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Title:
AN EVISCERATION DEVICE AND AN APPARATUS FOR EVISCERATION OF POULTRY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/007264
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Evisceration device for eviscerating intestine packs of slaughtered poultry comprising an evisceration spoon and a guide means, where the evisceration spoon has an inner side, a front edge intended to be the leading edge during insertion into a poultry carcass and two side edges extending from the front edge to a rear edge.The guide means is movable with respect to the evisceration spoon between the first position and a second position.An end area of the guide means is located at the spoon edge when the guide means is in the first position and at a distance from the evisceration spoon when the guide means is in the second position.The guide means and inner side of the evisceration spoon are curved with substantially the same shape, the inner side of the evisceration spoon being concave, and the side edges follow substantially the same plane as the inner side of the evisceration spoon.

Inventors:
ANDERSEN, Torben (Lyngtoppen 3, Bønnerup Strand, Glesborg, DK-8585, DK)
Application Number:
DK2012/050262
Publication Date:
January 17, 2013
Filing Date:
July 09, 2012
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LINCO Food Systems A/S (Vestermøllevej 9, Trige, DK-8380, DK)
ANDERSEN, Torben (Lyngtoppen 3, Bønnerup Strand, Glesborg, DK-8585, DK)
International Classes:
A22C21/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009043348A1
WO2009043348A1
Foreign References:
US3983601A
US20020177396A1
US1984562A
NL8300065A
US20020173261A1
US3555593A
EP1011341A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSSON, Eva et al. (Awapatent A/S, Rigensgade 11, København K, DK-1316, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
P A T E N T C L A I M S

1. An evisceration device for eviscerating intestine packs of slaughtered poultry comprising an evisceration spoon and a guide means, cha racterized in that the evisceration spoon has an in- ner side intended to face the intestines pack during use, a front edge intended to be the leading edge during insertion into a poultry carcass and two side edges extending from the front edge to a rear edge, that the guide means is movable with respect to the evisceration spoon between the first position and a second position, where an end area of the guide means is located at the spoon edge when the guide means is in the first position and at a distance from the evisceration spoon when the guide means is in the second position, that the guide means and the inner side of the evisceration spoon are curved with substantially the same shape, the inner side of the evisceration spoon being concave, and that the side edges follow substantially the same plane as the inner side of the evisceration spoon.

2. An evisceration device according to claim 1, cha racterize d in that the side edges are substantially parallel.

3. An evisceration device according to claim 1 or 2, cha rac- t e r i z e d in that the evisceration spoon is thickened at the side edges.

4. An evisceration device according to claim 1, cha racterize d in that the side edges are rounded.

5. An evisceration device according to claim 1, cha racter- i z e d in that the evisceration spoon comprises a slot for housing the guide means when in the first position.

6. An evisceration device according to claim 5, cha racterize d in that width of the slot is only slightly larger than the width of the guide means so that the guide means fills out the slot substantially entirely when in the first position.

7. An evisceration device according to claim 5 or 6, cha racter i z e d in that the spoon is thickened at the slot so that the height of the spoon perpendicular to the inner side is at least locally substantially the same as the height of the guide means in the same direction.

8. An evisceration device according to 1, cha racterized in that that the guide means is made as a single uninterrupted unit.

9. An evisceration device according to 1 or 8, cha racterize d in that the guide means is hook-shaped with a tip area extend- ing from the end area in direction inside the spoon and that the spoon comprises an abutment member which is in contact with the tip area of the guide means when in the first position.

10. An evisceration device according to 1 or 9, cha racterize d in that the evisceration spoon has an indentation in the front edge, said indentation being located at the centre of the front edge and having a width equal to or larger than the width of the end area of the guide means.

11. An evisceration device according to claim 1, cha racterized in that the side edges are substantially parallel and rounded, that the evisceration spoon comprises a slot for housing the guide means when in the first position, where the slot has a width which is only slightly larger than the width of the guide means and where the spoon is thickened at the slot so that the height of the spoon perpendicular to the inner side is at least locally substantially the same as the height of the guide means in the same directions, the guide means filling out the slot substantially entirely when in the first position, that the guide means is hook-shaped with a tip area extending from the end area in direction inside the spoon, where the spoon comprises an abutment member which is in contact with the tip area of the guide means when in the first position, and that the evisceration spoon has an indentation in the front edge, said indentation being located at the centre of the front edge and having a width equal to or larger than the width of the end area of the guide means.

