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Title:
APPARATUS FOR SKINNING BODIES OF FURRED ANIMALS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/032455
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to an apparatus (1) for skinning bodies (10) of furred animals, such as mink, after a part (11a) of the skin (11) has been freed from a rear portion (10a) of the animal body. The apparatus (1) comprises a front side (2) facing an operator location (OL), a top part (3) and a bottom part (4), a body fixation arrangement (5) for holding a body part of the animal body freed from the skin (11) at the rear end portion (10a) so that the body extends towards said bottom part (4), a skin clamping arrangement (6) for clamping the part of the skin (11a) freed from the animal body, which skin clamping arrangement (6) is configured to be arranged in an open state to receive said freed skin and in a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part (11a) of said freed skin, a guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) for guiding said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction (LD) of said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) in opposite directions, and a drive arrangement (8) configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6). The apparatus may be used to skin an animal body in a way so an operator need substantially not provide a manual skinning by hand. The invention moreover relates to a method of skinning bodies of furred animals.

Inventors:
PEDERSEN, Kurt (Bøgevej 3, 7830 Vinderup, DK)
Application Number:
EP2016/001428
Publication Date:
March 02, 2017
Filing Date:
August 25, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EIKON TECHNOLOGIES HOLDING S.À.R.L. (42 rue de la Vallée, 2661 Luxembourg, 2661 Luxembourg, LU)
International Classes:
A22B5/16
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002085126A12002-10-31
Foreign References:
EP2901861A12015-08-05
DK165768B1993-01-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO DENMARK A/S (Arne Jacobsens Allé 15, 2300 Copenhagen S, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. An apparatus (1) for skinning bodies (10) of furred animals, such as mink, after a part (1 la) of the skin (11) has been freed from a rear portion (10a) of the animal body, which apparatus (1) comprises: a front side (2) facing an operator location (OL), a top part (3) and a bottom part (4), a body fixation arrangement (5) for holding a body part of the animal body freed from the skin (11) at the rear end portion (10a) so that the body extends towards said bottom part (4), a skin clamping arrangement (6) for clamping the part of the skin (1 1a) freed from the animal body, which skin clamping arrangement (6) is configured to be arranged in an open state to receive said freed skin and in a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part (1 la) of said freed skin, a guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) for guiding said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction (LD) of said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) in opposite directions, and a drive arrangement (8) configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6), wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) in a start position (POS1) is configured to be arranged substantially opposite to a rear end portion (10a) of said animal body (10), while a part of said animal body hangs from said body fixation arrangement (6), and wherein the traveling distance (L2) of said body fixation arrangement (5) is configured to be larger than the traveling distance (L3) of said skin clamping arrangement (6) during skinning, so that the traveling distance ratio between said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) is at least 1.5:1.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the traveling distance ratio is between 1.5:1 and 4:1, preferably around 2:1.

3. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said traveling distance ratio is configured to be provided by means of a pulley system (29, 30) of said apparatus (1), such a 4:1 pulley system, a 3:1 pulley system or preferably a 2:1 pulley system.

4. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) comprises a first longitudinal, fixed member (7a) and a second longitudinal member (7b), which second longitudinal member (7b) is displaceable relative to said first longitudinal member (7b) in said longitudinal direction (LD).

5. An apparatus (1) according to claim 4, wherein said body fixation arrangement (5) is configured to move in said longitudinal direction (LD) along said first

longitudinal, fixed member (7a), and wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) is connected to said second longitudinal member (7b).

6. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said traveling distance ratio is configured to be provided by means of a pulley system (29, 30), which pulley system (29, 30) comprises a first upper, stationary, rotatable pulley (29), and a second, rotatable pulley (30), which second pulley (30) is attached to said second, displaceable longitudinal member (7b), wherein said body fixation arrangement (5) is configured to be moved by means a support connection (20) such as a rope, wire, strap or chain which is guided by means of said pulley system (29, 30), and wherein said support connection (20) preferably is attached to and extends from said body fixation arrangement (5) over said first upper, stationary pulley (29) to said second, pulley (30) and preferably from said second pulley (30) to a stationary fixation part (31), which stationary fixation part (31) preferably is arranged at the upper part of said apparatus (1).

7. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the vertical distance (LI) between said skin clamping arrangement (6) and said body fixation arrangement (5) in said start position (POS1) is between 3 cm and 35 cm such as between 5 cm and 25cm, e.g. between 10 cm and 15 cm.

8. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the traveling speed of said body fixation arrangement (5) is higher than the traveling speed of said skin clamping arrangement (6) during skinning.

9. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the traveling speed ratio between said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) during skinning substantially corresponds to the traveling distance ratio.

10. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) is supported on said guiding arrangement (7b) by means of a frame part (9), which frame part (9) is configured so as to extend from said guiding arrangement (7b) and at least partly around said animal body (10), so as to provide a space (15) for receiving a part of said animal body not yet freed from the skin (1 1) when the animal body (10) is arranged in said body fixation arrangement (6), and so that the skin clamping arrangement (6) is arranged at the side of the animal body facing said operator location (OL). 11. An apparatus (1) according to claim 10, wherein said frame part (9) comprises side members (50) arranged so as to extend around each side of said body (10), thereby providing a space (15) through which said animal body not yet freed from the skin (1 1) can extend when said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) are arranged in said start (POS1). 12. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the same drive means (8), such as an electric motor, are configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6).

13. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said drive means (8) are configured to provide said movement of said body fixation

arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) by providing a movement of a second longitudinal member (7b) in the longitudinal direction (LD) of said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b), preferably by rotating a spindle (27) which is connected to said second longitudinal member (7b) by a part (28) having an inner thread.

14. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) comprises a pair of jaws (6a, 6b), wherein at least one of said jaws (6b) is movable towards and away from the other jaw (6a) by means of jaw moving means (12) in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement (6) in either said open state or said closed clamping state.

15. An apparatus (1) according to claim 14, wherein the at least one movable jaw (6b) is configured to be moved towards and away from said animal body, preferably substantially horizontally, in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement (6) in either said open state or said closed clamping state.

16. An apparatus (1) according to claim 14 or 15, wherein said jaws (6a, 6b) are arranged so that the opening (13) provided between said pair of jaws (6a, 6b) to receive said freed skin faces upwards.

17. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) is arranged so as to be arranged substantially at the side of the animal body facing away from said operator location (OL). 18. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said body fixation arrangement (5) comprises a first body fixation device (24), such as a sledge, which first body fixation device preferably comprises one or more spikes (5a) for penetrating said rear end portion (10a) of said animal body (10). 19. An apparatus (1) according to claim 18, wherein said body fixation arrangement comprises further body fixation means (23a, 23b), which further body fixation means (23a, 23b) are configured to move to a holding position so as to hold a part of said animal body (10) freed from said skin by means of said apparatus (1), preferably before said apparatus (1) provides a skinning of the head and/or fore-leg part of said animal body.

20. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 18 or 19, wherein said first body fixation device (24) is configured to be moved relative to said further body fixation means (23, 23b) in said longitudinal direction (LD) to provide a first skinning operation before said further body fixation means (23a, 23b) engage said animal body (10), and wherein said apparatus (1) is configured to provide a further skinning operation after said further body fixation means (23a, 23b) has engaged said animal body. 21. An apparatus ( 1 ) according to any of claims 19 or 20, wherein said further body fixation means comprises movable body clamping elements (23a, 23b) arranged at opposing sides of said animal body (10).

