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Title:
MACHINE FOR PROCESSING SOFT PRODUCTS AND METHOD FOR PROCESSING SOFT PRODUCTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/222400
Kind Code:
A9
Abstract:
The invention relates to a machine (1) for processing soft products (9), which comprises: a frame (2); a lower conveyor (4) mounted on the frame (2) and comprising a lower belt (41); and an upper conveyor (5) mounted on the frame (2) above the lower conveyor (4) and comprising an upper belt (51). Both belts (41, 51) are wound., on at least one driving motor/roller (42, 52) and at least one idle roller (43, 53). At least one of the conveyors (4, 5) comprises at least one vibrating motor (44, 54) connected to a corresponding vibroplate (45, 55), which is in contact with the belt (41, 51) of the conveyor (4, 5). The object of the invention is also a method for processing soft products (9).

Inventors:
PSIUCH, Bartosz (ul. Janowska 130, 41-400 Mysłowice, 41-400, PL)
Application Number:
PL2017/050035
Publication Date:
December 28, 2017
Filing Date:
June 23, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PSIUCH, Bartosz (ul. Janowska 130, 41-400 Mysłowice, 41-400, PL)
International Classes:
A22C7/00; A22C9/00; B30B5/06; B30B7/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSERVICE KANCELARIA RZECZNIKÓW PATENTOWYCH SP. Z O.O. (ul. Bluszczańska 73, 00-712 Warszawa, 00-712, PL)
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Claims:
Claims

A machine (1) for processing soft products (9) , comprising :

a frame (2) ;

a lower conveyor (4) mounted on the frame (2) and comprising a lower belt (41) wound on at least one driving roller (42) and at least one idle roller (43) ; and an upper conveyor (5) mounted on the frame (2) above the. lower conveyor (4) and comprising .an upper belt (51) wound on at least one driving roller (52) and at least one idle roller (53);

wherein at least one of the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (5) comprises a vibration generating device being in contact with the respective belt (41, 51) on that section of the belt (41, 51) , which is in contact with the product (9) to be processed;

characterized in that:

the vibration generating device comprises at least one vibrating motor (44, 54) and a corresponding vibroplate (45, 55) connected to the at least one vibrating motor (44, 54), the vibroplate (45, 55) being in contact with the belt (41, 51) of the conveyor (4, 5), which is in contact with the product (9) to be processed.

The machine according to claim 1, characterized in that both conveyors (4, 5) comprise the vibration generating device.

The. machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it further comprises, at the side where the product (9) to be processed enters the machine (1), an additional feed conveyor (1) attached to the frame (2) of the machine (1) and having a feed belt (61) wound on at least one driving roller (62) and at least one idle roller (63), the feed conveyor (6) being aligned with the lower conveyor (4) .

The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it further comprises a pump (7) connected by means of feeding/receiving conduits (10) to injection nozzles (8) for spraying a. substance on the product (9) to be processed.

The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the upper conveyor (5) is attached to the frame (2) of the machine (1) by means of a pair of girders (56) .

The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the vibroplates (45, 55) are connected to the frame (2) of the machine (1) by means of vibration insulation connections.

The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (6) are parallel to each other. The machine according to any one of claims 1-6, characterized in that the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (5) are located at an angle relative to each other so that they converge towards the output of the product (9) to be processed from the machine.

A method for processing soft products, wherein:

a product (9) to be processed is supplied to a machine (1) for processing soft products, which uses a lower conveyor (4) and an upper conveyor (5) located above it, wherein a suitable conveyor belt (41, 51), which is in contact with the product (9) to be processed, is used in each of the conveyors (4, 5),

the product (9) to be processed is moved between the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (5) , and the product (9) to be processed is subjected to vibrations by means of at least one vibration generating device, which is used in at least one of the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (5) , characterized in that:

the product (9) to be processed is subjected to vibrations by means of at least one vibration generating device, in which at least one vibrating motor (44, 54) and a corresponding vibroplate (45, 55) connected to the at least one vibrating motor (44, 54) are used, the vibroplate (45, 55) being in contact with the belt (41, 51) of conveyor (4, 5), which is in contact with the product (9) to be processed.

The method according to claim 9, characterized in that, prior to moving the product (9) to be processed between the lower conveyor (4) and the upper conveyor (5) , a food substance is injected under high pressure into the product (9) to be processed by means of injection nozzles (8) connected by feeding/receiving conduits (10) to a pump (7) .

