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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
WAFER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/147376
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A wafer (10) comprising mutually interconnected ridges (12) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14) for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges extend in a first direction (16) traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges extend in a second direction (18) traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses.

Inventors:
BUFTON, Andrew (PO Box 12Bournville Lane,Bournville, Birmingham West Midlands B30 2LU, GB)
Application Number:
GB2014/050773
Publication Date:
September 25, 2014
Filing Date:
March 14, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MONDELEZ UK R&D LIMITED (PO Box 12, Bournville LaneBournville, Birmingham West Midlands B30 2LU, GB)
International Classes:
A21D13/00
Foreign References:
CN2188856Y1995-02-08
US20110135794A12011-06-09
Other References:
Anonymous: "Amazon.com: Chef's Choice 834 Pizzelle Pro Express Bake: Electric Pizzelle Makers: Home & Kitchen", , 25 June 2014 (2014-06-25), XP055125223, Retrieved from the Internet: URL:http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-834-Pizzelle-Express/dp/B002NVNB5K/ref=sr_1_176?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1403707485&sr=1-176&keywords=waffle+iron [retrieved on 2014-06-25]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRAY, Richard (15 Clare Road, Halifax Yorkshire HX1 2HY, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A wafer (10) comprising mutually interconnected ridges (12) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14) for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges (16) extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges (18) extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses.

2. The wafer of claim 1 , wherein the first direction traversing the wafer is at an oblique angle with respect to the second direction traversing the wafer.

3. The wafer of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the wafer comprises a third plurality of aligned ridges which extend in a third direction, and which are interrupted by recesses. 4. The wafer of any preceding claim, wherein the ridges are arranged in a hexagonal pattern.

5. A wafer (30) comprising mutually interconnected ridges (32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are non-rectilinear.

6. The wafer of any preceding claim, wherein the ridges are arranged in a repeating pattern.

7. The wafer of any preceding claim, wherein the array of recesses is a continuous cellular array.

8. The wafer of any preceding claim, wherein the wafer is a sheet of wafer.

9. The wafer of any preceding claim, wherein the ridges are provided on both sides of the wafer.

10. The wafer of claim 9, wherein the ridges on one side of the wafer are off-set with respect to the ridges on the other side of the wafer. 1 1 . The wafer of any of claims 1 to 8, wherein a decorative pattern is provided on an other side of the wafer.

12. The wafer of any of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein the wafer forms part of, or is, a confectionary product.

13. A wafer assembly, comprising two wafers according to any preceding claim, the two wafers being planar in form, with the wafers being arranged substantially in parallel and such that at least a part of a planar surface of one wafer faces at least a part of a planar face of the other wafer, and such that the mutually interconnected ridges of the parts of the wafer that face one another are:

aligned with one another; or

offset from one another. 14. The wafer or wafer assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the wafer or wafers are enrobed in a chocolate-related material.

15. A wafer (10, 30) comprising mutually interconnected ridges (12, 32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14, 34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path (40).

16. A structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (12) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14) for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges (16) extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges (18) extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses,

the structure comprising:

mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer,

17. A structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are non-rectilinear,

the structure comprising:

mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, 18. A structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (12, 32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14, 34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path (40), the structure comprising:

mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, 19. The structure of claim 16, claim 17 or claim 18,, wherein the structure is one of a stamp or mould.

20. A method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (12) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14) for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges (16) extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges (18) extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses,

the method comprising:

bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer.

21 . A method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are non-rectilinear,

the method comprising:

bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer.

22. A method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising:

mutually interconnected ridges (12, 32) arranged to provide an array of recesses (14, 34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path (40),

the method comprising:

bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer.

23. The method of claim 20, claim 21 or claim 22, wherein bringing the material and the structure into contact with one another comprises:

imprinting the structure into the material; or

depositing the material onto the structure.