22. An apparatus (1) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) comprises a pair of jaws (6a, 6b), wherein at least one of said jaws comprises a clamping face (40a, 40b) provided by a resilient material (41) such as a rubber material, preferably attached to a jaw plate/frame (42a, 42b) of the respective jaw (6a, 6b).

23. An apparatus (1) for skinning bodies (10) of furred animals, such as mink, after a part of the skin (1 1) has been freed from a rear portion (10a) of the animal body, which apparatus (1) comprises: a front side (2) facing an operator location (OL), a top part (3) and a bottom part (4), a body fixation arrangement (5) for holding a body part of the animal body freed from the skin (1 1) at the rear end portion (10a) so that the body extends towards said bottom part (4), a skin clamping arrangement (6) for clamping the part of the skin (11a) freed from the animal body, which skin clamping arrangement (6) comprises a pair of jaws (6a, 6b), wherein at least one of said jaws (6a, 6b) is movable towards and away from the other jaw by means of jaw moving means (12) in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement (6) in an open state to receive said freed skin (1 la) or a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part (1 la) of said freed skin, a guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) for guiding said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction (LD) of said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) in opposite directions during skinning of said animal body, and a drive arrangement (8) configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6), wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) is supported on said guiding

arrangement (7b) by means of a frame part (9), wherein said frame part (9) is configured so as to extend from said guiding arrangement (7b) and at least partly around said animal body (10), so as to provide a space (15) for receiving a part of said animal body not yet freed from the skin (1 1) when the animal body is arranged in said body fixation arrangement (6), and so that the skin clamping arrangement (6) is arranged at the side of the animal body facing said operator location (OL), and wherein the at least one movable jaw (6a, 6b) of said skin clamping arrangement (6) is configured to be moved towards and away from said animal body in a substantially horizontal direction in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement (6) in either said open state or said closed clamping state.

24. An apparatus according to claim 23, wherein said pair of jaws (6a, 6b) are configured to provide an upwardly facing opening (13) for receiving said freed skin part (1 la) in said open state, which opening (13) is preferably provided between clamping faces (40a, 40b) of said pair of jaws (6a, 6b), which clamping faces (40a, 40b) are arranged substantially vertically at least in said closed clamping state.

25. An apparatus according to any of claims 23 or 24, wherein at least one jaw (6a, 6b) of said pair of jaws (6a, 6b) comprises clamping faces (40a, 40b) provided by a resilient material such as a rubber material.

26. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 23-25, wherein said space (15) has a depth (Dl) between 5 cm and 35 cm such as between 10 and 15 cm.

27. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 23-26, wherein said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) is configured so as to be arranged substantially at the side of the animal body facing away from said operator location (OL).

28. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 23-27, wherein said space (15) extends substantially towards said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b), preferably in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to said longitudinal direction (LD). 29. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 23-28 wherein said skin clamping arrangement (6) and said body fixation arrangement (5) are configured so as to be arranged in a start position (POS1), in which start position (POS1 ) the vertical distance (LI) between said skin clamping arrangement (6) and said body fixation arrangement (5) is between 3 cm and 40 cm such as between 5 cm and 25 cm, e.g. between 10 cm and 15 cm.

30. An apparatus (1) according to any of claims 23-29 wherein said apparatus (1) is an apparatus according to one or more of claims 1-22. 31. A method of skinning bodies (10) of furred animals, such as mink by means of a skinning apparatus (1) after a part (1 l a) of the skin (1 1) has been freed from a rear portion (10a) of the animal body, said method comprising arranging said rear portion (10a) of said animal body in at a body fixation arrangement (5) of the apparatus (1), arranging a part of said animal body (10) not yet freed from the skin (11) so that the animal body (10) extends substantially vertically into a space ( 5) provided between a skin clamping arrangement (6) facing an operator location (OL) and a part (7b) of a guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) for guiding said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6), arranging and clamping a freed skin part (1 la) in said skin clamping arrangement (6), providing a substantially linear movement of said body fixation arrangement (5) and said skin clamping arrangement (6) from a start position (POSl) in opposite directions in a longitudinal direction (LD) of said guiding arrangement (7a, 7b) by means of drive means (8), in order to provide a skinning of said animal body (1) by means of said apparatus (1) from said a rear end portion (10a) of said animal body.

32. A method according to claim 31, wherein said method comprises initially arranging said body fixation arrangement (5) at a second upper position (POS2), and arranging said rear portion (10a) of the animal body (10) at said body fixation arrangement (5) while the body fixation arrangement (5) is located in said second position (POS2), and subsequently moving said body fixation arrangement (5) downwards and/or moving said skin clamping arrangement (6) upwards to said start position (POSl) where said animal body extends into said space (15) before clamping said skin part (1 la) in said skin clamping arrangement (6).

33. A method according to claim 31 or 32, wherein said skinning by means of said apparatus (1) comprises moving said skin clamping arrangement (6) downwards to a lower end position (POS4), and moving said fixation arrangement (5) upwards towards an upper end position (POS3), wherein said start position (POSl) and/or said second position (POS2) are arranged between said lower end position (POS4).

34. A method according to any of claims 31 -33, wherein said method comprises initially arranging said body fixation arrangement (5) so that the back side of the body (10) faces towards an operator location (OL), and so the belly side faces away from the operator location (OL), and preferably so that said back side of the animal body (10) faces said skin clamping arrangement (6) in said start position (POSl).

35. A method according to any of claims 31 -34, wherein said apparatus (1) is an apparatus (1) according to any of claims 1-30.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR SKINNING BODIES OF FURRED ANIMALS

The present invention relates to an apparatus for skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink, and a method of skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink by means of a skinning apparatus.

Background

Skinning apparatuses for skinning furred dead animal bodies such as mink bodies in order to obtain a tubular skin for further fur processing are well known. Examples hereof are disclosed in DK 176 580 Bl and DK 25 165 768 B disclosing a skinning apparatus. In the apparatuses disclosed in these references, a body portion of the animal body is initially freed from the skin and is held in in the apparatus, and the operator can then manually draw additional skin from the body in order to provide a larger portion of freed skin. The freed skin portion is then clamped at the swivel arm, and the swivel arm is then moved in order to provide a further skinning to remove the remaining skin from the animal body.

DK 2014 00059 discloses a skinning apparatus for providing a downwardly and rearward movement during skinning. The apparatus comprises a skin clamping device having an upper fixed jaw with a forwardly open cavity with forwardly facing opening and having a lower clamping face, and a lower displaceable jaw also having a forwardly open cavity with forwardly facing opening and an upper clamping face. The skin clamping device clamps the skin freed from the rear portion of the animal body such as a mink body. The apparatus is configured so the skin clamping device grab the freed skin near the area where a pair of body clamps grab a rear portion of the body freed from the skin by a body clamping device, and the apparatus also comprises a tail clamp for clamping the freed skin of the tail of a body received in the skin clamping device. This skinning apparatus provide a solution where a need for manually drawing the skin from the body in order to provide a larger portion of freed skin before the apparatus provides a further skinning, is reduced. The above solutions however suffer from being space consuming. Also, the above solutions are more complex solutions that may result in a more time consuming skinning process. It may among others be an object of the present invention to provide a solution for these drawbacks.