12. An apparatus for eviscerating intestine packs of slaughtered poultry comprising a suspension device for suspending decapitated poultry from legs or joints and a number of evisceration devices according to any of claims 1-11.

Description:
An evisceration device and an apparatus for evisceration of poultry

The invention relates to an evisceration device for eviscerating intestine packs of slaughtered poultry comprising an evisceration spoon and a guide means and to an evisceration apparatus including such a device.

As is well known to persons skilled in the art the esophagus of poultry does not run straight along the neck. Instead it starts centred at the beak and at the attachment to the crop it is located on the right- hand side of the spine, when seen from the breast side, the body hanging from the legs with the neck pointing downwards. The esophagus has thus twisted about the spine over approximately 90 degrees. From the crop it continues towards the proventriculus, which is located at the opposite side of the body, thus crossing the centre plane of the body de- fined by the spine and the sternum . When pulling back the intestines pack by means of the spoon, using for example the device known from US-3,555,593, the esophagus is stretched to form a straight line between the crop and the proventriculus, the latter possibly being forced somewhat towards the centre of the body. As the esophagus is relatively inelastic and the crop is rather firmly attached to the neck, this pull may cause the esophagus to break at the point of attachment to the crop.

To overcome this problem clamping devices and grippers holding on to the esophagus in close vicinity to the crop have been used. An example of this is described in EP1011341. These methods has proven very efficient, but the grippers com prises small moveable pa rts and joints, which are difficult to keep clean and the clamping action may in some cases cause damage to the intestines or the esophagus. This may cause contamination of the finished product, either by transferring bacteria from one body to another or by spreading contents of the bowels or food remains left in the crop within the body cavity during the retraction.

WO2009/043348 discloses an evisceration device overcoming these obstacles, but it has been found that the insertion of the spoon may cause damages to sensitive organs, particularly the liver, when poultry carcasses are processed at very high speeds. It is therefore the object of the invention to provide an evisceration device, where both the risk of contamination and the risk of damaging the intestines and/or parts of the body are minimised.

This is achieved with an evisceration device, where the guide means is movable with respect to the evisceration spoon between a first position and a second position, an end area of the guide means being located at the spoon edge when the guide means is in the first position and at a distance from the evisceration spoon when the guide means is in the second position, where the guide means is made as a single unin- terrupted unit, where the guide means and the inner side of the evisceration spoon are curved with substantially the shape, the inner side of the evisceration spoon being concave, and where the side edges follow substantially the same plane as the inner side of the evisceration spoon.

Using a guide means without moveable joints means that the evisceration device is easy to keep clean and the flat design makes it relatively easy to insert into the carcass with a reduced risk of causing damages.

It is noted, that the curved shape of the guide means and of the inner side and side edges of the spoon need not be exactly the same, only substantially the same so that the evisceration device displays a flat overall design. As an example, if the guide means is slightly less curved than the spoon, its centre section may project slightly over the inner side of the spoon when in the first position, but due to it being made as a single interrupted unit, this does not necessarily caused any problems. Likewise, the side edges may be slightly more curved than the inner side at its centre so that the spoon effectively curves slightly about the centre. This embodiment will allow an adaptation to the curved shape of the inner side of the poultry carcasses and is thus considered advantageous. Finally, the outer side of the spoon may have a different shape than the inner side.

With regards to the curved shapes described above, it is further noted that the radius of curvature need not be the same at all sections of the spoon or guide means. In fact, it is preferred that an upper section of the spoon near the rear edge has a smaller radius of curvature of the inner side than a lower section near the front edge. Such an embodiment will be described in closer detail with reference to the drawing.

