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Title:
A FISH PROCESSING MACHINE AND A METHOD FOR PROCESSING FISH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/169321
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed is a method for processing fish (3) by means of a fish processing machine (1). The method comprising the steps of: - placing mouth access providing means (2) in the mouth (4) of the fish (3), - inserting oesophagus severing means (15) into the fish (3) through the mouth access providing means (2) - cutting the oesophagus of the fish (3) by means of the oesophagus severing means (15), and - cutting open the abdomen (5) of the fish (3) from the outside, wherein the entrails of the fish (3) is removed through the mouth access providing means (2) by means of a partial vacuum and wherein at least some of the entrails of the fish (3) is removed while the abdomen (5) is cut open. A fish processing machine (1) for gutting fish (3) is also disclosed.

Inventors:
JØRGENSEN, Daniel Braad (Lyøvej 8, Silkeborg, DK-8600, DK)
KRISTENSEN, Ivan (Fallevej 48, Viborg, DK-8800, DK)
Application Number:
DK2015/050116
Publication Date:
November 12, 2015
Filing Date:
May 05, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KROMA A/S (Rævevej 22, Skive, DK-7800, DK)
International Classes:
A22C25/14
Foreign References:
US5098334A1992-03-24
GB2090722A1982-07-21
JP2008278873A2008-11-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENTGRUPPEN A/S (Aaboulevarden 31, 4th floor, 8000 Aarhus C, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A method for processing fish (3) by means of a fish processing machine (1), said method comprising the steps of:

• placing mouth access providing means (2) in the mouth (4) of said fish (3),

• inserting oesophagus severing means (15) into said fish (3) through said mouth access providing means (2)

• cutting the oesophagus of said fish (3) by means of said oesophagus severing means (15), and

• cutting open the abdomen (5) of said fish (3) from the outside, wherein said entrails of said fish (3) is removed through said mouth access providing means (2) by means of a partial vacuum and wherein at least some of said entrails of said fish (3) is removed while said abdomen (5) is cut open.

2. A method according to claim 1, wherein said oesophagus of said fish (3) is cut immediately before or while said abdomen (5) is cut open.

3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said entrails of said fish (3) are removed through said oesophagus severing means (15).

4. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said method further comprises cutting and substantially removing the kidney of said fish (3) through said open abdomen (5).

5. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said fish (3) is stationary while said oesophagus is cut and while said abdomen (5) is cut open.

6. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein pressure is applied to at least one side of said fish (3) while said mouth access providing means (2) is penetrating said mouth (4). 7. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said fish (3) is guided forward until a pair of collarbone detection arms (19) engages the collarbone of the fish (3) before placing said mouth access providing means (2) in the mouth (4) of said fish (3). 8. A method according to claim 7, wherein said collarbone detection arms (19) will press on the sides of the fish (3) at the fish's head during said placing of said mouth access providing means (2) in the mouth (4) of said fish (3).

9. A fish processing machine (1) for gutting fish (3), said fish processing machine (1) comprising mouth access providing means (2) for ensuring substantially unhindered access through the mouth (4) of said fish (3), oesophagus severing means (15) arranged to enter said fish (3) through said mouth access providing means (2), wherein said oesophagus severing means (15) comprises knife means (10) arranged at the front end (13) of pipe means (11), and an abdomen cutting device (23) for cutting open the abdomen (5) of said fish (3), wherein said fish processing machine (1) comprises vacuum means (16) for establishing a partial vacuum in said pipe means (1 1) to remove at least some of the entrails of said fish (3) through said mouth access providing means (2) and wherein said abdomen cutting device (23) is arranged for cutting open the abdomen (5) of said fish (3) before or while said entrails is removed by means of said partial vacuum in said pipe means (11).

10. A fish processing machine (1) according to claim 9, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises displacement means (6) for displacing said mouth access providing means (2) or said fish (3) in relation to each other to place said mouth access providing means (2) in the mouth (4) of said fish (3).

11. A fish processing machine (1) according to claim 9 or 10, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises sensor means (7) for detecting the location of the mouth (4) of said fish (3).

12. A fish processing machine (1) according to claim 11, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises adjustment means (8) for adjusting the position of said mouth access providing means (2) or said fish (3) in relation to output from said sensor means (7).

