the cutting operation is provided near to the body 6 and thus, shorter skin parts that have covered the animal's legs will remain on the skin after skinning the body 6. For example, the lower cutting element may substantially abut the inner surface 26 of the screening 19, which inner surface 26 faces the interior part of the apparatus 8. Fig. 6 schematically illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the gripping arrangement 3 comprises a left jaw set 3a and a right jaw set 3b, where the jaw sets 3a, 3b each comprise at least two jaws 18a, 18b in the form of an upper jaws 18a and a lower jaw 18b. The upper jaws 18a are movable by each their (or the same) jaw operator arrangements (23 in figs. 1-2) by a jaw movement JM so as to place the jaws in either an open position or in a clamping position (in fig. 6 the jaws are arranged in the open position). Moreover, the apparatus 1 may in embodiments of the invention comprise a paw removal arrangement 20 for removing paws that have been cut off by the cutting arrangement 2 (cutting arrangement not illustrated in fig. 6).

The jaws 18a, 18b in each jaw set 3a, 3b may in embodiments of the invention be configured to be arranged in an open position as illustrated in fig. 6 while the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in an interior part 8 of the apparatus 1 after the cutting arrangement 2 has provided the cutting operation.

The paw removal arrangement 20 (in this case one arrangement 20 for each jaw set) is configured to mechanically remove the paws from the jaws by moving a movable remover part 21 of the paw removal arrangement 20 in between the open jaws after the paws have been cut by said cutting arrangement (2), e.g. by a reciprocating movement in a direction substantially transverse, to such as substantially

perpendicular to, the jaw movement direction JM of the jaws 18a. The movable remover part 21 thus pushes the cut off paws (not illustrated in fig. 6) away from the lower jaws 18b.

Fig. 7 schematically illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the cutting arrangement 2 is configured to provide a scissor cutting.

The cutting edges 30 of the lower cutting element 2a and the upper cutting elements 2b are arranged with a mutual angle φΐ at least during the cutting operation. The angle c lis preferably an acute angle but it may also be an obtuse angle. This provides a scissor cutting functionality during the cutting operation when the upper cutting elements 2a are moved downwards.

The cutting arrangement may in embodiments of the invention comprise two cutting elements 2a, one for each paw arranged in a jaws set 3a, 3b (not illustrated in fig. 7), but in other embodiments of the invention the cutting arrangement 2 may comprise a single upper and/or a single lower cutting element 2a, 2b to cut both paws arranged in each their jaw set.

Fig. 8 schematically illustrates a flow chart describing embodiments of the operation of the apparatus 1 according to embodiments of the invention. In step S81 (GR. ARR TO GP) the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the gripping position GP so that a jaw set 3a, 3b extend through an opening 7 in the apparatus and are open.

An operator can thus arrange the paws 6a of a dead animal body between the open jaws and activate a jaw controller such as a pedal, button or the like. The apparatus 1 comprises a control system for registering this activation and if the control system registers the activation of the jaw controller has been activated in test TE81 (GR?), the control system in step S82 (GRIP) operates a jaw operator arrangement 23 in order to clamp the paws 6a between the jaws 18a, 18b.

The operator may then activate a "start" button, and if the control system registers (in test TE82 (ST?)) an activation of the start button(s), the control system in Step S83 (MOV TO CP) operates the movement arrangement 4 by displacement means 13 so as to provide a movement Ml of the gripping arrangement 3 to the cutting position CP.

The control system may comprise a sensor input so that when a sensor (optical sensor, mechanical sensor, pressure sensor and/or the like) registers that the gripping arrangement 3 is in the cutting position CP (test TE83 - CP?) the cutting operation is provided by the control system activating the cutting arrangement 2 (Step S84 - CUT) by activating moving means 22 so as to move a cutting element 2b to provide a cutting operation, thereby separating the paw 6a from the rest of the body 6.

By this, the animal body 6 may automatically, due to gravity and the body's 6 weigh fall away from the apparatus 1 and be transported away from the apparatus for skinning and further skin processing after the skinning. After this, a the gripping arrangement 3 may be opened (Step S85 - OP GR ARR) and a paw removal arrangement 20 may be activated (Step S86 - REM PAW) to remove the paws from the gripping arrangement 3 as e.g. explained in relation to fig.

6.

Then the gripping arrangement 3 is moved to the gripping position GP again (step SI) to receive and grip paws 6a of a new dead animal inserted between the jaws by an operator.

Fig. 9 illustrates a schematically an electrical control system 40 for controlling the operation of the apparatus 1, e.g. as described in relation to fig. 8.

The control system 40 comprises a control unit CU. The control unit CU comprises a data storage DS for storing a program code comprising instructions to be executed in order to provide the operations of the apparatus 1. The control unit CU moreover comprises a data processor DP for processing the program code PC and data inputs in order to control the apparatus 1. The control system 4 may e.g. in embodiments of the invention include a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), and/or any other suitable kind of microprocessor and suitable hardware.

