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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A ROTATING FOOD CLEANER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/061236
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present application relates to a rotating food cleaner (1). The food cleaner has a housing and at least two compartments mountable in said housing, each of said compartments defining a food receiving space (8, 9). Each compartment is configured to impart a different centrifugal force on a food received in its food receiving space (8, 9) when rotated in the housing. The present application also relates to an insert (2) for a food cleaner (1), a receptacle for a food cleaner and a kit for a food cleaner.

Inventors:
ZWANENBURG GODWIN DIRK (NL)
LINNEWIEL REMCO (NL)
Application Number:
IB2012/055796
Publication Date:
May 02, 2013
Filing Date:
October 22, 2012
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS ELECTRONICS N.V. (High Tech Campus 5, AE Eindhoven, NL-5656, NL)
International Classes:
A47J43/24
Foreign References:
US6473988B1
US6622618B1
US20110023320A1
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COOPS, Peter et al. (High Tech Campus Building 44, AE Eindhoven, NL-5656, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A rotating food cleaner comprising a housing and at least two compartments mountable in said housing, each of said compartments defining a food receiving space (8,9), wherein each compartment is configured to impart a different centrifugal force on a food received in its food receiving space (8,9) when rotated in the housing.

2 A rotating food cleaner according to claim 1, wherein each compartment is configured to rotate in the housing about a rotational axis (6,12), and at least a section of the food receiving space (8,9) of each compartment is configured to be spaced a different radial distance from its rotational axis (6,12) when disposed in the housing.

3. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 2, wherein each compartment has an outer wall (5,7,16), and the outer wall of each compartment has a different diameter.

4. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 3, wherein the rotational axes (6,12) of each compartment extend co-axially with each other.

5. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 1, wherein at least one

compartment is a first compartment and at least another compartment is a second

compartment, and the second compartment is disposed in the first compartment.

6. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 5, wherein the first compartment is a container (1,11,15) for receiving a food and the second compartment is an insert (2,10,14) comprising a side wall (7,16,17) disposed in the container so that the container defines a first food receiving space (8) and the insert defines a second food receiving space (9).

7. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 6, wherein the insert (2,10,14) is removably received in the container (1).

8. A rotating food cleaner according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the at least two compartments are interchangeably mountable in the housing.

9. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 1, wherein at least one

compartment is configured to rotate independently of another compartment.

10. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 9, wherein each compartment is configured to rotate at a different rotational speed in the housing. 11. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 10, further comprising a planetary gear system (22) provided with a central gear (23), a set of outer gears (24) and a ring gear (25), wherein at least one compartment (20,21) is mounted to one of the central gear, the set of outer gears or the ring gear, and at least another compartment is mounted to another of the central gear, the set of outer gears or the ring gear.

12. A rotating food cleaner according to claim 11, wherein at least one

compartment (20,21) is mounted to the central gear (23) and another compartment is mounted to the ring gear (25). 13. An insert (2,10,14) for a rotating food cleaner comprising a side wall (7,16,17) configured to be disposed in a receptacle (1) of a rotating food cleaner to divide a receptacle (1) into an outer food receiving space (8) and an inner food receiving space (9) so that, during use, a lower centrifugal force is imparted on a food received in the inner food receiving space (9) than on a food received in the outer food receiving space (8).

14. A receptacle for a rotating food cleaner comprising a first compartment defining a first food receiving space (8) and a second compartment defining a second food receiving space (9) wherein, during use, the receptacle is configured to impart a lower centrifugal force on a food received in the first food receiving space than on a food received in the second food receiving space.

15. A kit for a rotating food cleaner comprising at least two compartments interchangeably mountable in a food cleaner, wherein each compartment is configured to impart a different centrifugal force on a food received in its food receiving space when rotated in the housing.

Description:
A ROTATING FOOD CLEANER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a rotating food cleaner. The present invention also relates to an insert, a receptacle and a kit for a rotating food cleaner. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Food cleaners wash and clean food items, such as fruit or vegetables.

