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Title:
DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR. DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR TRAY, AND METHOD OF PRODUCING A DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR TRAY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/209155
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprises a roller cassette support (46b) and a plurality of roller cassettes (44a, 44b, 44c) supported by the roller cassette support (46b) and configured to support a feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a basket support face (Fa, Fb, Fc). A spacer arrangement (54b) at a dishwashing basket exit vertically raises at least a portion of the basket support face (Fb, Fc) of at least one roller cassette (44b, 44c) relative to the basket support face (Fa) of an adjacent upstream, un raised roller cassette (44a). The present invention also relates to a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray (28) and a method of producing such a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray (28).

Inventors:
ERIKSSON, Magnus (Bäckaslövsvägen 18, Växjö, 352 35, SE)
FRANSSON, Roger (Lönnvägen 6, Växjö, 352 43, SE)
Application Number:
SE2019/050324
Publication Date:
October 31, 2019
Filing Date:
April 08, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WEXIÖDISK AKTIEBOLAG (Mårdvägen 4, Växjö, 352 45, SE)
International Classes:
A47L15/24
Foreign References:
US3083716A1963-04-02
US2001773A1935-05-21
US20050126032A12005-06-16
CA2385973A12003-11-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INDUSTRIPATENT I VÄXJÖ AB (Box 3130, Växjö, 350 43, SE)
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Claims:
Claims

1. A dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising

an upstream end (36) configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets (24);

a downstream end (38);

a guide (52a, 52b) configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a feed direction (26) between the upstream end (36) and the downstream end (38);

a roller cassette support (46a, 46b) extending along the feed direction

(26);

a plurality of roller cassettes (44a, 44b, 44c) supported by the roller cassette support (46a, 46b) one after another along the feed direction (26), each roller cassette (44a, 44b, 44c) comprising a plurality of rollers (48) separated in the feed direction (26), the plurality of rollers (48) being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a basket support face (Fa, Fb, Fc); and

a dishwashing basket exit (42) configured to facilitate a dishwashing basket (24) to be extracted from the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20) in a removal direction (43) transversal to the feed direction (26),

wherein the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20) comprises a spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) at the dishwashing basket exit (42), the spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) being arranged at an interface between the roller cassette support (46a, 46b) and at least one raised roller cassette (44b, 44c), thereby vertically raising at least a portion of the basket support face (Fb, Fc) of said at least one raised roller cassette (44b, 44c) relative to the basket support face (Fa) of an adjacent upstream, unraised roller cassette (44a).

2. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 1 , wherein the guide (52a, 52b) comprises a guide edge (60a, 60b) configured to engage with and guide a vertical side (62a, 62b) of a dishwashing basket (24) of said feed of dishwashing baskets.

3. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 2, wherein the

spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) has a vertical height (FI) adapted to raise the basket support face (Fb, Fc) to a vertical position substantially flush with or above the guide edge (60a, 60b).

4. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 2, wherein the guide (52a, 52b) comprises a sloped upper portion (66b) above the guide edge (60b), the sloped upper portion (66b) forming an angle (a) of between 5° and 60° with a horizontal plane.

5. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 4, wherein the

sloped upper portion (66b) of the guide (52b) interfaces with the guide edge (60b) at a bend (64b) extending along the guide (52b) in the feed direction(26), wherein the bend (64b) is positioned above the basket support face (Fa) at the unraised roller cassette (44a), and substantially vertically flush with or below the raised basket support face (Fb, Fc) of said at least one raised roller cassette (44b, 44c).

6. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein the roller cassette support is configured as a pair of support shoulders (46a, 46b) extending along opposite longitudinal sides of a conveyor tray (28), the support shoulders (46a, 46b) and the conveyor tray (28) being integrally formed of sheet metal.

7. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 6, wherein the

spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) is fixedly connected to at least one of the support shoulders (46a, 46b) to define the position along the feed direction (26) of said basket exit (42).

8. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 7, wherein the

spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) is configured as at least one embossment (56, 58) formed in the sheet metal, the embossment (56, 58) protruding upwards from at least one of the support shoulders (46a, 46b).

9. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein the spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) is configured to raise the entire basket support face (Fc) of at least one (44c) of said at least one raised roller cassette (44b, 44c).

10. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein said at least one raised roller cassette comprises a pair of adjacent raised roller cassettes (44b, 44c) comprising an upstream raised roller cassette (44b) and a downstream raised roller cassette (44c), wherein the spacer arrangement raises only a downstream end (45b) of the upstream raised roller cassette (44b), and both an upstream end (45c) and a downstream end (47c) of the downstream raised roller cassette (44c).

11. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20) being configured to convey dishwashing baskets (24) having a horizontal width (W), in a direction

perpendicular to the feed direction (26), of 500 mm.

12. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein the roller cassettes (44a, 44b, 44c) have a respective length (L) along the feed direction (26) of between 400 mm and 600 mm.

13. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20) is configured to receive said feed of dishwashing baskets (24) from a dishwashing machine (18).

14. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to any of the previous claims, wherein the basket exit (42) is arranged at the downstream end (38).

15. The dishwashing basket roller conveyor according to claim 13, further

comprising an end limit switch (40) adapted to detect the presence of a dishwashing basket (24) when aligned with the dishwashing basket exit (42), and to provide a stop signal to stop an automatic dishwashing basket feed of a dishwasher (18) upstream of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20).

16. A dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray comprising a pair of roller cassette support shoulders (46a, 46b) extending along opposite longitudinal sides of the conveyor tray (28), the support shoulders (46a, 46b) and the conveyor tray (28) being integrally formed of sheet metal, the support shoulders (46a, 46b) comprising a spacer arrangement (54a, 54b) comprising at least one

embossment (56, 58) configured to locally raise at least a portion of at least one roller cassette (44b, 44c).

17. A dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising

an upstream end (36) configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets (24);

a downstream end (38);

a guide (52a, 52b) configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a feed direction (26) between the upstream end (36) and the downstream end (38); and

a plurality of roller cassettes (44a, 44b, 44c) one after another along the feed direction (26), each roller cassette (44a, 44b, 44c) comprising a plurality of rollers (48) separated in the feed direction (26), the plurality of rollers (48) being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a basket support face (Fa, Fb, Fc), wherein the guide (52a, 52b) comprises

a guide edge (60b) configured to engage with and guide a vertical side (62b) of a dishwashing basket (24) of said feed of dishwashing baskets (24), and

a sloped upper portion (66b) above the guide edge (60b), the sloped upper portion (66b) forming an angle (a) of between 5° and 60° with a horizontal plane.

18. A dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising

an upstream end (36) configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets (24);

a downstream end (38);

a guide (52b) configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a feed direction (26) between the upstream end (36) and the downstream end (38), the guide (52b) comprising a guide edge (60b) configured to engage with and guide a vertical side (62b) of a dishwashing basket (24) of said feed of dishwashing baskets (24); and

a plurality of roller cassettes (44a, 44b, 44c) arranged one after another along the feed direction (26), each roller cassette (44a, 44b, 44c) comprising a plurality of rollers (48) separated in the feed direction (26), the each of the plurality of rollers (48) being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets (24) along a respective basket support face (Fa, Fb, Fc), wherein at least one of said roller cassettes (44a) is held in the dishwashing basket roller conveyor at a vertical position where its respective basket support face (Fa) is below the guide edge (60b), to allow guiding the feed of dishwashing baskets, and

at least one of said roller cassettes (44b, 44c) is held in the dishwashing basket roller conveyor at a vertical position where at least a portion of its respective basket support face (Fb, Fc) is substantially flush with or above the guide edge (60a, 60b), to facilitate extracting a dishwashing basket (24) from the dishwashing basket roller conveyor (20) in a removal direction (43) transversal to the feed direction (26).

19. A method of producing a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray (28)

comprising

cutting a piece of stainless steel sheet to form an elongate roller conveyor tray blank;

bending the roller conveyor tray blank to form an elongate channel- shaped structure provided with a pair of roller cassette support shoulders (46a, 46b) extending along opposite longitudinal sides of the roller conveyor tray blank; locally embossing a spacer arrangement (56, 58) into at least one of the roller cassette support shoulders (46a, 46b) at a longitudinal position (42) along the roller conveyor blank to define a dishwashing basket exit position;

and

welding gable plates (53) to longitudinal ends of the channel-shaped conveyor blank.

