Conveyor Patents (Class 99/443C)
  • Patent number: 6161471
    Abstract: A machine for the automatic production of kebabs from a container whose side faces are slotted and filled with layers of meat and/or vegetables. The machine comprises at least a container insertion station, a station in which the container is skewered with sticks, a cutting station engaging with the container slots, for cutting the skewered layers of meat and/or vegetables, and a station in which the container containing the different skewered and cut layers of meat and/or vegetables is unloaded. The machine of the present invention also includes a supporting member having peripheral arrangements for the loading and centering of at least one container, the supporting member being fixed to rotary drive means in order to present the container or containers in succession to each of the stations arranged in a circular manner about the member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2000
    Inventor: Michel Emsens
  • Patent number: 6157014
    Abstract: A microwave apparatus and system that monitors the amount of food products within a cavity and adjust the microwave power provided to the cavity. The apparatus and system uses a product sensor system and a movement sensor system to accurately determine the product load in the microwave cavity. A computer controller, based on the product load information provided by the product sensor system and the movement sensor system, operates to adjust the amount of power provide to the microwave cavities by the microwave transmitters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2000
    Assignee: Amana Company, L.P.
    Inventor: James A. Goranson
  • Patent number: 6142066
    Abstract: An apparatus, and method for cooking and smoking food items and a smoked product produced by the inventive method. The inventive apparatus preferably comprises (a) an oven including a belt-type conveyor, for continuously conveying food items through the oven, and a circulation system for circulating a cooking medium in the oven such that the cooking medium contacts and cooks the food items and (b) a smoke generation and delivery system for delivering smoke to the circulating system such that the smoke contacts the food items along with the cooking medium. The inventive method preferably comprises the steps of (a) continuously conveying food items through an oven and (b) delivering smoke into the oven such that the smoke contacts the food items. The oven used in the inventive apparatus and inventive method is preferably an indirect-fired oven. The smoke most preferably contacts the food items in an impinging manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2000
    Assignee: Tyson Foods, Inc.
    Inventors: Gary H. Anders, Joseph F. Bott, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6138660
    Abstract: A forced convective track oven comprises a track conveyor including first and second circular spirals, the first circular spiral for conveying bakery trays and dough products upwardly and the second circular spiral portion for conveying bakery trays and dough products downwardly, thereby minimizing the number of changes of direction of the bakery trays as they travel along the track conveyor. A plurality of burners discharge heated air through discharge tubes and discharge nozzles into engagement with bakery trays carried by the track conveyor. First and second oval spirals may be used in lieu of the circular spirals when the track oven is used in a reduced ceiling height environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2000
    Assignee: Sasib Bakery North America, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert W. Middleton, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6132783
    Abstract: A continuous conveyor oven process for fully cooking bone-in poultry food items is provided. A single conveyor line is provided at a constant belt speed having a first microwave oven stage and a second convection oven stage, each stage includes an infeed end and a discharge end. The bone-in poultry food item is cooked within the first microwave stage to an outlet temperature and is discharged to a convection oven, wherein the bone-in poultry food item continues to be cooked to a convection out temperature at its discharge end. The bone-in poultry food item from the microwave infeed end to the convection oven discharge end is conducted at a constant belt speed for improved throughput and food item yield with improved consistent food item quality.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Inventor: Vinodh N. Rajapakse
  • Patent number: 6129010
    Abstract: A dry raw cereal material having a starch fraction is fed into the inlet (38) of a twin screw preconditioning unit (10). The dry material is rapidly advanced and mixed in the first two zones (31, 32) and conveyed into a third zone (33). Water is introduced by ducts (42) and is admixed with the dry material to form a well mixed wetted cereal material. The screws (14, 16) include blank segments (14c, 16c) having radially extending pins (40) to create a material plug in the barrel (30) of the preconditioning unit (10). Steam is added to the wetted material in the next zone (34) to form a heated wetted cereal material which is worked in the fourth zone (34) to form a heated precooked non-continuous cereal compacted dough material which is generally maintained below its gelatinization point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2000
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald D. Hurd, Stanley G. Liedman, Ronald W. Hegner, Daniel R. Green
  • Patent number: 6119586
    Abstract: An automatic barbeque assembly is provided having a cooking oven, a conveyor mechanism mounted in the oven, a sauce tank mounted in the oven for holding sauce, a food carrying mechanism connected to the conveyor mechanism for carrying food products in the oven and into the sauce, and a bypass mechanism for preventing the food carrying mechanism from dipping into the sauce wherein the bypass mechanism can be activated from the exterior of the cooking oven using only one hand. The bypass mechanism includes a by-pass lever and a bypass lever rod wherein the bypass lever is permanently affixed at points along the length of the bypass lever rod. The bypass lever rod is rotatably mounted within the oven. The bypass lever and bypass lever rod together form a trapezoidal shape. The bypass lever rod extends through an aperture in the oven and rotates within the aperture. An activation rod is mounted to an end of the bypass lever rod on the exterior of the oven.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Nelgo Manufacturing, Inc.