Typically, a rotating food cleaner comprises a receptacle disposed in a housing which is rotatable about a central axis so as to impart a centrifugal force on food items received in the receptacle. The food cleaner is further provided with a water supply to rinse the food items received in the food cleaner. During use, a food received in the receptacle is rinsed with water as the receptacle rotates about its axis such that the food is cleaned by the water. After the food received in the receptacle has been rinsed, the receptacle may continue to rotate so that excess water on the food is drawn away from the food due to the centrifugal force imparted by the rotating receptacle so that the food is dried.

To increase the efficiency of a food cleaner, the rotational speed of the receptacle of a food cleaner may be increased and water may be supplied to the receptacle at a higher pressure. However, a problem with the above arrangement is that soft fruits and berries, such as raspberries or strawberries, may be damaged by the increased centrifugal forces imparted on them by use of an increased rotational speed. Furthermore, it is not possible to clean soft fruits and berries together with hard fruits and vegetables.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a rotating food cleaner, an insert, a receptacle and a kit for a rotating food cleaner which substantially alleviates or overcomes the problems mentioned above.

According to the present invention, there is provided a rotating food cleaner comprising a housing and at least two compartments mountable in said housing, each of said compartments defining a food receiving space, wherein each compartment is configured to impart a different centrifugal force on a food received in its food receiving space when rotated in the housing.

An advantage of the above arrangement is that the two compartments can be used for different types of food. Typically, the compartment which is configured to receive a lower centrifugal force is suitable for soft or delicate food such as berries.

Preferably, each compartment is configured to rotate in the housing about a rotational axis, and at least a section of the food receiving space of each compartment is configured to be spaced a different radial distance from its rotational axis when disposed in the housing.

Therefore, a section of the food receiving space can be configured to impart a different centrifugal force on food held therein than food held in the remaining area of the food receiving space.

Conveniently, each compartment has an outer wall, and the outer wall of each compartment has a different diameter.

The outer wall of each compartment provides the advantage that food held in each compartment is retained within respective compartment during use.

Preferably, the rotational axes of each compartment extend co-axially with each other.

An advantage of this arrangement is that a food received in each compartment and abutting the outer wall of respective compartment is imparted with the same centrifugal force irrespective of its position against around the outer wall of each compartment.

In one embodiment, at least one compartment is a first compartment and at least another compartment is a second compartment, and the second compartment is disposed in the first compartment.

Advantageously, this arrangement enables the two compartments to locate and/or be used in the rotating food cleaner simultaneously.

Alternatively, the first compartment is a container for receiving a food and the second compartment is an insert comprising a side wall disposed in the receptacle so that the container defines a first food receiving space and the insert defines a second food receiving space.

Therefore, also in this arrangement soft or delicate food located in the second food receiving space and hard food held in the first food receiving space can be washed simultaneously.

Conveniently, the insert is removably received in the container. Advantageously, the container can be adapted to the type and quantity of food that is to be washed. A user can provide the container with an insert for washing hard and soft food simultaneously or by the user removing the insert the container can be used for washing a greater amount of only hard food.

In another embodiment, the at least two compartments are interchangeably mountable in the housing.

In an alternative embodiment, at least one compartment is configured to rotate independently of another compartment.

This provides the option of using only one compartment, giving more flexibility to the user.

Each compartment may be configured to rotate at a different rotational speed in the housing.

This provides the advantage that the two compartments can be used for soft or delicate food simultaneously. This can be achieved by setting the compartment further from the rotational axis at a lower rotational speed than the compartment closer to the rotational axis. Alternatively, the compartment closer to the rotational axis can be set to rotate at a high rotational speed suitable for washing hard food whilst the compartment further from the rotational axis is set at a much lower rotational speed suitable for washing soft food.