13. A fish processing machine (1) according to claim 12, wherein said adjustment means comprises means for adjusting the vertical position of said mouth access providing means (2).

14. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-13, wherein said mouth access providing means (2) are mounted on displaceable slide means comprising means for displacing said mouth access providing means (2) towards said fish (3) to push said mouth access providing means (2) into the mouth (4) of said fish (3).

15. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-14, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises side push means (14), for applying pressure to at least one side of said fish (3) while said mouth access providing means (2) is penetrating said mouth (4).

16. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-15, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises collarbone detection arms (19) arranged to engage a collarbone of said fish (3).

17. A fish processing machine (1) according to claim 16, wherein said collarbone detection arms (19) are arranged to act as said push means (14).

18. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-17, wherein said abdomen cutting device (23) is arranged above said fish (3).

19. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-18, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises a kidney cutting device (17) arranged to enter said fish (3) through said cut open abdomen (5).

20. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-19, wherein said fish processing machine (1) further comprises a kidney cutting and suction device (17) and/or cleaning means (18) arranged to enter said fish (3) through said abdomen (5).

21. A fish processing machine (1) according to claims 11 or 12, wherein said sensor means comprises a camera.

22. A fish processing machine (1) according to any of claims 9-21, wherein said fish processing machine (1) is arranged to processing fish by means of a method according to any of claims 1-8.

Description:
A FISH PROCESSING MACHINE AND A METHOD FOR PROCESSING FISH Field of the invention

The invention relates to a fish processing machine for gutting fish and a method for processing fish by means of a fish processing machine.

Background of the invention

The oesophagus of a fish is rigid and not pleasant to eat and it is therefore not desirable to leave parts of it in a processed fish. Automated processing of fish where the fish is processed through the mouth is therefore known in the art because cutting the oesophagus through the mouth of the fish is advantageous in that it ensures that the oesophagus can be cut substantially at the root (in the throat of the fish) thus ensuring that substantially the entire oesophagus easily can be removed. E.g. from US 5,098,334 it is known to place a hinged beak-like arrangement in the mouth of the fish through which an oesophagus cutting tool, a drill-like tool and other can be inserted to gut and clean the fish entirely through mouth. However, this fish gutting technique is time consuming and it is difficult to ensure an acceptable gutting result.

An object of the invention is therefore to provide for an advantageous technique for processing fish.

The invention

The invention provides for a method for processing fish by means of a fish processing machine. The method comprising the steps of:

• placing mouth access providing means in the mouth of the fish,

• inserting oesophagus severing means into the fish through the mouth access providing means, • cutting the oesophagus of the fish by means of the oesophagus severing means, and

• cutting open the abdomen of the fish from the outside, wherein the entrails of the fish is removed through the mouth access providing means by means of a partial vacuum and wherein at least some of the entrails of the fish is removed while the abdomen is cut open.

Removing the entrails through the mouth of the fish is advantageous in that it is relatively easy to do through the mouth and will thus allow other functions to be performed through the abdomen.

Processing the fish both though the abdomen and the mouth is advantageous in that it enables a more efficient fish processing process since the fish can be processed through two openings simultaneously thus increasing the capacity of the fish processing machine.

Removing at least some of the entrails while the abdomen is cut open is advantageous in that this allows two separate fish processing processes to run substantially simultaneously thus increasing the capacity of the fish processing machine.

Furthermore, since the entrails are removed by means of vacuum it is advantageous to remove the entrails while or after the abdomen is cut open in that it will enable pressure equalisation in the abdomen of the fish. I.e. if the abdomen was not cut open before the entrails was attempted removed by means of vacuum, the sides of the fish would just "collapse" and press on the entrails making it virtually impossible to remove the entrails.

In an aspect of the invention, said oesophagus of said fish is cut immediately before or while said abdomen is cut open. Cutting the oesophagus immediately before or while the abdomen is cut is advantageous in that this allows two separate fish processing processes to run substantially simultaneously thus increasing the capacity of the fish processing machine.

In an aspect of the invention, said entrails of said fish is removed through said oesophagus severing means.

Removing the entrails through the oesophagus severing means is advantageous in that it allows for efficient fish processing in that when entrails removal is incorporated in the oesophagus severing means the processing can take place faster and more efficient.