    Inventor: Troy W. Gongwer
  • Patent number: 6116152
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an apparatus for producing confectioneries, specifically to a small-sized automatic apparatus for producing confectioneries such as cakes, biscuits or breads with jelly, cream placed inside thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2000
    Assignee: Delice Co. Ltd.
    Inventor: Hyung Seob Kim
  • Patent number: 6112647
    Abstract: A high speed food processing machine providing an improved platen mechanism wherein the device produces more uniform platen pressure across the platens by having multiple hydraulically operated pressure points on the upper platen. The food processing machine is capable of having two belts; one around each platen, to provide more uniform pressure. This uniform pressure allows better heater placement and control. This invention also provides a method of cooling across the platens and removeably attaching the moving belt(s) to the moving platens. An energy storing mechanism assists in the platen movement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2000
    Inventors: Karl H. Brunner, Richard E. Hathaway
  • Patent number: 6105485
    Abstract: A rotary blancher that is sealed such that it can be positively pressurized during operation to a pressure greater than the ambient pressure outside the blancher to increase food product heating speed and efficiency. The blancher has a sealed housing, a sealed food product inlet, and a sealed food product outlet all for enabling an atmosphere inside the blancher to be positively pressurized. A heat transfer medium, such as a heated gas, a heated vapor, a heated liquid, or a combination thereof is introduced into the blancher to heat the food product inside the blancher. In one preferred embodiment, steam and hot water comprise the heat transfer medium. During operation, food products are continuously or substantially continuously introduced into the blancher through the food product inlet, continuously or substantially continuously processed by the blancher, and thereafter continuously or substantially continuously discharged from the blancher through the food product outlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2000
    Inventor: David R. Zittel
  • Patent number: 6101926
    Abstract: Disclosed is a method and apparatus adaptable for various kinds of raw rice and a variety of finally cooked rice, which comprises a combination of a steaming line constructed of a single endless conveyor and a settling and/or cooling line constructed of a plurality of combined endless conveyor belts arranged downstream of the steaming line. The settling and/or cooling line is combined with the rice continuously steaming line which comprises the steps of placing rice, that has finished preliminary water absorption, on a carrying surface of a single conveyor belt evenly, moving the carrying surface while blowing steam to the rice placed on the carrying surface, and effecting primary steaming of the rice, sprinkling of hot water to absorb water into the rice, and secondary steaming of the rice having absorbed water successively during movement of the carrying surface without agitating the rice, the above steps being performed within a sealed housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2000
    Assignee: Showa Sangyo Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tomoyuki Miyagawa, Yoshio Ishii, Takashi Tanaka
  • Patent number: 6102187
    Abstract: In a device for aligning objects, particularly sausages (1), which are fed for instance to a packaging device (7), at least two elements (14, 15) moving opposite each other are arranged approximately parallel to each other. They leave between them a space (16, 17) through which the objects (1) can drop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2000
    Inventor: Christopf Stimpfl
  • Patent number: 6099882
    Abstract: A system for preparing a skinned food product includes a roasting unit, a smoking chamber, and a conveyor system for transporting the skinned food product through the roasting unit and through the smoking chamber. The roasting unit has a heated zone for at least partially loosening the skin of the skinned food product. The heat in the heated zone may also blacken portions of the skinned food product. The conveyor system rotates the skinned food product as the product passes through the heated zone. The contact with the smoke in the smoking chamber provides the skinned food product with a desired flavor. A method for preparing a skinned food product includes contacting the product with heat to at least partially loosen a skin thereof, and contacting the product with smoke for a period of time sufficient to provide the product with a smoked flavor. The system and method may be used to prepare skinned food products such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, corn, potatoes, and artichokes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2000
    Assignee: California Fire-Roasted, L.L.C.