Description:
DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR. DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR TRAY AND METHOD OF PRODUCING A DISHWASHING BASKET ROLLER CONVEYOR TRAY

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a dishwashing basket roller conveyor, a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray, and a method of producing a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray.

Background of the invention

A dishwashing system for professional dishwashing may typically comprise a dishwasher, which may be connected to various conveyors. Sometimes the items to be washed are arranged in dishwashing baskets, which are transported through the dishwashing process on roller conveyors. An upstream roller conveyor may provide a feed of baskets, holding items to be washed, to the dishwasher, and/or a

downstream roller conveyor may receive a feed of baskets with items which have been washed in the dishwasher.

Work in a dishwashing system may be tiresome, and much effort is put into making dishwashing systems more ergonomic for the user. There is however a need for a more ergonomic dishwashing system.

Summary of the invention

It is an object of the present invention to solve, or at least mitigate, parts or all of the above mentioned problems. To this end, there is provided a dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising an upstream end configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets; a downstream end; a guide configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets along a feed direction between the upstream end and the downstream end; a roller cassette support extending along the feed direction; a plurality of roller cassettes supported by the roller cassette support one after another along the feed direction, each roller cassette comprising a plurality of rollers separated in the feed direction, the plurality of rollers being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets along a basket support face; and a dishwashing basket exit configured to facilitate a dishwashing basket to be extracted from the dishwashing basket roller conveyor in a removal direction transversal to the feed direction, wherein dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprises a spacer arrangement at the dishwashing basket exit, the spacer arrangement being arranged at an interface between the roller cassette support and at least one raised roller cassette, thereby vertically raising at least a portion of the basket support face of said at least one raised roller cassette relative to the basket support face of an adjacent upstream, unraised roller cassette. Thanks to the spacer arrangement, a basket reaching the dishwashing basket exit will be vertically raised by the roller cassette raised by the spacer arrangement, such that the basket may easier be extracted to the side.

According to an embodiment, the guide may comprise a guide edge configured to engage with and guide a vertical side of a dishwashing basket of said feed of dishwashing baskets. Optionally the guide may comprise a pair of opposing guide edges configured to engage with and guide opposing vertical sides of the dishwashing baskets.

According to an embodiment, the spacer arrangement may have a vertical height adapted to raise the basket support face to a vertical position substantially flush with or above the guide edge. Thereby, lifting of the baskets at the dishwashing basket exit may be completely avoided, as the baskets may be horizontally pushed or pulled in the transversal direction over the guide edge.

According to an embodiment, the guide may comprise a sloped upper portion above the guide edge, the sloped upper portion forming an angle of between 5° and 60° with a horizontal plane. Thereby, the line of engagement between the guide and the dishwashing basket may be positioned very close to the basket support face. In the event that the guide loses traction of the basket side, the slope will bring the basket back on track. Moreover, the slope facilitates pushing or pulling the basket through the dishwashing basket exit without lifting. The sloped upper portion may, more preferably, form an angle of between 15° and 45° with the horizontal plane.

According to an embodiment, the sloped upper portion of the guide may interface with the guide edge at a bend extending along the guide in the feed direction, wherein the bend is positioned above the basket support face at the unraised roller cassette, and substantially vertically flush with or below the raised basket support face of said at least one raised roller cassette.

According to an embodiment, the roller cassette support may be configured as a pair of support shoulders extending along opposite longitudinal sides of a conveyor tray, the support shoulders and the conveyor tray being integrally formed of sheet metal. Such an arrangement is hygienic and not prone to accumulate dirt. A drain may be arranged in the tray. According to an embodiment, the spacer arrangement may be fixedly connected to at least one of the support shoulders to define the position along the feed direction of said basket exit. Alternatively, the spacer arrangement may be configured as a loose spacer to be positioned between the support shoulder(s) and the at least one raised roller cassette. Still alternatively, though less preferred, the spacer arrangement may be fixedly attached to a bottom face of said at least one raised roller cassette. Such an arrangement has the disadvantage that the raised roller cassette(s) will be different from unraised roller cassette(s).

According to an embodiment, the spacer arrangement may comprise at least one embossment formed in the sheet metal, the embossment protruding upwards from at least one of the support shoulders. Such a spacer arrangement is particularly simple and inexpensive to produce. Optionally, both support shoulders are provided with embossments, facilitating basket extraction in two directions.