In use, the guide means of the evisceration device is inserted together with the spoon while being kept in the first position and is moved across the esophagus during the forward movement within the body. During a subsequent retraction, the guide means is brought into the second position and comes into engagement with the esophagus. This results in the formation of a bend on the esophagus, while the crop is being pulled loose, so that the esophagus extends from the bend to the crop in a direction more aligned with the direction of retraction than the portion of the esophagus extending from the bend to the spoon. The direction of the pull exerted on the esophagus is thus changed to be closer aligned with the natural orientation of the part of the esophagus located in the neck than when using prior art devices, where the pull is applied at the centre of the body and thus skew in relation to the natural course of the esophagus. With this alignment, the risk of the esophagus breaking is minimised and the crop can be pulled loose using a smaller force, than without the bend. In this way the evisceration can be performed without the use of a gripper, the pull on the esophagus resulting only from the retraction of the spoon.

In this, the pull and bend is described as being related to the esophagus only. It is, however, to be understood that in some embodiment the guide means may also engage the trachea, which will also come under tension, when the intestines pack is being extracted by the spoon, and which runs substantially parallel to the esophagus.

Further details of the advantages of using an eviscerator with a guide means of the type described above can be found in WO2009/043348.

The shape of the spoon is crucial to achieve a non-damaging in- sertion of the evisceration device and the surfaces of the spoon should be kept as smooth as possible to avoid corners where dirt may gather and make cleaning easy.

In a preferred embodiment the side edges of the spoon are substantially parallel to avoid projecting shoulders at the rear edge, which might cause trouble during retraction of the evisceration device.

It may also be advantageous that the evisceration spoon is thickened at the side edges, preferably in the form of a rounded bead extending along substantially the entire side edge. The rounded side edge minimizes the risk of the edge cutting into organs etc. and the thickening opens the track of the insertion, thus helping to make room for the remaining parts of the evisceration device.

When in the first position, the guide means is preferably hidden in the spoon. For this purpose a slot may be provided along a centre axis of the spoon or an arched recess may be provided in a closed back of the spoon. This minimizes the risk of the guide means causing damage during the insertion.

Again to void the formation of corners were dirt may gather and the risk of parts of the organs or carcass to get caught in the eviscera- tion device, it is preferred that width of the slot is only slightly larger than the width of the guide means so that the guide means fills out the slot substantially entirely when in the first position. Likewise, it is preferred that the spoon is thickened at the slot so that the height of the spoon perpendicular to the inner side is at least locally substantially the same as the height of the guide means in the same direction.

As the guide means follows the same path as the spoon on the insertion, it is effectively swung in underneath the esophagus during the forwards and inwards movement, which brings the spoon into contact with the back of the carcass. Once inserted, the guide means can be brought out of the slot or recess into a second position, preferably by keeping it substantially stationary, while retracting the spoon. The guide means is preferably kept in the advanced position until the esophagus have been stretched out by the retraction of the spoon and is then retracted, ultimately bringing it back into the first position. The retraction of the spoon and the guide means need not be performed as separate steps nor with the same speed. On the contrary it may be advantageous that the retraction of the two are performed concurrently. In that way, the processing speed may be optimized and guide means may be back in its first position at the time when the spoon exits the body, without the spoon having to wait for the guide means.

Alternatively, the guide means may be moved together with the spoon until reaching the position of the bend on the esophagus, whereupon the spoon is retracted by itself for applying the necessary pull on the esophagus. Once the crop and the neck part of the esophagus has been pulled loose, the guide means is then brought back into the first position where, depending on its design, it can help retain the eviscerated intestines pack.

The indication, that the end area of the guide means is "located at the spoon edge" when in the first position is not to be understood as meaning, that there should be an exact alignment. On the contrary, the end of the guide means may project over the spoon edge to thereby ensure that the esophagus cannot slip past the guide means under the influence of the pull of the spoon. The shape and dimensions of the projec- tion should, however, be such that it does not cause damage during the insertion or prevent the spoon from coming sufficiently close to the back of the body.

The guide means may in principle be of any configuration suitable for keeping the esophagus from moving towards the centre of the body, but in a preferred embodiment the end area of the guide member is hook-shaped with the tip projecting in the direction of retraction. The hook keeps the esophagus in place so that it does not slide sideways off the guide means under the influence of the pull. It is not necessary to retain the esophagus in the direction of the pull exercised by the evis- ceration spoon, but if wishing to do so the esophagus may be clamped between an abutment member the spoon and the tip area of the guide means.