24. The method of any of claims 20 to 23, wherein the material is solidified by the application of heat to the material. 25. A wafer, structure and/or method, substantially as described herein with reference to the accompanying Figures 2, 3 and/or 4.

Description:
WAFER

The present invention relates to a wafer, for example a wafer for use as, or within, an edible item, such as an item of confectionery. The present invention also relates to a structure for use in making such a wafer, and also to a method of making the wafer using that structure.

Wafers are frequently used in items of confectionery, for example to add texture to the item in question, to provide a base on which material may be located, to add strength to the item, and/or to provide a boundary between different materials. The material may be, for example, a filling or coating. The wafer may be provided with texturing of some sort, so that material in contact with the wafer may be fixed in position relative to the wafer, and/or fixed to the wafer. This is sometimes referred to as the material being keyed with the wafer.

The texturing of a wafer may take the form of mutually interconnected ridges that are together arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material. Filling material may be material that is to be keyed with the wafer by being keyed into the recesses. The recesses may sometime be referred to as receptacles. In known wafers, it is common for the mutually interconnecting ridges to form a regular array of squares or rectangles that extend continuously across the wafer in a grid-like pattern. In such a pattern, ridges defining one side of a recess may extend in a straight line across the wafer to define sides of other recesses.

Although existing wafers may in some circumstances adequately serve the function of providing texture, a base, strength or a boundary (or the like), the design of the wafer may have disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is mechanical weakness that results directly from the pattern of mutually interconnecting ridges, whereby it is relatively easy for a small amount of bending induced stress to cause the wafer to fracture from one side to the other. The lack of mechanical strength can lead to problems when handling the wafer, particularly when the wafer is in a large sheet-like form. Lack of mechanical strength also means that considerable care has to be taken when loading material onto the wafer, or handling a loaded wafer, so as to avoid breaking the wafer.

It is an aim of example embodiments of the present invention to provide a wafer that obviates or mitigates at least one disadvantage of the prior art, whether identified herein or elsewhere, or to provide an alternative to existing wafers.

According to the present invention there is provided an apparatus and method as set forth in the appended claims. Other features of the invention will be apparent from the dependent claims, and the description which follows. According to an example embodiment, there is provided a wafer comprising mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses.

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a wafer comprising mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; characterized in that the ridges are non-rectilinear.

According to an example embodiment, and a more general description of the invention, there is provided a wafer comprising mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path. That is, there is no straight line path, along one or more ridges, and across the wafer. A path across the wafer may be across a region of the wafer in or on which the ridges are provided, which may be a whole or part of the wafer. A majority area of the wafer may distinguish from solely an outermost periphery, an edge or a corner of a wafer. The first direction traversing the wafer may be at an oblique angle with respect to the second direction traversing the wafer.

The wafer may comprises a third plurality of aligned ridges which extend in a third direction, and which are interrupted by recesses.

The ridges may be arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The ridges may be arranged in a repeating pattern. The array of recesses may be a continuous cellular array.

The wafer may be a sheet of wafer. The sheet may be a substantially planar sheet. The ridges may be provided on both sides of the wafer.

The ridges on one side of the wafer may be off-set with respect to ridges on the other side of the wafer.

A decorative pattern may be provided on another side of the wafer. The wafer may form part of, or be, a confectionary product.

A wafer may form part of a wafer assembly. In an example embodiment, a wafer assembly may comprise two wafers according to any preceding claim, the two wafers being planar in form, with the wafers being arranged substantially in parallel and such that at least a part of a planar surface of one wafer faces at least a part of a planar face of the other wafer, and such that the mutually interconnected ridges of the parts of the wafer that face one another are: aligned with one another; or offset from one another. The wafer or wafers of the assembly, or in independent form, may be enrobed in a chocolate-related material.

