Patents Examined by Willis Little
  • Patent number: 6406366
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for removing a pin bone or pin bones from a fillet of fish. The apparatus of the present invention uses a rotating stack of individual disks that are engaged by a shaft, oscillate axially and are timed to alternately tilt in a rapid fashion so as to effect the action of multiple pairs of tweezers. The pin bone is disposed between a pair of tweezer or two adjacent rotating disks and pulled out of the fillet by the rotating disks. The rotating stack of individual disks operates at different speeds in an operation circle to enhance the operational efficiency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2002
    Assignee: University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Inventor: Lawrence V. Kozycki
  • Patent number: 6398635
    Abstract: In a preferred embodiment, a bivalve shellfish opening knife, including: a handle portion; a blade portion, having front and rear edges, extending from one end of the handle portion; a rear blade edge guard hingedly attached to the blade portion near a proximal end thereof in proximity to a proximal end of the handle portion; and the rear blade edge guard having defined therein a channel sized to accommodate therein the rear edge of the blade portion when the rear blade edge guard is rotated against the blade portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2002
    Assignee: Inventioneers, LLC
    Inventor: Gary F. DeMezzo
  • Patent number: 6383068
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for portioning food items. The inventive apparatus preferably comprises: a carrier structure having a cavity provided therein for receiving a first portion of a food item; a holding device for imparting a force to the food item sufficient to hold the first portion of the food item in the cavity; and a saw or knife having a blade receivable between the carrier structure and the holding structure for cutting the food item into the first portion and a second portion. The holding structure is preferably an upper belt-type conveyor and the apparatus most preferably comprises a series of carrier plates conveyed by a lower conveyor system. Alternatively, the holding structure can be replaced with a vacuum system for generating a vacuum in the plate cavities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2002
    Assignee: Tyson Foods, Inc.
    Inventors: Leland Edward Tollett, Stanley Bryan Andrews, Mark Henry Curry, Johnny Simpson Breeden, Donald Mark Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 6383069
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for performing multiple automated poultry processing operations upon a slaughtered animal or a part thereof via a single machine is described. The machine contains at least two rotary processors in a single frame. A covering surrounds the processors. A venting processor cuts out and removes the vent to a slaughtered animal and in the process removes unwanted fecal or other material from the exterior and the interior of the carcass. The processors integrated into the single machine are coupled by a conveyor line following a preferably generally S-shaped route that carries the carcasses amongst the processors, preferably positioning the carcasses at the optimum registration point for the operation performed by the particular processor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2002
    Assignee: Stork Gamco Inc.
    Inventors: Max Volk, Raymond Strawn, Adrianus J. Von Den Nieuwelaar, Bradley K. Gazaway, Hendrikus Werner Peeters
  • Patent number: 6361426
    Abstract: Apparatuses and methods for processing meat from waste body parts of fish. In one embodiment, a fish processing machine includes a primary processing line and a reclamation processing line. The primary processing line can include a first conveyor system to transport a fish trunk along a primary processing path, a first cutter at a first location along the primary processing path configured to separate a waste body part from the fish trunk, and a second cutter at a second location along the primary processing path downstream from the first cutter. The second cutter has at least one knife arranged to slice high-value meat from the trunk. The reclamation processing line is coupled to the primary processing line. The reclamation processing line can include a recovery cutter to separate an additional meat portion from the waste body part and a transfer mechanism to automatically transport the waste body part to the recovery cutter without manually manipulating the body part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2002
    Assignee: American Seafoods Company
    Inventor: Henrik Kragh
  • Patent number: 6354933
    Abstract: An apparatus for deboning a piece of meat having an elongate bone portion, such as a loin piece provided with a spine portion, comprises an elongate support mounted on a frame for receiving the loin its spine portion being substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis defined by the support, and a plurality of press devices mounted on the frame for maintaining the piece of meat in a predetermined cutting position on the support. A first embodiment makes use of a cutting tool including an elongate shearing knife having a base portion pivotally mounted on the frame and an inwardly arcuate section defining a longitudinally extending cutting edge.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2000
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2002
    Assignee: Centre de Recherche Industrielle du Quebec
    Inventors: Réal Archambault, Robert Daoust, Serge Garneau
  • Patent number: 6338674
    Abstract: The invention provides a process and anal seal for sealing the anus of the carcass (10) of a slaughtered animal. The anal seal includes a plug (15) for insertion through the anus so that tissues (11) contract behind the plug, a clamp (20) movable towards the plug to clamp the tissues behind, and retaining means (40) to hold the clamp in its clamping position. The plug (15) is conical and has a back end (17) so that the clamp which is in the shape of a clamping disc (22) clamps against periphery (18) of the back end of the plug. The clamp (15) can slide on a stem (32) extending from the back end of the plug. The retaining means (40) can comprise biasing means (48) or a latch (41) to hold the clamp in its clamping position. An applicator tool (60) can mount the anal seal during insertion of the plug into the rectum and move the clamp from a retracted position to its operative clamping position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2000
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2002
    Assignee: Meat & Livestock Australia Limited
    Inventors: Andrew Leslie Finney, David Gregor
  • Patent number: 6338673