If not wishing to retain the esophagus, the hook-shape may be such that a loop is formed between the guide means and the spoon when in the first position. The loop should be of a relatively limited size so that the crop and/or intestines pack cannot pass trough it, meaning that the intestines pack may thus hang from the end area of the guide means when no longer confined in the space between the spoon and the back of the body. Depending on the design of the guide means, it may, when in the first position, form a projecting edge or tooth, which helps keeping the intestines pack within the spoon until it can be passed on to a shackle or bowl on a separate conveyor. As a clamping of the esophagus between the guide means and the spoon may cause it to break, it is may be preferred that when the guide means is in its first position a free space is present between its end area and the spoon. This free space may for example constitute a loop as described above.

To make room for the guide means, particularly when it has a hook-shaped tip, it is preferred that the evisceration spoon has an indentation in the front edge, said indentation being located at the centre of the front edge and having a width equal to or larger than the width of the end area of the guide means. Such an indentation, which is preferably made in continuation of the slot or recess mentioned above, no only gives room for the guide means when in the first position, but may also contribute to a correct engagement with the esophagus.

Irrespective of other considerations to be taken, the guide means, and particularly its end area, should be designed with as few corners, joints etc. as possible to thereby reduce the risk of it causing damages during insertion and retraction, reduce the amount of material that can stick to it and allow easy cleaning. In a preferred embodiment the part of the guide means that is actually in contact with the poultry consist of one uninterrupted unit, such as a rod of stainless steel, which may be bend for the formation of a hook-shape and possibly also pointed.

In some rare cases the anatomy of a slaughter animal may be mirror- inverted so that the crop is located at the left-hand side and the proventriculus at the right-hand side. It is therefore preferred to use a guide means that is symmetrical in relation to the centre plane of the body, thereby minimising the number of bodies that are not eviscerated properly.

In this, the terms "upwards" and "downwards", "uppermost" and "lowermost" etc. are used referring to the orientation of the poultry when hung from the legs, neck down. It is, however, to be understood that if positioning the poultry in a different manner these directions should be altered accordingly. Similarly it is to be understood that the use of terms such as "upwards" and "downwards" are not to be considered as meaning that the direction should be exactly vertical, but only serves as a general indication of direction.

In the following the invention will be illustrated by examples and by reference to the accompanying drawing in which :

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of an evisceration device according to the invention when in its first position,

Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the evisceration device when in its second position,

Figs. 3a-3c show a second embodiment of a spoon according to the invention from the sides and from below,

Figs. 4a and 4b are cross-sectional views of the spoon in Figs. 3a-3c,

Figs. 5a-5b are perspective views of the spoon in Figs. 3a-3c,

Fig. 6 shows a second embodiment of a guide means according to the invention from the side,

Fig. 7 is a perspective view of the spoon in Fig. 6,

Figs. 8a and 8b are perspective views of a second embodiment of a spoon holder, and

Figs. 9a and 9b show the spoon, guide means and spoon holder in Figs. 3-8 assembled in the first and second position, respectively.

An embodiment of an evisceration device 1 according to the in- vention is shown in Figs. 1 and 2. The device comprises a spoon 2 with a spoon holder 6 and guide means 3. The spoon is mounted on an arm 4 via the spoon holder 6 and the guide means projects through an opening 42 in the arm. As the spoon is attached to the spoon holder in a stationary manner, they will move as one. Hence, when reference is made to movements of spoon in the following, it is to be understood that this also applies to the spoon holder.

Both the spoon 2 and the guide means 3 are connected to an evisceration apparatus (only a small part of which is shown), which comprises several such evisceration devices, and may be displaced as il- lustrated with the arrow A and swung about the horizontal axis B as illustrated by the arrow C. The evisceration device is kept up against an abutment 5, which serves as a surface of contact with the back of the poultry carcass during evisceration, by means of a coil spring 51. As the spring can yield, the evisceration device is connected to the apparatus with a slack allowing it to move as illustrated by the arrow D.