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses, the structure comprising: mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer,

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses (34) for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are non-rectilinear, the structure comprising: mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer,

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a structure for use in making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path, the structure comprising: mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer,

An example embodiment might be more generically described as providing a structure comprising mutually interconnected grooves that are configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer of other example embodiments. A pattern of the mutually interconnected grooves in the structure may alternatively or additionally be described as a reciprocal of a pattern of mutually interconnected ridges that is to be provided in or on the wafer. The structure may be a stamp or a mould. The structure may be referred to as a baking plate.

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges extend in a first direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses; and wherein ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges extend in a second direction traversing the wafer and are interrupted by recesses, the method comprising: bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer.

According to an example embodiment, there is provided a method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are non-rectilinear, the method comprising: bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer. According to an example embodiment, there is provided a method of making a wafer, the wafer comprising: mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses for receiving filling material; wherein the ridges are together configured such that for a majority area of the wafer, any path across the wafer, and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path, the method comprising: bringing material for forming the wafer, and a structure having mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer, into contact with one another, and solidifying the material to form the wafer.

An example embodiment of making a wafer might be more generically described as comprising use and/or providing the structure of an example embodiment, bringing material for forming the wafer and the structure into contact with one another, and using the structure to provide the interconnected ridges of the wafer. The material may be brought from a fluid form in to a solid form when the structure is in contact with the material, or when the structure has been brought out of contact with the material. Bringing the material and the structure into contact with one another may comprise: imprinting the structure into the material; or depositing (which includes providing) the material onto the structure.

The material may be brought from a fluid form in to a solid form by the application of heat, for example by baking.

Features of any embodiment may, where appropriate, be combined and/or replace a feature of another embodiment, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the independent claims.

For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how example embodiments of the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:

FIG. 1 schematically depicts a wafer;

FIG. 2 schematically depicts a wafer in accordance with a first example embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 schematically depicts a wafer in accordance with a second example embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 4 schematically depicts a method of making a wafer in accordance with an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1 schematically depicts a known wafer (2), for example an edible wafer for use in an item of confectionery. The wafer (20) comprises a pattern of mutually interconnected ridges arranged to provide an array of recesses (6) for receiving filling material. The wafer (2) may be formed from batter or dough or the like, as is known in the art.

The ridges (4) are together configured such that the recesses (6) have a square or rectangular shape. In forming the recesses (6), the ridges extend continuously across the wafer (2), for example from one side of the wafer (2) to the other side of the wafer (2), and across a majority area of the wafer (2) (or at least across a majority area of a region in which the ridges are provided). Such an arrangement may be particularly convenient in terms of implementation, for example in terms of the design of a stamp or mould used to form the wafer (2). However, there is an inherent design flaw in the pattern of mutually interconnected ridges (6) used to form the recesses (4) that is shown in Figure 1 , as will now be described.

Since the ridges (4) extend all the way across the wafer (2), the ridges (6) provide inherent lines of weakness that extend across the wafer (2), substantially along, or alongside, the ridges (6). The line of weakness may arise from an alignment of stress raiser or focal regions formed from the interface between ridges and a base region of the wafer. Figure 1 shows an example of two such lines of weakness (8), but it will be appreciated that any of the one or more ridges (4) extending in a straight line across the wafer (2) may be a potential line of weakness (8). During handling or further processing, the wafer (2) is more likely to break along the lines of weakness (8). This is particularly the case when, for instance, the wafer is in large sheet form, which is often the case prior to the wafer being broken down to smaller pieces for use in individual confectionery items or the like. This may also be the case when the wafer is loaded with material.