The invention

The invention relates in a first aspect to an apparatus for skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink, after a part of the skin has been freed from a rear portion of the animal body, the apparatus comprises: a front side facing an operator location, a top part and a bottom part, a body fixation arrangement for holding a body part of the animal body freed from the skin at the rear end portion so that the body extends towards said bottom part, a skin clamping arrangement for clamping the part of the skin freed from the animal body, which skin clamping arrangement is configured to be arranged in an open state to receive said freed skin and in a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part of said freed skin, a guiding arrangement for guiding said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction of said guiding arrangement in opposite directions, and a drive arrangement configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement, wherein said skin clamping arrangement in a start position is configured to be arranged substantially opposite to a rear end portion of said animal body, while a part of said animal body hangs from said body fixation arrangement, and wherein the traveling distance of said body fixation arrangement is configured to be larger than the traveling distance of said skin clamping arrangement during skinning, so that the traveling distance ratio between said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement is at least 1.5:1.

As the skin clamping arrangement in the upper skin clamping position is configured to be arranged substantially opposite to the rear end portion of said animal body, this require a larger relative movement between skin clamping arrangement and the body fixation arrangement to provide a substantially full skinning of the dead animal body.

By providing that the traveling distance of the body fixation arrangement is larger than the traveling distance of the clamping arrangement, the start position can be arranged in a user friendly height so that the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement are easily accessible. Moreover it is obtained that a substantially full skinning at a limited space can be provided, and that an operator may be able to omit manually skinning a part of the freed skin downwards to a position underneath the animal head and then clamp the skin at that location, as the skin clamping arrangement in the start position can be arranged substantially opposite to a rear end portion of the animal body while a part of the animal body hangs from the body fixation arrangement.

By the present invention, the skin clamping arrangement (which may comprise jaws) may be arranged at a height above the floor surface on which the apparatus may support which is about 70 cm - 120 cm such as about 75 cm - 100 cm above the floor 18 surface, e.g. about 85 cm - 95 cm above the floor surface. This may be considered as an advantageous working height for an operator.

The present invention may thus provide a space saving and ergonomically advantageous skinning apparatus which may also be advantageous seen from an efficiency point of view. The start position is preferably around the area of the loosened and freed skin near the rear part of the body when the body clamping arrangement is arranged in a lower position. In advantageous embodiments of said first aspect, the traveling distance ratio may be between 1.5: 1 and 4: 1 , preferably around 2: 1.

A traveling distance ratio in this range may be advantageous in relation to provide a space saving and at the same time ergonomically advantageous solution.

By the traveling distance ratio is to be understood the difference in traveling distance between the body fixation arrangement and the clamping arrangement. For example, if the traveling difference ratio is 2: 1 , the body fixation arrangement is in/at the apparatus configured to travel substantially twice the distance of the traveling distance of the skin clamping arrangement during skinning.

In preferred embodiments of said first aspect, said traveling distance ratio may be configured to be provided by means of a pulley system of said apparatus, such a 4: 1 pulley system, a 3: 1 pulley system or preferably a 2: 1 pulley system.

By utilizing a pulley system to provide the desired traveling distance ratio between the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement, a simple, space saving and efficient solution is provided. The pulley system provides in a simple way that the desired traveling distance ratio is provided due to the configuration of the pulley system which may determine the traveling distance ratio.

In other aspects of the invention, the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement may be individually controllable by each their drive arrangement such as electrical motors. In advantageous embodiments of said first aspect, said guiding arrangement may comprise a first longitudinal, fixed member and a second longitudinal member, which second longitudinal member is displaceable relative to said first longitudinal member in said longitudinal direction.

This has shown to provide an advantageous guiding arrangement for a skinning apparatus of the "skinning tower" type which provides a substantially linear movement between the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement during skinning. Preferably, the second longitudinal member is displaceable connected to the first longitudinal, fixed member in order to be guided in the longitudinal direction of the first longitudinal, fixed member, during the relative motion while being supported by the first longitudinal, fixed member, preferably downwards during skinning. The second longitudinal member may advantageously, in aspects of the invention, extend into an interior of the first longitudinal, fixed member, thereby providing a telescopic functionality.

Alternatively, the second longitudinal member may be guided at the outer surface of the first longitudinal member by a rail system, a toothed wheel system and/or the like. In advantageous embodiments of said first aspect, said body fixation arrangement may be configured to move in said longitudinal direction along the above mentioned first longitudinal, fixed member, and the skin clamping arrangement may be connected to the above mentioned second longitudinal member. This may provide a simple solution where the body fixation arrangement is guided externally along said first longitudinal, fixed member, and the skin clamping arrangement may thus be guided by/at/near a lower free end of the second longitudinal member, which second longitudinal member may be guided internally in the first longitudinal, fixed member during skinning by the apparatus. In advantageous embodiments of said first aspect, said traveling distance ratio may be configured to be provided by means of a pulley system, which pulley system comprises a first upper, stationary, rotatable pulley, and a second, rotatable pulley, which second pulley is attached to said second, displaceable longitudinal member, wherein said body fixation arrangement is configured to be moved by means a support connection such as a rope, wire, strap or chain which is guided by means of said pulley system, and wherein said support connection preferably is attached to and extends from said body fixation arrangement over said first upper, stationary pulley to said second, pulley and preferably from said second pulley to a stationary fixation part, which stationary fixation part preferably is arranged at the upper part of said apparatus.

This has shown to provide the desired traveling distance ratio with in a simple and yet efficient way where also the same drive arrangement such as the same electric motor may provide the force for displacing the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement away from each other during skinning.

The second pulley may thus be attached to an upper part of the, second, displaceable longitudinal member so when the second, displaceable longitudinal member (and thus the skin clamping arrangement) is displaced lxL downwards, the body fixation arrangement is moved 2xL upwards due to the configuration of the pulley system.

In embodiments of said first aspect, the vertical distance between said skin clamping arrangement and said body fixation arrangement may in said start position be between 3 cm and 35 cm such as between 5 cm and 25cm, e.g. between 10 cm and 15 cm.

This may provide a solution where the operator need not provide a manual skinning operation to provide additional freed skin in order to arrange the initially freed skin part in the skin clamping arrangement while the rear portion of the animal body is fixed to/at the body fixation arrangement. In preferred embodiments of said first aspect, the traveling speed of said body fixation arrangement is higher than the traveling speed of said skin clamping arrangement during skinning.

This may help to provide a fast skinning solution while moreover providing one or more of the above effects such as a simple and/or ergonomically advantageous apparatus. In preferred embodiments, the above mentioned traveling speed ratio between said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement during skinning may substantially corresponds to the traveling distance ratio.

This may e.g. preferably, in aspects of the invention, be obtained by means of a pulley system, but in other aspects of the invention, it may be obtained by two motors having drive shafts with different rotation speeds (e.g. obtained by frequency converter), by means of gear boxes and/or the like. It may hereby be provided that when the skin clamping arrangement reaches the lower end position, the body fixation arrangement also reaches the upper end position substantially simultaneously and thus the skinning process may be finished.

The pulley system which in aspects of the invention may provide the traveling distance ratio may thus also in aspects of the invention provide the desired traveling speed ratio.