Description:
Machine for processing soft products and method for processing soft products

FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to a machine for processing soft products and a method for processing soft products, in particular food products such as meat, cheese or fish.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

A machine for processing soft products is known from the prior art, which comprises: a frame on which other machine components are mounted; a lower conveyor assembly that is associated with a lower pounding unit; and an upper conveyor assembly that is installed above the lower conveyor assembly and located at an angle thereto. A product to be processed is moved on the lower conveyor assembly and compressed by the upper conveyor assembly. The lower pounding unit is composed of specially shaped rollers located below a belt of the lower conveyor assembly and driven by suitable driving motors. The belt of the lower conveyor assembly is stroke up pointwise by the rollers, causing it to pound and the product to be processed is gradually flattened.

However, such a machine is not capable of coping with the so-called memory effect of muscle tissue, manifesting itself in that the product (meat) processed with such machine tends to return to its original shape, which is problematic in further processing of such processed products. In addition, the flattening of such processed product is not homogeneous .

In general, in the food industry, when meat or other soft food product is prepared for further heat treatment, for instance for ready meals, it is required to be of the highest quality.

Industrial heat treatment methods, such as linear ovens or spiral ovens, are largely dependent on the homogeneity of products. For example, if a chicken fillet is usually 10mm thick or sometimes 12mm thick, then the heat treatment time must be adjusted to the thickest product. As a result, a thinner product is baked too much, with a greater weight/moisture loss (so that a thicker product requiring longer baking time could be baked properly) . This unnecessary loss of moisture has also a negative impact on product quality.

Moreover, when the chicken fillet is not prepared before heat treatment, it has a compact muscle and tissue structure that can contract under heat treatment, resulting in undesired and altered shape.

If chicken fillets are raw and prepared for slicing by water jet with a constant weight slicer, the variable thickness can result in a product with a larger, undesired weight, although two dimensions of a sliced product are normal .

When a fast food chain requires chicken fillet meat for example for sandwiches, the fillets are typically cut with a water jet using a special slicer. This system works on the basis of a optical system that uses a water jet to cut the product into pieces of regular pattern in two dimensions to create chicken fillet pieces of uniform size and weight .

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The object of the invention is to provide a machine and a method for processing soft products by means of which the processed products would be more homogeneous and normalized in terms of their properties, and whose appearance would be more desirable.

A machine for processing soft products comprising: a frame; a lower conveyor, mounted on the frame and comprising a lower belt wound on at least one driving roller and at least one idle roller; and an upper conveyor mounted on the frame above the lower conveyor and comprising an upper belt wound on at least one driving roller and at least one idle roller; wherein at least one of the lower conveyor and the upper conveyor comprises a vibration generating device being in contact with the respective belt on that section of the belt, which is in contact with the product to be processed; according to the invention it is characterized in that the vibration generating device comprises at least one vibrating motor and a corresponding vibroplate connected to the at least one vibrating motor, the vibroplate being in contact with the conveyor belt, which is in contact with the product to be processed.

Preferably, both conveyors comprise the vibration generating device.

Preferably, the machine further comprises, at the side where the product to be processed enters the machine, an additional feed conveyor attached to the frame of the machine and having a feed belt wound on at least one driving roller and at least one idle roller, the feed conveyor being aligned with the lower conveyor.

Preferably, the machine further comprises a pump connected by means of feeding/receiving conduits to injection nozzles for spraying ,a substance on the product to be processed.

Preferably, the upper conveyor is attached to the frame of the machine by means of a pair of girders.

Preferably, the vibroplates are connected to the frame of the machine by means of vibration insulatingconnections.

Preferably, the lower conveyor and the upper conveyor are parallel to each other.

Preferably, the lower conveyor and the upper conveyor are located at an angle relative to each other so that they converge towards the output of the product to be processed from the machine .

A method for processing soft products, wherein: a product to be processed is supplied to a machine for processing soft products, which uses a lower conveyor and an upper conveyor located above it, wherein a suitable conveyor belt, being in contact with the product to be processed, is used in each of the conveyors; the product to be processed is moved between the lower conveyor and the upper conveyor and the product to be processed is subjected to vibrations by means of at least one vibration generating device, which is used in at least one of the lower conveyor and upper conveyor, according to the invention it is characterized in that the product to be processed is subjected to vibrations by means of at least one vibration generating device, in which at least one vibrating motor and a corresponding vibroplate connected to at least one vibrating motor are used, the vibroplate being in contact with the conveyor belt, which is in contact with the product to be processed.

Preferably, prior to moving the product to be processed between the lower conveyor and the upper conveyor, a food substance is injected under high pressure into the product to be processed by means of injection nozzles connected by feeding/receiving conduits to a pump.

By using the machine of the invention, the surface of the muscle tissue of the meat processed by the machine according to the invention is not torn apart, resulting in an output product having a much better appearance and being more moist.

