Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
LIQUID REMOVAL DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/025988
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a liquid removal device. Exemplary embodiments of the invention comprise a basket well that is configured to spin a basket containing fried food. The fryer device may also comprise a rotational mechanism, such as an electric motor or a manual crank, which rotates the basket within the basket well. The invention may further comprise a mechanism to dump food from the basket after sufficient liquid has been removed. Various embodiments also comprise a handle, which may or may not be integrated into the basket.

Inventors:
MILLIKIN, Rory C.P. (215 Ambridgefeld Road, Kelowna, British Columbia V1W 4J5, 4J5, CA)
THEIS, Thomas J. (642 N. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, 60085, US)
MOORE, David J. (63 Driftlock Lane, The Woodlands, Texas, 77381, US)
Application Number:
US2012/051340
Publication Date:
February 21, 2013
Filing Date:
August 17, 2012
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SPINFRY, INC. (215 Ambridgefeld Road, Kelowna, British Columbia V1W 4J5, 4J5, CA)
MILLIKIN, Rory C.P. (215 Ambridgefeld Road, Kelowna, British Columbia V1W 4J5, 4J5, CA)
THEIS, Thomas J. (642 N. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, 60085, US)
MOORE, David J. (63 Driftlock Lane, The Woodlands, Texas, 77381, US)
International Classes:
A23N12/12; A47J37/04; A47J43/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2008121111A1
Foreign References:
US5611265A
US3827985A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYD, Damon (Snell & Wilmer L.L.P, One Arizona Center400 E. Van Bure, Phoenix Arizona, 85004-2202, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

We claim:

1 , A deoiling device comprising:

a housing;

at least one feed chute allowing ingress to the interior of the housing;

at least one heating element located within the housing;

at least one deoiling section located within the housing;

a basket body disposed within the at least one deoiling section; a rotational mechanism configured to spin the basket body; and a dumping mechanism configured to unload food from the basket body into a discharge path.

2. The device of claim 1 , wherein the rotational mechanism is a motor.

3. The device of claim 1 , wherein the rotational mechanism is a manual crank.

4. The device of claim 2 or 3, further comprising a controller,

5. The device of claim 2 or 3. further comprising a food distribution mechanism,

6. The device of claim 2 or 3, further comprising at least one drawer located at one end of the discharge path and configured to hold food.

7. The device of claim 2 or 3, further comprising an insulating hinged cover,

8. The device of claim 2 or 3, further comprising a discharge chute located at an end of the discharge path.

9. The device of claim 2 or 3, wherein the at least one feed chute further comprises at least one door.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein the at least one door comprises a weight actuated spring door.

1 1. The device of claim 2. or 3, further comprising an oil storage section.

12. The device of claim 2 or 3, further comprising a plurality of deoiling sections.

13. The device of claim 2 or 3, wherein the dumping mechanism comprises a trap-door style basket bottom coupled to the basket body.

14. The device of claim 2 or 3, wherein the basket body comprises a basket handle coupled to the basket body, wherein the basket handle allows the basket body to rotate and may be stationari!y positioned outside of the housing.

15. The device of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of deoiling sections.

Description:
LIQUID REMOVAL DEVICE

Field Of The Invention

Th present invention relates to devices, systems arid methods for liquid removal. More specifically, the present invention relates to devices, systems and methods for removing liquids such as oii from fried foods,

Background of the Invention

A popular method of cooking many food items is to fry or deep fry them. A brief list of foods that may be deep fried include various vegetables, trench fries, potato chips, chicken, pork, beef, candy bars, and ice cream, among others. Many other types of food are amenable to deep frying. Deep frying generally involves immersing the food item in a high- temperature, fat-based solution, such as cooking oil (e.g., canola oii, peanut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, liquefied shortening, etc.) until the food is cooked.

While fried foods have a certain appeal due to the particular taste and texture imparted by frying, such fried foods have some undesirable characteristics. For example, immersing foods in cooking oii results in fat being introduced into the food, and this fat is not generally beneficial to the person consuming the food. Furthermore, conventional deep flying methods generally do not attempt to remove this added fat. The added fat that is consumed with fried foods raises health concerns because a high level of fat in one's diet is generally not recommended for good health and nutrition. High quantities of saturated fats such as (hose found in fried foods have been linked to adverse medical conditions.

in addition, excess oil in fried foods prevents sodium and other seasonings from reaching the taste buds, if oil can be reduced, an enhanced flavor profile can be realized, allowing for the reduction of seasoning and sodium, and likewise providing potential health benefits. Likewise, reduction of oil expands the menu of foods that may be fried without sacrificing taste and health. For example, vegetables that would otherwise not be "fry-able" because residual oil would leave a poor or less than desirable taste, would become fry-able if the oii could be reduced or removed.