    Abstract: Apparatus for electrical stunning and killing poultry comprises a conveyor (31) and means for applying electrical voltage across the heads of the birds (3; 37; 42). In one embodiment, means are also provided for applying a voltage between the bird's head and rear by means of a further electrode (4). In this case, a two stage stun and kill process is used, with the bird being stunned by a voltage applied to it across its head and then killed by a voltage applied between its head and rear, causing fibrillation of the heart. The apparatus may also include means (5; 34) for restraining the bird's heads and/or facilitating contact of the bird's heads with the electrodes. The electrodes themselves may take a number of forms, including dry resilient foam covered by a conductive wire mesh, or a number of parallel sprung pins, or a rail along which the bird's heads slide, or a conductive endless belt. A pair of manual stunning tongs (61) is also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2002
    Assignee: BTG International Limited
    Inventors: Paul Simon Berry, Ambur Balakrishnan Mohan Raj, Michael O'Callaghan, Lindsay John Wilkins, David Bernard Tinker
  • Patent number: 6336856
    Abstract: A loin puller for processing a carcass-half comprising a loin and a flank partially separated by cutting, the loin comprising a layer fat to be trimmed off. The machine has a frame which is fixed an elongated rectilinear working surface intended to receive and support the loin of the carcass-half to be processed. A conveying system is mounted onto the frame above the working surface for engaging and pressing the loin and moving it together with the flank connected thereto up to a cutting zone. An arcuate cutting blade is mounted to the frame in the cutting zone for engaging the loin when the frame is moved by the conveying system and for cutting the layer fat to be trimmed off the same. Advantageously, the frame is devised to let the flank fall down from the working surface while the carcass-half is moved by the conveying system. As a result, more visibility is left for evaluating an optimum position for the cutting blade.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2002
    Assignee: G.E. Leblanc Inc.
    Inventors: Yvon Dufour, Jean-Guy Roy, Patrick Fauret
  • Patent number: 6334811
    Abstract: A processing line for stripping fresh meat quarters which comprises an endless conveying line, an electrical power source operatively associated with said conveying line, a plurality of carriages slidably mounted on said processing line and communicating with said electrical power source for independent movement on said processing line, and, meat quarter support means operatively associated with each of said carriages for vertical adjustment relative to the conveying lines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2002
    Assignee: Inalca-Industria Alimentare-Carni-Societa' per Azioni
    Inventor: Luigi Cremonini
  • Patent number: 6328645
    Abstract: A poultry processing machine is provided which automatically vents and opens the poultry, eviscerates the poultry, displays the poultry for inspection, and either provides a normal or radical clean out procedure to the poultry. When the poultry is being physically processed, it is maintained in a generally stationary position with respect to the surface supporting the poultry processor to provide for uniform positioning of the poultry on the conveyor. Further, the poultry is positioned in a generally horizontal position during the venting and opening, eviscerating and cleaning procedures, to facilitate removing the unwanted materials from the poultry without increasing the risk of contamination. The eviscerating station uses an eviscerating tool which includes an opening sized to receive the viscera package therethrough during the eviscerating process to prevent damage to the viscera package.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2001
    Assignee: Foodcraft Equipment Co., Inc.
    Inventors: Eugene G. Martin, Scott A. Cook, Sheldon L. Horst, Michael E. Lease
  • Patent number: 6325711
    Abstract: A twister mechanism for sausage encasing has a first housing member (12) having a center bore. A rotatable ring (22) has a center bore (26) concentric with the center bore of the housing. A rotatable sleeve (24) is mounted on the ring and forms the center bore of the ring and being rotatable with the ring. A second housing member (14) is secured to the first housing member and has a center bore receiving the sleeve. A bearing member extending around the sleeve and extending radially to engage a surface of the second housing member. The ring includes a circular disk (28) extending outwardly from the center bore, and has an outer peripheral edge. A plurality of radially spaced vanes (32A) are on the disk extending outwardly therefrom. The vanes are spaced from the second housing member and the bearing to enhance the cooling of the mechanism when the ring is rotated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 9, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2001
    Assignee: Townsend Engineering Company
    Inventors: Theo Rein Bruinsma, Kenneth Leon Lebsack
  • Patent number: 6322437
    Abstract: A method for obtaining muscle flesh from beheaded fish by severing muscle flesh from dorsal and/or ventral spokes together with fins and fin holders as well as from ribs or lateral vertebral appendages and a vertebral column. The method uses an apparatus having severing means for severing the muscle flesh from the dorsal and/or ventral spokes which include a first tool and a second tool, each of which is provided with pairs of cutting means. The cutting means of the first tool and the associated bone guides can be controlled in height with respect to the position of their cutting edges and guide edges, respectively, relative to a conveying path. The cutting means of the second tool are constructed as knife blades arranged between the bone guides with the cutting edges pointing towards the conveying path. The knife blades are elastically displaceable away from the conveying path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader GmbH + CO KG
    Inventors: Thomas Grabau, Rainer Brocksch, Stefan Giesler, Sabine Löw, Ulrich Gütte
  • Patent number: 6322438
    Abstract: Previously eviscerated poultry carcasses with legs and backs remaining are suspended from shackles (25) by their legs and moved in sequence along a processing path. The backs are received on a surface conveyor (18) having parallel conveyor flights (36, 37), so that the rounded portions (31) of the surfaces of the backs (30) seek the space between the conveyor flights, thereby tending to center the carcasses moving along the poultry path. The backs are turned from inverted attitudes to upright attitudes while the legs remain inverted, thereby tending to rotate the thighs with respect to the backs, loosening the sockets between the thighs and backs, and the visceral cavities are placed on a rotary disk (28) formed of UHMW and having peripheral teeth with radially extending teeth surfaces which engage the backbone areas of the visceral cavities of the carcasses.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: Systemate Group, B.V.