    Inventors: Spencer Charles Risner, Jr., Greg M. Durst, Salvatore C. Felice
  • Patent number: 6095035
    Abstract: A food processing apparatus is disclosed that has a tank with an inlet end and an outlet end. The apparatus has at least two rotary drums received within an interior chamber of the tank, each communicating with the inlet end for urging a food product from the inlet end simultaneously through the drums to the outlet end. A liquid is held at a desired level within the interior chamber. Each of the rotary drums is submerged in the liquid to a predetermined depth. The food processor of the present invention is particularly well suited for increasing the food product volume capacity for particular foods which can only be passed through the drums at a relatively low product level within each drum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2000
    Assignee: Lyco Manufacturing, Inc.
    Inventors: David R. Zittel, Steven W. Hughes
  • Patent number: 6082250
    Abstract: A device for treating massage based products such as wafer materials for consumption or for packaging to cool and moisturize the same. The device has a channel through which the product can be moved in which the product path is flanked by a pair of air channels which have openings opposite one another so that the air can pass from one air channel to the other transversely to the direction of displacement of the products in the product channel. The walls between the air channels and the product channels are bearing walls and preferably massive plates having the aforementioned openings. The lining or housing can have removable walls or doors which open to offer access to the air channels and the product channel for cleaning purposes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2000
    Assignee: Franz Haas Waffelmaschinen-Industrie Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Franz Haas Jun
  • Patent number: 6073544
    Abstract: A taco frying apparatus (90) is disclosed which permits the tortilla (12) to be trapped between a mesh (30) and a mold (120) to confine the tortilla and create a taco with a uniform u-shape. The mold (120) can pivot between the capture position with a taco captured there between and a loading position to allow a tortilla to be placed on the mesh for cooking or to remove the fried taco. Operating lugs (40) on end plates (34, 36) mounted on the mold can be used to pivot the mold. A portion of a hinge assembly (100) can move within the mold in the capture position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: The Double "JJ" Corporation
    Inventor: John S. Stickle
  • Patent number: 6073540
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for transferring heat between a heat transfer liquid and a plurality of moving containers of food product. The containers are conveyed by a perforated conveyor at least partially submerged in a pool of the heat transfer liquid and are showered at the same time with the heat transfer liquid. The pool of heat transfer liquid continuously drains and recirculates through either a heater or a chiller. A vibrator unit vibrates the pool of heat transfer liquid, the conveyor and the containers during the heat transfer operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: FMC Corporation
    Inventor: Robert A. Garrett
  • Patent number: 6067899
    Abstract: A fryer for food products such as battered and breaded pieces of meat has a main conveyor with forward and return belt paths inside the fryer pan, the belt return dragging the pan bottom sweeping fines to one end for removal. A submerger conveyor prevents products from floating in the cooking oil which enters the fryer from above through oil inlet weirs. A plurality of weirs supply curtains of hot cooking oil in non-turbulent flow onto the food product covering the product as the product is conveyed on the main conveyor. The cooking oil is returned along defined lanes in the pan for reheating outside of the fryer. The food products are removed from the fryer in a cooked condition with the bread coatings intact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2000
    Assignee: Heat & Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Andrew A. Caridis, Leonardo P. Murgel, Carl Beitsayadeh, John Silvester
  • Patent number: 6065390
    Abstract: A conveyor indexing mechanism for a bakery production line includes a variable speed motor, a conveyor, a number of baking pans, a dough packet drop mechanism, a sensor, and a timing generator. The conveyor moves the baking pans under the dough packet drop mechanism at a base speed and a ramp-up speed based on input from the sensor and timing generator. The sensor senses pan pockets in the baking pans which causes the motor to assume the base speed. The timing generator periodically causes the motor to assume the ramp-up speed. The indexing mechanism ensures that a row of pan pockets will be below the dough packet drop mechanism so that a row of dough packets will consistently fall therein with maximum throughput. The absence of any clutch or brake reduces wear, as does the continuous motion of the drive train, which prevents backlash in the gear components. A programmable controller receives system inputs and instructs an inverter to change the motor speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2000
    Inventor: Augusto Florindez
  • Patent number: 6065463
    Abstract: A forced convective track oven comprises a track conveyor including first and second cylindrical spirals, the first cylindrical spiral for conveying bakery trays and dough products upwardly and the second spiral spiral portion for conveying bakery trays and dough products downwardly, thereby minimizing the number of changes of direction of the bakery trays as they travel along the track conveyor. A plurality of burners discharge heated air through discharge tubes and discharge nozzles into engagement with bakery trays carried by the track conveyor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2000
    Assignee: Sasib Bakery North America, Inc.