In this embodiment the displacement A is achieved by the shoes 81 and 82 sliding on bars 9, the spoon 2 being fixed to the lower gliding block 81 and the guide means 3 being controlled by the upper gliding block 82. The guide means is attached to the gliding block 82 via the track 83, the guide means being able to rotate about the joint 31, which may travel back and forth following the curvature of the track as illustrated by the arrows E.

Thanks to the mounting on separate gliding blocks 81,82, the spoon 2 and the guide means 3 are mutually displaceable so that they may be moved between a first position illustrated in Fig. 1 and a second position illustrated in Fig. 2. The movement of the gliding blocks is here achieved by the wheels 811 and 821 running in guideways on the apparatus as exemplified by the guideway 812. The spoon is fixed to the arm 4, here by means of screws 41, and the guide means may slide in the passage 42, so that it comes to project from the spoon, when the gliding blocks 81, 82 are brought closer together, thus bringing it from the first to the second position. The actual swinging of the spoon is achieved by the arm 4 being forced away from or towards the bars 9 by the wheel 813 following the guideway 814 as depicted in Fig. 4. The path followed by the spoon is further controlled by the track 83, in that the guide means is only moveable in relation to the spoon along the length axis of its shaft 35 and that the shaft end is forced to follow the track 83.

The evisceration device enters a poultry carcass via the opening formed when the cloaca is removed and follows a curved path, where it moved downwards and outwards towards the tip of the sternum. During the insertion, the spoon is swung about a horizontal axis B to allow it to follow shape of the body cavity as closely as possibly. When the evisceration device passes the liver, its path is substantially vertical and par- a I lei with the sternum, the guide means still been kept within slot in the spoon. When approaching the neck area of the body, the spoon is moved inwards towards the back. During this part of the movement the guide means is brought in underneath the esophagus. The front edge 21 of the spoon is now located just above the crop. The spoon 2 now starts to move up, whereas the guide means 3 stays, thus bringing the evisceration device from its first to its second position. During the retraction the front edge 21 of the spoon is pressing up against the back of the body. The pull on the intestines pack means that the esophagus connecting it to the crop is stretched out, thus forming a straight line, which crosses the centre plane of the body. The guide means is now moved upwards, thus coming into contact with the esophagus and forming a bend thereon. The formation of the bend increases the tension on the esophagus, as it now has to cover a grater distance, and the direction of the part of the esophagus closest to the crop is changed. The esophagus thus becomes less skewed in relation to the natural orientation of the part thereof located in the neck. This change of orientation reduces the risk of the esophagus breaking at the attachment to the crop and eases the loosening of the crop.

The path followed by the spoon during its insertion and retraction should be tailored to follow the interior shape of the body cavity as closely as possible to thereby minimise the risk of crushing any part of the intestines and of breaking ribs or other bones. These efforts are, however, impeded by the natural variations in the size and shape of each individual broiler. It is therefore preferred that the evisceration device is mounted on the apparatus with a slack allowing it to yield if meeting too much resistance as illustrated by the arrow D in Fig. 1. This is achieved with the coil spring mentioned above.

The operation of the spoon and guide means in relation to each other will not be described in further detail here, as it is performed in substantially the same way as described in WO2009/043348.

A second embodiment of the spoon is shown from the side in Fig. 3a and its outer side is shown from below in Fig. 3b and in a horizontal direction in Fig. 3c. The cross-section indicated by the line A-A in Figs. 3c is shown as Fig. 4a and the cross-section B-B in Fig. 3a is shown as Fig. 4b.

As may be seen the spoon 2 has a slot 22 along a centre axis corresponding to the line A-A intended to accommodates the guide means 3 completely when in the first position, so that the outer surface of the evisceration device appears smooth. A bridge member 23 keeps the two half of the spoon on each side of the slot from moving in relation to each other at the upper end and an abutment member 24 enforces the spoon at the lower end.

At the front edge of the spoon 2 where the slot ends there is an indentation 28 having substantially the same cross section as the slot 22, but being somewhat wider at the opening in the front edge. In the first position this indentation is substantially closed off by the end of the guide means 3 and in the second position it forms an opening through which the esophagus may project as will be explained below.