Preferably, the rotating food cleaner comprises a planetary gear system provided with a central gear, a set of outer gears and a ring gear, wherein at least one compartment is mounted to one of the central gear, the set of outer gears or the ring gear, and at least another compartment is mounted to another of the central gear, the set of outer gears or the ring gear.

At least one compartment may be mounted to the central gear and another compartment may be mounted to the ring gear.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided an insert for a rotating food cleaner comprising a side wall configured to be disposed in a receptacle of a rotating food cleaner to divide a receptacle into an outer food receiving space and an inner food receiving space so that, during use, a lower centrifugal force is imparted on a food received in the inner food receiving space than on a food received in the outer food receiving space.

An advantage of the above arrangement is that the centrifugal force acting on a soft or delicate food placed in the inner food receiving space is lower than that of the outer food receiving space because the inner food receiving space is closer to a rotational axis of the receptacle. Thus, damage caused to soft or delicate food held in the inner food receiving space is reduced in comparison to if the soft or delicate food were to be held in a

conventional receptacle.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is provided a receptacle for a rotating food cleaner comprising a first compartment defining a first food receiving space and a second compartment defining a second food receiving space wherein, during use, the receptacle is configured to impart a lower centrifugal force on a food received in the first food receiving space than on a food received in the second food receiving space.

Advantageously, the receptacle can be used for washing soft or delicate food held in the first food receiving space simultaneously as hard food received in the second food receiving space.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a kit for a rotating food cleaner comprising at least two compartments interchangeably mountable in a food cleaner, wherein each compartment is configured to impart a different centrifugal force on a food received in its food receiving space when rotated in the housing.

This arrangement provides the advantage that a user can change the compartments in accordance with what food is to be washed.

These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows an illustrative perspective view of a receptacle for a food cleaner having a first compartment for receiving a food stuff disposed in a second

compartment for receiving a food stuff;

Figure 2 shows a top planar illustrative view of the receptacle for a food cleaner illustrated in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows an alternative embodiment of a receptacle for a food cleaner; Figure 4 shows another embodiment of a receptacle for a food cleaner; and

Figure 5 shows an illustrative view of another receptacle for a food cleaner. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to Figures 1 and 2, a receptacle of a rotating food cleaner is shown. The receptacle is provided with food receiving container 1, acting as a first compartment, and an insert 2, forming a second compartment. The receptacle is removably mounted in a rotating food cleaner (not shown) and comprises a housing (not shown) and a motor (not shown), acting as a drive unit, which rotates the receptacle in the housing.

The container 1 has a bottom wall 4 and a peripheral outer wall 5. The outer wall 5 upstands from the bottom wall 4, and a plurality of apertures (not shown) are formed through the outer wall 5 to allow excess water to drain from the container 1, as will become apparent hereinafter. The receptacle 1 is rotatably mounted in the housing (not shown) and is configured to rotate about a rotational axis 6 of the container 1 so as to impart a centrifugal force on a food received in the receptacle, that is the force acting on the contents of the receptacle as the receptacle rotates to urge the contents outwardly, away from the centre of rotation of the receptacle. The receptacle is driven by a motor (not shown) acting as a drive unit. The centrifugal force imparted on a food received in the receptacle by the receptacle as it is rotated urges the food to move radially outwardly from the rotational axis 6. The centrifugal force imparted on a food received in the receptacle 1 relates to the mass of the food, angular velocity of the frame of the receptacle and its distance from the rotational axis 6, and is expressed as:

_ - mv 2

F =

r

wherein F = force, m = mass, v =angular velocity and r=radius.

Therefore, a centrifugal force imparted on a food disposed close to the rotational axis 6 is smaller than a centrifugal force imparted on a food disposed adjacent to the peripheral outer wall 5.