In an aspect of the invention, said method further comprises cutting and substantially removing the kidney of said fish through said open abdomen.

The equipment for efficiently removal of the kidney is relatively large and it is therefore advantageous to make this equipment enter the fish through the larger abdomen opening than through the mouth.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish is stationary while said oesophagus is cut and while said abdomen is cut open.

Maintaining the fish substantially stationary while the oesophagus and the abdomen is cut is advantageous in that it provides for a more simple and inexpensive fish processing machine design and it that it increases the precision of the cutting processes.

In an aspect of the invention, pressure is applied to at least one side of said fish while said mouth access providing means is penetrating said mouth. Almost all fish will open their mouth when pressure is applied on the sides of the fish at the mouth. To aid and simplify the penetration of the mouth of the fish it is therefore advantageous to apply pressure to at least one side of the fish while the mouth access providing means is penetrating the mouth.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish is guided forward until a pair of collarbone detection arms engages the collarbone of the fish before placing said mouth access providing means in the mouth of said fish. No matter the sex or the specie of the fish there is a relatively close relationship between the location of the collar bone and the oesophagus. It is therefore possible to cut the oesophagus more precisely if the position of the fish's collar bone is known before the mouth access providing means is placed in the mouth of the fish. In an aspect of the invention, said collarbone detection arms will press on the sides of the fish at the fish's head during said placing of said mouth access providing means in the mouth of said fish.

Using the collarbone detection arms for pressing on the sides of the fish is advantageous in that the dual function of the collarbone detection arms reduces cost and enables a more compact design.

The invention provides for a fish processing machine for gutting fish. The fish processing machine comprises mouth access providing means for ensuring substantially unhindered access through the mouth of the fish and oesophagus severing means arranged to enter the fish through the mouth access providing means, wherein the oesophagus severing means comprises knife means arranged at the front end of pipe means. The fish processing machine further comprises an abdomen cutting device for cutting open the abdomen of the fish, and vacuum means for establishing a partial vacuum in the pipe means to remove at least some of the entrails of the fish through the mouth access providing means, wherein the abdomen cutting device is arranged for cutting open the abdomen of the fish before or while the entrails is removed by means of the partial vacuum in the pipe means. First of all it is advantageous to process the fish both through the mouth and the abdomen in that it hereby is possible to perform different fish processing processes simultaneously and thus increase the capacity of the fish processing machine.

Secondly, as previously mentioned it is advantageous to cut the oesophagus through the mouth of the fish and also cutting the abdomen of the fish open is advantageous in that it enables that more complicated and/or space consuming fish processing processes can take place through the larger abdomen opening to reduce risk of contamination and/or insufficient gutting and to enable proper inspection of the gutted fish.

Furthermore, inserting the oesophagus severing means through the mouth access providing means is advantageous in that the location of the mouth access providing means is fixed and well-defined thus ensuring a fast and precise severing process. The oesophagus is substantially circular and connected to the fish all the way around the throat end of the fish making it advantageous to make the oesophagus severing means comprise knife means arranged at the front end of pipe means. Furthermore, it is advantageous to make the oesophagus severing means comprise knife means arranged at the front end of pipe means is that it is type of knife requires a circular motion to cut which is advantageous when the oesophagus severing means have to operate while being extended through the mouth access providing means.

Establishing partial vacuum through the pipe means is advantageous in that this will suck the front end of the pipe means to the oesophagus of the fish ensuring a strong hold and thus ensuring that the oesophagus is cut properly all the way around the throat end. Furthermore, the vacuum means is be used for sucking out the entrails of the fish through the oesophagus severing means thus enabling fast and efficient removal of the entrails which even can take place while the fish is also being processed through the abdomen. And cutting open the abdomen of the fish before or while the abdomen cutting device cuts open the abdomen of the fish is advantageous in that this will enable fast removal of the entrails due to the possibility for equalising the pressure inside the abdomen through the open abdomen.

It should be noted that in this context the term "pipe means" should be understood as any kind of tube, hose, conduit, duct, channel or other kind of pipe suitable for holding or forming knife means at the front end and extend through mouth access providing means.