According to an embodiment, the spacer arrangement may be configured to raise the entire basket support face of at least one of said at least one raised roller cassette. Such an arrangement facilitates basket extraction from the position of said at least one of said at least one raised roller cassette.

According to an embodiment, said at least one raised roller cassette may comprise a pair of adjacent raised roller cassettes comprising an upstream raised roller cassette and a downstream raised roller cassette, wherein the spacer arrangement raises only a downstream end of the upstream raised roller cassette, and both an upstream end and a downstream end of the downstream raised roller cassette. Thereby, the upstream raised roller cassette may operate as a ramp for bringing the feed of dishwashing baskets up to the downstream raised roller cassette, which may operate as the dishwashing basket exit.

According to an embodiment, the dishwashing basket roller conveyor may be configured to convey dishwashing baskets having a horizontal width, in a direction perpendicular to the feed direction, of 500 mm. By way of example, a distance between a pair of opposing guide edges configured to engage with and guide opposing vertical sides of the dishwashing baskets may be between 500 mm and 600 mm. Standard dishwashing baskets typically have a square-shaped footprint with a side of about 500 mm.

According to an embodiment, each of said roller cassettes may have a respective length along the feed direction of between 400 mm and 600 mm. Thereby, when combined with standard 500 mm baskets, a single roller cassette may be used for defining the width, along the feed direction, of the basket exit.

According to an embodiment, the dishwashing basket roller conveyor may be configured to receive said feed of dishwashing baskets from a dishwashing machine. Such a downstream conveyor may be used as a dry line for allowing washed items exiting the dishwashing machine to dry, or to be buffered until a dishwashing operator is ready to take care of it.

According to an embodiment, the basket exit may be arranged at the downstream end.

According to an embodiment, the dishwashing basket roller conveyor may further comprise an end limit switch adapted to detect the presence of a dishwashing basket when aligned with the dishwashing basket exit, and to provide a stop signal to stop an automatic dishwashing basket feed of a dishwasher upstream of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor.

According to a second aspect, parts or all of the above mentioned problems are solved, or at least mitigated, by a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray comprising a pair of roller cassette support shoulders extending along opposite longitudinal sides of the conveyor tray, the support shoulders and the conveyor tray being integrally formed of sheet metal, the support shoulders comprising a spacer arrangement comprising at least one embossment configured to locally raise at least a portion of at least one roller cassette. Further embodiments of the tray, as well as the benefits thereof, are apparent from the above definitions of the roller conveyor.

According to a third aspect, parts or all of the above mentioned problems are solved, or at least mitigated, by a dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising an upstream end configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets; a downstream end; a guide configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets along a feed direction between the upstream end and the downstream end; and a plurality of roller cassettes one after another along the feed direction, each roller cassette comprising a plurality of rollers separated in the feed direction, the plurality of rollers being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets along a basket support face, wherein the guide comprises a guide edge configured to engage with and guide a vertical side of a dishwashing basket of said feed of dishwashing baskets, and a sloped upper portion above the guide edge, the sloped upper portion forming an angle of between 5° and 60° with a horizontal plane. Such a sloped guide facilitates extracting a dishwashing basket from the conveyor in a removal direction transversal to the feed direction. The guide may thereby have a uniform shape along the entire length of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor without substantially obstructing removal of a dishwashing basket. The sloped upper portion may, more preferably, form an angle of between 15° and 45° with the horizontal plane. Further embodiments, and the benefits thereof, are apparent from the first and second aspects hereinabove.

According to a fourth aspect, parts or all of the above mentioned problems are solved, or at least mitigated, by a dishwashing basket roller conveyor comprising an upstream end configured to receive a feed of dishwashing baskets; a downstream end; a guide configured to guide the feed of dishwashing baskets along a feed direction between the upstream end and the downstream end, the guide comprising a guide edge configured to engage with and guide a vertical side of a dishwashing basket of said feed of dishwashing baskets; and a plurality of roller cassettes arranged one after another along the feed direction, each roller cassette comprising a plurality of rollers separated in the feed direction, the each of the plurality of rollers being configured to engage with and support the feed of dishwashing baskets along a respective basket support face, wherein at least one of said roller cassettes is held in the dishwashing basket roller conveyor at a vertical position where its respective basket support face is below the guide edge, to allow guiding the feed of dishwashing baskets, and at least one of said roller cassettes is held in the dishwashing basket roller conveyor at a vertical position where at least a portion of its respective basket support face is substantially flush with or above the guide edge, to facilitate extracting a dishwashing basket from the dishwashing basket roller conveyor in a removal direction transversal to the feed direction.