The insert 2 comprises a cylindrical side wall 7 that upstands from the bottom wall 4 of the container 1 when positioned in the container 1 such that it divides the container 1 into an outer food receiving space 8 and an inner food receiving space 9. Therefore, it will be appreciated that the container 1 and insert 2 each define food receiving spaces. The side wall 7 of the insert 1 and a portion of the bottom wall 4 of the container 1 which the side wall surrounds, enable the inner food receiving space 9 to receive and hold food. The outer food receiving space 8 is also configured to receive and hold food. When the insert 2 is received in the container 1, the central axis of the insert 2 is located co-axially with the rotational axis 6 of the container 1 such that the inner food receiving space 9 is closer to the rotational axis 6 of the receptacle 1 than the outer food receiving space 8. As will be appreciated from Figures 1 and 2, the outer food receiving space 8 encloses the inner food receiving space 9. As the inner food receiving space 9 is closer to the rotational axis 6 of the receptacle 1 about which the receptacle rotates than the outer food receiving space 8, a lower centrifugal force is imparted on a food received in the inner food receiving space 9 than on a food received in the outer food receiving space 8 when the receptacle is rotated about its rotational axis 6. Furthermore, the insert 2 retains food received in the inner food receiving space 9 when the receptacle is rotated such that food is prevented from moving radially outward from the rotational axis 6 beyond the insert 2 into the outer food receiving space 8 of the container 1. Therefore, the insert 2 enables softer or delicate food to be cleaned in a food cleaner without significant damaged caused to the food. A further advantage of the above arrangement is that other food items, such as hard fruits or vegetables may be received in the outer food receiving space 8 of the container 1 so that a larger centrifugal force is imparted on the food in the outer food receiving space 8 than in the inner food receiving space 9 of the insert 2, and so hard and soft foods may be cleaned simultaneously.

Although the side wall 7 of the insert 1 and the relevant portion of the bottom wall 4 of the container 1 have been described above as defining the inner food receiving space 9 to receive and hold food, it is envisaged that in an alternative un-illustrated embodiment the insert 2 is provided with a base wall from which the side wall 7 upstands. Furthermore, in yet another un-illustrated embodiment, the insert 2 is provided with a lid extending across an upper end of the side wall 7 so that the inner food receiving space 9 can be closed.

Although not illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, it is envisaged that the insert 2 is provided with a mounting element to releasably mount the insert 2 to the bottom wall 4 of the container 1. In the embodiment in which the insert 2 does not have a base wall, the mounting element is provided on a lower end of the side wall 7 of the insert 2. Alternatively, if the insert 2 does have a base wall, a mounting element may be provided on a surface of the base wall facing the container 1.

In another un-illustrated embodiment a mounting element extends between the outer wall 5 of the receptacle 1 and the side wall 7 of the insert 2. The mounting element described above enables the insert 2 to be removably attachable to the container 1 so that the food can be easily supplied to the insert 2 and also be easily retrieved from the insert 2. Furthermore, the insert 2 being removable allows the insert to be easily cleaned and enables the food cleaner to be used without the insert. In an alternative un-illustrated embodiment, the insert 2 is fixedly mounted in the container 1.

Furthermore, in an alternative embodiment the insert 2 is integrally formed with the container 1. An advantage of this arrangement is that it removes the need for a means of mounting the insert in the container.

The insert 2 shown in Figures 1 and 2 is cylindrical in shape and has a central axis. Although in the above embodiments the central axis of the insert lies co-axial with the rotational axis 6 of the container 1, it will be appreciated that alternatively the central axis of the insert lies parallel to, but spaced from, the rotational axis 6 of the container 1.

Furthermore, it shall be understood that the insert 2 may have an alternative shape. For example, in alternative embodiments the side wall 7 has a rectangular or hexagonal cross-section.

The side wall 7 of the insert 2 is formed out of a mesh so that, during use, water provided to the inner food receiving space 9 is able to flow through the mesh to the outer food receiving space 8 and thereafter be drained from the receptacle through the apertures in the container 1, and then flow from the food cleaner. Alternatively, a plurality of apertures are formed through the side wall 7 so that, during use, water in the inner food receiving space 9 is able to pass through the apertures. It will also be appreciated that when a lid and/or a base wall is provided that these may be formed out of a mesh or a plate with a plurality of apertures formed there through.