In preferred embodiments of said first aspect, said skin clamping arrangement is supported on said guiding arrangement by means of a frame part, which frame part is configured so as to extend from said guiding arrangement and at least partly around said animal body, so as to provide a space for receiving a part of said animal body not yet freed from the skin when the animal body is arranged in said body fixation arrangement, and so that the skin clamping arrangement is arranged at the side of the animal body facing said operator location.

This may provide in a simple and efficient way that the skin clamping arrangement in the start position can be arranged near the rear portion of the animal body to grab the freed skin at this location and the operator may thus not need to provide a manual skinning of the animal body before the freed skin can be arranged in the skin clamping arrangement at the side of the animal body facing the operator location. The above mentioned space is preferably configured to allow a movement of the animal body relative to the frame part substantially in the longitudinal direction of the guiding arrangement during skinning by said apparatus.

In preferred embodiments, the above mentioned frame part may comprise side members arranged so as to extend around each side of said body, thereby providing said space through which said animal body not yet freed from the skin can extend when said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement is arranged in said start. This may provide a desired strong frame part which may resist the force acting on the frame part during skinning as the frame part may need to carry substantially the entire pulling force from the skin. Also, it may help to provide a desirable guidance of the animal body.

The same drive means, such as an electric motor, may in in preferred embodiments of said first aspect be configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement. This is a desirable solution seen from e.g. a cost efficiency perspective and a maintenance perspective. It may e.g. be provided by a pulley system as described in this document or by means of a gearing solution or the like. The drive means may e.g. in embodiments are configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement by providing a movement of said second longitudinal member in the longitudinal direction of said guiding arrangement, preferably by rotating a spindle which is connected to said second longitudinal member by a part having an inner thread. This may e.g. be provided by the pulley system solution as explained in this document. An alternative to the spindle solution may be a linear actuator driven by pneumatics, hydraulics and/or the like.

Advantageously and preferably, said skin clamping arrangement may comprise a pair of jaws wherein at least one of said jaws is movable towards and away from the other jaw by means of jaw moving means in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement in either said open state or said closed clamping state.

The skin clamping arrangement may in aspects of the invention comprise just one pair of jaws as the inventor has found that this, by the present invention may be sufficient. The jaws are preferably arranged to grab a part of the rear part of the skin that has covered the back of the animal body. The back part of the skin is stronger and more resistant to pulling forces compared to skin parts at the belly side, and by pulling in the skin from a part of the skin that has covered the back part may significantly reduce the risk of damaging the skin during skinning by the apparatus according to embodiments of the invention.

The at least one movable jaw may in embodiments of the invention be configured to be moved towards and away from said animal body, preferably substantially horizontally, in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement in either said open state or said closed clamping state. This may help to provide a sufficient and user friendly clamping solution

The jaws may in preferred embodiments of the first aspect be are arranged so that the opening provided between said pair of jaws, in the open state to receive said freed skin, faces upwards.

This may help to provide a solution where the operator may easily arrange the freed skin in the skin clamping arrangement as the edge of the freed skin which separates the skin side and the fur side will face towards the floor so a kart of the initially freed skin covers a part of skin not yet freed from the body, and the inventor has found that this solution may help to provide a sufficient clamping of the skin to enable a full skinning from the rear part of the animal body. In preferred embodiments of the first aspect, said guiding arrangement is arranged so as to be arranged substantially at the side of the animal body facing away from said operator location during skinning when the body is arranged in the apparatus.

This may be provided by a telescopic functionality or the like, and may provide a stable, simple and cost efficient skinning apparatus.

Said body fixation arrangement preferably comprises a first body fixation device, such as a sledge, which first body fixation device preferably comprises one or more spikes for penetrating said rear end portion of said animal body.

The first body fixation device may in aspects of the invention alternatively comprise a first set of body clamps for clamping the rear end portion of the animal body, e.g. instead of said one or more spikes. Said body fixation arrangement may in embodiments of said first aspect, comprise further body fixation means, which further body fixation means are configured to move to a holding position so as to hold a part of said animal body freed from said skin by means of said apparatus, preferably before said apparatus provides a skinning of the head and/or fore-leg part of said animal body. This may help to provide a sufficient fixation of the animal body when the animal body is moved towards the upper, third position and the skin clamping arrangement is moved downwards in order to skin the head and/or fore-leg part of the animal body. These areas are known to be more difficult and need a strong body fixation in order to enable the skinning around these areas, and preferably reduce the amount of sinews, meat and/or fat residues that are remaining on the skin side after skinning, and which thus needs to be removed by a scraping apparatus or the like.

The first body fixation device may preferably, in embodiments, be configured to be moved relative to said further body fixation means in said longitudinal direction to provide a first skinning operation before said further body fixation means engage said animal body, and wherein said apparatus may moreover be configured to provide/allow a further skinning operation after said further body fixation means has engaged said animal body. This provides an initial skinning of the animal body at the belly/back part of the body which is provided by the apparatus, and when the body has been skinned to a position at the fore portion of the body behind the neck region or fore legs, the further body fixation means may engage the skinned body part and the further skinning operation is provided to skin the body around the fore legs and/or the neck/head region of the body.

The further body fixation means may e.g. in embodiments of the invention comprise movable body clamping elements arranged at opposing sides of said animal body. In embodiments of the first aspect, said skin clamping arrangement may

advantageously comprise a pair of jaws, wherein at least one of said jaws comprises a clamping face provided by a resilient material such as a rubber material, preferably attached to a jaw plate/frame of the respective jaw.

The clamping face(s) may also be referred to or understood as clamping surface(s).

The inventor has discovered that this may provide an advantageous gripping functionality which may help to hold the skin sufficiently during skinning all the way from the rear end part of the body towards and over the head/neck part of the animal body. Thus, further skin clamping means such as further jaw pairs or the like may be omitted. This may also result in a simple and space saving solution that may increase the efficiency when skinning a plurality of animal bodies by the apparatus.

The invention moreover in a second aspect relates to an apparatus for skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink, after a part of the skin has been freed from a rear portion of the animal body, which apparatus according to the second aspect comprises:

a front side facing an operator location, a top part and a bottom part, a body fixation arrangement for holding a body part of the animal body freed from the skin at the rear end portion so that the body extends towards said bottom part, a skin clamping arrangement for clamping the part of the skin freed from the animal body, which skin clamping arrangement comprises a pair of jaws, wherein at least one of said jaws is movable towards and away from the other jaw by means of jaw moving means in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement in an open state to receive said freed skin or a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part of said freed skin, a guiding arrangement for guiding said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction of said guiding arrangement in opposite directions during skinning of said animal body, and a drive arrangement configured to provide said movement of said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement, wherein said skin clamping arrangement is supported on said guiding arrangement by means of a frame part, wherein said frame part is configured so as to extend from said guiding arrangement and at least partly around said animal body, so as to provide a space for receiving a part of said animal body not yet freed from the skin when the animal body is arranged in said body fixation arrangement, and so that the skin clamping arrangement is arranged at the side of the animal body facing said operator location, and wherein the at least one movable jaw of said skin clamping arrangement is configured to be moved towards and away from said animal body in a substantially horizontal direction in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement in either said open state or said closed clamping state.