Conventional fryer and oil removal devices of the prior art typically comprise large, industrial-sized units. Many of these units are combined fryers and deoiling devices. These devices may be too large for use in smaller environmen s. Thus, oil removal devices that are separate from fryer devices, and considerably smaller, are desired. The present disclosure provides new and effective means for removing excess fat from fried foods.

Summary of the laveniioB

As set forth in the detailed description, in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention, systems, methods, and apparatus for removing liquids such as oil from foods are disclosed. Methods in accordance with the present invention generally comprise frying a food item, transporting the food to a deoiling device, spinning the food to remove oil from the food, and removing the food from the deoiling device.

The deoiling device may have many various features including, hut not limited to, electrical rotational mechanisms, manual rotational mechanisms, covers and access hatches, heating elements, feed and discharge chutes, food and oil storage drawers, controllers, and the like. As will become apparent from the following descriptions and attached figures, numerous embodiments and numerous benefits are realized from the present disclosure, including, but. not limited to rapid loading and unloading of food items, maintaining the temperature of food items, recycling and reuse of removed oil, reduction in seasoning, and others not specifically mentioned herein.

Brief Description of the Drawia&s

The subject matter of the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The disclosure, however, both as to structure and method of operation, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the claims and the accompanying drawing figures, in which like parts may be referred to by like numerals.

FIGs. l a and i b illustrate an exemplary method of oil removal in accordance with the present disclosure.

FSG. 2 illustrates a cross-section of an exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section of an exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-section of food frying system in accordance with the present disclosure. FIGs. 5a and 5b illustrate cross-sections of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIGs. 6a, 6b, and 6e illustrate two cross-sections and a top view, respectively, of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure,

FIGs. 7a, 7b, and 7c illustrate cross-sections of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure,

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-section of an exemplar}-' oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure,

FIG. 9 illustrates a cross-section of an exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIGs, 10a and 10b illustrate perspective views of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIGs. 1 1a and l i b illustrate cross-sections of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIGs, 12a and 12b illustrate cross-sections of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure,

FIGs. 13a, 13b, 13c, and 13d illustrate cross-sections and top views of exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIGs. 14a and 14b illustrate a cross-section and a top view, respectively, of an exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 15 illustrates a cross-section of an exemplary oil removal apparatus in accordance with the present disclosure.

Detailed Degesiptioa

The detailed description herein makes use of various exemplary embodiments to assist in disclosing the present invention, While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that modifications of structures, arrangements, applications, proportions, elements, materials, or components used in the practice of the instant invention, in addition to those not specifically recited, can be varied or otherwise particularly adapted to specific environments, manufacturing specifications, design parameters or other operating requirements without departing from the scope of the present invention and are intended to be included in this disclosure. Thus, the 2012/051340 detailed description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation.

n accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, the oil removal device comprises a deoiiing section in which a fried food item is placed. The food is housed within a basket, and at least one rotational mechanism is employed to spin the basket, removing oil and the like from the fried food. In various embodiments, the oil removal device has a lid which is closed during the spinning processes. In further embodiments, the oil removal device comprises a drawer, and in still further embodiments, the oil removal device does not comprise a cover and/or a drawer. In other embodiments, the oil removal device comprises a filtering system for removing unwanted particles and debris from the cooking oil In some embodiments of the disclosure, the oil removal device farther comprises various mechanisms for automating the processes involved with the oil removal device. In yet other embodiments, a controller is provided which controls the operation of the various motors and processes to allow for substantially complete automation of the oil removal device. In some embodiments, a solid shield or wail is empioyed around the basket well so as to detain and return oil and fat removed during the spin and/or oi! removal cycles and then direct the return of that oil or fat to a frying vessel, in various exemplary embodiments, the basket is rotated by a manual crank. In other embodiments, the basket is rotated by a motor.

In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, the system, methods, and devices disclosed herein discuss fried foods and removing excess and/or unwanted fat, grease, oil, and the like from fried foods. Foods may have been cooked by other means, such as boiling, blanching, steaming, poaching, simmering, steeping, and the like. For consistency, "fried" will be used throughout without limiting the method by which the food was cooked,

Additionally, in certain embodiments of the disclosure, water may be used In place of cooking oil in order to boil, poach, blanch or otherwise cook certain foods. Foods may be housed within the basket and cooked in heated water in a cooking device. Water may also be removed from food cooked in this manner by embodiments of the present disclosure.

Briefly, foods that are fried tend to have excess oil at the surface as well as throughout the fried food. As the tried food cools, the outside of the food tends to cool first. The warmer inside temperature of the food draws the excess oil on the surface of the fried food to the inside of the food, resulting in an undesirabie texture and taste of the fried food as well as limiting the shelf life of the food. This cooling pattern increases the amount of oil within the fried food, contrary to many health trends, Various embodiments of the present disclosure provide mechanisms tor reducing this unwanted cooling during and after the oil removal process, leaving the excess oil at the surface of the fried food to be removed before it is drawn to the center of the fried food, thereby resulting in a tried food that is healthier and more desirable than fried food produced by current methods.