    Inventor: Alan Martin
  • Patent number: 6065392
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) for manufacturing different shaped bakery products, such as hamburger and hot dog buns, includes a dough packet feeder (18) which advances to an exit station (22) in a step-wise manner rows of dough packets having a first shape. A roller gate (20) positioned at the exit station (22) to receive the rows of dough packets exiting the dough packet feeder (18) includes a first roller member (20a ) having three rows of receptacles (20b ) spaced apart from each other 120.degree. and each sized to receive an individual dough packet having the first shape. A bakery pan indexing feeder (26) advances in a step-wise manner bakery pans (60) or(62) into which the dough packets are deposited by a moving carrier member (52) positioned between the roller gate (20) and the bakery pan indexing feeder (26). The moving carrier member (52) has a receiving end onto which the rows of dough packets are deposited after leaving the roller gate (20) and an exit end where the dough packets leave the moving carrier member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2000
    Inventor: Augusto Florindez
  • Patent number: 6063426
    Abstract: A dough moistening apparatus. A reservoir is disposed above a conveyor. The reservoir is operably coupled to a pump that fills the reservoir, from a tank. The reservoir has a spillway such that when overfilled, the fluid cascades onto the conveyor, thereby moistening dough items conveyed thereby.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2000
    Assignee: International Baking, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel Mani
  • Patent number: 6056986
    Abstract: A method for continuously steaming rice includes the steps of evenly placing rice on a moving carrying surface of a single conveyor belt after the rice absorbed water, primarily steaming the rice by blowing steam to the rice placed on the carrying surface, sprinkling of hot water to be absorbed into the rice, and secondarily steaming the rice by blowing steam into the rice. These steps are performed successively without agitating the rice on the single conveyor belt within a sealed housing. The apparatus has a housing (4, 5) made up of a lower housing member (4) and an upper housing member (5) capable of moving vertically relative to the lower housing member (4). The boundary between the upper and lower housing members (5,4) is sealed by drained water during a steaming step.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2000
    Assignee: Showa Sangyo Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tomoyuki Miyagawa, Yoshio Ishii, Takashi Tanaka
  • Patent number: 6041912
    Abstract: An apparatus and a method for dough handling includes a first conveyor for receiving dough and having a first discharge end for discharging dough. A second conveyor receives dough and is positioned along side the first conveyor to convey in the direction of the first conveyor. The second conveyor has a second discharge end that is spaced-apart from the first discharge end. The first and second conveyors can be used to separate dough pieces from an elongated dough product such as a roll and/or phase individual dough pieces to provide them in succession for packaging or further processing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Assignee: The Pillsbury Company
    Inventors: James W. Finkowski, Robert F. Meyer, Dale W. Fredrickson, Dennis B. Usgaard, Manuel Motolina
  • Patent number: 6035764
    Abstract: Disclosed is a method and apparatus adaptable for various kinds of raw rice and a variety of finally cooked rice, which comprises a combination of a steaming line constructed of a single endless conveyor and a settling and/or cooling line constructed of a plurality of combined endless conveyor belts arranged downstream of the steaming line. The settling and/or cooling line is combined with the rice continuously steaming line which comprises the steps of placing rice, that has finished preliminary water absorption, on a carrying surface of a single conveyor belt evenly, moving the carrying surface while blowing steam to the rice placed on the carrying surface, and effecting primary steaming of the rice, sprinkling of hot water to absorb water into the rice, and secondary steaming of the rice having absorbed water successively during movement of the carrying surface without agitating the rice, the above steps being performed within a sealed housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: Showa Sangyo Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tomoyuki Miyagawa, Yoshio Ishii, Takashi Tanaka
  • Patent number: 6035765
    Abstract: A conveyor bun griller having a textured low-friction conveyor belt surface. This surface has more friction than an untextured low-friction surface, thus permitting the buns to be grilled without aesthetically undesirable markings, but also without creating handling problems for users of the griller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: Welbilt Corporation
    Inventor: Mark Harlow Finck
  • Patent number: 6032573
    Abstract: A cheesecake batter is baked in individual cups as it is continuously moved from one end of an oven to the other. Thereafter, it is cooled by being transferred to a cooling table covered with a hood. The cooling table and the hood are arranged in line with the other end of the oven, and contains a downward laminar sterile air flow to envelop the baked cheesecake batter on the cooling table. In addition, the cooling table and the hood are spaced from the other end of the oven a distance in which the flow of heated vapor from the oven react and create a vacuum, thereby maintaining the baked cheesecake batter under constant sterile conditions, as it moves from the oven to the cooling table.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2000
    Assignee: Carousel Foods, Inc.