The present invention according to the second aspect has shown to provide an advantageous skinning apparatus where a simple and yet efficient skin clamping arrangement may be utilized for clamping the freed skin near the rear end portion of the animal body. It has shown that by utilizing the type of skinning apparatus where the body fixation arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement are moved in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in a longitudinal direction of the guiding arrangement, and utilizing one or more jaws that is moved towards and away from the animal body in a substantially horizontal direction, no further skin clamping means may be needed in order to provide a full skinning operation from the rear end portion of the body. Accordingly, the operator (after the animal body is arranged in the body fixation arrangement ) need not provide a manual first skinning operation by drawing the skin from the rear end portion of the animal body to a position where freed skin extends past the animal head, before the freed skin is positioned by the operator in the clamping arrangement.

Additionally, it is provided that the operator in a simple and fast way may clamp the skin in the skin clamping arrangement as the skin clamping arrangement is arranged at the side of the animal body facing the operator location. The operator need thus not reach around the animal body to arrange the freed skin in the skin clamping arrangement which, from a working environmental point of view, may be undesirable movement for the operator when skinning a plurality of animal bodies and thus performing a monotonous repeated work. The present invention may thus also provide a fast skinning process as the skin clamping arrangement is easily accessible as it faces the operator location.

In advantageous aspects of at least the second aspect of the invention, further skin clamping means beyond the pair of jaws of the skin clamping arrangement may be omitted.

In embodiments of the second aspect, said pair of jaws are configured to provide an upwardly facing opening for receiving said freed skin part in said open state, which opening is preferably provided between clamping faces/surfaces of said pair of jaws, which clamping faces are arranged substantially vertically at least in said closed clamping state.

This has shown to provide a simple and yet efficient clamping solution that is user friendly. The initially freed skin part may thus hang downwards from the rear part of the animal body and cover a part of the skin not yet freed from the animal body. An operator can thus fast and easily arrange the skin part between the jaws s the opening faces upwards, preferably so the jaws clamp on the skin at the skin side and fur side respectively, and then activate a button, pedal or the like in order to clamp the skin part between the jaws. Advantageously, at least one jaw of said pair of jaws may in embodiments of said second aspect comprise clamping faces provided by a resilient material such as a rubber material. This solution has shown to provide an advantageous firm and at the same time gentle clamping of the skin.

The clamping faces of the pair of jaws may in aspects of the second aspect be substantially straight and preferably extends substantially sideways seen from the operator location.

In embodiments of said second aspect, said space may have a depth between 5 cm and 35 cm such as between 10 and 15 cm. This may provide sufficient space for the body part to move between the guiding arrangement and the skin clamping arrangement during skinning

The guiding arrangement may also in embodiments of said second aspect be configured so as to be arranged substantially at the side of the animal body facing away from said operator location.

This may provide a space saving and yet simple and efficient skinning apparatus

The said space may preferably extend substantially towards said guiding

arrangement, preferably in a direction which is substantially perpendicular to said longitudinal direction.

In embodiments of said second aspect, the said skin clamping arrangement and said body fixation arrangement are configured so as to be able to be arranged in a start position, in which start position the vertical distance between said skin clamping arrangement and said body fixation arrangement is between 3 cm and 40 cm such as between 5 cm and 25 cm, e.g. between 10 cm and 15 cm. In embodiments of said second aspect, the apparatus may advantageously be an apparatus according to one or more embodiments of said first aspect, e.g. as described in one or more of claims 1-22.

The invention additionally, in a third aspect, relates to a method of skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink by means of a skinning apparatus after a part of the skin has (initially) been freed from a rear portion of the animal body, said method comprising the steps of arranging said rear portion of said animal body in at a body fixation arrangement of the apparatus, arranging a part of said animal body not yet freed from the skin so that the animal body extends substantially vertically into a space provided between a skin clamping arrangement facing an operator location and a part of a guiding arrangement for guiding said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement, arranging and clamping a freed skin part in said skin clamping arrangement, and providing a substantially linear movement of said body fixation arrangement and said skin clamping arrangement from a start position in opposite directions in a longitudinal direction of said guiding arrangement by means of drive means, in order to provide a skinning of said animal body by means of said apparatus from said a rear end portion of said animal body.

In advantageous embodiments of said method, the method may comprise initially arranging said body fixation arrangement at a second upper position, and arranging said rear portion of the animal body at said body fixation arrangement while the body fixation arrangement is located in said second position, and subsequently moving said body fixation arrangement downwards and/or moving said skin clamping arrangement upwards to said start position where said animal body extends into said space before clamping said skin part in said skin clamping arrangement.

In further advantageous embodiments of said method, said skinning by means of said apparatus comprises moving said skin clamping arrangement downwards to a lower end position, and moving said fixation arrangement upwards towards an upper end position, wherein said start position and/or said second position are arranged between said lower end position . In still further advantageous embodiments of said method, said method comprises initially arranging said body fixation arrangement so that the back side of the body faces towards an operator location, and so the belly side faces away from the operator location, and preferably so that said back side of the animal body faces said skin clamping arrangement in said start position.

In the method according to the third aspect, said apparatus may in embodiments of the invention be an apparatus according to one or more of the embodiments of said first and/or second aspect of the invention, e.g. an apparatus according to one or more of the claims 1-30.

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 skinning furred animal bodies such as mink bodies according to embodiments of the invention fig. 2 : illustrates an apparatus according to embodiments of the invention where a body fixation arrangement is arranged in a second position, fig. 3 : illustrates an apparatus according to embodiments of the invention where a body fixation arrangement and a skin clamping arrangement are arranged in a start position, fig. 4 : illustrates an apparatus according to embodiments of the invention where a skinning operation is performed by the apparatus fig. 5 : illustrates an apparatus according to further embodiments of the invention, fig. 6 : illustrates an apparatus according to embodiments of the invention comprising a pulley system, fig. 7 : illustrates an apparatus according to further embodiments of the invention where a body fixation arrangement and a skin clamping arrangement are arranged in a start position, fig. 8 : illustrates a skin clamping arrangement according to embodiments of the invention, figs. 9 and 10 : illustrates further embodiments of the invention seen from above where a space for receiving an animal body is provided, and fig. 11 : illustrates schematically an embodiment of a control system for a skinning apparatus according to embodiments of the invention

Detailed description

Fig. 1 illustrates schematically an apparatus 1 seen from the side for skinning bodies of furred animals, such as mink, after a part of the skin on the body has been freed from a rear portion of the animal body, according to embodiments of the invention. Initially, the animal is put down, and the fore- and rear paws are cut off. The skin of the animal body 10 is then cut open between the rear legs and the tail, and a part of the skin is freed from the rear legs and the tail. Then the animal body 10 is then arranged in the apparatus 1 to provide the remaining skinning.

The apparatus 1 comprises a front side 2 facing an operator location OL, a top part 3 and a bottom part 4. The operator location OL may either be a sitting or a standing place where an operator can be located to skin a plurality of animal bodies over time by means of the apparatus 1.

The skinning apparatus 2 comprises a body fixation arrangement 5 for holding the rear end portion 10a (see fig. 2) of the animal body at the part of the body 10a that has been freed from the skin part 1 1 a. The body fixation arrangement 5 may in embodiments of the invention comprise a sledge 24 having one or more spikes 5a for at least partly penetrating the rear end portion 10a of the animal body. In other embodiments of the invention, the body fixation arrangement 5 may comprise a pair of clamps, e.g. arranged pivotable on a on a sledge 24, and being movable by moviving means such as an actuator or the like for holding the rear part 10a of the animal body 10 in a closed position.