    Inventors: Gerrit Barendregt, Floris Wols, Wim Steenbergen
  • Patent number: 6322436
    Abstract: Disclosed is a novel method and system for dehairing an animal, providing a system for recycling and safely disposing of chemical and biological wastes produced during such dehairing method. Included in such method are processes for handling sodium production in waste materials, reducing and handling production of H2S, removing sulfides from animal hides, safely disposing of sulfide waste, removing solids from the waste materials, and reducing water and reagent use and disposal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2001
    Assignee: Monfort, Inc
    Inventors: Wesley W. Potter, R. Paul Clayton
  • Patent number: 6319110
    Abstract: A method for dividing a body of slaughtered poultry is described, wherein the body hangs down by its legs from a transport means, is transported with the breast leading in the direction of transport and is cut through during transport thereof by means of a first cutting operation, wherein the body is brought into a position inclined to the direction of transport before and during the first cutting operation so that the legs are located in front of the remaining body, wherein the body is moved towards a spike in such a manner that the spike enters a rear opening between the legs located between the legs of the body and the first cutting operation is performed in a diagonal direction in a plane which essentially extends between the thighs of the legs and the spike so that the body is divided into a rear half including the legs, the thigh portions corresponding to the legs and a back portion, and a front half including a breast portion and a main proportion of the back portion of the body, wherein the front half
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2001
    Assignee: Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader GmbH & C. KG
    Inventors: Manfred Peters, Wolfgang Wagner, Siegbert Wruck, Klaus Ziebell
  • Patent number: 6315654
    Abstract: A tripes cleaning apparatus having a suspended, rotatable drum that presents an outer cylindrical surface on which the tripes are supported. The drum includes sets of flighting so as to facilitate arrangement of the tripes on each portion thereof in a single-layered helical orientation. A nozzle is associated with each set of flighting so that a low pressure cleaning fluid can be flushed through the tripes as the drum is rotated. Each nozzle is preferably activated to disperse cleaning fluid by bending the nozzle relative to its normally straight configuration, and a J-hook projects from the drum adjacent each nozzle to releasably hold the nozzle in the open, bent configuration and help retain the tripes against the drum. The apparatus further includes a spray bar operable to clean the outside of the tripes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2001
    Assignee: Hantover, Inc.
    Inventor: Clark A. Levsen
  • Patent number: 6315653
    Abstract: A stuffing tube mounting assembly has an elongated barrel with a forward end terminating in a cylindrical barrel portion. A hollow elongated stuffing horn having a rearward end is detachably telescopically mounted on the barrel portion. Interlocking surfaces on the rearward end of the stuffing tube and the barrel portion hold the tube and the barrel in only a single radial orientation with respect to each other to maintain an inlet port in the side of the stuffing tube in a predetermined fixed position with respect to the barrel. The interlocking surfaces are elongated registering grooves in the stuffing tube and the barrel portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2001
    Assignee: Townsend Engineering Company
    Inventor: John William Ciancitto
  • Patent number: 6312326
    Abstract: In a method and device for making an incision in the skin of the belly of a slaughtered animal which is provided with a vent opening produced by cutting out the vent, the skin is processed at a position near the bottom point of the breastbone of the animal, and an incision is made between the vent opening and said position. In order to support the skin during the skin processing operation, a supporting element is fitted subcutaneously through an opening in the skin. In a method and device for processing a slaughtered animal, prior to or during the evisceration of the carcass of the animal, tissue connections are broken between the belly skin and the viscera, in particular between the belly fat situated on the inside of the belly skin and the stomach.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2001
    Assignee: Stork PMT B.V.
    Inventors: Adrianus J. van den Nieuwelaar, Cornelis D. van Harskamp, Bastiaan W.J.E.J. Drabbels
  • Patent number: 6309293
    Abstract: A method and a vacuum filler for filling a pasty filling material, in particular sausage meat, with the sausage meat being filled into a vane-type conveying mechanism by means of rotatably supported vane cells and a negative pressure being produced in a region of the vane-type conveying mechanism for supporting the intake of sausage meat into the vane-type conveying mechanism. The production of negative pressure is efficient in that it is substantially produced while the vane cells are rotating, which is made possible by installing a closure element for the at least partial opening and closing of a vacuum opening in the housing of the conveying mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2001
    Assignee: Albert Handtmann Maschinenfabrik
    Inventors: Georg Zinser, Georg Pick