    Inventors: David Olkey, Charles Caruso
  • Patent number: 6019030
    Abstract: A toaster for bread-type food products includes a housing defining at least one toasting cavity. A toasting heater is operatively associated with the cavity. An endless chain-type conveyor is provided for conveying food products through the cavity. An endless belt is disposed about the conveyor to prevent the chain-type conveyor from imprinting the food products. The belt includes a seam, and a retention portion of the belt at the seam is engaged with the conveyor to prevent slippage between the belt and the conveyor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2000
    Assignee: Prince Castle Inc.
    Inventor: David L. Kettman
  • Patent number: 6019033
    Abstract: An apparatus for destroying pathogens on food, including a steam chamber having an entrance opening and an exit opening. An entrance door structure nominally closes the entrance opening in the steam chamber and an exit door structure nominally closes the exit opening of the steam chamber. Each of the entrance and exit door structures are composed of a plurality of closely vertically adjacent segments that are mounted to the entrance and exit openings to open and close independently of each other. Flanges extend horizontally from the upper and lower edges of the door segments to maintain a relatively close seal with the adjacent door segment even though the door segments are opened or closed a relatively differing amount.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2000
    Assignee: Frigoscandia, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert C. Wilson, Jerome D. Leising, John Strong, Jon Hocker, Jerry O'Connor
  • Patent number: 6009798
    Abstract: Apparatus for feeding and cooking raw product, such as shellfish and the like, in a continuous process. A preferred version of the apparatus includes a feed tank with raw product immersed in a bath. A conveyor follows an inclined path starting in the feed tank and exiting the surface of the bath to convey raw product out of the tank and through a cooking chamber. A feed control mechanism is provided to allow for accurate setting of product flow. The mechanism includes a rocking paddle extending just above the conveying surface of the conveyor. The paddle is linked to a rotary drive train by a linkage consisting of two pivotally attached arms. Rotation of the drive train causes the paddle to rock and deposit product on the conveyor during each stroke. The drive train is mounted on a slidable support that is pivotally attached to an adjustment rod. The other end of the adjustment rod includes an adjustment handle and a micrometer-style adjustment with clearly visible indicia for adjusting product flow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: January 4, 2000
    Assignee: The Laitram Corporation
    Inventors: Brent A. Ledet, Gregory L. Cooper
  • Patent number: 5997930
    Abstract: The field of the invention relates to a method for processing food products to prepare the food products for packaging. The methods involve presteaming, steeping, steam cooking, and then drying the food products. The method reveals pressure cooking with a pressure that is maintained below 15 psi, and in a steam vessel. Chemical additives may be added to the food products during processing. The apparatus includes a conveyor, steeping tanks as needed, and a water recirculation system. A dryer which includes a rotating barrel adapted for agitation of the food products during cooking is also included.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignees: Riviana Foods, Inc., USA/Higashi-Hiroshima
    Inventors: John Hugh Kendall, Ranvir Biki Mohindra, Duane Stephen Rutherford, Satoru Satake, Sigeharu Kanamoto, Katsuyuki Kumamoto
  • Patent number: 5996476
    Abstract: An imprinting press and cooking apparatus for a dough product includes an imprinting station with respective opposed lower press and upper imprinting plates and rotating plate or endless belt conveyors adjacent the imprinting station for moving the dough product which has been pressed and imprinted through a cooking or baking phase. Heat sources are disposed adjacent the imprinting station and the conveyors for preheating the dough product for release from the printing station and for cooking the dough product, respectively. A pressure air slide is disposed between conveyor stages for transferring the dough product from one conveyor stage to another. Pressure air is supplied to the air slide through a conduit and into a chamber for flow through a perforated plate which supports the dough product for movement along the slide.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Inventor: George A. Schultz
  • Patent number: 5997925
    Abstract: A continuous manufacturing process for preparing cooked bacon includes the step of cooking slices of an uncured and unsmoked pork belly with cure ingredients applied on the slices to produce cooked bacon having the organoleptic properties of cooked conventionally cured and smoked bacon. An apparatus for continuously preparing cooked bacon includes a slicing device, a continuous cure ingredient application station and a continuous cooking station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: Swift-Eckrich, Inc.