When the animal body is arranged with the rear end portion attached to/in the body fixation arrangement 5, the animal body thus hangs from the body fixation arrangement 5 at the rear part 10a so that the body extends towards the bottom part 4/floor, see e.g. figs 2-4.

The apparatus 1 moreover comprises a skin clamping arrangement 6 for clamping the part of the skin 11a freed from the animal body. The skin clamping arrangement 6 is configured to be arranged in an open state (as illustrated in fig. 1) to receive the freed skin and in a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part 1 la of the freed skin. The skin clamping arrangement 6 comprises a pair of jaws 6a, 6b. At least one of the jaws 6b is movable towards and away from the other jaw 6a by means of jaw moving means 12 in order to arrange said skin clamping arrangement 6 in the open state to receive said freed skin or a closed clamping state to clamp and hold a part 1 la of said freed skin.

By operating the jaw moving means 12, the movable jaw 6b is moved towards or away from the animal body in order to arrange the skin clamping arrangement 6 in either the open state or the closed clamping state.

The jaws 6a, 6b are arranged to extend upwards so that the opening 13 provided between the jaws 6a, 6b to receive the freed skin faces upwards, An operator can thus by a downwards movement arrange the freed skin in between the jaws 6a, 6b. The clamping edges of the jaws 6a, 6b may extend substantially sideways seen from the operator location OL.

The jaw moving means 12 may in embodiments of the invention preferably comprise a linear actuator (e.g. controlled by a fluid system such as pneumatics or hydraulics) for providing the jaw movement, it may comprise an electric motor operating a rotatable spindle or any other suitable means. The jaw 6b is in the present example configured to rotate around a substantially horizontal axis AX1 during actuation by the jaw moving means 12. The guiding arrangement 7a, 7b is thus arranged at the side of the animal body facing away from said operator location OL.

The apparatus is of the skinning tower type and thus comprises a guiding

arrangement 7a, 7b for guiding the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in the longitudinal direction LD of the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b in opposite directions during skinning.

The apparatus 1 also comprises a drive arrangement 8 configured to provide the movement of the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6. The drive arrangement 8 preferably comprises an electric motor.

The guiding arrangement 7a, 7b comprises a first longitudinal, fixed member 7a and a second longitudinal member 7b. The second longitudinal member 7b is

substantially linearly displaceable relative to the first longitudinal member 7b in the longitudinal direction LD.

The second longitudinal member 7b is preferably substantially straight. Also, the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a is preferably substantially straight.

The body fixation arrangement 5 is arranged to be guided along the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a, moved by a support connection 20 such as a rope, wire, strap or chain, and the skin clamping arrangement 6 is guided by the displaceable second longitudinal member 7b.

The fixed member 7a is connected to a vertical support arrangement 16 which is connected to a support foot arrangement 17, and the support foot arrangement 17 stands/supports on a floor surface 18. The body fixation arrangement 5 is in the illustrated embodiment configured to move in the longitudinal direction LD along the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a, and the skin clamping arrangement 5 is connected to the second longitudinal member 7b which preferably may be guided internally in the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a. Accordingly, the skin clamping arrangement 5 is displaced downwards, by displacing the second longitudinal member 7b downwards by activating the drive arrangement 8. In a similar way, the skin clamping arrangement 6 is displaced upwards from a lower position by displacing the second longitudinal member 7b upwards by activating the drive arrangement 8. This may preferably be performed by the drive arrangement 8 comprising an electric motor and thus by controlling the rotation direction of the shaft of the motor such as a three-phase electrical motor.

The skin clamping arrangement 6 is supported on the guiding arrangement 7b by means of a frame part 9. The skin clamping arrangement 6 is connected to the frame part 9, and the said frame part 9 is configured so as to extend from the second longitudinal member 7b and at least partly around the animal body 10, so as to provide a space 15 for receiving a part of the animal body not yet freed from the skin when the animal body is arranged in the body fixation arrangement 6, and so that the jaws 6a, 6b of the skin clamping arrangement 6 is arranged at the side of the animal body facing the operator location OL.

The frame part 9 is preferably connected to the second longitudinal member 7b at/near a free end part 21 of the second longitudinal member 7b.

Generally, it is preferred that the second longitudinal member 7b is displaceable connected to the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a in order to be guided in the longitudinal direction LD during the relative motion between the members 7a, 7b while being supported by the first longitudinal, fixed member. The second longitudinal member 7b preferably, in embodiments of the invention, extend into the interior of the first longitudinal, fixed member 7a to provide a telescopic functionality of the guiding arrangement where the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b can become longer or shorter during the skinning. The frame 9 may thus preferably be connected at/near a free end part 21 of the second longitudinal member 7b, and the other end of the second longitudinal member 7b may thus be guided inside the first longitudinal member 7a. In other embodiments of the invention, which is not illustrated, the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b may comprise a single "fixed" member for guiding the skin clamping arrangement 6 and the body fixation arrangement 5. Such a single "fixed" member may comprise rails, tracks or other means for guiding sledges which may comprise the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 respectively.

In Fig. 1 , the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 are arranged in a start position POS1. In this start position, the vertical distance LI between the skin clamping arrangement 6 and the body fixation arrangement 5 is between 3 cm and 40 cm such as between 5 cm and 25 cm, e.g. between 10 cm and 15 cm.

An operator may control one or more control means 14 such as buttons, handles and/or pedals connected to a control system of the apparatus. By operating these, the operator may control the vertical displacement of the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6, the opening and closing of the jaws 6a, 6b, further body fixation means and/or the like. In an embodiment of the invention the length LI may be manually adjusted by the operator by utilizing the control means and thus be adapted to the individual animal body. In other embodiments of the invention, the start position POS1 may be predefined in the control system, and when the operator activates a control means 14 after a skinning has been performed by the apparatus, and e.g. a new body is arranged at/on the body fixation arrangement 5, the operator may activate control means 14 such as a pedal, button or a handle, and the control system automatically move a part of the body fixation arrangement 6 and/or the skin clamping

arrangement 5 to the start position POS1. Fig. 2 illustrates schematically an apparatus 1 seen from the side, according to embodiments of the invention, where the body fixation arrangement 5 is arranged in an initial body fixation position POS2. An operator can hence arrange a rear portion 10a of the animal body 10 in the body fixation arrangement 5, e.g. so that one or more spikes 5a penetrates a rear portion 10a of the animal body at a part of the hind quarters of the body which has initially been freed from a rear part 1 la of the skin 1 1 on the body 10. The initially freed skin part 1 1a thus hangs downwards from the body and cover a part of the skin 1 1 not yet freed from the animal body 10, preferably so that the belly part of the body 10 faces away from the operator location OL and the back part of the body 10 faces the operator location OL. When the body fixation arrangement 5 is arranged in the second position POS2, the vertical distance L6 between 40 cm - 70 cm such as between 45 cm - 65 cm, e.g. about 50 cm - 60 cm.

In the next step, the body fixation arrangement 5 is moved downwards to the start position POS 1 as illustrated in fig. 3 (and fig. 1).

In fig. 3, a part of the body 10 not yet freed from the skin 11 extends downwards into the space/opening 15 between the skin clamping arrangement 6 and the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b. In the present example, the space/opening 15 between the skin clamping arrangement 6 and the displaceable, second longitudinal member 7b.