The ratio of the area of the inner food receiving space and the outer food receiving space is at least 1:1, however in an alternative embodiment, the area of the inner food receiving space is smaller than the area of the outer food receiving space.

In the above described embodiments, the inner food receiving space extends across the rotational axis of the receptacle because the central axis of the insert 2 is co-axial with the rotational axis of the container 1. An advantage of this arrangement is that a food received in the insert and abutting the side wall of the insert is imparted with the same centrifugal force irrespective of its position against around the side wall. However, in an alternative embodiment, an insert 10 is configured to be eccentrically located in a container 11 from a central axis 12 of the receptacle as shown in Figure 3. Alternatively, in another embodiment of a receptacle, an insert 14 disposed in a container 15 is arcuately shaped and has an outer side wall 16 and an inner side wall 17. The insert 14 is disposed in the container 15 to arc around the central axis of the container so that the outer side wall 16 remains equidistant from the central axis along its length.

Similarly, an insert may be arranged to have the shape of a sector of a circle, having a arc- shaped wall and being disposable in the container 15 so that the arc-shaped wall arcs around the central axis of the container An advantage of these arrangements is that a food received in the insert 14 and abutting the outer side wall 16 of the insert 14 is imparted with the same centrifugal force irrespective of its position against around the side wall, but does not need to be disposed over the central axis.

In another alternative un-illustrated embodiment, the rotating food cleaner comprises a housing (not shown), a motor (not shown) and first and second interchangeable containers 20, 21, acting as first and second compartments. Each container is removably disposable in the housing, and is mounted therein by one or more mounting elements, such as catches. The first container, acting as the first compartment and forming a first food receiving space, and the second container, acting as the second compartment and forming a second food receiving space, each have a peripheral outer wall and being configured to rotate in the housing about a central rotational axis. The outer wall of the first container is spaced a greater distance away from the rotational axis about which it rotates than the outer wall of the second container is spaced from the rotational axis about which it rotates. For example, in one embodiment the outer wall of each of the first and second containers is cylindrical and so the outer wall of the first container has a larger diameter than the outer wall of the second container. Therefore, when the second container is disposed in the housing of the food cleaner and rotated therein, food placed in the second container has a lower centrifugal force exerted on it than if the first container was used, Therefore, the second container is suitable for cleaning soft food and the rotating food cleaner is usable to clean both soft and hard foodstuffs, although not at the same time.

In yet another alternative embodiment diagrammatically illustrated in Figure 5, a receptacle having first and second containers 20, 21, acting as first and second compartments is mounted to a planetary gear system 22. The arrangement of a planetary gear system is conventional and so a detailed discussion will be omitted herein. The planetary gear system 22 comprises a central gear 23, three outer gears 24 which revolve around the central gear 23, and a ring gear 24 which surrounds the outer gears 24 and the central gear 23. Each gear 23, 24, 25 is provided with teeth (not shown) that mesh with an adjacent gear, such that the teeth of the central gear 23 mesh with the teeth of the outer gears 24, which in turn also mesh with the teeth of the ring gear 25. A motor is provided which drives the central gear 23 about a central axis 26. Therefore, the central gear 23 causes the outer gears 24 to rotate about their own axis, which in turn cause the ring gear 25 to rotate about the central axis 26.

The ratio of the number of rotations per minute by the central gear 23 to the number of rotations per minute by the ring gear 25 is dependent on the number of teeth of each gear. In the present embodiment, the planetary gear system 22 is configured so that the ring gear 25 rotates at a higher rotational speed than the central gear 23.

The first container 20 acting as a first compartment is toroidal- shaped and extends around the second container 21, acting as a second compartment. The outer first compartment 20 is free to rotate relative to the inner second compartment. The inner second compartment 21 is mounted to the central gear 23 and the outer first compartment 20 is mounted to the ring gear 25.