One way of limiting the negative effect of the lines of weakness (8) is to also apply a similar or identical pattern of mutually interconnected ridges on a reverse side of the wafer (2). The pattern on the reverse side of the wafer (2) may be rotated 45° with respect to the pattern on the front of the wafer (2), so that the lines of weakness (i.e. ridges extending across the wafer (2)) on one side of the wafer (2) do not coincide with lines of weakness (i.e. ridges extending across the wafer (2)) on the reverse side of the wafer (2). This may strengthen the wafer (2), at least in comparison with a wafer provided with the same pattern but on only a single side of the wafer. The strengthening approach described above does, however, have associated disadvantages. One such disadvantage is that both sides of a wafer need to be provided with a pattern of ridges. This may increase processing time and/or costs, and/or prevent the other side of the wafer from being used for a different purpose. Also, there will still be inherent lines of weakness on each side of the wafer which, although not coincidental when viewed as a whole, may still provide inherent weakness points or lines.

In an example embodiment of the present invention, problems of the prior art may be obviated or mitigated. In particular, a wafer is provided which should have fewer inherent mechanical weaknesses in comparison known wafers. This may be achieved by providing a wafer that has a particular pattern of mutually interconnected ridges that is arranged to form an array of recesses for receiving filling material (that is, material that will be deposited on the wafer). The mutually interconnected ridges are configured such that there is no inherent line of weakness that extends across the wafer that is associated with the ridges, or at least that there are fewer such lines in comparison with known ridge patterns of existing wafers. That is, ridges do not extend in a continuous straight line across the wafer. This is the case for a majority area of that wafer where the ridges are provided (e.g. not simply at edges or corners of the wafer, but across the wafer and for a majority of the wafer area, which may include a majority area of whatever region is provided with ridges).

An example embodiment may be defined as the mutually interconnected ridges not, in general, and in a single or combined manner, extending in a continuous straight line all the way across the region of the wafer that comprises ridges. In positive terms, example embodiments may be described or defined in a number of different ways. In a first example, ridges of a first plurality of aligned ridges may be described as extending in a first direction traversing the wafer. The first plurality of aligned ridges may be interrupted via recesses, to break up a line of weakness that might otherwise exist in that first direction. Ridges of a second plurality of aligned ridges may extend in a second direction traversing the wafer. These ridges are also interrupted by recesses, again to break up a line of weakness that might otherwise exist in that second direction.

An inherent feature of known wafers that have lines of weakness is that the pattern of mutually interconnected ridges comprises linear or rectilinear ridges - i.e. ridges that extend in a single straight line, or a combination of straight lines. Weakness is thought to be particularly prevalent when the wafer is in sheet form, for example planar sheet form. The lines of weakness which are inherent in such linear or rectilinear patterns can be avoided or at least partially limited by using non-rectilinear lines, for example curves, arcs or the like.

In accordance with the above principles, an example embodiment might thus be more generally described as the mutually interconnected ridges being configured such that, together, and for a majority area of the wafer on which the ridges are provided (e.g. not just at the edges or corners of the wafer) any path across the wafer and along one or more ridges, is an indirect path. For instance, an indirect path may be a curved path, torturous path, or any other path which is not a straight line extending from one side of the wafer (which may include a region on which the ridges are provided) to the other side.

An advantage of removing the straight lines of weakness that extend across known wafers is that, of course, the strength of the wafer might be increased. At the same time, however, filling capacity (which may play a role in, or at least be linked to keying functionality) is at least maintained. Furthermore, due to the increase in strength, more material may be loaded onto the wafer before reaching breaking point of the wafer. These advantages may have many associated advantages. For example, a stronger wafer may be made larger before approaching a breaking point, which may increase throughput or the like. Alternatively and/or additionally, a stronger wafer may be made thinner, which may reduce manufacturing costs. Alternatively and/or additionally, the increased strength of the wafer may allow for the receptacles defined therein to be made larger, for example in footprint or depth, without reducing the strength of the wafer as compared to, for example, known wafers. This may facilitate a greater degree of keying, and/or allow simply allow more product to be carried in the recesses of the wafer, which might be appealing to end users, for example consumers or the like.

Example embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to Figures 2 to 4. The Figures have not been drawn to any particular scale, and have been provided simply as an aid to understanding the example embodiments. Like features appearing in different Figures have been given the same reference numerals for consistency and clarity.

Figure 2 schematically depicts a wafer (10) according to an example embodiment. The wafer (10) comprises a pattern of mutually interconnected ridges (12) that extend across the wafer (10) and define recesses (14) for receiving filling material (not shown). The wafer (10) may be formed using a batter or dough or the like, as is known in the art.

Figure 2 shows that a first plurality of aligned ridges extend in a first direction (16) traversing the wafer (10). The ridges (12) aligned in this direction (16) are interrupted by receptacles (14). This breaks any inherent line of weakness that might otherwise exist in this first direction (16). Similarly, ridges (12) of a second plurality of aligned ridges extend in a second direction (18). The ridges (12) aligned in the second direction (18) are also interrupted by receptacles (46), again breaking up any inherent line of weakness that might otherwise exist in that direction (18). The first direction (16) and second direction (18) are at an oblique angle with respect to one another, and this may also reduce a weakness that might otherwise be present in the array of ridges (e.g. in comparison with when the first direction and second direction are perpendicular to one another, as is the case in known wafers). Figure 2 shows that the mutually interconnected ridges (12) together form a hexagonal pattern - i.e. the recesses (16) are hexagonal in shape. Being hexagonal, the wafer comprises a third plurality of aligned ridges which extend in a third direction (20). The first, second and third directions (16, 18, 20) are not perpendicular with respect to each other, which may limit or avoid any structural weakness that might be associated with one or more of the directions (16, 18, 20) being perpendicular with respect to one another.

The use of hexagonal shaped recesses may be advantageous, in that the use of a hexagon is a particularly efficient structure, providing a good degree of strength, yet also good tessellation which might serve to reduce or optimise the amount of material required to form the ridge pattern. Of course, shapes other than hexagons may also be used. A hexagonal shaped recess, or other shape of recess, might alternatively or additionally be described as a pattern of mutually interconnecting ridges configured to form a hexagonal pattern, or whichever shape the recess takes.

The mutually interconnected ridges may be arranged in a repeating pattern. For example, the recesses formed by the ridges may form a continuous array (as opposed to recesses formed at sporadic locations). This may make it easier to form the ridges in the first place, and/or easier to form a stamp or mould designed for that purpose. Alternatively and/or additionally, a repeating pattern provides a continuous cellular array of recesses which may ensure or promote structural and functional uniformity across the wafer. This may assist when the wafer is in use, for example providing consistent keying, texture, filling capacity or structural stability across the wafer.

The pattern of mutually interconnecting ridges described above may be applied to a sheet of wafer, for example a planar sheet, as opposed to a wafer having a different shape such as concave or convex. The problem of inherent lines of weakness may be more prevalent in sheets of wafer, especially in planar form, rather than other forms of wafer. Thus, example embodiments may be suited to sheets of wafer.

Since example embodiments allow for the increase in strength of a wafer by removing inherent lines of weakness, it may not be necessary to apply mutually interconnected ridges on a reverse side of the wafer in an attempt to avoid the weakness, as described above in relation to known wafers. This may free up one side of the wafer for other purposes, for example for the application of a decorative pattern or the like. Alternatively, one or more regions, or the entire reverse side of the wafer could be provided with a pattern of mutually interconnected ridges in accordance with example embodiments of the present invention, further increasing the strength of the wafer in question. The pattern on the reverse side may be offset to that of the front side, for example by relative rotation or displacement between the patterns.

Figure 2 shows that the ridges used to form the pattern of mutually interconnected ridges were linear or rectilinear in form (e.g. sides of a hexagon are straight). However, alternatives are possible. For instance, Figure 3 shows a wafer (30) in which a pattern of mutually interconnected ridges is configured to provide an array of recesses (34) for receiving filler material. In accordance with this particular example embodiment, the ridges (32) are non- rectilinear, and for example take a curved form. Non-rectilinear ridges (32) may be used as an alternative to, or in addition to, the principles discussed previously, to increase or further increase the strength of a wafer. Indeed, non-rectilinear ridges (32) may be useful in dissipating stresses and strains within the wafer (30). For instance, such ridges may provide fewer sharp junctions or ridge meeting points, which could act as focal points for stresses or strains and which might lead to breakage of the wafer, or an increased likelihood thereof.

The example embodiments described in relation to Figures 2 and 3 have features in common. For example, referring to Figures 2 and 3 in combination, it can be seen that, for a majority area of the wafer (10, 30) in or on which the ridges (12, 32) are provided (that is, not simply at the periphery, or edges, or corners of the wafer (10, 30)) any path (40) across the wafer (10, 30) and along one or more ridges (12, 32), is an indirect path. That is, it is not possible to take a path along any ridge or ridges (12, 32) that extends in a direct manner (i.e. a straight line) all the way across the wafer (10, 30). This results in limitation or avoidance of lines of weakness that would result if such straight line paths were present, as is the case in known wafers, and as shown in and described with reference to Figure 1 .

In an example embodiment, the wafers described above may be made using a structure that is provided with mutually interconnected grooves configured to provide, in use, the interconnected ridges of the wafer. It will be appreciated that the structure will have a reciprocal pattern relative to that of the pattern intended to be provided in or on the wafer. The structure could be, for example, a stamp or mould, both of which might be referred to in the art as a plate or a baking plate. Figure 4 schematically depicts such a method 50. A method of making any of the wafers described above may comprise bringing material (e.g. batter, or dough, or the like) for forming the wafer and the structure in to contact with one another 52, and thus using the structure to provide the interconnected ridges of the wafer. For instance, the structure may be imprinted into the material, or the material poured or otherwise deposited or provided over the structure to fill grooves therein. A period of time will be allowed for the material to sufficiently fill the grooves 54, and this period may vary depending on the consistency of the material, the material forming the structure, and the shape, depth and the like of the grooves. The material may be brought from a fluid form in to a solid form 56 when the structure is in contact with the material, for example by the application of heat, for example by baking, or the like. The material may be brought from a fluid form in to a solid form when the structure is removed from contact with the material, if the material is sufficiently stable to retain its shape prior to permanent solidification, for example by heating.

In an example embodiment, a wafer may form part of a wafer assembly. Such a wafer assembly may comprise two wafers as described herein. The two wafers may be planar in form. The assembly may be constructed such that the wafers are arranged substantially in parallel, and such that at least a part of a planar surface of one wafer faces at least a part of a planar face of the other wafer. Material may be provided between the facing parts, for example a filler material. The mutually interconnected ridges of the parts of the wafer that face one another may be aligned with one another; or offset from one another. It should be noted that the ridges of one wafer may or may not face the ridges of the other wafer - i.e. although the parts of the wafer having ridges do face one another, the ridges themselves might actually be provided on faces of those parts of the wafer that face away from one another, or face in a common direction. The aligning or offsetting can add to the strength of the assembly as a whole, for example by reducing points or lines of weakness.

The present invention has been described in relation to wafers. The wafers may be edible. The wafers may be used to form at least a part of a confectionery item. The wafers may be enrobed in a chocolate-related material, for example chocolate, a material containing chocolate, or a material having a chocolate flavouring. Enrobing comprises the provision of a coating. An intermediate material may be provided between the material and the chocolate- related material. Thus, the wafer may be provided with the intermediate material before being enrobed in the chocolate-related material. The mechanical principles discussed above may be applicable to wafers that are non- edible, for example wafers used in other fields and other industries. In these fields and industries, the increased mechanical strength described above may be advantageous. Such fields might include those where it is desired to key material to a wafer used in that field. Reference has been made herein to ridges extending across the wafer, or the like. This includes a region on the wafer that is provided with a pattern of ridges, which may be the entire wafer, or a part of the wafer. In practice, the region is likely to be the entire wafer.

Attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive.

Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features. The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing example embodiment(s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.