With initial reference to FIG. la, an exemplary method of frying food 10 is illustrated. During food cooking step 20, food is fried in a conventional food fryer, As discussed above, food that is suitable for frying may include various vegetables, trench fries, potato chips, chicken, pork, beef, candy bars, and ice cream, among many others. During food cooking step 20, one or more suitable foods are inserted into a frying device and fried using a suitable frying medium. Such mediums may include eanoia oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil olive oil, and liquefied shortening, among others. Foods are fried in the medium until suitable taste and texture are achieved.

In various exemplary embodiments, food items to be fried are placed in a fryer basket, and the basket is placed in tiie fryer. The basket allows for easy removal of food from the fryer after sufficient flying time has elapsed. In various exemplary embodiments, the basket used in the fryer is configured to also operate within the oil removal device.

After the food is suitably fried, it may then proceed to food transfer step 30. In food transfer step 30, the food is transferred from the food fryer to a deoiling section of an oil removal device. In various exemplary embodiments, food items are removed from the fryer and placed in a basket within the deoiling section of the oil removal device, in other embodiments, such as those in which the food was fried in a basket, the basket from the fryer may be placed within the deoiling section of the oil removal device. In yet other embodiments, food is removed from the fryer device, placed on a food conveyor, and transported via the conveyor to the deoiling section of the oil removal device. However, any method of transferring food from the fryer to the deoiling section of the oil removal device is within the scope of the present disclosure.

Once the food has been successfully transferred to the deoiling section of the oil removal device, the food is then subjected to oil removal step 40. In various exemplary embodiments, oil removal step 40 comprises a device activation step 42. in various exemplary embodiments, device activation step 42 comprises a user activating a switch to provide a start signal to the oil removal device. In other embodiments, step 42 comprises an automatic sensor indicating to oil removal device that fried food has been placed in the device and is ready for oil removal In yet other embodiments, step 42 comprises a user manually operating the oil removal device, such as by a manual crank handle. Any manner of activating the oil removal device to begin operation is within the scope of the present disclosure.

Oil removal step 40 further comprises a food spinning step 44. In various exemplary embodiments, food spinning step 44 comprises electrically rotating the food-holding basket within the deoiling section of the oil removal device for a sufficient amount of time to remove the desired quantity of oil. in other embodiments, step 44 comprises manually rotating the food-holding basket within the oil removal device. Any manner of spinning the food to remove oil is within the scope of the present disclosure.

As illustrated in FIG. 1 a, oil removal step 40 may further comprise an oil transport step 46. Step 46 comprises transporting the removed oil from the oil removal device to another device. This other device may comprise, for example, a receptacle, drawer, or oil storage unit. In other embodiments, the oil transport step 46 may comprise recycling the collected oil to the food fryer of food cooking step 20. Any manner of transporting oil collected in the oil removal device to suitable receptacle is within the scope of the present disclosure.

After oil has been removed from the food, the food is removed from the deoiling section of oil removal device in food removal step 50. in various exemplary embodiments, the food is removed from the deoiling section of oil removal device by removing the food- holding basket from the oil removal device. In other embodiments, the food-holding basket is moved such that the food is dumped from the basket into a discharge path, The discharge path may be interna! to the oil removal device, for example, such that the food is transported from the deoiling section to another portion of the oil removal device. The discharge path may also lead to a discharge chute, which provides an egress for the food from the oil removal device and to a receptacle outside of the food removal device, Any method of transporting food from the deoiling section of the oil removal device after sufficient oil has been removed from the food is within the scope of the present disclosure.

Once the food has been removed from the deoiling section of the oil removal device, the food may be stored in food storage step 60. In various exemplary embodiments, food removed from the deoiling section of the oil removal device may be stored in an internal storage receptacle, such as a bin or drawer. In other embodiments, food may be stored in a receptacle external to the oil removal device, such as a heated tray or container. In yet other embodiments, food removed from the oil removal device may be directed towards packaging for sale. Any method of storing food after it has been removed from the deoiiing section of the oil remo val device is within the scope of the present disclosure.

With initial reference to FIG, lb, a method of cooking food 15 is illustrated, Food cooking method 15 comprises a food placement step 25. In food placement step 25, food suitable for frying is selected and placed into a suitable frying basket. In various exemplary embodiments, the frying basket is configured to be operational in both a conventional frying device and in an oil removal device. Specifically, the basket is configured to be spun by an oil removal device. This configuration allows a single basket to be used throughout food cooking method 15, However, any manner of placing food in a suitable basket for frying is within the scope of the present disclosure,

After the food lias been placed in a suitable basket, the basket is inserted into a food fryer device and th food is fried in food frying step 35. During food frying step 35, the food-holding basket of step 25 is placed within the food fryer device and the food is fried until a desired taste and texture are achieved.