While passing through the machine, the products to be processed are constantly subjected by the machine according to the invention to vibrations and pressure. This results in a longer contact time on a surface of the product to be processed. The entire length of the vibroplate is in constant contact with the belt of the conveyor. An additional advantage is the ability to change vibration frequency to achieve a desired result.

By using the machine according to the invention, the influence on the control of the height of products is increased and a processed product having a homogeneous thickness is obtained.

The product (meat) processed in the machine according to the invention is more juicy and tender. The process of tenderizing of meat products softens them prior to thermal processing by destroying connective tissue. In addition, the fact that the vibrations in the conveyors are produced on a greater length and not pointwise as in the prior art, the products are processed in a more delicate and uniform manner.

An advantage resulting from using nozzles for injecting a marinade or other high-pressure liquid mixture into the product is the absence of the secondary contamination of the product by needle (typically used in injection systems in the food industry) . The products are then subjected to massaging and tenderizing process by means of conveyors that produce vibrations on most part of the conveyor, which greatly reduces the undesirable tearing/breaking effect of the products to be processed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The object of the invention is illustrated in an embodiment in the drawing, wherein fig. 1 shows a side view of a machine according to the invention, and fig. 2 shows a plan view of the machine according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Machine 1 according to the invention for. processing soft products, in particular food products such as meat, cheese and fish of different kind, comprises a frame 2, which defines the general outer structure of the machine. A plurality of casing plates 3 can be attached to the frame 2.

The machine 1 comprises a lower conveyor 4 and an upper conveyor 5. Both conveyors 4, 5 are attached to the frame 2 of the machine 1 by means of their respective components. A product 9 to be processed, in particular a soft food product, is moved between the conveyors 4, 5. The conveyors 4 , 5 are preferably located at an angle to each other, in particular the lower conveyor 4 is horizontal and the upper conveyor 5 is located at an angle thereto, so that both conveyors 4 , 5 converge towards the output of the product 9 to be processed from the machine 1. However, in other embodiments, another layout of the conveyors 4, 5 is also acceptable, for example they may be parallel to one another, if necessary.

The lower conveyor 4 comprises an lower endless belt 41 that is wound on at least one driving motor/roller 42 and at least one idle roller 43, which rollers are mounted on the frame 2 of the machine 1. When using the machine 1 , the product 9 to be processed is moved on the lower belt 41. The lower conveyor 4 further comprises at least one lower vibrating motor 44 mounted on the frame 2. The lower vibrating motor 44 is connected to a lower vibroplate 45, which is located just below the lower belt 41 or is in contact with it. The lower vibroplate 45 is situated beneath that section of the lower belt 41 on which the product 9 to be processed rests and/or which is in contact with the product. The lower vibroplate 45 constitutes an appropriate lower vibrating element, i.e. an end element, which transfers the vibrations to the lower belt 41 of the lower conveyor 4. The lower vibroplate 45 is also connected by means of vibration insulating connections to the frame 2 of the machine 1.

The upper conveyor 5 comprises: an upper endless belt 51 that is wound on at least one driving motor/roller 52 and at least one idle roller 53, which are mounted on the frame 2 of the machine 1; at least one upper vibrating motor 54 that is mounted on the frame 2; an upper vibroplate 55, which is connected to the upper vibrating motor 54 and is located just above an upper belt 51 or is in contact with it, namely the upper vibroplate 55 is located just above that section of the upper belt 51, which is in contact with the product 9 to be processed; and at least two girders 56 by means of which the upper conveyor 5, in particular the driving roller 52 and the idle roller 53 are attached to the frame 2 of the machine 1. The use of the girders 56 allows adjusting the position of the upper conveyor 5 in relation to the lower conveyor 4, in particular its lowering/raising and/or changing the tilt angle to produce a corresponding gap. between the conveyors 4, 5 to accommodate to a different pre- set thickness of the products 9 to be processed. Of course, the use of the girders 56 is not necessary and the position of the upper conveyor 5 relative to the lower conveyor 4 can be fixed. The upper vibroplate 55 constitutes an appropriate upper vibrating element, i.e., an end element that transfers vibrations to the upper belt 51 of the upper conveyor 5. The upper vibroplate 55, like the lower plate, is also connected by means of vibration insulating connections to the frame 2 of the machine 1.

The vibrating motors 44, 54 and corresponding vibroplates 45, 55 may be collectively referred to as vibration generating devices, the vibrations of which are transferred to the belts of the conveyors 4, 5.