    Inventors: Clark B. Wilson, Sharon K. Marsh, Kevin J. Finnie, Coralie G. Brooks, Shawn L. Owens
  • Patent number: 5983785
    Abstract: A contact toaster has a housing with a product inlet, product outlet and at least one toasting chamber defined in the housing. A heated platen is mounted in the housing and has a platen surface arranged for toasting the food products. A flexible endless belt, which when rotated, is arranged to pass the food products in a toasting path along the platen between the belt and the platen. An infinite controller acts to selectively displace the belt to adjust the distance between the belt and the platen to any value between minimum and maximum distance limits to accommodate food products of different widths. A guide is situated between the belt and the infinite controller so that the controller is in contact with at least one area of the guide.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 16, 1999
    Assignee: Merco/Savory, Inc.
    Inventors: Jason David Schreiner, Gerald W. Sank
  • Patent number: 5979302
    Abstract: An oven with slide-out transfer guides is provided for use in conjunction with multiple conveyor ovens to provide quick and convenient accessibility to an oven's interior in case of product transfer difficulties. A slidable rail assembly is mounted in the oven, which also has an access port for transfer guide egress and ingress, and a transfer guide with opposed lips forming a slot which mounts the transfer guide on the rail assembly. When access to the oven's interior is necessary to remedy a product transfer problem, the oven of the present invention allows the transfer guide to slide along the rail while still supported by same, and said transfer guide can be partially removed from said oven without the need to turn off the oven. In this way, obstructions can be cleared quickly without significant down time, thereby saving the user both time and expense.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1999
    Assignee: Casa Herrera, Inc.
    Inventors: Garrett T. Funk, Agustin G. Partida
  • Patent number: 5970857
    Abstract: In a baking oven comprising at least one hearth, a baking conveyor belt, which is guided over a deflection roller, is allocated to each hearth. The deflection roller is extended out of the baking oven through openings where it is lodged for displacement in the direction of the oven. A sealing arrangement is provided for this opening to be sealed, comprising a base plate and a sealing disk resting tightly thereon. The sealing disk is pivotally supported on the deflection roller and simultaneously lodged in a guiding groove in the base plate by means of a guide pin. The edge of the sealing disk is shaped such that on the one hand it covers the opening in all the positions of displacement and on the other hand is displaced in the direction of displacement only by a length which is considerably shorter than the length of displacement of the deflection roller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 26, 1999
    Assignee: Werner & Pfleiderer Lebensmitteltechnik GmbH
    Inventors: Rainer Dollinger, Josef Hafner, Claudia Knost
  • Patent number: 5960703
    Abstract: The method and apparatus of the invention describes an oven having a housing formed by an enclosure, the enclosure having a cooking chamber in a portion thereof. The oven housing may also include an inlet and outlet positioned in predetermined relationship to the cooking chamber and a conveyor belt on which food products to be cooked are positioned. The conveyor belt travels through the oven housing from the inlet to the outlet and defines over a separate portion thereof a conveyance path through the cooking chamber. The oven further includes at least a source of steam for creating a cooking atmosphere in the cooking chamber. The cooking chamber of the oven is defined at its lower limit by the level of steam within the housing and the inlet and outlet are positioned below this lower limit to maintain the steam within the cooking chamber. In this manner, the escape of steam from the cooking chamber is substantially prevented or controlled.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1999
    Assignee: Stein, Inc.
    Inventors: Bruce C. Jara, Anthony Kootsouradis, Ramesh M. Gunawardena
  • Patent number: 5942265
    Abstract: A process and apparatus for preparing diced or sliced pepperoni includes the steps of preparing the pepperoni meat mixture by grinding and mixing to specification. The blended sausage is extruded into sheet form for fermentation and cooking, following which the cooled meat mixture is chilled to 35.degree. F. or lower and sliced or sliced and diced. The product is thereafter conveyed to a spiral dryer where it is exposed to relatively warm (about 50.degree. F. to 120.degree. F.) air at an initial relative humidity of 30% or less under turbulent air flow. The dried pepperoni is conveyed to a chiller or freezer. The pepperoni has desirable flow characteristics when compared to product made using known pepperoni manufacturing processes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 24, 1999
    Assignee: H&M Food Systems Company, Inc.