When the planetary gear system 22 is operated, the first and second containers 20, 21 are rotated independently of each other and so rotate at different rotational speeds. In one embodiment, the planetary gear system is configured so that the central gear 23 rotates at a higher rotational velocity than the ring gear 25. Therefore, a greater centrifugal force is imparted on a food in the first container 20 than a food in the second container 21 due to the greater rotational speed and the greater radial distance from the central axis.

In an alternative arrangement, the planetary gear system 22 is configured so that the ring gear 25 rotates at a lower rotational speed than the central gear 23, and so the outer first compartment 20 rotates at a lower rotational speed than the inner second compartment 21 during use. When the first and second compartments are rotated in the housing in this embodiment, the first compartment 20 rotates at a lower rotational speed than the inner second compartment 21 and this lower rotational speed is configured to offset the greater radial distance of the outer first compartment 21 from the central axis, so that a lower centrifugal force is imparted on a food stuff disposed in the first compartment 20 than the centrifugal force imparted on a food stuff disposed in the second compartment 21. Therefore, the first compartment is suitable for holding delicate food, as the low number of rotations per minute of the outer compartment compensates for its distance from the rotational axis about which it rotates and so a low centrifugal force is imparted on food held in the outer compartment. In such an embodiment, the inner second compartment 21 is also suitable for holding delicate food as it is closer to the central axis about which it rotates, and so the first and second compartments can be used simultaneously for cleaning soft food.

It shall also be appreciated that the planetary gear system can be configured so that the central gear 23 rotates at a significantly higher speed than the ring gear 25 so that the inner compartment is primarily suitable for cleaning harder food and the outer compartment is suitable for cleaning soft or delicate food.

It is envisaged that the first and second compartments are removably mounted to the planetary gear system 22, and that they can be removed and attached independently of each other.

It should be understood that alternative arrangements of the planetary gear system are envisaged. For example, in an alternative embodiment the central gear is held stationary and the ring gear is driven by the motor. In this embodiment, the outer gears rotate about their own axis and also about the central axis of the central gear. The outer gears would preferably be fitted with a carrier or a frame (not shown) to which the inner second compartment is mounted. The outer first compartment is mounted to the ring gear.

In an alternative arrangement of the planetary gear system, the central gear is rotating about the central axis, the outer gears rotate about their respective axis and also the central axis of the central gear. The ring gear is held stationary. In this embodiment, the motor drives the central gear and the inner second compartment is mounted to the central gear, and the outer gears are preferably provided with a carrier or a frame to which the outer first compartment is mounted.

It should be appreciated that in any of the arrangements of the planetary gear system described above, an alternative receptacle can be used. For example, the second compartment can be configured to be positioned on top of the first compartment. This may be achieved by providing the central gear of the planetary gear system with a shaft such that a free end of the shaft extend through the centre of the first compartment and the second compartment is mounted to said free end of the shaft. An advantage of this arrangement is that the diameter of the first and second compartments may be equal, whilst each

compartment imparts a different centrifugal force on a food stuff received therein.

Although in the above embodiments each receptacle has two compartments, it will be understood that the arrangement is not limited thereto and that a receptacle for a food cleaner may have three or more compartments. It will be appreciated that the term "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps and that the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. A single processor may fulfill the functions of several items recited in the claims. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to an advantage. Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims.

Although claims have been formulated in this application to particular combinations of features, it should be understood that the scope of the disclosure of the present invention also includes any novel features or any novel combinations of features disclosed herein either explicitly or implicitly or any generalization thereof, whether or not it relates to the same invention as presently claimed in any claim and whether or not it mitigates any or all of the same technical problems as does the parent invention. The applicants hereby give notice that new claims may be formulated to such features and/or combinations of features during the prosecution of the present application or of any further application derived there from.