After food frying step 35 is complete, the food is transported to the oil removal device for oil removal step 45. In various exemplary embodiments, as discussed above, the food has been fried in a food-holding basket configured to be compatible with both the fryer of step 35 and the oil removal device of step 45. Specifically, the food-holding basket is configured to rotate within the oil removal device.

During step 45, the food-holding basket is spun for a duration of time that coincides with sufficient removal of oil from the fried food. In various exemplary embodiments, the oil removal device may comprise a timer, which a user can set to control the duration of time that the food is spun, in other exemplary embodiments, a sensor or other automatic control unit may be used to automatically determine the amount of time that the food should be spun for, Any manner of controUing the amount of time that the food is spun for in the oil removal device is within the scope of the present, disclosure.

With initial reference to FIG. 2, an exemplary oil removal device 200 is illustrated. Oil removal device 200 comprises a housing 212, a feed chute 214 and a discharge chute 218. In various exemplary embodiments, housing 212 is configured to house the operational components of oil removal device 200. For example, in various embodiments, housing 212 is configured to house a deoiiing section 270. In various exemplary embodiments, deoiiing section 270 is operable to remove excess oil from the surface of the fried food at an elevated temperature.

In various exemplary embodiments, deoiling section 270 comprises a basket well 272 and a basket body 216. n these embodiments, basket body 216 is configured to reside in basket well 272. Basket well 272 is configured to provide support to the basket and the food, and to allow the basket to be rotated to facilitate the removal of the oil from the fried food, For example, basket well 272 may comprise a shape similar to that of basket body 216 so that basket body 216 nests within basket well 272. In certain embodiments, the basket well may comprise bottom members and side members, and in other embodiments, the basket well may comprise only side members.

In various exemplary embodiments, multiple baskets bodies 216 may be disposed within basket well 272. in other exemplary embodiments, a single basket body 216 with multiple segments may be disposed within basket weli 272. In yet other embodiments, basket well 272 may be configured to receive a basket body 216 that is configured for operation in a conventional fryer as well as an oil removal device.

In various embodiments, basket well 272 may comprise steel, stainless steel, ceramic material, composite materials, metals, and combinations thereof. In other embodiments, basket well 272 may comprise any material and any configuration capable of providing support to the basket and allowing the basket to be rotated to facilitate the removal of oil from the fried food.

In various exemplary embodiments, basket well 272 may be surrounded by a solid wall concentric with the basket well wherein the solid wail is configured to redirect oil spun off of the cooked food so that the oil collects for removal or further processing. Such a configuration may also protect sensitive components of the oil removal device from the hot oil.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, oil removal device 200 further comprises a rotational mechanism 220. Rotational mechanism 220 is configured to rotate basket body 236 at sufficient speeds to remove oil from the fried food within, in various exemplary embodiments, rotational mechanism 220 comprises an electric motor. Any configuration of rotational mechanism 220 that can provide sufficient rotational speed to basket body 216 is within the scope of the present disclosure.

In various exemplary embodiments, rotational mechanism 220 engages a receptacle 288 to rotate basket body 216. In such embodiments, rotational mechanism 220 may 1340 comprise a rotational shaft 286 which engages receptacle 288 in basket body 216. Receptacle 288 may comprise, for example, a hollow element which is configured to accept rotational shaft 286 and allow rotational mechanism 220 to sufficiently spin the basket body 216, However, any manner in which rotational mechanism 220 may be removably coupled 5 to basket body 216 to provide sufficient rotation is within the scope of the present disclosure.

For example, various embodiments comprise a manual rotational mechanism. With reference to FIG. 1 1, oil removal device 1 100 comprises a rotational crank 1 160 and a crank handle 1 162. In various exemplary embodiments, rotational crank 1 160 comprises a

S O substantially horizontally oriented gear which interfaces with a rotational gear I 1 4 to rotate basket body 1 1 16. A user may grip crank handle 1 162 and rotational crank 1160, which provides the rotation required to remove oil from the food held in basket body 1 1 16. The sizing of rotational crank 1160 and rotational gear 1164 may be designed to more easily allow the user to reach the desired rotational speed.

15 In an aspect of these embodiments, rotational crank 1 160 and crank handle 1 162 are disposed within a lid 1 126. Similarly, with initial reference to FIG. 12a, oil removal device 1200 comprises a rotational crank 1260, crank handle 1262, and rotational gear 1264 disposed within a lid 1226.