    Inventors: James Roberds, Luke B. Rainbolt, Kyle A. Newkirk
  • Patent number: 5942142
    Abstract: An oven for cooking foods, and especially for browning foods, has heated, radiant walls. Heat may be supplied by a gas burner flame in a plenum behind the walls, with products of combustion thus being isolated from the food in the oven chamber. In one embodiment food products are continuously conveyed through the oven chamber and, depending on oven temperature, are either cooked or simply browned in the oven by the radiant wall heat. Fats and other materials rendered from the food products, if not fully incinerated in the oven chamber, may be transferred along with exhaust air from the oven chamber to a separate combustion chamber, for incineration, the heat from which is used to contribute to heat requirements for the plenum. Steam or other inert gas is introduced to the oven chamber to minimize oxidation and prevent flame, and the steam can be produced by heat exchange with exhaust plenum gases. An alternative wall heating system uses electric resistance heat elements inside a thin ceramic wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 24, 1999
    Assignee: Pyramid Food Processing Equip. Mfg. Inc.
    Inventors: Robert B. Forney, Ernest C. Brown
  • Patent number: 5934178
    Abstract: An oven for continuous cooking of products carried upon a open mesh wire conveyor provides the impingement of a cooking vapor from air discharge structure having ports arrayed above and below the conveyor. The discharge ports extend laterally of the conveyor and communicate with upper and lower plenums each charged by blower fans which draw cooking vapor from low pressure corridors alongside the product conveyor. Gas, electric or thermo fluid heaters are disposed in the corridors. The discharge ports are in slot form disposed about the apex of a Vee shaped riser spaced from the adjacent riser to provide a low pressure flow channel communicating with the corridors giving a rapid velocity change of the cooking vapor from turbulent to a less turbulent flow. The distance for vapor travel between the upper discharge ports and the product carrying conveyor is variable. Temperature and moisture content of the process vapor can be changed to suit cooking conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: Heat & Control, Inc.
    Inventors: Andrew A. Caridis, Anthony A. Caridis, Clark K. Benson, Leonardo P. Murgel, James A. Padilla
  • Patent number: 5931084
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for efficiently making grill marks on both sides of a plurality of food products while simultaneously cooking the plurality of food products. The food products may include hamburgers, chicken breast, soy products, etc. A continuous grilling belt transports products along a path of conveyance in which heat, speed, and other variables are controlled. The product is automatically turned over during the conveyance period. The food product may be produced in industrial quantities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 3, 1999
    Inventor: Raphael Blanga
  • Patent number: 5931083
    Abstract: Apparatus for high speed grilling and/or conditioning of a food product which comprises: a heatable surface which is capable caramelizing the food product at a temperature in the range between about 425.degree. F. to 575.degree. F.; a chamber for enclosing the food product on the heatable surface under pressure; and a steam injector for introducing steam into the chamber during the caramelization of the food product.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 3, 1999
    Assignee: The Frymaster Corporation
    Inventors: Keith A. Stanger, Mark H. Finck, Robert J. Wenzel
  • Patent number: 5896809
    Abstract: A food processing method and system, including a continuous cooker/chiller conveyor system (24) for meat products such as hot dogs and the like, is provided with an automatic unloader (36) having a first discharge transfer mode (FIGS. 1 and 2) automatically transferring the food product (22) to an automatic transfer member (38) for conveyance to a packaging line (32, 34), and a second discharge holding mode (FIGS. 3 and 4) holding the food product (22) on rack-off discharge arms (54, 56) until manually removed. In the event of an interruption in the packaging line (32, 34), rather than automatically transferring the food product (22) from the automatic unloader (36) to the transfer member (38), a rack-off procedure is instituted and the food product (22) is manually unloaded from the automatic unloader (36) and manually transferred to a holding rack (44, 46) on a temporary basis until resumption of operation of the packaging line (32, 34).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: DEC International, Inc.