It should also be noted that in this context the term "knife means" should be understood as any kind of blade, scalpel, cutter, saw or other kind of knife suitable for severing the oesophagus of a fish.

The term "mouth access providing means" is in this context to be understood as any kind of rod, cone, tube, pipe, stick, guide or similar mouth penetrating device suitable for automated penetration of the mouth of fish and providing access to the inside of the fish through the mouth.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises displacement means for displacing said mouth access providing means or said fish in relation to each other to place said mouth access providing means in the mouth of said fish.

Hereby is achieved an advantageous embodiment of the invention. It should also be noted that in this context the term "displacement means" should be understood as any kind of actuator, motor, solenoid or similar displacement device suitable for displacing mouth access providing means in a fish processing machine. In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises sensor means for detecting the location of the mouth of said fish.

Providing the fish processing machine with sensor means detecting the location of the mouth of the fish is advantageous in that it hereby is possible to make the mouth access providing means hit the mouth of the fish - e.g. by using these information to adjust the position of the mouth access providing means or the fish - even if the fish entering the fish processing machine are different - i.e. even though the position of the fish mouth varies. The term "sensor means" should in this context be understood as any kind of proximity switch, scanner, camera, radar, mechanical switch, inductive switch, capacitive switch or similar sensor suitable for automated detection of a position of the mouth of fish. In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises adjustment means for adjusting the position of said mouth access providing means or said fish in relation to output from said sensor means.

Adjusting a mutual position of the mouth access providing means or the fish in relation to output from the sensor means is advantageous in that this will increase the machines precision and reduce the risk of malfunction.

It should be noted that in this context the term "adjustment means" should be understood as any actuator arrangement, guide arrangement or any combination thereof or any similar adjustment device suitable for adjusting a position of a fish or mouth access providing means in response to sensor reading of the mouth's position so the mouth access providing means will hit the mouth of the fish when one or both are moved towards each other. In an aspect of the invention, said adjustment means comprises means for adjusting the vertical position of said mouth access providing means.

The mouth of the fish is usually placed relatively symmetrical in relation to the sides of the fish. Thus, if the fish is fixed symmetrically on the sides during penetration of the mouth access providing means the sideward position of the mouth will substantially always be the same. However, the vertical position may vary much both between fish of the same size but obviously also between fish of different size. Thus, it is advantageous to make the adjustment means only adjust the vertical position of the mouth access providing means in that it enables a much simpler design of the adjustment means.

In an aspect of the invention, said mouth access providing means are mounted on displaceable slide means comprising means for displacing said mouth access providing means towards said fish to push said mouth access providing means into the mouth of said fish.

Moving the mouth access providing means towards the fish (and not opposite) is advantageous in that it is simpler and more predictable to move the mouth access providing means with great precision at least compared to attempting the move the fish with the same precision.

The term "slide means" should in this context be understood as any kind of carriage, guide, cart or similar slide suitable for guiding mouth access providing means towards and into the mouth of fish. In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises side push means, for applying pressure to at least one side of said fish while said mouth access providing means is penetrating said mouth. Almost all fish will open their mouth when pressure is applied on the sides of the fish at the mouth. To aid and simplify the penetration of the mouth of the fish it is therefore advantageous to apply pressure to at least one side of the fish while the mouth access providing means is penetrating the mouth. In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises collarbone detection arms arranged to engage a collarbone of said fish.

The collar bone can relatively easily be detected from the outside of the fish and since the position of the collar bone is closely related to the position of the oesophagus inside the fish it is advantageous to detect the position of the collarbone.

In an aspect of the invention, said collarbone detection arms are arranged to act as said push means. In an aspect of the invention, said abdomen cutting device is arranged above said fish.

Arranging the abdomen cutting device above the fish is advantageous in that it hereby is possible to contain the blood and entrails in the abdomen even after this has been opened thus ensure better control or this and ensuring that it can be removed controllably and not random by means of gravity.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises a kidney cutting device arranged to enter said fish through said cut open abdomen. The kidney cutting device is relatively space consuming and it is therefore advantageous that it enters the fish through the larger abdomen opening than through the mouth. Furthermore it would be more difficult to ensure that the kidney is sufficiently cut when doing this through the mouth of the fish.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine further comprises a kidney cutting and suction device and/or cleaning means arranged to enter said fish through said abdomen. The kidney cutting and suction device is relatively space consuming and it is therefore advantageous that it enters the fish through the larger abdomen opening than through the mouth.