As may be seen in Fig. 4b, the spoon side edges are formed with a bead 25 giving the side edges a rounded shape, which prevents damages and helps to open the path followed by the spoon.

To the sides of the slot 22 the spoon has thickenings 26 so that the height of the spoon material at the slot corresponds substantially to the height of the guide means. This allows the guide means 3 to be housed in the slot, substantially without projecting over the inner and outer surfaces of the spoon. These thickened sections as their rounded shape, which may be seen particularly well in Fig. 4b, also contributes to opening the track followed by the spoon during insertion.

The shape of the spoon is curved with a radius Rl at the upper section of the inner surface 27, which is somewhat smaller than the radius R2 of curvature at the lower section. Radii of approximately 80 and 110 mm, respectively, have been found to function well when eviscera- tion chicken. The shape of the outer side 29 need not be identical to that of the inner side 27. In the embodiment in Figs. 3-5 the outer side has a constant radius R3, which is slightly larger than that of the lower section of the inner side. Typically R3 can be 111-112 mm, when the R2 is 110 mm. Attachment surfaces 60 for attachment to the spoon holder 6 are provided at the upper end of the spoon.

Figs. 5a and 5b shows the spoon in Figs. 3 and 4 from the outer side and the inner side, respectively.

As may be seen in Figs. 6 and 7 the guide means 3 shown on the drawing have a hook-shape. The shape of the hook is designed so that it may catch the esophagus and keep it from sliding off the guide means. The tip 32 of the hook is pointing upwards and the outermost straight part 33 of the guide means is offset in relation to the main part of the guide means so that a loop 34 is formed between the guide means and the spoon when in the first position. This loop may be used for suspending the intestines pack (not shown), the crop being located on one side of the guide means and the proventriculus and the rest of the intestines pack on the other, both being to large to pass trough the loop. When the evisceration device leaves the carcass the intestines pack will hang from the loop, where it may pass the veterinary inspection.

The guide means 3 may, however, also be just a curved rod with no hook-effect at all or have an L-shape, the foot of the L pointing upwards. These embodiments will be even easier to keep clean and pro- vide an even smoother design, which ca n be inserted with even less damage to the body.

The centre section 36 of the guide means has larger dimensions than the tip end to allow is to take more force.

At the end to be joined to the apparatus at joint 31 the guide means has two flanges 37 intended to lay on each side of the track 83 as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, but this detail may be embodied in several other ways as will be readily imaginable to the skilled person.

Regardless of the design, the entire guide means 3 is preferably formed from a single bar of stainless steel or plastic, so that no joints are inserted into the cavity of the body, and all surfaces should be rounded, so that they will not cut or pierce the meat, intestines, esophagus or any other part of the body. When using a hook shaped guide means the outermost tip of the hook should also be flat or rounded. Similar considerations apply to the design of the spoon 2 and to the spoon holder 6, which may potentially also come into contact with the carcass.

Details of the spoon holder 6 are shown in Figs. 8a and 8b. As may be seen the spoon holder is provide with a slot 62 along its centre axis, and two flanges 63 project from the sides of the slot. In the assembled state the slot and flanges function as an extension of the slot in the spoon and houses the upper section of the guide means 3. When moving the guide means from the first position to the second position, the flanges serve as guiding surfaces keeping the guide means, which are then pulling on the esophagus, centred.

The assembled state of the spoon, guide means and spoon holder is shown in Figs. 9a and 9b with the guide means in the first and second position, respectively. As may be seen in Fig. 9a the tip 32 of the guide means is relatively close to the abutment member 24 of the spoon in the first position and it is even possible to bring them into engagement. In this way the esophagus may be clamped between them or the abutment member 24, tip 32 and the straight part 33 of the hook of the guide means may form a closed loop for retaining the esophagus.

The embodiments shown and described in the above are in- tended to serve as explanatory examples only and it is to be understood that the different features thereof may be combined freely and that no feature should be seen as essential unless stated in the claims. Similarly the person skilled in the art will be able to conceive alternative embodiments of different features without thereby departing from the scope of the claims.