In other exemplary embodiments, the rotational crank may comprise a substantially 0 vertically oriented gear. For example, with initial reference to FIG, l i b, rotational crank 1 160 is oriented vertically, and interfaces with rotational gear 1 164, which is oriented horizontally at the bottom of basket body H I 6. Vertical rotation provided to rotational crank 1 160 by crank handle 1 1 62 is translated to horizontal rotation by rotational gear 1 164, and basket body 1 16 is then rotated at sufficient speed to remove oil from the food within. 5 With initial reference to FIG. I la, an oil removal device 1100 is illustrated. Oil removal device 1 100 comprises a basket well 1 172, in which a basket body 1 1 16 is disposed. Basket body 1 1 16 further comprises a rotational gear 1 64, In this configuration, rotational gear 1 164 is located at the top of basket body 1 1 16. However, rotational gear 1 164 may be located on other locations of the basket body 1 1 16, including the bottom.

0 Additionally, a configuration such at that described in FIGs. 12a and 12b, can facilitate eliminating features such as center posts, locking mechanisms, pins and other structure that might otherwise be needed on a basket body to interface with an oil removal device. Further still, basket handle 1292 is integrated with basket body 1216 and as such, an 1340 operator can easily remove the basket to eject the food using the integrated handle. Moreover, the handle and gripping portion may be configured with various locking mechanisms which allow the basket to be locked in various positions and may include buttons (or similar mechanisms) which facilitate engaging and disengaging the locking mechanisms.

in yet other exemplary embodiments, the manual spinning mechanism may comprise a button disposed on the outside of housing 1 1 12 which would allow for manual rotation of basket body 1 1 16 by repeatedly pushing the button to achieve the desired speed. Any method of manually rotating basket body 1 116 within basket well 1 172 at a sufficient speed to remove liquid from fried food, including a manual crank or push button, as well as any others, is within the scope of the present disclosure.

In other exemplary embodiments and with reference to FiGs. 12a and 12b, basket body 1216 comprises a basket handle 1292 configured with an "up and over" configuration that does not interfere with rotation and likewise does not require extensive slots or large apertures in the housing 1212. In this regard, the handle of the basket comprises a gripping portion with one or more arm members extending therefrom. The arm members enter through aperture(s) on the side or on a top surface of housing 1212 of the device and extend substantially vertically downward into basket well 1272. The arm members are configured to support basket body 1216 in a manner such thai it can be spun, yet still be easily removed.

In such configurations, basket handle 1292 is configured to attach to the bottom of basket body 1216, and allows basket body 1216 to rotate while the handle remains stationary. In an aspect of these embodiments, basket handle 1292 extends outside of basket, well 1270 and to the exterior of housing 3212. As is illustrated in FiGs. 12a and 12b, a lid 1226 may include a notch or indentation to accommodate basket handle 1292. Basket handle 1292 may be used to place basket body 1216 into and remove it from oil removal device 1200.

In various other configurations, different basket handles may be used with different sized or shaped baskets. With initial reference to FiGs, 13a~13d, an oil removal device 1300 is illustrated. In each figure, a basket body 1316 of a different size is illustrated, along with a corresponding basket handle 1392. For example, basket body 1316 comprises a basket that has a significantly smaller radius than the radius of basket well 1370, and basket handle 1392 is sized and shaped accordingly. In another example, basket body 1316 of FIG. 13b comprises a basket thai has a radius closer to that of the radius of basket well 1370, and basket handle 1392 is sized and shaped accordingly, As is illustrated by these two exemplar}' configurations, an oil removal device in accordance with the present disclosure may accommodate different size basket bodies and basket handles without impacting its ability to remove liquid from fried food. Such baskets may represent standard sized baskets in the food service industry, such as those used in conventional fryer devices.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, oil removal device 200 further comprises an oil drain 222, In various exemplary embodiments, oil drain 222 may be used to drain oil collected in basket well 272 during operation of oil removal device 200, Because basket body 216 is configured to allow fluid to pass through it, if an excess of oil accumulates in basket well 272, oil may be transferred back to food in basket bod 216. Oil drain 222 may alleviate this scenario by using an oil valve 238 and oil discharge 276 to allow collected oil to drain out of basket well 272.

in various exemplary embodiments, oil removal device 200 further comprises oil storage drawer 231. In such configurations, oil may be either removed through oil discharge 276. or stored in oil storage drawer 231 for later usage or disposal. However, any manner of storing and/or removing oil from an oil removal device, including the presence of either of oil storage drawer 231, oil discharge 276, or both, is within the scope of the present disclosure.

in various exemplary embodiments, oil removed from a deoiling section may be recycled for reuse in fryer devices. With initial reference to FIG, 4, an exemplary frying system 400 is illustrated. Oil is removed in deoiling section 470 from basket well 472 through oil drain 422. The oil leaves oil discharge 476, passes through oil drain valve 438, and enters a fryer device 428. In other exemplary embodiments, oil is transported from oil discharge 476 to an oil storage container (not shown),