In an aspect of the invention, said sensor means comprises a camera.

Forming the sensor means to comprise a camera is advantageous in that such a vision sensor is capable of detecting the mouth of the fish even in difficult circumstances such as when there is great variations between the fish, in case of deform fish or variations in the handling of the fish.

In an aspect of the invention, said fish processing machine is arranged to processing fish by means of a method for processing fish according to any of the previously mentioned methods for processing fish.

Figures

The invention will be described in the following with reference to the figures in which illustrates a fish processing machine comprises a fish that has not yet been gutted, as seen in perspective, fig. 2 illustrates the fish processing machine shown in fig. 1, as seen from the side, fig. 3 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine shown in figs. 1 and 2, as seen from the bottom, fig. 4 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine with mouth access providing means engaging the fish, as seen from the bottom, fig. 5 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine with oesophagus severing means and an abdomen cutting device are engaging the fish, as seen from the bottom, and fig. 6 illustrates a fish processing machine during a gutting process, as seen in perspective.

Detailed description

Fig. 1 illustrates a fish processing machine 1 comprises a fish 3 that has not yet been gutted, as seen in perspective.

In this embodiment substantially all the fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 are positioned in an initial position in which they await the first fish 3 has completely enter the machine 1. In this embodiment the fish 3 is fed one at a time onto the conveyer 12 which will guide the fish 3 forward until a pair of collarbone detection arms 19 engages the collarbone of the fish 3. In another embodiment the conveyer 12 could also be stopped by means of some other type of sensor such as a proximity switch, photoelectric sensor, a camera or other. However, since particularly the oesophagus is being cut through the mouth 4 of the fish 3 it is important that the location of the oesophagus is known relatively precisely and this can be done more precisely from the location of the collarbone that e.g. the front of the head e.g. due to the relatively large size difference of the male and female head of many fish species.

Once the fish 3 is positioned sensor means 7 - in this case in the form of a camera - will detect the location of the fish mouth 4. The position of a carriage 20 containing mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 will in this case be adjusted by adjustment means 8 in response to the readings of the sensor means 7 so that the position of the mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 will be adjusted to the specific position of the mouth 4 of the current fish 3 In another embodiment these adjustment means 8 and the sensor means 7 could be omitted, the position of the fish 3 could be adjusted in relation to a fixed carriage 20 or other means could be provided ensuring that the mouth access providing means 2 is always securely placed in the mouth 4 of substantially any given fish 3 entering the machine 1.

In this embodiment the adjustment means 8 comprises a vertical displacement device 22 arranged on the carriage 20. The vertical position of the mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 is adjusted in relation to the detections of the sensor means 7 so that when or before the carriage 20 is moved towards the fish 3, the adjustment means 8 will adjust the vertical position of the mouth access providing means 2 accordingly to fit substantially the exact height of the mouth 4 of the fish 3.

Since most fish 3 are symmetrical (around a vertical centre plane of a normally orientated fish 3) only the vertical position of the mouth access providing means 2 adjusted in this embodiment but in another embodiment the adjustment means 8 could also comprise means for adjusting the horizontal position of the mouth access providing means 2 and/or the fish 3 before the mouth access providing means 2 engages the fish 3.

In this embodiment the vertical position of the the mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 is adjusted by means of linear cylinder capable of correcting the vertical position of the the mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 in response to an output from the sensor means 7 (e.g. through further signal processing in a PLC, a PC or other signal processing equipment) but in another embodiment the vertical position could be adjusted by means of a rack and pinion arrangement, inflatable bellows or balloon arrangements, an electrical motor or a similar system. Also, in another embodiment the carriage 20 could be omitted and the mouth access providing means 2 could be stationary (at least regarding forward motion) and the fish 3 could be displaced onto the mouth access providing means 2.

In this embodiment the carriage 20 comprising the mouth access providing means 2 and the oesophagus severing means 15 comprises displacement means 6 for displacing the carriage 20 towards the fish 3 once the fish 3 is in position. In this embodiment the displacement means 6 comprises a pneumatic cylinder mounted on the machine frame 21 of the fish processing machine 1. In another embodiment the displacement means 6 could be another type of linear actuator, it could comprise rack and pinion, motors, timing belts or other or any combination thereof.