In this start position POS1, the freed skin 1 1a can be arranged in the opening 13 between the jaws 6a, 6b. The freed skin part 1 la may thus be is moved downwards into the opening 13 between the jaws 6a, 6b, preferably so that the jaw 6a closest to the body 10 clamps on the fur side of the skin part 11a (facing towards the body as the skin part 1 la extends down over the body), and the other, movable jaw 6b engages with the freed skin side (facing away from the body) of the skin part 11a during clamping and skinning. The skin clamping arrangement 6 is thus arranged to grab a part 1 la of the skin 1 1 which is a part of the skin 11 that covered the rear part of the back of the animal boy, as the belly part of the body 10 preferably faces away from the operator location OL and the jaws 6a, 6b, towards the second, displaceable longitudinal member 7b. Then

The operator then activates control means 14 such as a button, handle or pedal to arrange the jaws 6a, 6b in the closed clamping state to clamp and hold the part 1 la of the skin 11 which was freed from the body 10 before the body 10 was arranged in the apparatus 1.

The operator thus preferably need not provide a manual skinning operation previous to arranging the skin part 1 la in the opening 13 between the jaws 6a, 6b.

Then the body fixation arrangement 5 and the clamping arrangement 6 then moved, in a substantially linear movement relative to each other in the longitudinal direction LD of the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b, in opposite directions, by activating the drive means 8. The skin clamping arrangement 6 is thus moved downwards by displacing the second longitudinal member 7b downwards in the longitudinal direction LD, and the body fixation arrangement 5 is moved upwards along the first, longitudinal, fixed member 7a by a support connection 20 such as a rope, wire, strap or chain. Thereby the skin 11 is freed from the body carcase as illustrated in fig. 4.

In fig. 4 the body fixation arrangement 5 is moved upwards, preferably by displacing the sledge to an upper third position POS3 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 is moved downwards to a lower fourth position POS4. The positions POS1 and POS2 are thus arranged between the third and fourth positions POS3, POS4.

The space 15 is dimensioned so as to allow a movement of the animal body 10 relative to the frame part 9 substantially in the longitudinal direction LD of the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b during skinning by said apparatus 1. Fig. 5 illustrates the apparatus 1 seen in perspective, according to embodiments of the invention. Here the body fixation arrangement 5 comprises further body fixation means 23a, 23b, e.g. in the form of movable body clamping elements 23a, 23b arranged at opposing sides of said animal body 10. The body clamping elements 23a, 23b may comprise jaws comprising spikes or the like (not illustrated) for penetrating the animal body, horizontal edges acting as barbs when in contact with the animal body and/or the like. For penetrating or holding the animal body at e.g. the middle part of the body after a part of the skin 11 has been removed from the body by means of the apparatus 1.

The further body fixation means 23a, 23b are configured to move to a holding position to hold a part of said animal body 10 freed from the skin by means of the apparatus, before the apparatus 1 provides a skinning of the head and/or fore-leg part of said animal body.

The first body fixation means 5a for holding the rear part 10a of the animal body is in fig. 5 arranged in POS2 where the rear body part 10a can be attached to the body fixation arrangement 5. e.g. illustrated in fig. 2. The body fixation means 5a are connected to a displaceable first body fixation device in the form of a sledge 24 which is displaceable in the longitudinal direction LD along a rail part 22.

By displacing the first body fixation device 24 downwards from POS 2, relative to the rail part 22, to the first/start position POS1 (see fig. 3) the operator can place the skin part 1 la between the jaws 6a, 6b in the first/start position POS1. During this movement to the first position, the operator can guide the body part not yet freed from the skin into the opening 15.

The first body fixation device 24 are configured to be moved upwards relative to the further body fixation means 23a, 23b from the start position POS1 along the rail 22 in the longitudinal direction LD after the skin part 1 la is clamped in the skin clamping arrangement 6, e.g. back to the second position POS2. This provides a first skinning operation at least a part of the belly/back part of the animal body is skinned. The further body fixation means 23a, 23b can then be moved towards the animal body to clamp/hold the belly/back part the part of said animal body that was freed from the skin 1 1 during the first skinning operation, which will help to provide a more firm hold of the animal body 10 before the remaining skinning.

The support connection 20 such as a strap, rope, chain or wire may in embodiments of the invention be connected to the first body fixation device 24. After this, the apparatus 1 is configured to provide a further skinning operation after the further body fixation means 23a, 23b has engaged the animal body 10 at the belly/back side in order to skin the neck part, head part and/or fore paw part of the animal body. This is provided by moving the skin clamping arrangement 6 further downwards towards the floor and the body fixation arrangement 5 further upwards towards the top part 3.

The body fixation arrangement is preferably configured so that the sledge 24 in e.g. the second position POS2 grabs/engages with a member connected to the further body fixation means 23a, 23b so that the sledge 24 during the further skinning operation also forces/lifts the body fixation means 23a, 23b upwards.

The body fixation arrangement 5 may in embodiments of the invention be connected to one or more guiding members 25 configured to extend at least partly around the first, fixed longitudinal member 7a in order to guide the body fixation arrangement 5 along the longitudinal member 7a during skinning.

Generally, it is to be understood that guiding arrangement 7a, 7b may in

embodiments of the invention be tiltable to be arranged substantially vertically or in an angle compared to vertical, e.g. between 0 and 50° such as between 0 and 30° compared to vertical in order to obtain that the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b may incline so that the bottom part of the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b is closer to the operator location OL than the top part 3 of the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b. This may in embodiments of the invention be adjusted at the operator's discretion at a hinge 26 connecting the guiding arrangement 7a, 7b and the vertical support arrangement 16. Fig. 6 schematically illustrates the apparatus 1 seen from the side, according to embodiments of the invention. A view into the interior of the first, fixed longitudinal member 7a is indicated with dashed lines.

As can be seen, the second, displaceable. Longitudinal member 7b extends into the first longitudinal member 7a and is guided inside the member 7a.

In order to provide that the traveling distance of the body fixation arrangement 5 is configured to be larger than the traveling distance of the clamping arrangement 6 during skinning, so that the traveling distance ratio between the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 is at least 1.5:1, a pulley system 29, 30 is provided.

The body fixation arrangement 5 is thus configured to be moved along the first longitudinal member by means a support connection 20 such as a rope, wire, strap or chain which is guided by the pulley system 29, 30. The support connection 20 is attached to and extends from the body fixation arrangement 5 over a first upper, stationary pulley 29 to a second, movable pulley 30, and from the second pulley 30 to a stationary fixation part 31 such as a mount, preferably arranged at the upper part of the apparatus 1 at the longitudinal member 7a.

The second, movable pulley 30 is rotatable arranged at the upper part of the displaceable, longitudinal member 7b.

A spindle 27 is arranged vertically in the stationary longitudinal member 7a and is connected to the displaceable, longitudinal member 7b by a thread part 28 which comprises an inner thread that fits the thread of the spindle 27. Accordingly, when the drive arrangement 8 such as an electric motor rotates the spindle 27 around its centre axis AX1 (which preferably is substantially parallel to the longitudinal direction LD) by means of a spindle rotation arrangement 35 such as a tooth wheel system, a belt system or the like,, the thread part 28, and hereby the displaceable, longitudinal member 7b, is moved upwards or downwards along the spindle dependent on the rotation direction of the spindle. Hereby, the second, movable pulley 30 is also moved upwards or downwards providing that, due to the pulley system, that the traveling distance L2 of the body fixation arrangement 5 is configured to be larger than the traveling distance L3 of the clamping arrangement 6 during skinning.

The same drive means 8, such as an electric motor, thus provides the movement of the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6.

In the present example, the traveling distance ratio L2:L3 is configured to be about 2: 1, i.e. the body fixation arrangement 5 is configured to travel substantially twice the distance of the traveling distance L3 of the skin clamping 6 arrangement during skinning in that the length L2=2xL3. In other embodiments of the invention, the pulley system may be a 3: 1 pulley system or a 4: 1 pulley system (not illustrated).

The traveling speed of the body fixation arrangement 5 during skinning is in embodiments of the invention higher than the traveling speed of the skin clamping arrangement 6 during skinning. In further embodiments of the invention, the traveling speed ratio between the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 during skinning substantially corresponds to the traveling distance ratio. This may be provided by a pulley system as described above, or it may in further embodiments of the invention be obtained by two motors having drive shafts with different rotation speeds (e.g. obtained by frequency converter), by means of gear boxes and/or the like. The full traveling length L3+L2 of the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 is in a preferred embodiment of the invention between 140 cm and 210 cm such as between 160 cm and 190 cm, e.g. about 180 cm. Fig. 7 schematically illustrates the apparatus 1 seen from the side, according to embodiments of the invention. Fig. 7 indicates the preferred operation height L5 where the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 are arranged in the start position. Here, the clamping faces of the jaws 6a, 6b are arranged at a height L5 above the floor surface that is about 70cm- 120cm such as about 75-100 cm above the floor 18 surface, e.g. about 85-95 cm above the floor surface. This enables an advantageous working height L5 for an operator at the operator location OL.

Fig. 8 illustrates an embodiment of the skin clamping arrangement 6 seen from the side. The pair of jaws 6a, 6b of the arrangement 6 comprises clamping faces 40a, 40b which are configured to be in contact with the fur side and skin side respectively during clamping. The clamping faces 40a, 40b are provided by a resilient material 41 such as a rubber material. At least the jaw 6a for being in contact with the fur side may comprise such a resilient member 41, but preferably, both jaws 6a, 6b comprise such a resilient material. The clamping faces 40a, 40b are configured to be moved towards and away from each other during clamping, and the opening 13 for receiving the skin in the first position points faces upwards away from the floor. The resilient members 41 supports on a jaw plate/frame 42a, 42b, and the plate 42b of the movable jaw 6b is connected to the jaw moving means 12 so the jaw moving means can control the movement of the jaw to the open position or clamping position.

The clamping edges/faces 40a, 40b of the jaws are preferably substantially straight and preferably extends substantially sideways seen from the operator location OL. Thus in the closed clamping position, the faces 40a, 40b are preferably substantially vertical surfaces, e.g. comprising horizontal grooves to provide a larger friction. The movable jaw 6b is configured to be moved towards and away from the animal body 10 in a substantially horizontal direction in order to arrange the skin clamping arrangement 6 in either the open state to provide the opening 13 or in the closed clamping state to clamp the skin. This is provided by the jaw 6b being rotatable around a substantially horizontal axis AX2 provided by a hinge connection 46.

Fig. 9 illustrates schematically an embodiment of the invention seen from above where the skin clamping arrangement 6 is connected to the displaceable, longitudinal member 7b by the frame part 9. The frame part in this example comprises extend around each side of the animal body as the frame part 9 comprises side members 50 arranged at each side of the space 15 for receiving the animal body 10. The side members 50, such as a pair of rods or side walls thus defines the opening 15 through which the animal body not yet freed from the skin 11 can extend vertically. The depth Dl of the space 15 from the edge 51 of the opening nearest the jaws 6, and the edge 52 nearest the longitudinal member 7b is preferably between 5 cm and 25 cm such as between 10 and 15 cm.

Fig. 10 illustrates schematically another embodiment of the skin clamping arrangement 6 according to embodiments of the invention seen from above, where the skin clamping arrangement 6 is connected to the displaceable, longitudinal member 7b by the frame part 9.

Here the space 15 for receiving the body is open at one side, and thus, a side members 50, such as a rod or side wall thus defines the opening 15 through which the animal body not yet freed from the skin 1 1 can extend vertically.

Common to the embodiments of figs 9 and 10 is that the frame part 9 is configured to extend around each side of the animal body 10, and thus provides an opening 15 through which the animal body not yet freed from the skin 1 1 can extend vertically towards the floor when the body fixation arrangement 5 and the skin clamping arrangement 6 are arranged in the first start POS1 as previously explained and the body hangs from the rear portion of the body at the body fixation arrangement 5.

Fig. 11 illustrates schematically an embodiment of a control system CS for the skinning apparatus 1 according to embodiments of the invention.

The control system CS comprises input means such as buttons 14a, 14b, 14c, pedals, handles a touch screen and/or the like. An operator can activate these means 14a- 14c in order to control the operation of the apparatus 1. The input means are arranged to provide input signals to a controller 70 which interprets the input according to a rule set provided by a control software stored in a data storage DS of the apparatus 1. The controller may comprise a programmable, logic controller (PLC), or any other suitable type of control system, e.g. comprising a micro processor. The controller 70provides control signals to the drive arrangement 8, jaw moving means 12 and preferably also to moving means for controlling the position of further body fixation means 23a, 23b based on the input from the input means 14a-14c and the software code, thereby enabling the operator to control the skinning of the animal body by the skinning apparatus 1, preferably from the operator location OL.

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.

List

1 : Apparatus for skinning bodies such as mink bodies

2 : Front side

3 : Top part of apparatus 1

4 : Bottom part of apparatus

5 : Body fixation arrangement

6 : Skin clamping arrangement

6a, 6b : Jaws of skin clamping arrangement

7 : Guiding arrangement configured to guide body fixation arrangement and skin clamping arrangement

8 : Drive arrangement

9 : Frame part

10 ; Animal body

10a : Rear portion of animal body

11 : Skin

1 1a : Rear part of skin initially freed from body, preferably before the body is arranged in the apparatus

13 : Opening between jaws 6a, 6b

14, 14a- 14c: Control means such as a button, handle or pedal

15 : Opening for receiving animal body when the apparatus is in start

position

16 : Vertical support arrangement

17 : Support foot

18 : Floor surface

20 : Support connection such as a rope, wire, strap or chain

21 : Free end part of the second longitudinal member

22 : Rail part

23a, 23b : Further body fixation means

24 : First body fixation device such as a sledge

25 : Guiding member(s) 26 : connection part connecting guiding arrangement and vertical support arrangement.

27 : Spindle

28 : part with inner thread

29 : First pulley such as a wheel wheel, toothed wheel or the like 30 : second pulley such as a wheel, toothed wheel or the like

31 : Stationary fixation part

40a, 40b : Clamping face/surface of jaws 6a, 6b

41 : resilient material such as rubber

42a, 42b : jaw plate/frame.

50 : Side member(s)

LD : Longitudinal direction of guiding arrangement

OL : Operator location

POS1 : start position from where the skinning may be initiated

POS2 : position where body fixation arrangement may be arranged when arranging the animal body in the apparatus and/or where further body fixation means may engage the skinned body

POS3 : Upper end position for body fixation arrangement

POS4 : Lower end position for skin clamping arrangement