According to a fifth aspect, parts or all of the above mentioned problems are solved, or at least mitigated, by a method of producing a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray, the method comprising cutting a piece of stainless steel sheet to form an elongate roller conveyor tray blank; bending the roller conveyor tray blank to form an elongate channel-shaped structure provided with a pair of roller cassette support shoulders extending along opposite longitudinal sides of the roller conveyor tray blank; locally embossing a spacer arrangement into the roller cassette support shoulders at a longitudinal position along the roller conveyor blank to define a dishwashing basket exit position; and welding gable plates to longitudinal ends of the channel-shaped conveyor blank. The spacer arrangement may be embossed at any stage of the process, for example prior to or after bending the roller conveyor blank. Further embodiments, and the benefits thereof, are apparent from the first, second and third aspects hereinabove.

It is noted that embodiments of the invention may be embodied by all possible combinations of features recited in the claims. Further, it will be appreciated that the various embodiments described for one aspect are all combinable with any other of the aspects of the present invention.

Brief description of the drawings

The above, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be better understood through the following illustrative and non- limiting detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention, with reference to the appended drawings, where the same reference numerals will be used for similar elements, wherein:

Fig. 1 is a side view of a dishwashing system;

Fig. 2 is a side view of a dishwashing basket roller conveyor of the

dishwashing system of Fig.1 ;

Fig. 3 is a top view of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor of Fig. 2;

Fig. 4 is a section view of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor of Figs 2-3 taken along the line IV-IV of Fig. 3, along with a magnified view of a portion of the section;

Fig. 5 represents a section of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor of Figs 2-4 taken along the line V-V of Fig. 2, and illustrates the insertion of a roller cassette into a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray;

Fig. 6 represents a section of the dishwashing basket roller conveyor of Figs 2-4 taken along the line V-V of Fig. 2, and illustrates a dishwashing basket supported by the dishwashing basket roller conveyor;

Fig. 7a illustrates a detail of the section V-V of Fig. 2; and

Fig. 7b illustrates a detail of a corresponding section VII-VII of Fig. 2, i.e. taken at a different longitudinal position along the dishwashing basket roller conveyor.

Fig. 8 is a flow chart illustrating a method of producing a dishwashing basket roller conveyor tray.

All the figures are schematic, not necessarily to scale, and generally only show parts which are necessary in order to elucidate the embodiments, wherein other parts may be omitted. Detailed description of the exemplary embodiments

Fig. 1 illustrates an exemplary dishwashing system 10 for professional dishwashing. The dishwashing system 10 comprises an inlet conveyor 12 for transporting soiled items to be washed into a pre-rinse machine 14. An intermediate conveyor 16 moves pre-rinsed items from the pre-rinse machine 14 to a dishwasher 18, which is of tunnel-type. An outlet conveyor 20 is connected to an outlet 22 of the dishwasher 18, and operates as a dry line for allowing washed items exiting the dishwashing machine to dry, or to be buffered until a dishwashing operator is ready to take care of it. The items to be washed are arranged in dishwashing baskets 24, which are moved through the dishwashing system 10 along a feed direction illustrated by an arrow 26. Thereby, each of the inlet, intermediate, and outlet conveyors 12, 16, 20 is configured as a respective dishwashing basket roller conveyor. The tunnel-type dishwasher 18 actively moves the baskets 24 in the feed direction 26 using a basket driving arrangement, such that the outlet conveyor 20 may be passive, i.e. free from any basket driving arrangement of its own.