In yet other embodiments, oil may be transported to a storage receptacle within an oil removal device. With initial reference to FIG. 6a and 6b, exemplary oil removal devices 600 are illustrated. In each exemplary device, oil is removed from basket well 672 and directed through oil valve 638. In FIG, 5a, the oil may be transported outside of oil removal device 500, or to an oil storage drawer 531. In FIG. 5b, oil is transported through oil drain 522 and oil valve 538 directly to oil storage drawer 531 , However, the transport of oil removed from the fried food to any container suitable for storing heated oil is within the scope of the present disclosure. In various embodiments in which oil is stored in a receptacle internal to an oil removal device, the oil removal device may employ a screen or filter to remove particulates from the oil As illustrated in FIG. 5b, oil removed from basket well 572 is transported through oil discharge to filter 536 before entering oil storage drawer 53 L Filler 536 may comprise any type of screen or filter that is suitable for removing particulates from oil.

With reference to FIG. 2, oil removal device 200 further comprises a dumping mechanism 224. Dumping mechanism 224 is configured to move basket body 216 from the deoiiing section to a position in which the food contained in basket body 216 is emptied into a discharge path 232. in various exemplary embodiments, dumping mechanism 224 comprises an arm which rotates at a fixed point, causing basket body 216 to lift out of basket, well 272 and rotate to a position in which gravity allows the food io fall out of basket body 216 into discharge path 232, However, any mechanism that is capable of transporting basket body 216 from deoiiing section 270 to discharge path 232 is within the scope of the present disclosure.

In various exemplary embodiments, discharge path 232 ends with discharge chute

218. In these configurations, food enters discharge path 232 and exits oil removal device 200 through discharge chute 218. In other exemplary embodiments, discharge path 232 is internal to an exemplary oil removal device. For example, with reference to FiGs, 5a and 5b, oil removal device 500 comprises discharge path 532 transports food from deoiiing section 570 to a food storage drawer 530 disposed within oil removal device 500. Basket body 516 is rotated from within basket well 572 to discharge path 532 by dumping mechanism 524. Food is moved along discharge path 532 by gravity, Oil removal device 500 further comprises a food discharge director 540, which directs the food toward food storage drawer 530. The food then remains in food storage drawer 530 until it is purchased or further processed.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, oil removal device 200 comprises a feed chute 214. Feed chute 214 is configured to allow food to enter oil removal device 200 and to direct food to fall into deoiiing section 270. In various exemplary embodiments, feed chute 214 may comprise a spring door 242. in this configuration, spring door 242 is configured to be closed during operation of oil removal device. 200. When food is added to feed chute 214, the weight of the food causes spring door 242 to temporarily open, allowing the food to enter and fall into basket body 216, Once the food has passed through feed chute 214, spring door 242 closes, A spring door such as 242 is beneficial because it may heip keep warm air in deoiling section 270 from escaping oil removal device 200.

In other embodiments, multiple spring doors may be used. For example, with reference to FIG 9, feed chme 914 comprises two spring doors 942, In this configuration, each spring door 942 may require a different weight of food to open. For example, the first spring door 942 may be activated and/or opened with a lesser weight of food than the second spring door 942, Therefore, food may be held between the two doors, as a staging and/or wasting area. Further, oil removal device 900 may comprise a heating element 980 between the two spring doors 942. This allows the food placed in the section of the chute between the doors to remain heated and prevent the oil from being drawn into the food. In addition, ihe higher the temperature during spinning, the less viscous the oil will be, the easier it is to spin off. After a sufficient amount of food is added, the second spring door 942 will activate, and the load of food will enter the deoiling stage 970.

In yet other embodiments, multiple spring doors may be configured in a "trap door"- style configuration. For example, with reference to FIG, 14, feed chute 1414 may include two opposite-opening spring doors 1442, in this configuration, the two doors open away from each other, similar to a trap door. This configuration may allow for a shorter feed chute, as the swing of each spring door 1442 has half of the radius of the swing of a single spring door covering the same sized opening of feed chute 1414. However, any manner of providing access to deoiling section 1470 through feed chute 1414 is within the scope of the present disclosure.

With reference to FIG, 9, exemplary oil removal devices may further comprise at least one heating element. For example, oil removal device 900 comprises two heating elements 980. As previously discussed, one heating element is disposed within feed chute 914. Another heating element is disposed in housing 912 near deoiling section 970. Such placement aiiows for food to remain heated as the oil is being removed in deoiling section 970, Heating elements 980 may be placed in any location within housing 912, including feed chute 914, discharge chute 918, discharge path 934 and food storage drawer 930.