It should be noted that on all illustrations the fish 3 is shown without a tail fin but in an embodiment of the invention the fish 3 would comprise its tail all the way through the fish processing machine 1 or the tail could be removed in the fish processing machine 1. Fig. 2 illustrates the fish processing machine 1 shown in fig. 1, as seen from the side.

In this embodiment the fish processing machine 1 comprises a carriage 20 including mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 for cutting the oesophagus free of the fish throat (to be shown later). Above the fish 3 is in this embodiment located an abdomen cutting device 23 for cutting open the abdomen 5 of the fish 3 and a kidney cutting and suction device 17.

In another embodiment the fish processing machine could comprise other fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 such as brushes, rinsing devices, further cutting devices or other devices suitable for processing fish 3. Also in another embodiment these or other fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 could be arranged in a different order, one or more of the fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 could be omitted or replaced by other types of fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 or further fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 could be added.

In this embodiment the fish processing machine 1 only comprises a single fish processing station i.e. in this embodiment the fish 3 is maintained substantially stationary during the entire fish processing process and all the fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 are arranged around this single fish processing station. However, in another embodiment the fish processing machine 1 could comprise several identical fish processing stations operating in parallel or individually, the fish 3 could be moved between different fish processing stations e.g. by means of the shown conveyer 12 or another dedicated conveyer, several fish 3 could simultaneously be processed in several different fish processing stations or the fish processing machine 1 could be designed and arranged in some other way or any combination thereof.

In this embodiment all the fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 are arrange above or around the fish 3, but in another embodiment some or all the fish processing means 2, 15, 17, 18, 25 could be arranged below the fish 3. In this embodiment the mouth access providing means 2 is formed as a conical beaklike arrangement capable of penetrating the mouth 4 of the fish 3 while being maintained in a closed state. Once the beak-like mouth access providing means 2 have entered the mouth 4 of the fish 3 the mouth access providing means 2 is opened to substantially form a cylinder extending into the mouth 4 of the fish 3. Making the mouth access providing means 2 hollow is advantageous in that it enables that further fish processing can take place through the hollow mouth access providing means 2 which in turn is advantageous in that the exact location of the mouth access providing means 2 is always the same whereas all fish 3 are different in shape and size and it can therefore be difficult to detect a specific part of any given fish 3.

In another embodiment of the invention the mouth access providing means 2 could be formed differently e.g. to better suit the shape of the mouth 4 of the fish 3, to better suit fish processing means - in this case the oesophagus severing means 15 - having to operate through the mouth access providing means 2, to ensure better fixation of the fish 3, to ensure easier penetration of the fish's mouth 4 or other or any combination thereof. I.e. the mouth access providing means 2 could be formed as a cylinder without the expanding part, the expanding part could be formed by further moving parts and other.

To aid in the process of placing the mouth access providing means 2 in the mouth 4 of the fish 3 the collarbone detection arms 19 will in this embodiment act as push means 14 arranged to press on the sides of the fish 3 at the fish's head during the penetration process. Applying pressure to the sides of the fish's head will make the fish's mouth 4 open at least a bit hereby increasing the chance of the mouth access providing means 2 hitting and sliding into the mouth 4 of the fish 3. However, in another embodiment the push means 14 could be omitted or they could be formed as separate means solely dedicated to pressing the side of the fish head. Fig. 3 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine 1 shown in figs.

1 and 2, as seen from the bottom and fig. 4 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine 1 with mouth access providing means 2 engaging the fish 3, as seen from the bottom through the section A-A line in fig. 2.

In this embodiment the carriage 20 will move the mouth access providing means 2 and oesophagus severing means 15 simultaneously towards the fish 3 and place the mouth access providing means 2 inside the mouth 4 of the fish as illustrated in fig. 5. Fig. 5 illustrates a cross section through the fish processing machine 1 with oesophagus severing means 15 and an abdomen cutting device 23 are engaging the fish 3, as seen from the bottom.