Fig. 2 illustrates the outlet conveyor 20 in greater detail. The outlet conveyor comprises a conveyor tray 28 having a bottom 30 sloping towards a drain 32, which drain 32 is connected to a drain of the dishwasher 18 (Fig. 1 ). The conveyor tray 28, which is formed of stainless steel sheet, is supported on a stand 34, which holds the outlet conveyor 20 at a convenient working height. An upstream end 36 receives a feed of dishwashing baskets 24 from the dishwasher 18 (Fig. 1 ), and the dishwasher 18 pushes the dishwashing baskets 24 along the outlet conveyor 20 in the feed direction 26 towards a downstream end 38. An end limit switch 40 senses any presence of a dishwashing basket 24 at the downstream end 38, and in response to having detected a dishwashing basket 24, provides a stop signal to the dishwasher 18 to stop the automatic dishwashing basket feed of the dishwasher 18. A

dishwashing basket exit 42, the extent of which is only schematically indicated but which will be described in detail in the following, is arranged at the downstream end 38 to facilitate extraction of dishwashing baskets 24 in a removal direction 43 (Fig. 3) transversal to the feed direction 26.

Fig. 3 illustrates the outlet conveyor 20 as seen from above. The outlet conveyor 20 comprises a first roller cassette 44a, a second roller cassette 44b, and a third roller cassette 44c, wherein the third roller cassette 44c has been lifted out of the conveyor tray 28 for clarity of illustration. When installed in the conveyor tray 28, the roller cassettes 44a-44c rest on a pair of roller cassette support shoulders 46a-b, which are integrally formed with and extend along opposite longitudinal sides of the conveyor tray 28. Each roller cassette 44a-c comprises five rollers 48, which together define the respective roller’s 44a-c support face for supporting the dishwashing baskets 24. The rollers 48 of each roller cassette 44a-c are rotatably suspended in a respective roller frame 50. A guide arrangement 52 comprises a pair of opposing guides 52a, 52b, which are configured to engage vertical sides of the dishwashing baskets 24 (Fig. 2) to guide the baskets 24 along the feed direction 26. Fig. 3 also schematically illustrates the dishwashing basket exit 42 and the removal direction 43, which is perpendicular to the feed direction 26. Gables 53 are provided at the longitudinal ends of the conveyor tray 28.

The section of Fig. 4 illustrates the roller cassettes 44a, 44b, 44c arranged one after another along the feed direction 26, and carried by the roller cassette support shoulders 46a, 46b, one of which, 46b, is visible in the view of Fig. 4. The entire first roller cassette 44a rests directly on a flat upper face of the roller cassette support shoulder 46b. Similarly, the upstream end 45b of the second roller cassette 44b rests directly on the flat upper face of the roller cassette support shoulder 46b. At the interface between the bottom face of the downstream end 47b of the second roller cassette 44b, a spacer arrangement 54b is provided. The spacer arrangement 54b comprises an embossment 56 in the sheet metal of the roller cassette support shoulder 46b, which embossment 56 protrudes upwards to form a gap between the flat upper face of the roller cassette support shoulder 46b and the bottom face of the downstream end 47b of the second roller cassette 44b. Thereby, the spacer arrangement 54b raises the downstream end 47b of the second roller cassette, such that the downstream end of the basket support face Fb of the second roller cassette 44b is raised above the respective basket support face Fa of the first roller cassette 44a.

A line of similar embossments 58, also forming part of the spacer arrangement 54b, are provided along the part of the support shoulder 46b supporting the third roller cassette 44c. The embossments 58 raise both the upstream end 45c and the downstream end 47c of the third roller cassette 44c. Thereby, the spacer

arrangement 54b raises the third roller cassette 44c along its entire length L in the feed direction 26. Referring back to Fig. 3, a similar spacer arrangement 54a, also comprising a line of embossments, is provided on the opposite shoulder 46a, such that the entire basket support face Fc of the third roller cassette is raised above the respective basket support face Fa of the first roller cassette 44a. The second and third roller cassettes 44b, 44c may be referred to as raised roller cassettes, as they are raised above the support shoulder 46b by the spacer arrangement 54b, whereas the first roller cassette 44a may be referred to as an unraised roller cassette, as it abuts the flat upper face of the support shoulder 46b.

Turning now to the section of Fig. 5, the roller cassettes 44a-c are loose, and are configured to be lifted into and out of the conveyor tray 28 along the direction illustrated by an arrow.