The lower and upper vibroplates 45, 55 can be made of 3-25 mm thick stainless steel as well as other materials approved for the food industry. In addition, the lower and upper vibroplates 45, 55 may have perforations as well as various shapes, such as the shape of a pillow or other shapes to facilitate for a homogeneous shape and optimal crushing results to be obtained.

The machine 1 may further comprise, although it is not necessary, an additional separate feed conveyor 6, which is in line with the lower conveyor 4, i.e. upper surfaces of their belts, on which the product 9 to be processed is moved, are aligned. Both conveyors may also be slightly shifted vertically, i.e. one of the upper surfaces of their belts is located higher than the other of these surfaces. For example, a top surface of the belt of the feed conveyor 6 is located::.slightly higher than a top surface: of the belt of the lower conveyor 4. The feed conveyor 6 is located on the side where the product 9 to be processed enters the machine 1. The feed conveyor 6 may be mounted outside the general outline of the frame 2 but it is still attached to the frame 2 itself by means of additional brackets. The feed conveyor 6 comprises a feed belt 61 wound on at least one driving motor/roller 62 and at least one idle roller 63. The purpose of using the additional feed conveyor 6 is to facilitate the feeding of the product 9 to be processed to an appropriate processing section of the machine 1, i.e. the section located between -the lower conveyor 4 and the upper conveyor 5.

The feed belt 61 is made of a mesh with openings that allow injecting of marinade or brine under high pressure or low pressure into the product 9 to be processed. For this purpose, the machine 1 further comprises a pump 7 with a filter, preferably a high pressure pump. The pump 7 is connected to injection nozzles 8 by means of a set of feeding/receiving conduits 10. The injection nozzles are located adjacent to the feed conveyor 6 but they can also be located adjacent to the lower conveyor 4 itself. The liquid marinade or mixture is fed to the product 9 to be processed by the pump 7, the conduits 10 and the injection nozzles 8. Unused marinade or liquid mixture is collected and re- fed to the pump 7. Other food substances such as enzyme rich substances, citrus juices, vinegar or other flavour enhancers can also be injected with the nozzles. These substances, after being sprayed through the nozzles, are then massaged into and fixed in the product 9 to be processed by means of vibration.

The lower and upper belts 41, 51 may have a perforated or smooth structure or a groove and ridge pattern imitating the construction of a home tenderizer used to ram and crush meat at home conditions or in restaurants.

Vibration frequency of the vibrating motors 44, 54 can be adjusted, independently for each of them, by means of inverters (not shown) . The inverters are also used to control the speed of driving motors/rollers 42, 52, independently for each of them.

Soft foods such as meat, cheese or fish are processed by vibration by means of the machine according to the invention in the following manner. The product 9 to be processed is fed onto the feed conveyor 6 where the brine or other food substance is sprayed on the product (product marinating) or brine or other substance is injected at very high pressure into the product. The product is then directed onto the lower conveyor 4, and more specifically onto its lower belt 41. The product moving under the upper belt 51 of the upper conveyor 5 is processed by vibration (it is subjected to vibrations) , in which case it is compressed, crushed and/or massaged by applying pressure to it by the conveyors and subjecting it to vibrations produced by the vibrating motors and the vibroplates. In other words, the properties/parameters of the product 9 to be processed are subjected to normalization/standardization process. This is achieved not only by positioning the upper belt 51 at an angle relative to the lower belt 41, but also by the vibrations produced by the vibrating motors 44, 54 and transmitted to the belts by means of the vibroplates 45, 55. After leaving the space between the upper belt 51 and the lower belt 41, the specific processed product 9 is obtained. As mentioned previously in the present description, such processed product is homogeneous, maintains the shape given to it, and its subsequent heat treatment and/or packaging is facilitated.

Of course, the above described embodiment is not the only embodiment of the invention. A person skilled in the art will easily be able to use other technical means, equivalent to those mentioned above, such as different vibrating motors or conveyor belts. In addition, the number and arrangements of the driving motors/rollers and the idle rollers can be freely altered in relation to those described in the description and in the drawings. The choice of the power of the vibrating/driving motors is also obvious to those skilled in the art.

In addition, the vibration generating devices, that is vibrating motor 44, 45 - vibroplate 45, 55 pairs, need not be applied to both conveyors 4, 5. In some applications, it is sufficient that only one of the conveyors has a vibration generating device comprising a vibrating motor and a vibroplate connected to it. It is obvious that when using the vibrating motor-vibroplate pair only for one of the conveyors 4, 5, the vibroplate of the other conveyor must be replaced with a component that ensures rigidity of the belt of the other of the conveyors to produce the effect of processing/flattening/tenderizing of the product 9 to be processed.