    Inventor: Randall L. Miller
  • Patent number: 5888572
    Abstract: A disposable muffin tray is used in a baking process having a baking step using a spiral oven with a water bath therein. Hot air is directed into close surface contact with the water pool and then into cross-flow relationship with the muffin trays to effect baking of muffin batter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 30, 1999
    Assignee: H. J. Heinz Company
    Inventors: Paul S. Gics, Karen A. Parucki, Steven J. White, Larry L. Wuethrich
  • Patent number: 5881636
    Abstract: An oven for baking food products includes a spiral conveyor having a wire mesh conveyor belt for transporting food products from a loading bin to a storage bin. The spiral conveyor is surrounded by a threaded cylindrical housing having apertures which communicate with the loading bin, heat source, plenum, and recirculation fan. Heated air is blown into the threaded housing such that a downward spiral or vortex of air is created which envelops the food products upon the spiral conveyor belt for efficient baking. The housing is partially removable for cleaning or maintenance of the conveyor. Heated air within the housing is drawn about the food products as it is suctioned into a recirculation tube for distribution to the storage bin and to the plenum for recirculation through the housing. In addition, the loading bin is mounted upon a vibration device such that food products are evenly distributed upon entry to the spiral conveyor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 16, 1999
    Inventors: Dan Sweet, Sheila K. Sweet
  • Patent number: 5875705
    Abstract: A baking oven comprises several oven modules disposed one after the other in the longitudinal direction, each of which comprising independently controllable heating devices and at least one supply duct for vapor and/or fresh air which leads to the hearths and at least one discharge duct for vapor and/or waste air which leads away from each hearth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 2, 1999
    Assignee: Werner & Pfleiderer Lebensmitteltechnik GmbH
    Inventor: Dieter Knost
  • Patent number: 5850781
    Abstract: An oven comprises a housing with at least two zones, which are each provided with a device for setting a cooking state in the relevant zone, such as the temperature and relative humidity, as well as a conveyor belt, which runs through each of the zones and on which food products to be heated can be held, which conveyor belt has at least one path with a plurality of windings. These two zones are situated one above the other. Each zone has at least one ventilation device and also a heating device for circulating hot air through that zone and parallel to the boundary region between two zones.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 22, 1998
    Assignee: Koppens B.V.
    Inventor: Hendrikus Antonius Jacobus Kuenen
  • Patent number: 5850780
    Abstract: An outer housing has an inner cooking chamber and at least one opening for air flow into the cooking chamber. A heat source is located at the center of a lower wall of the cooking chamber. A plurality of food holding racks for supporting food to be cooked are mounted on a mounting assembly at spaced intervals in an annular path around the heat source. The mounting assembly is rotated by a drive mechanism so that the racks travel in the annular path around the heat source, and the racks are simultaneously rotated about their own axes to promote even cooking.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 22, 1998
    Inventors: Hugo R. Mascia, Maria S. Mascia
  • Patent number: 5839354
    Abstract: A novel toaster for everyday household use comprises a conveyor which carries items to be toasted past electrical heating panels. The toaster has an entrance wherein the item is inserted vertically from a fed tray onto the conveyor. The heating panels, placed above and below the toasting cavity, heat to a constant temperature wherein the level of toasting is controlled by setting the travel speed of the conveyor. The apparatus is encompassed by a rectangular body shell and has a translucent door for side access. Additionally, the body has a butter well located in the top surface. Butter is placed in the well which has a plurality of apertures for allowing the butter to drip onto the passing food item below. The well absorbs the ambient heat from the appliance to facilitate the butter meltdown.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Inventor: Alfredo Cardillo
  • Patent number: RE36941
    Abstract: The oven of the present invention is a low profile, dual .[.conveyer.]. .Iadd.conveyor .Iaddend.oven including an oven cabinet, two closely spaced .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors .Iaddend.and an air heating and circulation system. The .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors .Iaddend.and the oven cabinet are adapted so that the .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors .Iaddend.can be easily removed .[.from the.]. from the front or side of the oven cabinet. The oven cabinet houses the .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors.Iaddend., ducts and manifolds which all can be easily removed for cleaning or other maintenance. Each of the .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors .Iaddend.include separately controlled drive motors capable of driving .[.the.]. each of .[.conveyers.]. .Iadd.conveyors .Iaddend.at different speeds and in different directions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2000
    Inventors: Ronald D. Wolfe, Dwane D. Wolfe