Fig. 6 illustrates, in a similar section, the first roller cassette 44a positioned on the shoulders 46a-b (Fig. 5), and supporting the bottom face of a dishwashing basket 24 along the basket support face Fa. Each of the guides 52a, 52b has respective a vertical guide edge 60a, 60b, which are indicated in Fig. 5. The vertical guide edges 60a, 60b are configured to engage with, and guide, the lowermost portions of the vertical sides 62a, 62b of the basket 24. The basket 24 is of standard dimensions, i.e. it has a width W of about 500 mm. Flence, in order to obtain smooth and accurate guiding of the basket 24, the distance between the vertical guide edges 60a, 60b (Fig. 5) is slightly large than 500 mm.

Figs 7a and 7b illustrate the effect of the spacer arrangement 54b by comparing a section taken at position V-V of Fig. 2 (Fig. 7a) with a section taken at position VII-VII of Fig. 2 (Fig. 7b).

Starting with Fig. 7a, at the position of the first roller cassette 44a along the feed direction 26 (Fig. 2), there is no spacer arrangement. The vertical position of the first roller cassette’s 44a support face Fa is such that the vertical guide edge 60b guides the vertical side 62b (Fig. 6) of the basket. The guide 52b is bent outwards along a bend 64b extending along the feed direction, to form an outwards sloped upper portion 66b of the guide 52b.

Now turning to Fig. 7b, at the position of the third roller cassette 44c along the feed direction 26 (Fig. 2), and more specifically at the dishwashing basket exit 42 (Fig. 2), the spacer arrangement 54b formed by the embossments 58 has a vertical height FI which raises the basket support face Fc to a vertical position substantially flush with the bend 64b, at the upper end of the vertical guide edge 60b. Thereby, a dishwashing basket 24 (Fig. 6) carried by the third roller cassette 44c may easily be pulled by an operator in the removal direction 43 without lifting the basket 24. The sloped upper portion 66b of the guide will operate as a ramp, against which the bottom face of the basket 24 is slid in the removal direction 43. The sloped upper portion 66b forms an angle a of about 20° with a horizontal plane, which in Fig. 7b is represented by the basket support face Fc for clarity of illustration.

Referring back to Fig. 4, each of the roller cassettes has a length L along the feed direction of about 500 mm, each of them thereby representing a basket position along the output conveyor 20. Flence, the entirely raised third roller cassette 44c has a length along the feed direction suitable for defining the basket exit 42, whereas the partly raised second roller cassette 44b operates as a ramp leading up to the basket exit 43 from the more strictly guided path at the unraised first roller cassette 44a.

Thanks to the spacer arrangement 54b at the position of the basket exit 42, no cut-out needs to be made in the guide 52b during production to form a basket exit 42. Thereby, the cost of forming a basket exit, when producing the roller conveyor 20, may be kept low.

Fig. 8 illustrates a method of producing a dishwashing basket roller conveyor.

Step 801 comprises cutting a piece of stainless steel sheet to form an elongate roller conveyor tray blank.

Step 802 comprises bending the roller conveyor tray blank to form an elongate channel-shaped structure provided with a pair of roller cassette support shoulders extending along opposite longitudinal sides of the roller conveyor tray blank.

Step 803 comprises locally embossing a spacer arrangement into the roller cassette support shoulders at a longitudinal position along the roller conveyor blank to define a dishwashing basket exit position.

Step 804 comprises welding gable plates to longitudinal ends of the channel- shaped conveyor blank to form a tray. The illustrated order of the steps is only for illustration purposes; it will be appreciated that the steps may be performed in another order.

The invention has mainly been described above with reference to a few embodiments. Flowever, as is readily appreciated by a person skilled in the art, other embodiments than the ones disclosed above are equally possible within the scope of the invention, as defined by the appended patent claims.

For example, the teachings herein may equally well be applied to the inlet or intermediate conveyors 12, 16, or to another dishwashing basket roller conveyor. The spacing arrangement need not comprise embossments, but may be formed using e.g. loose spacers. The guide need not be configured to guide the sides of a basket, but may engage with e.g. a mating guide structure at the bottom face of a basket.

The roller cassette support need not be configured as opposing shoulders holding edges of the roller cassettes. Instead, it may be configured as a single support extending along the bottom of the conveyor tray. The conveyor need not have a tray; instead, the roller cassettes may be carried directly by the stand 34. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality.