Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MACHINE AND METHOD FOR INJECTION OF FOOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/061406
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An injecting machine to control liquid injection (without any valves), where pressure in the liquid circulation and area of the piston top (61) on the needle head press the needles into the product (without any springs), with a conveyor (24) to move the product (without any chains), a pump (34) for pressurizing the liquid, and a device (38) for moving the needle head up and down in desired positions controllable in time inside the product and independently controllable outside of the product. All parameters are controlled electrically by a central electrical box (23). A pressure sensor (28) in the pipeline near the needle head controls the speed of the brine pump to obtain the desired pressure in the needles. The height of the product is measured via a height sensor (68) or a preset value is used to start and stop the brine pump in each cycle.

Inventors:
EIRIKSSON TRAUSTI (IS)
Application Number:
PCT/IS2008/000020
Publication Date:
June 03, 2010
Filing Date:
November 25, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EIRIKSSON TRAUSTI (IS)
International Classes:
A22C17/00; A23B4/00; A23B4/26; A23B4/28
Domestic Patent References:
WO1998047382A21998-10-29
Foreign References:
EP0879561A11998-11-25
EP0561105A11993-09-22
US20020152901A12002-10-24
US4487119A1984-12-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARNADOTTIR, Erla, S. (Borgartun 26, IS-105 Reykjavik, IS)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. An apparatus for injecting pickle containing various ingredients like water, spices and/or suspended proteins into food products, more particularly liquid or suspended 5 trims, into a mass of meat or fish muscle equipped with: a needle head with a plurality of needles (32) where the needles (32) have a piston (61) on top and are pressed down by the pressure from the brine in the needle head (21) pressure chamber (49); a conveyor (24) with a motor (29) with a position sensor; an actuator (38) for moving the needle head up and down with a height position sensor; 10 characterized by a pump (34) controlled on/off by the needle height in respect to that of the product; a pressure sensor (28) in the pipeline near the needle head which determines the pressure inside the product by varying the speed of the pump (34);

/J a process controller CPU which controls the pressure by varying the speed of the pump; a process controller CPU (Central Processing Unit) which, via frequency controls, can vary the speed of all motors; a process controller CPU which adjusts the length of time the needles are in the 20 product; a process controller CPU which adjusts the length of time the needles are outside of the product and can adjust independently the time inside the product; a process controller CPU (60) which starts/stops the advance of the conveyor belt while the needles are outside of the product and steers the length of the 5 advance.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, c h a ra c te r ize d b y a servomotor (38) which moves the needle head up and down. 0 3. An apparatus according to claim I, characterized by a gear motor (63) with a crankshaft which moves the needle head up and down.

4. An apparatus according to claim I, characterized by a hydraulic or air motor on a gear with a crankshaft which is used for moving the needle head up and down.

5. An apparatus according to claims 1-4, characterized by the liquid pressure in the needle head pressure chamber (49) which provides the needle pressure through a piston (61) in the top of the needle head (32) to penetrate into the meat or fish.

6. An apparatus according to claims 1-5, characterized by the pump motors (44) which control the speed to give the desired pressure so the needles only exert liquid pressure when they have penetrated into the meat or fish.

7. An apparatus according to claims 1- 6, characterized by the pump motors (44) being speed controlled by the rotation level of the cycles of the needle head (21) up and down to provide pressure so that the needles (32) only exert liquid pressure when they have penetrated into the meat or fish.

8. An apparatus according to claims 1- 6, characterized by the pump motors (44) being speed controlled by the height level of the needle head (21) to exert pressure so that the needles inject only when they are inside the food products.

9. An apparatus according to all the previous claims, characte r i z e d by the whole needle head (21) being capable of being turned 90° for easy cleaning of the needles.

10. An apparatus according to all the previous claims, ch a ra cterized b y the needle head (21) having a simple plate on top (48), which can be easily removed or taken off to change needle types and to clean the needles.

11. A method for injecting pickle containing various ingredients like water, spices and/or suspended proteins into food products, more particularly liquid or suspended trims, into a mass of meat or fish muscle, where the product to be injected is put on a conveyor (24); after reaching the lowest position, in reference to a pre-adjusted position range, the moving direction of the needle head (21) reverses and the needles (32) start to move out of the product; characterized by: the needle head (21) moving down from the highest position and when passing a pre-adjusted height or getting a signal from a height position sensor the processor starting the pump (34); the pump (34) achieving the speed desired to meet the pressure required by the control panel (60) via the sensor (28) in the supply pipe; the processor (60) stopping the pump (34) at pre-adjusted heights of the needles (32) or that position when the needles (32) are almost out of the product; the processor controlling the time and speed inside the product; the processor controlling the time and speed outside the product independent of the time inside the product; the processor (60) advancing the conveyor belt (24) just after the needles (32) are out of the product by the width of the needle head (21) or to another pre-adjusted distance, as needed by the level of injection warranted.

12. A method according to claim 11, c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y the needle head (21) standing still when the conveyor belt moves forward.

13. A method according to claims 11 and 12, c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the conveyor belt (24) being capable of moving forward without injecting and where the needle head (21) stands still in the top position.

Description:
MACHINE AND METHOD FOR INJECTION OF FOOD

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an apparatus and method for injecting pickles containing various ingredients like water, spices and/or suspended proteins into food products, more particularly liquid or suspended trims into a mass of meat or fish muscle by controlling injection pump pressure via a sensor and injecting time by monitoring the position of the needles in the product and combining this together with the movement of the conveying belt in an industrial processor and motor speed controllers. The apparatus is equipped with a needle head with, with a plurality of needles with a piston on top, which is pressed down by the liquid pressure in the needle head, pressure chamber, an actuator for moving the needle head up and down with a position sensor and a pressure sensor in the pipeline near the needle head, which controls the speed of the pump.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION - - PRIOR ART

Conventionally, injection of food in currently available injectors is carried out via a frame with a horizontal conveyor and one or two vertical movable needle heads, each with plurality of vertically aligned needles. The weight of the raw material is increased by injection of different types of liquid mixtures known as brines or pickles, which can contain salt, spices and suspended proteins. When injecting, the amount of return of the mixture is often critical and should be minimal. Pumps, employed in the feeding of the injector head and generally maintaining adequate circulation, warm up the pickle and in food processing the pickle should be as cool as possible. All injectors have some kind of valves to start injection just as, when the needle touches the product and to minimize the free flow of the injected liquid when the needles are out of the product. Most known injectors have different kinds of springs to press down the needles and to allow for the discharge of the brine solution.

Various apparatuses of this general type are described in the prior art. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,622,892, 4,690,046 and 4,903,590 describe apparatuses with a lot of valves and springs to control the injection US 5,272,964 describes an apparatuses that does not have a pressure sensor US 5,664,488, 6,405,646 and 6,497,176 describe apparatuses that have very complicated valve systems US 6,513,423, 6,763,760, 6,901,850 and EP 0 479 447 Al describe apparatuses with a lot of valves and springs to control the injection and complicated auxiliary devices.

None of these processes discloses the steps of the present process.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION - - OBJECTIVES AND ADVANTAGES

This invention gives foil control over all the parameters that are needed to control the process without the use of any valves or springs. When the needle head goes down to a certain position and the needles make contact with the product being injected the injector pump will start and inject the liquid while the lowest end of the needle is submerged into the product. The pump reaches a speed which gives a pre-adjusted pressure in the product from a signal given from a pressure sensor. The liquid pressure and size of the area of the top of the piston give the necessary force to press the needle into the product (no springs). When the needles go up and out of the product the brine pump stops (no valves) on a signal given by a sensor that monitors the height of the needle with respect to the thickness of the product to be injected. The time that the needles are immerged in the product can be adjusted independently from the time that the needles are out of the product. This makes it possible to set the time that the needle tip is in the product so as to reach a certain level of weight gain or injecting level. By adjusting the time that the needle is out of the product it is possible to adjust the capacity of the machine without interfering with the injection level. Independently, the movement of the conveyor belt is adjustable in relation to the needle pattern. A shorter advance movement of the conveyor belt results in the product being injected to a tighter pattern and therefore to increased levels of injection or pick-up. The pressure in the needle head is electronically controlled by a pressure sensor, which regulates the maximum speed of the pump. No chains are needed to direct the electronically controlled movement of the needle head and the conveyor belt. The system consists of only a pump and a lifting device, thus minimizing the maintenance of the machine.. Control settings can allow easy operation of the injector so that the system can be used like a conveyor in the processing line, when injection is not required. The needle head can be stopped completely while the conveyor belt moves forward or be otherwise adjusted by signals from a monitor that displays needle position. The needle head can be turned 90° and then the needles can easily be blown out with air for easy and perfect cleaning.

SUMMARY The present invention provides an improved apparatus and method for injecting food.

The apparatus includes a conveyor with a motor with a position sensor; a pump controlled by the needle height in respect to that of the product; a pressure sensor in the pipeline near the needle head which controls the speed of the pump and a motor for moving the needle head up and down with a height position sensor. The needles have a piston on top and are pressed and seated down by the pressure from the brine in the needle head. All the motors are connected to frequency controls and a process controller, a CPU (Central Processing Unit)

The product to be injected is put on the conveyor. The needle head goes down from the highest position and when passing a pre-adjusted height, the computer starts the pump and the pump goes to the speed desired to meet the pressure required by the sensor in the supply pipe via the control panel. After reaching the lowest position, in reference to a pre-adjusted position range, the moving direction of the needle head reverses and the needles start to move out of the product. The CPU stops the pump at a pre-adjusted time or at that position when the needles are almost out of the product. The CPU advances the conveyor belt just after the needles are out of the product by the width of the needle head or to another pre-adjusted distance, as needed by the level of injection warranted.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be explained in greater detail here, with reference to the figures below:

FIG 1 shows perspective view of the apparatus. FIG 2 shows perspective view of internal parts of the apparatus FIG 3 shows perspective view of the apparatus with conveyor and drip pan

FIG 4 shows perspective view of the apparatus with end covers, without conveyor

FIG 5 shows perspective view of the apparatus with covers, without conveyor

FIG 6 shows perspective view of the apparatus with end cover and conveyor

FIG 7 shows end elevation view of the apparatus without covers.

FIG 8 shows side elevation view of the apparatus without covers

FIG 9 shows end view the needle head with the top plate

FIG 10 shows cross-section of the needle head with the top plate FFIIGG 1111 shows top view of the needle head without the top plate

FIG 12 shows needle head side plate with the turning details

FIG 13 shows the needle head adjusted 90 degrees for the purpose of cleaning

FIG 14 shows the CPU and components to control

FIG 15 shows the sequence of the injection method FFIIGG 1166 shows the needle in detail

FIG 17 shows the apparatus with crankshaft instead of actuator

FIG 18 shows liquid circulation in the apparatus without filters

FIG 19 shows liquid circulation in the apparatus with filters.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION - - FIGS, PREFERRED CONFIGURATION

With reference to FIG. 1 the apparatus has an injecting head 21 with multiple needles 32 and cover 22 for protection. An electrical control box 23 is equipped with frequency control units and a CPU (Central Processing Unit). Horizontal conveyor 24 moves the product stepwise under the needle head 21. The apparatus has covers 26 and doors 30 with handles 27. An intake for liquid 39 sticks out from the cover.

As illustrated in FIG.2 the frame 25, with adjustable feet 31 is under the machine, holds the pump 34 with its motor 44 and the actuator 38 for controlling the positioning of the needle head. Columns 40 hold vertical bearings 35 in which shaft 36 lies. The shafts 36 hold the plates 41, which are attached to the needle head 21. The intake pipe 39 leads to the pump 34 and the pressure sensor 28 and then through pipes 33 + 43 and flexible hose 42 to the needle head 21 and into the needles 32.

In FIG. 3 the apparatus is shown without one of the end covers 26 and doors 30 and with the conveyor 24 in place. Brine is taken in through 39 into the pump 34 by pipes through the pressure sensor 28 by pipelines to the flexible hose 42 into the needle head 21. From the needle head 21 the liquid distributes to the multiple needles 32 through a pressure chamber 49 (see FIG. 10) inside the needle head 21 and excess brine go through the conveyor belt 24 and down into the drip pan 45.

FIG 4 illustrates the apparatus frame 25 with covers 26 and supports 40 for vertical bearings 35 and with shafts 36 holding the needle head 21. This view shows the covers 26 attached to the frame 25 with the conveyor 24 and the drip pan 45 removed.

As illustrated in FIG.5 the side rails 46 are situated on top of the covers 26 and the vertical rods 36 that hold the needle head 21 go trough the side rails 46 as well as the pipeline 43 to the needle head. A needle guide plate 70 with holes for the needles 32 is attached to the side rails 46.

Li FIG.6 shows in similar perspective as in FIG. 5 the apparatus with the conveyor 24 in place. The cover 22 for needle head 21 and the electrical control box 23 is also shown in place but the doors 30 are left out.

In FIG. 7 shows an end elevation view of the apparatus without the frame cover 26

In FIG 8 shows a side elevation view of the apparatus without doors 30. The motor 44 for the pump 34 sits on the frame 25.

In FIG 9 and 10 show the end elevation view of the needle head 21 with the top plate 48 and the plate (41) for holding the needle head 21, the needles 32, the bolts 53 for holding the plate 41, and the bolts 54 for attaching the needle holding plate 52 to the needle head. The bolts 55 go through holes 51 and the holding plate 48 to the needle head 21. FIG.9 shows the end view at the needle head 21 with the top plate 48. FIG 10 shows the pressure chamber 49 over the needles 32. On top of the needle 32 is welded a piston 61 with a gasket seal for preventing liquid from exiting the needle head except through the needle itself (see FIG. 16).

In FIG 11 shows a top view of the needle head without the top plate. One end is shown with the side plate 41 and the other end is shown without this plate 41.

FIG 12 shows the end plate 41 and how it is put together with a stop bolt 57 and a shaft 58 and a ring 59 so the needle head 41 can easily be turned 90 degrees for cleaning purposes.

FIG 13 shows the needle head 21 adjusted to 90 degrees from the operating position for the purpose of cleaning and the vertical shafts 36 for holding the needle head in place.

In FIG. 14 illustrates the operation of the apparatus. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) 60 is in the electrical control box 23 (see FIG. 8) and via a touch panel 66 situated in front of the electrical control panel 23 it is possible for an operator to control the operation of the entire apparatus. The CPU 60 controls the operation of the actuator 38, the brine pump motor 44 and the motor 29 driving the conveyor belt 24. The unit 66 may adjust the setting values of the pressure sensor 28 and on the basis of signals received from the pressure sensors the speed of the motor 44 is regulated so the desired pressure is reached. Electrical power is supplied to the CPU from an electrical power supply 67 situated in the electrical control panel 23.

FIG 15 illustrates the method used (see the schematic block diagram for more details).

FIG 16 shows the needle 32 in detail with the piston 61 and a seal 62 which prevents the liquid from passing the piston on the outside. The upper needle is turned 90 degrees and with the seal 62 on.

FIG 17 shows the apparatus with crankshaft 63 instead of actuator 38.

FIG 18 shows liquid circulation in the apparatus without a filter, needle head 21, motor for conveyor belt 29, actuator 38, height sensor 68 and pressure sensor 28. FIG 19 shows liquid circulation in the apparatus as in FIG.18 with added open return filter 64. Also shown is filter 65 which is a pressurized closed filter with rotating scrape cleaning inside and valve 69 for letting out particles bigger than the inside diameter of the needle.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATION, AND SCOPE OF INVENTION

It can be seen from the above disclosure that this injecting apparatus and method of injection is superior and very simple. There are no valves for controlling the injection of the needles, no chains and springs in the apparatus, a design that clearly reduce maintenance requirements. The apparatus contains very few components and only a few moving parts. All parameters which need to be controlled are accessible via a touch screen on the front of the electrical control box.

While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example the apparatus can have two separate needle heads and liquid circulations system. The needles can have different dimensions and types of ends like open ends or ends with several horizontal openings. The drive motor for the conveyor belt can be a drum motor, a gear motor, pressurized air motor or a hydraulic motor. The vertical bearings for holding the needle head can be replaced with wheels or other types of guiding rails to ensure stable vertical movements. The cover of the needle head can have different shapes and be made of different materials. The height sensor in front of the needles can be of different types or the height of the product can be preset or the angle of movement can be used when using a gear motor with crankshaft instead of a pressurized air motor or a hydraulic motor or a step motor to move the needle head up and down.

Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.