The control unit CU receives input from one or more start buttons 41 in order to start the movement Ml and the cutting operation (see e.g. above), and a jaw controller 42 such as a pedal, button or the like that a user may activate in order to close jaws 18a, 18b of the gripping arrangement 3. Based on this input, the control system 40, based on the program code PC, provides control output to e.g. the:

Displacement means 13 for providing movement of the gripping

arrangement,

Moving means 22 for moving cutting element to provide cutting operation Jaw operator arrangement 23 to open/close jaws and/or

Paw removal arrangement 20. Fig. 10 illustrates schematically a preferred embodiment of the invention where the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the cutting position CP, see e.g. also figs. 4 and 5. The support part 5 is arranged in substantially the same height as the holding area HA, and the supporting edge 5a of the support part 5 (in this case a part of the screening 19) and the holding area may define a holding plane PL4, preferably a substantially horizontal holding plane PL4.

When the dead animal body's paws 6a of the forelegs 6b are arranged in the gripping arrangement 3 and the gripping arrangement 3 has been moved to the cutting position CP as illustrated in fig. 10, the shoulder part 6c (transition area between the leg 6b and the animal's body 6) may be arranged substantially opposite to the holding area HA and the support position SP.

Hence, the shoulder part 6c may in embodiments of the invention be arranged so that the holding plane PL4 may extend into or be arranged near to the shoulder part 6c when the gripping arrangement 3 is arranged in the cutting position CP.

The animal ' s legs may thus extend in/along and/or parallel to the holding plane PL4. The cutting plane PL1 in which an upper and/or lower cutting element 2a, 2b of the cutting arrangement is in preferred embodiments of the invention substantially perpendicular to the holding plane PL4.

Fig. 11 illustrates schematically an embodiment of the invention, which substantially corresponds to the embodiment(s) of fig. 3. However, in this embodiment, it is not the lower cutting element 2a which may provide the support part 5, at least not alone. Instead, a support part 5 such as a rod, plate or the like 5 is displaceable, separate to the lower cutting element 2a, is moved upwards by moving means 24 to be placed in the support position SP substantially opposite to the cutting position CP, before the upper cutting element 2b is moved downwards to cut the paws during the cutting operation. Afterwards, the moving means 24 moves the support part 5 back to the lower position (not illustrated) before the gripping arrangement 3 is moved to the gripping position again after the cutting operation.

Preferably, the lower cutting element may in embodiments of the invention be moved together with the separate support part 5.

The support part 5 may in embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in fig. 11 , comprise a rotatable roller or the like. The surface of the roller may provide the supporting edge 5 a of the support part 5, and is arranged to support and guide the leg part 6a during the movement Ml and/or during the upwards movement to place the support part 5 in the support position SP. This may in embodiments of the invention help to provide a more smooth relative movement between the leg 6b and the support part if the apparatus is configured to let the leg part 6b slide on the support part 5 during the movement Ml to arrange the gripping arrangement in the cutting gripping position and/or to arrange the support part 5 in the support position SP. In other embodiments, the roller may however be omitted from the support part 5.

Fig. 12 illustrates schematically a prior art solution 100 for cutting paws of dead mink bodies. The prior art apparatus 100 comprises a gripping arrangement 101 which is moved in a linear, horizontal movement into the apparatus to a cutting position CP 100. A knife 102 then cuts the paws off while the gripping arrangement 101 is arranged in the apparatus' interior and while the gripping arrangement is arranged in an elevated position compared to a support part during the cutting. The fore leg thereby extends between the gripping arrangement and the support part so that the fore leg inclines downwards from the gripping arrangement.

The inventor has found out that the prior art apparatus as schematically illustrated in fig. 12 may provide a cutting result which have shown to be undesirable, e.g. as it may provide a varying cutting result. In general, it is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the particular examples described above but may be adapted in a multitude of varieties within the scope of the invention as specified in e.g. the claims. Accordingly, for example, one or more of the described and/or illustrated embodiments above may be combined to provide further embodiments of the invention.

List

1 : Apparatus for cutting paws of dead fur-bearing animals

2 : Cutting arrangement

2a : Lower cutting element

2b : Upper cutting element

3a : Left jaw set

3b : Right jaw set

4 : Movement arrangement

5 : Support part

5a : Supporting edge of support part

6 : Animal body

6b : leg part

6a : Paw

7 : Front opening

8 : Interior part of the apparatus

9 : Front part of apparatus

11 : movable base part

13 : Displacement means for providing backwards movement

14 : Frame part of apparatus

15a, 15b : Parallel rods

16, 17 : Rotatable connection preferably provided by hinge

18a : Upper jaw

18b : Lower jaw

19 : Screening enclosing interior part

19a : Lower edge of the opening in the screening

20 : Paw removal arrangement

21 : Remover part of paw removal arrangement

22 : Moving means for moving cutting element

23 : Jaw operator arrangement

24 : Moving means for moving lower cutting element and/or support part to a support position 26 Inner surface of screening

30 Cutting edge of cutting arrangement

40 Control system

41 Start button(s)

42 Jaw controller

Ml Backwards movement of gripping arrangement

GP Gripping Position

CP Cutting Position

SP Support position

DS Data storage

DP Data processor

PL1 Cutting plane

PL2, PL3 Planes defined by rotatable connections

PL4 Holding plane