Once the mouth access providing means 2 is in place the oesophagus severing means 15 will be moved further forward - separate from the mouth access providing means

2 - to penetrate the mouth 4 of the fish 3 through the mouth access providing means 2 and make the front end 13 of the oesophagus severing means 15 engage the oesophagus of the fish 3. In this embodiment the oesophagus severing means 15 are formed as pipe means 11 in the form of a rotating cylinder provided with knife means 10 - in this case in the form of a sharp edge at the front end 13 of the pipe 11 - thus forming a cylindrical knife. When the rotating oesophagus severing means 15 are entered into the fish 3 through the mouth access providing means 2 the oesophagus severing means 15 will cut the oesophagus free of the fish's throat substantially without leaving any part of the oesophagus remaining attached to the fish 3. In this embodiment the pipe means 11 are hollow so that a partial vacuum can be established inside the pipe means 11 to pull the throat end of the oesophagus towards the knife means 10 during the severing process.

In this embodiment the partial vacuum will also suck out substantially the entire entrails through the oesophagus severing means 15.

However, in another embodiment it could be that the entrails should not be removed in this machine 1 or the entrails should be removed through the abdomen 5 and in such cases the pipe means 11 could be provided with a grate, lattice, sieve means or similar at the front end 13 to prevent that the oesophagus and the entrails are sucked into the oesophagus severing means 15.

In this embodiment only the oesophagus severing process is performed through the hollow mouth access providing means 2 but in another embodiment further processing could take place through the mouth access providing means 2. I.e. in an embodiment substantially all fish processing could take place through the mouth access providing means 2 so that the abdomen of the fish 3 would only be opened for inspection purposes or to provide access for a final through cleaning process. In this embodiment the abdomen cutting device 23 is also engaging the fish 3 while the oesophagus is being cut and the entrails are being sucked out.

Fig. 6 illustrates a fish processing machine 1 during a gutting process, as seen in perspective.

The parallel operation of the oesophagus severing means 15 and the abdomen cutting device 23 described above increases the capacity of the machine 1 and allows that a kidney cutting and suction device 17 can enter the fish 3 through the open abdomen 5 as soon as the abdomen 5 has been cut open without having to wait for the entrails to be removes. In US 5,098,334 it is disclosed that the kidneys (blood ribbon) is removed through the mouth of the fish 3 but this method is very slow and the risk of such a kidney removal process not being fully successful is relatively high. It is therefore advantageous to remove the kidneys through the open abdomen 5 in that this will ensure fast and reliable removal of the kidneys. The larger abdomen opening also ensures that a relatively large and very effective suction device can be inserted in the abdomen 5 through the abdomen opening to ensure that any blood or entrails residue is removed.

In this embodiment the kidney cutting and suction device 17 also comprises cleaning means 18 in the form of a small nozzle arranged to spray water in the abdomen 5 to clean the inside of the fish 3.

Once the kidneys have been removed the carriage 20 will return to its initial position, the collarbone detection arms 19 will release the fish 3 and the conveyer 12 will convey the fish 3 out on a slide 9 on which the fish 3 will slide out of the machine 1. While or after this fish 3 is being conveyed out of the machine 1 a new fish 1 will be fed into and positioned in the machine 1.

In an aspect of the invention, the mouth access providing means 2 is expanded inside the mouth 4 of the fi sh 3.

Expanding the mouth access providing means 2 inside the mouth 4 of the fish 3 is advantageous in that it enables easy access through the mouth access providing means 2 and it ensures that the mouth 4 is firmly fixed around the mouth access providing means 2.

The invention has been exemplified above with reference to specific examples of mouth access providing means 2, oesophagus severing means 15, abdomen cutting devices 25, sensor means 7 and other. However, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the particular examples described above but may be designed and altered in a multitude of varieties within the scope of the invention as specified in the claims.

List

1. Fish processing machine

2. Mouth access providing means

Fish

4. Mouth of fish

5. Abdomen of fish

6. Displacement means

7. Sensor means

8. Adjustment means

9. Slide

10. Knife means

11. Pipe means

12. Main conveyer

13. Front end of pipe means

14. Push means

15. Oesophagus severing means

16. Vacuum means

17. Kidney cutting and suction device

18. Cleaning means

19. Collarbone detection device

20. Carriage

21. Machine frame

22. Vertical displacement device

23. Abdomen cutting device