Various exemplary embodiments comprise regulating the cooling of the food. For example, by providing at least one heating element and/or insulating the oil removal device, cooling of the food is slowed. After the food is fried in the oil, the food comprises an average temperature that is close to the temperature of the oil. When the food is removed from the oil, at a time t a , the average temperature in the oil begins to decline based on any number of factors. For example, if the food is exposed to room temperature, the average temperature will decline more rapidly than if the food is exposed to a higher ambient temperature, Thus, a change in temperature, ΔΤ may be defined as the difference between the average temperature at the time the food is removed from the oil and an average temperature at some other point in time, t b . C, then, is the ratio between ΔΤ and At, where At - ¾ - t a . Exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure minimize cooling in order to prevent the collection of oil towards the center of the fried food prior to serving to a consumer, Additionally, exemp!ary embodiments reduce the total oi! consumption of the food by removing the oil before the food begins to cool, thereby making the fried food healthier.

Examples of heating mechanisms used in connection with maintaining and regulating the temperature of the feed chute 914 include, but are not limited to, hot air, heat lamps and radiant bulbs, various heating elements, and the like. With reference back to FIGs, 7a and 7b, such heating mechanisms also may be used to maintain and regulate the temperature of food in food storage drawer 730.

As should be apparent, any heating element, known or as yet unknown, that can provide heat and help maintain and regulate the temperature of the food and the environments and structures through which the food passes should be considered within the scope of the present disclosure, whether those mechanisms are integrated within or external to the systems described herein.

Exemplary oil removal devices may further comprise a food distribution mechanism, which is designed to distribute the food throughout the basket as it enters the oil removal device. In various exemplary embodiments, the food distribution mechanism comprises a cone. For example, with reference to FIGs. 14a and 14b, oil removal device 1400 comprises a food distribution mechanism 1482. Food distribution mechanism 1482 is centered in feed chute 1414 and positioned above basket well 1472. As the food passes through feed chute 1414 and enters deoiling section 1470, food distribution mechanism 1482 helps to more evenly distribute the food across basket well 1472, This may help eliminate the concentration of food in one area, which may cause basket body 1416 to rotate in an unbalanced manner. Any food distribution mechanism 1482 which effectively distributes the incoming food across the surface area of basket body 1416 is within the scope of the present disclosure. U 2012/051340

In various exemplary embodiments, basket body 1416 may comprise at least one basket body divider 1417, in such embodiments, basket body divider 1417 may create sections within basket body 3416. in an aspect of such embodiments, two basket body- dividers 1417 may be used to create approximately quartered sections within basket body 1416. However, the use of any number or type of dividers is within the scope of the present disclosure.

in various exemplary embodiments, a system for removing oil from fried foods may comprise multiple oil removal devices. With initial reference to FIG. 15, oil removal system 1500 comprises at least two oil removal devices 200, In this configuration, oil removal devices 200 are positioned vertical to one another within a housing 1512, Housing 1512 comprises a shared feed chute 1514. Each oil removal device 200 comprises a spring door 242. In this configuration, once sufficient food has been delivered via shared feed chute 5514 to the first oil removal device 200, spring door 242 closes, loading the food into the deoiling section 270 of the first oil removal device 200. Once the first spring door 242 is closed, shared feed chute 1514 Is open to the second spring door 242, allowing food to accumulate. This process may be repeated for a number of vertically-oriented oii removal devices 200.

In various exemplary embodiments, oil removal system 1500 further comprises a feed conveyor 1566. For example, feed conveyor 1566 may be configured to transport food from a hopper 1590 to the shared feed chute 1534 of oil removal system 1500, Feed conveyor 1566 may utilize a belt or system of rollers to move food to feed chute 1514. In one aspect of these embodiments, hopper 1590 is located at a lower vertical height than the opening of shared feed chute 1514. In this configuration, feed conveyor 1566 moves food vertically to the opening of shared feed chute 1514, where it is loaded into the opening. In other configurations, feed conveyor 1566 may move food in a primarily horizontal direction, or at a vertical decline. Any manner of automatically moving fried food from a hopper to the feed chute of an oil removal device or system is within the scope of the present disclosure.

With initial reference to FIGs. 30a and 3 Oh, an oii removal device 1000 may further comprise a controller 1068. Controller 1068 may be configured to control various parameters of the oii removal device 1000. For example, controller 1068 may regulate, among other aspects, the amount of time for spinning the food, basket speed, or the like, according to input from a user, for example through a key pad or various buttons, dials or

35 switches. Controller 1068 may comprise any type of controller known in the art for controlling electrical and/or mechanical systems (e.g., printed circuit boards and the like). As a motor controller, controller 1068 may direct the operation of a motor to spin and/or move the basket. n other embodiments, controller 1068 accepts input from a user for temperature, spin time, and other factors a user would want to control in relation to the operation of the device, in further embodiments, controller 1068 may control automatic extraction of the food from hopper when the spinning process is complete.

in various exemplary embodiments, controller 1068 may comprise a timer, in these embodiments, controller 1068 may comprise an analog and/or digital timer which counts a user-defined time frame. For example, the user may enter a desired time frame, such as 30 seconds, which corresponds with the time required to remove a desired amount of oil from the fried food. In one aspect of these embodiments, the user then rotates the manual crank 1062 from the time that the timer is activated until the timer reaches the end of the user- defined time frame, m other embodiments, controller 1068 may comprise a timer which counts up from zero to a desired time, in these embodiments, the user would rotate the manual crank 1062 until the digital timer has counted up to the desired time. In yet other embodiments, controller 1068 may comprise an analog timer which counts down from a user-defined time frame. Any controller which is capable of counting a user-defined time frame is within the scope of the present disclosure.

With initial reference to FIG. 8, an exemplary oil removal device 800 is illustrated.

Oil removal device 800 comprises a basket body 816, basket handle 892, and controller 868, Controller 868 may further comprise an activation button 898 and/or a speed controller 896. in this configuration, the user may control the rotation of basket body 816 by pressing or pressing and holding activation button 898. In addition, the speed of rotation of basket body 816 may be controlled by adjusting speed controller 896.

Further exemplary embodiments, with initial reference to FIG. 3, provide a cover that is operable to maintain an elevated temperature within the oil removal device. For example, oil removal device 300 comprises a cover 326, which is operable to insulate deoiling section 170 from the outside air. Cover 326 may comprise a thermally insulating material that reduces temperature loss to the outside of oil removal device 300, The thermal insulating material also maintains the outside surface of cover 326 at a temperature that is amenable to being touched by a user without, injuring the user. Cover 326 facilitates the maintenance of a desirable temperature within the food that is deoiled by oil removal device 300 by allowing basket body 316 to rotate within deoiiing section 370 while cover 326 remains closed.

in various exemplary embodiments of the disclosure, and with reference to FIGs. 13a and 13b, cover 1326 comprises rotational mechanism 1320 to facilitate spinning of basket body 1 16 to remove oil from the food. In various embodiments, rotational mechanism 1320 is an electric motor. In an aspect of such embodiments, rotational mechanism 1320 may be powered by batteries, direct current, alternating current, solar power, gasoline, and the like.

In various exemplary embodiments, oil removal device 1300 may further comprise a clutch 1321. In such configurations, clutch 1321 couples rotational mechanism 1320 with basket body 1316, transmitting the rotation of rotational mechanism 1320 to basket body 1316. In an aspect of these embodiments, clutch 1321 may accommodate different sizes of basket body 131 6, as illustrated in FIGs. 13a and 13b.

in various exemplary embodiments, and with initial reference to FIGs. 6a, 6b, and 6c, oil removal devices 600 comprise a centrifugal discharge path 646 and discharge chute 618. In some embodiments, such as the one il lustrated in FIG. 6a, once the basket body 616 is rotated at a sufficiently high speed, the food rises in the basket body 616, eventually exiting along centrifugal discharge path 646. The food is then ejected from the oil removal device through discharge chute 618.

in another embodiment, such as the one illustrated in FIG. 6b, oil removal device further comprises a basket bottom 644. Once food has been spun so that sufficient oil has been removed, basket bottom 644 may be raised within basket body 616, causing the food to approach centrifugal discharge path 646. Food then enters centrifugal discharge path 646 and is ejected from oil removal device 600 through discharge chute 618.

in other exemplary embodiments, with initial reference to FIGs. 7a and 7b, oil removal device 700 comprises a basket body 716 and a trap door bottom 748. In such configurations, when sufficient oil. has been removed from the fried food, trap door bottom 748 opens, allowing food to drop from basket body 716 and exit deoiiing section 770. In an aspect of such embodiments, food may fall from deoiiing section 770 into a food storage drawer 730,

In various exemplary embodiments, trap door bottom 748 may be activated by a dump arm 719. For example, dump arm 719 may comprise an arm, the bottom of which is attached to trap door bottom 748. In such configurations, pressing down on dump arm 719 causes trap door bottom 748 to open, releasing food from basket body 716. However, any manner of activating and/or opening trap door bottom 748 to release food from basket body 716 is within the scope of the present disclosure.

According to various exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, devices used herein are available in numerous sizes and/or capacities. For example, the device may be available in commercial sizes for use by restaurants and other food-frying establishments and large food manufacturers and producers that must produce hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of fried food every day. Commercial devices may range in size depending on the desired capacity for the device. Other embodiments of the disclosure provide a device thai is amenable to use by smaller businesses and food stands, or even in a user's home. For example, devices in accordance with the present disclosure may be configured to be easily "retrofit" to existing kitchen cooking devices and appliances. Moreover, such a device for personal use may produce as little as one serving of food and may be configured to sit on a couniertop. The materials used for the various components described herein may be various heat resistant materials, such as high temperature plasties, ceramics, metals, and the like thai- will not be detrimentally effected by the temperature of the oil and heating elements described herein. Ail sizes and capacities of devices discussed are contemplated within the scope of the present disclosure.